Following the success of the Red Demo Day, Isabel Garvey explains how the pioneering Abbey Road Red Incubator will be reshaping and changing to focus on in-house Research and Development .
The recent Abbey Road Red Showcase event was a great excuse to look back at what we've achieved so far. Things have gone quickly and it's amazing to think it's now been over two years since we launched Red.
We’ve worked with some incredible businesses, spanning the spectrum of music and technology from instruments to playback devices, new formats, tools for artists and educational platforms.
Our alumni have raised in excess of $14m so far and have a collective valuation of around $100m - very impressive for businesses that are still early in their development.
We’ve learnt a huge amount, spent hours in meeting rooms, built an amazing network of advisors and mentors and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Now, as we move into 2018, we’re building on what we’ve learned and making some changes.
‘Always Open’ Incubation
Whereas before we were running bi-annual intake for the incubator, we’ve decided to move to an ‘always open’ approach, which will allow us to ensure we get the right businesses at the right time in their evolution.
So from 2018 we will now be accepting four companies a year, loosely one a quarter, with room for up to six if we meet the right people at the right time. Right now I'd like to extend a warm-hearted welcome to Humtap and Lickd, who we have just onboarded. (More about them later this week.)
Abbey Road Red Innovation
Back in the Red department we have also been busy working on our own innovations at Abbey Road. In addition to our incubator, Red was always intended to be an innovator itself and support internal innovation. Whilst aspirational in ambition we have already been hard at work in 2017 laying some groundwork and taking what started as sandbox ideas to market.
Two years ago, we created our De-mix technology, which uses advanced source separation algorithms to extract individual tracks from early recordings where there was no multi-track. It has already been used on a number of key releases including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and is available to all of our studio clients.
Late last year we also launched Topline, a mobile app aimed at songwriters to help them capture inspiration on the move, which forms the foundation of our move into the mobile music making space and has allowed us to test and learn about app production in-house.
Following these two products, we are planning to ramp up our R&D activities within the music creation space. We plan to harness new technology trends, especially in AI and spatial audio, by working more closely with start-ups both in and outside of our incubator, as well as academics and developers to prototype and test products and ideas that we think will add value to musicians, producers, at-home music makers and consumers.
Here at Abbey Road we've been investigating the potential of spatial audio over the past two or three years. We want to lead from the front.
The immersive experience - whether defined as movie theatre sound through your headphones, Pink Floyd's quadraphonic recordings played the way they were intended or a truly virtual reality experience - is a reality for the consumer in 2018 thanks to hardware and software coming to market. However as with all early areas of innovation it's a muddled landscape that ‘breaks’ the traditional production techniques and is in multiple formats at the moment.
But the potential is huge, and Mirek Stiles, our head of audio products, is working hard to see how we can translate this into a playground for the artist and producer and a rewarding experience for the consumer. We also have our Red alumnus OSSIC to thank for inspiring us on this journey, who have just sent us their first limited edition spatial audio developer headphones.
It’s been an exciting ride so far. We're looking forward to working on all of this and more. Stay with us.