Israeli startup Tonara has developed an iPad app that is aimed at a potential 300 million musicians who play guitar, violin, and other instruments, amateurs and professionals alike. Tonara's idea is to forego sheet music and to replace it with a modern, upgraded iPad app. The app, which was developed by CEO Yair Lavi and CTO Ivgeni Begelfort, can listen to tunes and, according to the beat display musical notes of what is being played. As a result, the app can automatically turn pages, which can prevent uncomfortable situations if the musician forgets to turn the page or the sheet music falls off the stand. In addition, the app can filter out noises and focus exclusively on the music itself.
The app is free and comes with a limited number of classic recordings and the option to purchase others, which can be downloaded for $1 per song from a built-in app store. In an effort to appeal to young audiences, sheet music for songs by Beyonce and Lady Gaga will soon be available for $3-6.
At the start, Lavi and Begelfort intended to develop the technology and then sell licenses to other companies, but the launching of the iPad two years ago changed the picture. "We understood that we had the potential to be the iTunes of the sheet music industry," Lavi said about their great aspirations. "Apple had great success with the iPad and the music industry, Amazon succeeded with Kindle and the book industry, but nobody had done this with sheet music." According to Lavi, sheet music is a $2 billion a year industry.
Tonara is planning to add automatic accompaniment of other instruments in its future iPad versions. It also wants to create a music bank for composers, to which new compositions can be uploaded. Royalties would be given for each item sold. Tonara is also developing a separate chord-based app for guitar players, that can be downloaded onto smartphones as well.
Tonara is in advanced negotiations with ACUM, the organization of composers and producers of music in Israel, so that Israeli compositions can also be sold on the site. "The moment there will be enough iPads in Israel, we will proceed with the project," Lavi said. Tonara has raised $750,000 so far from Index Fund, Lool Ventures, Google Israel R&D center CEO Yossi Matias, and Warner Music Group former VP Alejandro Zubillaga ("He opened up the door to the American music industry for us.")
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 29, 2011
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