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Filter turns the table on music downloads

Following the increasing personalisation of music software, Queensland startup Filter has recently launched a curated, uniquely-interactive database for DJs.

Launched in March, Filter curates freely available music according to standard tags like BPM, Key and Energy, and exclusive tags like “Floorfiller” and “Banger”. The site currently includes a catalogue of 1800 songs, with at least twenty added daily.

Founder Ben Quirk believes that Filter’s tagging system fills a hole in music downloading, and helps differentiate the platform from competitors like Soundcloud.

“Basically I’ve built it to solve a problem for myself, I was a resident DJ for a few years in Townsville and was unhappy with the current ways of getting music,” Quirk said. “[They were] too slow and inefficient.”

“Instead of having to look through heaps of previews, mixes, works in progress and that sort of thing, we only feature free downloads, and every song that we add has DJ friendly tags.”

While popular DJ platforms like Beatport and Juno Download have larger catalogues and standard search capabilities (i.e. by genre, artist, popularity), Filter’s tagging system offers a more interactive experience and the potential for quickly-made, smoother playlists.

For example, the site explains how gaps between the warm up/peak stage in a playlist can be found by filtering high energy “Warm Up” songs and low energy “Peak” songs.

Quirk said that engagement with users thus far has been relatively strong, and he has seen one user download over 400 songs for an upcoming club trial.

“The sample size isn’t huge, but we’ve been looking at benchmarks against much, much larger sites, like sites with five million sessions a week, and our average session duration is still ten-to-twenty per cent higher,” Quirk said. “And when we benchmark with sites as the same size as us, in our category and industry, we’re over 300 per cent session duration.”

Quirk began working on the startup while studying psychology at James Cook University, where he met Santa Cruz-based developer Logan Druley through a shared passion for music. They had been working on Filter for almost two years together before launching the current beta version.

Now based in Tamworth, Quirk is looking for seed funding in order to hire additional developers and curators, and possibly connect with more emerging musicians.

He said that curating the music by himself has been one of the greater challenges, and that he hopes to monetise the system once they have gained more traction and solid data on their most valuable tags.

“Because they’re all free downloads, and you can’t make people pay for free downloads, we’re monetising the tools to better access those downloads,” Quirk said. “We’ll be offering a subscription so that people can unlock more advanced tags to filter the songs.”

You can keep up to date with Filter on Facebook.

About Chris Woods

Chris Woods (@tophermwoods) is the Tech Street Journal's Editor-in-Chief. He lives in Brisbane, has worked in places like Sydney and New York (State of), and will someday update his media-news blog.