As social networks target younger and younger audiences, ToonsTunes is taking a musical approach. Announced today at TechCrunch50, its virtual world for tweens takes place in a space station where their avatars live in personal pods and can record songs in a virtual studio called the Mix-O-Matic.
In the Mix-O-Matic they create tracks by selecting from thousands of different instrumental loops—hip hop drums, pop guitar, funk keyboards, and, yes, even cowbell—recorded by professional rock musicians. Then they can lay down their own vocals. The site mixes it all together to make it sound decent. Once a song is recorded, it can be shared with other tweens inside ToonsTunes, or their avatars can perform the songs in virtual concert halls. The tweens can also jam together, and even connect Guitar-Hero-style instruments to their computers to play along.
The space station has different rooms to explore, including many with musical games. The focus of the site is around music and fun. ToonsTunes president Paul Bohan says the company plans to charge for enhanced experiences in the virtual world, sponsorship revenues, and virtual goods.
Expert Panel Q&A
Zachary: It was like Garageband meets Club Penguin. I was impressed by the product quality.
Don Dodge: I loved it, the quality is absolutely amazing, amazing sound, animation. I like it and it is in a hot market. Games and music are two of the biggest markets
Q: Marketing plans?
President Paul Bohlan: Guerrilla marketing through schools, but really it is virally by sharing music via email an don all of the social networks
Vardi: What is the size of the company
Internally funded and five people in the company.
Vardi: It is very impressive.
?: Activision would love this.
Conway: What is the target age, is it just below Guitar Hero?
Bohlan: It is 6 to 14.
Don Dodge: I would definitely take a second meeting.
Calacanis: What kind of valuation do you think you are at?
Bohlan: We think the total valuation is somewhere around $15 million
Dodge: $1 to $2 million I’m in, above that no.
Vardi: I think they should go to Disney, Activision.
Hirshhorn: I agree they need to go to Disney or Activision
Calacanis: If you want $15 million, you probably need to go to strategic investors. If you want angel investors, you need to go lower.
Quick thoughts from TC 50: ToonsTunes Startup Marketing Blog.
TC50: ToonsTunes is like GarageBand for kids Venture Beat.
ToonsTunes Launches at TechCrunch50. SheBlogs.
ToonsTunes Launches World’s First Virtual Community Offering an Online Recording… Reuters.
ToonsTunes – Tunes For Tots #tc50Techgeist.