Kid Cudi again launches an interactive live music app to the public


Encore, the interactive live performance app co-founded by Kid Cudi alongside CEO Jonathan Gray and President Ian Edelman, has made its live debut for the enjoyment of artists and fans alike. The launch follows a $9 million raise led by Battery Ventures, with further investments from 468 Capital, Parade Ventures, Nomad Ventures, Moving Capital, Kayak Ventures and Gaingels. Using Encore, music fans will have the ability to pay for tracks through a system called “claps” for live performances and other virtual events.

The app has the potential to be useful for artists and fans looking for alternative ways to enjoy live shows without the complications of large crowds or travel. Musicians can speak directly to their primary audience, personalize the app experience, be introduced to new listeners, and most importantly, produce personalized live and augmented reality performances from a mobile device without a stage or venue . In turn, music lovers can directly support their favorite singers and rappers.

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“My number one priority has always been to inspire others and provide them with the space to tell their own stories authentically and meaningfully,” Kid Cudi said in a press release. “We created Encore as a space for artists to share their art, build community, while still being able to pay their rent.”

As the industry continues to evolve and imagine a world amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many events have shifted to online settings and that’s where Encore comes in. Although the idea was developed before the outbreak of COVID-19, the company began developing the app and allowing selected artists to test the service.

“I met Ian and Encore was a business I was helping and it wasn’t really a business. It was Ian. It’s 2019. So it’s pre-Covid, and I loved his idea,” Gray told VIBE ahead of the official launch. “I helped them put together decks and try to fundraise, and then COVID happened. I told him as soon as COVID started, you have to do this job now.

Encore Studios wall displaying signed Polaroids from artists who visited and/or played while the app was in beta mode.  - Credit: DeMicia Inman/VIBE

Encore Studios wall displaying signed Polaroids from artists who visited and/or played while the app was in beta mode. – Credit: DeMicia Inman/VIBE

DeMicia Inman/VIBE

During the private beta, hundreds of artists tested the app and participated in live broadcasts with old and new fans. Musicians such as The Cool Kids, Too $hort, KenTheMan and Guapdad 4000 have created and performed Encore shows in front of tens of thousands of listeners, who have collectively “clapped” nearly a million times.

“The discussion was cool. Everyone speaks, applause rings out. I love interacting and having that real-time engagement with people, man. It’s just kind of fun, playing new music and stuff… I think it should be more normalized,” Sir Michael Rocks of The Cool Kids told VIBE after their live-streamed performance on February 4, 2022..

He continued with a cosign from teammate Chuck Inglish, “Tonight was cool. I like the setup, I like the live interaction. I like the improvisation where it’s like we don’t. We had nothing to repeat. You just have to go there and interact and talk to people and have a real-time experience here. I think that’s important, and I think people are going to want more in the future.

Behind the scenes at The Cool Kids Encore live performance on February 4, 2022 - Credit: DeMicia Inman/VIBE

Behind the scenes at The Cool Kids Encore live performance on February 4, 2022 – Credit: DeMicia Inman/VIBE

DeMicia Inman/VIBE

Watching The Cool Kids perform, VIBE got to see how the app performs in real time and watch the rap group’s fans pay with applause on Encore and request their favorite songs from releases past and present. The rap group was also able to speak directly to fans ahead of the performance, sharing details about their upcoming album. Before shit gets weirdscheduled for March 3. Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks were also able to video chat with top supporters directly through the app after their set was over.

Although The Cool Kids showcase and other beta shows were produced from Encore’s Los Angeles offices, the app allows users to have the same setup from home, without using a green screen or advanced studio technology.

“What makes me so excited about this opportunity is that there’s just a fundamental disconnect in the size of the music industry and its impact on culture and society. And I think that there are a lot of different reasons for that. But the thing that we see as the most important solution is to start creating intermediate outcomes for artists,” Gray said.

He continued, “It’s live personalized AR and so with nothing but your iPhone you can create really cool and elevated personalized personal video content in and around your music. So what does this mean [you] you want to be able to play something in an elevated environment that accentuates the creativity of the song, or you want to create a music video… you don’t need anything else. It’s incredibly democratizing.

To use the Encore Studio app as an artist and perform live in AR, visit the App Store on your iPhone or iPad and download Encore Studio: Live Music AR. To watch live AR performances and support musicians on the app, visit the App Store or Play Store and download Encore: Interactive Live Music.

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