Music TechPitch 4.5 – “Buzzing with potential applications beyond music”
Disruption and innovation in the UK music-tech scene is alive and well.
Eight selected start-ups pitched at Music TechPitch 4.5 on 6 July 2016 at Runway East in London. Judge and event chair Ashley Elsdon, founder of PalmSounds, who has been a stalwart of Music TechPitch 4.5 since its inception five years ago, remarked, “I don’t think [this event has] ever seen this level of innovative hardware and software development and such an impressive and diverse range of business models.”
In the judges’ vote, the winners of Music TechPitch 4.5 were:
In the audience vote, the winners were:
“We’re the only people doing this”
Ingenious Audio, a specialist UK audio company that has developed the first wireless, WiFi-enabled guitar tool, won the judges’ vote. The product, called “Jack”, can be plugged into any guitar, amp or pedal and enable professional-grade streaming and connectivity between other devices.
“We’re the only people doing this,” said co-founder and CEO John Crawford. “We’re providing an unrivalled wireless solution that not only talks to other wireless devices, but to a range of standard editing and recording programmes.”
“An ideas studio in your pocket”
Trackd came in second with the judges and first with the audience, fresh off success at SXSW and Midem. Billed as “an ideas studio in your pocket”, the app enables users to record and share music sketches, as well as collaborate, mix, and layer tracks.
“We want to become the world’s biggest content generator,” said founder Russell Sheffield. “Collaborating on an idea is now as easy as sending a text. Our app has had 60,000 downloads to date sine August 2015.”
Air Craft, which designs next generation musical instruments that utilise motion sensors in mobile devices, came third in the judges’ vote. Founder Hari Karam Singh spent half of his three-minute pitch giving a musical demonstration of its usability and versatility.
“Complex hardware is abstract and confusing, and musical self-expression is hard to learn,” said Singh. “We’re targeting the ‘prosumer’- basically anyone who is making music.”
“An alternative promo tool for DIY artists”
JuiceVCR, a fully immersive online music discovery platform that works with independent labels only, was the runner-up in the audience vote.
“We use a combination of human curation and algorithm rotation,” said founder Jessica Straker, who is currently bootstrapping the project. “We’re an alternative promo tool for DIY artists.”
The other start-ups who pitched included:
Blitzr API – a platform specialising in processing, enrichment and harmonization of music metadata
Concert Flow – a platform that matches concert listings to video footage of the artist playing live
Decave – a service where musicians from different genres get matched up, and after a day in the studio, play and jam together, in front of a crowd
“Licensing is easier to avoid altogether”
“That none of these music-tech start-ups have music licensing as part of their business plan tells us a lot about where things are going,” he said. “Licensing has a reputation for being historically difficult and expensive, which it isn’t, but it’s definitely easier to avoid all together.”
“Think strategically before relying on a third-party platform”
The judges warned against dependence on content from other sites. Concert Flow, for example, enables users to browse and play videos of bands, then seamlessly book tickets.
“You need to think strategically if you’re going to rely fully on a third-party platform,” said Harry Botterill, Head of Technology Acquisition and Open Innovation at Hasbro.
“Air Craft was up there in global scalability,” said Botterill. “And Ingenious Audio was buzzing with potential applications beyond music. My mind is always on how do you take a technology and apply it elsewhere.”
Judge Xaver Matt, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Netleadz, advised the start-ups to be sure their messaging was concise. “From an investor’s perspective, I didn’t quite get what some of things did in one sentence. The best pitch is always the most simple.”