Did you know there was an online music studio startup in Stockholm that has almost 10 000 users? And that they recently were invited by Google to contribute at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco in June?
Fortunately, I attended STING Day and bumped into a guy with a electric guitar (just another day at SSS). This guy happened to be Per Emanuelsson, Partner and CMO at Soundtrap.
Soundtrap is an online music studio that makes it easy to get into groovy jam session with your buddies anywhere in the world. You plug in your guitar, keyboard or mic and start recording, sharing and publishing.
Per, who would you say is the typical Soundtrap user?
Our main target customers are the amateur musicians who seek an easy way to record and who like to find new and old friends to creatively collaborate with when making music.
And the number of amateur musicians out there is huge! A US survey has shown that 30 % of the adults in the US are amateur musicians and approximately 150 million Facebook users actively describe themselves as musicians, singers and/or songwriters.
A US survey has shown that 30 % of the adults in the US are amateur musicians and approximately 150 million Facebook users actively describe themselves as musicians, singers and/or songwriters.
We should also say that, even if our target user is an amateur musician, we see a lot of professional musicians and producers using Soundtrap as a means of scrap-booking ideas.
What core problem are you solving for the musician?
There are two main problems we are solving. Firstly, removing the complexity and locality out of the recording experience and, secondly, linking people together to enable creative online music making.
Current recording tools are usually very complex. They are stuck in a conventional design in the way studios used to be like back in the old days. The levels and knobs of the mixer table are directly mirrored in the tools’ user interfaces. Hence, the knowledge entry barrier becomes quite high for an amateur. Moreover, these types of tools are most often installed on single desktops or other devices making it impossible or hard to continue working whenever a creative moment hits you.
We are giving the musician an easy and everywhere accessible recording studio directly in a browser, removing and automating unnecessary complexity. The service is delivered as “software as a service” and functions across platforms (which are growing in number for every device enabling HTML5 audio features). The sound quality is professional, even though the delivery is made compelling for non-pros.
Secondly, amateur musicians have often a hard time finding time to play and record with their friends. Moreover, the metal guitarist living in a small village in the middle of nowhere, excelling in playing tapping solos on the guitar, may not find any double-pedaled drummers in his vicinity. But there might be a whole bunch of them sitting and waiting, in LA. We connect people and give them the tools to collaborate in their joint creative process.
You launched the beta in the fall, how has reception been so far? What has been the biggest lesson learned?
The reception is better we could ever have hoped for. We are soon hitting the 10,000 user mark and counting. We are tracking metrics and also continuously communicating directly with our users to be able to verify our hypotheses quickly. Three out of four of our users express, when asked, that they would be “very disappointed” if they could no longer have access to Soundtrap.
The biggest lesson is the importance of realizing and accepting that your gut feelings are only hypotheses. You need to find a quick and transparent way to turn these hypotheses into facts and let the facts guide you.
The biggest lesson is the importance of realizing and accepting that your gut feelings are only hypotheses
Are you funded or looking for investors? Or are you bootstrapping the business?
We have funded the journey so far from our own and some friends’ pockets. We are talking to investors and seeking the one that fits us best. The best investor for us would be one who is skilled in the consumer productivity online market, has portfolio companies and who has a strong international network. And of course, one who simply love making music.
The best investor for us would be one who is skilled in the consumer productivity online market, has portfolio companies and who has a strong international network. And of course, one who simply love making music.
If you think we should have a talk, do not hesitate to give us a ring.
What is the next big milestone you’re aiming for?
We are very exited about being invited by Google to contribute at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, in June. This is going to be very important for us.
On the product front, we are now releasing a complete new analog synthesizer and we are also adding loops and a whole bunch of new sampled instruments, in a couple of weeks. Soon, we will also open up parts of the studio functions on selected mobile and tablet devices that are now supporting the audio features in HTML5.