How I Started an
AI Generated Music App
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! My name is Victor Kolb. I am the founder of Tinnire, an AI-generated music app. The main goal of Tinnire is to influence your mood with music to make you more relaxed, to increase concentration and to put you in the state of mind you want. All music in the app is unique, so very likely you won’t hear it twice!
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
When I was young, I was into all kinds of music. From rap and heavy metal to electronic experimental music. But I didn’t want to be an artist who performed on stage. I just loved the way music helped me achieve some goals. I tried different approaches to writing music and in early 2016 I get to know about generative music. Then I tried to write an ambient album in 1 day, you can listen to it here: https://vk.com/nona_astrolabe?w=wall-69807414_48.
I had to leave the music for a while to achieve some success in my career. I was lucky enough to get a job at Ultimate Guitar, it’s an incredible company, where I was shown that programming and creativity have a lot in common and taught me to love my job and think about the product.
But you can’t just give up on music if it comes into your life once. After leaving Ultimate Guitar, I thought about how I could combine my music and programming skills.
In 2018, I heard about Mubert. It’s a company that does essentially the same thing as Tinnire. They declared themselves as “AI-generated music” and my world turned upside down. I thought, “If computers can write such cool music, then how much I love the time I live in. It’s just delightful!” It turned out that they buy ready-made pieces of music from musicians and connect them in different sequences. I was disappointed.
I’ve tried many times to use Mubert, Endel, Brain.fm. All these guys write music with the help of composers, which puts a piece of soul on it, the person who wrote it. How do you recognize a person by their handwriting? So it all sounds monotonous, no matter how you try to hide it. After a month of listening, it gets annoying, and even a year later, when you go back to these services, you think, “Hey, but I’ve heard that before, has something changed?”
But I’ve already experienced a paradigm shift in composing after the first time I met Mubert, and I decided that if they didn’t manage to make music that writes itself and isn’t monotonous, I might as well try. The result of these short experiments is Tinnire.
You can appreciate it by listening to music in the application. There are only 2 channels “relax” and “focus”. I think this is exactly what it takes now to balance life and work while working remotely from home. In the future, I plan to add a web version and more channels for different activities.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
I’m a programmer and a bit of a musician, so I managed to do almost everything myself. Valery Nazarov helped me with the design, he is a very cool designer. Pavel Egorkin helps me from the product point of view; to analyse the market, to see if I do not do anything stupid in the product.
I have many friends who are musicians, who have chosen this path for their whole lives and achieved a lot there. They help with advice on the quality of music because it’s hard to assess objectively when you have produced something yourself.
Who is your target market?
I focus on those who work from home for computers. At home it can be difficult to concentrate, many factors interfere. With the help of background but unobtrusive music, you can quickly get into a state of flux and make working things much more efficient.
You don’t have to think about what to turn on and what kind of artist plays. You select a channel, press one button and it shows who’s the coolest.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
At the moment, the only publication was on Product Hunt. An interesting fact is that we have a lot of users from Italy. Perhaps we need to see in detail why this is the case and what we can do to make it even better.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
So far, we have been able to gather some feedback on what is missing from the app. We’re in the process of finding the first followers.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
I don’t think I have anything to say, there’s no ready team yet. Maybe we skip this question?
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
I use Notion for all data storage. WebStorm for development, Telegram for messaging, Alfred for some things like a clipboard history, Apple Music for listening to music when I’m not listening on Tinnire 🙂
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
There are things that you love and need to admit to yourself honestly and do what you can. Lockdown showed me that we have to go forward and we only have one life. If you want to do something, you have to do it right now, even though the first step is the hardest. We shouldn’t put it off for tomorrow. Because tomorrow may not come.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Doing what you like. Seeing “a tree” grow that you planted. It’s too early for me to draw conclusions about all the advantages, time will show you how things really are.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I think you have to look at the bright side of everything.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I really love books reading. I would suggest these:
David Byrne – How Music Works – how music really works, how it’s growing and why there is no “bad” music.
Kir Bulichev – The Settlement – about hope. How and why to survive, even if things are really bad around here.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
I think unique and endless tracks is the future of the music industry. Technology now allows it to be done. And there’s nothing new here.
Have you heard the sound of the sea? If not, go and listen, post-lockdown. The sounds are monotonous but unique. They tell the same story for thousands of years. But they’re not repeated. I love that analogy 🙂