"The percentage of Top 40 music made with our platform comes to mind," says Steve Martocci, co-founder of Splice. He tells me about some chamber music producers who "worked at Olive Garden until they put sounds on Splice ." They quickly left their work as they were gaining enough artists to download these sounds for use in their songs. That led them to collaborate with the famous DJ Zedd, which resulted in the hit "Starving" of the Billboard # 12.
Splice has attracted $ 47 million to fund this all-new music economy. This could be a shock given that Martocci estimates that 95% of digital instruments and sample packs are hacked because they are often expensive without the option of purchase before purchase. Even Kanye West was caught stealing the trendy digital synthesizer from Serum.
But Splice allows artists to pay $ 7.99 per month to download up to 100 samples that they can use for free to create music. It's cheaper than listening to music on Spotify. Splice then compensates the artists according to the frequency of download of their sounds and has already paid more than 7 million dollars.
"We are trying to make more room at the table in the music industry" says Martocci, who has already founded the GroupMe messaging application that was sold to Skype between 50 and 80 million in 2011. "GroupMe has been our friends Music has always been my motivation, but the code is my canvas Artists come to me and embrace me because I change the creative process."
But now he's getting a lot of help, attracted by Splice's success in the stubborn musicians community and his $ 35 million December B-Series. Splice has just hired former Facebook product manager Matt Pake as vice president of products to lead core teams in New York, and former co-founder of Secret, Chrys Bader , to build a new team in Los Angeles. [Disclosure: I knew both from before they moved out of the SF social scene]
Splice now has 100 employees, mostly amateur musicians, but "I do not think I have an employee of the bay," says Martocci. He wants his offices where the artists live. "Everyone has a real passion for music, it does not feel like a tech company," says Bader. Martocci apparently reacted well, which is different because "I've had people pretty hard to work in the past …" notes Bader, probably evoking disagreements with his co-founder of Secret. "I have no tolerance for bullshit at this stage of my life and there is no bullshit in this team."
While the sound market has exploded recently, pushing Splice to 1.5 million users, the startup has a bigger vision for software to eat instruments. This means creating the same type of tools that help programmers to code applications, but for musicians to compose songs. Splice Studio integrates with composing software such as GarageBand, Logic and Ableton to provide synchronized version control with the cloud.
It may sound corny, but it's a lifesaver. Splice Studio automatically saves the song being developed by the artist after each change so that they can always reverse the changes and work safely with the collaborators without having to manually back up the data and worry about keeping all copies.
Since Splice employees make music themselves rather than parachuting into a foreign space, they intimately understand the frustrations they are trying to solve. Knowing that income can be unpredictable, Splice allows musicians to access plugins, software and instruments on a rental-to-own basis where they can pause payment and resume it later. This is the kind of convenience that, according to Bader, makes Splice "easier than hacking", echoing Spotify's director Sean Parker's plan to beat MP3 bootleg with a simple streaming service. "I wanted to build something that even Reddit could not complain about," laughs Martocci.
But where next comes Splice could address the biggest, most insidious barrier to creative production: writer block. Ask most modern musicians, and they will tell you about their giant folders of unfinished songs. Getting a melody that makes you turn your head to a few tracks arranged in your favorite composition software is the easy part. To polish these parts, to abandon those that are superfluous, to find the sounds of the rights and to connect them in something that can be listened to can be terribly difficult.
Creative Companion is Splice's solution. Currently under construction by the Bader LA team, it's a composition wizard that can suggest a next step and surface samples that fit well with the ones you already use. Martocci explains how Splice uses "cool machine learning" to recommend "Hey, you should add a bass line, you should add some mastering."
The question for Splice will be how many music producers are willing to pay. "There is an upper limit, it is not a consumer product," admits Bader. Citing internal research, he says that there are 30 million music producers in the world. Many do not even know about Splice, "but at $ 8 a month, it's not really breaking the bank.You could pay $ 200 for a plugin or $ 700 for Ableton.It's crazy The musicians can not afford it, but a musician friend tells me all the time, "I'm broke, I'm broke … but I live or die by Splice."
Splice financing by Union Square Ventures, True Ventures and DFJ could also attract competition. This could awaken the interest of large creative services companies like Adobe, or more established music production tool companies like Native Instruments which has just launched a live competitor called Sounds.com. But Splice launches into a long fight, offering Splice Studio to attract users and order exclusive sample packs from the best creators. In this sense, Splice is almost like a record company.
"I want to see a world with more transcendent musical heights" where "you have more music that is ready for the moment" Martocci opines. "If we build something that improves the quality of life of musicians, it makes our lives better because many of us are musicians, what else is there in life?" Explains Bader.
Computers have democratized the making of music, which has resulted in a wave of amateurs sharing their content with the world. But all good democratization requires layers of conservatives to sort out all the results, what social networks have become, and tools to allow the most talented artists to create what is worth everyone's attention.
Martocci concludes: "The software is an excellent instrument A third of the world is trying to make music at a given moment.They will not look for guitars and recorders anymore. "Whatever application they choose, Splice wants to keep them in the creative flow.