Soundwave aims to take music analytics to a whole new level

17 May 2012

Aidan Sliney and Brendan O'Driscoll, co-founders of Soundwave, pictured at Dublin Beta a few weeks ago. Image credit:

Imagine being able to capture in real-time what type of music your friends are listening to, or finding out the most popular musical choices are in your city? Well, today’s winner of the NDRC digital start-up accelerator was Soundwave, which is on a mission to change the face of music analytics. The start-up managed to catch the attention of investors today and is now in line to access in the region of €50,000 in investment funding.

To give you a little bit of background, Soundwave itself is one of 15 start-ups that have been engaged on the National Digital Research Centre’s (NDRC) 12-week Launchpad programme, which culminated today with a Lift-Off competition.

Each of the 15 start-ups had to pitch today for potential investment.

Commercial validation

Gary Leyden, the director of Launchpad, said that Soundwave won the investors’ attention because the company had done its homework on validating its product.

“They [the investors] saw this massively scaleable business. The other aspect was that Soundwave had done a lot of commercial validation,” said Leyden.

“The focus of the company now will be on the data it generates,” he said.

Leyden was quick to add that Launchpad 6 is now open for applications for its upcoming autumn start-up programme.

How Soundwave came to light

But, as for Soundwave, we caught up with one of the co-founders, Brendan O’Driscoll, who explained the genesis of the start-up.

The company has developed a smartphone app and web service that has the facility to track in real-time what songs people are listening to by location.

There are three co-founders: O’Driscoll, who operates on the business development side of things; Aidan Sliney, who manages the tech side of Soundwave and implements products ideas; and Craig Watson, who is working on the operational and financial aspects of the start-up.

Interestingly, Watson is a solicitor who decided to leave the legal world to focus on the tech start-up space.

“We met Craig at Dublin Beta. We told him about what we are doing, so he has now joined the team as a co-founder,” explained O’Driscoll.

Finding a niche in the music world

As for the start-up’s market research, O’Driscoll said that the team has been very conscious of not making a product that didn’t have a commercial niche.

“We validated it in the music industry with Irish indie labels, with artists, with band managers and with music agents,” he explains. “We have also been talking to telecoms companies.”

He said that, right now, the music industry has music analytics but they don’t use such analytics to create actionable information.

“Our music analytics can create hyperlocal, real-time music charts,” explained O’Driscoll.

For instance, he said the service will allow people to source information about what people are listening to by geographical location or by venue.

Via Soundwave, he said that users of the app will be able to create a type of ‘sound circle’ to source all of the musical information from say a city or their local gym.

O’Driscoll pointed to the potential for venues, bands and festival organisers to be able to analyse what people are listening to via the service, so that they can then target future marketing campaigns, for instance.


So where is the app at now?

“We have created an android app, which is in private beta testing at the moment. We’re debugging it. We want it to be a consumer-facing app. With this potential investment funding, we hope to be able to get the app ready to rock ‘n’ roll,” said O’Driscoll.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic