Have you ever thought that the choice of music played publicly can be influenced by you? Blicko is a Swedish startup that offers an awesome idea of a social music service! It is a democratic playlist solution that can be applied for a private use at home as well as at public establishments like clubs, pubs, offices and even music festivals and other events. You can set the station and let anyone submit songs, vote for them and share their music preferences via social media. Blicko satisfies everybody’s music tastes! Sounds cool, right?
All you need to do is install Tuner application to your computer desktop to play back the music. Moreover, you can access and play the tracks directly from the music station you reach with a browser. In order to vote for or suggest a song just connect to blicko.com/stationname from your device and enjoy the sounds!
What is more, Blicko provides a complete music solution for public venues, allowing the music stream with the help of a specially developed device called Blicko Box, together with all the functionality of the service including easy visitors' access to the music station with their devices.
We have interviewed one of the cofounders of Blicko social music service Jesper Ahlberg and here are some insights he shared with us.
Me: How did you come up with the idea of Blicko?
Jesper: I came up with the idea of a music service 3 years ago at a private university party. Spotify tracks were playing on someone’s computer and a thought crossed my mind “Hey! Why not submit my own tracks to the music being played?” That’s how it all started.
Me: Has your initial vision changed since the launch?
Jesper: Not much, now we are getting focused mainly on B2B business approach rather than B2C, offering democratic music solution to public venues when it comes to playback of music.
Me: How did you manage to get support from KTH student incubator? What did you gain from it?
Jesper: Student Inc. Business Incubator program supports technology-based projects with strong commercial potential and where the core team members are students at KTH. We studied at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), so we had a chance to participate in their program. Student incubator meant for us office space and business coaching that was a good way to start from.
Right now, we are collaborating withSting (Stockholm Innovation and Growth) which is a business incubator and supports entrepreneurs in building new technology.
Me: How did you get Microsoft BizSpark program to sponsor your startup?
Jesper: We applied for free BizSpark startup program and got approved. BizSpark provided us with software and their cloud hosting service.
Me: What do you see as a source of success for your startup?
Jesper: It’s in uniqueness of our service. With Blicko we solved the problem of listening to music together and influence the music tracks, so that everyone gets satisfied with what is playing. We are getting the most traffic from promoting our product at different public events, parties, student pubs. Also, customers, who tried Blicko before, come back because they really like it and tell their friends about it. That way we acquire more and more loyal users.
Me: What are you most excited about now?
Jesper: As long as getting back our old customers works pretty well for us, we are most excited about acquiring new users. That’s what we’ve been working on these days. We are currently trying to get more businesses and public venues employ our music service.
Me: What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the startup process?
Jesper: The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was at the start. Without having any difficulty with product development and idea implementation, streaming music library, licensed for public playback, was a hard job to find. However, we managed to discover such type of a library, that had exactly what we were looking for - the right licensing for a public play with the collecting societies. This opened for us a legitimate way to monetize our product.
Me: What do you wish you’d known when you just started?
Jesper: I wish I had known more about music licensing, copyright holders, collecting societies and all the law related issues.
Me: What ways of monetization do you use?
Jesper: Our main source of monetization is a complete music solution offer for businesses. We provide public establishments with the music service which functions like a jukebox and includes a small computer called Blicko Box to make it easy to control music playback inside the venue.
But we also have a free model for private use at home parties and events.
Me: What do you consider the best way to gain customers?
Jesper: We promote our services at public events and also use social media integration. Venue music stations are accessible through Facebook and Twitter visitors’ accounts and connected to them. That generates referral.
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Me: What are your main competitors? What is your main competitive advantage?
Jesper: American company Rockbot does pretty much the same thing. But in Sweden we are the only ones to offer such kind of a service.
Our competitive advantage is the idea of a convenient device Blicko box. All the configurations and control are set in intuitive web-based interface, which assigned administrators have access to. The only thing you need to do is to connect power, network, and sound system. Moreover, we do not only stream everybody’s favorite music. With Blicko, you can schedule and switch playlists, automatically adjust the volume depending on the time, use tailored playlists specially composed according to your music taste, access the service from anywhere and at any time. It also provides statistics analysis on the favorability of the music being played and tracks the social media referrals. This feature can be used as a great tool for client service optimization and increase the popularity of the place.
Me: Your advice for beginner startups.
Jesper: Try! Just try. Yalantis team wishes all the best to Blicko and its creative team of developers. We are looking forward to hearing more about Swedish interactive music service. May good success attend you, guys! Many thanks to Jesper for a nice talk.
Jesper Ahlberg, Co-founder and developer at Blicko AB