Throughout the July / August vacation period, the Rude Baguette will be running a series of interviews with some of France’s top and rising startups, where their founders give us more insight into their business, their future plans and what sets them apart from the rest. In this installment, we talk with Julie Chabin, CEO of KIMD, who recently launched their new app focused on artists and labels called .encore at last month’s Paris Founders Event.
You debuted .encore at the most recent edition of our Paris Founders Event. For those who were unable to attend, tell us a bit about .encore, what it is, how your idea to make .encore came about, and how it connects with Kimd? .encore is a service dedicated to music professionals. It helps them access fan-made photos and videos created during their concerts, and it clears the rights directly with the fans. Studies have proven that photo posts are the most engaging on social media and .encore offers exclusive visual content to be shared on these specific channels. The idea of .encore came quite naturally through discussions with labels, artists, and concert halls. We had other ideas related to Kimd before the concept of .encore, and we’re still experimenting with them, but .encore is by far the most exciting. Music professionals have contacted us to talk about Kimd. The concept is really working with industry folks (using your smartphone camera during a concert without distracting other spectators), and some have offered to promote the app during their shows. We quickly heard from them that they had difficulties accessing the content created by fans during a concert. There are about 14 million photos with the hashtag “concert” on Instagram alone… Because of this, we searched for an easy way to solve the problem, and this is how .encore started. Kimd, our iPhone app, will soon be able to detect when and in what concert hall the content was created. This way, we’re able to determine which artist is in the pictures. If the Kimd user is proud of a photo, they can decide to share it with the artist. On the other hand, the artist (or their team, because .encore is a collaborative tool) will receive the photo on their .encore feed.
What do you think is ‘broken’ today in terms of how artists (or labels and venues) stay connected to and engaged with their fans / customers. How does .encore fix that problem?
Most of the time, social media is used to broadcasting news and content to a community, or more correctly: to an audience. There are very few actual interactions between artists and their fans. Online communities are one sided right now. Fans don’t really get the chance to participate and artists only have the possibility to “broadcast.” It’s commonly said that social media is reinventing the relationship between the public and artists, but this is often wrong. Fans may feel like artists are closer, but that doesn’t mean interactions are richer. With .encore, we want to give the artist an opportunity to reward their community and engage in an authentic conversation with them.
How are you working to spread the word about .encore with artists and their fans?
For now, we’re focused on two directions, with one complementing the other. First, we have to make Kimd the go-to camera app for concerts. With 10k users and the media coverage we’ve received, we’re very happy, and we know it’s just the beginning. The other step is to start partnerships with professionals — with artists, bands, labels, producers, and even concert halls directly. As the pace of social media engagement grows, the music entertainment industry should be especially focused on live events and how they can lead to a huge boost on social networks. We have to show them that their fans are using Kimd, and demonstrate how they can easily use these exclusive images and content for their social media strategy. Growing a fan base, interacting with them, increasing loyalty with rewards… .encore can be a powerful tool at every stage of a social media strategy, and it can be a big help when it comes to completing business objectives. As we said during the Paris Founders Event, we’re starting a partnership with La Gaité Lyrique in Paris. We’ll do our first “test” concert October 1st.
What are the next big milestones you have for .encore in terms of technical and product development and commercial objectives?
The product is still in development. The design, specifications, and user interface are almost done as we showed off during the PFE. We know we have to work on the link between Kimd and .encore. Being totally self-financed, we weren’t entirely sure we’d be able to make .encore a reality because hosting videos and photography can be really expensive. The Paris Founders Event helped a lot with this with the awesome gift from Google Platform, so we’ll be able to work on the product and worry a little bit less about the money for hosting. On the commercial part, we’re still working on the different plans we’ll offer. Right now, we’re more into working on partnerships and on making Kimd something that’s a must use at concerts.
Obviously the music industry is highly global. Which geographic markets do you think might be most promising for .encore and why?
We are a team of French people working between Paris and Montréal. Right now, we’re starting to work with the French market mostly because we’re in France, but this is very temporary. All of our communications are in English, and we aim at making Kimd and .encore global. The media coverage of Kimd proves one thing: the behavior the app is addressing is the same everywhere in the world when it comes to live events. Wherever there are smartphones and music, .encore and Kimd will be useful for artists and spectators.
What is your long-term vision for .encore?
Our long term vision is to make .encore the one and only tool you’ll need if you’re an artist and care about interacting with your fans directly. .encore will be a wonderful dashboard to manage content on social media, and it can perhaps be the definitive curation tool when it comes to artist images seen directly through the fans’ eyes. When we started Kimd, we had one big idea in mind: “if technology creates new problems, it should solve them too.” This is our long-term vision as a startup.