Jukedeck, a University start-up founded by a Faculty of Music graduate, has set its sights on the changing world of digital music with generative software that may one day give everyone access to a personal composer. Under the stewardship of Ed Rex, a composer, programmer and one-time King’s College Chorister, Jukedeck is at the forefront of musical innovation with software that uses algorithms to write songs.

A media darling from the word go, Jukedeck was founded with investment from Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds in 2012. Jukedeck raised a further £500k in seed funding in September 2014 to continue development of its software, marking the first joint investment between Cambridge Enterprise and Cambridge Innovation Capital. In December 2015, Jukedeck received a £2M round of venture-capital funding, led by existing investor Cambridge Innovation Capital, a Cambridge-based investor in high-growth technology and healthcare companies and Cambridge Enterprise sister organisation, with participation by Backed VC and others.

Over the years, generative music has been tried with some success (the work of musician David Cope is just one example), but Jukedeck intends to do it better in two ways: by teaching the software the fundamentals of music theory and by making the product commercially viable. Jukedeck launched its first product in December 2015, Jukedeck MAKE, comprising a site for video creators to make unique, tailored music for their videos.

If we can democratise music production, it will allow non-musical people to take far greater control over their music and let them fashion it themselves.

 Ed Rex

Jukedeck software can generate music in real-time and does not suffer from the burden of copyright restrictions. The software’s ability to respond, changing in tone and intensity to match a varied pace and mood, perfect for video games and YouTube videos, is particularly important to Rex.

“If we can democratise music production, it will allow non-musical people to take far greater control over their music and let them fashion it themselves,” he says. “By doing this, amazing new listening experiences will become possible.”

In late 2014, Jukedeck was a winner at the LeWeb Start-up Competition in Paris. In March 2015, Jukedeck won the prestigious Pitch@Palace 3.0, an event spearheaded by HRH The Duke of York to identify the most promising technology start-ups, and in August was named one of WIRED’s ‘100 Hottest European Startups’ in 2015. Most recently, Jukedeck won TechCrunch Disrupt London in December 2015.

Each year LeWeb hosts a conference for digital innovation where start-ups, tech companies, brands and leading media converge to explore the hottest trends and define the future of internet-driven business. Rex made his pitch at the competition with the help of a rap, which was set to music created on the spot by Jukedeck’s generative software. Watch it here.

You can learn more about Jukedeck in our film.