In the competitive world of music startups, I came across a group of young startup hustlers that may just have created the secret sauce. It’s no mystery that artists have been on the defensive over the last couple of years because of the threat the streaming industry has posed to artist and label revenues. From major artists boycotting major streaming platforms to a mass exodus of independents leaving their careers as musicians because of the difficulty in sustaining a career, it has been a tumultuous time for those in the music industry.
Back to the young faces of the music startup game – I must mention Ouveer. It is becoming increasingly clear that problems with the streaming industry are only getting worse and more lopsided for artists. The steep percentage of what digital platforms take from artist sales, the increase in reach and impression limitations created by social media platforms, and how thousands of musicians have given up on music as a career within the last few years. All of the commotion within the last two or three years in the music industry made me curious about what kind of solutions are being created to solve the problem. As a fan of music, I dread the day when some of my favourite bands cease to exist especially as it is becoming clearer and clearer that music streaming services I have given patronage to are part of the problem.
My curiosity led me to the Association for Independent Musicians website, whose members are composed of a vast array of innovative music services. The one that caught my eye, however, was a young startup by the name of Ouveer. I decided to learn more, so I found their homepage and sent an email to inquire about what makes them different, and just how a one-stop-shop could exist in such a vast and complex space.
After a few emails back and forth, and a brief conversation, I was happily shown a demo by the CEO (Grant Stevenson), and who seemed to be his right hand (Patrick McClanahan, Head of Artist and Label Relations).While their excitement for their product was a glowing example of its potential, the application itself certainly sold me as well. As a user of Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud, I must say these guys are building perhaps the most well-rounded music service you could ask for. Their grasp on utility and ease-of-use is apparent in the interface they are building. This ease of use favours not just fans, but also for artists and labels bringing every aspect of the music industry together.
“We built this product to provide artists and labels the resources they need to run themselves as a business,” words often uttered by their CEO Grant Stevenson. “Where other platforms are missing the mark, is that they are not following the dollar.” Many services boast an array of analytical feedback and stats on fan-artist interactions, but artists don’t seem to be happy with the value being provided by the current options.
The name of the platform itself “Ouveer,” is a derivative of the Portuguese word “to listen,” the clear focus of the app in making sure fans have access to all their favourite music and content. The app is straightforward, with headings like News, Events, Discover, Trending, and Shop, but with complex functionality that is easy to navigate both on the fan and artist side. Ouveer’s team vehemently touts artist’s rights beginning with them receiving 100% of their revenue. “Our business model is supported by services, label subscriptions, ticketing, and a host of other revenue streams” McClanahan is clear to point out. “We had to develop a profitable model, which many digital services failed to do from the start.”
Ouveer recently launched their registration for early adopters in preparation for a late spring/early summer release. “We are focused on creating our own timing for release” says Stevenson.
Flanked by a host of senior advisers and staff, the degree of business development executed by their company is formidable.The list of Ouveer team members is extensive highlighted by: Jakob Kuznicki, COO (former Orchard VP and current Universal Director), Fred Chow, CTO (three successful tech exits), Javan Mershad, Adviser (CEO, MondoTunes), Barry Hill, Adviser (VP, Adobe), and Vern Stevenson, Adviser (MobiTV Board and Cetecom COO).
It’s impressive to see a young group of visionaries pulling together a great team with the goal of creating a formidable product. To all the artists out there, you are not alone in the fight. After seeing just one of the great solutions in development to combat the current music industry woes, I can safely say you can sleep better at night knowing these guys are fighting for your cause. If you’re interested in a new platform that offers everything you need and more, you can get in on their early registration.
Words by Matthew B. Thomas