Working to bring interactivity to the music scene is Finnish developer SongHi

Start-Up Spotlight: SongHi Entertainment

File sharing cannibalised the music industry. And services such as SoundCloud and Spotify have changed the business irreversibly.

Now one Finnish developer is hoping to get a slice of the action by combining music making and social gaming. SongHi Entertainment, based in Helsinki, Finland, aim to capture the Guitar Hero generation with their social gaming portal The SongHi service launched in June this year and has enjoyed a positive reception from European consumers.

The company’s CEO Juha Hynynen told Develop where they’ve set their sights for the future.

How did you start your company?
Company was started in 2007 by a couple of music making professionals, wanting to find an easy way of making music together without having to always be in the same place at the same time.

How many people work at your company?
Company now employs 22 full-time professionals.

What’s your company culture like?
Company culture is a mixture of creativity, and hardcore software and business development. Entrepreneurship in making things happen is concretely visible in every day’s activities. And every now and then, during the busy days, you might hear an instrument being played by one of us as a means of relaxation and inspiration.

Tell us a little-known fact or anecdote about your company.
90 per cent of the company’s personnel play at least one musical instrument well enough to get fame at a friend’s cocktail party.

What could you, and/or your team members, not do without on a daily basis?
Finland being one of the biggest coffee drinking nations in the world per capita, we definitely do our share at the office with our flavoured coffee pads.

Why did you decide to enter the casual gaming market?

Casual gaming associated with the interactive consumption of music is a hugely growing area. Not only because online social gaming is gaining more and more popularity, but also due to the current structural changes in online music consumption, and the resulting new needs amongst the music industry to entertain customers.

What games/tools/services have you made since forming, and how have they been received?
Company’s flagship game/service is SongHi, an online music game allowing users to create, share, and listen to music, and to gain fame as a virtual artist and/or music lover. SongHi has just been recently released, and has been received so far extremely well both by the consumers and the music industry.

What are you working on right now, and what stage is the project at?
SongHi has been released in the Nordic and Baltic countries in October, 2010 together with Universal Music. Currently we are expanding the service onto other geographies, and constantly adding new functionality to the game.

What are your aspirations for the company?
We are confident that Songhi Entertainment Ltd is going to be one of the global leaders of the Music 2.0 era. Global partnerships with record labels and media companies will speed up scaling of the business.

Who do you admire in the games industry and/or beyond?
Social media services, like Facebook, and services for online music consumption, like Spotify, have shown that people are willing to share content amongst their friends, and feel comfortable in consuming music online. SongHi, building on combining the two trends and bringing in gaming features, is bound take the industry onto its next inevitable phase.

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