@LA_SMB is an occasional series showcasing some of the coolest small and medium-sized businesses from around the Los Angeles area.
Who: Aderra Inc. – Ed Donnelly, President and CEO, and a core team of 12 employees
What: Instant delivery of live event recordings, both concerts and conferences
Where: Previously had offices in Los Angeles and London, but went to all virtual offices in 2012
When: Founded in 2006
Clients: Tony Bennett to Metallica, Willie Nelson to Lady Gaga
Like so many great things in life, the inspiration for Aderra Inc. came at a Tom Petty concert.
“As I waved my cell phone in the air during ‘Free Fallin’’ I had the thought that it would be cool if a recording of the concert could be beamed right to my phone,” said Aderra Inc. founder, Ed Donnelly. “This was the pre-smartphone era and as I explored the idea it quickly became clear that the mobile phone infrastructure at that time couldn’t handle what I was proposing.”
Donnelly set out to develop alternate ways to deliver the experience he was envisioning. The result was the Aderra “Live in a Flash®” USB technology that allowed his team to burn thousands of flash drives in a few minutes during live concerts and events.
“The largest event we ever tackled with this system had us burn 14,000 flash drives in a matter of minutes. From this jumping off point we developed the PushOvr™ Platform which allows us to remotely send digital content to a user dashboard that can be embedded on a computer desktop, on a flash drive or integrated with a tablet or phone app,” he said.
The following interview was conducted via email. Responses have been edited.
@LA_SMB: Why is your business a perfect fit for Los Angeles?
Ed Donnelly: Los Angeles is an ideal place for Aderra. The area has a perfect blend of entertainment industry headquarters, touring music resources, sponsorship opportunities, conference centers and a pool of experienced and educated potential employees.
@LA_SMB: Who are your partners?
E.D.: Over the past 8 years we have partnered with corporate sponsors like Sunkist, Sony Pictures, Orange Mobile, Ergo Phobia Clothing as well as all three of the major record labels. Additionally we have provided remote recording services for Abbey Road Live, DiscLive and Ovation Towers. These partnerships were very valuable in that they gave us the ability to scale our business rapidly with a substantial reduction in the amount of in-house resources we would have required to assemble these projects on our own.
@LA_SMB: On the client side, do you mostly work with artists and management, or with labels?
E.D.: We work directly with all three parties. Artists need to know we are going to be very protective of what fans get to see and hear. We do not release anything that they ask us not to, ever. Management wants to be sure that we can make money for their acts, and we do. For labels, we have found that bundling a studio record with a live recording is an amazing “win” for everyone. The label sells the record and gets SoundScan numbers for it, the fans get a great value, and the artists get to multiply the way they reach fans.
@LA_SMB: How has your experience as a musician informed your business?
E.D.: This is the secret heart and soul of Aderra. We’re all musicians and audio engineers. Most music technology companies are founded and staffed by computer programmers who try to “disrupt” the music industry. We’re the opposite. Even our two lead programmers are touring musicians who are actively releasing music.
Ultimately, being music FANS is our greatest asset. We know what fans want because we all have a love of music deeply ingrained in our souls.
@LA_SMB: What is a single project you are most proud of?
E.D.: We did a project with the LA rock band Killola that incorporated every tech element we have developed and was the ultimate fan experience that we could create. Killola is a very forward thinking band when it comes to reaching fans.
They went on tour a couple of years ago and sold a branded USB flash drive dog tag with a user Dashboard. Through this Dashboard fans could download the new record, their entire back catalog, an HD music video and behind the scenes videos. We also recorded 20+ live shows during the tour that were sent out through the Dashboard using our PushOvr™ Platform.
When they returned to L.A. we had them Tweet to fans to insert the flash drive at 7pm on a Thursday evening. At exactly 7pm we flipped the switch and streamed a live video of the band doing an acoustic set that could only be seen through the user Dashboard.
@LA_SMB: Where will your business be in 5 years?
E.D.: Most likely all of our content will be delivered through mobile apps. Our projection is that Apple will remove the USB ports from their laptops in the next 3 years. When they do, flash drive delivery will be dead and gone.
As Aderra is coming up on the end of its first decade I have been carefully scanning the horizon for additional opportunities that I can leverage all of the lessons learned here and use them to help drive something new to success.
Steve Coulter is a marketing guy, writer and drummer living in Los Angeles.
If you have suggestions for future @LA_SMB features, please send Steve a message on LinkedIn. Include the name of the business, a short description and a link to their website. Steve is a one man band, please keep it brief and expect a slow response.
Full disclosure: Steve is friends with and/or has worked with many of the businesses featured, at least for now. Thank you for reading to the bottom of the page.