Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley (centre in the above photo, with midemlab 2012’s winners) has been midemlab’s selecting partner since its inception. In 2008, he predicted here on midemblog that music startups were the “new rock stars”. Here’s how right he was!
Music Ally is delighted to be involved in midemlab once again. It’s hard to believe that this will in fact be the sixth year that we have been involved with this event that aims to uncover the best digital start ups. So it’s also a good time to look back and take stock of some of the amazing companies who have passed through this event over the years.
Back in 2008 the very first ‘winner’ of midemlab (then known as the New Business Showcase) was the impressive piece of music creation tech from Spain – the Reactable – which had been pioneered by Björk. The Reactable has gone from strength to strength and moved into a market which didn’t even exist four years ago – the Apps market – with Reactable mobile.
2009 saw a very young – and very unknown – company from Germany come in as (very) late entrants to the competition and walk away with the winner’s prize. The presenter was a cool dude in a leather jacket wearing a T-shirt bearing the name of his company – SoundCloud. Their business model has certainly evolved since then; but all credit to the audience that day for recognising their potential. Now, they’re a powerful global music brand with an unbelievable ten million users. At the time they talked about taking on MySpace, which may have appeared a rather bold statement at the time – but I know where I would rather have my money today.
And that was the same year that featured an even more esoteric company from the US called The Echo Nest, who have since gone on to become another true global player powering developers, music services and music companies with their music intelligence platform. We should also namecheck the classical music store Passionato, who presented that year and who have managed to find a niche that they are still exploiting today.
2010 saw two of the biggest companies ever to come through midemlab’s doors in the guise of Songkick — the company that has built a hugely valuable business off the back of information largely supplied by music fans — and the US crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Songkick CEO Ian Hogarth was named the UK young music entrepreneur of the year by the British Council later that year and announced partnerships with Youtube and Vevo. It now offers over two million “gigographies” and is the start-up poster child for London’s Silicon Roundabout or Techcity, where the company grew up and is still based.
Meanwhile Kickstarter raised ten million dollars themselves in funding later that year and has since gone on to raise the same amount for just one company — Pebble with its e-Paper watch — as part of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars worth of funding for other companies via the site.
2011 featured the likes of the metrics provider Next Big Sound from the US, Facebook plugin provider Rootmusic (now renamed BandPage) who raised $18.3m later that year; Finnish fan engagement platform Mobile Backstage; and a completely unknown early stage start up set up by a guy from the other side of the world who, with Next Big Sound & Shuffler.fm, ended up as one of the winners. By the end of that year, Dave Mckinney’s Discovr had passed one million downloads and brought in over $1m in revenue.
And then last year we saw the likes of BandApp, the UK company offering free apps for bands and recent winner of the BPI Best Music Start-up Award 2012; MPme, the new curated internet radio service set up by some of the people behind Shazam; the wonderful webdoc — who I wouldn’t be surprised to see following in SoundCloud’s footsteps — and Ovelin’s WildChords, the fun guitar learning app which has already gone on to win an award from SXSW and get nominated by apps data experts Flurry as one of the top 20 apps of 2012.
So if you ever wanted a reason for why you might want to enter midemlab, just bear some of the above names in mind.
Has your startup made the next big thing in music?
Submit it for midemlab 2013 here!
Have friends who may want to submit too? Feel free to share this post!
Still not convinced? This midemlab 2012 video should do the trick 😉