August 4, 2005 With a goal of providing a global showcase for the best new business ideas, the brightest entrepreneurs and the hottest startups in the music, media and entertainment technology sectors, the ‘Innovation in Music and Entertainment ’ (IMEA Awards) held at international music and entertainment business show Popkomm have never been more interesting or relevant. The fourteen finalists for the Popkomm-IMEA Awards, which will be conducted on the first day of Popkomm 2005 in Berlin on September 14th, include a stunning array of digital entertainment ideas and initiatives.
Due to the breadth and diversity of applications received, the judges took the decision to expand the categories from three to four, with another additional category for 'B2B services in Digital Music'. "It was a difficult process to whittle the applications down to 14 finalists as this year's quality of submissions was extremely high and a lot of extremely innovative new companies and products came forth," commented Gerd Leonhard, author of 'The Future of Music' and Chairman / Executive Producer of the annual Popkomm-IMEA Awards.
"The jury believes that the contestants we have short-listed may very well end up being significant players in the development of the music and media industries going forward; however there were many more ideas that could not be considered but which still had a lot of merit. We want to thank everyone for applying, and wish them every success."
"Now that we have the finalists I am very excited to see them presenting their ideas. It will be an event full of innovations that nobody interested in the future of music should miss," says Katja Bittner -Director of Popkomm.
A) BUSINESS TO BUSINESS SERVICE PROVIDERS (MUSIC INDUSTRY)
LABELTOOLS - labeltools has developed a unique promotion software solution for the music industry called "iPool". In contrast to the conventional expensive and cumbersome promo distribution process of sending CDs in the post, labeltools' innovative software package enables record companies and music promotion agencies to supply their music to DJs, radio stations, journalists, licensees and online shops throughout the world efficiently and conveniently.
POLYPHONIC HMI - Using artificial intelligence and spectral deconvolution algorithms, Polyphonic HMI is able to analyze the underlying mathematical patterns in music. This led to the discovery that most hit songs conform to a large but limited number of mathematical patterns. Subsequently, Polyphonic HMI has begun working with major and independent music labels to maximise the potential of their releases and minimise risks. Additionally, it has been able to isolate and measure the mathematical patterns of a person's personal music taste, making music recommendation and discovery more insightful and exciting than ever before. By extrapolating this method, it has developed a way to profile the taste patterns of entire audiences and have introduced a tool that is helping radio program directors keep their listeners more engaged and entertained.
POTATOSYSTEM - The PotatoSystem is an innovative and flexible alternative for artists, labels and music portals to promote, market and sell music on the web, and it provides an alternative approach to "hard" Digital Rights Management systems. The basic idea is to pass on copy protection and to motivate users with a commission model to buy music and act as a reseller.
B) DIGITAL MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT INNOVATIONS
DIGIMPRO - Digimpro makes world leading interactive music software. The "di" format allows artists to include extra material (drums, bass, vocals etc.) into one file giving the listener literally billions of different versions of the track. Its free player then allows a variety of exciting, engaging playback options. It's simple enough for a child to use but sophisticated enough to engage a studio engineer. The files can be sold as downloads opening new revenue opportunities.
GO FISH - The GoFish playlist publisher is the first open technology to enable individual consumers to publish, share, and distribute their personal music playlists amongst a larger community of music enthusiasts. Key attributes include the ability to append rich-media, album art, meta-data and audio sample clips to user's playlists via the platform.
GRACENOTE - This voice activated playlist technology enables people to create instant playlists using voice commands. Song mixes are created using multiple criteria, such as "play my rock from the 70's" or simply, play "more like this". The playlist technology works by accessing extended information for each track (such as artist, era, origin, micro-genre, popularity), for a massive number of songs using Gracenote's database of over 48 million tracks.
GROUPER - Grouper is an application that enables friends to easily share music, videos, photos or any file of any size in a private-network group setting. By leveraging proprietary peer-to-peer technology, Grouper creates private, direct connections between friends' PCs and thereby enables the high-quality and secure transfer of files between friends.
KSOLO.COM - kSolo.com is the world's first web-based karaoke application that allows users to sing their favourite songs, record themselves, and send their personalized renditions to their friends. Supported by a proprietary state of the art technology and requiring nothing more than a microphone and an Internet connection, the system will be available anywhere from users' homes to their favourite karaoke clubs. This novel application will enable millions of enthusiasts not only to sing along and record popular songs, but also to send recorded versions via email (as a singing E-Card), mobile phones and PDA's, as well as broadcast performances for the world to judge.
MUSICSTRANDS - MusicStrands helps people discover and enjoy new music, as well as share their music tastes. MusicStrands develops social recommendation systems, using artificial intelligence technologies, to provide independent music recommendations based on the listening behaviour of individuals and social networks. Using people's listening behaviour as input, MusicStrands compiles and analyzes a complex network of linked-songs in order to deliver personalized and instantaneous music recommendations.
C) LIVE MUSIC & MARKETING INNOVATIONS
MIXED TAPE - Music download platform 'Mixed Tape' is a new media format used as viral traffic-driver for development of new target groups and promotion of unknown talents. Mixed Tape presents exclusive music compilations from a wide range of genres; every eight weeks, 15 songs are presented in a compilation. Young musicians submit their songs and have the chance to appear on the next 'Mixed Tape'. An intentional focus is placed on viral components through the attractiveness of content. Seven million downloads in nine months make 'Mixed Tape' the most successful online platform at Mercedes Benz. The user can listen to music online, download tracks and send them to friends via e-card.
SONIC BIDS - Sonic Bids offers an easier and cheaper way to the endless clutter of physical promo kits that are exchanged daily between musicians and the people who present music. Sonic Bids boasts a quickly growing, energetic online community of over 33,000 bands and musicians, some 3,100 festivals, music conferences, song contests, and clubs from 107 countries around the world who actively use Sonicbids' Electronic Press Kit (EPK) as their common "language" of communication and promotion. In March 2005, "Fast Company" magazine picked Sonicbids as one of America's 50 fastest growing and most innovative companies.
D) MOBILE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT INNOVATIONS
HYPERSCORE - Harmony Line is the newest entrant in the mobile music space. Its flagship product, Hyperscore, runs on any PC and allows people to compose personalized music by drawing with virtual crayons on a canvas. Hyperscore(R) works by sketching short musical phrases - "motives" - and drawing them onto a canvas with crayons. By adjusting the shape, length, colour and position of the lines, you can produce melodies, choose harmonies, lay down a groove, or compose an award-winning classical piece. Hyperscore(R) will soon allow users to have their music converted into a ringtone and sent to any mobile phone, or uploaded to the Harmony Line online community where it can be played, discussed, ranked, re-used, or even resold and moved to other people's mobile phones or music devices.
MINIMIXA - Powered by the miniMIXA Interactive Audio Application Platform (mINT), SSEYO miniMIXA is a mini DJ mixer, sequencer, sampler, synthesiser, visualiser & recording studio all rolled into one. Combining a massive range of integrated audio technologies and capabilities in a single mobile application, SSEYO miniMIXA has done what has never been done before on a mobile phone and goes far beyond anything else currently available. It is both a tool that puts immense creative power into the hands of a user, and, through support for Artist* MIXAPaks, allows the music industry to develop new revenues from user-valued content at ringtone price points.
MFORMA BILLBOARD MOBILE - MFORMA, publisher and distributor of mobile entertainment, and Billboard Magazine have teamed up for an exclusive partnership to deliver a wide array of new music services under the Billboard brand to mobile users everywhere. Billboard Mobile, will provide users access to music, charts and music news in a way never before seen in mobile. Starting with the world-famous Billboard charts, which rank top music singles, albums and ringtones, users of Billboard Mobile will be able to access a wide range of information to help them find and download their favourite ringtones, purchase CDs and even find the location of a concert near their home town. Billboard Mobile delivers streaming audio for ringtones and music, and important music industry information such as music reviews and artist news, tour dates, concert venues and ticket information.
In addition to these finalists, Popkomm IMEA announced the IMEA 2005 awards sponsor, PassAlong Networks
Founded in December 2002, PassAlong Networks is a privately held technology company started by music industry, business and technology executives. The company's first offering, a digital music download service that encourages community among music enthusiasts by rewarding legal music sharing, launched in September 2004 on eBay and at PassAlong.com.
The company licenses its core technology to other companies, creating opportunities for those companies to add a digital music experience for their existing consumer base. PassAlong's media commerce platform enables online communities to promote and exchange digital entertainment. With the industry's first Passing-and-Points program, users earn points that can be applied toward future purchases by passing songs to friends via Instant Messenger, email, SMS, WiFi and device-to-device transfer.
PassAlong is Windows Media Plays-for-Sure compliant and has an extensive library of more than 1 million licensed songs. The company's newest development platform, code-named p2pREVOLUTION, focuses on the next generation digital music experience.