Moises makes everyone a music producer
Moises.ai wants to disrupt the music industry―and they’re well on their way. In less than two years, Moises has accrued more than 5 million users across 210 countries and last month they reached number two in the US App Store for Music―behind only Spotify―and number one in Japan. In July alone, they acquired 1.2 million new users―and they didn’t even have to lobby for capital.
Geraldo Ramos, 35, founder and CEO, says Moises started as a side project. Ramos is an amateur drummer and he created this platform for himself so he could practice his instrument with more efficiency. “My wife was out of town traveling so I was like OK, this is something I will do to entertain myself this weekend. I decided to work on this project and create this.”
He read an article by Deezer, a French-based music streaming company, that published a model on how to split songs effortlessly. Using that initial framework, Ramos created Moises. All a user needed to do was upload a song to the platform, then they had the power to silence certain instruments or amplify others.
“If you look at my Instagram, 50 percent of my videos are just me playing the drums. Before Moises, I used to just put on a song and play the drums on top of it. But it was not ideal because the original drummers were still there. So I was like competing with my drums. There wasn’t a clean way for me to add my drums or practice effectively.”
This technology is not new. People have been remixing and covering songs since the first YouTube video went viral. But five years ago, the technology to extract different tracks from a song was accessible only to those who were privy to music production education and owned expensive software. Moises democratizes this process.
Initially, there was no intention to make a dent in the music industry―especially not this quickly. Ramos simply wanted to become a better drummer. But in November 2019, he posted the app on ProductHunt and immediately found it in the top five. By December, they had 50,000 registered users.
That’s when Ramos quit his job and started focusing on Moises full-time. He pulled in his lifelong friend Eddie Hsu, co-founder and COO, who was working in FinTech in Berlin and they launched the web platform in late 2019 followed the app version in December 2020. Exactly one year to the day from launching on the web, they hit 1 million active users.
“I believe what Moises created is allowing people not just to practice music, not just to create but also to consume music in a completely different way where they have the control,” Hsu says. “They can say, ‘I want to hear Chris Martin’s voice singing now and I want to hear every detail and catch all the power of his voice and highlight that and learn from that.”
With Moises, users are no longer passive listeners. People can listen and break down the songs however they want. If a user wants to master Beyonce’s “Halo,” they simply silence her voice and they have the perfect karaoke track to practice. If the pitch is wrong or they want to slow the song down, the app allows users to adjust tempo and pitch as well. Users can amplify certain tracks, silence other instruments, and experience a song in a myriad of different ways based on their own tastes.
Ramos and Hsu believe that’s the magic. Moises’ quick and sustained popularity is not because users can seamlessly make karaoke tracks, it’s because they now have control over how they practice, create, and consume music―and the founders of Moises believe this is the first step in helping people fulfill their creative potential.
When Ramos and Hsu began charging a monthly subscription, users bit and Moises became financially sustainable immediately. “What Geraldo and I do very well is understand what people’s needs, pains, and wants are and then making tech serve a purpose. This is something we are very passionate about: how can tech serve an ultimate purpose,” Hsu says. “In our case, Moises’ mission is to help people reach their full creative potential.”
The duo never had to lobby for funding. In fact, VCs started lining up and many are still in the pipeline waiting to meet with Ramos. Kickstart led Moises’ initial seed round―their first meeting was actually at a gig Sydnie Keddington, VC associate at Kickstart, was playing at Lake Effect in Salt Lake.
With Kickstart’s money, Ramos and Hsu scaled the company. The company grew from two people to 30 with headquarters in both Utah and Brazil. They were able to invest in further research and they are no longer using Deezer’s coding, instead their original technology for their app. “As seed investors, the diligence item we tend to care most about is the team itself,” Keddinton explains. “We look for scrappy and passionate founders, and we really believe in this team.
The company already has incredible reach in Brazil, in the US, and across the globe―and they’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible. “As an investor and especially as a musician myself, I look forward to seeing them really scale and become the de-facto platform for learning musicians,” Keddington says. “Everybody knows about Spotify or Shazam and I’m excited for everybody to know about Moises.”
Ramos’ dreams for his company are coming to fruition and with such ease. Focusing on and intimately knowing the needs of his audience is what makes this app perfect. He knows his audience because he is one of them. This company is built and invested in by musicians for musicians.
“These will always be my two passions: technology and music,” he says. “I was able to merge both, which is a cool thing for me. It doesn’t feel like working.”