Tradiio, a digital platform to accelerate the careers of upcoming musical artists

Tradiio is an AVP Inovação e Internacionalização investment that Armilar has helped create from the drawing board to what it is today: a solid digital platform to help accelerate the careers of thousands of upcoming musical artists, gaining meaningful recognition and bringing disruption to a hot market that is ripe for new models.

Tradiio Mobile App interface

We invited Álvaro Gomez, founder and CEO, to help our readers understand Tradiio. What’s the excitement all about?

Armilar Venture Partners: Álvaro, could you start by sharing your views about the current state of the music industry?

Álvaro Gomez: After more than a decade of decline, the industry is finally recovering and entering in a promising new era, supported by the digital business. Legal distribution models have become more mature and established — pushed by streaming technology –, and the business of performing has gained more importance than what it used to have, relative to the business of selling music — backed by the fact that music is now widely accessible. But still, more than 90% of the artists don´t make any money from their art, and this situation is worsening because today it is easier than ever to create and distribute new music, but consequently it is harder than ever to be relevant.

At the same time, the basic customer needs are evolving faster. We not only want unlimited access to music, we want personalized content fitted to our tastes and moods. And navigating through this overflow of content, we also feel that we need to recover the emotional link with music and the artists that we once had. There are a lot of opportunities to deliver new value in this space; the only block on the road are the dogmas and orthodoxies from the traditional mind-set of doing business in the industry, but this is changing too.

The industry is going through turbulence, crossing a transition phase. The traditional business has been challenged by the digital impact, first boosting piracy and later leveraging new business models, opening growing spaces for newcomers with innovative value propositions. The industry landscape is being redefined.

AVP: So, how do you see it evolving?

ÁN: The future looks promising for music, for artists and for business. The exponential growth in adoption of legal streaming services, supported by new subscription models and streaming services embedded in telecoms’ integrated offers, for example, is a huge pipe to distribute legal digital music globally, in a transparent way. This is going to radically disrupt the value of the industry.

The traditional value chain is evolving to networks of ecosystems, where players reconnect the dots to deliver new experiences to customers. Brands will play a key role in this, reinforcing the emotional link with their communities, blending the offline and online worlds. The market is going to expand, not only for the mainstreams acts, but also for new upcoming artists. New ways to fund, create and distribute new music projects are closing the gap between artists and fans, disrupting the creation capability.

This overwhelming volume of new content requires new ways to discover talent in a faster and efficient way, both for consumers and the industry.

AVP: And that’s where Tradiio comes in.

ÁN: Exactly. Tradiio is a music platform that accelerates the discovery and development of new talented artists, by consumers and by the music industry. Tradiio is the artists accelerator, where people can play their part in supporting new artists for free.

With Tradiio, you, the user, get to influence the industry by selecting who you think will be the next hit you want to hear on the radio, or playing in concert — you Play Your Part; if you’re an industry stakeholder, from a global label to a local concert venue, you get access to upcoming acts that have been vetted by a large number of music listeners and concert goers; and if you’re an artist, you get to expose your music and get selected, by your fans, to move your career forward.

This is something unique, that can only be accomplished through a technology that ensures full transparency and absolute rigour in how the music gets evaluated — exempt from all the randomness and gratuitousness of the normal social platforms and “Like!” systems.

AVP: Ok, so how exactly does Tradiio accomplish those things? Tell us more specifically how Tradiio works.

ÁN: Tradiio works by providing a great music listening and discovery experience and by aggregating the wisdom of the crowd using stock market dynamics, which is the most efficient tool known to identify valuable assets.

Artists upload their tracks and we give them exposure on the platform. Users, or music lovers, as we call them, get to browse the songs and freely listen to as much music as they like; when they find a track that they think will become a hit, they “invest” virtual coins in them. This is important, because their stock of coins is limited, so they get to manage this scarce resource that they are putting at risk, which makes for well pondered “investment” decisions; if they were right, the track will rise on the charts, and then by “selling” that investment they win more coins to play; if not, they risk losing some of their precious coins. The songs that receive the most investment reach the top of the charts and the artists then gain access to real-life rewards and opportunities, like music material, video recording, venues and festival bookings, and even label deals. As for the music lovers, those people that contributed, through their investment, for a good song to gain recognition also gain access to real rewards, like exclusive music experiences and music related products.

Now, if you have a stake in the music industry, you get to see this unfold, observe how the music is faring in the charts and who is investing in what. That’s pretty interesting, and it’s what allows the industry to pick it up where Tradiio leaves off and then give more voice and even more exposure to the users’ picks!

AVP: Got it! But one has to ask: as a business, how will you make money in the process?

ÁN: Indeed, Tradiio is free for artists and users. As an artist, you can upload as much music as you like, and as a user, you get to listen to all of it, as much as you can take. But our platform has different revenue streams that we have been developing.

The first one is through a membership — we call it Tradiio Pass — that gives users a set of advanced tools for them to enhance their experience and increase their ability to influence the process. We have recently launched this and are in the process of fine-tuning the feats that we give to Tradiio Pass holders, but it’s already capturing much interest from the users that want to get more actively involved in the discovery and selection of upcoming music.

Secondly, we are offering the opportunity for brands to reinforce the connection with their customers through associating themselves to the world of upcoming music. We have very attractive content, attractive user demographics and attractive levels of industry impact for a number of consumer brands. They select a specific music space within Tradiio, say, a given genre or a given geography, and use Tradiio as a communication platform to sponsor talent discovery challenges, support new artists and globally strengthen their image and positioning in their market segment. Think of what a new music hit can do to a brand that helped discover and launch it!

And last, but by no means least, we have an activity of artist management. Since we can effectively be a platform through which artists boost their careers — as we’ve been proving through a number of success cases –, we craft deals with promising artists to be part of their future success. This is not a requirement for artists to use Tradiio in any way, but many approach us to leverage on all the help we can give them — beyond their progression through the activity of Tradiio users on the platform, and actually powered by it –, with tools that include connecting them with key industry players, promotion, video recording, mastering and booking, for example. Think of this as a super-powered manager or independent label for unsigned artists, that leverages on a platform with a tremendous richness of new music that is vetted by large numbers of music lovers!

AVP: That’s pretty clear and it sounds very compelling. So, why wouldn’t one of the large established players, say, streaming platforms (we won’t mention names), be able to quickly emulate and replicate what Tradiio is doing?

ÁN: Great question! First of all, let me say that we are playing on a different field. The long tail of undiscovered music has different needs from those of the mainstream space, where the established players are specialised, and it is not easy to change old mind-sets.

Then, at the core of our platform is the market technology that I already described. This is critical, like I said, to ensure reliable charts and ranks from all the activity that is taking place in Tradiio, that stem from deliberate decisions of music lovers rather a gratuitous click on a “Like!” button. Blending music and markets dynamics is an alchemist’s game. Not easy to copy, it takes time to build that capability. And it is not a trivial technology. Our core technology has been developed on top of a patented technology that’s been tested with success during the last decade. It incorporates a lot of knowledge about how virtual stock markets work. It is not easy to replicate! But of course, we’ll always keep an eye on competition!

AVP: Ok, I think we’re clear on what Tradiio is and what is does. Tell us a bit about your journey. What’s the progress of Tradiio to date?

ÁN: It’s been a great journey, very intensive but also very rewarding. Last year, we started by developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to test the value proposition in the Portuguese market. This was a huge success, and while it was only an MVP, it spurred important music hits and great partnerships with the music industry. Since then, the rhythm of new opportunities and achievements has been increasing every day.

Since we officially launched Tradiio at the beginning of March, the traction and visibility has been great. More than 10.000 artists and 150.000 users have now joined Tradiio, from more than 150 countries and covering all the genres you can possibly imagine.

We’re global! And we’re just getting started!

The feedback that we’ve been receiving is just tremendous. The acceptance from the industry is extremely encouraging

AVP: Have you had any artist or industry success stories that you can share with us? Something that proves that Tradiio is delivering on its promise?

ÁN: Yes, this is what Tradiio does. In less than one year, we helped more than 250 artists to develop their careers, more than 100 played live at key venues and major festivals, like Super Bock Super Rock (Portugal) and Field Day (UK), and 10 of them signed with Universal Music.

Just as an example, take ATOA, one of the current top bands in Portugal. They are a very young band of four who was simply unknown outside of their hometown; they joined Tradiio last October and in one month they got to the top of the charts and closed a 360º deal with Universal Music starting a successful career. Other ones like Isaura or Cameron Douglas are boosting their international careers. I could tell you many more names [see box for a small collection of examples].

And this is only the beginning, we are expanding our ecosystem to provide more and more opportunities to help new artists.

AVP: That’s impressive! Now, in these interviews, we often end with the same question: where do you see Tradiio in, say, five years?

I won’t say much else other than, with a bit of luck, we hope to be globally recognized for disrupting the music industry’s long tail by dramatically increasing the proportion of new artists that make a living from their craft. It is a bold and promising dream!

Álvaro Gomez, CEO of Tradiio