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Ones To Watch 2021

elvinyl is a B2C and C2C online music marketplace and archive where labels, artists, individuals, dealers and shops can sell records and other music-related items to each other, as well as accessing exclusive music-related content and information. We launched in December 2019 as a simple marketplace for records, but our vision has always been to create a space where product creators (artists and labels) can directly reach and interact directly with their fans, and where other users can buy and sell with greater transparency and ease than anywhere else. As such, we have launched a linked marketplace, ‘Stuff’, where anything music-related – clothing, books, posters etc - can be sold on the site. Our site architecture is underpinned by knowledge graph technology, using semantic reasoning to enhance the search experience and manipulation of data. The benefits of this are myriad. For example, it allows us accurately to assess the level of interest in a given artist, and thus recommend to labels (or artists) how much product to manufacture, thus substantially reducing over-production (of records and other merchandise), and it means we can make accurate recommendations to users based on their previous searches. In addition, we have worked hard to offer our users the best possible photo hosting, so every detail of an item for sale can be inspected closely. We have also made the site interactive – messaging between users is intuitive and immediate, and questions about a given record can be publicly posted and replied to by other users, becoming a valuable resource in itself. Despite a minimal marketing spend, over 32,000 users have signed up to elvinyl so far. We communicate with them via a daily email, highlighting different items for sale, new functionality, special offers and so on. This has proven remarkably successful - most of the items we flag are sold within minutes, and one new release sold over 50 copies within an hour. To date we have turned over approximately £70,000 across approximately 2000 individual transactions. To drive engagement we have also built the ‘eldorado’ section, a virtual museum where ephemera corresponding to specific records or artists - press releases, original reviews, ads, posters etc - can be freely viewed. Many of these items are extremely rare, even unique. All eldorado content is directly linked to the relevant artist and record. As such, users viewing a specific record in the marketplace can immediately see related eldorado content, and users viewing eldorado can quickly find copies of the relevant records for sale. Aside from the commercial benefits of eldorado, we feel that these cultural and historical artefacts will be of increasing interest to fans and students of music, and that preserving them is an important task. We encourage all artists and labels that join elvinyl to contribute as much to it as possible. Nothing else like it exists online. We have also completed our first series of podcasts, featuring in-depth interviews with a featured artist, from Sir Tim Rice to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, focusing on questions about their music and tastes that they have rarely (if ever) been asked before. Each can be downloaded from the site for free and is linked to each artist’s page, helping to drive interest and sales. Looking to the future, we are currently working with third-party manufacturers of records, cassettes, CDs and merch to provide an on-demand service for labels and artists. This, we feel, is crucial for fledgling labels and artists to grow their presence without over-stretching. It is also something that no one else in our space is providing, and we feel will become an extremely valuable asset to our users. In addition, we are currently leveraging our semantic reasoning tech to start sending out targeted emails to different users. Our ambition is for elvinyl to become the one-stop shop for anyone (business or individual) who wants to buy or sell anything to do with music. Ambitious as this sounds, we are confident that it is achievable. Sharing our sincere passion for music and helping our sellers achieve the widest reach possible is at the centre of what we are doing. New as it is, elvinyl has all the ingredients to become commercially viable, as well as to provide an important service to artists, labels and music fans. As we move towards our next round of funding, we feel that being a CIC CreaTech One to Watch will be invaluable in securing the right amount of investment from the right investors.

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