It is a fact that firms are constantly looking for new ideas and content that fit their specific needs. Therefore, not only consumers respond to customized solutions offered by companies, but the opposite can happen as well. The evolution of crowdfunding has allowed the creation of suitable platforms that connect individuals with firms within new contexts.
AudioDraft is an interesting case of such a platform. It allows anyone that needs a specific music or sound to crowdsource it to talented composers or music designers around the globe. The best analogy for what the startup does is 99Designs for sound . What is the core of this idea? “The logic is to make things simpler for everyone. Customers can always know beforehand what their music budget will be and the designers can more easily understand the payment amounts they are expecting from the service”, says Arto Tolonen, co-founder of AudioDraft .
The company was founded in 2010 and within the first three years managed to create a community of about 20,000 musicians and composers that offer their music talents to clients or firms. This pool is balanced out by approximately 1,000 customers . Nokia is one of the biggest companies that have used it in order to create a sound to go with its new devices. Initially, the only way offered to connect artists with companies was through competitions initiated by the latter (Open Studio). The platform charged 99$ fee per competition, in addition to 10% of the prize money. However, later AudioDraft created an online unique music store, where participants could upload their music, while customers have to pay them anything from 400$ to 2000$ for a license of a certain track (A&R). The last option provided is full access to the musician talent pool along with a full music production toolkit for 999$ per month (Agency Studio).
Each of the above revenue models correspond to a different level of customization and expertise for the required music. And while 1,000 customers might not seem a massive number, the average commission musicians gain per track is 1,200$, with AudioDraft gaining 10% of it. “There are artists on the platform who are making enough money to pay for their living costs” states CEO Teemu Yli-Hollo . As for the goal of this crowdsourcing music company? “We want to give artists other means to create and find distribution for their music than the old record label way, and to make crowd-sourcing music easier,” Yli-Hollo explains. Another interesting functionality included in the platform allows fans to have access to the actual production of a music track. “Imagine if an artist like Madonna would build a song online, giving fans access to hear the song as it is being written, having them comment the track and share the process of writing music,” Yli-Hollo suggests . Could such ideas cause the next big disruption in the music industry?
AudioDraft is a perfect example of a firm that uses crowdsourcing to empower customers to create new products and even distribute them to other people or firms. Such cases show the unlimited potential of crowdsourcing. We have already looked into consumers customizing products that firms offer and the principles of this customization process . Perhaps it is time to look into consumers creating custom products for themselves, from which they alone profit and through which they create a different kind of value for firms, not monetary. This is the next step as the market is moving towards a “craft-consumer”, one that brings skill, knowledge, judgement and passion while being motivated by a desire for self-expression in the process of creating a new product .
 Randall, Taylor, Christian Terwiesch, and Karl T. Ulrich. “Principles for user design of customized products.” California Management Review 47.4 (2005): 68.
 Campbell, Colin. “The Craft Consumer Culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society.” Journal of consumer culture 5.1 (2005): 23-42.