While online music startups and most labels are trying to figure new rules for their business models, a small UK based startup has found a smart way to answer that question. Nearly all music services are based on providing access to a catalogue of recorded music whether it is on demand (eg: iTunes or Deezer) or on discovery mode (Pandora/Last.fm). But a big chunk of the quality music is not recorded and is played live in clubs, fashion hotels, restaurants, shops, DJ festivals and other cool places (i leave aside radio music). This music usually ends up in CD collections because of its quality and uniqueness (think of the Buddha Bar collection, the Cafe del Mar and many more). And this is the music Awdio wants to provide you in real time wherever you are, 24/7, as long as you have an internet connection.
Awdio™ revolutionizes the way you listen to music! Real Time Music! What everyone can get now in one weekend is what music addicts would get in a year, touring around world’s best Live music sources… Straight from the sound systems of the most respected clubs, venues, hotels, shops, studios & festivals… from Electronic Music to Hip Hop, from new Jazz scenes to alternative Rock, from Lounge sessions to the most underground Dj sets, wherever you are, whatever you like, Awdio™ provides pure Live music. From San Francisco to Melbourne, New York to Paris, Sao Paulo to Hong Kong, Awdio™ is streaming 24/7 real time music content, from and on worldwide time zones.
Awdio spots the coolest places around the globe where live music is played and makes exclusive agreement to distribute and stream it live in real time. They gathered so far 50 hotspots like the super trendy Colette Shop in Paris, the 1015 in San Francisco or the Favela in London. They have created a technology that enables any live music source to be streamed over the internet with high quality sound. The Awdio Listener simply has to register and browse the selection of audio channels by time zone or by name. A Station on air can be easily noticed with a small ticker. Once you chose your station the music is played directly via a desktop player (for now only iTunes and WMP). But in future versions you will be able to choose alternative players created by Awdio (web based i guess).
The business model is simple and smart. Listeners will pay a subscription for an unlimited access (9 euros/month or 54 euros a year). They become then “Awdio Addict Members” and will also have a personal space with relevant information according to their tastes (will include an electronic program guide) integrated in a social network. There will be a free ad-supported alternative and Awdio has built around their service an advertising platform that will enable brands to easily (geo)target users and offer them free “AwdioTime”. Right Now the music is streamed via your desktop player so i am not sure what kind of ad formats we are talking about. In their agreement with the music sources, Awdio takes in charges all the fixed and variable costs and pays sources 20% of the total income (based on the prorata time of each station) and an additional 10% for the performance of any guest artist. In addition partners will have access to a full dashboard soon available in order to get reporting and better knowledge of their “fans”.
I like the idea and the execution is good. I think this will be a nice additional revenue source for live music sources but also a cool experience for those who enjoy those places right from their living room. I wish one day they will extend the experience to video so you can fully enjoy the moment. I also wonder whether one day they give access to archives which would be great.
Although the project is based in the UK, most of the team is French and has extensive experience both in the music industry and the content delivery business. Awdio is financed by the designer Ora-Ito, you can feel his influence in the slick design of the website. I have tried the service and i must say it is of pretty good quality although this is a very early release. A new version with lots of new features (for streaming, browsing and interacting) will be up by the end of the month.
Special Invitations: TechCrunch readers can already enjoy the service using the registration key TechCrunch (respect the case). You will have free unlimited access until the new version comes up. So hurry up