In this day and age, with so many tech tools at our disposal to be creative, one would think education and passion would suffice to become a good music producer. But this translates into music history, composition, audio engineering, sound editing, learning to work with audio software, and a trained ear for good sounds.
Greek co-founder and CEO of the Bulgarian-founded startup – Audiomodern, Max Maximilianos knows all about the trials and tribulations of music production. That’s what inspired him to launch a tech tool for music aficionados.
In the interview below, he will share more about his entrepreneurial journey, and what is next for making Audiomodern accessible worldwide, which might include opening the bootstrap company to investors for accelerating its growth.
The music tech market
Music producers are the creative force behind the music industry’s growth, and there are millions of them worldwide. The global music streaming market was worth almost €30B in 2021 and is expected to grow 14% year by year until 2030.
But the market has much more potential with so many new streaming platforms that are accessible to everybody, not only to the few with big budgets and technical know-how. So far, many producers have quit because although they worked for hours on end on a tune, the final product could not be shared with the masses.
Long gone are the days when you can launch anything online and it will go viral. Quality trumps quantity these days to “make it in the music industry”. Music production that lasts in time is hard, no wonder even popular artists limit themselves to a few albums in their careers.
The making of a music tech startup founder
“I was born in Athens, Greece, in 1982. Starting with classical percussion, I discovered my feel for music at a young age and composed my first music content as a primary school student,” reveals Max Maximilianos, who after playing in several bands, launched Audiomodern, a software suite with an AI component for music professionals to work smarter, not harder.
With a background in music technology, production, and sound engineering, and after traveling and playing at various festivals, Max was inspired to create a smart tech tool that can help musicians, composers, and producers with their challenges.
The product acts as a compositional assistant helping with repetitive tasks, so music producers can shift their focus toward creativity. The suite offers MIDI and FX plugins for both Windows and macOS.
“I am still a music creator, but now with a new perspective.” – Max Maximilianos, Audiomodern
The Recursive: In the past years, you have taken on the role of entrepreneur, do you still compose?
Max Maximilianos, Audiomodern: What makes an artist successful is the passion for creation, which I would miss if I wasn’t able to combine art with entrepreneurship. I managed to combine my passion for music with advanced technology and continue being a creator.
How has the music industry, particularly developing new songs, evolved? Where do you see it growing?
In the past, music creation was accessible only to a few, and the cost of creating and publishing music was significantly higher. The music industry has been growing rapidly since AI started spreading its branches over the artistic world.
AI algorithms allow music creators to generate new musical ideas of any kind: from melodies that they hadn’t thought about yet, to new grooves and rhythmic patterns. This way, new music genres are being created and the already existing ones can be improved with the minimum required effort.
AI is being used progressively and eases any creator’s workflow, allowing them to save years of effort to obtain technical knowledge. Furthermore, they can use AI to easily publish and distribute their music with a significantly lower budget than what was required a few decades ago.
What motivated you to launch Audiomodern in 2017?
We started as a very small team of two people: me as a music producer and my colleague, Katerina, as an experienced software developer and musician, with deep knowledge of Artificial Intelligence.
Both of us have a deep understanding of the music industry. Our vision was to build a creative ecosystem of music software plugins, which could suggest musical ideas that could be a nice fit for any music producer, from a beginner to a professional.
Nothing similar was available in the market back in 2017, so we took this opportunity and launched our first products with Audiomodern.
Why did you plan to develop in Greece and Bulgaria?
As a Greek, I was regularly visiting Bulgaria, which is a neighboring country. The quality of life in Sofia is high, so it was a nice opportunity to move to Sofia and launch Audiomodern in Bulgaria.
What challenges do you aim to solve in the market with this AI solution?
Creators always need new ideas to be used for their music. There are several AI solutions currently available in the market that can be used to generate music: from automatic music generators, which are unfortunately unusable by any professional music producer, to products that are intended to be used by highly skilled composers.
All of the available solutions are still unable to recognize the user’s preferences and generate musical results while keeping their style.
Our solution suggests musical ideas – driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – but most importantly, it takes into consideration the user’s preferences, while solving several technical difficulties that producers currently need to solve.
Users, from beginners to professionals, can rely on our advanced algorithms, which adapt to each user’s personalized style, or take full control over the software creating new results manually.
Can you share more about the product you are developing?
The software combines two factors: the user’s favorite music genres and the ways the software is being used so far. Ιt maintains the creator’s style and according to it, it suggests musical ideas that the creator had not thought about yet.
The more you use the software, the more it learns about you and the better results you get. So, although music is generated by our AI algorithms, the results are always adapted to each creator’s style and, at the same time, the software gives full control to its user for further editing.
What have been the developing phases so far and what lessons can you share with us about building a music tech startup?
As a completely self-funded company, we started back in 2017 by building simple projects, with the highest quality possible. This helped us grow and become popular in the music industry.
By taking into consideration the various ways our software is being used, we managed to successfully transform the apps into advanced products, which automate several procedures and truly ease the users’ workflows.
Users are aware that by owning any of our products, they will still be able to enjoy our advanced and improved technology in the future, meaning that the software will keep up with the new technologies that are continuously being released. For this reason, many of our users choose to trust us and keep supporting our project five years later.
Can you impart some data about the market you are developing in, the users you are targeting, and some numbers about the company’s growth?
The music production software industry is growing and expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Audiomodern hits a new record every year and for 2023 we have more than 35% growth compared to the previous year.
Our users are musicians of any level of experience, mainly from 18-45 years old, located in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. We have 75% male users, but the percentage of females keeps growing, which is optimistic for the future of music.
What do users say about the Audiomodern tools?
Our newest Loopmix plugin seems to be the users’ favorite. I’m happy to share this short part of a recent review that came from one of the best and pickiest reviewers in the market:
“Audiomodern is renowned for creating some of the most interesting and exciting music software on the market. What’s more, their canny commitment to simultaneously unleashing new releases to both desktop platforms and iOS means that practically anyone creating music can get in on the action.
Their latest release, Loopmix, is perhaps Audiomodern’s most intriguing offering to date. Bringing your loops and sounds into Loopmix and giving them a good mix around is exceptionally good fun and a great way to add a unique spin to existing material.”
What are your goals for the following year?
We will launch the most sophisticated project we have ever worked on. The new solution is driven by our new AI and ML models. It provides anything a musician needs to create music in one single ecosystem, but the most important part is that it completely adapts to each user’s style and solves several technical issues that users are currently facing.
We hope this can change the way producers are making music and positively contribute to the music industry’s evolution.