Startup Spotlight: Beatchain offers data driven music distribution
The global music streaming industry is growing at an impressive rate. In 2018, revenues from recorded music grew by 9.7%, representing the fourth consecutive growth year, and meaning that people spent about $19.1bn on music - slightly more than the cost of two Large Hadron Colliders.
In the current market, streaming services are king, with Spotify controlling the largest share at around 36% - although Apple Music continues to increase its portion of the industry. However, as with every industry, new players are constantly working to disrupt the status quo.
Currently, artists and musicians frequently rely on networks of third party professionals, all who take a cut of the final paycheque. Now, a small startup in London wants to use technology to change all that.
Founded in 2017, Beatchain is a UK-based music technology company on a mission to revolutionise music discovery, marketing, promotion and, as of early next year, distribution. This week, the startup, which currently uses data-driven analytics to help artists reach audiences, announced the upcoming release of its own music distribution and fan base building platform.
"Our ultimate vision is to use today's most advanced technology, along with data and analytics, to give independent artists the ability to manage their entire careers, without a major label deal or expensive promoters," said Ben Mendoza, co-founder and President of Beatchain. "Distribution is a key component of implementing that objective. There are many services on the market that allow artists to publish their music directly but none of them offer the full suite of services that Beatchain will."
Employing artificial intelligence, automation, and data science techniques, Beatchain's platform will reportedly help artists grow, engage and understand their fan bases. Currently Beatchain's technology is being used by artists across the globe, including Duke, Mike Mayfield and Bang Bang Romeo in Europe and Motley Crue, Just Loud, Bleeker, Romes and Cory Mark in the US.
The startup has reportedly partnered with FUGA, a leading technology and services company for intellectual property rights holders, to allow its users to distribute content across the top global music streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music.
FUGA's platform will reportedly allow Beatchain to distribute its users' content to hundreds of digital services for 100% market reach. Artists can upload unlimited tracks for only $1.99 per month.
"We are enthusiastic about our partnership with Beatchain," said David Driessen, MD FUGA Americas / Director Sales & Client Services. "We pride ourselves on being a leader for today's digital music revolution and we are happy to help more artists get their voices heard."
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”