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I'm the co-founder of Audiomack (20 million users monthly). AMA!

My name is Brian Zisook, I am the co-founder of Audiomack, a music streaming and discovery platform/app that reaches 20 million monthly active users globally.

I currently serve as the VP of Content Operations and Artist Services for the company. I am also the EIC at DJBooth, a long-form music magazine that focuses on original editorial about artist discovery and education.

I look forward to fielding your questions!

  1. 4

    Hi Brian, thanks for doing this AMA. I have a few queries for you :)

    1. How is Audiomack making money since it's mentioned that Auidomack is FREE, with limitless sharing and discovery?
    2. What are the common technical issues that arises at 20 million monthly users?
    3. Considering you are dealing in a media like audio, you end up spending a lot on hosting and bandwidth?

    Thanks

    1. 2
      1. We have two models: ad-supported and subscription.
      2. That is a great question for our development team. I am not smart enough to answer it, and they don't have the time to answer me lol
      3. Yes, lol. A lot. It's not cheap to host files and cover bandwidth to ensure those files play as they should on-demand.
  2. 3

    What was it like when Chance the Rapper dropped Acid Rap on Audiomack?

    I see you've also recently signed a pub deal with Warner that also include parts of Africa - whats the biz like there? Is it pretty bullish?

    1. 1

      Chance believing in Audiomack at a very early stage of his career (and ours) was a boon to our reputation. It showed belief in our platform and our brand. As for our expansion into Africa, the decision was a no-brainer. The growth of the African music market has been a joy to see firsthand over these past 3-4 years. And that will only continue over the next few decades.

  3. 2

    What has been the biggest challenge/bottleneck to growth?

    1. 1

      Great question. Very simply, there are so many options for music consumers in 2021. So how do we get someone to pick us?

      1. 1

        How do you see Audiomack positioning itself against Spotify/SoundCloud ect.

        1. 1

          Artist discovery and artist education. We're focused on continuing to foster an environment that encourages users to discover new artists (through human curation, original content, and smart UX) and on educating our creator community about the music business (through guides, editorials, interviews with veteran artists and industry experts).

  4. 1

    Hi Brian, Thanks for sharing your valuable experience!! My question is: what promotion strategy did you guys use for the initial growth and how long did it take to get to 10K MAU?

  5. 1

    How did you grow to 20M users?

  6. 1

    Hi Brain, , you mentioned that you have two models: ad-based and subscriptions. Could you tell us what is the ratio of users between the two models? And which model brings in more money?

    Thanks for your time and all the best in the future! :)

  7. 1

    If you had start over today and you just spent your 5k on your MVP , what would you do first do to get your first 1000 users?

    1. 1

      Great question. One that is tough to answer because the climate has changed so dramatically in our space over the past 9 years. User acquisition costs are much higher today than in 2012 when there were far fewer options available to the consuming public. Then again, the targeted advertising and digital marketing options available today are far more robust than they were nine years ago. So there's a trade-off, for sure.

  8. 1

    Hey Brian ( @z_audiomack ), excited for you to join the Indie Hackers community! Small world but I actually visited the office in NYC back in 2018 & good friends with Sean Coker & he's a beast killing it as the DOE at Audiomack.

    ( sidenote: also are you on Twitter or IG?, would love to connect on socials too )

    1. 2

      Sean is the man! Come back again soon!

      1. 1

        Will do once things calm down a bit haha, are you on IG or Twitter would love to connect on socials too!

        1. 1

          On Twitter, I am @DJBoothEIC. I am not on any other social media platforms at this time.

  9. 1

    How did you get your first 1000 users? How do you keep users active? How do you deal with competition?

    Thanks a whole lot

    1. 1

      You keep users active by giving them a clean UX and by making sure the titles they want to hear are available. Also, by making discovery easy. I believe we do that very well, both through human curation and our Trending section.

  10. 1

    How did you get funding?

    1. 1

      We started the company on $5,000 and continued to invest in ourselves until we took on our first series 6 years after launching.

  11. 1

    Hi Brian, when Audiomack was founded, how did you manage to keep a certain level of organization? In other words, how did you manage to define & track objectives? Did you have certain KPIs that were tracked? If so, how?

    1. 1

      Great questions. When Audiomack launched in 2012, our goal was to provide recording artists (rappers and singers, in particular) with a free file-hosting option alternative to traditional, non-music file-sharing platforms (think Megaupload, Zippyshare, etc), which allowed them to share embeds and build a following in the process. Over time, we moved away from simply being a free artist tool supported by advertising and creating an entire suite of artist tools, still one hundred percent free. In terms of measurements, we have always looked at new accounts created, total uploads, total activity, etc. Acquisition and retention, basically.

      1. 1

        Brian, thank you for your reply!

  12. 1

    Wow, that's amazing! Thank you for doing this AMA.

    • How and when was the first time you had any revenue?
    • How much was the amount of daily active users (DAU) by then?
    1. 2

      Justin, we were profitable within a year of launching. I don't recall our DAU at that time, but I'd imagine we were hovering around 1-2 million monthly active users.

      1. 1

        Wow, that you have experienced massive growth Brian!
        A MAU between 1-2m is insane to me, beyond imaginable.

        Congratulations on your achievements, it is truly inspiring!

        May I ask what kind of growth strategies worked best for you directly after launch?

        1. 2

          At the very beginning, we worked with a number of highly influential websites and blogs, who would encourage the artists who pitched them music for coverage to create an Audiomack account.

          1. 1

            Can you elaborate on this a bit? In the early days of Audiomack When you say “worked” with influential blogs do you mean paid influential blogs?

          2. 1

            That's amazing, thank you for sharing.
            Gives me a lot of inspiration!
            Have a nice weekend!

  13. 1

    Hey, Brian. Thank you for doing this AMA. 20 mil is a biiig number. I have one question to ask.

    What do you think has helped you the most in terms of distribution?

    1. 2

      When people download the app, their first action is to see if we have music available from their favorite artists. And so signing licensing agreements with rightholders around the world, and continually obtaining more and more music, has helped us build and expand our userbase, while, most importantly, retaining our existing base.

  14. 1

    Do artists on Audiomack get paid more per stream compared to other platforms? And if so, how does the impact the profitability of the business?

    1. 1

      Here is everything and more about our monetization program, which is now open to all authenticated creators globally: https://audiomack.com/monetization

  15. 1

    How difficult did you find it to get real feedback from users? Not surface stuff regarding the product, but tangible feedback like how they found you, what can you do better, etc..

    Right now, I personally email everyone who signs up for a trial at Lean20 (2days after the fact).

    The email typically goes something like this, but after 35 signups not one person has responded.

    Hi! Thanks for signing up. It still excites me when I see someone new checking us out.

    If you have any questions about our product, please ask me any time.

    I was also wondering, how did you find us?

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    1. 7

      Audiomack is a music streaming and artist discovery app. We reach 20 million users globally monthly. As for why you should be interested in asking me anything? That is a great question. I'd like to believe that, in my 18 years in music, I've picked up a few things here and there, and I love sharing anything and everything I've learned along the way. I appreciate the question.

      1. 3

        I love how you have replied to primer. People should learn to respect each other.

      2. -1

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

        1. 1

          I wasn't offended. I am new to Indie Hackers, so I wasn't sure exactly how much or how little to include in the open.

          1. -1

            This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

    2. 2

      Primer looks like a jelly guy as he in same industry. If you think people don't have interest then why you post your crap post about songbox all the time?

      1. 0

        😂

        Everyone is so in a hurry to be offended these days.

        My comment was meant to give the OP the chance to explain a bit more about himself as the title of the thread was very vague (he has since edited the title with more info).

        Usually when folk do an ask me anything they put more in the title.

        Also just to be clear, audiomack and songbox are completely different types of app solving a completely different problem.

        Ps. I’ve upvoted your comment.

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