June 30, 2013
Lucia and Dan
What’s ArtistBox and how does it work?
ArtistBox is a Music Discovery App for iOS – well, we might say THE BEST music discovery app for iPhone – which, besides helping you discover new music and artists, gives you the most complete information and up-to-date news about the artists you currently have on your phone. Never before an iPhone app gathered in one place such amount of information about your favourite artists.
The app scans the music library of your device and displays a lot of information about the artists it finds. This includes biography, full discography, videos, hi-res photos, news and tour dates. It allows you to listen to samples (or preview videoclips, depending on the album) and buy what you love. With ArtistBox you will never miss a concert or an album release, ever again.
The idea behind our app is to bring the fans the most complete information about their idols in one handy place – their phones.
We make the fans feel as close to their favourite artists as possible by gathering all the news, pictures and videos and giving them access to all the social life the artist has.
How did you come up with the idea?
We love music (who doesn’t?) but we could not find an app that would give us the level of information about our favourite artists that we wanted. Most of the apps around are somehow limited, even the most popular ones, and you would have to use several apps or search for the missing info yourself.
For example very few apps out there are offering info about concerts and events. We aggregate and organise concerts based on users’ location (in their country and then worldwide) and even give them the possibility to add the event to iCal, to call or visit the organiser’s website without the need to leave the app and search this information on their own.
We also show the full discography of the artists – many apps are only displaying what is available in iTunes, but we show everything the artist ever recorded and if it’s not available for purchase we try to match and recommend other versions of the same song. We want our users to know absolutely EVERYTHING about their loved artists because this is what we wanted too and never found. We provide fresh news and hi-res images – this is something I think none of the apps is offering but real fans would love!
We created the kind of app that we would have loved to have long time ago but we could not find. The idea came, let’s say, from a necessity – we figured out that it will be something other people might need so here we are, 6 months later, talking with you about it!
Who’s behind the startup?
We are Lucía (http://rborn.info) and Dan (http://dan-tamas.me), two mobile developers living in beautiful Spain. We’ve been working as freelancers and building apps for companies all around the world, until one day Dan decided it’s time to make his own dream come true. The idea was an old one, Dan was thinking about this kind of app since 2 years ago and slowly saw how other companies were launching music discovery apps without reaching the level of complexity he was having in mind. Also their target was not the same as ours, we really want to transform ordinary people in real fans who attend concerts and share their passion!
How did you guys find/meet each other?
We’re a team in real life too so it’s pretty hard not to meet each-other wandering in the office. We started as web developers, then switched to mobile development and we are now developing apps for ourselves almost full time.
Why did you decide to go down the startup-route instead of getting a (or keeping your) 9-5 job, perhaps in a large corporate?
We were never the 9-5 kind of person, we worked as employees during the day and as freelance developers during the night for a while until we decided that this is not something we really enjoy doing. The grass is always greener or the other side and, one day, we decided to jump and see for ourselves. Becoming an entrepreneur I think is the next logical step cause we have all the experience and the knowledge of the past years plus the ideas and the opportunity of the present. It’s the perfect moment to launch a startup, in our opinion.
Are you guys angel funded or VC backed already? If not, are you looking to raise money and what expertise would you require from an investor?
We bootstrapped this app, we’re self funding everything with our savings. It is “easier” because we invested mostly work (long nights of designing and coding the whole ecosystem of the app) and we counted on friends for testing and feedback. But we are not marketing people, we might need some expertise in how to bring the app closer to the users. This might allow us to focus on what we know best: improve the app and make it grow on the web side too.
We have a lot of ideas how to improve ArtistBox in the future and we are already working on implementing some of them. There are also some feature requests coming from our users that we will add in a future iteration.
ArtistBox has a lot of potential, this first version offers a way better overview of the artistic life of a band than any other app on the market. With the ideas we want to implement in the future, ArtistBox will take the music discovery and sharing process to a level nobody reached at the moment.
Many are speaking about music discovery and the existing apps show you a list of similar artists based on some algorithm, but none of them really allows you to know your artists, read everything about them and feel closer to them. We want to bring artists into the music lover life as close as a few taps away.
What piece of advice would you give to 9-5ers who are dreaming to startup their own web venture?
As I said, we gave up being employees long long time ago. It was a difficult thing to do and we had to work a lot to reach a level where we could simply give up all our clients and start ArtistBox.
The best advice we can give to those who want to launch a startup and self fund it would be to make an estimation on how much time/money they need to launch the first version of their idea and double that estimation (I mean it!). You will have to think about a soft landing in case you need to go back to accepting client work. It’s not hard, just maintain good working relationships with your clients and you’re set.