At this year's TechCrunch Disrupt SF event, a small startup called Miso Media won the People's Choice award for one of the niftiest iPad apps I've seen: it turns your iOS device into a guitar teacher. And it apparently wowed a lot of other people too, because today the startup is announcing that it's closed a $600K seed funding round led by Google Ventures, with participation from angel investors including Keith Rabois and Laura Ziskin. One cool thing to note: Rabois was actually one of the judges when Miso Media presented on stage at Disrupt.
Miso's app, which is called Miso Music, still isn't out yet - CEO Aviv Grill says that it was submitted to the App Store earlier this month and it should be coming soon. But I got to try it briefly at Disrupt, and it definitely impressed me. Unlike most guitar tablature applications, which simply display the song you're playing and play it back in a MIDI format, Miso's application will actually listen to the notes you're playing and scroll the music accordingly. It's really slick.
Grill says that the company will be using the money to expand its library of supported songs. It already has the rights to many songs via the Sony/ATV catalog, and can license other songs on a one-off basis from Hal Leonard. The trouble is that producing tabs to go along with these songs is a time-consuming task, which is where the funding comes in. Miso will be doubling in size (from three to six people) come the new year. Grill says that the company also plans to add support for new instruments down the line, and to further improve the audio detection. It's also working on getting the rights from Universal and Warner.
The company will make money via in-app downloads by charging a few dollars for each song you want to learn how to play. Provided these songs are consistently high quality (unlike the numerous awful guitar tabs all over the web), I can see this doing very well.