So what’s it like to launch an app, if your company is from completely outside the tech business? This was the situation facing Spanish start-up Practice Your Music, as CEO and founder Unai Goikolea explains.
“We are from the music industry: we own a recording studio and run a music academy, so we aren’t the usual kind of software company. But we had the inspiration for an app that allows musicians to practice together, without physically having to be in the same room, so we decided to build it ourselves.”
So what’s the big idea?
“It can be tough practicing on your own, especially if you are in an orchestra or a band. You go to music lessons or rehearsals, but then in between those, you are on your own. We thought how great it would be to connect musicians using technology. We record the songs ourselves – there are around 2000 available right now – and we are adding to that library all the time.”
Practice Your Music is a good example of how simple ideas are often the best. By the end of March 2013, it already had 5,000 downloads worldwide, even though it is still at an early stage. The judges at the inaugural EU AppCup, held in Brussels during March 2013, were also impressed by Practice Your Music. Following the start-up’s on-stage presentation, Practice Your Music was voted runner-up in the business category.
What’s the story behind turning the idea into a prize-winning app?
“We first had the idea three years ago and at first it took some time to work out what we wanted to do, but working with Microsoft really helped. We took our prototype to the Microsoft team in Madrid last year and they could see its potential, so they helped us develop it in time for the launch of Windows 8. They have also given us support and market visibility, including participation in events such as AppCup. As we are part of BizSpark, we get access to free technology, which is a big help for a self-funded start-up like ours.”
What’s next for Practice Your Music?
“At the moment the app is free, but as it evolves and we add more songs and add-on features, we will start charging users. We have also had some investment from a local government fund, but we are interested to hear from other investors too.
“Becoming involved in the software business has been an interesting journey for us, but it is one that we have found very exciting and we have high hopes for Practice Your Music’s success on a global scale.”