St. Louis-based Tunespeak innovates in the music industry

Tunespeak 1

St. Louis-based Tunespeak is a win-win for musicians and their fans.

Have you entered to win tickets to see Old Dominion in Cedar Rapids, IA on March 31?  Or Hunter Hayes in Madison, WI on May 2 including a meet and greet?  Or how about The Maine right here in Omaha on May 26?

Huh…what…you haven’t entered? Hold the phone…let’s make it easy for you. Here’s the link: https://www.tunespeak.com. Now that you know, let’s talk.

The short of it is that Tunespeak is a cool company out of St. Louis that provides a fan engagement platform to help musicians and industry partners reward their fans by incentivizing them to market their favorite musicians. Well, that was a long sentence, but trust us – FREE TICKETS. We already gave you the link.

That means you, Dear Music Fans, you can score tix, experiences, and merchandise through Tunespeak – and we’re talking about some bang-up acts here – Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, Miranda Lambert, Weezer, Cage The Elephant, Linkin Park, KISS, Huey Lewis and the News, My Morning Jacket, Guns N’ Roses, John Mayer, Selena Gomez, Kings Of Leon, Dr. Dre, Blake Shelton, Aerosmith and many more.

“Organizers” can offer rewards by creating contests and raffles. Fans earn entries by listening to music, watching videos, viewing photos, and sharing content with their friends and followers. The more fans share, the greater their chances are to earn rewards.

100,000 fans and counting have earned rewards through Tunespeak since the company was founded in 2013 by brothers and fellow musicians Tom and Rick Pernikoff. The two have been musicians since they were kids.

The brothers hail from St. Louis but spent about four years in the Silicon Valley on the founding team of Loopt (acquired by Green Dot (NYSE: GDOT) in 2012 for $43.4 million). SPN met up with Tom at T-REX Innovation Center in St. Louis where Tunespeak is headquartered. Tom recounted his time spent in the Palo Alto from 2005 through 2009.

“I got first-hand insight into running a company. We also started writing songs and performing, and eventually decided to do music full time. We moved back to St. Louis to play professionally and tour. We recorded an album in Nashville, and that’s when we had the idea for Tunespeak.”

Tom added, “It became obvious to us how difficult it was for music acts to identify and engage their top fans. Rick studied computer science at MIT and built the first Tunespeak prototype while we were on tour.

We recorded our second album with producer, Brian Deck. After playing our new album for our agent at William Morris, we showed him the Tunespeak protoytpe. He told us we should consider building a company. We realized we needed to give it a shot, so we worked with Capital Innovators and released the first version of Tunespeak in 2013 with local St. Louis bands.

Capital Innovators invited us to join a cohort that included $50,000 and mentorship. One thing led to another and we were soon working with the biggest music management companies and labels.”

Tom relayed Tunespeak’s initial rapid success. “Our first big band was My Morning Jacket, and we were working with the biggest names in the industry by the end of 2014. We have worked with about 2,000 artists to date. Our platform provides fan engagement, music marketing, pre-sales, VIP experiences for fans, and data analytics.”

He described how Tunespeak promotes artists. “Tunespeak helps identify passionate fans; we incentivize fans to take actions that drive marketing and sales. If a fan influences 20 friends to check out an artist’s music on Spotify, for example, it’s going to help that artist build their following exponentially.”

We asked Tom about the culture at Tunespeak. He told us the company is always looking to hire talent in development, artist relations, and customer support. He added that everyone at Tunespeak loves music, and many belong to bands themselves.

How about scaling Tunespeak? “Definitely word of mouth,” said Tom. “There are labels, agencies and management companies which represent thousands of artists. We do a lot of networking and are always trying to build innovative products for the music industry. We’re also expanding into sports.

When asked what it’s like to meet musicians, he told us, “It’s great – these are very talented people who understand how Tunespeak can really benefit them. For example, it was a lot of fun to meet Dave Matthews, who is now a client. We have our own special connection with music as artists ourselves. A lot of clients work us into their marketing plan, using Tunespeak to promote their tours and music releases. There is a ton of space for innovation in music, and we want to lead the way. Entertainment is a difficult industry in general, but we believe in developing technology to fix a lot of the inefficiencies we see.”

We asked Tom about locating his company in his hometown of St. Louis rather than an industry hub such as Nashville, and whether it presented any challenges.

“Not at all. St. Louis is home, and our centralized headquarters is perfect when we travel to New York, LA, or Nashville. In addition, we owe much of our success to the support we’ve gotten from the St. Louis community – Cultivation Capital, Capital Innovators, and Angel Investors have supported companies like ours with investments, mentoring, and resources.”

Tom added, “There is definitely a sense here that people want to help promote the city and the startups here. People and organizations here sincerely want to see St. Louis succeed. There is a lot of diversity here as well which is important to us. There are not many music startups in St. Louis, so we stand out. There a lot of benefits to being in St. Louis.

Alright fans – check out Tunespeak, tell your friends, and go enter to win: https://www.tunespeak.com/.

You can also visit https://www.facebook.com/tunespeak to read more about this company.

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