TuneUp Media Moves Beyond Music Cleanup Into Sharing and Information Discovery

4/12/11Follow @wroush

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gigs coming up in your area, and lets you buy tickets through Stubhub or Ticketmaster (with TuneUp Media collecting a share of the revenue on every sale).

The big idea is to change TuneUp from a database-cleaning utility into an all-around infotainment experience. Down the road, in fact, the music cleanup utility could eventually become merely the billboard act at TuneUp—a way to get audiences in the door—while the real business happens at the merchandise tables. Cleanup “wasn’t a wedge originally—we just wanted to solve a problem,” says Adiv. “But we realized it was a bit of a wedge, once we started thinking about it.”

And the more people turn to TuneUp for supplementary services around their music, the better the company will be able to weather the coming transition to cloud-based music consumption— when we’ll finally stop buying tracks and storing them locally and simply subscribe to services that store our collections online and stream them to any device. Adiv himself questions how quickly this transition will happen. “While I’m a huge fan of Pandora and MOG, I don’t believe that the local consumption model is going anywhere,” he says. But even in a world where local collections and streaming music coexist, “the key will be for them to play nicely together,” and TuneUp could help with that by providing extra context and sharing options for whatever’s playing on your device at the moment, he says.

Meanwhile, the company continues to market its core cleanup utility, via a quirky marketing campaign that includes a VW bus painted in TuneUp’s signature red-and-white and a series of TV spots featuring hip-hop star Biz Markie. “In our first year, it was all early adopters,” says Adiv. “Year Two, it was hard-core music fans. Now in Year Three, with some of the different marketing strategies we’re using, we’re getting more of the intermediate music fans.”

TuneUp also benefits, in an oblique way, from the increased focus in the tech and investing world on other music companies, including Pandora and Skullcandy, which are both in the process of going public, and U.K.-based Spotify, which recently raised $100 million. “It’s great for us,” says Adiv. “People are going to continue to get their music in many different way—Steve Jobs said it himself, that only 3 percent of the tracks on people’s devices come from the iTunes store.”

The other 97 percent probably needs to be cleaned up and contextualized. That’s why 2011, in Adiv’s view, will be “another growth year for us.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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