There’s a certain thrill that comes from discovering an incredible local band, away from the mainstream media and Top 40 countdowns.
Two Griffith Business School students are hoping to make that process easier – for music lovers, as well as the artists and venues they’re searching for.
Phann Music is an app developed by Bachelor of Commerce student Nathan Nagy and Bachelor of Business student Peter Hamilton.
Phann will help its users find local artists and venues, whilst still incorporating preferred social media concepts.
The app uses location based services and features to identify nearby gigs that fit a user’s music taste.
Much more than that, though, it also provides a valuable platform for musicians wanting to increase their profile and venues needing to publicise events.
The idea took shape during a surfing trip last year, when the two friends combined business ideas – Peter wanted a platform for underground musicians in Australia, while Nathan envisaged a ‘Tinder’ for musicians to find band mates and collaborate.
“Phann Music is about improving the quantity and enhancing the quality of local gigs, while making them more accessible,” said Mr Nagy.
“Essentially it’s an event finder – no matter where you travel in the world, you’ll find events in your area.
“It’s also about ensuring underground artists have not only their music, but also their videos seen and heard. We want users to enjoy music for everything it has to offer, through a customised experience.”
Mr Hamilton explained that there were three user types for their app – artists, listeners and venues.
It’s been year in the making so far – after that initial surf trip, the app creators settled on a Singapore-based developer in October 2016.
“It took us five months to go back and forth with the company and finalise the contract,” said Mr Hamilton.
“In fact, it was the first week of university this year that we finally gave the go-ahead.”
Plenty of negotiation was involved in the process – working out just what could fit in a phone screen – but when they decided to add a social element, it all came together.
Similar to other social media apps, Phann Music users will log on to see a news feed, upload content, like photos, receive notifications and view nearby events.
So how will it find its place in a market constantly exposed to new apps?
“We’ve been building a mailing list from the huge community of musicians on Youtube,” said Mr Hamilton. “Artists who just set up a camera and play music – and 13 million people watch it. It’s incredible, but they’ve never played live.
“So we’ve built a list of these artists, venues and even people who are sub-users of the app. It’s a huge list that we’ll be using when the app is released, focussing on Australia, the UK and the US initially.”
The ultimate aim is to start a music label, enabling musicians who’ve garnered a following on the app to record music – minus the expenses incurred from using a big studio.
“We’ll be a label who already has a community,” said Mr Nagy. “The app an economy in itself and we’ll be running it.”
Phann Music will largely operate for free but users will also have the option to subscribe for a small monthly fee, giving them access to additional features.
“For a user, it might be offline listening or, for a venue or artist, it increases your search ranking.”
The two students, due to finish their respective courses this year, have been developing the app while studying full time.
“I’ve learnt to time manage, I can assure you!” said Mr Nagy.
While juggling 3am business calls from Singapore, the pair have gained practical business knowledge through subjects covering branding and trademarking – as well as a bunch of willing prototype testers. It hasn’t stopped at Griffith Business School either, with a fourth year law student coming on board to take care of Phann Music’s IP.
In just a few weeks, the Nathan Nagy and Peter Hamilton will start to get a sense of whether their investment has paid off.
“I was so calm throughout the development, but now it’s pretty nervewracking,” said Mr Hamilton. “It’s exciting as well. We know it’s going to be fun regardless.”
Phann Music is expected to officially launch in late October.