SoundLily is an app for tablets and smartphones targeted towards anyone who wants to improve their musical skills and at the same time have more fun singing or playing an instrument. With its unique set of tools it makes life easier for both teachers and students, while also being useful in performance situations.
The SoundLily team is a mix of musicians, software engineers and business developers. The co-founders share a broad knowledge in technology and a passion for music.
Henrik Thurén - one of the co-founders, keen amateur singer, violinist and pianists and has nearly 15 years of experience in IT and specializes in web development.
Peder Bylander - another co-founder, has many years of experience of working as a consultant in the interface of technology and business. Innovation management, business development and intellectual property rights (as a patent attorney) have mainly been his focus areas.
So how did they all come together and created SoundLily?
Peder Bylander and Henrik Thurén, two of SoundLily's founders
One dark November evening in 2013, Henrik was invited for dinner at Peder's house in one of the bigger towns in Småland, Sweden. Henrik then vividly pitched an idea concerning a software which would help students or private practitioners in developing their musical skills. Peder had experience in screening hundreds of innovation and product development ideas sent in by individuals and companies applying for governmental grants from his previous job. Due to this, he had developed a gut feeling of good and bad business/ and innovation ideas. The software that Henrik was now talking about caught Peder's attention and he advised Henrik considering bringing the product to the market. The two of them then agreed in the end of the evening to work together on making SoundLily a reality.
From November 2013 to June 2017, the team expanded and they all worked on distilling the most important aspects of the software, searching for programming resources and sourcing some initial financial support in order to develop a first version of the software which could be shown to potential partners, early users etc.
The first version of SoundLily was fully developed in the summer of 2017. In August 2017 the SoundLily team reached out to the newly launched Amplify incubator and was accepted as one of the incubator companies. It has been a great boost for the startup, both on a business and on a personal level. As Peder says, "Being able to bounce ideas about our technology development and creation of commercial and technical partnerships has been vital for us to come much closer to commercialisation (which will happen during autumn this year)." The positive energy and entrepreneurial spirit of the other member companies, has also given the team at SoundLily that extra motivation to work smarter and harder.
Henrik Thurén and Peder Bylander
"Being a member company at an incubator such as Amplify Sweden, with its esteemed management team, has for instance been of great importance in order for SoundLily to land capital injections in the seed phase." - Peder reflects on their time at Amplify so far. Additionally, they have been able to test their MVP (Minimum Viable Product) on several industry leaders and potential partners in the domain, which has helped to determine their business model and create a clear picture of the market needs.
The second version of the SoundLily app is now under development. The app, for both iPhone and iPad, is planned to launch on App Store at the end of summer this year.
We had a fantastic start of the summer with another AMP Talk - with our two partners, Propellerhead Software and Sony Music Entertainment Sweden.
AMP Talks is a series of breakfast events with influential and successful speakers in the music and technology industries. This time, we had the opportunity to listen to Mark Dennis, Managing Director at Sony Music Entertainment Sweden and Ernst Nathorst Böös, CEO & Founder of Propellerhead Software at the Sony Music Entertainment Sweden's office located in the heart of Norrmalm in Stockholm.
The topic - two growth journeys and two predictions for the future from different music industry actors. It was great to hear insights from two different sides of the industry - Propellerhead Software, a music creation software, and Sony Music Entertainment, a record label.
Both companies however, have both been affected by the opportunities the digital change has brought to the music industry in the past decade which was one of the main topics at our AMP Talk.
Mark discussed how the rise of influencers and popularity of streaming platforms like Youtube and Spotify has challenged the record labels in the recent years. Thanks to all the digital tools available out there, mostly for free, it is much easier for the artists nowadays to produce and stream everything themselves. “We need to redefine the reason to work with us. The reason is the value of the people and the ability to form a team around the artist” - says Mark. So why should an artist sign with a record label when they can just upload their tracks online? The true value is in the team - and of course the security that comes with signing with a label like Sony Music. The fact that the term "influencer" is now mostly associated with an Instagram star, has sometimes led the artists to forget that they are often influencers themselves, having a real impact on their dedicated listeners.
According to Mark, the biggest struggle in the past few years for the labels has been getting the audience to engage with the artist that they work with. This is no surprise, since you now have the option to download a couple of songs rather than buying the full album and you can even ask Alexa to play something for you based on your mood instead of putting your favorite record on.
When asked about his predictions for the future and the changes coming to the industry, Mark has brought up voice controlled devices and how the voice search option can affect the way we explore new music. We're probably all curious to see how that can change in the coming years.
Ernst brought us on a journey back to 1997, when Propellerhead Software was just starting out. The music creation software was actually part of the digital revolution in the late 90s - it was the first software that allowed the artist to make music without any additional equipment. All you needed was you computer, headphones and your creativity. And lots of time of course as the process can be complex. Over the last 20 years, the company has of course expanded. Propellerhead now offers a variety of products, including mobile apps, and 80% of sales are now downloads.
What will be the next big thing in the music industry according to Ernst? Well, there are now plenty of mobile apps and social networks that can make you feel like a professional photographer without a professional camera, platforms that give you a voice to share your opinions with friends and strangers and many others. But for the music makers, there is no equivalent of Instagram or Twitter, no platform to share their music with others, connect with other artists all over the world and collaborate with them. This is why Ernst founded Allihoopa - an app that allows you to do exactly that. Thanks to Allihoopa, you can listen, get inspired, give feedback, and make music with others. We also discussed how AI can change the way we create music today and the possibilities of creating a robot that would be so smart it could create fantastic music and upload it on Spotify right away. Let's see what the future brings!
Stay tuned for our next AMP Talk - and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see what we're up to in the meantime!
Do you need a quick reminder of what Amplify is? We're taking music creativity & technology, remixing it with entrepreneurial excellence in a new and unique music tech incubator! Amplify is Sweden's first MusicTech oriented startup incubator, located at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.