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‘Better accuracy of funds flowing to artists’: CEO Ryan Edwards talks Audoo

"A little like an energy meter at home"

Audoo CEO Ryan Edwards

Audoo is a ground-breaking UK start-up – and one of Abbey Road Red’s incubation programme graduates – looking to ‘revolutionise performance royalties’. In other words, the company has created an audio meter that can be installed in public premises to track when music is being played in real-time and report back to royalty societies efficiently. At the moment, there is no reliable way to collect data about what is being played at licensed establishments.

Audoo raised £50k on the first day of launching its crowdfunding campaign at the Abbey Road Red Demo Day this year and will launch its product within the next few months. Audoo’s CEO, Ryan Edwards, used to be in a band, and several years later he walked into a shop to hear, to his surprise, one of his previous band’s songs. Of course, he received no payment for this play, but he wondered how he could make retribution for real-time plays possible. That is the premise on which Audoo was born. Here, we dig a little deeper into what Audoo is all about with Edwards himself…

What is the technology behind the audiometer? How does it all work?

We have built everything from the ground up. The technology is made up of our Hardware device, which we call an ‘Audio Meter’, an audio fingerprinting tool and an extensive library of music and metadata to reference every song that we capture. It’s simply plugged into commercial premises and we do the rest by capturing the audio, identifying the song and reporting back to the royalty society.

How will you persuade gyms, shops, etc. to implement the audio meter?

The great thing is that hundreds of thousands of premises across the globe already support the music industry by paying for a license to broadcast. The Audoo Meter will be supplied as part of the license fee, a little like having an energy meter at home, so, it should not require much hand-holding when persuading companies to implement it.

As well as musicians and composers, how do you think this could potentially impact royalties for producers and engineers?

There have always been two major challenges; knowing what’s been played, and knowing who should be paid. As long as creatives have provided the correct information to the royalty society, they will be compensated correctly.

Does it matter if the public premise is playing music through a Spotify account? Would that account for the stream?

Officially, a Spotify account is for individual use (home, headphones, car, etc.) and shouldn’t be used for broadcasting music in a commercial location. However, it’s hard to educate millions of people on the dos and don’ts of music licensing. With our Audoo Meter, regardless of the source, artists will be compensated for the public performance of their work.

What do you think Audoo’s impact on the music industry will be?

We want our legacy to be based on accuracy and transparency. Historically, the music industry has had to battle against technologies as a barrier for artist progression, but our Audoo Meter will provide a tangible solution and positive outcome for everyone.

How will it change the lives – especially working lives – of musicians?

It’s always been a challenge for musicians to understand how their work is being consumed and if they are being paid correctly. Royalty Societies around the world have battled to collect funds for artists for over 100 years, and for some artists, our Audio Meter will provide just a few more pennies, but for others, we hope it’s as substantial as them making a long-term living from music.

What are the biggest opportunities for Audoo in the market?

For us, it’s about scale. The more Audoo Meters out there, the more data we will be able to capture, which in turn results in better accuracy of funds flowing to artists.

How is PRS for Music involved?

Nigel Elderton, the chairman of PRS for Music sits on our Advisory Board. He has been strategically supporting our growth over the past 12 months and will continue to support our international strategy. We have a lot more in the pipeline, but that is all we can comment on publicly at the minute.