The team consists of four young co-founders – Amman Ahmed, Chris Farrell, Mark Wheeler and Emma, and all of them live in Manchester UK. They are really proud of their ‘CEE connection’, Agi Szabadi, who started working for Rormix as an intern and the team ended up taking her on as their first employee at Rormix. The Rormix app on iOS and Android was released in October 2013 and in that short time it was named as one of the best apps of last year. Emma tells us a bit more about the background story:
The idea began when Chris and I were working on Amman’s first startup – Roundwaves. We spotted how many incredible unsigned artists there are out there with great music videos, but strangely there is no platform tailored specifically to them. This was an opportunity that could not be ignored, so using revenue from Roundwaves we embarked on a new business journey. And so my startup experience began alongside my amazing 3 co-founders Amman, Chris and technical genius Mark and employee number one Agi.
The Rormix app is designed to help users discover emerging music videos. By emerging the team means unsigned or independent artists. Within the simple but innovative app there are many ways to discover new artists – you can search based on what’s new, what’s most popular, search via genre and the most innovative feature, ‘Discover’. The Discover tool allows users to enter a commercial artist that users may like, for example, ‘Lady Gaga’, and the app will recommend a similar style of artists but they are all unsigned or independent musicians. Users can log in with Facebook so they can like and share their favourite videos with your friends. Also, there is a share with Twitter function.
We offer users 24 different genres of music for users to search with, ranging from pop to metal. So there will be something to suit everyone. We are currently working on our iOS update that will be released in spring. In this version, the user will have more control – they will be rewarded also for their interaction. So the more they share, like etc. the more they will be rewarded, making them an influencer on ‘Rormix’.
Opportunities and competitors
This market is growing, the team explained us, but the giants, like VEVO, are still ignoring it. Even YouTube is so saturated, stuffed to the brim with diverse content, so it is nearly impossible for the artists to get seen by those people that actually want to see you.
As an emerging artist with a high quality music video you become lost amongst cat videos and the likes of Miley, Rihanna and Beyonce. The giants are ignoring this large space in emerging music videos and this has left a huge land grab opportunity. Also, we feel that the opportunity in mobile video is not something to be ignored. Last year, more than 50% of VEVO’s views were via mobile. People want entertainment on the go and convenience is essential.
Of course, there are other apps dedicated to the less known musicians, but Emma points out that many of them act as a social network or as a tool for the musician. Users are not rewarded in any way for taking part in other music sites. The Rormix team wants to change this by offering the users something for their interaction on Rormix and for supporting the artist. When sharing, liking etc. they will build up credits, which can be exchanged for merchandise or gig tickets for example.
VC investment is round the corner
Up till now the team has bootstrapped their business using the revenues from Roundwaves, so they have had to be innovative as a team. A marketing budget has been pretty much non-existent, Emma explains, but yet they still have had pretty good global traction since launch in October (15k+ downloads, 2k monthly active users, 1k+ unsigned/emerging/independent music videos and deal with 700 UK gyms). They are now very close to receiving six-figure VC investment, which will be able to accelerate Rormix to the next level, improve its marketing strategy as well as helping them to expand the team.
In terms of competition, it seems to be only indirect competitors that we are aware of. There are the likes of VEVO but obviously the huge difference is they are focusing on commercial music. There is also Reverbnation, however, as mentioned previously they are more focused on being a tool for the musician, whereas we want to promote the artist but also reward users. The closest thing to a competitor for us is probably Beat100 since they are focusing on unsigned artists’ music videos. The stand out difference is that we filter and curate all of our music videos meaning that the videos we display are of a certain quality. We also pride ourselves on originality so we do not take any covers on the app, another difference between Beat100 and Rormix.
The team is looking forward to the future. They hope that the investment will help them to market the app properly. Their long-term goal is to become the number one destination for users to discover new, emerging music videos and the go-to platform for musicians to promote their videos on. And if you want to discover cool new music, be a genuine ‘hipster’ and brag with new bands, songs and videos you discovered, download the Rormix Android or iOS app and start listening and sharing. I have just discovered a pretty likeable punk-rock song Not Me by Violet Bones – that had just 59 views on YouTube! It definitely deserves more than that – and that is where the Rormix comes in! 😉