New tool could be game-changer for up-and-coming musicians

HyperEDGE gives artists a way to break through by getting their music in front of the right executives.
Ft Hyperedge Panel

There are no shortage of avenues for musicians to share their music with the world these days, but getting noticed by the powers that be in the recording industry remains a challenge.

Madison entrepreneur Jake Bawolek aims to make it a little easier with the launch of HyperEDGE, a new technology solution from his startup HyperValue LLC, on Jan. 1, 2021, and he’s starting in the musical mecca of Nashville.

According to Bawolek, HyperEDGE is a first-of-its-kind, advanced digital marketing model built for independent Nashville musicians to get their music in front of the most influential gatekeepers in the industry.

In lay terms, HyperEDGE is a tool that lets artists take their music video and target very specific, accurate audience segments on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and more. These audiences include playlist curators, publishers, record label executives, media contacts, and A&R [artists and repertoire] executives in Nashville. Bawolek notes that along with a team of consultants, HyperValue invested significant amounts of time and money to maximize the accuracy of these audiences, providing data with a more than 99% confidence level.

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Jake Bawolek

Conceptually, it gives up-and-coming musicians a rare opportunity to have their music heard by Nashville’s most influential music industry representatives, while adhering to data privacy best practices.

“The concept is relatively straightforward: determine who you need to reach with your music and put it in front of them with direct marketing tactics,” Bawolek explains. “Proper execution requires a level of sophistication and dedication to overcome a minefield of obstacles.”

Among those obstacles: data quality. HyperEDGE is built on a master file of over 5,000 data records, with every record undergoing a manual, 23-point verification checklist.

“The data is everything; it’s the foundation,” notes Bawolek. “Without a strong foundation, your house collapses. We’ve invested a significant amount of time, energy, and money into scrutinizing our data, to build the best foundation the world has ever seen. It will be a game-changer.”

HyperValue was launched in May 2019 to serve music festivals and live entertainment promoters with noncash advertising solutions, and it quickly expanded to Nashville to serve independent artists.

“As I became more involved with the music business, other opportunities quickly emerged, so I chased after them,” says Bawolek. “My passion for music was the driving force behind all of this, and the opportunity to intersect my passion for music with my passion for digital marketing — it doesn’t feel like ‘work.’”

Bawolek claims he did not need to look far to find the inspiration and humility to endure the challenges that came with building the model.

“It’s easy to stay humble when you’re working with musicians because you know all of your clients are much more talented than you are,” Bawolek says. “Seriously, the values that Nashville musicians live out every day — the diligence, perseverance, authenticity, craft, passion — we should all live and work under those same values. We want to help these artists get their music heard. HyperEDGE is our way of doing that.”

Bawolek says that HyperEDGE was really more of a discovery than an invention.

“I carried the concept in my mind for over a year, trying to solve the problem that many independent musicians struggle with: getting their music heard by the right people. Even with the democratization of the industry over time, there continue to be key gatekeepers and numerous obstacles to reaching them. Not every musician is ready to be discovered by record labels, playlist curators, or publishing companies, but many are. With my background in digital marketing, I tried to find a way to target these gatekeepers in an online ad format. In February 2020, I connected the dots and figured out a way to do so, but it would take a long time to build. Enter a global pandemic and suddenly the time commitment was less of an issue.”

According to Bawolek, Nashville is the perfect test market for the HyperEDGE concept. Assuming it proves to be effective, New York and Los Angeles are the most logical future markets, but he says the concept may be applicable and scalable to other industries as well.

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