Hello #MTD fans and followers!
Mikey Malone here with the first of hopefully many interviews with people in the dance music industry, community, and culture. Our interviewee today is David Moricca from Mixify.com and MixifyClubcast.com. David took a few moments out of his busy schedule to chat with me for a phone interview and I’m excited to share this with you.
#MTD – Can you tell us about yourself and how you came up with Mixify? Oh and everyone wants to know, do you DJ yourself?
DAVID MORICCA – No I don’t DJ, though I wish I did, looks very cool! As far as my background and how I got into this, I’m a lawyer by training, went to Harvard Law School but I never really practiced law. I always had a bit of an entrepreneurial bend. I spent most of my career before Mixify in the learning and media space, interactive education, etc. I started getting an idea to create an online production platform. Basically think of it as a “Garage Band” online with a lot of social elements to it. We found Ben (Space Jockey) and we started building the platform called Breakoutband. There were some limitations to the platform and growth around it, but through that we learned that there was a lot of growth and interest in production and beat-kits, etc. When we began looking into it, we found there was very little in the way of platform for any sort of live-streaming. We realized there was a lot of opportunity to create a very socialized and interesting social platform for DJs and fans.
#MTD – What were some of the hurdles and are there still hurdles that you’re looking to overcome.
DAVID MORICCA – As a startup, there is a constant feeling of having to overcome hurdles. Pushing the boulder up the hill, so to speak. The Facebook success stories are really rare, that’s why people talk about them so much. Inherently it’s a challenging path, but a lot of it is about tenacity and being smart and figuring out where the opportunities are. With each day, we are actually finding less obstacles in our path and more growth and adoption.
With the Mixify.com platform, many of the barriers for us were mostly technical. The entire process was about creating the right user interface and experience. With the help of having such a strong community that took ownership of the product, I feel like we’ve created a product that is compelling and works well for the audience. For Clubcasts, despite how it has been perceived by some, it’s gaining interest very rapidly. The interest is not just from the promoters and venues, but also from the artist side of the spectrum.
#MTD – That actually ties in very well with my next question, as you mentioned there has been some negative response. To me, I feel that there will always be some negative response because it’s a new thing, but what do you think people are most concerned about with Clubcast?
DAVID MORICCA – I think anytime you introduce a new model into any industry, there will always be some sort of reaction similar to this. We don’t take it personally, obviously we want people to embrace everything openly, but there will always be some form of resistance. However, I’d like to say that the vast majority of the feedback has been extremely positive. We’ve gotten quite a bit of press that has been very positive about it, which has begun to create an increasingly larger demand for Clubcast all around the world. Request from places that are just frankly not getting the artists or the talent, and that because there is not a scene, there is nowhere for local talent to grow. So I think what people are reacting to is, with some of the articles they used headlines and titles like “Clubcast to Repalce DJs”, “Clubcast Allows DJs to Never Leave Home”, “Clubcast Means DJs Can Hang Out In Their Boxers & Play Xbox”.
#MTD – Hahaha, yeah I read some of those.
DAVID MORICCA –What the backdrop of this response, and things like the Avicii skit on Saturday Night Live, is that DJs get paid a lot to basically do nothing. A.) I don’t believe in that and B.) What we’re doing is actually the exact opposite of looking to replace physical DJs. With the bigger acts that we work with, we’re trying to enable the DJs to connect with fans they normally wouldn’t, and at the same time we’re trying to help create a local scene in these locations that may not have one. It means more opportunities for local DJs to play, more opportunities for fans to congregate. Another thing that I don’t think people realize is that Clubcast is not meant to be the entire experience of the evening. It’s just an element of an overall party. It’s usually a local DJ opener, and local DJ closers, with an exclusive set by someone who otherwise wouldn’t be there at that venue [the Clubcast artist]. What we hope that happens out of the Clubcast events is that the artists and the promoters have such a good experience that it leads to physical bookings.
#MTD – So you’re attempting to expand the markets not just for the DJs themselves but for the dance market in general. Because there areas where, logistically or economically, it’s a nightmare to get some of the bigger name acts into.
DAVID MORICCA – Exactly. There is no focus in areas like New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, etc. These are markets where dance music and the scene are saturated and available. We’re focusing on places where the supply for dance music is limited, but the demand is still there for it. I can understand some hesitation, but we believe that fans should be able to connect to their favorite in an intimate and social way.
#MTD – So are the future plans with Mixify.com and MixifyClubcast.com? Are you looking to focus more on one than the other? Are you looking to combine them?
DAVID MORICCA – With Mixify.com we’re still very behind that project. What we have found is that for the hobby DJ, or the smaller name DJs, it allows them to grow as an artist and create a following. For the bigger name artists it’s about really leveraging the embed-ability of the service, allowing them to bring live sets into their existing sites and other places. We’re pretty committed with Mixify.com to nurturing the smaller artists and upcoming DJs allowing them to connect with fans. People from the community have really helped to define what Mixify.com is and what the community is about, and that’s kind of what Mixify.com stands for. It’s not just about the biggest name DJs coming and doing a set and that’s it. It’s about the lesser known DJs, and those just starting out, having a place to showcase their skills and/or learn from others. We will continue to grow with that aspect.
In the case of Clubcast, which is definitely a pretty big growth driver, we have a few plans. One is the international growth of Clubcast. A lot of the demand we’re getting is outside the United States and we’ll be continuing to build outside of the United States. The second is that we’re looking to expand the project to other genres outside of EDM.
#MTD – Like Hip-hop, Top 40, Commercial?
DAVID MORICCA – Exactly. The third focus point is looking at opportunities where consumer brands and other types of partners can activate the service to create a kind of multi-city syndicated party. Then of course we’re also looking to expand the artists we work with and expand the marketing perspectives for the artists.
#MTD – Just a couple quick questions to finish this up. When Mixify.com first came out of beta, there was the Rise & Unity festivals. A few people have asked me to ask, is this something that Mixify has begun to shy away from?
DAVID MORICCA – Yeah, there are kind of two reasons behind the reason we haven’t had many festivals at this point. One is we’ve seen a number of the partners and other folks have taken their own initiatives to create festivals which we feel like this is an excellent way to use the platform, to have festivals driven by the community and culture rather than the company. We created Rise and Unity to kind of ignite a way of how the platform could be used, as a digital festival. In terms of doing more, I think yeah we will do more of them, but they may be more showcases around artists and labels. As you can imagine it’s a pretty time-consuming endeavor to create large-scale festivals. So while we create and expand opportunities with artists and labels we’ll probably look towards “Mini festivals” showcasing them.
#MTD – One final question about both Mixify and MixifyClubcast, each seem to be their own entity, are there any plans to unite the two?
DAVID MORICCA – Yeah, they are fairly unique. We’re very sensitive to everyone’s desires, the artists as well as the venues. We’re trying to create unique experiences for our consumers online, and venue/artists need to have their own unique experiences. We don’t want to just pump global content into a club, nor do we want to export local content to the global sphere as each are uniquely created. Clubcast is a two-way experience where the DJ is able to hear and see the venue, and the venues are able to hear and see the DJ.
#MTD – Is there anything else that you’d like to share that we haven’t touched on yet?
DAVID MORICCA – We love the Mixify.com community, the team in New York… Well actually, one thing. We’re starting an LA office, setting up a west-coast so people can come see us there.
#MTD – So you’re saying I need to move to LA then….
DAVID MORICCA – Haha, yeah! Anyone in New York can obviously drop by the Brooklyn office. The Brooklyn team especially loves the Mixify.com community so much, and we just want them to know that.