It's start-up overload here at OnHollywood. There are dozens of interesting technology/entertainment companies presenting, and most of them are impressive. I just served on two judging panels--one on music delivery companies and one on content sharing. Here are my verdicts for the coolest companies in these sessions:
Music: Of MusicGremlin (which I wrote about previously), MusicIP, PumpAudio, and PassAlong, the awards goes to...PumpAudio. This is a service for TV, film, and advertising producers who are looking for music to go with their videos. The producers upload their video and then can select from a wide variety of music. They get a preview of the music and video running together and can try multiple tracks until they find something they like. Once they've made a selection, they can buy a license to use the music in their productions.
The music comes from independent artists and people at indie labels looking to make a few bucks by licensing their tracks.
It's not a complex business. It is not trying to match the universe of all music to the tastes of all consumers. It's a business matchmaking engine, and with its clear focus, it's a compelling story.
If you've produced music and have ever wondered how to get it some commercial airplay, check it out.
Sharing: There are some intriguing products here, including Kaneva and OurStory. There was also an incomprehensible presentation by Guba. My award goes to the video aggregator Revver, which allows people who make video clips to publish them onto a system that inserts relevant advertising into them. The user then gets a cut of the ad revenue. With videos now being distributed far beyond the sites where they were initially uploaded (anecdotal evidence: I've seen a dozen YouTube videos in the last week but have not been to the mothership YouTube.com site at all), it makes a lot of sense to try to make money from this distribution. It's a hit business, which means that 99 percent of the videos posted won't make a dime for anybody, but if there had been an ad engine on the Star Wars Kid video, for example, it probably would have paid for his college education.
There's a clear theme in my selections: I'm interested in companies that help people make money from their content. The big media sites are making a ton of cash selling ads against consumer-created videos and personal pages. It's only fair that the people who contribute the content have the potential to share in the wealth.