If I was being lazy, I might describe UK startup Clowdy as a ‘LinkedIn for creatives’. The site and apps for iOS and Android let those in the creative industry showcase their work, tag each other’s contributions, and network for future collaboration. The premise being that LinkedIn’s work history format (designed, dare I say, primarily to sell user data to recruiters and other power networkers) doesn’t work well for the likes of indie music producers and filmmakers, where the ability to show what you’ve done trumps who you’ve worked for. In the creative industry, your portfolio is the currency you trade in.
“Clowdy solves two problems in the creative industries,” says co-founder and CEO Stuart Logan. “First, creative people don’t have a resume like most because their history is about their content and artwork not their employment history. The second issue is many people often collaborate on a project but few are recognised. Usually, it’s only the musicians or director that get the end credit and not the session players, vocalists, editors, managers, producers and whole host of other people in the industries behind the scenes.”
To tackle the former, after creating a simple user profile, Clowdy focuses very much on uploading and showcasing creative content, more akin to music sharing service SoundCloud or Vimeo for video or perhaps Flickr for photos, but without the somewhat false distinction between different media and format types. To date, 70,000 users have uploaded 60,000 pieces of content in total, up from 18,000 as recently as November last year.
However, it’s Clowdy’s credit attribution feature that perhaps solves a bigger problem than simply consolidating various media types and creative subindustries. Any artistic work uploaded and showcased on the service can be tagged so that credit is given to its various contributors, a bit like the way you can tag people in photos on Facebook. Played bass guitar on a film’s score or did the mastering of a new album? Clowdy has you covered, even if you weren’t the person who uploaded the content to the service in the first place.
This also points to Clowdy’s future, and how it ultimately aims to fill the “gap” left by LinkedIn. As well as indirectly creating a database of indie music and film credits, providing crossover with Amazon-owned IMDB, the service supports the ability to network with and message other creatives who have signed up to the service. This includes a forthcoming location-based feature currently in beta.
“The new Clowdy search feature enables anyone looking to work with creatives (musicians, filmmakers, photographers, editors, producers, designers etc.) the ability to search for them by geo-location,” says Logan. “For example, if you’re a musician looking to find a producer for your upcoming album, you can search on Clowdy to find a professional nearby.”
In terms of monetisation, Clowdy currently employs a freemium model. The main service is free, but Logan, who previously worked on YouTorrent, a futile attempt to create a bittorrent search engine for ‘legitimate’ content, says a paid-for subscription that offers more functionality is also available. This adds the ability to sell your work, get more in-depth statistics, and have greater promotion through the site.