Mixify, a three-month-old New York start-up that streams live audio, has signed up a number of major electronic dance labels and promoters for an upcoming virtual music festival called Rise.
Among the presenters of next month's online-only festival are Disco Donnie Presents and Big Beat Records, a division of Atlantic Records. In addition, management companies Ultra Music, Red Light Management, Montana ECI and Complete Control Management will provide DJs for the free, three-day event scheduled to kick off Feb. 12 via Mixify's online platform. Other presenting partners include Elektro Magazine and BroBible, a website oriented towards men.
Headlining the Rise event will be Moroccan-Dutch DJ Fadil El Ghoul, known by his stage name as R3hab.
The deals are a coup for such a young company, illustrating how rapidly the electronic music genre is evolving. Disco Donnie, founded by New Orleans rave impresario Donnie Estopinal who sold it last year to Robert F.X. Sillerman, produces about 1,000 live EDM events a year. Big Beat, a Warner Music Group label, represents Skrillex, Chromeo and a number of other hip-hop and dance artists.
Mixify staged its first virtual festival in November, drawing 30,000 online attendees. The company aims to double that figure for its February event, which will feature between eight and ten hours of live performances a day, all streamed for free. Anyone can drop in and listen without having to register with the site. In order to engage with the chat tools and other social elements of the site, however, listeners must register for a free account. So far, the site has succeeded in getting 70% of its users to register and interact, a relatively high ratio.
"EDM fans are early adopters who live in the digital sphere," said David Moricca, founder and chief executive of the fledgling company, currently funded by angel investors. "They want to interact with artists in new and different ways, not just passively consume."
Moricca said his site currently draws 200,000 unique users a month who have jacked into the 12,000 live events hosted over the past 90 days by 3,000 DJ's currently using Mixify. Some host events to promote an album release, while others stage events to try to gain new fans.
As with most start-ups, Mixify is focused on getting people to use its services. Though it has a subscription business that charges DJ's between $9.99 and $29.99 a month for premium features such as customized analytics, most of its features are free. Eventually, however, Mixify will look to sponsorships and ticket sales for its virtual events to build revenue for the company as well as labels, promoters and publishers, Moricca said.
For now, the partners Mixify has signed up for its Rise festival are content with the promotional value of the platform.
"We liked the idea of developing a digital music festival with Mixify because it offers us a way to identify new fans and connect with them in between events," Estopinal said. "The goal is to create new experiences for the fans and develop their connection with our artists."