RecordGram is an app that connects award-winning and up-and-coming producers with aspiring vocalists and artists. With one tap, users can lease beats for a small fee, record audio and video, keep track of their lyrics, monitor their vocal performance and share their creations in the app with other RecordGram users and across all other social networks. Producers upload full instrumentals to the app for users to play with, and get a share of the income from this in-app use of their tracks.
“We wanted to create a way aspiring artists around the world can collaborate with producers, with a touch of the button,” explains Mendelson. “We wanted to make the collaboration and creative process simple, convenient and affordable, while creating new revenue streams for producers."
The idea continued to evolve as the team, which includes Grammy-winning DJ Blackout, participated in Project Music, the first technology business accelerator dedicated to the future of the music industry. Along with six other music tech startups and a not-for-profit ensemble, the RecordGram team honed their business-building skills, developed influential contacts, and attracted impressive investments. Now in its second year, the Project Music Accelerator is a partnership between the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) and the Country Music Association (CMA).
A lifelong music obsessive, Mendelson had decades of experience in the music business, thanks to stints in radio promo for Elektra and Jive/Sony, where he helped break Chris Brown and T-Pain, as well as extensive success in management and marketing. One of his management coups: helping MIMS score a major label deal. MIMS has several hits and successful albums under his belt, as well as a penchant for brainstorms that feed his passion for tech.
This didn’t make the road to developing and launching RecordGram an easy one. Because of the app’s model and new form of licensing, “Lots of doors were not opening. This was a new thing. We’re used to having the doors open in the music business,” muses MIMS. “As we dealt with the bumps in the road, I kept coming up with new ideas. We decided to forget about licensing content, and to create new content. We decided to empower aspiring songwriters, so they can create their own music.”
They can also share their creations on The Stage, RecordGram’s social community, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “RecordGram fills a void for creators, for people who are just starting out or are very passionate amateurs,” says Mendelson. “At the same time, we’re not just making a cool platform for amateur artists, we were creating a platform for producers.”
Producers have struggled to find new income sources to make up for falling sales in the digital music era. The RecordGram team wanted to address that need by making a platform where producers could register and effectively lease their beats, lending them to creators for limited use—but giving them powerful inspiration to make and share music.
“We have brought it all together in a single app. We are a fully integrated mobile production store for beats. We’re an audio and video recording studio, and we also have a social network,” Mendelson notes. “We’re geared toward the amateur kids who just want to have fun with music. If you can’t afford a producer's fee or studio time, you can still make really cool tracks.”