Rushmore.fm, the London-based music community startup founded by Fictive Kin and Betaworks, originally launched with the rather lofty but noble mission to fix the music industry. Its central premise is that there exists a disconnect between fans and artists, and that by bringing these two groups closer together via its platform there’s money to be made — money that can ploughed back into music and the startup’s own pockets.
Today the company, which is headed up by Alex Hunter, the former Global Head of Online for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is announcing a merger that looks to bolster that proposition. It’s joining forces with Madrid-based startup Zuzeen, a service that allows musicians to broadcast live interactive video performances to their fans. At the same time, Rushmore has disclosed a new $1.2m round of funding from Kibo Ventures and Betaworks.
Rushmore says the merger will enable it to enhance its offering by giving artists the ability to take ownership of their Rushmore profile and broadcast live to their fans via the Web or its mobile app.
It builds on a previous between partnership between Rushmore and Zuzeen last year that saw the two companies team up with the classical musician Lang Lang and telco Telefonica. Over ten days 40,000 fans followed Lang Lang via his Rushmore channel “while he travelled from airport to hotel, to press conference, to sold out concert hall.” The broadcast also included a live exclusive masterclass. The tie-in with Telefonica presumably came about via the fact that Zuzeen is an alumni of Wayra, the telco’s accelerator program.
On the fans’ side, Rushmore plans to add new features to enable them to find new music and stay up to date with the music news, gigs and releases that interest them. As it stands, users “follow” the artists they’re fans of, although much of the corresponding content is based on user contributions (pages have a Wiki-esque “edit” button).
The move to enable artists to claim their profile is obviously a way to give them more control over that content, while the Zuzeen merger will make sure that some content is unique — both in the value it’s providing to fans, but also the value Rushmore as a platform is providing to artists, helping to distinguish it from other artist-to-fan services.