Here's an interesting acquisition that completely makes sense in hindsight. Smule, the company behind popular iOS apps like Magic Piano and the original Ocarina for iPhone app, has acquired Khush, an iOS developer that also makes musical apps, including LaDiDa and Songify. These two companies were basically meant for each other -- both use music and new interfaces in iOS to make one-of-a-kind experiences for the App Store. Songify, for example, has over 5 million downloads, and Ocarina boasts over 6 million downloads. Together, these two companies know how to make these things work.
As you can read in the press release below, Smule will use Khush's assets, and vice versa, to keep producing these types of musical apps and expand the company's "Sonic Network" of social connections and creative sharing. Should be interesting to see what these two come up with working together. Their first work is a video, which uses both companies' apps to make some crazy music.
The most interesting part of this merger, however, might be the one thing we don't know: the numbers. Smule has been extremely popular on the App Store, but the fact that it would acquire another company like this shows it's been earning some money to go along with that popularity. This is obviously not just about money -- watching the video above, you can see that these two groups have very similar backgrounds and goals, and having met Smule's Ge Wang myself a few times, I know that Smule's work really is about making these musical experiences come true in a way that almost anyone can experience. That said, these are both for-profit companies, and it'd be interesting to see just how much Khush went for. The iOS developer acquisition game is serious business, and if Smule can acquire another company like this, it shows they have at least a little profit to throw around.
Leading mobile developers join forces to redefine the $65B market for musical entertainment
Palo Alto, California, December 1, 2011 - Smule, creators of top-ranking social music making apps including Magic Piano™, Ocarina, I Am™ T-Pain, Glee Karaoke, and MadPad™, announced today that it has acquired Khush, an intelligent music app developer and creator of popular apps, Songify and LaDiDa™. The acquisition, a combined cash and stock deal which closed this week, brings together complimentary visions, technologies and teams.
"The Khush team brings world-class innovation, unique technological talent, and a passionately shared vision for the future," said Jeffrey C. Smith, co-founder and CEO of Smule. "Joining forces with Khush represents the next step in our plan to bring accessible, fun, and sometimes bizarre music making experiences to everyone."
Smule and Khush are leading innovators in the rapidly growing market for mobile entertainment. Together, the companies' customers have downloaded nearly 30 million apps and created more than 350 million songs. Combined, Smule and Khush experienced more than 500% user growth over the past 12 months.
"Our goal is to make musical self-expression as ubiquitous as social expression is today," said Prerna Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Khush. "The success of apps like Songify and Magic Piano has brought to bear our belief that all humans are inherently creative, and we are thrilled to be uniting with Smule in our common quest for a musical utopia."
• Songify (Khush), a top ranked app with more than 5 million downloads, magically creates songs from a user's spoken words, allowing you to Songify everyday aspects of your life, including perhaps your love of pets such as cats or even a skirmish with police.
• Ocarina (Smule) downloaded more than 6 million times, converts your phone into a flute-like instrument, sensitive to your breath, touch, and tilt.
• Magic Piano™ (Smule), downloaded more than 6 million times, allows everyone ranging from a toddler to a Juilliard grad to earn scores by playing their favorite songs, spanning from Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" to Beethoven's Pathetique sonata. Magic Piano users collectively play more than 1 million songs a day, striking 25 million notes per hour on average.
"The market for musical entertainment has changed dramatically since the arrival of Apple's iPhone just over three years ago," Smith continued. "People are looking for more than MP3 downloads and streams; instead, they want interactive, immersive, and social experiences. By combining with our friends at Khush, we have the opportunity to emerge as a principal actor redefining the $65B market for musical entertainment."
Both companies share deep academic roots. Dr. Ge Wang, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Smule, is an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Dr. Parag Chordia, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Khush, is a professor of computer music at Georgia Tech and serves as the director of the Georgia Tech Music Intelligence Lab.
The Khush team will remain in Atlanta, GA, will continue to function as an independent studio under the Khush brand, and will increasingly leverage Smule's Sonic Network, a social fabric allowing users to create and explore music together.