AI-powered record label Snafu Records has secured $2.9 million in seed funding.
Founder and CEO Ankit Desai describes the LA-based startup as “the first full-service, AI-enabled record label.” Desai spent the past five years heading digital and streaming strategy at Capital Records and Universal Music Group.
He says there’s a vast pool of musical talent that goes unrecognized and that traditional labels are ill-equipped to handle it.
“If there’s some girl in Indonesia whose music the world is dying to hear, they’re never going to get the chance,” Desai says. “The bridge to connect her to the world doesn’t exist today. The music business is entrenched in an old-fashioned way of working, finding artists through word-of-mouth.”
Snafu Records isn’t the only company employing artificial intelligence to predict hits. Amazon recently patented an algorithm that can do just that – find new artists through tastemakers’ opinions.
Desai created Snafu Records to address the music industry’s stodgy approach to finding new artists.
The new record label has secured $2.9 million in seed funding from TrueSight Ventures and several other partners. The way Desai describes the technology behind Snafu sounds similar to Amazon’s algorithmic approach. Desai says the company uses software “to essentially turn everyone listening to music into a talent scout.”
Algorithms search through 150,000 tracks from unsigned artists’ accounts on YouTube, Instagram, and SoundCloud. The algorithm evaluates them based on engagement, listener sentiment, and music popularity.
Desai says the sweet spot is finding songs that are 70% ‘like’ other songs on Spotify’s Top 200 list. That means the music already sounds like what’s popular and may need only a small boost to break the popularity barrier.
Snafu Records looks at each of these songs based on its algorithmic score. Desai says his team distills it down to 15 to 20 songs per week for the human side to evaluate. The goal is to get these artists signing on with Snafu for marketing support in exchange for a share of streaming revenue.