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Meet Oust Labs First Accelerator Graduate, Music Tech Startup MXD

Oust-MXD-Jacob Morris-Lecrae-Music

Oust Labs has graduated its first startup through its recently launched accelerator program. Music tech platform MXD has just hit the market to provide quality audio mixing for independent artists.

Founder Jacob “Biz” Morris told UrbanGeekz he got the idea working as an award-winning engineer and audio mixer. His inbox would flood with requests for his services, but at rates, he couldn’t commit to.

Then Morris discovered Oust, a top-down creative agency, through a relationship with artist Lecrae Moore and Oust founder Dan Duncan. Through its accelerator and startup studio program Oust Labs Accelerator he went from ideation to execution within a three-month time span.

Morris, a longtime sound engineer who has worked on Grammy-winning hits, says Oust’s support has been instrumental in launching his brand. “Their team pushes the boundaries on creativity,” he said. “Their branding is amazing. The team is phenomenal. If I had to go with someone else, I would be worried the team wouldn’t be the same in showing care or be willing to push forward and be edgy on the creative side.”

MXD Founder Jacob “Biz” Morris in the studio with rapper, songwriter, and record producer Lecrae

Oust’s unique model and approach places a large emphasis on branding, creativity, and sought after “wildness.” In addition to the creative assets, they also connect founders to a community of advisors, mentors, and other entrepreneurs to encourage them along the way, says Charlton CunninghamLabs Director at Oust. The program is helping two of their companies secure over $50K each in seed funding from their network of investors, he adds.

In lieu of taking equity, startups pay a flat fee of $25,000 and keep control of their brand. $5,000 is payable upfront, with the hope that founders will bring onboard investors through their exposure to the Oust network. Grammy award-winning artist Lecrae is now a primary investor for MXD.

Taking over his newest role last November, Cunningham was tasked with building out and launching the new program. “It’s been a very challenging, yet rewarding role facilitating the accelerator at Oust Labs,” he said. “Getting to help develop founders and see their dream come to life has been a great joy. With the launch of MXD, we are able to truly showcase the value and capability of the program.” In the full Oust Labs Network, they are currently working with seven other startup companies.

Snapshot of MXD website

Comparably, the newest accelerator program on the block is running the same level of rigor as its peers. And as a novice tech founder himself, Morris said it was a tough but gratifying experience.

“It was all new to me, so it was stressful at moments,” he said. “They throw a lot at you to dissect and talk about. They ask questions that you’ve never heard or never answered before. Sometimes it was intimidating because these people do it every day, talk business and branding, but it was still fun.”

Morris believes MXD is a needed resource. He hopes the platform will reach musicians, particularly independent artists in the music industry. MXD allows artists to upload files of their recordings, choose a sound, and the algorithm creates mixe that is compatible to a premium analog mix in a studio, says Morris. MXD mixes are a fraction of the costs needed to cover going into a studio.

“The independent artist market, I feel like they are the underserved market,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to make their songs quality as far as mixing. We’re aiming towards serving them.” According to MIDiA Research, artists without labels was the fastest growing segment in 2017 at 27.2 percent. It was only last Fall that streaming companies like Spotify started letting indie artists upload their music directly to the platform. The inclusion of both streaming and indie artists have contributed much to the rebound in revenue in the music industry after 10 years of decline.

Cunningham described how the enterprise is hitting a niche yet to see innovation. “MXD fills a gap in music production services that has yet to be automated through technology,” he said. “You can currently write and record music, find distribution and gain listeners, and even get mastering services done online. MXD is the only automated mixing technology offering everyday artists with quick, quality, and affordable mixes.”

With their first ‘beta’ accelerator startup down the pipeline, Oust Labs seeks to begin onboarding more entrepreneurs and founders to help bring their ideas to life.

Follow Carlyn Pounders on Twitter@CarlynTechTalk ‏  

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Carlyn Pounders
Carlyn Pounders
Carlyn Pounders covers technology, business, and entrepreneurship at UrbanGeekz. She joined in 2017 after graduating from Georgia State University.
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