Monday, December 5th: NYC MusicTechnology Meetup – Demos
Kicked the week off with a music tech demo night, little did I know that music was going to be the theme of the week. I have to start off thanking iHeartRadio for providing Uncle Bones BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. Uncle Bones’ cooks in his backyard and serves out of the patio at The Gibson in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a great, low-key spot in the craziness of Bedford Ave.
iHeartRadio, which is owned by ClearChannel, presented their addition to the online radio space. The site allows you to stream over 800 live radio stations from around the country. You can also create custom stations, a la Pandora. The speaker was pretty adamant that the current state of the site has had too much corporate influence and is the midst of a complete re-design.
Staying with the big business demos, Spin Magazine was there demo their iPad app. I really like checking out how various offline media presents their content on the iPad. When I had an iPad I loved the NY Times app, it still felt like a newspaper but took advantage of what the iPad could provide. I also downloaded a couple iPad-only magazines. These were really where I saw a lot of creativity, tying text, photos, and videos all seamlessly together. This is what Spin is trying to do. They are taking the magazine content, and adding additional articles, videos, and of course audio, to paint an experience that just cannot be made in a print magazine. Each edition comes with something like 60 or 80 songs as well, which are all connected to the content. You can listen to songs like a radio or playlist, then follow songs you like back to its surrounding content. When I get an iPad again, I’ll spring $8 for the yearly subscription.
From the start-up side, there was Austin-based iJukebox, which puts a stores’s jukebox on its customer’s phones. Fun idea, I feel like I have seen a bunch of similar things. I guess it will be about execution here. Their selection of songs, how easy it is to curate the jukebox, and, most importantly, the user experience.
Similar to the Music Video Genome, Cull.tv is a solution for the online music video channel. This one isn’t automatic, each of the stations is curated. I be checking this one out on my own and will report back.
Other presenters included eMusic, EarCandyGo, and The Orchard.
Tuesday, December 6th: NY Venture Community Holiday Happy Hour
This was a fun night, connected with some friends and made new ones too. Hung out with the guys behind Clothes Horse for a bit. Clothes Horse is helping online clothing purchases by making personalized recommendations on size and fit. I also met and hung out with the team behind a new start-up Tri.ad, which will be revolutionizing captcha.
To continue with the music theme from Monday, I met a co-ounder of Maestro.fm, a cloud-based music application. I currently use Google Music, which I like and find easy, although there are definitely things I don’t like. I am going to give Maestro.fm a try, see how I like, and I will report back.
Thursday, December 8th: Ultra Light Startups, Investor Feedback Forum and Pitch Showdown
First off, free pizza from Seamless.com! Nine companies pitched to four investors: Greg Cangialosi (Nucleus Ventures), Owen Davis (NYC Seed), Nihal Mehta (ENIAC Ventures), and Marc Michel (Metamorphic Ventures). Overall the presentations went well and the investors advice was thought provoking. Not much more you can ask for.
On to the companies. First, to keep with the music theme, I want to talk about MyStream. This is another service I have wanted for years. It started when I was snowboarding with a group and we were all listening to our iPods, I wanted a way for us all to listen to the same one. That is what MyStream does. Over bluetooth or an open wireless network, MyStream streams one persons music to others around him. You can either listen live with him, or peruse his catalogue and listen to what you wish. Very simple idea, but also awesome. There are a lot of ways to move this forward, I’m interested to see what direction they take it.
Indiewalls had a great pitch, and I am pretty sure they won the showdown. Indiewalls provides stores, cafes, restaurants, etc. with free access to independent art to hang on their walls. Each of the paintings are also for sale through the Indiewalls website. Stores get free art, Artists get public awareness and sales – pretty cool idea.
Finally, I’ll go to another company whose product I want on Android, Brainscape. Brainscape does online flashcards, the secret sauce being ranking your knowledge of each card to change the time between repetitions. Right now it is free to make your own cards, and you can purchase pre-made language learning packs. I’ll be trying out the online version and sharing my thoughts of this as well.