Leading digital music strategy and research company, Music Ally and MIDEM, organizers of the digital music-focused MidemNet, have announced the winners of the second Music Ally/MidemNet “New Business Showcase.”
The seven winners are: The EchoNest (US), Soundcloud (Germany), MPTrax (US), Playanywhere (Israel/US/UK), Instinctiv (US), Passionato (UK), Mustik (Netherlands). They will present their ideas at MidemNet’s 10th annual conference in Cannes from 17-18 January 2009.
About the Winners
Leading the winning pack is the inevitable iPhone application, and this one could be a hot potato. As Music Ally explains, “Ever thought random shuffling of music was too, well, random? Instinctiv has had that thought too, and has come up with Instinctiv Shuffle. It’s an iPhone / iPod Touch application that aims to provide a smarter shuffle feature, guessing the user’s mood by what songs they listen to and what ones they skip. The app has so far only been available on jailbroken iPhones, but has been causing a stir.”
MPTrax is focused on bringing Web 2.0 connectivity to the live music arena, connecting bands, rappers and DJs to venues, clubs and party planners – including people arranging house parties and other small events. Currently in beta, it offers a dedicated booking platform, complete with a feedback/rating system, invitation tools, sample contracts and social networking features. It could be a crucial tool for bands looking off the beaten track for their live revenues.
Mustik is an interactive musical instrument which allows non musicians to play music. The way you interact with the Mustik alters the way that the musical track plays back. It’s a kind of Guitar Hero on acid. Conceived from a University project on embodied interaction, this is one product you have to see to believe.
Launched earlier this year, Passionato is a website targeting classical music fans with higher quality downloads, selling DRM-free music as 320kbps MP3 files, or lossless FLAC files for proper audiophiles. The store also builds in reviews, user ratings and community features, as well as the obligatory Facebook and MySpace widgets.
Catch Media’s Play Anywhere scheme is certainly ambitious, aiming to offer a grand solution to interoperability. It’s about allowing users to playback music that they own, or which they’re legally entitled to access, across all possible devices. The company has already obtained new Play Anywhere licences from two major labels, and is ultimately hoping to entice all players within the digital value chain, including retailers, mobile operators and ISPs.
It’s been described as “a Google Docs for audio” and a “Flickr for music,” so Soundcloud has solid Web 2.0 credentials. It’s an online audio platform designed to let people move music quickly and easily, whether they’re artists, labels, producers or other professionals. It’s attracted more than 2,000 labels and 50,000 users so far without splashing the cash. It’s been winning praise for its flexibility and featureset from early users this year.
The Echo Nest
Founded at the prestigious MIT Media Lab, The Echo Nest claims to be “the software equivalent of a hardware store for music developers.” In other words, it offers open APIs covering artist information, music search, recommendation, remix applications, mash-ups and analytic tools. The idea is that clever developers tap into these APIs to build innovative new music services. Early proof of concepts have showed how powerful these tools can be.