Tunedly is an innovative marketplace that connects songwriters and other music creators with world-class session musicians for professional music production, and music publishing services.
Started by musicians, the idea for a live collaboration music production and publishing platform came out of the need to provide better opportunities for songwriters interested in succeeding at music, but either lack the means to make it happen or are not able to connect with the right talent and resources.
Tell us how and when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I didn’t really “decide” to become an entrepreneur. It sort of happened. I was a solopreneur for a long time, having worked as a songwriter and music producer. Tunedly developed from my freelance work as a songwriter and when it became clear that this could be a successful music/tech company, the co-founder and I decided to work on Tunedly full time and be entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your company?
Tunedly is an online recording studio and innovative music publishing company. We connect songwriters from anywhere in the world, to some of the best session musicians in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York and beyond.
With Tunedly, up and coming songwriters can hire session musicians who won multiple Grammy awards or played on major artist albums. Songwriters who join Tunedly can also make their songs available for us to review and we sign the best ones to exclusive publishing contracts, helping songwriters place their music in film, TV, ads and with performing artists.
How did you come up with the idea of your company?
In 2014, I was working as a songwriter and music producer but, at the time, didn’t live anywhere near a music industry hub and I had difficulties finding talented session musicians in my area. I started connecting with session singers and players online.
Additionally, Mylene, the co-founder of Tunedly was managing some touring artists at the time. She connected me to some of them since they were looking for extra gigs during their off times. Since all of this happened online, we started developing processes to collaborate more efficiently online and the foundation of Tunedly was built. To make a long story short, we tried to solve a problem for me and realized, we’re actually solving a problem for thousands of aspiring songwriters.
Tell us how exactly does Tunedly works?
Songwriters who are interested in joining Tunedly with all its benefits, such as free demo recordings, reduced professional production rates, song plugging, co-writing sessions and other perks, first have to apply for membership.
Since our success heavily depends on our songwriters’ success, we need to make sure we only allow career driven, growth-oriented songwriters on the platform. If accepted, songwriters can choose one of two subscription plans and start using all the mentioned features.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am currently serving as the CEO of Tunedly. Being a young company, having only been formed in 2016, roles aren’t as defined as they are at larger corporations such as Sony Music or Universal Music Publishing.
I mostly oversee the overall running of the business, take care of HR, investor relations, fundraising, and business development. I really enjoy business development, trying to find ways to help our users reach their goals by developing new processes, functions, and services.
What do you feel distinguishes you Tunedly from other similar companies?
The music industry is full of smoke and mirrors, especially for those who are trying to break in. Too many promises newcomers fame and fortune. We, on the other hand, are very straight forward with songwriters who want to join.
Our blog features multiple articles about how hard it is to break into the music industry. We reject the majority of songwriter applicants simply because many aspiring songwriters either don’t have the drive or have the wrong expectations about becoming a professional songwriter. We don’t promise anyone fame and fortune.
What we do promise is, songwriters who work hard, are dedicated and don’t give up after the first few failures have a good shot at making some money, possibly even a decent living with their craft. But it takes time and effort. I realize that being that upfront with potential clients makes growing our pool of songwriters harder, but at least I can sleep at night.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Finding talented and dedicated songwriters. It goes hand in hand with the previous question. Before we started screening new members, songwriters would sign up for an account, submit their amateur, bedroom-recorded rough demo, our A&R department would reject their submission and the next day, the songwriter is gone.
It’s easy to fall in love with one’s own songs, especially if you spent a lot of time on it. But just because you think your song is the best thing since chocolate, doesn’t mean that the general public thinks the same. Create a playlist of current chart hits and add your song among the mix. If it doesn’t blend in production-wise, it’s not good enough.
If it doesn’t stand out positively from songwriting and composing perspective, it’s not good enough. The above scenario doesn’t happen too often anymore since we screen potential new members and we can filter out a lot of songwriters with wrong expectations. Matter of fact, since we screen new members, we sign 20% more songs to exclusive publishing contracts.
What suggestions do you have for other entrepreneurs like yourself?
If the going gets tough, the tough get going. Building a successful business, regardless of industry, is a tough gig. You go against all odds, but if you’re really passionate about your idea, you can make it.
There will be days, weeks or even months where things don’t seem to work, progress is slow, sales are down, you don’t know where next month’s rent will come from and “life” continues to happen on top of all that. Far from the glitz and glamour, most who aren’t entrepreneurs believe we live in.
Just keep your composure, remind yourself why you decided to start the business and keep the end goal, whatever that may be for you, insight. Celebrate successes, however small they are.
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