Warner Music Group Invests in a 'Smart' Starter Instrument Called Artiphon

Courtesy of Artiphon


For parents trying to nudge their kids to play the guitar instead of the (house-shaking) drums they actually want, fear not. There's now a reasonably sized multi-instrument that lets them do... both.

Nashville-based music startup Artiphon's Instrument 1 is a desktop MIDI controller with a single interface that allows both aspiring and accomplished musicians to "drum, slide, tap and drum" depending if they're feeling like Jimmy Page or John Bonham. The device plugs into a variety of DAWs (digital audio workstations) including Apple's GarageBand and ProTools' Logic X.

In 2015, the company raised $1 million through a Kickstarter campaign, and now it's picked up interest from major industry players: WMG Boost, a seed fund launched by Warner Music Group to support "innovative startups and entrepreneurial growth in the music industry," is one of the investors in a $2 million funding round raised by Artiphon.

"Artiphon designs musical interfaces that adapt to the way you play, inspiring people to create music who might not pick up a classic instrument," says Mike Butera, Artiphon’s founder and CEO and PhD in Sound Studies. "You don’t have to be a photographer to express yourself with photos and videos on Instagram, and now you don’t have to be a trained musician to have fun playing and creating music."

"We're building a future where instruments, software, and content are all seamlessly connected, so users can just have fun playing," he adds. "Artiphon’s goal is to empower the next billion musicians with adaptive technology that augments their creativity."

Jeff Bronikowski, svp, global digital business development and head of innovation & emerging technology at WMG, says, "One of the goals of the Boost fund is to foster growth in areas where technology and content intersect. As true innovators in music creativity, Artiphon is a strong example of the types of companies and products we seek to support. They’ve already expanded the concept of the musical instrument as a smart, connected device and we’re excited to help them drive the future of interactive music."

You may have first seen Artiphon and Instrument 1 on the debut episode of T-Pain's School of Business on, or if you're an artist, through the New York City Ace Hotel's Artist in Residence program.