Atlanta-based music discovery app Deepr® offers music fans a new way to discover more of the music they love. Launched in 2019, the innovative technology platform designed by Deepr® also offers new opportunities for mainstream and indie artists, writers, producers, engineers, and those behind the music to get the attention and credit they deserve.
Co-founded by Austin Webster, following a successful career in product and software development, and Darrell Thompson, an entertainment attorney and former Motown Records executive, the duo’s music discovery tool works with Apple Music, Spotify, and/or YouTube accounts. The Deepr® audio recognition technology allows users to quickly identify the song playing around them.
From here, users can immediately discover more of this sound, more from the artist, and more from the writer and team behind the song.
Deepr® provides deep details about the people behind the music, including producers, songwriters, featured artists, background vocalists, musicians, recording engineers, mix engineers, mastering engineers, art directors, video directors, samples, and more.
Their proprietary interactive metadata technology allows users to manipulate creator information to see other songs their favorite creators worked on and craft personalized playlists from their discoveries in a few easy clicks.
We were lucky enough to catch up with CEO Austin Webster for a really informative Q&A.
Here, Webster dives into interesting topics like music technology, the business of streaming music, innovation and more.
P&S: What was the jumping off point to start Deepr®? Did you see a particular segment of the music-tech space that was drawing you in for developing your product/platform?
Austin Webster: In late 2016, I was driving home in Atlanta traffic listening to the Apple Music Beats1 radio show, OTHERTone, hosted by Scott Vener & Pharell Williams. Their guest on the show was Justin Timberlake, and they happened to play a boy band mix as a tribute to his boy band origins.
One song that played, in particular, caught my ear and made me do a double-take. That song was “Girls” by New Kids On The Block. I loved the song’s 90s R&B sound, and I was truly shocked because that was not what I expected from a New Kids On The Block song, so naturally I wanted to know more.
After a great deal of research involving screenshots and probing the internet, I discovered the song was co-produced by two of my favorite song architects: producers Teddy Riley (the king of New Jack Swing) and Leon Sylvers, who wrote and produced many of the biggest songs released on the legendary funk/soul/R&B recording label SOLAR Records in the 80s. An hour or so later I was able to identify a few additional tracks they made together and put together a playlist. Some songs I knew, some I didn’t, but they all sounded similar to what caught my attention when I first heard “Girls.”
That was when my “lightbulb moment” happened. How many songs out there were similar to my favorites, but I didn’t know existed? Having little time to spend searching for songs and making custom playlists based on the creators behind the music, I wanted to find a better, faster and more enjoyable way to get the music I already loved but perhaps hadn’t heard.
That lightbulb moment has fueled the journey from a napkin sketch to a wireframe prototype, creating a company, building a minimum viable product, bringing on a co-founder, rebranding the app, fundraising, getting investors on board, building a team, and now promoting an actual app to the masses.
P&S: Were there any notable obstacles in getting the Deepr® platform up and running?
AW: I would say our most notable obstacles were directly related to raising capital and the overall time required to develop our platform. But timing and product-market fit is everything, and NOW is the time to begin introducing what we have been developing with Deepr® and the ICCP to music fans and creators.
P&S Discuss a little more about your audio recognition technology, which powers the core of your music discovery tool.
AW: While the audio recognition capability of Deepr® plays a big role in the music discovery experience of our users, it does not power the core of Deepr®.
Deepr® is truly powered by the creators behind the music. Our proprietary interactive metadata technology allows users to manipulate creator information (producers, songwriters, featured artists, background vocalists, musicians, recording engineers, mix engineers, mastering engineers, art directors, video directors, samples, and more) to see other songs and videos that those creators worked on and then go one step further to craft personalized playlists from their discoveries.
Deepr® lets users curate their own true sound playlists without AI algorithms determining their musical tastes or listening patterns.
P&S: Give us a brief breakdown of your online portal called the Independent Creator Credit Program (ICCP)?
AW: When we began presenting Deepr® at conferences, like A3C here in Atlanta, late last year. We received a lot of inquiries from independent creators who saw the value in Deepr® and wanted to know how they could have their work and credits visible in the app. So we set out to create an online portal called the Independent Creator Credit Program (ICCP) to allow independent creators the ability to submit their song credits into Deepr® and soft-launched it in July of this year.
For this service, we charge 99 cents for 1 song, $6.99 for 15 songs, and $49.99 for 150 songs. Most independent creators are looking for an opportunity to be seen and stand out from the pack based on the true quality of their musical contributions. That is the essence of why we created Deepr®, so it has been a perfect fit.
P&S: What are your thoughts on music streaming… Where it’s all going? What could be better? What’s working and what’s not?
AW: There was a time not too long ago when if you wanted to hear other songs that your favorite producer worked on, you had to spend a lot of money or be limited to what was available at the local record store or big-box retailer in the city/town that you lived in. Now thanks to music streaming, for a few bucks a month you can have the record store at your fingertips and tools like Deepr® to find all the songs your favorite producer worked on in seconds.
The best part about where we are currently with innovation in music technology is that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of access, connection, and experience for music fans and creators alike.
That said, the one question our team always keeps at the forefront of every decision we make internally is, how are we helping to bring back the authentic value of music and its creators that has diminished in this era? In the record store and liner notes days, music was cherished and the creators were heroes. Our goal at Deepr® is to innovate with that old school spirit in mind.
P&S: What’s on the horizon for Deepr®?
AW: Our vision for Deepr® as a brand is to be synonymous with empowering and re-allocating value to the talented creators who so often get lost in the streaming music landscape. Right now, we are currently focused on the Deepr® app and ICCP.
But on the horizon, we are looking to continue innovating around the timeless experience of enjoying music and the creators who make the music special.