Writer Calibe Thompson | Photography Justin Atkinson
For aspiring musicians with little or no production budget, access to a roster of A-list producers, recording studio and video production facilities is the stuff of dreams. Enter, Recordgram.
It’s an IOS (apple based) app that allows vocalists to license beats from chart-topping producers like Timbaland, Will I Am, Supa Dups and StreetRunner for as little as $1.00 per track.
Using the app, you can then record original songs with multiple vocal tracks, and even create music videos, all from the comfort of wherever you, and your iPhone or iPad, are. From within the app, you post the masterpiece you’ve created to a social media platform of your choice, et voila! You’re on your way to super stardom… theoretically anyway. Currently, the app is a $2.99 per month subscription, and music is licensed at a maximum of $5.00 per track.
RecordGram Inc, the development team behind the app, recently raised $1 million in capital from funders including Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the major investors behind SnapChat. They’ve won a number of pitch competitions, including Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017, and they’ve been featured on the pages of Forbes and Billboard magazines, and leading industry websites Medium.com and Crunchbase.com.
The man responsible for developing the powerful technology behind the app is Grammy-winning music producer and DJ Winston “Blackout” Thomas, who in 2007 topped the worldwide music charts with the record This Is Why I’m Hot in collaboration with hip hop artist, Mims. The pair teamed up again to make the RecordGram app a reality.
According to Thomas, “Mims came to me with the idea of putting my beats into a mobile recording studio that would help us discover new artists. I loved the idea but wanted to make it bigger by bringing in other great producers, taking it worldwide, and getting artists excited about working with original producers, as opposed to recording on karaoke beats.
“I had a background in website design, so I immediately started putting together ideas of what the user interface (UI) would look like, and had the first draft of the front end done within a week. I went and Googled ‘how to develop an app’, then got to work. We had to bootstrap, meaning work with a very limited budget. I was up at all hours of the night with our guys in India for months to get the original version done.”
A growing number of monthly subscribers, as well as producers who also pay a subscription fee to list their beats, are currently using the app.
Beyond developing the app, the duo of Thomas and Mims, along with business partner Erik Mendelsohn, have begun to act in an A&R capacity. They’ve already discovered multiple acts who are gaining popularity through the app, and facilitated recording deals with major record labels.
Thomas got his start in music following in the footsteps of his Jamaican father, who was also a DJ. He recalls selling out of mixtapes in high school, touring nationally with artists like Jadakiss in the early 2000s, and working in radio, before a chance meeting with Mims in 2004 catapulted them both to global success.
With their most recent round of funding, they’re developing a more robust version of the RecordGram app that also works on the larger android platform.
It’s been more than ten years since the worldwide success of their hit song. Now, they are once again poised to share their collaborative efforts with a global audience, this time with an app, and they and their million dollar investors are very hopeful that the team can hit the top of the international charts, one more time.