Enterprising move by 10cc singer
Kevin Godley is getting Irish help with his new internet business
Four years ago, Englishman Kevin Godley, once a singer and drummer with 10cc and later one half of Godley Creme, came to Ireland just when others were getting ready to leave.
“I had been working with a lot of Irish artists. I fell in love with the country, and with the fact that music is such a big part of Irish life. That coupled with the fact that I was a bit bored living in Britain,” he said.
Now living in Wicklow, Godley is the driving force behind a new internet business, Whole World Band, which could revolutionise the music industry.
Some are already convinced that it will, including Enterprise Ireland which has invested part of its €10 million international start-up fund in the venture, which goes “live” early next year.
Essentially, Whole World Band is a virtual recording studio, where fans will be able to collaborate with artists who will lay down a video seed track on the platform.
Fans can then record themselves playing along, or they add up to six other musicians to the track: “If you want more bass, or violins, you can have them,” Godley told The Irish Times.
Some musicians will sell the “seed track” for pennies, say 79 cent, others will charge more. The final results can then be posted online by fans on social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, said Godley.
Technology has benefited the music-listening public in recent years, Godley believes, but it has significantly affected professional musicians’ ability to earn a living.
“But there are more people out there than ever before making music, so what we are doing is to give people the opportunity to make money out of it. It is quite revolutionary.” The technology, Godley said, is world-beating: none other offers the mix of audio and video, allows fans to play with well-known musicians or is not hampered by copyright problems.
Since he thought up the idea “in a flash” four years ago, Godley has spent much of his time navigating the complex world of copyright, drawing on the skills of a London-based law firm.
To qualify for the Enterprise Ireland scheme, companies, mostly in the technology field, must be capable of creating 10 jobs within three years and €1 million worth of export sales in four years, while the management must be in Ireland.
Besides British business people like Godley, Enterprise Ireland is targeting the Irish diaspora in Britain, the United States and elsewhere, along with “serial entrepreneurs” of any nationality or creed.
Projects cannot just be an idea, says Enterprise Ireland’s Naghmeh Reilly. They have to have moved past proof-of-concept stage while companies must also show they can raise money.
Enterprise Ireland’s investment will vary from €100,000-€500,000, depending on the possibilities. This week, Godley went to London to spread the news of the scheme. Nearly 40 people came to Enterprise Ireland’s London offices to hear the offer: “We have had some positive feedback. People seem to think that what we are offering is unique,” said Reilly.