Music lovers who want to get their daily fix now have another way to get it — via AtticTV, an online music channel that aims to be an MTV for the Internet generation.
Founded by Malaysians Johnson Goh and Grey Ang, who had previously worked together on another startup that didn’t take off, AtticTV is their second venture together. It allows users to lean back and discover new music videos from YouTube.
The website essentially streams users a constant diet of music videos — it’s like watching MTV the old-school way. You consume clip after clip, making a mental note of those you like (or don’t).
Except that for AtticTV, viewers can surf by music genre, skip over videos they don’t like, add noteworthy tracks to an online library, or share them with friends.
They can also create ‘mixtapes’ — essentially a series of music videos organized around a certain theme. For instance, if I feel heartbroken after a breakup, I can create a list of songs that fit my mood, and share it with my friends.
AtticTV, in essence, hopes to do music discovery better than YouTube.
In some ways, it has achieved that. The interface is beautiful, and I find it generally a joy to use. Unlike YouTube, which refreshes every time you load a new video, the transition in AtticTV is seamless and elegant.
Also, when you switch to the next track, the current song fades out before the next one plays, – a subtle but nice touch. YouTube can take some notes on how AtticTV does this.
But I do wonder whether a nice interface and a focus on music discovery is enough for this startup to take off. Johnson considers YouTube and VEVO to be direct competitors, and these heavyweights have a lot going for them.
AtticTV, for instance, doesn’t have a long tail of music content.
If I watch the music video of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ on YouTube, I will not only receive recommendations to other Michael Jackson videos, but also footage of his concerts, parodies, and even covers by other artists.
For Michael Jackson fans, this bonanza of content drastically increases YouTube’s stickiness.
In addition, I find YouTube’s ability to discover new music for me rather decent. I’m a sort of YouTube addict, thanks to the website’s recommendation engine, and the result is that I often watch more stuff than I intended to. I’m sure that’s the case for many users too.
While it’s true that AtticTV is less cluttered and more suitable for viewing and discovering new music, it remains to be seen whether there is enough demand for it to gain significant traction.
Currently, they have 150 to 200 daily active users on average, with each user watching about 14 videos and staying 40 minutes.
The startup is also indirectly fighting for attention with online music services like Spotify, Turntable, and so on, which provide MP3 streaming.
Johnson admits that they still need to “figure out the exact use-cases that people want to view music videos, versus only listen to music, and carve out a focused product competency (in terms of design and features) to cater for those use-cases.”
“This will carve out a market for us, thus on a majority basis, not compete against these music-only services.”
This means that the startup is still groping around in the online music space. It may be one or two pivots before AtticTV finds a niche for itself.
The good news is, Asia is tremendously under-served by online music startups, thanks to the need to negotiate licensing deals country by country. As such, music lovers in this region don’t have a lot of options when it comes to consuming music digitally, other than downloading them illegaly.
The bad news is, time is extremely short for AtticTV to grow its user base. Spotify is already making a move into Asia, and it’s only a matter of time before other startups fight for a piece of the valuable real estate.
AtticTV may be receiving help though. They are seeking seed funding of up to US$100K, and are in discussions with an investors on the terms.
In the near future, they plan to iterate their product and marketing strategy to grow their user base, bring AtticTV to more platforms, like mobile phones, tablets, and smart TVs, and partner with music services like Spotify as well as mobile carriers.
Their revenue model right now consists of a “support the artist” feature to drive users to purchase MP3s, DVDs, and other memorabilia like T-shirts and mugs. These are provided through the Amazon Affiliate Program, and they earn a cut of each purchase.
They also plan to provide access to concert information and allow users to purchase concert tickets off their site.
Lastly, they hope to work with telcos to sell caller ringBack tones through their platform.
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