Last Saturday our team took part in a unique event organised by Mixcloud and the Big Chill House in London: the very first Digital Soundclash in the world, pitting 8 of the world’s most exciting music startups against each other in a musical battle. Our tiny team competed against some of the giants of the scene: Shazam, Spotify, Songkick, Deezer, Mixcloud, 22tracks and Bleep. This wasn’t about how many users you have, how much money you’re making or how much venture capital you’ve raised. This was about who can play the best music. And we’ve won!
The format was simple. Teams were randomly selected to go head-to-head against each other and take turns in playing a track each, with 3 tracks per team in each round. The evening’s host, The Last Skeptik, kept the momentum of music flowing, and got the crowd to cheer for each team at the end of the round. Whoever got the loudest cheer was announced as the winner. Our team has prepared some sure-fire ammo on its laptop, helped by suggestions from the WhoSampled community, so we were representing the entire WhoSampled family at large and were determined to do it proud.
The first round was the hardest for us to win. Following Mixcloud’s shock exit after losing to Deezer, we were put up against the Netherlands’ finest export, 22tracks. A serious hip-hop/dancehall battle ensued, in which we’ve dropped ‘Watch Out Now‘ by the Beatnuts, the Rogue Star remix of ’Come Around‘ by Collie Buddz and following 22tracks’s use of one of our secret weapons, ‘Simon Says‘ by Pharoah Monch, we went for Dead Prez‘s anthem ‘Hip-Hop‘. The crowd cheered for both teams and a tie was announced, leading to a tie breaker of one track each. 22tracks played an electronic track and we responded with the garage track to rule them all, ‘Ripgroove‘ by Double 99, and went through to the next round.
Other rounds saw Songkick beating Spotify, and Bleep winning against Shazam. We went against Deezer in round two and decided to move our level of aggressiveness up a notch. We dropped ‘Mama Said Knock You Out‘ by LL Cool J, then the (very) explicit version of 2Pac‘s ‘Hit ‘em Up‘, and eventually ‘Suck My D***‘ by Blowfly. Deezer gracefully accepted defeat and we went through to the final. We’ve watched Songkick beat Bleep and went back to the DJ booth for one last battle.
We had to make the first move and tried to throw Songkick off-course by NOT playing hip-hop. We dropped recent dubstep tune ‘Fire Hive’ by Knife Party, and then the massive ‘Poison Dart‘ by The Bug feat. Warrior Queen. Songkick decided to throw a curveball with Britney Spears‘s ‘Toxic‘ (great sample BTW) but it backfired, and the track saw the first booing of the night. It was ours to win and we dropped one of the most popular tracks on the site in recent weeks, ASAP Rocky‘s ‘Peso‘, to great response. The crowd made its voice heard clearly and awarded us the title!
The (rather ginormous) trophy now proudly resides at the WhoSampled office, until next time…! Big thanks to Mixcloud and the Big Chill House for hosting this fantastic night. And to any music startup out there thinking they can defeat the almighty WhoSampled… bring it on!!!