Stagelight — a program that wants to democratize music creation — is out with version 2.0.
Priced at a rock bottom sticker of $9.99, the Open Labs product was launched in early 2013 for novices, DJs or pros. In February, it released a soundboard with sounds and drum machine beats created by hip-hop superstar and record producer Timbaland, who also happens to be an investor. Soundboards by other artists, such as Linkin Park, have also been added. The company says it currently has over 750,000 customers.
“Our focus as a company is to make music creation accessible all people,” Open Labs CEO Cliff Mountain told VentureBeat last May. He said the “greatest obstacles” for many people have been price and “the amount of time to become proficient,” and noted that both hurdles have been tackled in the inexpensive, easy-to-use application.
One of the notable new features in Stagelight’s second version (which is a free update for registered owners), includes LoopBuilder — a looping feature for song mash-ups (combining two songs into one). There’s also new ways to experiment with hundreds of free “loops” available for free on Stagelight, or with imported sounds.
A new Electro Instrument Series includes Key Lock, “the piano that can’t play wrong notes.” A SongBuilder engine provides step-by-step lessons and advanced features.
This week, Mountain told us that Stagelight is “much easier to use and learn than GarageBand or any other music creation program.”
A user chooses a genre of music, and then is guided through musical pattern and instrument selection. The resulting song can be shared with one touch publishing to the cloud. A new in-app store, formally launching this week, includes professionally-produced loops and other sound library additions.
While Timbaland has been a backer and a user of the technology, Mountain told us that the software is designed to create a wide range of styles, “from EDM [electronic dance music] to folk and everything in-between.”
The interface for the Windows 7 or Windows 8 software includes touchscreen-specific features, Mountain noted, and all of a consumer’s basic needs to make music are available at the initial low price. A free trial is available.
“The music industry typically has a much higher entry point [of $99 to $199],” he said, “and that [entry product] is usually crippled in key features to incent people to upgrade to a higher priced product.”
Currently, the software comes preloaded on Windows machines from Lenovo, Dell and Acer. The next platform target, Mountain said, is Android by the fall.
Initially bootstrapped, the Austin, Texas-based Open Labs received a small round of $500,000 investment from Timbaland and others a year ago.
“We are talking to several VCs about a large growth round, as we have big plans for the future,” he said.