Quadio is a music streaming platform for college students to help share their music. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Assistant Photo Editor

A crowded classroom filled with a surprising number of familiar faces is exactly what cousins Joe and Marcus Welch needed to create a music streaming platform meant for college students.

Quadio is a music streaming and social media service that connects college musicians by providing a platform to share their music, Marcus Welch said. Users can upload singles, full albums or works in progress, and can track the number of listens, likes and comments on their posts.

The platform is organized by location so that users can see other musicians in their area who are posting music or gaining traction, Marcus Welch said.

“The idea for Quadio was to be a social music streaming platform, so social media and music streaming in one,” Marcus Welch said. “We’re rolling out a lot that will embrace that social media aspect of it and let people communicate more, let people share with each other and talk more about the music they’re sharing in more public ways.”

Quadio was founded in October 2018 after Joe Welch enrolled in a songwriting class at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Marcus Welch said. Once the class started, Joe Welch immediately recognized the faces of many of his classmates, all of whom he had no idea were musicians like himself. He realized he could have collaborated and made music with them throughout college if only he had known they were also musicians.

Joe Welch took the idea to Marcus Welch, whose music business experience includes working on the music partnerships team at Twitter. Now, the two are the co-founders of Quadio, with Marcus Welch as chief executive officer and Joe Welch as chief community officer. Their goal was to create something that builds off of the musical network many people form in college as well as try to offer students a way to expand that network, Marcus Welch said.

“There’s a lot of power in a local community,” Marcus Welch said. “How do we harness that and make a platform specifically to facilitate that? How do we make that happen on each individual campus, but also connect all of these campuses?”

Quadio has been reaching out to college artists through email or Instagram over the past year to build up its user base as well as market itself, Marcus Welch said. In summer 2019, Quadio contacted now Ohio State alumnus Tommy Zarick with an interest in his band Pipeline Central. Zarick said he wished something like this had existed much earlier.

“I feel like it’s a good central platform to learn more about the local scene and find artist content, which definitely has potential to become a useful networking tool,” Zarick said.

Marcus Welch was unable to give numbers on how many people have signed up, but he said Quadio has more than 10,000 songs uploaded and 200,000 individual track plays, all in a matter of months.

In addition to it being a streaming platform, Quadio also hosts live events.

Miranda Martell, Quadio’s chief growth officer, said Quadio recognizes that for many young artists, the most beneficial experiences and exposure come through playing shows.

Quadio has held live shows across the country, giving users an opportunity to perform in front of crowds bigger than what they might normally be playing. Student campus representatives help organize these shows, Martell said.

“Events are a big part of our business, and I think providing live show opportunities to our artists is a big part of our value proposition,” Martell said.

Due to COVID-19, Quadio’s live events have been forced online. Every weeknight at 8 p.m., Quadio has hosted Live From Inside on its Instagram account for the past month. Martell said the virtual concerts are a good opportunity for artists whose shows and tours have been canceled.

On April 18, Quadio hosted a COVID-19 benefit concert on its Instagram livestream, featuring five artists: Isa Peña of Harvard University, Brianna Knight of SUNY New Paltz, Lily Oyer of Principia College, Justin Reid of North Carolina Central University and Nyallah of the University of Southern California. The concert proceeds — $1 for every audition tape they received — were donated to the GlobalGiving Foundation, a worldwide crowdfunding organization that connects nonprofits, companies and donors for a variety of causes, Martell said. The concert raised $1,195 from both audition tapes and donations, according to the fundraising page.

As for the future, Quadio plans to keep rolling out new features in the platform, partner with like-minded brands, spread its live shows around the country and continue to grow its artist development program, Martell said.

“We see this as an audience that really should be taken seriously, and that’s why our brand as a whole is all about taking these musicians incredibly seriously and showing people that they’re just as good as what they’re hearing on the radio,” Marcus Welch said.