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Industry Focus: Asaii Co-Founder, Austin Chen Talks Using Data A&R Hidden Talent

Asaii uses data to try and help A&R's find artists they might not otherwise.


Everyone loves data. Whether you are a tech company, a mom and pop furniture store or a music company, data is king. Everyone is looking for more of it and wants better ways to get better analysis of what they are looking at. In the music business this can mean better targeting of new fans, existing fans and even help with A&R. A new company Asaii wants to make things easier for labels and other players in the music business. It is a "next-gen A&R platform" that pulls data from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit etc), streaming (Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer, Apple, YouTube etc) and more to find hidden talent that may not get noticed by an A&R with hundreds of submissions a day. 

All of this can help with the process of finding artists, but in the end an artist needs great songs for longevity. Numbers can be faked and be the result of fads. We talked to Asaii co-founder Austin Chen about his platform and how it is being used today. 

Can you give a brief, simple explanation of what the platform does?

Asaii's a platform that lets you select frames of interest in artists. The platform then intelligently shows the most relevant and signable artists along with a news feed of artist / related news. You can then track the artist to see changes in news, socials, and streams as well as playlists to see whether or not an artist is performing well etc.

Where did the idea for Asaii come from?

My co-founders and I became jaded with what was playing on the radio and wanted a platform that helped us discover what was actually trending. We built a tool for ourselves, but found it to be more than a tool to discover tracks. We reached out to indie labels and were met with enthusiasm. The three of us left Apple, Uber, and Salesforce respectively and are trying to see where Asaii goes.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face?

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Industry adoption of the tool is difficult. There are definitely many that are wary to even try us out right now. Another challenge is just purely the amount of music data out there grows exponentially and organizing it into an usable format is extremely difficult.

Have you met resistance from old school guys in the industry who aren't as into data?

Absolutely, the music industry is always resistant to large changes. However, as we've slowly built up credibility with press and discover, more old school guys are willing to at least hear us out.

How do account for fake followers, likes, plays etc?

The first trigger for us is the ratio of followers to comments to likes etc. Also the rate which followers, likes, etc changes can be an indicator of an influx of fake or purchased followers. On the operations side, we have analyst flag fake accounts and we use that to train our algorithms to be able to detect them.

What are some of the hidden gems you have unearthed?

We've helped Mom+Pop discover / sign Ashe... there are a couple other in the pipeline to be signed soon!


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