Music creation apps are a growth area in line with the huge global reach of short-form video platforms such as TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reel.
Nick Gatfield, who was in charge at Sony Music UK from 2011 to 2014, has become head of the advisory board at social media and music app Overtune.
Targeted at a new generation of content creators, influencers and musicians, Overtune aims to open up music creation online. The app enables anyone with a smartphone to produce and edit musical micro-content to enhance their social media posts.
Overtune has closed a $2 million funding round from international and domestic investors. Shareholders in the company include Charles Huang, creator of Guitar Hero, along with Nick Gatfield and Whynow, a digital publisher, podcast producer and production studio founded by Gabe Jagger. Overtune has also agreed a partnership with Whynow.
Overtune was founded in Iceland in 2020 by Sigurdur Arnason, Jason Dadi Gudjonsson and Petur Eggerz Petursson. The company has since partnered with domestic artists, as well as the Icelandic music competition that determines the country's Eurovision representative.
Here, Nick Gatfield (above) reveals the vision and ambitions for Overtune in social music…
Why did you want to get involved with Overtune - what did you admire about the app?
“When I first met Sigurdur, Jason and Petur, they were each unequivocal in their vision of ensuring Overtune reached, and spurred on, a new generation of musicians and all who aspire to create and use their own music across social media. Their determination to democratise music creation is one that I not just personally agree with, but believe is the inevitable consequence of our industry’s ongoing journey of democratisation.
“By simplifying the creative process for music creation, Overtune can widen opportunities and further democratise our industry by making intuitive software available to all. Clearly, the vast majority of consumers will enjoy Overtune as a fun component to further personalise their social media profile, but I do believe there will be those users who will use the platform to create music that’s unique and compelling. And that’s what Overtune does, by embracing the immeasurable capacity of social media distribution and making accessible all the tools needed to harness this potential.”
How significant do you think the demand is for music as part of the creation process on social platforms?
“The extent of the demand for music as part of content creation is, I believe, not something that many of us have fully grasped yet. Content creation in itself has become a pillar of modern society, particularly amongst our younger generations, for whom social media is now a key medium for discovering their new favourite artists.
"At Overtune, we are particularly focused on TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube shorts. That both Instagram and YouTube have followed in TikTok’s steps by embracing accessible means for content creation serves to indicate which way the winds are blowing - making sure music keeps up, and remains central to the burgeoning digital culture scene, is obviously important to us. The addition of music to content creation is what ties music to interactivity, moving beyond merely passive engagement and into a new silo for musical opportunities.”
The musical content created on Overtune is designed to become viral, both in-app and outside of the application
How has Overtune partnered with the artist community on the music creation tools? What are the opportunities for artists?
“We have already partnered with musical influencers in Iceland, including artists such as Bassi Maraj and ClubDub, and further partnerships across the artist community are a core focus for us. Further partnerships then enable us to develop beat packs created by a range of producers, artists, influencers and brands - partnering with each group to tailor their pack accordingly to their own styles. Each pack is then preloaded with a unique and thematic set of sounds, all of which are the same tempo and key so that each loop can be paired together to the user’s needs.
“Taking this approach means we are simultaneously empowering the artist community whilst respecting their individual stylistic approaches to music. Ensuring we listen to artists and amplify what makes each of them unique will be a critical part of our growth over the coming months and years. The musical content created on Overtune is designed to become viral, both in-app and outside of the application. With Overtune, people can create musical content on the spot, encouraging a new kind of creator - someone that feels a spark of creativity in a moment.”
What are the growth and investment plans for this year and beyond?
“Overtune has a remote work culture, with 15 members of staff operating across the world - this fits their ambition to be an app with broad appeal across different continents and, most importantly, cultures. Our mission to make music creation more accessible encompasses all genres and styles, meaning that our plans for growth will be scaled accordingly to this - ensuring we become prominent both across North America and Europe.
“To date, we’ve raised over $2 million in seed funding, with Charles Huang, founder of Guitar Hero, a key investor alongside some leading Nordic VCs. Further developing our offering, whilst broadening our user base, will be a key component of our plans for the rest of this year.
“Within 24 hours of launching, Overtune reached No.1 on the App store in Iceland - a feat we are very proud of. The next step is to build on this success as we raise Overtune’s profile across Europe and democratise music creation for the next generation. The partnership model is designed to be adaptable to athletes, content creators, artists, media companies and music producers alike. It differs from other types of music creation apps that have been solely focused on artists and musical communities. What Overtune does is give the power of musical content creation to creators, so it opens up a wide variety of partnership and growth opportunities.”
PHOTO: Sigurdur Asgeir Arnason, Jason Dadi Gudjonsson and Petur Eggerz Petursson