2012 has been a banner year for digital innovation in music, from Kickstarter's increasing visibility in the mainstream to Spotify's steadily growing influence over how its users consume music. But there are plenty of companies worth watching that don't get mainstream attention. You may already know some names but are sure to become more familiar with them in 2013. Others are just starting out and may not reach mainstream success in 2013 -- if ever. With that in mind, here are five digital startups to keep an eye on in 2013.
The company launched in 2007 and has grown to become a popular platform for hosting audio of all sorts, from music to spoken word. But SoundCloud continues to be the one tool used by artists and labels for hosting their music. It works great as a promotional tool and for long audio files such as DJ sets.
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E-commerce and Twitter finally merged in 2012 with Chirpify, a service that allows users to buy and sell goods using text commands within Twitter. All a person does is link a PayPal account to a Chirpify account. The Portland, Oregon-based startup made music a priority when it hired Rory Felton, co-founder of the Militia Group, as its Vice President of Business Development -- Music.
Tictail is to e-commerce what Tumblr is to blogging. A person can set up a store in minutes. The Swedish startup was founded in May 2012 and received $1.6 million of funding in October. The service is free to use, although some services will cost extra.
Although Kickstarter may be more well known, many artists are starting to use PledgeMusic to crowdfund their albums and tours. The platform allows artists to raise money for projects while keeping in touch with fans during the length of the campaign. Recently, Stars have taken to PledgeMusic to fund a tour of Asia and CJ Ramone has used the platform to fund a new solo album.
The Echo Nest
Music services' first step was just getting to market. The second step will be improving their services. That means making better recommendations, delivering better radio and creating richer features. Music information startup the Echo Nest does these things in the background. As data and analysis becomes more important to music services, look for the Echo Nest to become a more important service provider.