By Charles McEnerney
Greater Boston has long been a hub of music and technology start-ups, from Sonicbids, (acquired by Backstage) to Echo Nest (recently acquired by Spotify), Timbre (acquired by Seatwave) to Nimbit (acquired by PreSonus), many of which can trace at least some of their roots to the Berklee College of Music.
As a fan of music and technology and impressed by the variety of ideas that were growing in Greater Boston in the music space, I began organizing an annual series of demo nights called Music 2.0, which would give new music and tech start-ups the opportunity to present their vision to a room full of people, including musicians, marketers, managers, entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and music fans. We held our fifth annual event at Innovation District Hall on May 16, 2014, and I thought some further exploration of these ideas fit the mission of The Arts Fuse.
This new series of Fuse Tech interviews is meant to put a spotlight on some the companies that presented at Music 2.0, but it will also look at other start-ups from Greater Boston that are using technology to invigorate the future of the arts, culture, and entertainment.
First up, Daniel Adler-Golden, the Founder of GroupTones.com.
Arts Fuse: What’s your background and how did you come up with the idea for GroupTones.com?
Dan Adler-Golden: My background is in Americorps (A year of City Year Boston then Americorps NCCC) and political science, but I grew up in Boston playing cello in New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music. I decided to pick up the cello again after many years off and found it difficult to synch up with local musicians for actually playing music.
After many months of riding the MBTA with my cello I got frustrated enough that I started working on building a connection tool for the music community.
Arts Fuse: What is GroupTones and why does the world need it?
Dan Adler-Golden: GroupTones is a location-based platform that enables musicians to easily and intuitively explore their local music community. Despite the large digital presence of musicians there is no online home for musicians. There is no trusted effective way for musicians to find, interact, and transact with each other online.
There are plenty of online resources for promotion and distribution, but very few tools for musicians looking to bridge the gap between the digital and the real world.
Arts Fuse: Who are you competing with in this space and how is GroupTones better?
Dan Adler-Golden: Craigslist, Bandmix, MySpace. To quote some early GroupTones research, “I just cancelled my monthly $10 subscription to Bandmix.com. A waste of money. I received more response from local “City Paper” and Craigslist advertisements, which are free.”
Arts Fuse: What are the benefits of using the service for artists?
Dan Adler-Golden: I built the website for musicians to find and meet each other in real life, but the platform offers greater utility (see a few quotes below) than what I originally intended.
GroupTones lets you explore the music community at a local and national level, providing almost endless possibilities.
Arts Fuse: Do you have any success stories you can share from current customers?
“I ended up doing sound for a few bands that I met through GroupTones!”-Chris Gillooly, Shaker Heights, Ohio
“Your site has allowed me to be a part of a couple cross-country collaborations I never would’ve known about otherwise.” -David Baji, West Palm Beach, Fl
This is awesome! I just signed up and found a banjo player (which I’ve been looking for) that lives about 3 miles from me!” -Will Chatham , Asheville, NC
“Dig (band) would not exist without this amazing website.” -Graham Kelly, Boston, MA
Charles McEnerney has held marketing and editorial roles at HBO, WGBH/PBS, Fast Company magazine, ArtsBoston, MovieMaker magazine, Seattle International Film Festival, and worked in film, television, and music production. He was also Host + Producer of the Well-Rounded Radio music interview podcast series from 2002-2010 and is now Principal at Layers Marketing.