Tons of news from Stagelight by Open Labs today. The Linkin Park- and Timbaland-backed production software for amateur musicians for the PC now comes preloaded on Lenovo and Dell laptops, tablets and computers. Additionally, Open Labs has signed distribution agreements with Intel, Microsoft and Guitar Center. The company also just released its 2.0 version software today, complete with the added LoopBuilder feature designed for DJs.
Stagelight, for the Mac people reading this, is the PC version of GarageBand. It allows amateur artists with virtually zero musical training to create, edit and mix music. The new LoopBuilder feature adds the ability for amateur DJs to create mashups and ringtones of their favorite tunes. The 2.0 upgrade is free to current users and includes a fully functioning in-app store with additional sounds, loops, packs and exclusive artist bundles.
A few other things available in the new 2.0 version are the Electro Instrument Series, native FX and Key Lock. Key Lock is basically an easy way to play piano within the platform; it essentially “locks” in the correct keys for the song you want to play, making it virtually impossible to play the wrong notes.
Stagelight previously offered just a 30-day trial of the 1.0 version on some PCs. The new agreement means the full 2.0 version will be preloaded on all XPS 18, XPS 27 and Alienware Dell products, all Horizon and educational Lenovo tablets and notebooks, and soon all Lenovo Yoga II Pro products.
CEO Cliff Mountain told me over the phone that he expects Stagelight to bring in around a conservatively estimated 2-3 million downloads in the next few months from the preload and distribution partnerships. That is a conservative estimate. Lenovo alone sold 6.5 million tablets last year. Dell moved nearly 37 million PCs in 2013. Stagelight is currently closing in on 1 million downloads of the full version at present.
Open Labs hasn’t had to take much by way of funding. The company raised a seed round three years ago and launched Stagelight 18 months ago. After the Linkin Park and Timbaland investments, Mountain bootstrapped the rest and says he hasn’t had to ask for much more. “Stagelight was pretty much profitable from the beginning,” Mountain told me.
It’s not that much of a surprise that a bootstrapped company that launched its first product 18 months ago is out of the red so fast. Mountain used to be a VC himself with the now defunct Accent Capital and he also led million-dollar deals for Dell prior to this gig. While he didn’t want to mention just how profitable Stagelight has been so far, it’s easy to guess that a company with software that sells for $9.99 has just inked some pretty big deals with some major players and has had nearly a million downloads is doing all right.
There’s also a hush-hush deal with Microsoft at the moment. Stagelight didn’t want to talk about that just yet, but Mountain and his team were eager to mention the Guitar Center sponsored contest with Linkin Park.
Amateur artists can enter the contest using the Linkin Park bundle to create jams and then upload their work to SoundCloud. The contest runs every month for 12 months. A winner is chosen each month to win $3,000 for their work. Most of the entries at the moment seem to be centered on electronica.
Here’s a sample from artist Skeeter to give you an idea of what can be done with the current software:
The software is only available for PC right now, but Stagelight has plans to release an Android version within the year. Stagelight is also rumored to be in talks to add more artist bundles soon. Both Linkin Park and Timbaland currently offer their own music bundles on the platform.