Fast Company Magazine recently released their list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2012, with 10 filling the Music category. These days, it seems like the music industry is expanding at rapid speed – is it just us, or does it feel like we were just listening to portable CD players? Now, we’ve got iPods the size of a paperclip, it seems.
The best part? These innovators impact everyone in the music industry- not just artists, but concertgoers and fans. What will be next? In 20 years, we can only imagine how we’ll be sharing, distributing, recording and listening to music. Check out our 5 favorites that made the list, along with commentary from Fast Company:
For creating a simple, democratic sound-sharing platform embraced by everyone from 50 Cent and Madonna to urban nomads looking to capture an interesting neighborhood sound. More than 10 million users have jumped on SoundCloud’s mission to “unmute the web,” two million of which came in the last two months. In May, it released its API to appbuilders with SoundCloud Labs, where more than 10,000 apps are currently in development. And $50 million from a Kleiner Perkins-led funding round? Well that sounds pretty sweet, too.
For taking the cake in the battle of the all-you-can-eat on-demand music streaming services (against competitors such as MOG and Rdio). Since its July U.S. launch, Spotify has become Facebook’s default music partner and gained 3 million paying subscribers worldwide, 20% of its active user base. Most surprising? More than half of those paying for the service are under 30.
For creating the world’s first app album. Björk tapped interactive design guru Scott Snibbe to create the phantasmagoric iPad app for Biophilia, her first full-length album in four years, immediately positing it as a new-media model for fellow recording artists.
4. Mason Jar Music
For pioneering a new concert model. The Brooklyn-based collective of musicians, artists, and filmmakers eschews large, commercial spaces for nontraditional venues that foster organic collaboration. In October, they partnered with indie darling Feist to stage a 25-piece band for a secret debut of her Metals album at a tiny Harlem crypt. And a recent video for their new Grooveshark series, “Mason Jar Music Presents…,” documents a performance by The Wood Brothers at an abandoned Brooklyn schoolhouse.
For turning music sharing into a novel social experience. Turntable.fm’s 110,000 active users–about 30,000 of whom are logging 10 to 20 hours a month–can DJ their favorite songs to each other in virtual “rooms,” either from their personal libraries or from the service’s own catalog, supplied by copyright heavyweights ASCAP and BMI. Since its debut last January, the service has inspired several copycats, notably Facebook’s “Listen With” feature which launched this January. In the age of made-for-you personal playlists from the likes of Pandora, Turntable.fm is a breath of fresh air.
Your turn – what are your predictions for what’s next for the music industry and technology? Think big, and let us know what you think! Are there any companies that you feel are missing from this list? Leave a comment on our Facebook page to join the discussion. Like these posts? Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe.
Photo by Audio-TechnicaUK.