Seven startups have been announced for the second year of Project Music, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center music tech accelerator backed by some of the music industry's biggest companies and names.
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"The dramatic increase in both applicants and their geographic reach signifies a significant milestone for Project Music," said Joe Galante, the Project Music co-founder who has become a mentor and investor since stepping down as chairman of Sony Music Nashville in 2013. He said Project Music saw a 55 percent increase in applications over the program's first year.
A quarter of all applicants came from outside the United States -- Ecuador, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Greece, Azerbajan, China and Australia were among the countries represented. And the finalists also show a reach beyond Music City, with only two of the seven finalists hailing from Nashville and two coming from outside the United States (Canada and Ukraine).
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A viable startup is expected to help solve a problem in the marketplace. The 144 applicants appeared overwhelmingly intent on solving problems of fans and artists. A smaller number of them focus on venues, managers, labels, songwriters and brands.
As well, this year's applicants were mostly in a more developed stage than last year's, with 70 percent already having a working prototype. About half of those startups already has users on their platforms.
The seven startups in the class of 2016 are almost an even split between B2B and B2C products.
- Moodsnap, an app that matches music to pictures.
- Upnext, a music discovery tool.
- RecordGram, an app allows producers to sell their beats inside the app.
- Nicechart, an online seller of sheet music for cover bands.
- Concert.Expert, an online calendar that facilitates show booking for both venues and artists.
- Notetracks, a tool for adding notions to sound recordings.
- MyFansDemand, a tool for selling merchandise to fans.
The unique incubator is the only of its kind of music startups and has attracted financial supporters from across the music industry, including the Country Music Association, YouTube, the Curb College of Music and Entertainment at Belmont University and Music Business Association.
Support given to each of the seven participating startups came from Sony/ATV Music, Red Light Management, Broken Bow Label Group, Vector Management and Recording Artist Chris Young, among others.
Project Music's eight startups last year ran the gamut. Among those, Dart Distribution has raised $1.5 million for a digital distribution platform with a metadata scheme built for classical music composers; Remix Hits has built an a platform that allows producers to remix licensed music while paying rights holders; and karaoQ, an app that organizes karaoke requests and can be tied into a venue's POS system, is already doing business.