Project Music is strategically located in Nashville, Tennessee, a city that has already established its credibility as a music industry hub. After all, it is called Music City. The city has a deep history of innovation around music, having planted the seeds for the music ...
One day, multi-platinum recording artist MIMS had an idea. He had to share it with his manager, Erik Mendelson. “I’m a gadget freak, from early on. I want to be creative in this way, too,” says MIMS. “I come up with all these crazy ideas, and sometimes he perks up. I had an idea for an app that would allow consumers to create their own original song with their favorite producers. ”
The idea gradually evolved into RecordGram, an app that connects award-winning and up-and-coming producers with aspiring vocalists and artists. With one tap, users can lease beats for a very small fee, record audio and video, keep track of their lyrics, monitor their vocal performance, and share their creations in app with other RecordGram users and across all other social networks. Producers upload full instrumentals to the app for users to play with, and get a share of the income from this in-app use of their tracks.
“We wanted to create a way aspiring artists around the world can collaborate with producers, with a touch of the button,” explains Mendelson. “We wanted to make the collaboration and creative process simple, convenient, and affordable, while creating new revenue streams for producers.”
The idea continued to evolve as the team, which includes Grammy-winning DJ Blackout, participated in Project Music, the first technology business accelerator dedicated to the future of the fast-changing music industry. Along with six other music tech startups and a not-for-profit ensemble, the RecordGram team honed their business-building skills, developed influential contacts, and attracted impressive investments. Now in its second year, the Project Music Accelerator is a partnership between the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) and the Country Music Association (CMA).
RecordGram’s founders had a lot more than intriguing, crazy ideas going for them. A lifelong music obsessive, Mendelson had decades of experience in the music business, thanks to stints in radio promo for Elektra and Jive/Sony, where he helped break Chris Brown and T-Pain, as well as extensive success in management and marketing. One of his management coups: Helping MIMS score a major label deal. MIMS has several hits and successful albums under his belt, as well as a penchant for brainstorms that feed his passion for tech.
This didn’t make the road to developing and launching RecordGram an easy one. Because of the app’s model and new form of licensing, “Lots of doors were not opening. This was a new thing. We’re used to having the doors open in the music business,” muses MIMS. “As we dealt with the bumps in the road, I kept coming up with new ideas. We decided to forget about licensing content, and to create new content. We decided to empower aspiring songwriters, so they can create their own music.”
They can also share their creations on The Stage, RecordGram’s social community, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “RecordGram fills a void for creators, for people who are just starting out or are very passionate amateurs,” says Mendelson. “At the same time, we’re not just making a cool platform for amateur artists, we were creating a platform for producers.”
Producers have struggled to find new income sources to make up for falling sales in the digital music era. The RecordGram crew wanted to address that need by making a platform where producers could register and effectively lease their beats, lending them to creators for limited use--but giving them powerful inspiration to make and share music.
“We have brought it all together in a single app. We are a fully integrated mobile production store for beats. We’re an audio and video recording studio, and we also have a social network,” Mendelson notes. “We’re geared toward the amateur kids who just want to have fun with music. If you can’t afford a producer's fee or studio time, you can still make really cool tracks.”
Visit http://www.recordgram.com for more info and download the app here.
About the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC):
The EC, with offices at 41 Peabody Street in the Rutledge Hill area, was founded as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 economic development initiative of the Nashville business community with a vision to become the best place in America for entrepreneurship. Its mission is to connect entrepreneurs with critical resources to create, launch, and grow businesses. For more information, visit http://www.ec.co/.
About Project Music, An EC Initiative:
Project Music is the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s leading action to support innovation within the music industry, a core business vertical in Nashville's economy. To meet the unique needs of music-minded entrepreneurs building music-centric business, the EC is providing a year-round music entrepreneurship focus that brings music, tech and business leaders together to nurture startups desiring to grow music industry revenue. The program’s capstone is the annual four-month-long Accelerator. For more information, visit http://www.projectmusic.co/.
About the Country Music Association (CMA):
Founded in 1958, the CMA was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,300 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which celebrates its 50thAnniversary this year of recognizing outstanding achievement in the industry; the CMA Music Festival, which benefits music education and is taped for a three-hour TV special; and “CMA Country Christmas,” featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics. All of CMA’s television properties will air on the ABC Television network through 2021. For more information, visit http://www.cmaworld.com/