Featured Startup Pitch: Pitchweight wants to improve music search and discovery through its crowdsourcing platform

By Editor October 4, 2013
Filip Mandaric, Pitchweight

Filip Mandaric, PitchweightBy Filip Mandaric, Pitchweight founder

Elevator Pitch: Pitchweight is a unique music experience where you can rate, tag and listen to any song. It’s the first system of its kind, using crowdsourced statistical analysis to produce accurate scores and tag descriptions for all your favorite music.

Product Description

There are various problems that are currently affecting the music industry. Everything was going ‘fine’ until roughly around the year 2000 when two major events hit the market. First of all, the Internet file sharing phenomenon completely revolutionized the way music is consumed. Secondly, the cost of recording music began to drop in price considerably. Much has been written about these subjects, but one of the major consequences was that the amount of music in circulation has steeply increased and it’s frankly overwhelming. There’s so much music around that it would take a person several lifetimes listening non-stop to even scratch the surface of what’s out there. The fact is that we can’t get through all of it alone.

But therein lies the key to the solution.

We may not be able to do it by ourselves, but together we can document and analyze every song in existence, allowing each other to discover the different types of music that we’re trying to find, and giving a voice to every artist that has something to say. This is our mission. Pitchweight is the first system to properly leverage the enormous power of crowdsourced data in order to bring clarity to the excessively prolific music world.

Best of all, Pitchweight is open. This means that artists don’t have to resort to shady practices like payola, bribery and under-the-table deals in order to get their music on our site. Everyone gets an equal chance to share what they’ve made and have it judged by the same standards as the next person, whether it’s the garage band down the street or Lady Gaga.

Founder’s Story

Being a musician myself and having had my group, Capital Grey, played on the BBC, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of knowledge about how the music industry works. It’s an exciting and gratifying environment to be in, and yet along the way I’ve also discovered some of the things that could be fixed. One of the main issues that I myself have personally experienced is the under-representation of the independent artist. It’s becoming increasingly hard to break into the industry.

The proverbial radio station DJ is no longer the person that chooses the songs to play, it’s some corporate guy sitting at Clear Channel’s air conditioned offices. And it’s so easy to record an album nowadays, that even if the DJ did decide who to play, he wouldn’t be able to listen to all of the submissions. There’s just too much stuff out there now for a few central sources to evaluate. The ones who do get heard are the ones with the money and resources to constantly pitch themselves to the right people, not the touring band who barely has enough money to eat, let alone enough to hire a PR firm.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. It was this intrinsic motivation that led me to formulate the antidote to these problems through the immense power of programming, and so Pitchweight came to be.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

There are two major avenues of Pitchweight’s incoming user stream. One is the listener and the other is the artist. It is an interesting dichotomy: the former provides virality through a high quantity of attention while the latter through high engagement. Listeners are the majority of users on Pitchweight and they are by nature social, sharing their favorite music with each other. Pitchweight becomes an extension of this social music sharing behavior with each song having a Pitchweight page as an encyclopedic hub. The artist, on the other hand, is a small but strong minority group that makes up for its lower proportion with a high drive to promote the site through the motive of marketing their own musical product.

Market Opportunity

Despite going into a decline after the file sharing phenomenon, the music business still brings in $16 billion a year. The great opportunity here is that there are so many ways in which music listeners and artists themselves have not been monetized.

Pitchweight is innovating on the way music is found, consumed and looked at. The potential is international, with listeners and artists all around the world being able to benefit from the site’s features.

How Pitchweight Is Different From the Competition

While other music services are focused on optimizing the listening experience, Pitchweight is all about innovating:

– It’s the first system of its kind, using weighting algorithms to produce reliable quality scores for every song through open-sourced public input.

– There’s a multi-category tagging system that enables the creation of an ultimate musical encyclopedia, practically a Wikipedia focused on the nuances of music.

– An advanced search system to pinpoint the music you want to listen to based on scores, tags and a variety of other filters that no other site offers.

– An open registration system that allows any artist to upload their own music with the potential of topping the charts. We have the integrity to promote music based on its statistically determined quality, not the financial influence of its creators.

Business Model

Pitchweight is currently focused on providing value to the public and strengthening its user base. That said, there are many possibilities with respect to monetizing the platform. Although we are keeping certain plans under wraps, I will say that this service has the potential to revolutionize how music is purchased. There’s great power in scientifically determining what the underlying value is of an artistic work. It’s clear that a winner has not been announced in the battle of the pricing models that various services are currently offering. We believe there’s something missing that hasn’t been tried, and we’d like to take a shot at it.

Current Needs

We are currently looking for investors that have a passion for the entertainment market as well as the experience to guide us in our mission to change the music industry. We are also open to all talent that wishes to join us in making this thing happen.

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Pitchweight logoWebsite: www.pitchweight.com

Headquarters: Los Angeles

Founder: Filip Mandaric

Year Founded: 2013

Twitter: @pitchweight

Facebook: facebook.com/pitchweight

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/pitchweight

AngelList: angel.co/pitchweight