Andrew Knox, CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Kontent Core
“With Backblaze, we’ve built the industry’s first truly transparent music marketplace for professionals and artists.”
Andrew Knox wanted to share his recording studio and music business expertise in a new kind of application that the music industry had never seen before: a licensing platform and massive marketplace for original content all in one. He needed the capacity to scale, and the agility to add new features quickly, but he was concerned that the cost of delivering the service would severely limit its growth.
Andrew chose Backblaze B2 as the most cost-effective way to store and protect his largest, raw-media files to ensure they would be instantly retrievable across his whole operation. He then built out cloud-based tools for composers to transform and sample their work, as well as a customer-facing application to help producers upload their master content and to allow users to browse and license that content.
Andrew successfully deployed the application he had always wanted to build, with extreme cost-effectiveness and zero infrastructure. He is free to scale his operation as large as necessary, and is prepared to tap new cloud-based AI tools as they come online. With no need to manage physical servers or storage, his team is free to focus on adding new capabilities and growing their service.
Kontent Core is a music licensing platform and marketplace where music labels and artists can showcase their creative work, where ad agencies and television and film producers can discover breakout, memorable content for their productions, and where that content can be confidently and efficiently licensed, dramatically speeding production time.
Andrew Knox, CEO and Founder of Kontent Core, has always known how to navigate the music industry—as a performer, composer, and most especially as a music tastemaker—with a knack for uncovering hidden music gems that make national advertising campaigns and feature films truly memorable.
Over the decades, as Knox navigated wave after wave of disruption for his music industry customers, he wondered: How can I share my expertise to help musicians that want to get their music discovered connect with ad agencies and creatives wanting to find that perfect music for their next production?
Filmmakers and agencies know that getting perfect musical content for their ad spot or film can make or break their production. At the same time, more than a few upcoming stars have broken out when one of their songs was used in an episode of a popular TV show or a national ad spot. But trying to find content in a chaotic marketplace—and then negotiating rights to use it—is an overwhelming, time-consuming challenge that can seriously derail a production.
Too often, producers will find a perfect piece of music or memorable, classic song that they really want for their campaign only to be drawn into long negotiations, or worse, get incomplete protection and indemnification to actually use that content, opening them up to license and rights litigation later.
Similarly, music labels often try to put all of their content on their own website, which requires tremendous overhead investment and maintenance, and often can only showcase a small portion of what's available on their label. Musicians may also put some of their music directly online and serve their content themselves, but are not prepared to properly license and protect their music and brand without help.
Defining the Vision
Knox envisioned bridging all three: musicians, labels, and creatives. But that was just a start. Andrew wanted his platform to incorporate all of the best practices he had developed over the years within a seamless, cloud-delivered service that the industry had never seen before. He envisioned a service that could grow as large as needed and add new features on the fly—all without installing his own servers or storage at his headquarters.
To build out the first part of his vision, Knox gathered a technology team and launched Kontent Core. As a new, web-delivered application, it didn't make any sense to build up their own data center of application and web servers. Instead, the team designed a compute and storage workflow that used the best tools available now—as well as leaving room for additional innovations expected in the future—to provide his customers a cutting edge asset manipulation toolbox to do their work.
Knox wanted his platform to incorporate all of the best practices he had developed over the years within a seamless, cloud-delivered service.
Architecting a Modern Platform
It didn't make any sense to build up their own data center of application and web servers. Instead, the team designed a compute and storage workflow that used the best tools available.
Knox’s team designed the Kontent Core service with an eye to rapid expansion capability, predictable costs for scaling, and ease of integrating compute-based services as they added new features.
For storage, the team immediately zeroed in on Backblaze B2 cloud storage. Knox was already familiar with Backblaze; he liked to compose on his MacBook Pro protected by Backblaze personal backup service, and Backblaze had overnighted several hard drives of his content to him over the years whenever his laptop hard drive crashed. His team compared all aspects of using different cloud storage services and were pleased with Backblaze’s low cost, clear and simple accounting of fees to access the storage, and that Backblaze would be able to serve their content and scale as their needs grew.
For example, when an artist uploads content to the Kontent Core application, the music is analyzed and sampled using cloud compute servers that can be spun up at an instant's notice. For large ingest operations, typical when adding a new label with thousands of albums to the service, it takes minutes to deploy new servers and shorten the ingest time. Then, as soon as they are not needed, the servers are released, ensuring that Kontent Core only pays for the resources actually used.
Similarly, when an ad agency or movie producer is looking for content that is at once unique, fresh, and available to license, the platform makes it simple to discover music in the library, see who else has licensed it for what projects, and also help find music by genre, mood, or similarity. Playlists of potential content can be assembled, shared with a team, and can capture team-member, producer or client notes to quickly zero in on the perfect piece of music that will make the commercial catchy and memorable, or set an unforgettable mood for a film or tv show. Finally, the system can help guide users through the licensing steps to get rock-solid permissions to use content for their production—cutting what could take months down to as short as minutes.
Ready for The Next Stage
As Kontent Core has grown, more and more kinds of content are finding their way to the platform. Unusual or unique works can find their perfect audience, and the same expertise built into the system for music can license many other kinds of media, such as images or video. As fast as the company grows, thanks to the careful planning of the initial architecture, the entire application can add in new features and leverage other cloud-based tools for media cataloging or manipulation that enhance the service.
Having already built the platform the music and creative industry needed, with no servers or storage to manage, the team knows that the services their app uses will scale predictably and transparently, and instead of managing infrastructure, the team can focus on adding new services and enhancements while continuing to build out their vision.
“When architecting Kontent Core, we realized that Backblaze was so affordable and was so easily integrated into our application that we didn’t have to add complexity to our app to recover storage costs or rate-limit storage use. This means there is no ‘rate-limiter’ on our business.”
Andrew Knox, CEO, Chief Creative Officer Kontent Core
The Backblaze B2 Storage Cloud is purpose-built for ease. It offers always-hot, S3 compatible object storage that supports your workflows via third-party software integrations, APIs, CLI, and web UI. And it’s priced for easy affordability at rates a fraction of other cloud providers. Businesses in more than 175 countries use the platform to host content, build and run applications, manage media, back up and archive data, and protect and recover from ransomware.