The most exciting music technology startups in the UK

Perhaps more than any other, music is one of the areas of creativity that has been greatly influenced by technology.

Once, classical pianos were decried for being mechanical and an abstraction of making music, which was viewed as an innately human process.

Today, one of the most common ways to make music is by using an intimidating range of electronics, or even software emulations of those devices run through just a laptop. What does the future hold - for creation, consumption, and production?

Here are some of the music startups using tech to push at the boundaries of what is possible.

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JukeDeck

JukeDeck

JukeDeck is a music startup that uses AI to create new tunes. The London-based company has created over one million songs with AI algorithms. It was founded by two Cambridge University alumni Patrick Stobbs and Ed Newton-Rex, who are also musicians.

Stobbs told Techworld that it started as an intellectual endeavour, questioning whether machines could be involved in the creative process, and what this might look like.

"I suppose what we've realised over time is that the answer to the first question is 'yes,' and the answer to the second question is that it enables many more people to create music in different ways, and also experience music and listen to music in different ways," he says.

Read next: These AI startups are creating chart-worthy music with algorithms

Aside from creating complete songs, Jukedeck's platform can also write short snippets of melodies, harmonise with pre-written melodies, turn compositions into audio, and suggest ideas.

The biggest client base for the platform right now is made up of creators of YouTube videos looking for ambient music to play in the background without getting into a fight over royalties. So far, their music has been used in over 50,000 YouTube videos, and they suspect in plenty more whose creators have neglected to credit them.

Flat

Flat

Flat is software that helps you write musical scores online with musical composition technology.

According to the firm's website, there are 130,000 composers already on the platform with thousands of new musicians signing up every day. Other features include collaborative tools that allow you to link up to other musicians and work on the same score.

The startup was launched in 2014, and in 2015 it closed a seed funding round led by two well-known business angels: Jean David Blanc (Allocine, Molotov.tv) and Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet (PriceMinister, Isai).

Flat also joined the official Google for Education Partner Program. Designed for teachers and their students, Google Classroom is an academic mission control centre.

Lickd

Lickd

Lickd is a digital platform geared towards helping Youtube content creators use tracks for their videos legally. To do so, they act as a bridge between labels providing commercial music and creators via their VOUCH software.

If a creator is caught out using music that doesn't belong to them, they risk losing ad revenue, so this has a clearly defined proposition.

Of course, this comes at a price, with creators having to purchase a licence to the videos. But the costs are claimed to be low, and the whole experience streamlined and hassle-free. This also offers music creators an additional revenue stream.

In February 2019, the startup announced a Series A funding round of £1.7m ($2.2m) from angel investors, including drummer and Pink Floyd founding member Nick Mason.

The startup has partnered with BMG, recently announcing a label and publishing deal with which will see up to 3 million of the label's songs cleared for use by creators.

MXX

MXX

MXX was spun out from an AI lab in 2015. The company's software allows you to automate (with AI) audio editing for existing music for making personal and professional videos.

The software adapts the musical narrative to the brief as a professional music editor would. You can use a drag and drop tool to mould the resulting music to your brief. It doesn't require stems and uses stereo files.

The company work with some of the world's leading music libraries including Warner Music Group, EMI, and KPM Music.

The group has been placed in the finals of a number of high-profile music startup awards including ADE and Midem.

AI Music

AI Music

As the name would suggest, this startup integrates (proprietary and modular) AI engines to enable a real time relationship between existing tracks and the listener. The aim is to encourage the listener to interact with music and adjust and co-create with it.

"Maybe you listen to a song and in the morning it might be a little bit more of an acoustic version,” CEO, Siavash Mahdavi told the Guardian. "Maybe that same song, when you play it as you’re about to go to the gym, it's a deep house or drum'n'bass version. And in the evening it's a bit more jazzy. The song can actually shift itself."

You can access the software through the Ossia app, where you can create your remixes of your favourite artists.

The startup has partnered with the Universal Music Group and Abbey Road Red.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.