Abbey Road Red Demo Day 2023

Abbey Road Red Demo Day 2023

22nd February 2023
Abbey Road Red, our music technology incubator presented its annual Red Demo Day last night – its first showcase since 2020, having paused during two years of lockdowns.

Held in the iconic Studio Two; a room with an incredible legacy of music innovation from the first stereo recordings to the re-writing of the music creation rulebook, the event saw Red’s stakeholder community congregate once again in person for the Abbey Road Red team to present:

· Red’s graduating cohort of music technology start-ups

· Red’s predictions and insights into current and evolving music technology and wider technology trends

· Red’s alumni milestones

In its seventh year of operation Abbey Road Red’s ground-breaking bespoke incubation programme has helped its start-ups generate funding collectively representing more than $90m, with a collective valuation of over $350m. Red alums have achieved key milestone partnerships with headline brands and product launches; while the Red model has been validated with its first exit when AImusic was acquired by Apple in 2022 with more to come.

The Graduating Start-ups

This year’s Demo Day hosted graduating start-ups breaking new ground across leading edge trends from the metaverse to music as medicine and next-level artist-first automated composition tools, including:

XONE - an innovative mobile-first metaverse platform, providing users with spaces to express their metaverse identities and digital asset collections, mingle in themed community spaces, experience music activations including exclusive digital assets, content and motion captured avatar performances, all delivered with fluid and beautiful triple-A game style mobile-first design. XONE’s co-founders are currently preparing to launch their first major artist activation later this year. Incubation at Abbey Road Red saw them receive guidance around platform development, the shape of potential deployments and experiences for music, content and digital collectible strategy including new formats and licensing.
Co-Founder and CEO **James Shannon** & Co-Founder and CIO **Alica Molito**

Co-Founder and CEO James Shannon & Co-Founder and CIO Alica Molito

· MediMusic – a new breed of musical pharmaceutical company pioneering the prescription and provision of music as dispensable medicine on its own or to complement other treatments. Through its innovative approach, which brings a new and meaningful non-invasive treatment to the medical toolset, its proprietary algorithms and digital fingerprints are informed by machine learning to select and deliver personalised music to ease symptoms of dementia, anxiety and pain. With numerous awards under its belt, including the Start Up of the Year Award at the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards and Start Up Business of the Year at the Hull Live Business Awards, MediMusic is raising the bar for innovation in the music for wellness sector. That's not all, it’s currently a finalist shortlisted for Medilink’s Healthcare Business Awards 2023. Half-way through its incubation at Red, key milestones have been discussions and development around its business case, product shapes, deployment strategy and partners, alongside content licensing frameworks.
Co-Founder and CTO **Matt Weldon**, Executive Vice President **Andy Cole** and Co-Founder and CEO **Gary Jones**

Co-Founder and CTO Matt Weldon, Executive Vice President Andy Cole and Co-Founder and CEO Gary Jones

· DAACI - an artist-first, meta-composition tool based on PhD research with the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence and Queen Mary University London which has been designed to be able to interpret briefs and embed emotion and other contextual connotations into its compositions. Recently onboarded to the programme, Red has established its bespoke incubation framework and begun to introduce the team to key board members and colleagues across Abbey Road Studios, Universal Music Group and Red’s mentor network, in order to begin ideation and feedback around technology development and preparing to scale, what ideal product UXs could look like and do in different lanes, and how its data format can be developed and licensed to create a system which empowers artists and composers while protecting their art and rights. DAACI recently won the attendees’ award for best start-up at Music Ally’s 2023 NY:Lon event.
CEO **Rachel Lyske**

CEO Rachel Lyske

· BrainRap - an assistive lyric composition platform, which listens to an artist freestyling or writing and suggests a stream of words and phrases in real-time which the artist can pick and choose from if they want to. BrainRap can deconstruct phonetic elements and the literal meaning of linguistic expressions to suggest words, sentence permutations and complete phrases which are directly applicable to the artist' narrative. Development during BrainRap’s time with Abbey Road Red saw it receive direction on the shape of its prototype MVP platform, as well as develop its EEG headset connection so that it can start factoring in data about creative mood and energy into its dataset. Going forward post-incubation it will receive advice on how to create an iteration of its platform using licenced data which it can prepare for a commercial release approved by rights holders.
Founder and CEO **Micah Brown**

Founder and CEO Micah Brown


AI and Artist Rights

Abbey Road Red has an artist and rights-first philosophy which traverses its incubation guidance. The team advises participants exploring cutting-edge content usage that it is critically important to respect copyright and intellectual property rights and obtain all necessary authorisations and licenses from rightsholders.

Red’s Insights & Predictions

The Red team works hard to develop peerless insight and forecasts around the wider technology landscape. When put alongside Red’s inimitable network of board members and colleagues across Abbey Road Studios, Universal Music Group and the wider music and technology industries, as well as its unique mentor network, Red can bet effectively which lanes promising new technologies will emerge in and look for emerging start-up matches for the music industry.

At Demo Day 2023, the Red team presented recent learnings from incubation as well as trend forecasts from their research drive. Some of these trend insights included:

Large Language Models (LLMs) are the runaway trend of 2023: LLM iterations are in a rapid, progressive race with a semblance of contained chaos where key tech industry players are both acting and re-acting to the cultural fuse lit by OpenAI’s GPT-3 Model.

Text-to-music instances have already emerged and while a music-first LLM trained on a licensed set of music and music-contextual data could be the new synthesiser, in a precarious LLM landscape artist first technology platforms like Red participant DAACI are deploying AI into supervised, artist-first tools which place rights protection and tracking at their core while providing extraordinary power-ups to artists, songwriters and composers from compositional tools to new revenue streams as well as encouraging them to assess and enhance their own tech-decoupled approaches to creativity.

Toiling the technology soils: across other trends 2023 is a year of foundation toiling and slow roll outs in which AR will cede momentarily to VR; the burgeoning metaverse will be developed and accessed on traditional channels and apps from games consoles to mobile devices; the hardware sector will need to figure out how to move past peak earbud; Matter’s common framework will pave the path to true music IoT; in-car will roll-out premium subscription access features slowly; down-rounds and squeezing post-pandemic digital margins alongside the crypto-crash will force many companies and start-ups into defensive and careful development with emerging start-ups finding it harder to commit investors; and in general a year where incremental innovation may define music tech, aside from the AI lane.

Within the music space we will also look at:

- Music’s healing power: the next wave of musical pharmaceutical companies, like Red’s graduating start-up MediMusic, will see music add to its bow as an already established medium for wellness therapy as a tool for medical healing.

- Music’s gaming metaverse: smart money against a backdrop of AR hardware delays is on music’s metaverse being accessed by console and mobile first platforms/apps, the latter like Red’s XONE, with some in premium VR; at the same time intelligent and conversational AI will start to drive avatar behaviour and engagement.

- Long live the creator tool: creator tools and ecosystems have moved past digital audio workstation (DAW) 1.0 and even 2.0 into a post 3.0 landscape of new breed tools and ecosystems where new music creation platforms are designed with ease of use in mind; where blurred lines exist between offline and mobile; where all-in-one ecosystems offer every solution from the point of creation to distribution including offline and mobile DAWs, automated mastering, beat pack sales and distribution; where near real-time remote collaboration is made possible by high quality low-bandwidth streaming tools like Abbey Road’s Audiomovers; and where fans become fan creators remixing artist content and moving to points of engagement with the artist well before more traditional points of marketing and distribution.

Alum achievements

Red also shone a light on key recent alumni achievements, which include:

· AImusic’s acquisition by Apple in 2022.

· Audoo’s first major territory roll outs and bringing its funding to £14m+.

· LifeScore’s $11m raise, including deals with Bentley and Audi to supply adaptive soundtracks within cars.

· Vochlea’s new Dubler voice-to-midi products.

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