Imagine if you could follow the journey of a certified banger like Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” or Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” from start to finish. You might be surprised to learn that a certain piano riff or lyric almost didn’t make the cut.
The truth is, every song we stream or hear on the radio has gone through several demo versions before release. Each of these versions has several collaborators and teams—from the producer to A&R—making tweaks and adjustments via unsecure channels like text, email, SoundCloud, and more. The naming conventions are also usually a jumbled mess, like “Song42433.m4a.”
“Think of it as a Dropbox and GitHub for music. It’s for private teams to be working and collaborating,” says Bounce cofounder Nick Sylvester. “Music people, we’re really bad with technology. Music people are just either scared of it or they’re not very organized. The musicians themselves are very scattered.”
Bounce allows musicians and their teams to get organized in one window, giving each other time-stamped, threaded feedback, making revisions easier, and allowing everyone working on a song to compare versions of mixes. It’s secure, and it utilizes the same two-step biometric security features that banking apps use to make sure that music isn’t accidentally shared, or that if a device is stolen, it’s difficult to access the song wallet. There are also robust permissions options for commenters, collaborators, and engineers, and a web-based public-sharing option for people to preview music outside the Bounce network.
“We made it just for ourselves because we were making lots of records and everything,” says Talya Elitzer, who cofounded Bounce with Sylvester. “My artists, or even Nick, will text me. If he finishes in a session, he’ll sometimes just text me the Bounce of the song. And I’m the one who then has to organize it. It’s just very confusing. So we made it really just to help our workflow.”
Bounce creators and Godmode Music founders Elitzer and Sylvester have been testing Bounce among colleagues in the music industry for years. They are both creative entrepreneurs who have extensive experience in the music business. Elitzer has worked in A&R for Capitol Records, and as a booking agent at William Morris, she worked with Britney Spears, Grace Jones, m.i.a, and more. Sylvester grew up in a musical family, played the trumpet, studied computer music at Harvard, worked as an editor at Pitchfork, and works on Godmode releases as a producer and songwriter in close collaboration with label artists like Channel Tres (who recently toured with Childish Gambino), Yaeji, and Shamir.
In other words, Bounce is an app created for music creators by music creators—and you don’t have to have a record deal to get in on the process.
“It could be a kid in his bedroom who is collaborating with his buddy who lives on the other side of town or even next door, and he could be working on something,” says Elitzer. “They’re in a session working, the producer finishes the song, they Bounce it out, it goes into the app, and then the kid and the other collaborator gets it, and then they can go back and forth leaving notes directly on the app, or 18 versions, or whatever they need to do to make the song better.”
Think about artists like Kanye West and Young Thug, who have made headlines by updating music after they’ve already released it to streaming services. Making updates isn’t uncommon in software, because you’re fixing bugs that make the general user experience annoying. But updating music is unorthodox, because the creator may adjust the thing that made the song popular in the first place. It could be a lyric or a drum beat, or a surprise guest verse that gets changed, and since art is subjective, it’s impossible for everyone to be happy with certain results. But what if all versions of the song could exist at once? That’s possible with Bounce, which will allow artists to share music outside of Bounce.
Another highly anticipated feature is that music makers are legally able to lift portions of a song for their own sampling purposes while the originator makes passive income for their work. There will be no confusion about who contributed what or who sampled what because of how explicitly laid out the entire process will be. Ease of use is the name of the game.
“We really want it to be an indispensable tool for artists, writers, producers, and their teams,”says Elitzer. “Once we’re there, then we’ll start introducing some larger ideas that could really change the way people are consuming music.”
As of today, Bounce is available for iOS users for free in the Apple app store. (An Android version is expected in 2020.)