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Techstars Music 2020 kicks off: ‘We will look at everything!’

“We want to invest in a game where the playing of the game includes all the roles of the music business, and the output of the game is real music and real pop stars. I’ve been trying to make this investment for three years. I feel it’s inevitable…”

If that startup exists, Bob Moczydlowsky, MD of the Techstars Music accelerator, is determined to find it. In fact, he’s looked at around a dozen startups during that last three years who were close but not quite the “full musical Hunger Games” venture that he can see clearly in his head.

“All of the parts are out there, and all of the consumer viewing/entertainment habits too. We have television shows that do this, it’s been predicted in pop culture a lot… Maybe there’s some structural reason why it wouldn’t work, but I feel it’s time for that to exist!”

Perhaps it’ll be fourth year lucky for Moczydlowsky and Techstars Music. Today, the accelerator is announcing its plans for its fourth cohort of startups in 2020, with plans for a ‘recruiting tour’ that will visit New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Brisbane, Sydney, Nashville, Atlanta, London, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Stockholm in the next few months, scouting for startups.

By December, 10 startups will have been chosen to join the 2020 Techstars Music programme, which kicks off in early February, taking $120k of investment each in the process.

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Japanese music firm Avex joins Techstars Music accelerator’s partners

Music/tech accelerator Techstars Music is set to return for a third year, armed with a new partner in Japanese music company Avex, and a deeper partnership with major label Sony Music.

An announcement by Techstars Music chief Bob Moczydlowsky revealed the news, as he kicked off the hunt for 10 more startups to join the accelerator’s next cohort in 2019.

“Avex Inc. manages superstar artists, produces major festivals, operates music and video streaming services and owns and distributes music globally through its family of affiliated labels. It’s one of the most influential music companies on the planet, an innovative force in Japan, and an emerging investor in global startups,” wrote Moczydlowsky.

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The search for the next music/tech giants (#SlushMusic)

2017 has been a fascinating year for digital music, from the growth in paid streaming to a wave of new accelerators and initiatives to help talented music startups get up and running.

A pair of sessions at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning provided some insights into the music/tech world. Raine Group partner Fred Davis offered advice on ‘how to spot a giant’, while Techstars Music MD Bob Moczydlowsky provided an update on how that accelerator is approaching things.

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Techstars Music seeking second cohort of music startups

The Techstars Music accelerator is on the hunt for its second cohort of music/tech startups, with applications closing on 15 October.

The final decision on who makes it onto the program is set to be made by mid-December. The first cohort of startups earlier this year have gone on to raise more than $15m of funding, according to program boss Bob Moczydlowsky.

The next program will start in Los Angeles on 5 February 2018, with Techstars casting its net wide. “We’ve already been to Mexico, Japan, Australia, Canada, Boston, Denver, looking for the world’s best technical and business talent… with 10 countries and dozens of cities still to go,” wrote Moczydlowsky.

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Amper Music: ‘In the year 2117, AI-generated music will be old hat’

“We came together with a belief that the future of music would be created by the collaboration between humans and AI. We knew that AI, when someone got it right, would lead to an evolution towards a new era of creativity…”

Drew Silverstein, CEO of Amper Music, is explaining to Music Ally the backstory of his company, one of two AI-focused startups on this year’s inaugural Techstars Music accelerator program – the other being Popgun.

Amper’s most direct competitor is UK startup Jukedeck though. Both have developed artificial-intelligence (AI) systems that generate music on-demand for clients in the video and games industries.

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Playing next door to Alice: Popgun reveals its music AI

Music composed by artificial intelligence (AI) rather than humans is a controversial topic in 2017, for two reasons.

First: disbelief in some quarters that an AI will ever be able to create music as well as a human can. And second: fear that if it can, that’s the next tech trend sucking income away from working musicians.

Australian startup Popgun is hoping that its deep-learning based technology can prove the first view wrong, while playing a more positive role for human musicians than the second.

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Robin wants to be music fans’ personal concert concierge

“Amazing live experiences have the power to change people’s lives, but getting tickets to those experiences has become increasingly painful and confusing.”

Adam McIsaac, like many music fans, found himself getting frustrated at trying to get tickets to see his favourite artists. Unlike most music fans, he co-founded a technology startup to tackle those frustrations: Robin.

“There are issues with the primary market, and scalpers and bots. And whenever an artist announces a tour nowadays, it feels there’s a variety of pre-sale codes and credit-cards required,” he says.

“We wanted to imagine what it would look like if you didn’t even have to think about the ticket. So we built Robin: an engine that completely removes the friction from the ticket-getting experience.”