E-MERGE, a Belgian venture capital firm, made waves a couple of years ago investing in a couple of early-stage companies that took off significantly after receiving initial funding (Ogone, BlueBackup, DVDPost, etc.). I almost forgot about their existence, until a short news snippet on Express.be taught me that the company took an undisclosed minority stake in Akamusic, formerly known as Yakamusic.
In essence, Akamusic is an online music community network where artists can hook up with producers to show off their production skills in hopes of getting the often much needed investment to get the ball rolling in the direction of fame and fortune.
Akamusic, unfortunately, doesn’t bring a lot of new stuff to the table and I have no idea why the service is only available in French so far. The basic premise sounds familiar in a space that is quickly getting crowded with startups: artists can register and upload demos, videos and pictures in order to show off their wares. Registered producers in turn can invest small amounts of cash in artists in which they spot potential.
If and when the artist in question raises a certain amount (50 000 € for an album, 15 000 € for a single), Akamusic handles the professional production of the music, and takes 20 % on sales profits going forward. The artist and the investor-producer both get 40 % of the profits of all sales (including through third-party platforms e.g. iTunes). There’s also a bit of a community behind Akamusic, with a social networking platform carrying contextual advertising units.
There’s quite some competitors in this space doing similar things at the very least: companies like SellABand, Amie Street, Snocap (Imeem), Calabash Music, Strayform, Music Arsenal and Indaba Music spring to mind.