“The percentage of Top 40 music made with our platform blows my mind” says Splice co-founder Steve Martocci. He tells me about some bedroom music producers who were “working at Olive Garden until they put sounds on Splice.” Soon they quit their jobs since they were earning enough from artists downloading those sounds to use in their songs. That led them to collaborate with famous DJ Zedd, resulting in the Billboard #12 hit “Starving”. Splice has attracted $47 million in funding to power this all-new music economy. That might be a shock considering Martocci estimates that 95% of digital instruments and sample packs are pirated since they’re often expensive with no try-before-you-buy option. Even Kanye West got caught stealing the trendy Serum digital synthesizer. But Splice lets artists pay $7.99 per month to download up to 100 samples they can use royalty-free to create music. That’s cheaper than it costs to listen to music on Spotify. Splice then compensates artists based on how frequently their sounds are downloaded, and has already paid out over $7 million. Splice Sounds is like an iTunes Store for samples “We try to make more seats at the table in the music business” says Martocci, who previously founded messaging app GroupMe which sold to Skype for between $50 million and $80 million in 2011. “GroupMe was made to go to concerts with our friends. Music has always been my motivator, but code is my canvas. Artists come up to me and hug me because I’m changing the creative process.” Splice co-founder Steve Martocci But now he’s getting some big name assistance, attracted by Splice’s success in the stubborn musician community and its $35 million Series B from December.
Responding to the talent shortage and increasing demand facing the cybersecurity industry, Udacity said that it is now developing a new nanodegree focused on security . Launched at the security industry’s RSA Conference , details about the new program (including potential partners) are still sketchy ( there’s little available on the information page on the Udacity’s website about the program). The announcement at RSA actually included an active call for partners for the security program. To the leaders in this field, we are extending the opportunity to join us. Your organization, together with Udacity , can help shape the future of Cybersecurity training, and nurture the world’s most advanced pipeline of highly-qualified Cybersecurity talent. Through our partnership, your organization will have early access to this incredible talent pipeline, and the opportunity to hire those experts who have trained on the curriculum you helped to build. As we consider the technological landscape of the future, we continually seek opportunities to apply the world’s most transformative technologies to the world’s most pressing challenges, and to educate, develop, and nurture the talent that will solve these challenges. We see this kind of opportunity in the field of Cybersecurity, and we look forward to building this program in partnership with the world’s leading Cybersecurity experts. Your expertise and experience will inform the development of our curriculum. Your subject matter experts will provide vital leadership and deliver valuable knowledge to our students. Through the establishment of scholarships, you will help ensure maximum opportunity for the most deserving and qualified students across the globe. Announcing the new program on the company’s blog, Udacity cited reports from the Department of Labor indicating that job opportunities for “information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.” Udacity’s security sales pitch is that it has already trained 10,000 artificial intelligence engineers (no word on how many the company has successfully placed in companies), and has thousands of students actively enrolled in its artificial intelligence and data analysis classes. Through its paid and free classes Udacity claims some 8 million students and 30,000 graduates of the company’s nanodegree programs. Udacity has made its reputation by offering classes in some of technology’s most sought after fields including autonomous vehicle systems, artificial intelligence and big data.