27. August 2013–
After months of speculation that once-hyped Berlin startup Amen was closing shop, German magazine Wirtschafts Woche today revealed in an exclusive interview that the startup is being taken over by music video service Tape.tv. The amount paid for Amen was not revealed.
Together, Amen founder Felix Petersen, and Tape.tv founder Condrad Fritzsch plan to "reinvent" music TV, according to the magazine. A social music service is apparently in the works that will help users discover new music that suits their tastes – Petersen told WiWo it will be "a bit of a Pinterest for music videos". By engaging users in curating the music lists, the "new and improved" Tape.tv plans on distinguishing itself from other music providers like Spotify, which also offers a strong Discovery section.
The newly-combined teams will each have a separate focus: Tape.tv on providing content and Amen on developing the web and mobile products. The Amen team has three tasks: building up the mobile service, creating a subscription model (at the moment Tape.tv's business model is based on advertising) and, finally, expanding the product overseas.
Coinciding with the takeover announcement, Fritzsch revealed a new deal with Vodafone that means all ads for network providers on the mobile version of Tape.tv will be for Vodafone. The telco's customers will also get access to exclusive material.
It's safe to say this is a favourable outcome for the Amen team, which, instead of finding themselves without work, are now reportedly joining Tape.tv – with all keeping their jobs. Fritzch told WiWo that Petersen's new role will be head of product. The news today follows a restructuring at Tape.tv that saw it lay off 11 employees and refocus its business model.
"I don't see Amen as a failure but rather as a successful experiment"
Petersen spoke diplomatically about the fall of his company: "I don't see Amen as a failure, but rather as a successful experiment that provided a completely new solution for how to structure and logically use posts and opinions online... The users were addicted at the beginning, but after three or four months it became boring for them," he said (translated from German).
"We tried to make it more useful, but in the end, combining the lists with sustainable content didn't work out for us. Thirdly, we had the problem that the simple statements worked within Amen but not outside of the app. My friends were alienated when I posted "David Hasselhoff is the worst singer in the world" on Twitter... We were missing viral growth in the end."
Amen's profile rose sharply when celebrity Ashton Kutcher invested in the company along with Index Ventures, Sunstone Capital, A Grade (Ashton Kutcher, Ron Burkle, Guy Oseary), Path founder Dave Morin’s investment vehicle Slow Ventures, SoundCloud’s Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, and Christophe Maire. In total, the company received millions in funding. Apparently, Amen's investors are pleased about the Tape.tv takeover.
To scale the new Tape.tv, the founders will be seeking another financing round in Spring 2014, Fritzsch told WiWo. In May 2012 it closed a €5m Series B funding round.
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