Launching a career in music as an independent artist means wearing many hats. From the logistics that come with booking your own tours, to building up an audience, or dealing with tons of administrative bullshit, it’s hard to imagine how successful musicians even existed before the internet.
Attending Amsterdam Dance Event’s tech conference last week opened my eyes to the number of startups out there devoted to helping artists succeed. I caught up with five companies that are each helping artists in different ways. Whether you’re a flute player looking to get more organized or a DJ in need of some R&R, there’s definitely a solution on this list for you.
1. Take control of your administrative shit so you can focus on making music — ABOSS
Founded in 2014 by Arvid Silos and Thomas van Beek, Artist Back Office System (ABOSS) develops software that makes it easier for artists, booking agencies, and artist managers to collaborate.
As cofounder Arvid explained to me over email: “Back-office bullshit should never interfere with the creative mind, and that’s where the idea for ABOSS came from. We help artists get rid of the insecurities that come with their admin and organizational hassle. Our products let them take control of their back office and allow them to fully focus on what they’re good at.”
Available through an online platform and a new app that was released in September, artists and their counterparts can view detailed info for upcoming live shows like time schedules, contact info, files, flights, hotels, transportation, deal info, and tickets sales. With 15,000 users and counting, it’s clear the Amsterdam-based startup is on to something relevant.
2. Distribute your music for free and potentially get signed by a record label — Amuse
Amuse was founded by six music industry experts (one of whom is will.i.am — a longstanding hero of TNW) in 2015. It’s a new-age record label that distributes artists’ music for free while giving them a chance to get discovered.
As cofounder Diego Farius put simply at ADE’s tech conference: “We provide a free app. Artists around the world can use the app to upload their songs. We deliver their songs to different music services like Spotify and Apple Music. We then look at all the underlying data to figure out which songs are gaining momentum, and then we offer signings and record deals. If the artist signs, we then market for them and polish their look and feel.”
With Amuse splitting profit 50/50 with artists — a deal much more competitive than traditional labels — it’s not hard to understand why the startup won ADE’s Companies to Watch competition. With plans to expand further across Europe and Latin America, if you’re looking to get discovered, it definitely one to check out.
3. Get paid for selecting the in-store music for brands — kollekt.fm
Amsterdam-born startup, Kollekt.fm is making waves with its music service for businesses called ‘Atmosphere.’ Founded in 2013, the service connects brands looking for a better music experience in their stores with DJs, music experts, and artists. These ‘curators’ then handpick new playlists for the brands each month and set the price they’re comfortable with.
As cofounder Rolf Droge explained via email: “Apart from getting paid, artists also get played and heard a lot more by people in stores and restaurants. They can also get more royalties for being played in a commercial place.”
4. Track when, where, and who is playing your music — Seeqnc
Founded in 2018 by Bernhard Famler and Albert Gruber, Austrian-based startup Seeqnc uses patented Audio Encoding Technology to allow labels, producers, and DJs to track their music and boost their reach.
As cofounder Bernhard explained at ADE’s tech conference: “Seeqnc not only enables you to produce and promote tracks based on the support from other DJs playing your music. You can also connect with these DJs and build new relationships. You can share the tracks you’re playing with your own audience via social media. And ultimately, Seeqnc helps you gather a comprehensive picture of your music footprint and royalty rights.”
By downloading the app, you’ll get push notifications everytime one of your tracks is played around the world. At the same time, the app listens to what you, the artist, are playing, and encodes Soundcookies into tracks so other artists and fans can be notified. With plans to expand the service across more genres like Reggae and Hip Hop, Seeqnc is one to keep an eye on.
5. Reverse the damage caused by shitty sleeping patterns and exposure to drugs and alcohol — Remedy State
It’s not surprising musicians are three times more likely than average to suffer from anxiety and depression. “Long nights, odd hours, and over-indulgence combined with relentless travel, social pressure, and sustained solitude take a toll on artists’ health that we can no longer afford to ignore,” explains Remedy State’s website.
Founded earlier this year by Ben Turner and Blaise James DeAngelo, Remedy State is a wellness retreat and digital platform tackling the dark side of the music industry. The startup held it’s first three-day retreat in Ibiza in May. The program included breathing workshops, talks from sleep and wellness experts, yoga, nature walks, and vegetarian catering in the hopes of improving the overall well-being of music industry attendees.
The duo are now working on the digital companion to the retreat. As Ben explained: “We’re looking to create something that can be with a person for more than two days or two hours.” So, if your music career is taking its toll on your health, the practices Remedy State preaches are definitely worth a look.
If you’re in the music industry, it’s clear there have never been more companies out there working to make your life easier. But, obviously it’s not just a matter of using the right tools. You still need talent and some luck, too.