Last month, music licensing app Hoopr secured $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by 9Unicorns and Venture Catalysts. The upcoming AI-powered platform will enable content creators and businesses to license royalty-free music.
Hoopr’s parent company GSharp Media is a music-tech venture, established by music producer Gaurav Dagaonkar and entrepreneur Meghna Mittal. The company also owns Songfest, a content vertical that provides music creation and curation for feature films, brands, web series, OTT Platforms.
Music Plus spoke with Dagaonkar, Hoopr’s CEO and co-founder about the million-dollar fund allocation, Hoopr’s launch date and revenue models, and how AI can make all the difference.
Congratulations on securing funding of $1.5 million! Can you talk about the allocation of funds?
Right now, the funds for Hoopr are primarily being allocated towards building our tech recommendation AI engine that is going to drive the discovery of tracks on the licensing platform.
We are also working towards acquisition of music creators and obtaining music for the platform. Lastly, we are also working towards building a strong team. This is a very exciting time for GSharp Media where we are not just working on Hoopr, but also on Songfest.
We are working on building both the teams and have some talented people across marketing, technology and music joining us. Our primary focus for now is investing into technology, growing the Hoopr library and building our teams.
What’s got team Hoopr tied up these days?
Most of our efforts are going in building the platform which includes both the product itself as well as the library of tracks. But we have already started to reach out to several brands and influencers and content creators to provide them with the tracks offline and execute campaigns with them, where they are licensing tracks from Hoopr based on their requirements.
Another very important function is – Programming. I think with India, it is not just a question on finding content but rather there is an abundance of it. This begs the question; what do you decide to put up on the platform? So, our teams are constantly listening to songs from thousands of artists across the world, especially from India along with hundreds of labels from across the globe and trying to acquire high-quality music for the Hoopr library. A large part of our effort is going into building that.
Then of course, building tech features for the Hoopr platform which includes the recommendation engine, and the AI-powered functionalities are also a priority. The team right now is busy in building these features for the platform.
How does your AI-powered engine work exactly?
Today YouTube has more than 800,000 hours of videos created every single day. Almost 60-70% of these have a soundtrack.
It means that content creators – bloggers, podcast creators or even the larger businesses creating TV shows, ads, web series and so on – are constantly synchronising music to their video or their visuals.
There are enormous amount of data sets available for us to try and understand what kind of music goes well with a certain kind of video or a certain use case. Ultimately, all the data that we are collecting is helping us drive the AI engine which makes the right recommendation to Hoopr users.
Let’s say, if you are a video creator creating cooking videos. Hoopr would deeply understand you as a content creator, your videos and which platform you make them for. It will then correctly figure out and recommend the type of music you should use, that will drive more engagement for your video.
How will Hoopr will disrupt the Indian music industry?
Disruption is a very loose word used nowadays. At the end of the day, all we are trying to do is to make certain processes simple and seamless. If you look at it from a musician’s point of view, they are creating a song or a music piece and putting it up on YouTube or on other streaming platforms. But you will see thousands of musicians putting up tracks on Hoopr simply because there are more monetisation opportunities.
At the same time, for the video creators, it is quite easy to find different types of content. For example, if a thriller series is looking for certain music, they will have to approach multiple composers or creators. Instead, they can visit Hoopr, key in their search and get access to multiple options in one place. While this is one way to democratise content; for music creators especially, this creates more monetisation opportunities.
Is the fourth industrial revolution taking the Indian music industry under its wing?
Not just the Indian music industry but the world is on the cusp of a tech revolution. Content creation, distribution and consumption; everything is on the verge of changing. Web 3.0 is beginning to enter our lives. We talk about blockchain DAOs coming in. Artists are directly communicating with fans and middlemen are slowly disappearing.
I think there will be a tech revolution and we will see very few labels going ahead. I would say even when it comes to streaming platforms or music distribution services, we might see lesser middlemen, which is great news for the artists as they will get closer to the fans. We are going to see the days where fans are directly the owners of the artist’s music or shareholders for the artist’s music.
Fans will be the stakeholders in the careers of the artists they believe in. From that perspective, Hoopr has a large role to play in the coming times for a music creator’s journey.
Let’s talk about monetisation…
Even individual video creators can license music from Hoopr. That’s where monetisation opportunities open up. We are referring to global buyers as well. So, this is a huge opportunity for Indian music creators. It levels the playing field. The platform makes it equal for everyone. Hoopr is planning on working with music creators from small towns who want to create music. Plus, we’re not restricted to singers, Hoopr is going to invest in instrumentalists, music producers, etc. so that monetisation opportunities are available for all artists.
What are the biggest challenges hold musicians back from making the money they deserve?
Lack of awareness of earning money in multiple ways is what holds them back. Currently, we are all talking about NFTs and about DOWs, Web 3.0, etc. However, very few musicians are actually making use of these emerging technologies. Abroad, so many musicians make music for production libraries. These income streams are unexplored in In India. Sadly, most musicians depend on only one form of revenue, which are live shows.
Many musicians don’t know how to reach production houses, or big brands. I think India is quite unorganised and lacks awareness in this sector. No disrespect to musicians but after three to five shows a month, they can become complacent. Indian musicians have to create art that can be licensed.
Will you be offering users a subscription-based model?
All I can say right now is that the music for these buyers, whether they are brands, creators or advertisers, will be available at a very affordable price. At the same time, the pricing and the revenue distribution model will be such that musicians will benefit from it.