FRUKT headed down to Red Bull Studios last week for the launch of Red Bull Amplifier, a new take on the traditional start-up accelerator model, which sees the energy drink brand actively supporting “innovative, creative, change-the-face-of-music start-ups” as they look to build audiences.
A panel of industry experts (including VP of Business Development at Soundcloud, Dave Haynes, tech journalist Ciara Byrne, Red Bull Music Academy’s David Bortot and Mecury Music Prize nominated singer & producer Ghostpoet) will sift through the early stage business idea submissions and create a bespoke support program to enhance the potential of the selected start-ups. The key difference however, between Red Bull’s offering and the traditional accelerator model, is that this program is not based on an injection of hard cash upfront or an equity investment. It’s based on that other core component of implementing a successful innovation - reaching critical mass amongst audiences.
Now sidestepping the money aspect of a music investment may sound odd amid a struggling music business where creators (artists & tech) are more concerned than ever about receiving financial recognition for their creativity. And there was certainly some debate about this factor and the crowded marketplace for music tech innovations during the launch night. That said, in many ways it’s the lack of focus on financial gain that offers the real value here, as Red Bull offers to plug start-ups into all of its music properties and channels whilst offering specialist mentoring.
With a vast network of global properties, from Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Studios to hundreds of live events – not to mention around 35 million followers across its social channels - the value of this particular style of accelerator suddenly becomes apparent.
Innovation without audience is nothing, and this form of 'marketing incubator' is something we are likely to see a lot more of as the brand world offers a collaborative hand to emerging innovators.