Star Series: Tuned Global and Revohloo
Updated: Aug 2
In this week’s episode, meet two of the star sponsors of this year’s 5th Annual Music Tectonics Conference! Tristra Newyear Yeager sits down with Con Raso of Tune Global and founders, Tracy and Robbie DeBarroses of Revohloo the the latest shifts at the convergence of music and tech that are shaping the music industry.
Learn more about Tuned Global, the leading b2b music streaming service providing turnkey streaming solutions to help brands and companies quickly add music, audio or video streaming content to their digital services. Discover how Tuned Global is harnessing the power of AI to create engaging user experiences. Learn more about Revohloo, the music video streaming service & social network allowing artists and content creators to remix and create their own official versions of their favorite artists' music video.
Listen to highlights from the latest online event from Music Tectonics: Music Tech Lessons Learned + Narwhal Kickoff. Tune in as Jessica Powell, Xann Schwinn, Jacquelle Horton share their takeaways as winners of Music Tectonics Swimming With Narwhals, the startup pitch competition.
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Read the full transcript of this week's episode:
Tristra: Hey everybody, welcome to Music Tectonics. I'm your irregular host for this episode, Tristranir Yeager, Chief Strategy Officer at Rock Paper Scissors, the PR firm that specializes in music innovation and music technology. This week I got to talk to some very interesting people who will be leading conversations at the Music Tectonics conference this October, as well as some of our past winners from our annual Swimming with Narwhals startup competition. First I talked to Khan Raso of Tune Global, who told me all about how AI can be used to power experiences, not just crank out content. He also talked about how apps are going local, much like hit songs, as localization shifts the music business. Then you'll hear some choice moments from our recent seismic event to kick off swimming with narwhals here, meaningful advice from some of our past winners on the challenges facing founders and how to make the most of events like Music Tectonics.
Last, but most definitely not least, I got a chance to chat with Tracy and Robbie DeBarros, the dynamic duo leading Revolu, a new music meets video app. These bold innovators and artist champions shared their thoughts on creators, new monetization approaches and community and music. And when it comes to narwhals, just a quick reminder competition applications are open right now, so dive on in future, narwhals, We'd love to swim with you. Hey everyone, Tristra, Nier-Jegger, here from Rock Paper Scissors with Khan Raso of Tune Global. How are you doing, Khan?
Con: Hey Tristra, great thanks and well over the side of the world.
Tristra: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're on the nice, chilly side of the world at the moment and we are on the hot, steamy side, so a little bit of envy on my part, I have to admit. So I wanted to bring you. I know you have been thinking a lot, like a lot of people in the music business, about AI, which is obviously speaking of. Hot and steamy is a hot topic and there's a lot of talk and concern about AI, especially when it comes to AI-generated content. What it means is it art, is it music, is it human? All those things.
But in some ways, the excitement around generative AI has masked some of the more important roles that AI might play in the music as an industry, and I know that you and some of your colleagues at Tune Global have been thinking a lot about AI-driven features and experiences and how those might change how we enjoy music. So I wanted to hear how you're thinking about AI less as a generative, less in its generative role, and more in its other potential roles. That could really do some great things for musical experiences. Yeah, thanks.
Con: Tristra, it's a really interesting topic and, like you said, it's a little polarizing at the moment because the generative thing sort of swamps a little bit of everything else. But I think from our side it's all around how you can provide a better end user experience, and what we found even in these early stages, with us experimenting with AI, is that things that we expected to take six or 12 months we're starting to produce MVPs of those in four weeks, and so what it's doing is really compressing our ability to innovate and real examples there are. Some are really interesting and simple, and maybe I'll unpack a couple of things just from our experience and comment on where I think some of these things are potentially going to go. I mean from our experience. Obviously, everyone's talking about chat GVT, so our first experience was to go to chat GVT and start to actually look at asking chat GVT some things about music, some things about me and what it could actually create as interesting playlists or assistance to curation or things like that, and the results were pretty good.
But on its own, chat GVT couldn't do a whole lot right Because it doesn't really know what rights. Where are you in the world, all these other aspects? So we've been on our side thinking, okay, let's get something that we can actually start to beta test in the market, and how can you actually now start to allow initially curators and then users to start to use the functionality of things like chat GVT as a bit of an experimental phase? And we're doing that right now. We're rolling out betas right now about people able to use chat GVT in our content management systems to actually create specific type of playlists.
Tristra: Can you walk me through exactly how that works? So, if I'm a curator or if I'm working behind the scenes, what is it? How does that actually work? What's the workflow like?
Con: Yeah, you can actually start. You can go into an existing playlist on our CMS or you can go into a. You create a new playlist and you'll get a little AI assistant and you can just type in like you would normally type into a chat, gvt prompt and you can actually follow a chat and say, for argument's sake we've been using. I'm a male 23 year old male. It's a sunny afternoon and I want a playlist for driving my car fast and A pretty common use case, yeah, and produce.
Yeah, exactly, exactly.
And then we altered that and said, okay, I'm a female, 32 years old, doing a high aerobic workout, right and so.
Different industries and different ideas, and each time it produces a pretty reasonable set of results right For that and so, and what we do.
The magic of that on our end is we mix that data with our own data to actually understand what you have rights to based on the catalog.
You have licensed publishing rights, everything else that might be part of that that people don't often consider, and so you're actually able to, literally, in the case of what may have taken you from our experience, especially in the fitness industry somewhere between 10 and 15 hours to curate, you can actually get something that now you've produced in maybe five minutes through some prompts, right. So it's amazing, right? And the beauty of this from my perspective is, if we flip it now to the person who's the owner of the service, we give them so much opportunity to experiment with different types of playlists that can actually be targeting different groups, and they don't have to invest the 15 hours. They can invest the five, 10 minutes and actually iterate on that, and I think that's where the value is to, when you really start to flip it and say rather than all AIs taken over the world in some ways, how do I actually use this really powerfully for myself in that regard?
Tristra: Yeah, I also wanna make sure we talk for a minute about something I know that Tune Global's been up to as well with your acquisition of Pacemaker, and I'm wondering how these people refer to them as AIDJ tools, and nowadays DJs can run the gamut from people who make their own music to people who are selecting music for an audience or something like that. So can you tell me a bit about what those tools do and how you see them evolving, cause I can imagine that the same swift progress is happening in that realm as well.
Con: Yeah, absolutely, and I appreciate you asking that, and I don't wanna make it all about Tune Global, but that's a really interesting piece about Pacemaker, and so their technology has a lot of depth to it, and we're working through various things that aren't necessarily the agenda of this podcast, which include radio and a whole lot of other items, but at its simplest level, it actually uses AI to do real-time analysis of audio, as it's mixing between audio tracks and actually does voice matching, beat matching, key matching and actually creates a really custom way that these two tracks transition into each other, which is truly amazing. When you see it and you hear it and you go, wow, that's just fantastic. So now, when you match those two items together that I was talking about earlier, about automatically creating a playlist and now just allowing AI to create this mix over the top of it, what are the impacts here for people who are creating playlists, for people maybe who are in the BGM space and wanna create a really seamless background music experience for their audience? There's so many executions on that, and what we're doing with Pacemaker is we're not limiting it just to the people who traditionally would use our infrastructure and platform. We're actually creating it into small libraries that can be used in other applications, and so really any service around the world will be able to implement Pacemaker technology within their own applications and create a better user experience. So for us it really aligned, because the alignment for us always is how much does someone actually use the services of our clients, and I think the real test of that is just how often they listen to songs or podcasts or audiobooks or whatever we else we might be offering, and so Pacemaker definitely on that side.
The other bit, which is AI based as well and I'll only touch on it's probably a topic for another time, is still going on engagement, and I think AI really is around engagement. Right, how do you actually improve engagement for people, whether that is suggesting better audio tracks, whether it is other aspects of that. We actually are rolling out some other Pacemaker technology, which is the ability to actually broadcast for any user, to broadcast live radio, and when you think about that as a social tool, you almost start to think of it as a UGC aspect of radio. And how do people now actually put their own personalities across the top of this? And there's a whole lot of other technology and AI technology used in that, but again really exciting. Those guys did a tremendous job in the development and we're working with that team to further that.
Tristra: That's fantastic. Thanks for explaining all of that, conn. I want to switch gears a little bit, though it's sort of a related topic. I mean, engagement may be the leitmotif that runs through all of this, but there's been a bit of talk lately, thanks to, in part, to, a report from Will Page, about localization, which is a word that I personally don't like. It sounds like something that's very unpleasant, that happens to you, to medically, or maybe when you get a cold, you localize. However, it is a helpful term, so for those of you that aren't familiar with it, it basically means that all around the world, different markets are finding more and more interested engagement with local content, for lack of a better word. So if you look at the charts around the world, in countries like Germany, who were once pretty much in sync with the US, britain, you're starting to see a divergence, and there's always been some markets that have always done their own things, such as Japan and, to some extent, in India, but we're really seeing a lot more pockets of local culture catching on with local listeners, which is pretty exciting.
So I'm curious, though, how we think about this, not only in terms of tracks or of content, but also in services and experiences. So what does localization mean for experiences? I mean, I thought of this question Con, because Tune Global has been doing some really interesting work in very small markets, markets that are probably not well-served by some of the bigger international streaming services, for example, just because there are, there are artists will be buried in the massive catalog that comes from everywhere else. So you work with a company called M-Jams in some Pacific Islands and you just announced a deal with Tussass in Greenland that is very much focused on local music and on contributing to highlighting, you know, nourishing a very vibrant local scene that's been very scattered in the digital realm. So all that to ask you, how do you see localization affecting music services and products and what is the experience side of this equation?
Con: Yeah, no, I think certainly from, I'm gonna say, our client's point of view, which is the Company that's providing the service, often within a local market or a focus on local market. They're often about two things. I think they're definitely about reaching their customers more relevantly, and that could be content and user experience, and we'll talk about both those items. But they're also, I believe, really engaged in how they further their own culture. So how do they give opportunities to Artists, how do they allow it? And we talk about content, but it's really the user experience about how that content surfaces. So when we look at the large streaming providers, I would say that in a lot of cases they do have content of. These are smaller markets, maybe not the real niche content, but they have broad content. But it's so swamped by the Western experience that it becomes difficult to find this content and really focus on this content and champion these artists. And I think you know that's certainly a theme that we're seeing around the world.
Pacific Islands for argument sake you mentioned him, James and they Absolutely a passionate about how they allow local artists a bigger opportunity to actually monetize and to expose their works to local people. Now, in terms of product, what does it mean it's? It's a really interesting question because for argument's sake, we have also recently launched service in Egypt with a major telco there at Etisalat and In the in Egypt and working with the Arabic language. There's a lot of nuances that happen within the Arabic language, not only in how people search but what they search, so we had to ensure that our System was wide enough. So really unusual ways that people might search for artists and remember these Areas are not metadata rich areas. I can't just go get a metadata provider and say I'll plug you in.
Tristra: In this way you have to provide a much more diverse range of services for these guys in this particular case and I'm sure there are other cases is it that people are using cultural references that are very familiar locally but don't, you know, wouldn't be familiar much outside of Egypt or the Middle East, north Africa? So like say, oh, the guy, the, the singer from the film with the bird, and everyone's like, oh, yeah, I know what that is like and that, and if you search for it it should pull up this one guy in this one track. But that doesn't necessarily happen if you are a programmer from Denmark, right, I didn't try to try to figure this out.
Con: That's certainly part of it. It's also, I guess, the colloquialisms and Slang, if you like, that those artists are named. That may take you to a different area. You say in Thailand, which is technically such a difficult language because there is no Spaces between words, they're inferred. So how do you actually know when someone's searching? So these are really complex problems, but you know it's our role to say how does someone actually get to? But they're the technical issues with it. I think from the actual product side it is a focus on how you know.
One of our questions that we ask people all the time is what's the center of your world? And I think that's really relevant in a cultural sense and a Localization sense, because it varies from location to location. We all know that. I think we all know that in India people don't search for artists, they search for actors, right and actresses, and so what happens in that circumstance when people are actually culturally, culturally different in terms of what they're providing in those services? We also provide really interesting in some unusual locations, whether it's the US or in Africa, services that are faith-based services in those markets, which is really really interesting because in some cases they want to keep these things really separate between popular music and faith, and in other places they don't. They really want to mix those together.
So the nuance of what you're doing Makes it really important that you can Think flexibly, and I think that's the first one. I think you can always act flexibly, but you have to make sure that you're able to Sort of take an open view and say, okay, I didn't really understand that. How do we actually now put that in place for that particular market? Grow in that market on, on. And I will touch on the content side for just a sec.
I think you know we recently did ourselves an announcement of the ability to mint royalties on web3 with revelator, and why we were so excited about that is it actually gave our Clients an opportunity now to have a platform in place in local markets where there was a totally Different way for artists to monetize. They could monetize traditionally but or a user-centric model, whether it's pool based or user-centric based, but they could also now start to think do I need to fragment my rights? Because I've actually got some sort of real need Financially right now, not in the future, and so that that's really been interesting as well in doing that and, I would say very Experimental, in the first rollout of a few markets and we're looking forward to the next six months in that.
Tristra: Speaking of which, I think you're touching on that thing that we were all excited about last year web3, and I know that Tuned Global was really trying to get ahead of the curve a bit and and provide some pretty interesting services for what you know, for that whole blob of stuff we call web3. However, this year is feeling a little chillier and there's some snow on the ground, but where do you see some little sprouts coming up? Where are there still some promising sides of this technology that you think could really bear some fruit for music?
Con: It's like a glass of water, isn't it? We filled the glass with AI and web3's just Splashed out on the table all over the place.
Con: Exactly will it make its way back in. You know, I definitely think that I Don't think it's bad what's happening with web3? We're seeing an opportunity where people look at it more realistically. I guess some of the early profit takers are not in that market any longer and we can look at the, I guess, the core ability of the technology. I would agree with you, tristra, in terms of just commentary overall on the industry. I think people are much cooler this year on web3. Having said that, we're in a really unique position, often Tuned Global, that we get so many people coming to us weekly with their ideas and understanding how they might be able to use our technology to execute those ideas. And it is really a privileged position because we're able to see some of this Awesome technology, whether it's web3, whether it's AI, whether it's medtech, and go, wow, that's just amazing. You know, I can tell you, I can absolutely tell you that with our team, I say is there any other time that's better to live them right now? I just think it's Absolutely exciting.
But going back to web3, I definitely think that Web3, from our perspective, we still believe, we're strong believers in where that Industry is going to go. We think you know, the economic tides at the moment sort of are working towards businesses that can prove more profitability just because of the economic conditions, but that will switch around and people will start to look at where the opportunities exist as well. I think web3 still offers a lot from our own perspective. Definitely the items that we're doing with a revelator, which is not a traditional NFT as I mentioned earlier. It actually is a minting of royalties, but then those products come in through a normal supply chain, which is a really different way to do it, and that we've worked together with revelator on.
But on our metaverse strategy, we've been talking to many companies, which are both companies that have streaming services and they just want to experiment. What happens in an area like Roblox? Can we actually run, maybe live events, can we do some games there and do some things that are interesting, that add to the web2 experience. But also brands, and I would say there's still a really interesting and tangible thirst for brands to experiment in this space and where we think that's out at the moment and Is we've got it available now it can be reskinned really economically and add music and a whole lot of other media features to those worlds. There's games on there. You can actually throw yourselves at different boards and see how you score, and go up to spaceships and do all this fancy.
Yeah fun stuff, but it's still where we were at, I think, when we talked almost 12 months ago that you need to experiment, and if you can experiment, you're gonna find the nuggets on how you can engage with this audience and then grow this audience. We know the demographics of something wrote like Roblox is quickly changing from a very youthful audience to starting to actually become a slightly older audience, so much more attractive to marketers, and so I think you know you want to be aware of that and say so. What am I doing in this space that I know whether my users love this or hate this?
Tristra: That's great. I love that you've built sort of a laboratory, a weight label laboratory for people to play around with these things. Well, I can't wait to talk more with you and your colleagues from tune global and everyone else at music tectonics. Thanks for taking the time to get us warmed up and excited for what's to come.
Con: Thanks, you're so great to share.
Tristra Now let's drop into our seismic activity event for startups. You'll hear a few words of advice and some thoughts on the swimming with narwhals pitch competition from experienced founders. The first guest is Jessica Powell, founder of audio shake. Then you'll hear Zan Schwinn of Bia, followed by Jekyll Horton of Fave. This is just a taste of my conversations with these past narwhal winners. Find a video of the whole event on Music Tectonics YouTube channel for more insights and more details on the swimming with narwhals competition. That's great. So let's talk for a second about your story, or Audio Shake story. What's some general advice that you don't often hear for startup founders who are maybe at an early stage? Maybe you're, maybe you have some seed funding or you're even pre seed. What are the kind of things that you wish you had known at that stage of your journey?
Jessica: I think that Probably the biggest, one of the most time-consuming things that I'm smarter about now that I wasn't when we started Was like I think like anything right with again, whether you're talking about marketing or communication or sales or raising money, like you have to know your audience right. And because I had done marketing before, like if you'd thrown a marketing type challenge in front of me, I would have immediately known that like intuitive, I wouldn't even have thought about that. I know how to segment right my audience, but when I went to fundraise I didn't think about that at all and instead I went and I was just like, well, I'm in the valley and I was at a big tech company before and so I know these VCs and therefore I should go to these VCs. It was a huge waste of time, right, and that, like a lot of the really big VCs in the valley, hate music, like hate, hate, hate music. Because they feel like they were burned by it in the past and it doesn't matter if they like you, they're just like I'm just throwing money into the wind, so I'm not going to invest in this.
The number of VCs that were just like if you had done anything but music. But like we can't get behind this. And so at first I was that was kind of just and it's discouraging. Fundraising is terrible, even when it's going well. It's terrible because it at least just feels like a distraction.
And so if I was what I did, like that first time, what I should have done and what I would tell any founder is like sit down and actually figure out where there's the fit, like figure out who's going to fund you and who's open to that story and who's funded those kinds of companies before ask other startup founders, and you're going to at a minimum, you're just going to have better conversations. Even if someone doesn't like decides not to fund you, you might get really useful feedback. You'll like you'll feel more momentum, I think, and or they'll point out really useful things that you haven't thought about, like flaws in your story or potential product questions that you hadn't thought about. Like it's just, it's a much more productive conversation, regardless of where it goes on the funding side. So I think that was probably in addition to just dumb admin stuff that I didn't know how to do when we first started, like probably the most time consuming and like things that I learned by doing.
Tristra:That's really really great advice. Let's go back to the music tectonics context and talk a little bit about the audience there. As you won the Narwhal competition, I'm curious what the experience was like during the competition and then what kind of business do you feel like that the whole competition process helped you do at music tectonics?
Jessica: So I would say we were going to go to tectonics anyway. I'd heard really good things about the conference. I also am a sucker for the beach, so I feel like I'd already heard good things. But I was also like and is at the beach and I'm in San Francisco and it's cold and foggy all the time, so it just seemed like the perfect place to go and I already knew some startups that were going, so it all just kind of seemed like a natural place to be.
It was a super easy process and very friendly and when we got there again, very, very straightforward, you just got up, you did your thing. I actually thought it was great compared to some other ones. I've done like we did South by Southwest, and they have this buzzer and you would just see like team after team, literally three words from their ending. You know just get like just like kind of brutally cut off. And I understand it when you have like huge, like time constraints and tons of teams pitching. But I just felt like it was a much friendlier, like low key kind of thing, which is not to say that you can go over, but like no one's going to cut you off. And there was like when you have a sentence left. I also thought it was really useful, like being up on stage right.
When we started, we were all coming from tech, not from the music industry. We didn't know many people in music at all, and so being able to get in front of a bunch of music people is really valuable, right. Being able to describe, like, your product and everything, and then people come up to you afterwards. And I think that you know I stayed in touch with some of the startups that were part of my cohort and they all felt very similar, like it was actually really positive for them to be able to get up and pitch and then have people come afterwards. So, all in all, it was a really great experience and I really loved also that it was a mix of startups and, you know, like DSPs and other kinds of companies.
Tristra: I would love to now bring on Zan Schwin of Bia. Zan is a full stack strategist, which sounds I love that. I don't know that sounds amazing. A seasoned entrepreneur and is currently co-founder and CEO of Bia, the world's first platform making singing for health accessible to the masses, which, as a singer, is super close to my heart and I love it. I love singing for health. It is indeed like great exercise and great for your heart and soul. So excited to talk to you some more, zan. So let's, I'd love to go through basically a similar set of questions with you, zan, and hear a bit more specifically about your experience as a founder. A platform like this may, while it makes total sense to a vocalist or a music maker, it may be a little bit more complicated to explain to people outside of that world. How did you go about doing?
Zan: I would say it's kind of the opposite, like I think that people who are like layman like, who just like sing casually, get it right away, and it's only people within the music industry that are like, but why would anybody want to sing? And so, actually, this competition itself.
Tristra: Oh man, I'm mad on behalf of all like singing people here. That's crazy, that's so interesting. Okay, sorry, go on.
Zan: No, not at all. So I mean, it's kind of the reason why I wanted to do this competition in the first place. We were a preceded business. We'd raised a bunch of money at that stage, but we were kind of in a transformational period and I really wanted to have some practice speaking to music industry.
I think this industry is so globally connected and really powerful and profound, but I hadn't yet figured out the way to tell the story that made sense to people within this industry. Like it made a lot of sense to me and it made a lot of sense to people that we were speaking to that were potential users. But as far as, like big brand partners or potential other music industry connections, I hadn't yet figured out the sort of profound problem element that people would understand. Like I was too deep in it. I was talking that the stories are different within those contexts and I think that this competition gave me an opportunity to try to like re-weave that story. Now we've gotten to the place.
Eventually you want a story that can kind of work for everyone, and for me it took years. Every time we pivoted the business a little bit or adjusted a product or launched a new product, we would kind of adjust a little bit and so after you've gotten several years of practice, inherently a story will be easier to tell. But I really felt like this competition itself was a really pivotal moment for me because in the several rounds I was able to sort of refine and refine amongst the Nar Walls thing, like it really felt like everybody was open and gave really great suggestions and there was always really great conversation happening within the chat and when I did it it was in the metaverse and so that also like creates a little bit of an inherently interesting environment to do something like this in.
Tristra: So that's a specific place. I remember that year was a little different and how did you? Did you get any interesting feedback or inspiration based on that unusual context? Was that helpful did you feel in landing on what is now your story?
Zan: Yeah, super helpful. I mean I felt like the feedback they get. I mean I would, if I was gonna give advice to any founder in any industry, like pitch as much as you humanly possibly can, the more that you tell your story to potential users, to people, to your family, to your friends, to your grandmother, to your aunts and uncles, to people who don't understand technology, who still have flip phones, who don't own email addresses Like the more that you can practice your story so that it makes sense for everybody people who are also very, very technical educators having them understand. Eventually. It's an iterative process. It's like developing a product. If you can just kind of tweak and tweak and tweak until you've got that story, that can really be profound for everyone. Oftentimes it just takes time to get there and I feel like this competition enabled me to get that practice that I needed, speaking directly to my industry.
Tristra: What were some of the basic elements you started out with and where did you end up after all of this practice were finding your pitch.
Zan: The profound problem is that, like society generally, people on a day-to-day basis feel like they can or can't sing, and if they can't sing, they shouldn't sing. But singing is an intrinsic part of the human experience, it's part of our toolkit, it's how we engage. We sing, our caregivers sing to us, kids sing to other kids, like it's how we told stories for hundreds of thousands of years and so, at the end of the day, it's a communication tool. I think lots of us here would have experienced profound kumbaya moments, moments where you're singing a really moving hymn in church, having so much fun with your friends at karaoke, sports games, chanting with 100,000 other people in a stadium, and yet there's this whole generation of people that feels like and actually I think the problem kind of transcends age and experience. It's this idea of like I must sound like this to engage, and actually everyone can sing, everyone has the power for this, and so we wanted to create something that enabled people to find confidence in their own unique voices, whatever that voice sounds like, and there was, I think, that getting to that point in the story.
It's hard for me. The reason why I had that really long pause is just because there were so many little tweaks that happened kind of along the way to get us to that point and the examples I think are really important for me because singing is such a and music making generally is such a deeply emotional thing for people. It's very vulnerable. A lot of people feel very embarrassed and so anytime that I talk about our product or myself, you know a singing product people instantly I mean 80% of people that I talk to on a weekly basis will be like okay, but don't make me sing as if, like on a Zoom business meeting. I'm gonna be like, oh well, yeah, I run a singing product Like could you just sing to me a little bit.
Tristra: So advice for when you're talking to investors, don't make them sing. Yeah, for sure I love it, so this is so helpful. Zan, we have a few more minutes and I wanna make sure we talk specifically about music tectonics. Again, your year was a year unlike any other, but I'm curious how winning Narwhals or the experience of participating in the competition you so touched on that, but like how was the overall conference impacted where Bia ended up?
Zan: Well, I think connecting to the industry, especially since Narwhals is one of these, your one degree of separation from literally everyone in the industry, that being that niche, can have ripple effects that go on for years and years and years. I mean I just think the community aspect in and of itself, you know, allowing yourself to be able to socialize with other startup founders within the music industry just as an experience itself is great, I think being able to pitch in an environment that's friendly rather than you know, really, really intense, but still has that structure where you can grow and you can learn, as important, and then, obviously, winning like press is always helpful for all things.
Tristra: So we like to think so, but it's great to hear that for you too. All right, we got in one last minute. Is there any general piece of advice that you would love to share with other founders or people who were when you first jumped into the Swimming With Narwhals pool? Any little bit of wisdom, small tip ideas that you wanna share?
Zan: Yeah, I think you know, as it was kind of mentioned in the first conversation, you know pitching to Angels and BCs for funding as a music tech company can inherently have its own blocks blockers.
You know there are red flags around licensing in all of these different areas, and I think that there are giants that have come before us as startup founders. You know startup is no longer new, and so I encourage you to reach out to other people within the industry asking them about how they overcome some of those questions that happen not just in funding conversations but in partnership conversations, because I know that it can be a little bit trickier to be a music tech founder. It's hard enough being a founder in and of itself, but within this space, I would lean on your community. I would use this as an opportunity to connect with other founders, go for coffee, talk about the challenges that you've had and learn from each other, because for me, that's been the most helpful part of my journey as a startup founder within this space, and I think that this community is a really great place to build that for yourself and an opportunity for you to find those connections.
Tristra: Fantastic. Thanks so much. Next we're gonna talk to Jacquelle Horton. She is the founder of Fave, as I just said, and Fave is a platform dedicated to empowering superfans with partnerships and investments across the biggest entertainment companies and artists in the world. I was wondering if you share some of your experiences as pitching. I mean, as I mentioned when I introduced you, this was one of the first sort of public reveals of the platform. How did that feel? What kind? How did the feedback help you or not? What was that like?
Jacquelle: Yeah, I mean it was a pivotal moment, this pitch competition, because it was, as we said, the first time where I talked about choir. At that time it was called and I mean I didn't even want to at first. It was like wait, I don't know if I should do this, like it's not ready yet, you know and got the encouragement to do it came on, I guess, a virtual stage that we've all related to poured my heart out and the feedback from the chat was things that I still remember today seeing something pop up and how people were interpreting what I was saying and putting it in not my like storytelling mode, which I was doing for the pitch, but hearing how they interpreted as business opportunities deals they wanted to strike. All of this was super helpful and to hone in on who was saying that and why they were saying it. And I really took the comments as like strategy to understand how people would interpret the concept.
The people who I met in doing that, obviously following up with those people, some of those people are in the chat now. Right, kelly is here, even Dmitri, even the judges, right, like, still talk to them almost daily. Right, they're still deep in the strategy of fame met through this competition, and I think it was. It was just one of those times where you have as a founder this belief that the world should be a certain way. You are confused why the world isn't that way and you want to translate that right, and so you again kind of pour your heart out into this. But to see people's reaction and interpretation of it was super rewarding and I would say that was the coolest thing to come of it, outside of all of the connections made right.
Tristra: I love that you dived in just a second before you thought you were ready. I would have had to get the edge of the pool you know is gonna be cold.
Jacquelle: Yeah, I mean, at that point I was I'm a sole founder, but I was the only person working on Fave, I think. A few weeks later I said okay, I think this is going somewhere. Maybe I need to have somebody. It was a vision. It was a vision, right, that was materializing, where I was trying to find some and developer to like, build it out. But if I didn't get that encouragement it would have probably still been in my back pocket as some idea to do one day. But because it came here and it made it real for me, yeah, it set everything off without question.
Tristra: Amazing. So any advice for folks, especially people who may be at that I may be just a touch too early phase how to approach starting jumping into a pitch competition like this. What would you have told yourself back then?
Jacquelle: Yeah, I mean, what you get intimidated by at that stage is thinking that nothing is ready. I'm sure every founder, five years in, no one thinks they're ready. Right, it's always. Let me just wait for this next deal, let me just wait for the. So you will never feel ready. And especially at the point where, let's say, some founders may not even have an incorporation right, or they haven't talked to anybody else about it, or et cetera, et cetera.
The best thing you can do is use this as a feedback, can use the research or a panel and get the way that you're telling the story as this kind of muscle that you build right. Again, get the feedback and hear what people are hearing. When you think you know it, again, this is obvious to you, but if it's not obvious to others, you get that practice and just start right and just see how you feel when you say it. It is a muscle that you have to build. So I very much agree. Just try to do it as much as possible. But there's no right moment or gut feeling or anything. This is the time. You have to just be opportunistic with these kinds of things and you will, even if you feel the pitch itself didn't go well or you don't win the competition or whatever, the experience and the people that you meet along the way are well worth every second of it, so don't hesitate. If you are, this is very worth it.
Tristra: So, and to close things out, let's let's just see if you could again give one piece of advice to everyone here, especially knowing how complicated some of the the the bigger picture dynamics that are shaping what startups can and can't do right now, or what they're with their, the headwinds they may be facing. What, what's? What's something you want to besides just like, stick with it and learn from adversity? Are there other more more sort of practical, tactical things you wish you could share with everybody?
Jacquelle: Yeah, I mean a ton...
Tristra: It's a whole book right there.
Jacquelle: Yeah, this, this industry is very unique that we're in, as has been pointed out, and one clear thing that I learned is that you know you will especially in a pitch competition like you will be able to share your perspective of your vision. For sure, but in order to actually go beyond people just like loving you and liking your story and understanding it, to make it real and to make actual deals into like secure partnerships, and to turn this into a business and not just a vision, you have to share that same story through the language that they speak and through the way that it makes sense for them. So, kind of think about ways of, of course, how to take your business and make how you say it makes sense. But, just like we talked about the audience segmentation, know your, know who you're talking to and know the way that they would think your business makes sense and say that that's how you take it from like a vision Congratulations this to actually making something real. So always hone in on who you're talking to, just like you would for any product, and really nail that in, because otherwise you will just get a bunch of fluff and people high fiving you.
But the industry is not willing to change unless it's forced or it's something that they cannot say no to. And if you speak money, if you speak streaming and you find a way to have your business, even if totally off, like my business is fandom, right, like it doesn't equal the kind of thing that people are thinking that they can do with fandom today, right, I'm trying to change the way they do it. You have to make it make sense in the terms that they're dealing with in their meetings with their stakeholders every single day, or else it will just be a bunch of fun meetings. So that's the practical advice I would give.
Eleanor: Is your startup a narwhal. Applications are now open for music tectonics swimming with narwhals startup pitch competition. Apply at musictectonics.com by August 8th 2023. That's also where you'll find eligibility requirements, a timeline and some helpful FAQs. Forget unicorns and shark tanks. Apply to swimming with narwhals and join music tectonics community of music innovators. You could be one of four finalists in the spotlight at music tectonics fifth annual conference, october 24th through 26th in Santa Monica, california. It's the place to be for music innovation startups. Whether or not you reach the finals, we'll have a startup carousel, demo day on the Santa Monica pier Panels and networking with everyone you need to meet, from investors to labels, and a very special startup bootcamp at the Universal Music Group offices. Come swim with Narwhals, apply at musictectonics.com, get your conference badge and meet us in California.
Tristra: Hey everybody, this is Tristra New Year Yeager of Rock Paper Scissors, and I am here today talking to Tracy and Robbie DeBarros. Tracy is the CEO and Robbie is the COO of a brand new video app called Revohloo. So thanks so much for talking to me today, Tracy and Robbie.
Robbie: Thank you, Tristra
Tracy: Thank you.
Awesome. So first of all, since you guys are new to the scene, I would love if you could tell everyone in one minute, if you can, what is Revohloo?
Robbie: Sure, I'll take that one. It's the revolution of music video entertainment. Well, that's a lot soundbite-y, but it's really revolutionary, and that's what we got our name from Revohloo it's a derivative of that. So we've created a way to create a whole new music video product, a whole new way to enjoy music video, engage with music video, a whole new way for artists and rights holders to monetize the music video and fans to engage with it. So, basically, music video is broken down into four sections and there's four versions of each section. So that's four to the fourth power and you can remix, create and share 256 versions of one video.
Tristra: In a nutshell, that sounds extremely fun. So let's talk a little bit about engagement, because it sounds like Revohloo is really built for people to do cool stuff and engage with content in a new and creative way, which is very much on trend. That's very much what people are wanting to do with music nowadays. A lot of fans don't want to just listen passively. They want to get involved and remix and play around with things. So if people aren't experts in video editing or in making music, they need some guidelines, right Like they want to get started. They want to do something that's fun, that's just creative enough. So it feels like they've done something and they've heard or seen things in a new light.
But it can't be so open-ended that they don't know how to start. I mean, that's always been a big problem with music, and music creation is the sort of cold start problem. You don't know how to get going. It's very complicated. So, as you were thinking about Revolu and thinking in general, like this would be really cool, how did you solve that problem and find that golden mean between guiding users and letting them cut loose and do fun, creative stuff?
Robbie: We like to talk about viewers and viewer experiences and things like that. But yes, I think from our app, from a viewer experience, is very easy to use, is very friendly. It's remix, create. That's the easy part, I think, from creating a Revohloo experience. We've worked hard to make that process. We're constantly refining it. We're adding some AI technology to Revohloo as well. That's really going to lower the barrier to creating a Revohloo, Because right now, when you create a Revohloo okay.
So when an artist creates a music video, okay, so let's start a major artist they're doing five hours to eight hours of footage and this has been totally my professional music video directors and so forth. So even at five hours, you're looking at 300 minutes. The average music videos three minutes. These days, some of the less, the hip hop videos are two minutes of change. So you're only going to use 1% of that content. So this 99% of your content goes unused. That's a lot of content that goes to waste.
So when those artists can repurpose that content and create multiple versions of their video, but that's a labor intensive process, I mean it's not so bad. It's more labor intensive than the new version that we're willing to offer people now. The original version is great because it adds much more. You can do so much more with it, right, but we've lowered the barrier to where a kid who doesn't you know a girl who's playing the guitar and she's singing and she wants to make a music video, but she doesn't have, maybe you know, $500 or $1,000 to make a music video. We've made it so that for $29, she can create a music video with Revohloo that's totally engaging and not a music video. She can create a Revohloo music video that has 256 versions to it and still put that on YouTube and then also monetize that on Revohloo and get some of that money back. So that's interesting. So we've really lowered that barrier. To really speak into what you were talking about as far as ease of use Cool.
Tristra: So, but viewers from their experience, it's pretty much seamless and they can just play around with the parts and it doesn't feel it's pretty easy to figure out.
Robbie: Oh yeah, I said there are two buttons on the UI, one says remix and one says create.
Tristra: Awesome. I think the two button solution is something that a lot of creative apps could employ. That's pretty amazing. So you know, when we spoke earlier, Tracy, you talked to me a little bit about your, the way you were seeing things going in the music industry, and that you saw some real potential in ads in new places. And you know, for instance, Spotify had their stream on event earlier this year and well, they sort of emphasized their video or repivot to video. I think they pivoted to video like three or four times, but there was a lot of room in there and was kind of unspoken for advertising. So clearly this is on a lot of people's minds. How do you see ads and the music business? How could they work together beneficially to sort of help people on all sides instead of, for example, becoming a nuisance or a detriment to user experience?
Robbie: Right. So I think that, first of all, when you talk about advertisers right, that's how you're going to we're an ad supported service, right? So we really want to create a value proposition to them. That is something that they haven't seen before, right, and something that creates a lot of value. And we've checked the boxes. We've done it With a revenue music video. One brand can have four unique ads that create 256 versions of a music video, and every person who creates that one of those versions is going to see the ad every time.
So we've kind of taken the approach where we can do the, you know, doing, doing direct deals, but not just doing direct deals, doing direct deals and offering not just one ad, but because you're going to remix that video, just like you have four different versions of the first verse of the song or the first intro, whatever. You can have four different versions of that Pepsi ad or that Burger King ad or that T-Mobile ad. Plug, plug, plug. You guys can send this stuff to me, but, yes, you can give them more. And also, the things that they want to talk about is viewability. And you know, say in engagement, you know CRTs, you know, but when it comes to, you know being able to offer. You know, you know people skip videos, people skip ads, people skip ads. Our ads are unskippable and they're also short ads.
I think that that's part of the solution, right, you don't need to do a 30 second ad. You know you can, but I mean it doesn't take that long to trigger a response. Is what I'm saying, right? So I believe, short ads to answer your question, what's wrong about short ads? Giving multiple options and, you know, 100% deliverability to their target market. And also, let's say, if we're blessed to do, I'm not going to name an artist, but what name brand artists? Right, top tier. We already know what that audience, that demographic looks like. We have deep numbers on it. Everybody with this information is available out there. So when we can go directly to that particular artist group of advertisers who would love to put their product or service rather in front of that music video, you know that's something that you can't, you know, kind of dial into.
Tristra: Yeah, music is a great proxy for personas, right? It's very easy to figure out who exactly you're targeting Exactly.
Robbie: So I mean, if you know the fan base of this particular artist, then we can work backwards and reverse engineer that and understand exactly hey, this is a, you know, girls from you know 12 to 16, or 14 to 18, well, you know, a demographic is wide, whatever it is, and in the tweens, your tweens have a trillion dollar a year. You know spending a budget. You know what I'm saying. They spend an entire year of jobs. You know what I'm saying. So I mean, it's incredible. That's a highly coveted market. So when you can offer advertisers the ability to put their guarantee them that people are going to see their ads, it's a good thing. You know what I'm saying.
Tristra: Yeah. So, Robbie, when we, when we spoke earlier, you mentioned community as a big focus for Revohloo. How are you guys imagining community unfolding in in apps like this? Like, how are online communities changing in the music world?
Robbie: Well, let me put it like this I think it's going to be easy, right? We talk about all of our technologies and things of that nature, which are incredibly exciting, right, absolutely. But for me, I have to say I'm more excited about the community that we're intending to build, and we know how to do it.
It's easy. We're building our community to have the environment and the vibe, something that we would want. We base everything on what we would want, right? How would I feel, how would we feel if we went to a platform and they did this or they offered this or they had that right, and it's all, like Tracy mentioned earlier, like it's all about the value that it creates, right? So if something doesn't create value on both sides right, both sides for us as a business, but also for the people who are coming to our platform, whether they're a creator or maybe there's someone who is just a lover of what someone else has created, right, it needs to create value and if it doesn't, if we can't say with certainty that it does, we're not going in that direction. You know, and you touched on something earlier, trista, where you mentioned, like you know, in terms of you said, where children don't understand something, or people don't understand, or creators don't understand how to make a video. That's one of the things that I am so excited about and I can't wait for.
This is going to be a community where, when you come to Revolu, you're coming with intentionality. Right, we do have a social layer to Revolu. Right, we offer a lot of the typical kind of features that most social media platforms offer, because people love those. Right, we want to give them that too. But it's really not the place where you're going to come to to post the pictures of your lunch or you're arguing with your other half and you're venting here.
You're going to come because either you heard about a new premier Revolu or you're coming to check out what's hot in music, or maybe you saw you saw a promo of a podcast that we're going to be doing, where we're talking about monetization and we're educating these young artists on what that even means. Right, that's like one of the words that's all over the place. People talk about monetization all the time, but what does that truly mean to an artist and how do you do it, and how do you do it in the way that's going to create the most value for you? Those are the things that, again, that I'm super excited about and I know I'm not alone in that Amazing.
Tristra: Tracy and Robbie, you mentioned rights holders and bootstrapping, and those two things don't always go together completely harmoniously, though of course that's changing a bit. I'm wondering if you have any advice for other music tech companies out there who are getting started about how to approach licensing and how to think about it, because you guys took it really seriously and really tried to do it right. So tell us a bit about that experience and what you would tell other entrepreneurs coming up.
Robbie: Well, I would say, first thing, if you don't know coming into the space, obviously you have to do your research, consult a lawyer. If you go to the library, the information is out there Chat, gtp. You know what I'm saying, but watch out.
Tristra: Don't hallucinate your way to licensing agreement.
Robbie: But no, there's resources out there. There's good information. If you're ambitious and smart enough to do that, I would just say get the information. Find out where your service is, how your service is defined, what kind of service you are, and there are rules and just follow the rules and be proactive when it comes to just protecting people's rights.
Tristra: Yeah, how did you find the outside expertise you needed?
Robbie: Well, me myself. I came up with this idea to create these interactive music videos, and I didn't have a background in entertainment. I was an early adopter of the internet, but I didn't have the skill sets to build a streaming service. I didn't really know what it all entailed, but I did have the ambition enough to go out and say you know what, whatever it is, I can learn. I basically taught myself. I had to go out there and actually read and discover what we were actually building. What kind of a digital service provider were we? What are we doing? It was just a trial and error discovery. I believe I can do anything. So that's me.
Tristra: I love it. It's very inspirational. This business isn't simple, so it's amazing that you dove in and we're like I'm not going to be deterred, I'm going to go and make this thing.
Robbie: Right, but you know what, though Tristra? Anybody in the music business that's listening to this, they will tell you that even the most seasoned music professional can get lost in the weeds when it comes to licensing.
1:00:50 - Speaker 7
Tracy: Oh, absolutely.
It's very sticky. Robbie knows and Robbie's a good study and we're studying and understanding, but really there are different use cases in this and that and the third it gets really can get. Really you get lost. Like I said, seasoned professionals that have 20 years in the industry it can be a challenge. Nobody knows everything. I think that one of the things that you touched on you talked about it we're how to refine the resources, hiring the best people and having the best people around you.
Tristra: Surround yourself with a good team. That's great advice. All right, thank you so much for talking to me today about Revohloo and all the exciting things going on in the music industry right now, and I mean just the amazing story of jumping in and building something. I love it.
1:01:42 - Speaker 9
Robbie: Thank you.
Eleanor: Hey, do you have your ticket for the music tectonics conference yet? Now is the perfect time to grab one before early bird tickets fly away for good. If you go to musictectonics.com right now, you can get a conference ticket for just $249. On August 15th, the price goes up to 350. That ticket gets you in to three days of connecting with the music innovators you need to meet to grow your business and your network. On October 24th, 25th and 26th 2023, we're planning a seismic keynote with Mangru Kwok, bandlab CEO. A music tech carnival with innovative demos, high energy panels, with music techs movers and shakers and lots of opportunities for networking and getting business done. It all goes down by the beach and unexpected venues in Santa Monica, california. Don't miss those early bird tickets to the music tech event of the year. Get yours at musictectonics.com. While you're there, check out our growing speaker roster to see who you'll meet at music tectonics. See you there.
Dmitri: Thanks for listening to music tectonics. If you like what you hear, please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. We have new episodes for you every week. Did you know? We do free monthly online events that you, our lovely podcast listeners, can join? Find out more at musictectonics.com and, while you're there, look for the latest about our annual conference and sign up for our newsletter to get updates. Everything we do explores the seismic shifts that shake up music and technology, the way the earth's tectonic plates cause quakes and make mountains. Connect with music tectonics on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. That's my favorite platform. Connect with me, Dmitri Vietze, if you can spell it, We'll be back again next week, if not sooner.
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The Music Tectonics podcast goes beneath the surface of the music industry to explore how technology is changing the way business gets done. Weekly episodes include interviews with music tech movers & shakers, deep dives into seismic shifts, and more.