[Music Startup] Cannon.fm Streams Your Local Music Scene Straight to Your iPhone

November 5, 2012

5:00 pm

If you’re content with listening only to Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift, the following post may not apply to you.  If, in the off chance you prefer music outside of what Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, and Interscope Records wants you to listen to, the following startup will likely be of interest.

Based out of Columbus, OH, Cannon.fm is an iOS app that feeds music based on geography.  In essence, the app’s interface is reminiscent to Pandora, but instead of filtering your station by artist, genre, or song, Cannon.fm uses local music as the primary filter.  From there, the users refine their station to a particular genre (Country, Hip Hop, Jazz, etc.).

Cannon’s co-founders, Ryan Cox and Mat Marcum originally came up with the idea back in February of this year at Startup Weekend Columbus.  The app officially launched in June, and the team has since focused their efforts on gaining traction in its homebase and surrounding areas, including Cincinnati and Cleveland.  In anticipation of DCWEEK, however, Cannon.fm recently launched a new station for the DC-area.

Tech Cocktail caught up Ryan Cox to learn more about the inspiration behind his service, how artists can get involved, and his favorite local bands to watch.

Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Cannon.fm?

Cannon.fm co-founder Ryan Cox

Ryan Cox:  Coming up as a musician in Columbus, it was equal parts inspiring and depressing. Inspiring because of all the amazing artists that I was surrounded by in our local scene, bands that were side by side with Top40 artists on my personal iPod. But at the same time it was depressing knowing that 99.99% of them wouldn’t be heard outside the geographic radius of Columbus. I then thought of all the great music being created in scenes just like Columbus all over the country that I’d never hear. Again… pretty depressing. I wanted to change that.

As a fan of local music there are only two ways to access it:

  1. Go to the concert. This is obviously ideal, but no one came make it to every concert in their own town, let alone many gigs outside their city.
  2. Browse the Internet for hours and hours and hope find a diamond in the rough.

Neither way solves the problem that, as the fan, you must always go to the music. With Top40 radio, the listener sets their filter (radio station) and the music comes to them. They can then sit back and discover whatever music they can consume. I wanted to create the same experience for fans of local music: a platform where the music comes to you.

Tech Cocktail: How does cannon.fm source its music?

Cox:  The artists on cannon.fm are there entirely by their own doing. Any musician, poet, talk radio host, or comic can upload their content completely free of charge at our website and they will be put into rotation. We don’t censor anyone, however we only accept original content (no cover tunes).

As we are working to spread to local music scenes all over the country, we have been reaching out to artists via social media and email campaigns, letting them know that cannon.fm exists and that we’d love for them to be a part of it. The response has been incredible. We’ve had over 650 artists and over 2000 songs uploaded in the four months since we launched.

We have also partnered with “Market Ambassadors” in certain cities to help in our “get out the vote” efforts. These “Market Ambassadors” are folks that are very closely tied to and respected within the local music scene. Here in DC Chris Naoum, the founder of Listen Local First, has been instrumental in bringing cannon.fm to the attention of the local music scene.

Tech Cocktail:  A few local bands that you’re currently digging?

Cox:  At its core, cannon.fm is a music discovery resource. And, being from Columbus, it has provided that exact function in helping me become versed in the DC music scene. A few area artists I’ve heard on cannon.fm that I love: America Hearts, Shark Week, Dance for the Dying, The Riverbreaks, Young Rapids, The North Country, and Black Masala.

Thanks to Cannon.fm for sourcing the bands at DCWEEK’s opening party.  Look for them at the upcoming Tech Cocktail DCWEEK

Image credit: dispatch.com

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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