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Music Mastermind’s Cloud-Based Business Model

Music Mastermind couldn’t exist without cloud computing. The company’s core product is Zya, a free music application and game that allows customers—mostly in the 13- to 24-year age range—to download clips from their favorite songs and add their own voices in what they call a “mash-up.”


It’s wildly popular with the younger set, which is reflected in the fact that the company has 400,000 users in 154 countries. And it has not built one bit of the global infrastructure necessary to reach that audience; instead, IBM has. Apple also has helped because fans download Zya to their iPhones and iPads its app stores. The company relies on a hybrid cloud infrastructure based on IBM’s SoftLayer hosting service to offer its services. Very few major companies can claim to sell in 154 countries, yet Music Masterind has achieved that in less than a year. “Without [the] cloud, could we have a viable product? Absolutely not.

Not one that scales,” says Bo Bazylevsky, president and co-founder of the Calabasas, Calif.-based company. “There is no question that the cloud will dominate the content delivery for most companies, not just ours.”

Music Mastermind has concentrated on persuading the music industry to allow it to sell bits of its most famous songs for a modest fee. Any source of revenue is positive for an industry that has been disrupted by the likes of Napster, iTunes and newer variations on that theme. Music Mastermind’s game allows users to download clips and manipulate them in real time with studio-quality results. Its systems concentrate on the musical quality and the user’s experience. A user also can transform his or her own voice into a guitar sound or that of any other instrument.

John Mason, IBM’s general manager of the midmarket segment, says it only makes sense for a small company like Music Mastermind to concentrate on what it does best—creating the right kind of user interface and o ering the right artists “rather than having to spend their scarce resources building out an IT infrastructure that is not going to differentiate them.” Out of the 22,000 customers using SoftLayer, Mason says 21,500 of them are small or medium-sized. They pay a monthly fee that varies depending on their overall usage levels. They can ramp up one month, then ramp down the next. That flexibility is what makes cloud computing such an attractive choice for so many smaller companies going global.


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