Young, eager and hungry are three adjectives to describe VenLabs Founder Dan Lehrich. VenLabs is a finalist for Microsoft Sponsored SXSW Accelerator program, and 6 month old start-up based out of Venice, Ca. Dan has created one of the most interesting apps that I have seen in a while, DimSong, and has plans to turn his one-time party trick into the standard format for interactive music.
DimSong is a reactive and adaptive app that creates customized remixes of music based on your touch, movement and surroundings. Run fast and the music speeds up. Slow down and the music slows downs. Dim the lights and the mood changes. It’s called intensity man…You get the picture?
Kelland: What is your background
Dan: Before I started VenLabs I worked in video game development for like seven years. Most recently I was a Creative Director working in the music games area. Before that I created a game called Scratch: The Ultimate DJ, which was a competitor to DJ Hero. Activision loved it and they ended up buying our studio. I am classically trained musician and I studied upright bass for about twenty years. I went to a classical conservatory and then I got really serious about music technology and transferred. the Berklee School of Music in Boston and got a Degree in Music Synthesis.
Kelland: When did you create VenLabs?
Dan: I started VenLabs last July and Dimsong is the first product we put out. Dimsong launched in October of 2011. We’re still in the really early stages. Were just getting started.
Kelland: Where did the concept come for Dimsong
Dan:I had the concept for Dimsong for a while. For a while it was just a prototype that just existed on my computer. One of the first things I built was the light control. There are three different ways to control the intensity of the music on our app. There’s the touch, the movement, and the light mode in which the camera and the sound adjusts to shade of the room. At first It was just a party trick. I would have my friends over and we go around turning the lights off in my apartment. I use to call it the musical dimmer switch. At first it was just a cool thing to have around, but I always saw that it had a lot of potential. I’m a big beiliever of music and technology and I love the way technology changes the way we see and hear music.
Kelland:I can see that you are a very talented developer, but out of all the apps you could of developed why did you choose Dimsong?
Dan: To me Dimsong is a very exciting idea and I just see the potential. You know I really wanna deliver on this soundtrack of your life fantasty. We all are walking around living our daily lives and the music we’re listening to can support those actions. Its like having an ochestra playing behind you while your living your life.
Kelland: How are you bringing it to the market?
Dan: Obviously we want SXSW to be a spring board, but we are taking the grassroots approach. I want it to grow organically. Most of the marketing has been around new music releases, Facebook and Twitter. Our focus is partnering up with more prominent artists and having their music available on the app.
Kelland:How will the money be made?
Dan: The money will be made off of song sales. My business model is a lot like I-Tunes. I wanna be the I-Tunes of interactive music. The app is free and there is a store inside of the player. The money is made off the sale. So I get a piece, the labels get a piece and the artists get paid. In the second phase I plan on licensing the technology to other businesses as well.
Kelland: Coming from a creative background, how do you mainatin that focus on one product.
Dan: Coming from a corporate enviornment like Activision and working as a Creative Director really forced me look at things more objectively. So I understand that with VenLabs being so small and nimble, focus will make the difference in our success. I’m trying to succeed at one thing instead of failing at ten things.
Kelland: In 2-3 years where would you like to be at?
Dan: I want to see Dimsong become the standard format for interactive music. I want Dimsong to be to Interactive Music what Dolby is to Surround