Music-tech start-ups prepare for Dragons' Den event held tomorrow


A real-time chart compiled using the buzz on social media will be among the ideas pitched by music-tech start-ups at a Dragons’ Den style event on Tuesday.

Sound Index by Digital Innovation Group uses semantic analysis of social media to produce a live and customisable music chart, but more money is needed to bring the platform up to date.

Digital Innovation Group director of user experience Olly Mardling will pitch Sound Index to a panel of potential investors at EMI’s headquarters in Kensington, in the hope of securing £150,000 of investment or even finding a partner.

The MUSIC techpitch 4.5 event will also include pitches from seven other companies, while the panel will include Microsoft Bizspark’s Bindi Karia, Corporate Finance’s Alun Simpson and James Parton from BlueVia (Telefonica). The winner of the event will get a meeting to discuss potential investment opportunities.

Mardling, from the company based in Hatton Garden in Clerkenwell, said: “I’m a big music fan and I use a lot of the websites that scrape social media to present you with charts, so I know there is competition out there.

“But what they don’t allow you to do is model them and create your own bespoke versions like SoundIndex can. If I want to go in and understand what a 14-year-old boy from New York who likes hip-hop is listening to, then you can see what his charts look like.

“We don’t see it limited to music, it could go for books, movies and celebrities, understanding any topic area or application. It could be massive.”

Sound Index was originally created for the BBC, but experienced difficulties in getting to market after a high price was slapped on the licence for some of the technology behind it by another company. Now Digital Innovation Group has managed to produce the same system for “a fraction of the cost” by using data feeds from Google.

Mardling said: “A lot of the technology is already in place, but we need to tap into data sources that are more relevant than in 2008, like Spotify and Grooveshark. It’s about bringing the tech platform up to date and skinning it for a design-centric market. It didn’t look too pretty when it was built for the BBC.”

LiveMusicStage, Music2Text, Nu-Desine, Pepper by DAM Good Media, Psonar, Radiojar and Soundation are the other seven start-ups pitching their ideas to the panel of judges.