In addition to an impressive list of confirmed speakers (such as Shazam’s Chris Barton, Auddly’s Helienne Lindvall and musicians like Samu Haber, Imogen Heap and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders), you can find countless Finnish and international start-up companies attending Slush Music, offering products aimed towards the music market.
We introduce you to 10 companies, that you should know from the Finnish music-related start-up scene.
Artist Exchange was started in 2015 in Helsinki with the idea to make buying and selling live music easy and customer-friendly. Their web application is a hybrid of a marketplace and an enterprise software, which enables live music buyers to book acts for their events and increases the efficiency of live music sellers.
The company has has collaborated with live music industry professionals in developing the solution. The brain behind Artist Exchange was former live event organizer Hannu Keränen, who persuaded venture capitalist Heikki Raulo to join forces. After one year and 400 000 euro seed funding round, Artist Exchange’s service is live in Finalnd and the company employs eight workers.
The company’s sights are in the global market, and for that they have the help of a well-known Finnish rock star, Samu Haber from Sunrise Avenue, who joined the Artist Exchange team in 2015. The company is looking to launch their service in Germany and Sweden next year.
Artist Exchange’s customers include leading live music industry players such as Warner, Sony and Live Nation.
Flexound makes resonating sound modules that offer the end-users super audio experiences with the feel of sound waves. They promise that the users of their product can enjoy any kind of audiovisual content with a new dimension: ”the feel of sound”, by using both sound and resonance.
Flexound’s patented module can be integrated into various products, for example car or cinema seats or cushions. Flexound doesn’t sell their own product to customers, but licenses the technology to the host brands.
Géza Szilvay teaching a class of International Minifiddlers.
International Minifiddlers is a distance education innovation implemented by the company Caprice, starting 2012. The International Minifiddlers system helps music pedagogues all over the world to give children high-quality music education. Their online tools help to teach the basics of violin playing, ensuring the child’s development and motivation. International Minifiddlers is marketed towards violin pedagogues, music schools, universities that educate pedagogues, and parents worldwide.
The company is founded by CEO Maarit Rajamäki, a Finnish pioneer in musical distance teaching. Other members in their team include professor Géza Szilvay (developer of the Colourstrings Method) and piano teacher Heidi Kuusava, who focuses on international relations, financing and business development.
International Minifiddlers provides online training in the widely recognized elementary violin teaching method, the Colourstrings Method, with 120 edited video lessons to provide comprehensive teaching material. The company also offers real-time online coaching for pedagogues and children around the world. Their webshop for video material was launched in the spring of 2016.
Linked By Music
Linked By Music is an Espoo-based start-up that builds a Social Media for musicians. Their idea is to build a global platform for unsigned musicians. Linked By Music’s beta version will be launched at this year’s Slush.
Self-promoted as ”LinkedIn for music”, Linked By Music promises to make a new kind of social media – designed by musicians to serve the needs of musicians. In their service, the users can create a musical network, find band members, instrument teachers, freelance work, sell or buy instruments and read or write articles. Linked By Music is freemium at launch, but the company will release a professional level product in 2017.
Musicinfo, started 2012 in Jyväskylä, is a global music database and software developer. The company’s product MusicInfo offers world's largest music database of aggregated music metadata, which operates as a distribution channel to music industry. Musicinfo acquires, organises and processes electronically published music related data and intelligence from its partners and delivers the information in a processed form.
Musicinfo’s founders Antti Jokipii and Kari Halttunen have over 30 combined years of experience in ICT Platforms, metadata, business development and management. Beside them, the company employs ten other international professionals.
Musicinfo provides business integration services and software, but also operates as a digital agency providing bridge between musicians and music consumers, western record labels, producers and Asian content providers.
Based in Helsinki, Musopia is a Finnish mobile app development firm dedicated to creating fresh and innovative music apps. As a team of guitar enthusiasts and IT Professionals, Musopia created FourChords as an instant solution for both aspiring guitarists and professionals who want access to a song library to play along to on the go. The idea behind Musopia’s applications is to digitize the experience of playing an instrument and to reduce the beginner quit rate. Musopia’s ”instrument karaoke applications” such as Musopia, FourChords and Ukeoke have over 1,5 million downloads. The applications take the user straight to the fun part of playing and to resist quitting before reaching enjoyable skill level, breaking each song down into just four easy-to-learn chords. Users can also record performances of the songs to share on social networks. Musopia also first company in the market to supply the global musical instrument industry with detailed and real-time player data. Musopia’s free iPhone and iPad application FourChords was launched globally in 2012 and was ranked as No.1 Music app in the Finnish App Store. musopia.net
PlayMySong was founded by Rami Korhonen and Timo Kari in 2011. The company’s service is aimed towards music consumers, venues and party organizers. The free iOS application, simply named Playmysong, gives its users the possibility to affect, what music plays around them in public and private spaces – for example parties, bars, office and homes. So far it has over 60 000 users all globally.
The Playmysong application helps the user find all active social jukeboxes in the user’s area. Playmysong has bars and restaurants using their service in most major cities in Finland.
In 2016 Play My Song looks to release a 2.0. version of their application, which will include a feature that allows their users to broadcast the music they listen to people around them.
Started in 2013 by Slush-co-founder Atte Hujanen and including other startup-pioneers from Finland, as well as a karaoke industry trailblazer, Singa is set to make karaoke great again.
Singa advertises their product as ”Spotify for karaoke”. In other words, Singa’s product is a streaming service that offers an easy and affordable access to the world's largest karaoke catalog for mobile, desktop or smart tv. And just like Spotify, Singa’s premium service costs 9,99 euros per month for customers.
After their launch in 2015, Singa raised seed funding of 525 000 euros, from sources such as Reaktor Ventures, Sisu Game Ventures and a group of private investors. At the moment they employ over a dozen people.
Instrument manufacturing company Soundion was started in 2010. Last year they broke the national news after announcing that they will reissue a rare Italian synthesizer Elka Synthex. Produced from 1981 to 1985 by the Italian company General Music (which went bankcrupt in 2013 after 125 years of operation) and used by artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Stevie Wonder and Duran Duran, Elka Synthex was originally manufactured only around 2000 units.
With the re-issue, Soundion hopes to create jobs to its home city Salo, and increase Finnish instrument export. The reissued Elka Synthex synthesisers will be hand-built in Salo, using a combination of vintage and new components. The re-issued synthesiser, at first funded through crowdfunding, will make use of technological advances that improve its efficiency.
Yousician is said to be the biggest music education company in the world, with over 50 million people who have experienced their products. Their vision is to make music education accessible for everyone by changing the way people learn to play musical instruments.
Based on the idea of learning the guitar through video games, Yousician was founded in 2010 by Chris Thür and Mikko Kaipainen. Yousician’s games (WildChords, GuitarBot, GuitarTuna and Yousician Guitar) utilize the company’s own audio signal processing technology. Yousician was developed as a part of Aalto University’s Start-up Sauna accelerator programme and has since received funding from Tekes in Finland, as well as the Silicon Valley -based investor True Ventures.
Yousician was chosen as one of Wired's top 100 European start-ups in 2012, and featured in "World's Best Apps List 2012" by The Sunday Times. It was also highlighted as Editor's Choice in the Apple App Store in 2015. Yousician and its products have won several technology and start-up competitions, including SXSW Accelerator and Midemlab in 2012.