Gaurav Dagaonkar is the co-founder and CEO of Hoopr.ai, a music licensing marketplace for content creators. He’s also an award-winning singer and music producer.
In 2018, Gaurav co-founded GSharp Media, a music tech company based in Mumbai. The company owns the popular music platform ‘Songfest’, that has over 100 million views and over 5 lakh subscribers on YouTube. This platform offers viral solutions to brands and video creators in collaboration with some popular artists. They have created award-winning branded music content for brands such as Nestle, Mars-Wrigley, Hike Sticker Chat, ALT Balaji, Magicpin, etc., and have worked with artists such as Shaan, Monali Thakur, Nikhil D’Souza, etc.
He also is the founder and CEO of Hoopr, a music licensing marketplace that allows video creators and businesses to license royalty-free music for ads, videos, and films. The firm secured $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by 9Unicorns and Venture Catalysts.
In an Exclusive Interview with Loudest.in,He talks about Hoopr, A music licensing marketplace that allows video creators and businesses to license royalty-free music for ads, videos, and films.
Q1.Can you share with us the inspiration behind starting Hoopr.ai and the journey so far?
The inspiration behind starting Hoopr.ai was the critical problem faced by content creators and businesses in the music industry, specifically regarding copyright issues and the lack of India-focused licensed music. Hoopr was founded with the objective of solving these issues and helping content creators and businesses identify and license the right music for their videos, thereby enabling them to create better content and avoid copyright violations.
The journey so far has been successful, with over hundred thousand Indian content creators, brands, broadcasters, and businesses already benefiting from Hoopr's services. The start-up has carved a place for itself in the industry by providing a strong catalog of thousands of background scores, songs in different languages, and sound effects.
Hoopr aims to further revolutionize the wave of creativity in storytelling and content creation by scaling up its music library, providing intelligent recommendations, and becoming an indispensable partner for content creators worldwide.
Q2.What unique value does Hoopr.ai bring to the music industry and how does it differentiate itself from other platforms?
Hoopr.ai brings unique value to the music industry by offering a solution to the copyright issues faced by content creators and businesses. It provides a platform where creators can easily identify and license the right music for their videos, ensuring they stay within the bounds of copyright laws and avoid potential penalties. Hoopr also addresses the need for India-focused licensed music, allowing creators to produce content that resonates with their Indian audiences. Furthermore, Hoopr offers different kinds of licenses based on usage and need for brands, agencies, and content studios, enabling them to use songs and music in various applications such as web shows, movies, influencer videos, and advertisements.
By providing legal licensing options and insightful recommendations, Hoopr not only helps content creators and businesses but also offers thousands of musicians a new avenue to monetize their music. Hoopr's future plans include expanding its music library, onboarding more users, and becoming a one-stop solution for all content creation needs.
Q3. Can you tell us about some success stories or notable collaborations that have happened through Hoopr.ai?
Hoopr.ai has had several success stories and notable collaborations since its inception. With over 100,000 creators, brands, and broadcasters on board, including influential content creators and media houses across India, Hoopr.ai has established itself as a trusted platform in the content creation economy.
Collaborations with renowned influencers, musicians, and celebrities have been a significant part of Hoopr.ai's success. Notable artistes whose tracks are present on Hoopr include Shaan, Divya Kumar, Ash King, Monali Thakur, Mame Khan, Shamali Kholgade, and many others. Apart from these established artistes, Hoopr has also worked on and produced original songs for artistes such as Rupinn Pahwa, Abhinav Singh, Rishi Pathak, Shubhangi Tewari, etc. In addition to this, Hoopr.ai also recently conducted a contest called ‘Sing 2 Sync,’ where the winner was presented with a recording contract with the company.
These collaborations have helped elevate the platform's visibility and provided opportunities for emerging artists to collaborate with established names in the industry.
As Hoopr.ai continues to grow, its focus is on scaling up and expanding its partnerships. With the rapid growth expected in the content creation economy, Hoopr.ai aims to grow at least 10 times in the coming year. This expansion includes not only increasing the number of entities they partner with but also enhancing their product offerings. Additionally, Hoopr.ai plans to grow its music catalog, strengthen its team, and further establish the brand as a leading player in the music tech industry.
Q4. As the CEO of Hoopr.ai, what do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges in the music tech industry currently?
I see tremendous opportunities and challenges in the music tech industry at present. There have been significant developments across various aspects of the industry, including production, distribution, consumption, licensing, building communities, and fan funding of collectibles. These advancements have led to the emergence of interesting startups and innovative technologies.
In terms of music production, we are witnessing the rise of collaboration tools that allow artists to work together seamlessly, regardless of their geographical locations. This opens up new avenues for creative collaboration and enables artists to tap into a global talent pool.
The landscape of music distribution has also undergone notable transformations in recent years. With the proliferation of streaming platforms, artists now have numerous services available to them for distributing their music across different platforms, reaching a broader audience and increasing their visibility.
Streaming platforms, such as Spotify, are continuously refining their algorithms and recommendation engines to enhance the user experience. This focus on personalization and tailored recommendations provides an opportunity for artists to connect with their target audience more effectively.
Furthermore, licensing platforms have emerged as a significant source of income for musicians. These platforms offer licensing opportunities for artists, allowing their music to be used in various media projects, such as films, commercials, and online content. This expands the revenue streams for musicians and creates new opportunities for exposure.
There are however some aspects that hold immense potential for growth in the music tech industry. One notable area is the advancements artificial intelligence can bring in all facets of the music industry. For instance, we are already seeing some examples of AI-generated music. In addition to this, we can also see musicians working towards training specific algorithms that allow for some never-before seen forays into music. Something that I’m interested in is seeing how linguistic models can be trained to create songs in multiple languages.
Additionally, AI and ML will also impact the discovery and distribution of music with a greater degree of focus on personalization for both, music consumers as well as artistes. While there definitely are some grey areas, I’m quite optimistic that AI and ML will actually be the foundation upon which the next big things in the music industry are built.
While these opportunities are exciting, they also come with challenges. The music tech industry needs to navigate issues such as copyright and licensing complexities, ensuring fair compensation for artists and rights holders. Additionally, as technology continues to evolve, maintaining a balance between automation and the human touch in music creation and curation is crucial.
Overall, the music tech industry is poised for further growth and innovation. As a musician and singer myself in addition to leading Hoopr.ai, it is our mission to leverage these opportunities, address the challenges, and continue building a platform that empowers content creators and musicians, while contributing to the vibrant ecosystem of the music industry.
Q5.How does Hoopr.ai support emerging artists and independent musicians in their career growth and development?
Hoopr.ai is dedicated to supporting emerging artists and independent musicians in their career growth and development. Through its platform, Hoopr Originals, the company aims to empower the discovery of undiscovered talent in India. This provides aspiring musicians from diverse backgrounds and professions with an opportunity to showcase their skills and get discovered.
As mentioned earlier, we also ran a contest called ‘Sing 2 Sync’ where we invited artistes across India to topline on our tracks and we awarded cash prizes as well as a recording contract to the winners. We are going to be running many more contests such as these.
Hoopr.ai also offers a chance for artists to unlock revenue through sync. Artists can upload their original tunes to the platform, making them accessible for users to license and use in their videos, vlogs, and other content. This not only helps artists reach a global audience but also provides them with a potential income stream.
Q6.In your opinion, what role does technology play in shaping the future of the music industry, and how do you see Hoopr.ai contributing to that future?
Technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the music industry, and Hoopr.ai is actively contributing to that future.
Let’s start with music creation itself. Technology has enabled musicians to work remotely and collaborate with their peers from all over the world. In addition to this, the availability of music production tools has also paved the way for new entrants into the music industry. We are super excited to have many such musicians on our platform. Furthermore, we’re also working on proprietary tools that will help such musicians reach a wider audience.
In addition to this, technology will also play a pivotal role in revolutionizing areas such as distribution of music, copyright laws and detection, publishing, etc.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of what AI and ML will bring to the table as far as music creation is concerned. This is an area that we at Hoopr are very interested in, and actively working towards incorporating into our product.
As far as consumption of music is concerned, I think machine learning and artificial intelligence will enhance the user experience and enable listeners to discover new up and coming artistes from all around the world. In addition to this, the discovery algorithms that will be developed will allow for content creators to source specific kinds of music that is the perfect fit for their videos.
One of the fundamental challenges faced by content creators in the music industry is copyright infringement. Unauthorized use of copyrighted music can lead to legal trouble, reputation damage, and financial losses. Hoopr is working on tech-based solutions that can address this while coming up with a fair solution that will satisfy all concerned parties.
Furthermore, Hoopr is actively working on the supply side of the music industry. The platform sources music from talented musicians, composers, and producers across India. This creates new opportunities for these artists to showcase their work and earn royalties. Hoopr's commitment to sharing royalties with artists ensures that they are properly compensated for their creations, expanding their earning potential and providing a sustainable income stream.
Q7.What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the music tech space based on your experience with Hoopr.ai?
For aspiring entrepreneurs in the music tech space, they should first and foremost, identify a critical problem in the industry that they can solve with technology. Hoopr.ai recognized the challenges content creators faced with copyright infringement and the lack of India-focused licensed music. By addressing these issues, we provided a valuable solution that helped content creators create without worry of takedowns.
Stay ahead of the curve by leveraging technological advancements in the music industry. Keep an eye on emerging technologies that can unlock new opportunities and shape the future of the industry. Collaboration is also crucial in the music tech space. Build partnerships with musicians, composers, and producers to enhance your music catalog and create a supportive network.
Ensure legal compliance by providing licensed music and helping content creators navigate copyright issues. Prioritize user experience by developing intuitive interfaces and improving recommendation algorithms for personalized music suggestions. Fairly compensate artists by sharing royalties and attracting top talent to your platform. Foster a strong ecosystem by engaging with the community, listening to feedback, and continuously iterating and improving your platform. Secure strategic funding from investors who understand the industry and can provide valuable expertise. Stay agile, adapt to changing market dynamics, and remain passionate about making a positive impact on the music industry. By following these guidelines, aspiring entrepreneurs can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and contribute to shaping the future of the music tech industry.
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