SoundCtrl: 8 Essential Keys To A Good Music Technology Brand

Cam'rom makes a surprise performance at SoundCTRL's fifth Annual FlashFWD Awards

Last week, the fifth Annual FlashFWD Award show went down at Irving Plaza in NYC, celebrating the leaders of music and technology. Recognizing the tireless efforts put forth by the innovators and companies that are changing the face of music and the community shaping the culture, FlashFWD awarded music tech’s elite including: Shazam (Best In Discovery), Skrillex (Best In Album App), RITHM (Best In Mobile & Tablet), Insomniac Events (Best In Live), Next Big Sound (Best In Artist Support), Beyonce (SoundWav Influencer), and Andreessen Horowitz (Investor of the Year).

In addition, Cam’ron performed the freshly released “Dipshits” off his forthcoming EP ‘Federal Reserve’ live for the first time at SoundCTRL's 5th annual FlashFWD Awards and Vic Mensa was also on the bill, taking the stage to perform his hit single “Down on My Luck.”

VIBE asked SoundCTRL’s founders (and brothers), Jesse and Alex Kirshbaum to fill us on in on what it takes to make a solid, award-winning music technology brand. Below, they give us the lowdown:

“The music technology sector is steadily growing as software, instruments, engineering tools data capture and mobile applications continue to push the boundaries of creation and dissemination of music. New brands and businesses competing in this industry must streamline their approach with laser-focus, whether their products are informed by the business, trends, production, or performance of music. After examining a wide breadth of seminal music technology products, the brands that flourish often have these eight essential qualities bolstering their success.” - SoundCTRL

1. Design/User-ability
Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked elements of a good brand, design is critical, especially in music. Working with professional designers to create stunning visual applications for your product and its various formats effects users directly and subliminally. This is especially true in a world saturated with streaming apps, music journalism sources, and digital instruments for computers and mobile devices.

2. Innovation
It is important that your product is changing the way consumers approach or creates music, whether it be in regards to playback, performance, or establishing communities. A thorough web search of similar products may help you hone in and refine your idea, ensuring that your product is novel and useful for the intended audience.

3. Integrity
Users see through insincerity, and they have to believe in the idea and the people who created it. Your product should demonstrate devotion to your core values, and these values should be reiterated throughout your launch and lifespan of the brand. If you're looking to form a startup for a quick buck without fully believing in the concept, you should probably rethink the industry you're entering.

4. Customer Service
This relates back to integrity, but timely and supportive help and service to customers is essential to a new brand. Responding to emails quickly and concisely, as well as having a protocol for dissatisfied or concerned customers will amplify the brand's reputation.

5. Fair Pricing Models
Tiered pricing ensures that people of all economic levels can afford and engage with your brand. Premium options for paying customers also gives a sense of exclusivity and esteem, and creates a lasting relationship between you and the user.

6. International Influence
Translating your product and offering help in different languages can help spread your brand to a worldwide audience. Balancing your prices and creating country and culture-specific offerings based on research can easily get your product into the hands of musicians and music-lovers around the globe.

7. Expandability
Co-branding and integrating your technology into another company's framework, or vice-versa, could very well double your number of users and offer effective routes of promotion to new audiences. Constantly looking ahead at the next step and new technology opportunities for growth could help you keep up with burgeoning technologies that complement your own.

8. Good Music
Overall, your product should communicate by sharing, creating, or experiencing the highest quality of music. Delegating the task of quality control will ensure that your brand's intentions are never questioned and that your taste attracts new users from multiple backgrounds and interests.

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