“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot by not helping musicians. There’s so much good music out there that I don’t listen to because it isn’t right sonically.”
That’s how Jacob Morris, a 15-year career sound engineer who has worked on Grammy-winning, chart-topping albums, explains his decision to create a platform that essentially automates what he spends hours in the studio doing.
Morris’s startup, MXD, allows aspiring artists to upload files of their recordings, choose a sound that matches the vibe they’re searching for, and the smart algorithm returns a completed mix that, according to Morris, is akin to what you would get for a premium analog mix from engineers in a studio.
The whole process, from upload to listen, takes about 48 hours.
Morris thought of the product as his career as a sound engineer was taking off. He started in the industry at age 15, coming on full-time with Atlanta’s Reach Records once he finished school.
After working on highly-successful albums with musicians such as Lecrae, Morris found his services highly in-demand.
“I kept getting messaged by new artists, but when I asked about their budgets, they were really low. Unfortunately, I just can’t work on that as much as I’d want, but it made me realize that they’d either have to find someone who was really cheap, who’s not going to give them quality work, or they’re just not going to get quality mixes.”
Morris is right — for many independent or upcoming artists, the $1500-$2000 price tag per song for in-studio mixes is just not do-able. He began to look into a technical solution to democratize the process.
Morris raised funding from individuals including Reach Records’ founders Ben Washer and Lecrae, Dan Duncan and Carson Nyquist of Oust, and a few others, for a total of $100K.
He spent 2018 working with technical partners and soft-launched the platform this year.
MXD mixes start at just $95, with as many revisions as an artist wants available for $15 a pop.
“If you want your vocals louder, if you want a different sound, the power is in the artists’ hands,” says Morris. He says MXD has run hundreds of mixes already.
“We’ve had full bands, rappers, pop music, and indie artists use it. The idea of an artist making a song at 2 a.m. in their bedroom and releasing it the next day is a real thing that’s happening, and we can help do that.”