Tamer Rashad sharing details about Humtap, the music generation app. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already entered our lives in the form of smartphones, chatbots and speakers but it has already encroached the music industry, especially in production music.

Humtap, a San Francisco-based start-up with bases in London, Berlin and Dubai, is offering a new wave of AI music composition with blockchain technology to create original music in the styles of your favourite artists.

“We developed Humtap initially as a pure technology. Most of the apps out there in the world are an application for an interesting business model over somebody else’s technology. We developed our own core technology, which is generating music through artificial intelligence. We started Humtap basically based on the premise that everybody is creative whether they express it or not,” Tamer Rashad, founder and CEO of Humtap, told Gulf News.

Everybody is expressive and people have been on social media for more than 10 years with written words, images and videos but nobody has expressed themselves with music, he said.

“Generating and creating original music was someone else’s and it is a barrier. If you think of the seven billion people in the world, we all consume music by listening to it and the people who contributed to it are representing less than one-tenth of one per cent, which means 99.9 per cent of the world is at the receiving end or listening to music through either radio, live concerts or streaming services.

“So, we thought how can we turn this passive relationship into proactive and that is Humtap,” he said.

In short, Humtap is a platform that generates original music and the characteristics of the music are original, any style [Hollywood, Bollywood, etc], any duration, scalable and in real time. It can be shared on social media and with friends.

With your voice, you can hum a melody or tap a beat and that is how the name is derived.

The app is in the Apple App Store and it is free. The Android version will come by end of the year.

“It is simple to create a non-stop classical instrumental music in seconds. We filed patents for our technology. Arabic style is going to come later this month. The new feature going to be added is the vocal,” he said.

Moreover, he said that there is no recorded music on the app but there is a brain and it is in the form of software.

Like biology and geography, he said that there is musicology and it is a science.

“We train the software to understand an artists’ style,” he said.

The company does not take an artists’ song, as there is no playing back. Any music you listen to, there are two things coming out — production and composition. The composition is where an artist sits with a piece of paper and writes notes and that is copyrighted. But you can take this piece of sheet and give it to Japan to play it in a Japanese style, so you are listening to a different style but the notes are the same.

“The style is what is called the production. When we do a style of an artist, we focus on the production, so there is no copyright issue. Our first goal is to get the technology into the hands of the people and have fun. We are going to have users make the money,” he said.

When you make music, the creator and the company jointly own it.

“We then take the created music and put in on different platforms so that people can buy the music commercially to sync for events, advertisements, etc. Traditionally, you can buy professional music for $50, $500 or $5,000. We will be able to offer music at a fraction of the cost, less than one-hundredth of these prices. The revenue is going to be split between the creator and Humtap,” he said.

Beyond creating music, he said that Humtap would offer users a social experience, enabling everyone to connect and interact with one another through music.

“Our target age group is between six and 16. We are in discussions with big artists and bands to be in our platform officially so we give artists and bands an opportunity to interact with their fan base,” he said.

Humtap is looking to raise more than $10 million from investors from any part of the world.

When asked what blockchain technology is going to do, he said: “We are adding blockchain technology into this to solve a very specific problem in the media world when dealing with music. Music is content. One of the biggest issues in the music industry is something called “rights management”. In this case, it is called “digital rights management”,” he said.

He added that somebody is going to take the music and put it on other platforms and how do we know that they have the legal rights to use it.

There have been many attempts in the last 20 years regarding digital rights management and have not been successful, he said.

“We are simply creating a blockchain smart contract which includes information related to every song. Therefore, if somebody tries to hack it, the music is not going to work. The block is going to be inside the music. So, we are solving the digital rights management and the music creator can exactly know the revenue earned by his song and his share. There is full transparency,” he said.


Name: Humtap

Sector: music industry

Year Founded: 2014

Founders: Tamer Rashad

Funding: $3m plus

Employees: 10