Bootstrapped F# Emerges With Music Streaming Platform for Ads
[Updated 10/17/13 9:34 am. See below.] Eager to become the Buddy Media of digital music, F# in New York came out of stealth mode Wednesday with a platform that pairs a music player with digital ads.
Co-founder and COO Pete Jimison says his bootstrapped company (pronounced “F Sharp”) is already working with music streaming providers such as Spotify, Mixcloud, SoundHound, and SoundCloud, as well as brands such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Microsoft, and McDonald’s.
Advertisers that use F# can choose to run sponsored music channels with their ads or exclusive songs the marketers believe suit their customers. The F# AdPlayer runs through standard Web ad networks, as well as on mobile, to reach audiences and can be popped out to the user’s desktop, Jimison says.
The idea is to target new audiences outside of media sites such as YouTube or Vevo, he says, where brands may already have a fan base. People can share the AdPlayer across social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
[Paragraph added to clarify how F#’s technology can be used with playlists.] Jimison says F# also creates turnkey applications including a crowdsourced playlist that brands can host on Spotify. Such branded playlists are created by fans who search for and add songs. “The brand or agency has the chance to moderate those songs to filter the music that is going through,” he says.
F# works with marketers to define the “musical footprint” for brands, Jimison says, and to develop profiles of the users that brands want to target with ads. The platform can measure the results of campaigns to allow tweaks to be made, Jimison says.
If marketers choose to run premium songs on AdPlayer, he says, the music labels, artists, and rights holders can get a revenue share from the ads. F# and its partners handle the royalties for songs that stream on the sponsored music channels.
Founded in February 2012, F# is profitable, says Jimison, and the company has been busy finding music platforms to partner with. “We tried Songza, but they were working on their own branded advertising,” he says.
Jimison says he and his brother Dave previously ran a digital production agency in New York that created mobile apps and other software for media companies in the city. In 2011 the brothers met Dan Merritts, who had been consulting with Spotify as it expanded stateside. “They were looking for an ad production vendor [in the U.S.],” Jimison says. “They were still using vendors in Europe.”
After working with Spotify domestically and then globally, he says, an opportunity arose to do more in digital music and advertising. That led to the formation of F# with Merritts as CEO.
Music is its focus for now, but F# may explore integrating other types of media into digital ads. “We do see in our line of sight a way to bring video to the AdPlayer,” Jimison says.