GamesBeat

With $11.3M to back it, Music Mastermind’s Zya app will turn consumers into music creators

Music Mastermind's Zya app

Matt Serletic, CEO of Music Mastermind

Above: Matt Serletic, CEO of Music Mastermind

Image Credit: Music Mastermind

Music games have been a hard sell with consumers. But that isn’t stopping Music Mastermind, which will publish its music creation game Zya through a partnership with Electronic Arts’ Chillingo division.

The Calabasas, Calif.-based company is also announcing it has raised $11.36 million today from investors including Intel Capital and Liberty Global.

Music Mastermind’s Zya aims to turn music lovers into hit makers. With Zya, anyone can create “studio-quality music and share it with the world.” You can use it to make a new song, mash-up famous hits such as Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi, or combine elements of different songs to make unique music.

Matt Serletic, CEO, Music Mastermind, said in a statement, “We’ve poured our hearts into making Zya not just a game, but a new way for people to experience the joy of making music, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Music games have had a rocky history. Guitar Hero became a billion-dollar-a-year franchise for Activision, but it fell out of favor with consumers. Other music apps like Tap Tap Revenge have taken off, but there have been no huge hits in the music creation area, unless you count apps such as Smule’s Ocarina title.

But the Music Mastermind folks have an interesting pedigree. Serletic is a Grammy Award-winning producer for Matchbox Twenty, Carlos Santana, Aerosmith, and others. He was previously the CEO and chairman of Virgin Records. His productions have sold 110 million albums and generated more than $1 billion in revenue.

His co-founder is Bo Bazylevsky, former head of JP Morgan’s emerging markets corporate bond trading business in New York.

The goal is to create deeper interaction between content makers and content consumers, or professionals and amateurs. The company has cut licensing agreements with Universal, Sony, and other labels to get access to copyrighted music.

Chillingo plans to publish Zya in the summer. Music Mastermind has created a cloud-based music rendering and rights engine that uses games mechanics, voice-to-instrument features, and custom microphones. That allows users to mash-up famous hits with their own creations.

Music Mastermind was founded in 2008 and it has 39 employees. The company says it has no direct competitors. Investors also include a network of angels. To date, the company has raised $27 million in three rounds. Zya will be available in the iOS app store. The app launched in beta version for the PC at SXSW 2012 and got more than 300,000 registered users.


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