March 2017: Music Tech Watchlist
Last month I launched my "music tech watchlist," featuring: Qrates, Gigwell, Mind Music Labs, The Ticket Fairy and Tunespeak. This month, I'm bringing you five new picks for music tech companies you need to know.
My March list includes a company changing what it means to play the drums, a company making it easy for musicians to interact with their fans on Facebook, a company using AI to create songs in 5 seconds, a company bringing the live music experience to VR and a company that recently got acquired because of their powerful market research technology.
Sunhouse has created a product called Sensory Percussion that has completely changed the acoustic drum. Sensory Percussion isn't about replacing the traditional drum set, it's about taking drums to the next level. Their combo hardware and software system understands where and how you hit the drum, and then enables different parts of the drum to trigger different sounds. You can control up to 10 sound regions on an individual drum and blend between sound regions.
In 2015, the Sunhouse team raised over $94k through a successful Kickstarter campaign and now have their products available through their website. Drummers like Madame Gandhi and Nicolas Ley of the Flaming Lips are big fans of Sensory Percussion. Check it out in action below:
Everyone is talking about bots! The Bot Platform, although not entirely focused on music, has launched some incredible campaigns for Facebook Messenger with some very well known artists. Their campaign with DJ Hardwell (you can chat with that bot here) gained 60k users in their first 2 week after launch and now has 600k users. Other artists they're working with include Olly Murs and Bastille.
The value in this technology is really all about the one to one connection. Fans feel more engaged, which makes it a lot easier to monetize an audience. These bots also provide 100% reach, since you are able to send messages directly to fans without having to pay to boost posts. The Bot Platform is a Facebook recommended provider. My prediction: Facebook is going to make a move to acquire this platform (or another like it) in the next year!
I met the Amper team at SXSW this year and was quickly convinced of the power of their technology. Amper is an AI music composer, performer and producer. I saw the product in action and was listening to an original composition within five seconds.
Amper is off to a great start for 2017. They raised $4M this month and were accepted into the Techstars Music 2017 class. You can listen to some of their AI created tracks here and learn more about what they are up to in the below video.
NextVR has traditionally been associated with streaming live sporting events in VR, but have recently made a play in the music space. In September of last year, Citi, Live Nation and NextVR announced that they would be producing up to 10 live VR concerts as part of Citi's "Backstage with Citi" initiative. They are also partnering directly with Live Nation to stream hundreds of concerts over the next few years.
NextVR raised $80M last year and as VR continues to grow in the music industry, I suspect we'll see a lot more from this space soon.
Audiokite is all about market research. Their platform lets you survey thousands of active music consumers to get feedback on new songs and determine commercial viability. To date, nearly 900k surveys have been answered and 1.7 M minutes of songs played.
Since meeting Alex Mitchell (CEO of Audiokite) in 2015, I had predicted that they'd be bought within a year (I got it in writing this time for The Bot Platform, see above!). Not at all surprising, Audiokite was acquired by ReverbNation in November of 2016. With the ReverbNation team, Audiokite is now powering Crowd Review.
This month's picks were all about cutting edge technology. Bots, VR, AI, smart instruments, data - these are all hot topics in the music tech space and trends we'll continue to see when it comes to music tech innovation.
If you like what you read, check back next month for a whole new list of music tech companies to watch.