“Shazam on steroids” is how the founders of Atlanta-based music discovery app Deepr describe their innovative platform. And with June recognized as Black Music Month in the U.S., having an app that spotlights the creators behind the music — as opposed to the performers alone — is one way its founders say listeners can give credit where it’s due.
Launched late last year, this is Deepr’s first Black Music Month as a publicly available iOS and Android app.
Using interactive metadata and a gamifying interface, Deepr’s song recognition technology identifies key information in a song to help listeners find music they’re inclined to love but may never have heard before.
Once Deepr identifies a song playing within range of your mobile device’s microphone, it will show the song and offer a “Scroll View” with basic details about the artist, including a bio if available, if the song is in the app’s database.
Access the “Deepr View,” and you’ll see the songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers others involved in the making of the song. From there, you can select one of those behind-the-scenes creators, and direct Deepr to generate a playlist of other songs they helped make.
You can also play music within the app when synched with a paid streaming music subscription service such as Spotify or Apple Music, and import and share personalized playlists based on the people responsible for the original song’s construction.
Deepr founder Austin Webster, an industrial design graduate of SCAD, says the company has pivoted since March, when COVID-19 began to take hold in the U.S. Not only did they rethink how they marketed to customers, but also to song creators looking for more exposure.
That led to the recent launch of an online portal called the Independent Creator Credit Program (ICCP), which allows independent creators to submit song credits into Deepr, Webster says, for a small fee.
“One thing we were always aware of was that a lot of indie musicians and creators were fighting to stand out from the crowd and be seen in the streaming landscape. We have received a lot of inquiries from independent creators wanting to know how they can have their work and credits visible in Deepr. Once it became evident that the independent creator needed to be seen more than ever in this economic climate, we made the decision to shift from heavily focusing on the music fan to putting a majority of our marketing focus towards the independent creator community,” Webster said.
Deepr cofounder Darrell Thompson, an entertainment attorney and former Motown Records executive whose past clients include Jay-Z, The Black Eyed Peas and others, says the company has raised $300,000 so far in pre-seed funding, and is seeking another $1.7 million. Thompson says black-owned tech companies must stake their places in an industry dominated by black music and culture.
Thompson also feels strongly that the financial rewards should be equitable.
“As an African-American business owner from Detroit, the birthplace of Motown, I believe it is very important to our culture for young boys and girls to see founders of color running the tech companies behind the music. We know African-Americans have played an integral role on the creative side of the music industry, but we must also be represented on the business side and in the boardrooms of companies benefiting from the use of our music.
“Our young people need to know someone that looks like them can invent things and not just be artists or musicians,” Thompson says.