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About us
Total 39 companies invested
Total 79 companies invested
We are launching our series of case studies in which we tell about the development stories of our startups.

Today we talked to Bronislav Gorbachev, founder of Amadei. Amadei is an online platform offering a comprehensive solution for the promotion and monetization of music projects.

What makes Amadei unique is that it serves more than 16,000 music artists around the world, even though the company employs only 9 people.

We asked Bronislav how he did it, what mistakes he made along the way and how he copes with the growth of the platform with such a small team. Here is what he told us:

Amadei is a music talent incubator

Amadei is an online music platform that offers a comprehensive solution for promoting and monetizing music projects. Amadei makes releases known to the world, increasing artists' income, and this is thanks to our expertise.

We help talented music artists to enter the world of the music business, providing a quick and professional start. We find partners, help with distribution, record rights, promote music, and make collaborations with A-list profiles happen.

Our Mission is to permanently raise the standard of Music Art by guiding artists and labels to develop and refine their content, with the end goal of creative and commercial success.

Most of Amadei's investors are current market insiders, probably besides Joint Journey, which lets us provide aspiring music artists with major contracts from top music labels. For example, the singer ANAZED received an offer from Sony Music Entertainment just after the release of her second song «Of the female gender». She had barely finished school at that time. And the same happened with the Ukrainian singer Qatoshi who released the song «Dance». Sony made him an offer after seeing the results of his placements with Amadei.

We have many similar examples of aspiring musicians who shot up thanks to us.

How we got our start

I had been doing offline business in different fields for 17 years. And in 2019, I realized that I should create a company that wouldn't be tied to a specific location. It had to be a project that could be managed from anywhere in the world. Of course, I decided on an IT company.

Moreover, I chose a field in which I didn't understand much, the music industry. There were several good reasons for this.

  • The music industry has grown 20-25% every year since 2005. And at the time of the pandemic, when Amadei was launching, growth reached 35%.
  • There are 180,000 tracks released every day on all music platforms. This is because the threshold of entry into the music industry has been greatly reduced thanks to software which makes it easier to create.
  • Music has no language barriers. Even if listeners don't understand the language, but they like the melody, the musician will succeed.
I liked the idea of an IT company in the music industry, but I didn't have enough experience in either the online or the music business.

Nevertheless, in my 17 years in business, I learned how to build teams well. So I had no trouble finding people who were good in the music industry.
That's how Alexey Komov and Kirill Dzham came to Amadei. Alexey has been working in the music business for 25 years, and Kirill has his own music label Effective Records, winner of the Grammy 2021 and Billboard music awards 2021.

An expensive mistake I made

When I launched Amadei, I only had ambitions in IT, and no experience in developing an online company at all. Consequently, I naively tried to build a business based on my offline experience.

I started making a large product right away without any customer interviews and hypothesis validation — and that was a huge mistake. We spent a lot of money to develop the platform and ran ads all over the world right off the bat.
As a result, there were 800 real people (surely not bots) registering on our platform per day. The customer acquisition rate was very low, but no one bought anything.

Meanwhile, paying clients cost $620, although the average bill on the platform was $12. The problem was that we created a complicated platform that the users didn't know how to use properly and it didn't quite fix the musicians' current pains.

So we lost $25,000 in three months just on advertising. That's not to mention the extra expense of the development.

Restart with user research done

When I lost $25,000 I realized that something was going wrong. We suspended advertising, rebuilt the team and I began to study customer interviewing, marketing strategies, and the specifics of both the IT and music businesses.
For the next nine months, we dealt solely with marketing strategies. We studied who our target client was, what their pains were, and how we could help.

It was necessary to do some customer interviews to create a suitable marketing strategy. Fortunately, by that time there were already 14,000 musicians who had registered on Amadei but hadn't bought anything.
That's what I found out after some interviews.

Insights. Musicians don't care about distribution, which we put a lot of emphasis on. The main thing for music artists is to be heard, and that's totally different.
A simple distribution is like bringing potatoes to some Walmart. There are various sorts of potatoes from numerous producers in a store, meaning just the delivery arrangement doesn't provide sales.
Similarly, 180,000 tracks are delivered to streaming services every day. Users simply can't listen to them all, so marketing comes to the fore. That's what we've focused on after the restart and what we've highlighted in the ads.

New marketing strategy results. With a new marketing strategy based on the insights, we put together a landing page. It was much cheaper than the enormous PR campaign we launched at the start.
It all paid for itself in 1.5 months and for the next 9 months, we grew steadily. At that moment attracting a paying user cost $18, while they paid $200 on average.
Nowadays the average bill on Amadei is $400.

How we handle growth

Our competitive advantage is automation. Because I originally started building a platform with huge functionality for music artists, it had a lot of automated processes in it from the beginning.

Thanks to automation, growth is no problem for us. For instance, our system distributes 500 tracks in just 30 seconds. Sending out warm emails to our contact pool is automated too. That's why there are only nine people on our team, including myself, although we serve more than 16,000 musicians.

The only thing that is not automated right now is promotion. Right now we have people involved in doing this kind of work, but we already know how we can turn it over to computers. This is the first thing we will do as soon as we close the next funding round.

Ultimate advice to founders

My advice to founders is to be sure to do customer interviews before launching any product. You can't do anything without proper user research. Our story is a vivid confirmation of this.

Moreover, remember that just asking a question is not enough. You need to know how to motivate the person to answer, how to ask the question correctly, and how to interpret the answer. Otherwise, it won't work.

I can also share an idea that worked great for us. Make several versions of a survey, send them out, and see which works best.