(By Lora Kolodny | Published on May 16, 2017 for Tech Crunch)
If RecordGram has its way, top record producers will all turn to their app, a kind of mobile recording studio, to find the next Justin Bieber or Nicki Minaj. And aspiring artists will all find beats, create songs and get signed to their first label through RecordGram.
The company is an alumnus of the Nashville-based music accelerator Project Music, and was co-founded by Grammy-winning music producer Winston “DJ Blackout” Thomas; Erik Mendelson, a veteran of radio and digital music; and hip-hop’s Shawn Mims, who is best known for his song “This is Why I’m Hot.”
Aspiring musicians open RecordGram, land on a music page where they can search for beats by genre, tempo or mood. When they find one they like, they can upload it to a virtual, private recording studio with a notepad. There they can write lyrics as the beat loops. They push a button to start recording vocals into a multi-track system.
The RecordGram app merges up to six tracks to record a professional-sounding audio file. Musicians also can use the app to make a professional-looking music video to accompany their songs, and share those on platforms like Instagram or YouTube, or privately with producers.
Mendelson said the company plans to generate revenue by charging producers a $90 annual subscription, or $9.99 monthly fee, to upload to their platform 15 beats (songs without lyrics) per month. Producers can offer to lease the tracks, non-exclusively, for up to $4.99 to aspiring artists.
Producers like this app, the founders said, because they retain 100 percent of the copyrights on their own beats, while hearing how they sound paired with fresh voices and new talents who they may not have met offline.
Producers already participating in RecordGram include Streetrunner, who is known for his work with Eminem, and Supa Dupa, who is known for his work with Drake and Bruno Mars, and Lex Luger, a co-founder of 808 Mafia.
RecordGram pitched judges at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield in New York today. The company was a “wildcard” contender; when they woke up today they didn’t know they’d be appearing onstage in front of seasoned venture capitalists.
We asked the founders why, given their success in the creative side of the music industry, they wanted to get involved in running a tech startup. Mendelson said, “It’s par for the course. Music is always changing and we’re riding the wave. People forget that YouTube sounded horrible and was relatively new when Justin Bieber was discovered there.”
Thomas added, “You’ll notice more than a few musicians jumping into tech, Nas, Chamillionaire, Pharrell… There’s a lot of talent out there in search of help creating a sound and getting discovered. And there are producers trying to figure out how to make a living in a post-Spotify, post-Apple world of streaming music.”
The company thinks of its app as a platform that singers and rappers can use if karaoke and lip dub apps, like Musical.ly and Smule, don’t fulfill all their creative dreams.