IndieFlow met with Groover founder Dorian Perron for a conversation on the founding of Groover, result driven promotions for artists & music-tech startups.
Are you able to give us the story behind the founding of Groover? What inspired you guys to build a music-tech company?
Of course! I started as an indie music blogger in 2013, sharing music that I liked and thought didn’t receive the attention it deserved. I also organized live acoustic sessions at my place and live shows in Paris with indie rock & pop musicians such as Asgeir, Pete Yorn, Plants and Animals etc. It was the coolest hobby in the world. Then I met with my co-founders Romain & Rafaël in UC Berkeley in 2018, they had music projects and had struggled with getting their new tracks heard from blogs, radios, record labels etc. On my side, even though my blog Indeflagration was quite small, I was receiving over 100 requests per day from artists wanting to get their music featured!
What was already certain is that we wanted to help independent artists. We knew they encountered many obstacles and wanted to do everything at once. But we started by taking phone calls with more than 200 musicians and music industry professionals during an entire month, and we understood that the most major issue they were facing was related to the nightmare they were experiencing to promote their music. They were mentioning how tough it was to have other people than their mom, their friends and their dogs listening to their music…
It was not complicated to realize that artists needed help in order to stand out from the crowd when supposedly 80,000 new tracks are released each day on Spotify. We realized that the biggest bottleneck exists after the track is created, recorded, mixed. The barriers to production and distribution are already brought down thanks to production software such as ProTools and Ableton, streaming platforms and online distributors.
Our goal from the start has been to help artists emerge through influential channels such as blogs, radios, playlist curators, starting with ensuring that their music would be listened to and that they’d receive feedback on it. To help them break this wall of the first listening that could change things, and sometimes change everything. That’s why we created Groover. Today, with over 100k artists using Groover and over 1.5 million pieces of feedback and counting, our mission is on the right track.
As a company started in Europe do you see yourself as approaching a specific market in the music industry or genre in the music industry? What kind of perspective and insight do you feel that starting in Europe has given you guys on the music industry and contributed to the success of the company?
Interesting questions! We started working on Groover in California but we had the idea of servicing France from the start. It’s where we had our early network and where we had interviewed most of the artists that made us realize how game changer a localized music promotion service could be. So we focused on France first and on building a community of blogs, radios, record labels there, then on bringing artists to the party.
We’ve kept on using the same method to expand. We indeed develop Groover with a country by country approach, building real communities of curators and artists and bringing them together in cities and countries in which we’re present, such as Paris, NYC, Milan, Quebec (Canada), Brazil and more. We also organize shows – more than 50 already – and free call for applicants on Groover to offer more opportunities to emerging artists to showcase their projects and talents.
Groover is now very international, with over 70% of our activity happening outside of France and artists from 120 different countries who have used the service. What’s interesting is that our fastest-growing country is the United States, while we initially thought it would be super complicated to grow there.
What we understood from our user research is that people in the US value a lot the fact that Groover is international, that it’s the only platform that can help them try to export their music in new markets such as France, Italy, Brazil etc.
I think our relative success comes from that: having built strong localized communities in multiple locations, which trigger international network effects and attractiveness for artists all around the world 🙂
How does Groover differentiate itself from other similar services?
Everything lies in “similar” 😉 There are indeed many services which try to address the issue of helping artists get their music heard, but not many which do it with as much effort and/or with the same model as Groover. Our main differences lie in:
- Our business model: artists send their track to music curators for €2 by contact selected (so approx. €60 for 30 curators for instance), the curators are paid €1 by piece of feedback given whatever their decision is, so they keep their editorial independence. We control the quality of feedback on a daily basis. If the curators haven’t listened to their track after 7 days, artists get Grooviz (our tokens) back to get in touch with new curators. So there’s really a guarantee that the curators contacted will listen to your music.
- As I was mentioning earlier, we develop Groover with a country by country approach, building real communities of curators and artists and bringing them together in cities and countries in which we’re present around the world. We also organize gigs and free call for applicants on Groover to offer more opportunities to emerging artists to showcase their talents.
- We focus on bringing high quality curators, real people of the music industry who are engaged locally
- We focus a lot of energy on the user experience, in order for artists to promote their music easily and efficiently
- Our customer service is probably one of the best in music since the very beginning, we answer super quickly and put a lot of effort into solving problems entirely, even bringing more value to the artists. Our customer service satisfaction rate is at 99% and we have no intention of allowing for it to decrease 😉
Who are some of your favorite artists on the Groover platform?
There’s nothing more satisfying than witnessing artists who’ve been using Groover from the start getting amazing results, making life changing encounters, building their team through the platform… And killing it on stage!
The artists that are part of our accelerator Groover Obsessions are particularly dear to me as it was a dream to be able to help artists boost their careers even further. The 50 artists & bands who are part of it are family now, and we have a team of 5 working every day on pushing them to where they deserve to be.
If I had to mention just a few of those I’m the most “obsessed” with currently, I’d talk about Faux Real, Alvin Chris, Silk Skin Lovers, Mathieu Saïkaly, L.Teez – he’s so good on stage! -, Metò, Morena, thaïs, Magon – the very first Obsessions artist – and Nedelko. You can check them out in our Spotify playlist. That’s 10 out of 50, but please don’t ask me to limit this favorites list even more 🙏
How do you see Groover developing and growing in the next couple of years?
Currently, we have over 100k artists and over 1,700 curators and professionals on Groover – and that number is growing every single day! Long may that continue because we feel we’re on the right path.
From a company perspective, our team is growing consistently. Alongside our HQ in Paris, we now have an office in Brooklyn NY and team members in the UK, Brazil, Italy and elsewhere.
To be more precise, we have 3 main strategic priorities:
- Growing internationally. Groover started in France but over 75% of our activity takes place abroad now, especially in the US, Canada, Italy, the UK, the rest of Europe, Brazil etc. We’re growing our community of curators in every market and artists from more than 120 different countries have already used Groover
- Improving the experience for artists for their first campaign but also their subsequent ones, especially by improving the artist dashboard with new features and a better experience. We expect that artists will be able to get the most out of their feedback, to better interact with curators, to get meaningful advice to accelerate their career and analyze their results better in order to send more relevant promotion campaigns afterwards
- Developing Groover Obsessions, our artist accelerator: we select the best performing artists on Groover and bring them more services tailored to their projects in order for them to grow their visibility, connections and career in the right way. We already support over 60 artists from France, Canada, the UK, the US, Brazil and intend to support many more before the end of 2022.
On top of those priorities, we spend some time exploring new growth opportunities for artists, e.g. addressing Instagram/TikTok influencers and adapting the service in a more detailed way to each kind of curators.
Want to try Groover out? IndieFlow users can now enjoy a 10% discount. Sign up on Groover and use the code INDIEFLOWGROOVERVIP [more explanations on how to apply the special discount here].