Staccato is a platform of generative AI tools for music and lyrics. Staccato helps songwriters and music creators overcome writer’s block and spark new creative ideas. It’s like a music library or database at your fingertips, so you can remain in an uninterrupted state of creative flow. The most integral part is our musician-first approach, and we never want to replace the human creator with AI but rather want to enhance their abilities and the way they create music.
Tell us about yourself?
In 2021, I received my PhD from Western University, where my dissertation involved the creation of software to aid in the composition of new music. This became the basis or early MVP for Staccato, even though starting a company wasn’t my initial plan. After graduating, I needed a break from academia, so I started a consulting company geared towards building AI applications for businesses. However, I quickly realized that if I wasn’t doing music in some way, I just wasn’t as passionate about the work. This consultant work was vital in establishing skills at scaling AI applications for many users, and I was able to apply this knowledge to my earlier PhD work to ultimately create Staccato.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Especially when it comes to product development, itemize the highest value aspects and work down that list. Don’t get swept up in trying to do it all because there is much more to starting the company than product development – there will always be more development to do. So pick your battles, tackle the necessities and come back to the rest at a later time. Since I am the technical founder and there weren’t always funds to delegate product development, this would have helped things move quicker.
What problem does your business solve?
The number one problem we solve is writer’s block and creative ruts. Since our users primarily work gig-based jobs (i.e. getting hired for gigs or to write songs for artists), their livelihoods depend on always having new ideas and never losing that creative flow. We are able to give our users ideas at any step along the way as they create and to always keep them moving so they are able to hit their deadlines.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The business was inspired by my own time as a music composer and trying to complete my dissertation. My dissertation required a research-creation component, a 25-minute long string quartet piece of music, and I had never written such a long piece. I was always fascinated by AI applications in music and decided to build a co-writer that could help inspire me along the way in an effort to create 25 minutes of music. The goal was to never rely solely on the computer but to write music in tandem with it. Therefore, it truly became my co-writer throughout the entire process.
This is the same problem we are attempting to solve for all musicians who run into creative ruts and for anyone trying to keep up-to-date in an ever-changing musical landscape.
What is your magic sauce?
Our products are musician-first. We are a team of musicians and music lovers building products for people like us. This is important as the race to build AI products took off this year especially. Many companies are more focused on creating interesting AI applications but forget about the humans that this technology might replace. We are a human-centric company that always puts the interests of the creators first, offering them tools to enhance their own abilities as music creators and to never replace them.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We aim to be the number one AI music software company over the next few years. We will be expanding out what we offer on our platform and increasing our downloadable plugins that work with any music software digital audio workstations (DAWs). We are in constant contact with musicians of all levels of ability and are looking to build products that can excite them.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
As I started all of this work in graduate school, and it was created solely for me to use, I wasn’t always that concerned with UI/UX or backend efficiency. Probably the biggest challenge for me has been learning to optimize the models that I had created years ago into something efficient that can serve many people and at the same time. In the beginning, there were often unnecessary downtimes as I learned to scale my product. But these are things you learn along the way, and the more brains you can pick to help you along the way, the better you will get.
How can people get involved?
Songwriters and musicians of all ages and abilities can check out what we do at www.staccato.ai. They can start creating for free and test out both the lyrics and music apps. We also love to see what people create with Staccato – follow us on social media to see what people are creating with AI!