UK-based management company ie:music, which represents the likes of Robbie Williams and Passenger, has set up an investment arm called ie:ventures – and one of its flagship investments is music making app Endlesss.FM, which officially launches today (March 31).
Founded by musician, technologist and entrepreneur Tim Exile, Endlesss closed a ‘major’ funding round last year and took investment from a number of high-profile executives including Mathew Daniel (VP International, NetEase Cloud Music), Dhiraj Mukherjee (co-founder, Shazam), Richard Jones (manager, Pixies) and others.
ie:ventures is run by ie:music Director Stephen O’Reilly who tells MBW that ie has “huge plans for ie:ventures and an investment arm is one of the cornerstones”.
He adds that by the end of this year ie:ventures will have over a dozen companies in its portfolio.
Endlesss is a live collaborative music-making app and social network that allows creators to make music together from around the world instantly by starting their own multi-player “jams”. They can also join public “jams” or participate in “jams” sponsored by artists and brands.
“Jams” are described as virtual musical hangouts with a live chat room. Players exchange ”Rifffs” and create an evolving piece of collaborative music together.
The results can be shared to social media as short videos, exported as stems to a digital audio workstation (DAW) for further production or kept in-app for the Endlesss community to discover and interact with.
Operating in Beta since April 2019, Endlesss says that it has already thousands of users – and that the average daily active user spends 45 minutes in the app, creating 25 new ‘rifffs’ per day.
Endlesss also tells MBW that a number of users have already created music within the app which is now scheduled for release on streaming services.
The app’s core platform is free and offers an additional collection of soundpacks and FX for a £4.49 monthly subscription. The trial period has been extended from seven days to two months in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Later in April, Endlesss will launch a Kickstarter campaign to develop the next generation of the platform including an expanded social network and professional features by offering early-bird discounts, exclusive avatars and a chance to help create the future of its features.
A professional subscription tier offering lossless audio, pro features and deep integration with pro equipment will be developed as part of the Kickstarter campaign.
“We feel humbled to have planned our launch date months before this crisis when musicians and creators are now crying out for tools that allow them to gather and create remotely in realtime.”
Tim Exile, Endlesss
Speaking to MBW, Tim Exile said: “We feel humbled to have planned our launch date months before this crisis when musicians and creators are now crying out for tools that allow them to gather and create remotely in realtime.
“Even before the crisis we were seeing a shift away from long-form content creation towards live creation, streaming and responsive storytelling.
“Once the economy returns to normality this trend will continue to grow as consumers prefer to participate in the unfolding story of their favourite creators over consuming irregular long-form content at arm’s length.
Added Exile: “Our priority for the next 12 months is to establish a strong cultural platform for creators by improving our creation and audience-building features.
“The quality of content that some of our users are creating is already exceptional. We’re doubling down on encouraging users to create exceptional content and methods of surfacing it to the right audiences.
“It’s this content that will inspire new users to become ‘Endlesss famous’ once we start to focus on more rapid growth in 2021.”
Below, ie:music Director Stephen O’Reilly tells MBW about i:e ventures, and why it wanted to work with Endlesss.FM…
Why has ie: music decided to launch an investment arm at this time?
For over a decade we have [already] taken a calculated bet on technology [startups]. We have worked with their founders and teams on behalf of our artists, and we have had success with many of these startups; some have gone on to become tech unicorns, some have been transformative in helping to cut out the [music industry] ‘middlemen’, enable transparency and some have faded away.
“We are building upon what we have done in the past and making a strategic but calculated bet on the future.”
[ie:music] has invested our time, team and money in technology and we also have what I believe to be the best artist services team in the business.
A huge part of our artist services is digital strategy, analysis of data and leveraging the best technology. We have long and deep partnerships with the best technology companies in the business and we are building upon what we have done in the past and making a strategic but calculated bet on the future.
Why is Endlesss.FM one of your first investments?
From the moment he walked in the door we knew we wanted to work with the founder of Endlesss.FM, Tim Shaw, aka Tim Exile. He is the epitome of who and what we want to work with – visionary founders! Tim is a musician who was signed to Warp Records and has always been at the forefront of music technology.
I first met him ten years ago at a SoundCloud product showcase and even back then he was pushing the boundaries of artist and fan engagement. He was playing a live DJ set and fans from around the world were submitting in real time beats and stems that he was remixing and playing live. He bootstrapped Endlesss.FM with his own money and came in with an MVP that worked brilliantly from the first time he sat down.
There was no “here’s a PDF, gimme some money”, he already had a working prototype that didn’t need a pitch deck. We were in from day one and have been supporting his vision ever since.
Endlesss.FM has some revolutionary technology and there is so much more to come.
Could you tell us more about the rest of the portfolio in music tech, music education and original IP creation?
By the end of this year we will have over a dozen companies in our portfolio in addition to Endlesss, so here’s a few to mention:
- ROSTR, a startup based in Santa Monica, California who are building technology to help create a more modern, connected & fair music industry. They have been backed by some of the most influential music industry players including artists, managers, agents, attorneys & entrepreneurs.
- Rippla, a platform for exclusive content to be screened at local venues around the globe. They are headquartered in London
- SO.CO is a platform that creates a global community and connects fans to the images and stories from concerts, festivals, and events from the world of music.
- Education: we are deeply passionate about online learning and have equity in a UK music university. Music management is also about education, training and continuous learning so I and can’t wait to be able to share more on that front.
We also have our own original IP that we are creating in house. Our own ‘ie:labs’, if you will.Music Business Worldwide