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Ryan Leslie and LoweKey Media talk Project SongBooth One

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Examiner.com was introduced to iOS mobile app SongBooth in December 2012 at a launch event featuring singers Miguel and Ryan Beatty. Currently the app has over 6 million downloads, and has been featured on MTV, MSNBC, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal, and many other media outlets. Called “the next YouTube” by Aux Magazine, SongBooth allows users to video record themselves singing over instrumentals or a cappella. Effects, filters, and other video elements can be added to create a 30-second music video, which can be shared with the SongBooth community, Facebook, YouTube, and the world.

To celebrate SongBooth’s one year anniversary, LoweKey Media has upgraded the app’s functions and partnered with Grammy-nominated singer/ songwriter, musician, rapper, and producer Ryan Leslie for a new global talent contest: “Project SongBooth One.” The prize has also been upgraded: The winner, chosen by Ryan, will accompany him on tour in 10 cities (including European dates), and will receive a recording contract with Ryan’s NextSelection Lifestyle Group. In an exclusive interview, Ryan and LoweKey Media CEO Gregory Lowe II discuss “Project SongBooth One,” digital marketing, and what’s next!

BROWNIE MARIE: I covered SongBooth’s launch a year ago and am so pleased to see its growth. How does it feel to have over 6 million downloads?

GREG LOWE (LOWEKEY MEDIA): It feels great! It’s really nice to have a successful project and see its growth from its infancy. We’re really excited.

I know that there are some upgrades in the app’s functions, including being able to edit clips that are over 30 seconds. What are some other new features?

LOWEKEY MEDIA: We’re adding a duet feature to allow users to create music together; that should be coming out in the next month. We’re also running a promotion within the application for brand opportunities. We call it our “Powered by SongBooth” program, and we’re actually testing it out with a few major partners right now. We’re going to continuously add new features into the program to help our users share their music and share their voice.

Another new feature is “Project SongBooth One,” which offers some great prizes courtesy of Ryan Leslie. Ryan, what attracted you to this project?

RYAN LESLIE: I’m attracted to anything that uses technology to make the world a more connected place. Being a musician, and the kind of music I’ve inspired was responsible for one of the first success stories in music to come out of social media (with [R&B/pop singer] Cassie’s project), I understood and knew that mobile was really the landscape of the future for the discovery and sharing of the talent, and art, and curation of the community. Once I saw that this was a platform for artists to have their voice be heard, and it was built on two of my favorite elements— which are technology, and more specifically mobile technology—it’s something that attracted me to the project.

In this digital age, artists have to find creative ways to reach their fans, creative ways to get discovered, and creative ways to sell records. You decided to release your newest album, Black Mozart, exclusively through your website, RenegadesNYC.com. Why did you decide to bypass iTunes?

RYAN LESLIE: I have so many reasons for doing that. The main reason is just because I want to be able to say “thank you” personally to everyone who supported my art, and actually own the relationship between myself and the people who have supported me. It’s very simple; everything is through the music club [Renegades]. And honestly, I can’t take all the credit for this idea. Prince, long before I did, was releasing music through his New Power Generation Club, and the technology has improved a hundred-fold since he had that innovation. So I’m (in a very interesting and technological way) moving forward in the pathway of being a modern day Prince, so to speak. The most novel and unique aspect to the music club is that anyone can send me a text message. Everyone can call me directly or send me a text message if they want to know more about the Renegade Music Club. My direct email and telephone number are publicly displayed on my Twitter profile.

The winner of “Project SongBooth One” gets to join you on tour for 10 shows. What’s it like to be on tour with Ryan Leslie?

RYAN LESLIE: Hard work and grueling schedule. We’re probably the healthiest tour out right now... we have a personal trainer on the road for the entire touring staff. We have a strict regimen in terms of intake... no alcohol, no controlled substances. [It’s] really just about the music and the engagement with the fans. It’s interesting, but it’s a great payday in terms of being in tip-top physical shape and [having] a tip-top relationship with each and every supporter around the world.

That’s going to be an incredible experience for the “Project SongBooth” winner. Greg, what are the contest dates?

LOWEKEY MEDIA: The contest started at the beginning of December and we’re running it through the end of March. We’re seeing some great talent; it’s looking really good. The application was featured as one of Apple’s Best New Apps over the holiday, and it’s currently still featured in the Music category. We’re really excited about the growth... we’ve grown over 70,000 users in the last month, so that was pretty big for us. And our monthly impressions are actually going up really high since the launch of the “Project SongBooth” competition. I have to attest that to Ryan Leslie and his great marketing talent, and also to our team here at SongBooth. We’re really excited.

Is there any chance of SongBooth eventually being available for Android?

LOWEKEY MEDIA: Yes. We plan on launching SongBooth on the Android device within this year... probably within the next couple of months. We‘ve already started to develop the project on the Android platform, and we’ll also be reaching the Windows platform as well with the Nokia phone. So, two new options for users with devices other than iOS devices: [They] will be able to enter our contest ongoing, and also participate in our wonderful community of singers and performers.

Any other projects LoweKey Media is working on?

LOWEKEY MEDIA: Yes! We’re actually about to launch a new application entitled MuMento. We signed on some great beta players for our application... I’m going to withhold details now, but I’ll say that we signed on a brand new artist by the name of Naturel who is really blowing up over the Instagram sections. He’s amazing. He’s done artwork recently for Kendrick Lamar, and artwork for Lebron James and Nike. We’ve also signed on The Weeknd and the XO family to be our beta tester, [and] we have a great event coming up pretty soon to launch that app.

Download SongBooth in iTunes here to participate in "Project SongBooth One"!!

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