There are many of us music lovers frustrated by the lack of decent music video content on television these days – even channels such as MTV are now more about reality shows than actual music, and it’s particularly difficult to find niche music channels. Conrad Fitzsch was one such person demanding more, so he decided to start his own free social music television platform to fill this exact gap.

Tell us a bit more about Tape

At tape.tv we offer a free social music television platform, where users curate their own schedule and discover the most relevant content from one of the most complete music video catalogues in the world. Through deals with major and independent labels, entire video catalogues are available to view, and our users are able to personalise the content they see by creating shareable, personalised playlists called ‘tapes’. 1.2 million unique users access our service each month.

In August we launched tape express, an app which offers mobile users a personalised music video discovery channel, taken from the largest dedicated indie music video catalogue in Europe. Available for iOS and Android devices, our app allows music fans to curate their own music television experience, as well as store their favourites for consumption anywhere they go. Integrations with Chromecast and AirPlay allow projection from the handset to enabled TVs, bringing music television back to its roots in the living room.

We are able to offer both of these for free by operating through an advertising led model. We offer standard display and instream ads, as well as Branded Tapes as a native advertising format, where brands are offered exclusive sponsorship of tapes of their choice. tape.tv’s in house exclusive content is also sponsored by selective brand partners.

Where are you based?

The company was founded in Berlin and has been based here ever since. As we operate at the intersection of music,art and technology, Berlin is one of the best places for us to be, given the ready access to up and coming artists, concerts, and the city’s famous music scene. Berlin’s startup ecosystem produces a healthy talent pool of engineers, and attracts creative people from all over the world.

Who would you say is your target audience

We target young, technologically savvy music fans, and dedicated music explorers. In 2008, after 14 years in the advertising industry, I decided to branch out and look for a new challenge. Frustrated by the lack of quality music television at the time, I founded tape.tv with the aim of updating music video consumption in line with modern tech and consumer habits – the ease and ‘laid back’ approach of linear TV, but with a high degree of personalisation. In addition to providing a healthy catalogue of well known music videos, we also exist to give emerging artists a platform to reach new audiences and build a fanbase of their own.

Tape.tv homepage

Why do you think Tape.tv is unique in the market?

We feel the combination of personalisation features on offer – and the fact we provide a promotional platform for indie musicians – puts us into our own category in this space. There are currently no other players that focus solely on indie artists. Our commitment to their cause has resulted in the biggest indie music video catalogue available.

We have an engaging and rewarding way to browse and discover new content in a way that addresses users needs in a highly personalised fashion.

How long have you been working on this project? What makes you so passionate about this project?

tape.tv has operated for seven years within German speaking territories, and now enjoys over 50% brand recognition amongst its target market. The next challenge for the company is to break into the rest of Europe and beyond, with the English language launch of tape express being the first major step in this direction.

A passion for music has been a key driver in building the company – we want to be able to offer the world a simple product through which they can access great music videos. The amazing work by all the team means we’re well on our way to achieving that.

We’re also dedicated to supporting the independent artist and helping them to make it in a very competitive industry. We offer them exposure to more than 1.2 million monthly users, many of them highly engaged, hardcore music fans. We match-make users with the music they love and have built a reputation for breaking new artists.

Let’s talk about your personal background

My father was a great influence on me – he was a man who got things done. He was an incredible trader who would  trade everything from blueberries to roof gutters. It was through this great skill that my dad got me my first Panasonic ghettoblaster and I’ve never looked back!

I was a super big fan of TV growing up but grew more and more frustrated with what we were being offered – particularly when it came to the music video side of things. Since then I’ve been on a mission to reinvent how we consume music videos – which naturally led me to creating tape.tv.

Do you have a business partner? Any interesting stories there?

My strength lies in leading a company and telling its story, however I never had a strong background in technology and product development. That’s why I brought in Jakob Fricke, my Product Director. He was running product teams at different startups and founded two companies himself before joining me at tape.tv. We particularly get on due to our joint love of cooking!

In 2013 we started to heavily invest in our products, massively improving our platform, infrastructure and launching our first mobile apps. As part of this efforts we bought the startup Amen and grew our engineering team to help us achieving our goals. Jakob joined tape.tv as part of the expansion.

Jakob studied economics and has ever since worked in startups, building companies and managing product teams. He founded two startups himself from which one, Picpack, a magnets printing service, is still successfully operating.

What was the most exciting moment for Tape?

We‘ve been heavily investing in a German rap artist called Cro who was relatively unknown when we first got involved. Just one year later, we produced a live show –  invited him to play – and more than 60,000 fans tuned in online to watch him perform live online – it was crazy! Enabling artists to grow that much is something that really drives and motivates me every day. The launch of tape express means we have the perfect tools to keep doing that more and more and bigger scales.

We’re incredibly proud to have helped artists on the platform earn seven gold and platinum records in our product’s lifetime – and we know this number’s going to continue to grow!

What about the toughest moment?

We’ve been around for seven years and much of our initial vision has only just started becoming a reality. For example, television platforms like Apple TV and Android TV are sophisticated enough to bring music entertainment back to the living room. Nobody believed in content business back then. These days guys like Buzzfeed, Netflix, Spotify, Vice and the likes are raising significant rounds on a content based business model.

Fighting for seven years for this vision against VCs was really tough. Luckily we always found great shareholders that backed our vision.

Was there ever a special moment in your life where you felt that you were destined to do this?

When the Berlin wall came down and I drove the next morning into west Berlin. I was standing on the big shopping street KuDamm in stone-washed jeans,  a shirt and moccasins, realising that I could be here any day and that this wasn’t a dream! For me that was the initial moment in which I knew I could do anything that I wanted.

Did you do anything crazy after that special moment?

Sort of. I went to a Chinese restaurant for food! 

And finally for anyone starting their own business, what advice would you leave for them?

Find a unique idea that you are really passionate about, find the right team and hustle, hustle, hustle! But keep the focus on what’s important!

 

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