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Mixcloud Founder Nico Perez Talks Music Technology and Branding at Internet Week NY

First Posted: May 22, 2014 11:01 AM EDT
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With 14 years of DJing experience, Nico Perez has provided an Internet platform for aspiring DJs and radio presenters called MixcloudWith 10 million users per month, Mixcloud has captured the attention of many, particularly millennials.

"Mixcloud is a platform for Internet radio, and in that sense it's very similar to YouTube, where anyone can upload, but what's different is obviously it's not video content but rather it's radio shows and DJ mixes and podcasts," said Perez.

Perez, who moved to New York in January, spoke with Latin Post during Internet Week New York, where he moderated the session "How Technology is Changing the Way We Listen to, and Create Music" with Red Bull Music Academy's Event Producer Adam Shore, Native Instruments' Chief Technology Officer Mate Galic and Moogfest's Brand Director Emmy Parker as panelists. The session focused on the ways technology has changed the world's interaction with music, especially with the rise of the Internet during the last two decades and decreasing production costs.

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"They were all stellar," said Perez about the panelists. "I was really happy to get the CTO of Native Instruments flying from Berlin and the Brand Director of [Moogfest], who makes some famous synths, flying in from North Carolina, as well as the guy who runs Red Bull Music Academy here in New York. So I was really happy with the team put together and the questions that we looked at. We managed to go relatively deep in looking at the space of technology and music."

Mixcloud's origins included friends Mat Clayton, Nikhil Shah and Sam Cooke. With Perez, the four Cambridge University students hosted a college radio show in the United Kingdom, but they hoped to continue radio hosting after graduation. Looking for an online host proved to be frustrating for the four DJs, a challenge that led the group to create the website and platform known as Mixcloud.

"What sets us apart and different from some of the other listening services out there is that we focus very much on the human and a person curating a show or mix," noted Perez, adding that Mixcloud centers itself on personalities, DJs, and radio presenters.

"We actually have licenses and pay royalties, which in the world of platforms is actually quite rare. We are one of the only places where you can legally host a podcast or a radio show with music," he said.

Perez acknowledged that Mixcloud's license is similar to those from traditional radio stations, "It's a blanket license, meaning that the radio presenters and the DJs have the ability to use any tracks at their disposal."

The Mixcloud founder stated they want to further build the company past the 10 million users per month mark. He noted the number of people who listen to traditional radio every day or every week is "incredible," second only to television.

"And we think we can take that 10 million and grow it to 100 million," Perez said.

The logo for Mixcloud, an Internet platform for DJs, radio presenters, and listeners that has garnered 10 million monthly users since its 2008 launch. (Photo Credit: Mixcloud).

Mixcloud is also focusing on mobile this year. The Internet platform relaunched its iOS app on Apple's iTunes Store, and it was recently featured on the iPhone company's app store. Although an Android version of the app is live, Perez confirmed a respective relaunch for the Google smartphone platform is coming soon, likely during the summer.

The mobile expansion continues with a partnership with Traktor, a leading professional DJ software service. According to Perez, the goal of the partnership is to make it easier for DJs and radio presenters to get their mixes and shows on Mixcloud. The partnership allows users to upload directly from the Tracktor app straight to Mixcloud "with only one touch of a button."

"That sort of integration really lowers the barrier of entry for people, especially for aspiring DJs," said Perez. "We want to do more of that in the future, make it as easy as possible."

In February 2013, Perez was invited to participate as a panelist for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Summit on the Information Society 2013, a forum where international organizations, governments, the private sector, and civil society addressed and discussed the environment and challenges in information and communication technology.

"It was a really impressive worldwide conference with delegates coming from all over the world," said Perez, who was on the "What Exactly am I Buying? Ownership vs. Licensing in the Digital Age" panel. "One of the areas that they were touching on, and my panel in particular was talking on, was the world of copyright and intellectual property."

"In the U.K. and Europe, I've been quite involved in that world of copyright and intellectual policy, and I've sort of participated in a lot of government-led programs and European Commission-led programs around how to modernize copyright frameworks and how to modernize the intellectual property frameworks," Perez added.

Perez was also invited to participate in the European Commission's effort to improve its "Digital Agenda." The Commission's vice president, Neelie Kroes, was tasked with "defining and implementing" a digital agenda for Europe, which according to Perez involved everything from broadband, Bluetooth, 4G, and LTE spectrum, and also copyright and intellectual property strategies. Kroes was responsible for putting together a group of Young Advisors.

"There's about two dozen of us representing all of the different countries around the EU, and we met every six months to discuss some of the issues that affect us as young people within the European Union," explained Perez, adding meetings were held in Brussels and Dublin, with the latter hosting the European Union Digital Agenda Assembly in June 2013.

Perez's involvement with organizations such as the European Commission and UNESCO, as well as other international conferences and events, dates back to the U.K. government's decision to launch an initiative into copyright framework and intellectual property in the country and where it stands in the digital age.

The Paris-born DJ, who has roots in Spain and the U.S., is "100 percent" focused on Mixcloud. Perez made the move to New York earlier this year as part of strengthening Mixcloud's American base.

"Last year, our traffic in terms of where our users and listeners came from, the U.S. actually became the biggest territory in terms of traffic. It made sense for us to have somebody on the ground here, meeting people face to face, doing interviews with journalists, being on panels, outreach basically and business development," said Perez, who added that he volunteered to make the move from across the pond.

Another aspect that has made Mixcloud unique is the company's business model. While Mixcloud's service is free for DJs, radio presenters, and listeners, the company's business model is built around brand advertising.

"We've become really good at helping brands reach our audience through music," noted Perez, whose brands include Adidas, Apple, BlackBerry, BT, Corona, H&M, HTC, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Red Bull, Universal, and Warner Music Group.

"If there are any brands who are out there and reading this who are interested in reaching an audience, then definitely please get in touch," Perez added.

Brands can contact Mixcloud via the company's website.

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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