Headed by entrepreneur and musician Luke Rynne Cullen, TuneRelease empowers musicians and helps keep Irish music alive through the pandemic.

“TuneRelease is promoting Irish music in a cost-effective and accessible manner,” explained Rynne Cullen. “It empowers musicians who can no longer share their music through live events during the pandemic.

“Independent artists are building their brand from the ground up. They have no mailing list of media contacts, no templates of how to format their pitch and no rapport with the outlets.”

“TuneRelease allows users to upload their latest song releases files and contextual information”

Rynne Cullen explained that TuneRelease provides an extensive directory of credible media outlets, a standardised format that includes all relevant information, and verifies every song release distributed on the platform to ensure the quality remains high.

Spotify’s founder Daniel Ek has stated that Spotify receives 40,000 releases every day, adding up to 14.5m every year. The total addressable market in the music sector is €5.8bn

Tune in and stand out from the crowd

Landing page for TuneRelease.

“TuneRelease allows users to upload their latest song releases files and contextual information,” Rynne Cullen explained.

This is then verified by a team member who approves it for distribution. The user can then view our directory of media outlets, purchase credits and send personalised submissions directly to the media outlet.

Artist page on TuneRelease.

“They can then view the engagement metrics on their release including the number of downloads and opens.”

A love of music

Luke Rynne Cullen is the founder of TuneRelease. He is a musician and has performed at corporate, wedding and festival events. He founded Applaud.live, a bookings platform for the live music industry, in 2019 and invested heavily in its development, which was then impacted by Covid-19.

On a personal level, he has been motivated by his love of music and working with musicians, who go through similar challenges to start-ups.

Young man playing violin.

“TuneRelease was a blessing in disguise, enabling the team to pivot and continue to bootstrap its development.”

Rynne Cullen believes the start-up ecosystem in Ireland is still in development. “There is a wide range of brilliant supports like the New Frontiers programme, LaunchBox student accelerator, Startup Boost Pre-Accelerator and many more.

“I have found that the best mentors are those that have been on the journey and have experienced and overcome the same difficulties. However, many founders like myself are still working to develop our networks and secure early-stage finance.

“I have been fortunate to build a business model that allows us to bootstrap, but many innovation-driven start-ups don’t have that option as they need to invest in research amd development. Being a part of Scale Ireland has helped me to expand my network and meet some amazing founders and investors,” he added.

Believe in yourself

Rynne Cullen said that the young company is in the process of raising a pre-seed round of €300,000 to help expand the team in new territories. It already has secured clients in the UK.

His advice to fellow founders is to embrace technology and not fear it. “If you are a non-technical founder, don’t label yourself as one. Humans are unbelievably agile and multi-faceted. There is nothing worse than saying you cannot do something.

“I ended up being able to develop a fully functional revenue generating no-code prototype that has proven the market need, established all workflows and gathered data every step of the way. This will accelerate the process of building our own custom application as we continue to scale and serves as a high-fidelity prototype.”

Enjoy the journey

Young man holding a violin.

When it comes to agility and creativity, Rynne Cullen outlines the following tools that can cost less than €100 per month:

  • Airtable is brilliant for creating your first database and automating some workflows.
  • Notion ensures you can record best practices, workflows and helps onboard new team members.
  • Webflow is the best no-code website builder for your marketing pages.
  • Trello is the most visually helpful task management software for product development.
  • Bubble.io let us build our first web application

He urges founders to speak to other founders. “It’s those late night calls with founders and monthly check-ins that help you realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

“If you are looking to expand your network, then feel free to join the Scale Ireland Slack channel.

“Most importantly, enjoy the journey. 20pc of what you do will generate 80pc of the return, so make sure to prioritise and give yourself breathing space to think about the impact of what you are doing.

“Your work compounds over time. The longer you are doing something, the more often you do it and the more people you talk to the faster you will find product-market fit.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 24 February 2021

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