Courtesy of Ryan Cox
Finding local music established in your own city – no less from cities across the rest of the world – isn’t the simplest task. But now there’s an app for that.
For musician and construction contractor Ryan Cox, it was a sad thought that he might never know what substantial music lives outside his own geographical area. So he created a free, Pandora-esque app solely for local music called cannon.fm. The free iPhone app received more than 1,000 downloads in its first week.
“Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, I’m sure it’s very similar there, where there are great musicians,” Cox said. “But I’ll never know because the only way you can access local music is if you go, either by cruising the Internet for hours trying to find something you like or going to the concerts every night. There’s no place for the music to come to you and that’s what I wanted to create.”
Cannon.fm, allows users to listen to music by genre, Cox said, and listeners are able to “rock fingers” up or down for songs they like or don’t like, similar to Pandora’s “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”
Bands seeking to get their music featured on the app can upload their music, biographies, photos, album art and upcoming concerts to the website. Any band from any city can upload its material to the website, Cox said, but a city’s music would not be made live to the public until 150 artists uploaded music under a specific city name. Columbus is cannon.fm’s only live city thus far.
“We’re looking for a threshold of about 150 (artists) or so until we launch into a given market,” Cox said. “But anyone from any city can upload.”
The second version or update to cannon.fm, which Cox said should be launched by the end of September along with an Android version, will allow listeners to tag artists and create playlists. The login on version two of the website for bands will result in a MySpace-style profile page with an embedded music player.
The idea for cannon.fm emerged during “Columbus Startup Weekend,” which was is a 54-hour event held in February that invited entrepreneurs such as product managers and developers to pitch ideas and develop teams to launch products, according to the event’s website. Cox was given 60 seconds to pitch his idea to advance to the semi-finals. He then assembled a team, came back the next day with a five-minute pitch and won “Top Product/Pitch” of the 80 original pitches.
Cox, whose Columbus-based band Bullet Jones is featured on cannon.fm, said his exposure to the music scene has opened his eyes to the local talent around him and made him realize the importance of getting music heard by the public.
“I believe that it’s important to the musicians because it allows them to reach potential fans that they never could have before,” Cox said. “I live in Columbus, I’m never going to look up bands in Chicago. I just don’t have the time or the patience to search every MySpace page of Chicago rock bands, but if I just toss it on Chicago rock on cannon.fm and go about my day, that’s a hell of a lot easier.”
Chris Carle, manager and father of two members of Hollywood Red, a band featured on cannon.fm, said the band got involved with cannon.fm the first day it launched.
“It’s great exposure for a young band like us that can’t necessarily get on (local rock radio station 99.7) ‘The Blitz’ all the time,” Carle said. “We get on Sunday nights for their local stuff but they’re not going to play us on their regular rotation. But something like cannon.fm, we’re in their rotation.”
Emily Rhinier, a second-year in dietetics, agrees cannon.fm is good exposure for local bands.
“I can see it being a good idea so they can get their name out or be heard by someone,” Rhinier said.
As cannon.fm develops version two and grows to more locations, it’s eventual aim is to be the intermediary area or middle man that helps artists get to the next level, Cox said.
“Whether it’s us brokering the deals between the artists and the traditional labels or we’re just an independent label that does it ourself, I think that is absolutely a natural course to take,” Cox said. “And as we continue to grow, we want to be the home for local music, the one-stop shop.”