We’re chuffed to report that the good folks at Bloomberg have named us as one of their Innovators of 2016. It’s an honour to be included alongside the likes of Deliveroo, Made.com and WorldRemit, and it inspires us to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Last week we headed to Summer In The City’s Creator Day. Being the UK’s biggest YouTube convention, it was a great chance to meet emerging talent from across the land.
Armed with a banner, laptop and a bucket full of Haribo we entered the world of vloggers and beauty gurus. While they may have been attracted to our stand by the gummy bears, they left with the knowledge that a new way to create music had arrived. “Where have you been all my life?” was a question we were asked more than once! And already some ace videos have appeared using music created on the site.
Apart from Jukedeck, there were a host of other fantastic businesses on show – all bent on helping YouTubers create amazing content. We packed up, excited for the future of video in the UK.
We were bowled over by the inventiveness and sheer skill of Princess Rizu.
And it’s reminded us of something we often talk about. The composition and production of music is both an open and restricted practice. Almost anyone can make original music – simply by hammering on their breakfast table or humming random sounds. But much of the music that we like to listen to and use requires significant resources – education, facilities, time – to create. If we can lower this barrier – democratise composition if you will – for those who don’t have those resources, we’ll be pretty happy.
The event – hosted by HRH The Duke of York – took place at St James’s Palace, and was the culmination of a competition that saw 400 startups whittled down to a final 14. Each startup pitched for 3 minutes, knowing that if they went a second over then a royal bugler would cut them off with a blast of his horn.
Our fate lay in the hands of the audience – over 400 investors and successful entrepreneurs, ranging from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to the CEOs of both Google and Facebook in the UK. Their remit was to vote for the most promising business.
With startups such as Grabble (the ‘Tinder for fashion’), Skignz (augmented reality signposts), OpenDesk (affordable, custom office-furniture) and the wonderfully-named Magic Pony Technology (delivering a ‘step-change in video compression performance’), we can imagine that it was quite a challenge. But after a rousing speech from the Duke, compelling each influential member of the audience to not only vote but meaningfully help at least one startup present, the top 3 were announced. Third was OpenDesk, second was Grabble, and first – much to our surprise – was Jukedeck. It’s a huge privilege, but a big shout out must go to all the startups present – each innovating in tremendous ways.
There’s been a storm of activity since – mainly on social media – but one thing in particular has brought a buzz to the Jukedeck office. The Duke instructed each startup to make an explicit request of the audience during our respective pitches. Our request was to be put in touch with Sean Parker – an internet startup pioneer, who founded Napster and helped build both Facebook and Spotify. This was because 5 years ago, a Vanity Fair article reported that Sean is ‘always talking about the potential of computers to generate algorithms for likeable melodies…he believes it’s only a matter of time before computers will be able to create listenable tunes.’ We wanted to tell Sean that we’d done just that. 2 minutes after our pitch we received the following tweet, from none other than Jimmy Wales himself.