Clowdy connects the creative arts, such as the music and film industries, with the tech industry.
What void does Clowdy aim to fit in the industry? What gap in the market are you serving?
Currently, digital artists are restricted to one media type per service – but if you know any creative people, you will know they are inherently creative, often working and collaborating across different media formats. This means they are forced to distribute their art on an unwieldy array of services.
To avoid this dispersion, many artists have to “misuse” services. For example, more than 40% of the uploads to YouTube are for music rather than videos; which is not its intended purpose. We end up with a broken experience for consumers and creators.
We’ve created Clowdy to unify digital media sharing, so musicians, filmmakers and photographers can distribute any media type and collaborate in one place.
How does Clowdy help it’s customers?
By allowing any media file type to be uploaded on to Clowdy, we’ve created a new digital market that encourages collaboration across the arts. For example, a musician could get in touch with a film-maker about a music video, or a photographer that also writes music could share both pieces of art in one place. This means portfolios are simpler and less dispersed.
But we understand it’s going to take a while before people only use Clowdy, so we’re embracing our competitors by allowing creators to distribute to Clowdy, where we’ll do the rest by sending it to their other services. This saves time for the creators and makes everything that bit easier.
How does Clowdy stand out from competitors in the industry?
We are creator-focused, making it our mission to make their life easier. Providing the simplest distribution process will encourage independent creators to use our service and position ourselves for the next generation of professional creators.
Who are the team behind Clowdy?
We have a strong team. Damien, our CTO, and myself have been working together for over 3 years. We’ve brought together a great group of people with different experiences and backgrounds (as well as a pair of office dogs!), see us all on our about page.
What challenges does your industry & Clowdy currently face?
The creative industries (and nearly all industries) are resistive to change. There’s good reason for that. The creative industries have never been dripping in money. Being a musician or filmmaker is a hard life, despite celebrity culture skewing the figures and perception of this world. Persuading creators that we’re a personable company looking to make change for the better and in their interest is definitely our challenge.
How have you overcome / are planning to overcome these challenges?
By trial and error. Improving how we explain Clowdy to our audience and always developing our message is key. Beyond that, driving investment and encouraging investors to buy into our long-term vision for Clowdy.
What trends are you currently seeing in your space?
CDs and DVDs are obviously dead. In the music industry we are seeing a decline in digital sales but an increase in digital subscriptions (Spotify, Deezer, etc). With the film industry, it’s slightly different as digital sales are still increasing. But I would expect that to peak soon with the rise of subscription services.
What will be really interesting is once the novelty of unlimited music and film through a subscription wears off, will we see advertising models starting to win? My feeling is we will because the content owners will fragment on to different services, meaning many different subscriptions to have access to everything. This will be too expensive for consumers, so it will transition to ads.
Overall though, digital distribution is growing and growing, and I do not see that changing anytime soon.
What have been the most prolific innovations or advances in the industry in the last few years?
YouTube and Spotify. YouTube pioneered user-generated content platforms, and managed to stay alive despite facing a slew of lawsuits. Spotify, because it managed to get the labels to agree (albeit by offering them a stake of the company) to distribute all (or most) of their music.
Is there a specific person or company that has been an influence on your career in this industry?
Apple and Steve Jobs pioneered the digital era for music and film with iTunes and the iPod. Without them, we don’t know what would have happened; they legitimised the concept while it was still in its nascency.
What do you aim to achieve with Clowdy over the coming year?
We’re crowd-funding currently through Seedrs , so our primary focus is to reach our goal of £175,000. After that we want to grow from our current user base of 60,000 to 100,000 and beyond. We’re working on partnerships to increase our content base and to help get more visibility for the creators on the platform.
How do you think Clowdy will change and influence your industry over the coming year?
We’re going to create a new market that will simplify collaboration and distribution for people in the creative industries. As the number of creators on the platform grows, it will be interesting to see how our competitors respond.
The beauty is, despite YouTube’s efforts to make a music service, it’s unlikely to work as everyone has a specific way of using it currently and this perception will prove difficult to shift. Plus, where there has been a lot of backlash over YouTube and Soundcloud’s recent consumer-focused changes, we aim to capitalize on those mistakes and put the creators first.
Without them, there would be no service.
What advice can you give to newcomers to your industry, or the startup space in general?
You’ll hear a lot of no’s. It will make you doubt yourself but if you truly believe in what you’re doing – go for it.