By Ellen Hardison
Jake Zinn had a passion for music as a Carrboro High School student, but felt he had to put in a lot of effort to discover new songs and information about his favorite artists, which include Jay-Z, Future and Action Bronson. “I was super frustrated because I was finding out either from my friends or from these random blogs,” he says. He wondered why there wasn’t a quick and easy way to stay up to date.
Years later, he channeled that love for music into his studies as an arts management major with a concentration in the music industry at the College of Charleston. Sitting in his Introduction to the Music Industry class, Jake heard a peer describe how there’s a data overload of information regarding the music industry. This discussion brought Jake back to his thoughts from high school. “There’s not anything or anywhere where you can filter your own information,” he says.
Jake graduated in May and used both his knowledge of popular music and his experience with personalized app notifications to solve that problem by developing his own app, Beepr. The app works as a centralized hub and content aggregator, and users can customize their notification settings. “You just go into the app, and everything on your favorite artist is within a touch of a button,” Jake says. Once users select artists and the news they want to be notified about – from tour dates to new interviews to song releases – the app’s algorithm connects them to methods for receiving information, such as push notifications sending them straight to Spotify or Apple Music to listen to music or to YouTube to watch music videos.
Jake says he had no prior experience in the tech industry or marketing apps, but developed ways to gain attention and followers for Beepr via social media platforms. On Twitter, he would quickly reply to a famous artist’s tweet. “So if it was Drake, I would tweet [right] under Drake, and I’d be the first or second tweet with a screenshot [of the Beepr app’s content featuring Drake’s news],” he explains. He says his tweets would get hundreds or thousands of engagement and impressions because Twitter users were curious about the app.
With 110 popular artists from Kanye West and Billie Eilish to Justin Bieber available to follow on the app, Beepr has already gained 20,000 active users since its launch five months ago. The app’s Twitter account averaged 5 to 8 million engagements during its first few months with no paid marketing. Beepr’s click-through rate is 30% within the first 24 hours of a notification. “That statistic really shows that the users that we have on Beepr are super trustworthy of our alerts,” he says. “Labels, PR teams and marketing teams within the industry are going to want to take advantage of the data and the users that we have.”
Jake moved to San Francisco in September, where he works on Beepr full time with five employees. He says they are on track to have 100,000 active users within the next year, and his goal is to connect with other businesses and the music industry. “We want to slowly expand into other genres and older artists,” he says. “Our demographic can really be anybody.”