What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?
The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.
Leaping into the online music service market is like standing next to a speaker at a Motorhead concert: It’s not easy to be heard.
Guvera, a company spawned on the Gold Coast, has bucked that challenge with big-amp angel backing and an approach to ad support as unique as a Coltrane solo. The result, thus far, is a million-dollar business with operations in New York City and Los Angeles, along with clients ranging from Microsoft to Victoria Secret.
Guvera offers its music catalog free to users, just like Spotify, Pandora and Mog does. But here’s the big difference — Guvera’s advertising is intregrated into the site, instead of being intrusive popups or audio clips inserted every few songs. How? Advertisers create a music channel, based on their style or demographics, which they host and pay for users’ downloads. In exchange, they get consumer data from Guvera. Ad revenue is used to pay the song artists.
Guvera’s algorithm allows users to slide from one channel to another as they choose songs. The amount of user accounts and downloads available is directly proportional to the number of advertisers. The more the come aboard, the more people can join in. And Guvera already has millions of songs available, thanks to deals with publishers such as Universal Music, EMI and IODA. And it reportedly received $20 million in support last year from Australian investors, backing up $10 million in startup money it attracted in 2009.
In 2010, the company got the attention of Billboard magazine, which named Guvera as one of the 10 top digital music startups of the year (also on the list: Kickstarter).
Because of its presence in the United State, travel is a big carrot for Guvera employees. Writes founder and CEO Claes Loberg: “The guy who delivers the most sales in Australia gets to go to New York and build the team there. That guy is Andy, and he’s happy.”
Loberg concedes that bringing a new paradigm to a couple of old industries — music and advertising — can be an uphill battle. But he appears to be up to it.
“We spent 18 months negotiating with labels to make this happen in the right way,” he writes. “They don’t want people to think music is free. … From an advertising perspective, everyone does what they know, even though they know it’s not working. They fight against our ideals, but they are slowly coming around.”
Fox Business interviews Guvera CEO Claes Loberg
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