Fanify: Using AI to help budding musicians hit the right note with fans

13 Feb 2023

Pete Rust and Dagan Fleming. Image: Fanify

Dundalk-based Fanify, which raised significant funding last month, is on a mission to help musicians find and grow their fanbase using AI-driven machine learning.

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Artificial intelligence has been around for a while now, but only in the last few years has interest in the technology exploded – most recently because of ChatGPT.

AI technologies are in the early stages of revolutionising conventionally human tasks such as writing, software development and even games. And while AI-generated music may take a while to take off, the voguish technology has found ways to make some noise in the music industry.

One such example of using AI in music is the Dundalk-based start-up Fanify. Founded by musician-turned-entrepreneur Pete Rust and business expert Dagan Fleming, Fanify is on a mission to help budding musicians establish and grow their fanbase.

‘Go back to playing music’

Using AI-driven machine learning technology, Fanify aims to fully automate the music promotion and fanbase building process for solo artists and bands, allowing them to focus on the creative process while finding them an audience that can connect with their music.

“Fanify finds and tracks fans, people who really engage with a band or artist’s content and continues to re-engage them over time growing and solidifying the fan-artist relationship,” Rust told recently.

“Our motto is ‘Go back to playing music and let Fanify build your fanbase for you’”.

Founded in 2021, Fanify has developed technology that it calls ‘new music audience’ which uses music promotion data from thousands of bands and artists as well as “the vast marketing and data analytic infrastructure” of Facebook and Google to find fans for users.

It does so by showing their promotional content to people who love to discover new music and are interested in the same type of music as theirs.

“There is a lot of serious advice from music marketing professionals saying that any serious independent musician or band should be spending at least 20 hours a week on their music promotion and marketing. That independent musicians should by and large have a professional level of understanding of arcane marketing tools and techniques,” Rust explained.

“This idea goes against the advancements that have been made across the entire music technology sphere. Fanify is here to support musicians, bands and artists and to save them time and effort.”

Rust claims that Fanify users need no technical expertise in marketing or technology and that building a fanbase using its technology will require minimal effort.

“Our users’ fans are real people. We don’t sell pay-for-play views from click farms or bots. Those methods muddy the data, causing harm to your music career,” he went on.

“The algorithms of the major video content platforms, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, are not looking for an audience for your video, they’re looking for videos for their users. Fanify is the platform that finds an audience for your videos.”

Striking a chord with artists

Having been a professional musician and promoter for more than 12 years, Rust alongside his colleague Fleming, previously founded another music start-up, Dundalk-based studio Lockup Records. Rust described the company as “a cornerstone of the music scene in the north-east of Ireland”.

“My experiences in the music industry have given me real world insight into the pain and difficulties that most bands and artists have in trying to promote their music,” he said.

“They spend a lot of time and money through the whole process of writing, rehearsing, recording and releasing their music. They will equally invest in music promotion but there is no service currently that fully automates the process of music promotion and growing a fanbase.

“Any avenue available for bands and artists to do this requires a steep learning curve, trying to understand complicated marketing tools and learning digital marketing concepts.”

While Rust heads the business as CEO, Fleming leads Fanify’s business development. With more than 15 years of experience in project management and sales, Fleming produced hundreds of live events and recording sessions as general manager of Lockup Records.

Just last month, Fanify raised €400,000 in pre-seed funding led by April Ventures. Other backers include Global Perspectives, a vehicle established by Shane Brett, who previously founded fintech company Gecko Governance.

Rust said they are planning a further raise later this year “to continue building out our roadmap and growing our userbase globally”.

“We have already been contacted by several potential investors and have had positive preliminary meetings. We are always willing to hear from potential future partners about how we can take Fanify to the next level.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic