Startup Spotlight: The Song Market

Allison Startup Spotlights

Do you think you have an ear for music? Can you hear a band and predict whether or not they will be “the next big thing?” The Song Market invites you to prove it.

A “socially competitive online music trading platform” The Song Market allows music enthusiasts to step up and showcase their musical prowess. A combination of Fantasy Football and the stock market, the website allows users to buy and sell stock in songs based on perceived popularity. They can compete against their friends and prove once and for who knows what’s hot and what’s not.


Derek Debiak
Matt Ao
Mackinley Smith

The three MSU alumni met at the Hatch and through mutual friends. When they discovered that they worked well together and shared the same vision, The Song Market was born.

The Problem Being Solved:

Music enthusiast often say they have a certain knack for predicting what bands will be successful, an ear for finding and identifying talent. But, until now, there’s been no way to actually measure whether the predictions they were making were actually coming true. The Song Market provides a platform that allows these enthusiast to stand behind their predictions and allow them to showcase their ability for identifying talent.

Where the Idea Came From:

The idea for The Song Market stemmed from a simple argument between friends at a bar. During a heated debate about who discovered the song “The Fox” or “What Does the Fox Say” Derek realized there was no way for anyone to prove whether they were right or wrong. Using the concept of Fantasy Football as a jumping off point, Derek wanted to enter the Fantasy Music scene and saw this as an opportunity to do that. “It’s a way to prove your own intuition,” he says, “To show off and keep track of those predictions.”

Exciting Opportunities:

One thing that is both exciting, and a bit worrying, to Derek is the fact that, as far as he can tell, nothing like they are building currently exists. “We are carving out a market,” he says. They are the first in the “Fantasy Music” space to take the logic of “Fantasy Football” and apply it to music. The platforms that do already exist have had limited success but Derek thinks that he and his co-founders have identified their short comings and have found a way to build their platform around those advantages.

Target Customer:

The Song Market’s target customers are hardcore music enthusiasts, those that take pride in knowing about cool music before it’s cool and know what’s going on in the space. “We want to get those people competing against each other,” says Derek. And eventually they would like to attract those that are just curious about what is coming up and turn it into a tool for music discovery.

Biggest Challenge:

Their biggest challenge has occurred on the technical side of things, while putting out the platform. Derek says there is a lot involved in many different areas. “We are building something that hasn’t been built.” They are working with a lot of constantly changing data, research, and algorithms. But once the core engine is complete, they can work on the features that will make it more fun, social and competitive.


Derek says the most interesting/surprising thing he has discovered about his customers is how competitive they are, “which is a great thing for us.” The more competitive the customer, the more likely they are to keep logging in.


The Song Market has had success raising funds from multiple sources. Their initial funds were from the Hatch and LCC and just as those ran out they were able to utilize StartGarden and get the funding needed to build their Platform. In January they will head back to StartGarden and hopefully be able to secure additional funds.

The Future:

Within the next year, The Song Market hopes to be accepted into a nationally recognized accelerator and relocate to a city at the heart of the music industry such as New York City or Silicon Valley.


Derek’s advice to his fellow entrepreneurs is to “Launch early and often.” There are problems you just won’t be able to find without putting the product out there, evaluating it, and addressing the mistakes. “You’ll never be able to (initially) launch a perfect product.”

If you think you have what it takes to recognize talent and want to be a beta tester for The Song Market, simply visit their website and enter your email address.


About Allison

Allison is a writer based out of Lansing, Michigan. She loves writing great content that helps Michigan businesses tell their stories, educate their customers, and promote their brands. Her work has been featured in Capital Gains, Mason Today, Williamston Today and more. She is also helping to promote startup activity in the region at StartupLansing. Follow her @AllySpoon

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