In just a decade, the game-changing digital streaming and media service provider Spotify has transformed the music industry. The company’s popularity has marked the shift from physical to digital music and it has helped the world identify the internet as a key source for music distribution.
With more than 100 million subscribers since last year, Spotify is just one example of the impact of technology on the music industry. Today, the demand for digital music is stronger than ever and music tech startups, in Israel and elsewhere, have come out of the woodwork to effectively use digital technology to reshape and rejuvenate the music landscape.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com. See Featured article: Artificial Intelligence.
From creating different guitar sound effects with the use of one wireless touchpad to viscerally “feeling the music” with the aid of potent haptics on a chest strap, tech has brought benefits to both musicians and the people who listen to it.
NoCamels highlights four startups from Israel that are revolutionizing the music scene.
With an ongoing health crisis lurking in the background, and much of the population staying at home, it might be the right time to pick up a new hobby — like learning to play a musical instrument. Learning to play the piano could be a logical first step and for that, there is Tel Aviv-based startup JoyTunes.
This music learning app uses educational methods, sound recognition, and their own patented MusicSense Engine technology to “reinvent the way to learn, play, and experience music.”
Electric guitarists are known for their electrifying guitar solos at raucous rock concerts, which are often enhanced by extensive sound effects produced by effects pedals. Using a mess of cables, most musicians connect their guitars to several pedals, which they set on throughout the performance for desired effects.
Since Israeli startup GTC Sound Innovation’s revolutionary RevPad continues to free guitarists from these cumbersome pedals. The unique wireless touchpad controller is designed to attach easily to any amplified instrument and play a number of sound effects.
“Every guitarist has effects that he uses,” says Oded Elbonim, GTC’s sales and marketing director. “If it’s distortion, if it’s echo, if it’s tremolo, if it’s harmonizer, if it’s any kind of silly pedal that sits on the pedalboard on the floor. I’m sure you’ve been to concerts before, where you’ve seen the guitar player sometimes bending down and quickening and always having to go back to his place at the right time,”
JoyTunes’ apps use their MusicSense Engine tech to acoustically listen to notes that are being played by users in order to recognize and respond to them with feedback in real-time. According to the company’s founder Yuval Kaminka, this is what differentiates the startup’s apps from others on the market.
A US-Israeli startup founded in 2011 has developed unique polyphonic “haptic technology” that enhances music and audio to literally let you feel sounds.
A user wearing the Woojer strap. Courtesy.
In other words, the wearable devices, which be worn as a strap or vest — not headphones, can accurately reproduce bass frequencies to deliver the emotional tactile sensation directly to the wearer’s body, the company has said.
“We have our own patented components that give you those haptic sensations to very accurately reproduce the same experience that even a deaf person will experience when they go to a concert or a theater,” says Kfir Bar-Levav, co-founder and CEO at Woojer.
According to Bar-Levav, Woojer’s tech takes the low frequency of any sound and translate it into a vibration that is felt by the body.
At the end of last year, the company ran an Indiegogo campaign where it raised over $4 million by more than 20,000 backers. It has already begun making deliveries of the product, though the campaign is still live, Bar-Levav said. The company also ran a Kickstarter campaign last year.
Woojer is also used to create immersive experiences in gaming and virtual reality.
The company has raised over $3 million to date.
“Users can in a few minutes play their first song with three notes, 20 minutes later play five notes, and in an hour and a half can play [the song] Jingle Bells in full,” he tells NoCamels.
“We improve pedagogy all the time,” he adds, “We look for those aha moments and milestones for users to realize how much they are learning.”
The company, founded in 2011, has more than 10 million users worldwide and is used by 10 percent of music teachers in the US. The company also works with music educators by combining teaching with new gaming features and technology.
Users can learn how to play through mobile apps featuring interactive listening, gaming features, and other music learning methodologies. Simply Piano, the company’s most recognized app, shows users which piano keys to press in order to play a song. Apps from JoyTunes are known for being interactive and teaching users to play intuitively.
The company says it has been chosen as one of the best apps by Apple and Google.
Last year, JoyTunes raised $25 million in a round led by Tel Aviv-based venture capital firm Qumra Capital. Other participants included New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, an existing investor, venture capital fund Aleph and Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO and founder of business directory service Yelp.
The company has raised a total of $43 million to date. Kaminka tells NoCamels the company strives to “reach evey single houshold ” and even become “the ‘Netflix for music learning.’
Earlier this month, a Tel Aviv-based startup named Emeo announced the launch of its cutting-edge new product– the first digital practice horn for saxophone players.
The Emeo offers a unique solution to the problem faced by saxophone players, namely the loud sound made by the instrument and the difficulty in muting it, the company said.
The Emeo is a digital practice horn, that works like an electronic music keyboard, that you can connect to a computer. The digital horn allows musicians to play anytime and anywhere, via USB, MIDI, or Bluetooth connections to computers or smartphones.
The Emeo is a digital practice horn, known as a wind MIDI wind controller. It works like an electronic music keyboard, that you can connect to a computer. The difference between the Emeo and other MIDI wind controllers, is that it has the feeling of being a real saxophone.
“You play the Emeo through speakers or headphones, by connecting it via USB-MIDI or Bluetooth to DAW programs on computers, tablets and smartphones,” said Emeo’s marketing specialist Michael Simkin.
The company has also partnered with Imox’s Respiro, a new generation software synthesizer using physical modeling that contains a “state of the art” sound engine able to reproduce the sound and behavior similar to wind-instruments. The company has crafted a range of high-quality MIDI sounds especially for the Emeo, Simkin says.
When he was younger, the company’s co-founder Oleg Raskin, a professional saxophone player, faced complaints from family members and neighbors for the loud sound created by practicing the saxophone.
Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com