Into the groove: Santa Cruz comany introduces collaborative licensing and distribution site for professional musicians

Jeremy Korn, CEO of GrooveZoo
Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ — In the new world order of home-based, high-tech recording studios and online distribution, Santa Cruz entrepreneur Jeremy Korn says he has a revolutionary business model for professional musicians, songwriters, producers and the record label industry.

“It’s groundbreaking and a game-changer,” says Korn, 44, who in December introduced GrooveZoo, an Internet collaborative database website that links up like musicians with one another, with producers, and with a way to license and distribute their product. “This really is not just for musicians, but for the music industry as a whole.”

GrooveZoo invites people to join as members, upload demos, get feedback, and rate each other as musicians and producers. From that database, the site introduces members to people of similar skills and categories. A new paradigm for the music industry, it is a way to facilitate creative compatibility, Korn says.

“Everybody has recording gear at home that is typically more powerful than where I first recorded in a studio when I was 18,” says Korn, who is an electrical engineer by trade who worked in Silicon Valley for 17 years, primarily in audio engineering. He has played guitar for about 30 years as well. “Everyone can do it, but sitting alone in a room and recording isn’t a lot of fun and it isn’t how great things are really created.”

Traditionally, the record industry has been responsible for bringing talented people together to leverage their specialties.

“When a band gets signed, what’s really happening is they’re putting them together with a producer to make the album come alive and really develop a sellable product by connecting them to the right resources,” Korn says. “That’s really different from recording in your room by yourself. At the very core, we’re a matchmaking service.”

It is, however, GrooveZoo membership ratings that actually generate data to match artists. Once a musician uploads a demo, it goes into a rotation and starts being assigned to other members who are invited to rate the work by category and skill level. The site technology then automatically matches people accordingly. GrooveZoo members work together under contract and with one click they can then license a song. They will also be able to add a distribution link and use bookkeeping software.

Although the site assumes some of the tasks of a record company, it is not trying to serve as a replacement, according to Korn, who says record label companies are still the venture capitalists for musical startups.

“What did getting a record deal used to mean? It was like getting venture capital,” Korn says. “Your band got funded. GrooveZoo is an incubator for artists to do self-service and come to the record labels at a more advanced state. We will be working with the record labels.”

The site provides a way for the failing music industry to save itself, says Michael Logue, a Soquel business development consultant who has been working with the company.

“They look at the onslaught of technology and try to control it and make it something it already is,” Logue says. “But, that ship has already left. What we’re doing can help them embrace the inevitable future that’s already here.”

Membership growth, which has reached about 1,500 in the past few months, has already exceeded expectations. About 50-75 people are joining the site daily, Korn said, noting that new partnerships with online music sites will soon extend the company’s reach dramatically.

“Some key partnerships are essentially going to be the rocket fuel to send people to the site,” Korn said, noting that a key partnership with a musician site to be announced shortly should generate between 5,000 and 20,000 new visits daily. “What we’ve done has been extraordinarily well received. People are hungry for it. The early indicators is we’ve got most of it right.”

Technology behind the site allows new modular features to be developed and added to customize the experience for users, much like applications to an iPhone.

The company plans to launch in March a contest for a member to record with a well-known artist. “We think what we’ve built here is very powerful and insightful and is going to gain traction very quickly,” Korn said.

GrooveZoo Information Box
WHAT: Privately held Internet startup that offers members tools to collaborate online with other musicians and producers, post songs and enter into contracts with one another.
HEADQUARTERS: 147 S. River St., Suite 234A, Santa Cruz
BACKGROUND: Founded July 2010 by Jeremy Korn and introduced publicly in mid-December.
LEADERSHIP: Jeremy Korn, founder and chief executive officer
EMPLOYEES: Three employees plus about 15 consultants working virtually in the U.S. and Canada.
INFORMATION: 831-713-5860;
FINANCIALS: The company has received two years of operational funding primarily from an angel investor.
GUIDANCE: The company aims to break even by year-end and have one million members by its year anniversary in mid-January 2012.

This article first appeared here.

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