A new company called AMPLI.FI is totally riding the live video streaming wave.
Their mission is to help artists, both amateur and professional, reach their core fans at a push of a button. According to the website, they are doing this through building a video streaming service where artists can "connect and engage at a deep level with their fans." With live streaming, they hope to make artists "feel like they're a part of the fans' world."
Founder and CEO Bart Decrem, told A Plus that he got the idea for the site when he himself was starting out in a band. One thing he noticed was that it was hard to find an immediate audience that would grow with him. Between the logistics and costs of traveling to play open mics, he was having a hard time honing his skills as an artist, while making some money in the process.
Decrem said, "it's hard starting out, so I started looking for a place where I could begin playing for a small number of friends and family to get feedback and build my confidence." To his surprise, nothing like that existed yet. So, he decided to use his past experience to create an environment where artists can "create a fun community ... where music lovers can connect like never before."
A Plus was able to catch up with Decrem and drummer Casey Cooper to learn about the emerging platform and what it has been like jamming with their closest followers in the comfort of their own homes.
What was the concept and inspiration for this platform/app?
Decrem: In the Tap Tap Revenge days, I spent a lot of time around artists, and I resolved to finally learning to make music. When I left Disney, I learned to DJ and got sucked into learning to play guitar. I've been at it for two years now, and though I'm still a beginner, I felt it was time to start performing, do open mics, or something like that.
But as a beginner, especially if you're not in your teens or twenties, it's hard starting out. Getting into a band, or lining up gigs, the logistics are tricky, and it's also super intimidating. So I started looking for a place where I could begin playing for a small number of friends and family to get feedback and build my confidence.
That's when it struck me that there wasn't a place where anyone with a passion for music could go to practice, or perform in an intimate, community-centric setting. So we set out to create a place that lowers the barriers for amateur bands or solo artists; create a fun community where performers can connect with their fans. That's still there as one of the core ideas of AMPLI.FI.
So here we are, four months later, introducing AMPLI.FI. We hope it will become that place where millions of music lovers go to connect with tens of thousands of amazing musicians from around the world.
Tell us a little bit about why this service is different than past platforms and apps that allowed fans to tip artists.
Decrem: We're building a community platform — the place where musicians and music lovers can connect like never before. Video live streaming is the hook for this platform, tips are a key feature, and community is at the core. Whilst monetization is built into the platform from the start, it's in the context of community.
Live streaming is going mainstream this year and as a technology, it's becoming a commodity. We're building a venue that leverages that technology and takes it to the next level with two-way communication. Twitch.tv in particular has shown how powerful this concept of building a community around the live connections from video live streaming can be.
It's such a powerful place for 100 million gaming fans. Right now there's no such place for 100 million music fans and that's at the core of what we're trying to achieve.
How have artists responded to this new opportunity?
Decrem: Artists are telling us they love AMPLI.FI and that they've been looking for a place like this. They're looking to connect directly with their fans, they're looking for a community that's for them — a place 100 percent for music.
Over the weekend, for instance, I spoke with an artist who'd just discovered our platform. He told me he was so excited about this platform, because it's not just a place to stream, but it's a community that's 100 percent about music.
He wants to be on AMPLI.FI every day, for several hours each day, and build a following here.
Now from the artists' side and Casey Cooper.
Tell us a little bit about your background as a drummer and building your online community.
Cooper: I started playing drums around six years old and got my first kit at eight. It's always been my lifelong dream to play drums as a career, and so I've been working hard through the years to create opportunity for myself as a musician.
I started off playing in a bunch of rock bands through the years, but never felt that any of them were going to be my ticket to playing drums for a living, not for lack of talent, but lack of perfect situations. I was always told that I was a fun drummer to watch and that's where I realized that YouTube and online media were going to be the future of not only my career, but for musicians everywhere. From then on, I was spending sometimes 16+ hours a day working on videos and creating content that is not only engaging and entertaining, but motivational, educational and inspirational.
My goal is to connect with people through music and video and I believe a lot of my "success" can be attributed to the fact that I think of myself, and respond and interact with people as "just a drummer who loves to play" and I think that is very relatable through my videos.
Why do you think AMPLI.FI is a good fit for your talents and fanbase?
Cooper: Immediately I was excited and pumped to be a part of AMPLI.FI because it encompasses everything I love about music.
AMPLI.FI allows you to not only entertain and engage with your audience, but directly connect with them, responding in real time to questions and sharing your life and art with them in ways that are way more powerful than just through pre-recorded video and social media posts.
It's amazing to see how excited and how much it means to people when you interact with them directly. For me, AMPLI.FI is perfect because I love having as much of a personal connection to my audience as possible and this allows anyone, anywhere the ability to join in and be a part of the stream.
It's incredible you can connect with so many fans around the world. What do you find is the most rewarding thing about performing for them?
Cooper: I love being able to instantly perform and respond to people's requests for songs, advice and lesson material. If someone has a question, I can instantly teach and show them an answer or solution to their problem or question.
As funny as it sounds, I also love the ability to be completely transparent and people see the funny moments like dropped sticks, or missed notes that they don't always see in pre-recorded videos. I love showing my audience that i'm just like them, i'm just a dude who loves to play the drums — I make mistakes too and it's hilarious when I do!
That's the best thing about connecting with them in this way — being completely real with them and then seeing all that you are and getting a personal connection with you that they've never had before!