Startups in the music industry are nowadays flourishing, trying to answer some of the questions that the same technology that allows their existence is posing. Data security, secondary ticketing, royalties, hit music: every topic has someone covering it in more or less successful ways.
The social media help ask these questions but also spread the word about these startups, while many of them get a kickstart from incubators. Marketplus is running a special regarding these startups.
Carl-Michael Herlöfsson, founder and CTO of Moodelizer, explains in this interview the new technology his company developed and how it can be applied to more products. Here is a tutorial to understand how the app works.
At the moment you have two products, a studio version directed to professionals besides the app?
«There is a free version of the studio with limited themes, but besides that it’s a subscription service. If you work with Final Cut or other products you export your edits and then get a customized soundtrack that you can insert into the timeline of your editing software. It’s a deceivingly simple interface that allows to do very powerful things.
It has been mostly used by professionals, film editors especially but also production companies or ad agencies. It’s fine also for posting to YouTube, every kind of moving image gets better with good music: you can do a video filmed in a bad way but if you add good sound it’s perceived in a whole different way.
We plan on having purchases within the app where you can buy theme packs, content. If you go to a wedding for example you can download four different wedding themes, or if you’re a skater and download a skate pack and so forth.
We also have an online version that will place itself in between the studio and the app. The phone is the playful social media messagging tool, the studio is the professional tool, and the online will be sort of in between. It will be aimed to YouTubers».
Do you plan on creating more soundtracks for your products?
«We have a constant production going on: for the studio platform we have a release schedule and for the app we’re changing, replacing and adding new tracks. Now we have a collaboration with artists so we’re gonna have songs available, where you can remix them yourself. You could go from the a cappella version, which is vocals, up to the folk music version, to the techno version. You can just remix them yourself. That’s the next step.
There’s always a compromise when you’re using catalogue music or catalogue sound effects, they’re all static and it’s the same thing with the songs, they start and they end, if you’re lucky you can adjust the beginning and end a bit, but that’s it, we open up a whole new possibilities to personalize stuff in a very simple way».
Do you think that being dinamic is the future for music, too?
«I think it’s definitely a future release format, you have vinyl, cassettes, cds and now you have dinamic music coming. For an artist to be able to release it this way adds a whole new dimension and another value. You don't have to actively control it with your fingers, you can use things in your phone, sensors and have that control the music, or geolocation and we already have that, using gps and a compass, it will affect the music depending on where you go».
What kind of feedback have you had?
«Positive all around really, we just came back from the US where we did a whole press tour. People are really loving it, the more you use it the more you realise what you actually can do. No one is used to controlling music this way, so I think we have a lot of education to do in terms of teaching people that now they can control music themselves. I see that content people are producing is constantly getting better because people are learning. I’m not sure that people might start using it in ways we didn’t even think about when we started.
This is a technology that can have an impact in the industry. I personally feel it should be integrated in cameras, the same as photo filters, I feel there should be music.
I have a very serious goal of democratising music with pictures, that comes from my background, what I’ve done, my love of music, I want to give it to as many people as possible».
Speaking of democratisation, do you think that in startups being men or women doesn’t change much?
«Coming from the music industry and working in a music studio I’ve been in a totally male dominant world, there are so many dudes around. If you see a woman in a studio usually she’s a singer, which is too bad. In Sweden we have a strong, quality history of equal rights and also the whole system’s very equal based, but it’s still hard.
We make a strong effort to have a balance because I think that provides a stronger base, in Sweden, on the business side, there are a lot of strong and skillful women who are forward in companies.
With music production and composing it’s a very male dominant industry, film too. All technical aspects, I have three daughters myself, my oldest is venturing into music production so I’m here to do my part. She’s very promising».
What is the biggest difficulty in being a startup?
«I think you need two things, the longevity of what you do and the patience. If you have a strong idea, there’s so much going on now, it’s a little bit the same with music as well: anyone can put out their music, but there are so many people putting out so much stuff that you won’t get heard. Even if you have good stuff you have to be really persistent.
We’ve been around for 5 years so you can kind of argue if we are a startup, but I guess we’re in that category until we have switched over to being a very successful company.
You also have to be careful, one thing you can get stuck in is developing. If you have a good idea you have to decide on a point where to stop and say ok, here it is. I’ve seen a lot of people having good ideas but they just developed them to death. I think it’s better to launch something maybe not having all the features, but working. One thing that could be really risky is to release something that is too buggy, that could really set you back a lot. There’s a trust you have a gain. Whatever you do you have to cherish the user, take care of them».
What is your background?
«I’m a music producer originally, I’ve been working with producing records since the early Eighties and about ten years ago I switched over to doing scoring for films. I used my extensive network of producers and composers and people around here. Five years ago we started developing the software, at the same time we were developing music as well, to work with this format, and trying to create now a production catalogue of this type of music, but a little bit higher quality than what you usually get, there’s a more little personal touch to that as well and that’s where I’ve drawn from my experience as a music producer.
What we’re trying to achieve is 300 tracks of music, evenly spaced out from a range of what you produce, what you have and need, action, romance, scare, there are only so many different things you’d need the music for, so if you have 300 really high quality, well produced tracks, especially with what you can do with Moodelizer sound technology, you’ll be set pretty much».
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