The Faces of Nashville’s Music Tech Scene
After an evening rolling through the bars on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, where tip jars are passed around to pay the live musicians, it may seem like there hasn’t been much innovation in the music industry.
But walk up the hill from Lower Broadway to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center sitting up on a crest just outside of downtown, and you will hear a very different tune.
The center is home to music-tech accelerator Project Music, which provides funding to startups innovating a particular segment of the music and recording industry in exchange for equity.
Have a look through our gallery to get a sense of how these Nashville entrepreneurs are modernizing the way music is made, produced, celebrated and enjoyed. All but one of these entrepreneurs are part of the Project Music program.
Founders: Michael Amburgey, Randy Hall and Catt Damon
What the company does: You are out with your friends — getting drinks, laughing, having a grand old time. And you gather the courage — liquid or otherwise — to sing karaoke. You go to the DJ and he directs you to a big, old, binder filled with song titles. Some songs are crossed out and others are written in by hand, the pages are sticky with the remnants of spilled beer, and you can’t even read the songbook pages in the dark bar. Buzz kill.
That old, out-dated experience led karaoke fan Michael Amburgey and his co-founder Randy Hall to launch an app that would digitize and modernize the karaoke experience. Their app, KaraoQ, allows patrons to search for the songs on their phone from a continuously updated database. Once a patron selects a song, they are placed in the digital queue and from the app, the patron can see where they stand in line. The app saves karaoke DJs from having to shuffle paper requests in illegible handwriting.
Also, the app digitizes the “tip to skip” etiquette. For a price, you can move up the line, or you can also pay to move others in the queue up the line. The fee for moving up in line is dependent on how many people are in line at the time, says Amburgey. In addition to modernizing the song search and reservation process, the bar can use the app as a way to advertise to clients. For example, a bar can send push notifications of drink deals or special events to everyone in their karaoQ contact list.