Posted inNews

Emoticast raises $1.2m for ‘world’s first music emoji store’

As you’ll know if you’ve been sending the new middle-finger emoji to friends, family and hated ex-colleagues, emoji are an increasingly popular mode of digital communication.

Now a startup is trying to turn them into a music/tech business. UK-based Emoticast has raised $1.2m of seed funding from a range of music-connected investors to launch an app called TuneMoji, which it’s pitching as “the world’s first music emoji store”.
What that means is a collection of emoji images accompanied by music clips, which people can buy and then use in their conversations with friends on the Facebook Messenger app – TuneMoji is one of the apps using its API.

Posted inNews

Soundsgood Music launches app for cross-platform streaming

Here’s good timing for you: no sooner does shut down, then similar cross-platform streaming service Soundsgood Music launches its iPhone app.
“Create and discover playlists across all streaming platforms with — the elegant music curation service used by the world’s first community of DJs, artists, record labels, festivals, journalists, bloggers, and music lovers,” explains its App Store listing.

Posted inNews, Startups

Tunepics raises $2m and says it’s in talks with Spotify

Music messaging apps continue to have plenty of sceptics: Music Messenger disappeared from the app stores not long after its $30m funding round, while hard data on the popularity of startups like MSTY and Rithm remains thin on the ground.

Now British startup Tunepics says it has some momentum, claiming 5m users as it raised a $2m funding round from angel investors. The app enables people to add 30-second music clips to their photos before sharing them online – so it’s more an Instagram-with-music than the rivals’ listed above’s WhatsApp-with-music model.

Posted inMarketing, News

Apple teams up with Chris Milk’s Vrse for U2 VR video

Apple’s future ambitions in virtual reality have been the topic of some discussion in the tech world, but the company is already exploring VR with a music angle.

Having sponsored a 360-degree video for The Weeknd’s latest single, Apple Music is also ‘presenting’ a new VR video for U2’s ‘Song for Someone’.

The video was produced by Vrse, the company founded by interactive-video specialist Chris Milk. Watchable within its mobile app, it mixes footage of the band playing the song in an empty stadium with fans singing along around the world.

Posted inNews, Startups

Roli buys social music-creation service Blend

We’ve written before about Roli, the UK startup whose innovative Seaboard instruments are backed by investment from Universal Music Group.

Now Roli is putting that funding to acquisitive use, buying social music-collaboration startup Blend for an undisclosed amount.

The US firm’s service helps musicians share their work with others for collaboration and remixing, and launched in 2013 – with users including Moby and Erasure among other artists.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Electric Jukebox targets TVs with £179 music device

There are a growing number of ways to stream music through the television, from Google’s Chromecast dongle and YouTube’s app for smart TVs through to Apple TV, Spotify on Sony’s PlayStation consoles and beyond.

Now Omnifone founder Rob Lewis is joining the battle with Electric Jukebox, a startup whose device of the same name is pitched as a “plug-and-play” streaming service for mainstream music listeners.
It’s a stick that plugs in to an HDMI port on a television, then streams music over Wi-Fi, accessed using a dedicated controller with gesture and voice input. The likes of Robbie Williams and Sheryl Crow are on board as playlist curators.

Launching in the UK and US, Electric Jukebox will cost £179 / $229 including a year’s access to its entire catalogue of music, before reverting to a £60 / $60 annual subscription – although anyone declining to pay will still get the free radio stations element.

Posted inMarketing, News

Audio-sharing service Byta gets artist account beta

Startup Byta was designed for music-industry pros to privately send and receive digital audio, with a choice of Free, Freelancer and Team accounts offering different features.

Now it has a new tier: Artist. “We feel artists and everyone working alongside them – producers, engineers, managers, and A&Rs have been neglected. Stuck with free tools which weren’t designed for their needs, or forced to consider over-priced services with features they’d never use,” claimed the company in a blog post.