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Savage Beast – Profile

January 20, 2005

HQ: Oakland, CA
Founded: 2000
Management: Joe Kennedy is CEO & President. Previously served as President of E-LOAN and VP of Sales for Saturn, the car maker. Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder, brings music industry experience to the table. He has recorded with independent labels, scored feature films, and produced albums. CTO Tom Conrad proudly lists in his bio.
Investors: Raised $8.8 million in December. Investors are Walden VC, Labrador Ventures, and angels.
Business Model: Offers a preference matching database to music vendors. Core service recommends music to consumers based on music they already like. Savage Beast licenses its products to websites like Barnes & Noble (where it offers a private-label service) and to bricks-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy that want to offer kiosks. Matching engine and personalization software is powered by the Music Genome Project™, Savage Beast’s proprietary database. This database spans sixty years of commercial music and hundreds of thousands of recordings.
Competitors: The Music Finder, AgentArts
Dirt: Preference matching/personalization/collaborative filtering engines were once all the rage. “If you like this – then you’ll like this.” The MIT-spawned Firefly was going to revolutionize the way we buy things – it never did. Savage Beast is focused on a popular market, but we wonder about its business model – how “proprietary” is the database and how vital is this matching technology to mainstream vendors? As Savage Beast points out on its site: less than 3% of all releases currently account for over 80% of all revenue in the recording industry. This could indicate a vast, untapped catalog of tunes – or it could indicate that consumers lack imagination, and no matter how many suggestions you make, they’re just waiting for the next Britney release.


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