Seattle startup gets in the mix with StudioMaster, a music-matching algorithm that’s in tune with tech

Ligia Tica, left, and Jonathan Kang, co-founders of Seattle-based StudioMaster. (Photos courtesy of StudioMaster)

Surely, in our digital lives, we have evolved beyond the print classifieds or flyer-at-the-coffee-shop method of finding a drummer for that band we’re putting together. So what if machine learning technology could match musicians via the musical snippets they upload online? That’s the plan behind tech from one young startup.

Ligia Tica and Jonathan Kang are the co-founders of StudioMaster, a Seattle platform that helps users find likeminded artists in an objective, quantifiable way. Their “StudioMatch” algorithm analyzes tracks uploaded to the site and compares them to everything else that’s been shared.

“Let’s say somebody uploads their guitar riff,” Tica said. “They would get matched with complimentary, let’s say drum lines, or violin pieces or piano pieces. So it is a social media platform and the purpose and the point is to network.”

Tica graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a degree in business administration, and while she calls music “a drug” that she consumes every day, neither she nor Kang are musicians. The third member of the team is John Parker, a developer in Pittsburgh credited with building the algorithm.

As with any content-driven platform, Tica sees a chicken-and-egg problem in getting the business up and running.

“Nobody wants to sign up on a new platform because nobody is there and nobody’s there because nobody wants to sign up,” she said. “So that’s the biggest challenge — to get it off the ground. What we’ve decided to do is to market to users that have a SoundCloud account.

In trying to attract some of the reported 175 million registered users of that audio distribution platform, StudioMaster hopes to deliver what SoundCloud participants ultimately want — more followers and more plays.

Accessing the StudioMaster platform and finding the next great vocal or instrumental to match your piece of music will cost $9.99 a month. Phase two of the project will allow users to gain access to an all-in-one digital audio workspace where they can combine and manipulate their tracks and post them for everyone to experience. Those involved in each track are “tagged” to share credit.

And just like in certain dating apps, if you’re matched to music and you’re not into it, you can disregard what the algorithm came up with.

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