FilmInstituteEvents11th June 2020Over the last four years, the Abbey Road Red team has helped as the official coaching partner for the Midemlab music start-up contest at the annual MIDEM conference – the leading international event for the global music community. This year Abbey Road Studios’ Managing Director, Isabel Garvey, was invited to join the judging panel in the Music Creation and Education category. Here Isabel and Abbey Road Red Innovation Manager, Karim Fanous, talk us through the event and their pride at the success of Red alumnus Audoo, who won in their category.This year, for obvious reasons, the event went digital – which meant lots of Zoom conversations and presentations, both in the coaching phase and the judging. Isabel was a judge in the Music Creation & Education category, while Karim and Abbey Road Head of Digital, Dom Dronska, helped mentor the start-ups as they prepared their presentations to the judges.
Red alumnus Audoo were participating in the Midemlab Music Marketing & Data/Analytics category, with their innovative audio meter which tracks music broadcast in commercial premises. All of the categories had a strong showing and this one was no different.
While we were obviously quietly hopeful for Audoo it’s important to point out that we tried our best to give the most helpful advice possible to every start-up, built on the same core pillars of pitching. It was a rewarding experience to participate in the coaching and as with each edition we’ve made some new friends and are hopeful for some lasting relationships at Red over the next few years.Isabel says: “The highly capable management team at Audoo have moved the business from idea to prototype at lightning speed. In the six-month period they were in our incubator, they developed the product, expanded the team, gathered an impressive board and raised their first round of funding without breaking stride. They have a strong business development pipeline and we are expecting great things from them in 2020 and beyond.”
Speaking about why Abbey Road Red first picked Audoo to join the programme, she says: “We believe there is huge opportunity in rights tech so were searching for businesses in that vertical. Audoo is smart technology that revolutionises performance royalties and delivers complete transparency for artists. With their technology every artist gets paid for every play of their song, in any venue in the world. Audoo is a living example that the best ideas are often the most simple.”For Karim, it was about finding “a simple and elegant solution to a challenge in the industry that has become increasingly important to us in our search over the last two years: how do we track and report more efficiently so that rights holders and artists get paid more effectively. Audoo’s smart audio meter is addressing that challenge in the performance rights space for playback of music in commercial settings.”
He continues: “In Ryan Edwards, Audoo has a charismatic, persuasive founder who has driven key areas from team management to product dev, fundraising, PR, board assembly and more with a relentless focus and uncompromising eye for detail. Whether in near-term situation management or long-term vision he’s surprised us at every step of the journey and shifts seats and leadership roles with ease. He’s assembled a team in that image and they are all brilliant.”
“As for their product, it fits. It works. It’s simple to use onsite (you plug it into a plug socket) and can integrate easily with client APIs. It adds value to the music industry by assigning plays to artists that might have been held in escrow or estimated and enables faster pay-outs with more accuracy. In time it should help grow the overall revenue pool as well.
I feel like the nature of this incubation reflects one of Audoo’s most important qualities as a start-up. That its product speaks with ease and value to every one of our stakeholders in the industry. We haven’t hit negative barriers to progress. The ‘wow moment has been there in each of the many meetings and chats we have had internally and externally. Barring a few questions or challenges everyone has gone ‘yep, that makes really good sense!’.
Each incubation has its own distinct feel and shape. Audoo were excellent at taking advice on board, adapting quickly and thinking ahead of the game. So the natural focus in this one was for us to facilitate their development with our unique properties, amplify their message, educate around industry complexities where necessary with our board and colleagues, place them with the right mentors in our network and sense check their progress rather than to get into the nitty gritty of UX design, product development and other more technical areas which is sometimes the case.”