This music-tech startup uses AI to create original soundtracks, solve music acquisition problems
Research suggests that over 500 hours of video content are uploaded onto YouTube every single minute. As per an Oxford Economics study this year, social media and digital content creators have contributed to the Indian economy in a big way with an influx of Rs 68,000 crore since 2020.
India alone has 80 million content artists. Today, more than 50 million podcast episodes have been released globally. Most of today’s digitally produced and consumed content needs good music and background scores. But, finding the right music for videos is challenging.
Bengaluru-basedsays it uses artificial intelligence (AI) to take the hassle out of composing and licensing music.
Launched in 2021 by Mansoor Rahimat Khan and Siddharth Bhardwaj, the AI-powered music tech startup bridges the gap between music composers/content creators by giving them access to royalty-free, affordable, mood-based, premium quality music composed by AI solutions developed by the company.
“The challenge that we observed prior to the conceptualisation of Beatoven.ai was that despite how well the sector was thriving, the biggest difficulty faced by music brands and independent creators was the constant hassle of acquiring and licensing music. Over the years this struggle has led to a huge waste of time and resources within the creative workforce,” Mansoor, Co-Founder and CEO, Beatoven.ai tells YourStory.
The platform, Mansoor says, can be used even by individuals with little or no knowledge of music.
All that a creator needs to do to create a new composition is to select a new project, pick a genre preference, and select a mood preference.
The technology used as part of this product is a mix of AI and music theory. Using a combination of the two, Beatoven.ai composes an original soundtrack based on the user’s preferences.
“It also solves the music acquisition and licensing problem by doing full buyout deals from renowned artists and producers and then using their data to feed their algorithms to produce original music,” Mansoor says.
According to the co-founder, Beatoven.ai currently has 200 active users. “Our initial users are distributed globally with about 80 percent of user engagement from India and about 20 percent from the US,” he adds. The platform is in the pre-revenue stage.
“We met at the popular Entrepreneur First programme. We were part of the fifth cohort of EF in India. We instantly formed a friendship and with us both coming from a music and tech background. This instant connection led to discussions on challenges within the area of concern which then made way for our collaborative efforts to go ahead in launching Beatoven.ai as Co-founders,” Mansoor tells YourStory.
Georgia Tech alumni Mansoor is a professional sitar player with 17 years of experience in the recording and live music industry. He comes from a family of musicians which dates back seven generations.
Mansoor has worked across several startups such as Great Learning, ToneTag in tech and product roles. In the past he has been associated with several music tech startups such as EDMofy, ACPAD, etc.
Siddharth, Co-Founder and CTO, Beatoven.ai is a multi-instrumentalist and music technologist who has been working at the intersection of music and technology for over seven years. He has a Masters in Sound and Music Computing from the Music Technology Group at UPF Barcelona.
Siddharth has worked across five startups in helping them set up their audio and music tech pipelines. He has extensive experience in signal processing, deep learning and generative music.
“Our current team strength is 12 including music tech research, engineering, design, music production and community building teams. We are also working with more than 60 musicians from whom we source all of our music samples,” says Mansoor.
Hitting the right notes
According to Mansoor, global AI music companies such as Mubert, Amper, AIVA and Soundraw have a black box algorithm which doesn't allow any granular customisation to the user as well as use the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) standard for music composition which results in poor quality outputs.
Beatoven.ai claims to be the first AI-powered music tech platform in India. “We are trying to create a tool which helps the user compose the music they have in their mind by giving them as much control as possible, without them getting into the technicalities of music composition and production. From a technology standpoint, we work primarily with audio data making the end result far superior in comparison,” explains Mansoor.
The platform’s uniqueness lies in its focus on regional music. Going forward, the startup plans to incorporate music theory across various genres and geographies into the composition algorithms.
Today, several music tech companies keep the identity of the artists on their platforms anonymous but the startup claims to keep them in the front and center of its product offerings. Beatoven.ai co-founders believe that the quality of artists that it works with, will drive the quality, consumer engagement and growth of its product.
Funding and monetisation
The company was launched with a pre-seed round of $55,000 from Entrepreneur First. It built out its MVP using those funds and took it to a few potential users.
“We have raised $1.05 million from Entrepreneur First and Redstart Labs, a subsidiary of Info Edge so far. Our expected goal is to hit $1 million ARR by the beginning of 2023. Being a deep technology SaaS (software-as-a-service) product we had to raise money to build the product and the tech interface before we could start monetizing it,” tells Mansoor.
“We will be monetising this platform in a few months and it will be a subscription-based platform with tiers of $20 per month for individual content creators, $40 per month for small ad agencies and $100 per month for production houses,” adds Mansoor.
The way ahead
As per Mansoor, “the total addressable market (top-down) for the music creator tools industry is $10 billion globally and our product’s serviceable/addressable market share is approximately $2.5 billion.”
The startup plans to onboard 10,000 new users by the end of 2022. Its target consumers are high-frequency video and podcast content creators such as YouTubers, advertising agencies, and wedding film production houses.
“We built out our MVP using raised funds and took it to a few potential users. These users have been extremely helpful in our journey so far and have given some great feedback on the product,” Mansoor says.
“I’ve always been curious how an AI would compose music and finally it’s a reality through Beatoven.ai,” adds one of its clients Andrew, freelance video editor.