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Music Tectonics Names 2023 Swimming with Narwhals Startup Pitch Competition Winners: Aux Wins Jury Choice and RealCount Wins Audience Choice


The votes are in: Aux was named the jury choice winner and RealCount was named the audience choice winner at the 2023 Swimming with Narwhals Startup Pitch Competition. The final competition took place on October 25, 2023, as part of the fifth annual Music Tectonics Conference in Santa Monica, CA. The conference welcomed almost 600 attendees from every corner of the globe for three days of networking, tech demonstrations, programming, and bootcamp. 

In the final round of the 2023 Swimming with Narwhals Pitch Competition, five forward-thinking startups in music tech presented their innovative businesses to a panel of music tech investors and conference attendees at a stunning beachside venue. Finalists included PÅ™emysl Koudela of Get Moments, Stefan Heinrich of Covers.AI by MAYK, and Artur Muehle of Offstage.

The audience members voted on their favorite pitch, while the jury evaluated startups on originality, likeliness to succeed, and product-market fit. Both decisions were announced the following morning at the final day of Music Tectonics fifth annual conference. For the first time since Music Tectonics introduced the dual awards, the judges and the audience selected different winners, reflecting the wide variety of music innovations the finalist startups are pioneering—from live event ticketing, finding and tracking superfans, leveraging UGC video, to generating music with AI. 

Founded by Diana Gremore and JC Liang, RealCount is a B2B analytics platform streamlining live music's key performance metric: tickets sold. RealCount provides tools and insights for every step of the event life cycle. Its automation pre-sale tool saves time for support staff and decision-makers. Its pre-show act tool monitors and benchmark sales. Its post-tour analysis tool leverages past data for future tours. "One of my favorite things about coming to the Music Tectonics Conference is the opportunity to connect with so many fellow founders and industry professionals who are all working diligently to bring innovative ideas to life," said Diana Gremore, founder of RealCount. "Pitching alongside many innovative companies and founders throughout this process has been a true honor. It was a pleasant surprise to win the Audience Choice award for the competition!"

Founded by Ben Bowler, Aux is a generative AI model that takes a text prompt (eg. "808 kick") and generates infinite audio samples for music producers to use in their songs. The model uses a single layer language structure with pre and post-processing models. The set is trained on fully licensed traditional sample packs and later on files users upload to the Aux platform on an opt-in basis. To date, the Aux platform boasts over 58K users. "The Music Tectonics conference was unique in that everyone we sat down with was delighted to engage in exciting and optimistic conversations about the future of music and technology," Bowler said, "Plus I took home a narwhal as a trophy!"

This year a record-breaking number of startups applied for the competition. "Our judges commented that this year's competitors were more diverse in terms of business model and further along than you'd expect at this stage." says Dmitri Vietze, director of Music Tectonics. "Once again what impressed me most is how supportive competitors and startups in attendance are to each other. It's a community. We chose the narwhal as our mascot because sharks are mean, unicorns are fake, and narwhals are awesome. And that's what makes Tectonics so fun!" 

Vietze founded the Music Tectonics Conference to be the conference he needed as a startup founder, and the pitch competition is just one of the ways his team designs this annual event to help startups connect with potential investors, partners and customers. This year's conference included a startup demo day at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel, ample space for networking, panels with music tech investors, and a Startup Bootcamp presented by Universal Music Group's Digital Innovation team at one of UMG's studios.

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