Tyler LenaneNashville-based punk rocker turned lawyer turned entrepreneur, worked in the music industry as it transformed with the rise of streaming.
After careers in the legal and business development teams of Apple, Beats Music and Napster, he recognized a flaw in the way streaming services had grown over the years. They were “really poor at talking about what it means to be a music fan.”
Lenane has teamed up with other music industry veterans to work on making streaming music more fan-friendly. “We knew people wanted more than just a search box or an algorithm making recommendations,” Lenane told Hypepotamus. “We saw this opportunity to reach fans who wanted more and also to serve fans of music genres that were outside of mainstream pop and hip hop.”
The result was Gimme Radio, an interactive audio and video experience that connects fans with artists. The goal, Lenane said, is to “build communities on a gender-by-gender basis.” Artists can create their own content and programming. Fans can interact with both artists and other fans in real time.
Gimme Radio currently supports country and metal, which Lenane says are two genres that attract a passionate fanbase. “People who are metalheads, they are metalheads for life…but they were ignored almost everywhere else in [the streaming world],” he said. “And while the country seems to be on the other side of the [music spectrum]we were able to show some of the same fan behaviors.
While Gimme was founded in 2017, the platform has become an increasingly important tool for artists and fans during COVID. With no concerts or festivals to attend, Gimme gave artists an important line to “interact and transact” directly with fans. The platform has rolled out virtual tips, e-commerce options and vinyl subscriptions to allow fans to support artists.
More than 1,200 artists have hosted programs on Gimme Radio to date, and Lenane said that number is growing every week. This gave a significant income to artists who often don’t make enough money on standard streaming services.
Some of the artists currently on the platform include Dave Mustaine from Megadeth, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Jesse Dayton, Chuck Prophet and Laura Cantrell.
For Lenane, Gimme Radio is trying to build something that cuts through the “live bandwagon” and the fatigue that followed. “Music isn’t just a lonely experience where you put on white headphones and shut the world off. There’s another part of music that’s really communal. And that’s at the heart of what we do.
Now the wider music and radio industry has taken notice.
Gimme Radio has closed a $3 million funding round led by iHeartMedia. Existing investors The orchard, Concorde, Metal blade discsRiser House Entertainment and Quartz Hill Records also participated in the round.
“We needed the right strategic partner with access to more music lovers,” Lenane said of the funding round. After this round, the focus will be on bringing new people to the platform.
He added that Gimme’s long-term vision is to be “ta global destination for fan communities across all genres.