On the eve of the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, a virtual marketplace for musicians is makings it debut.
a Cincinnati start-up, links musicians, instrument retailers and vendors, repair shops and schools to pull together the music world's many pieces.
"(In the industry) nobody talks to each other," says Instrument Life founder Chris Sturm. "Manufactures don't talk to retailers, retailers don't talk to repair shops. There are all these different segments that are part of the same industry, but they don't have a vehicle to communicate.
"We tie them together in a Facebook style, and we have business apps to add to free accounts."
Instrument Life, which is part of the new UpTech
business accelerator in Northern Kentucky, is set to kickoff its membership drive at the World Choir Games July 4. Sturm moved up the launch date, originally set for the fall, to capture the worldwide audience of music performers who will be in the city for the 10-day competition. A fuller version of the site is set for the fall.
Sturm has a passion for music, having played in a band in local bars around Cincinnati as a teenager. He eventually started a career in software development, and Instrument Life combines his talents.
"I was into the technology side of things, but there was something about music that pulled me back in," he says. "Cincinnati used to be a very hot music scene, and it's kind of cooled off. Our ultimate goal is to remind people that music is cool, and we want to launch and grow in Cincinnati."
Instrument Life musicians make a free profile where they can make lists of their instruments and devices, track instrument history, keep warranty information, upload band performances and post them to Facebook. There will be forums and other ways to meet up virtually to do everything from talking about performances to finding someone to repair an instrument.
Sellers, vendors and repair shops can purchase Instrument Life apps that will help them run and promote their businesses.
The company is working with some of the area's large music shops, including Willis music, to pilot the site, Sturm says. Band directors from several dozen area schools are also set to use the tool.
By Feoshia Henderson
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