Kid Cudi is helping launch a new fan interaction app called Encore, the app developers announced on Wednesday. He joins a growing slate of artists putting their entrepreneurial weight behind hopeful music startups since the pandemic began in March.
Cudi is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Encore, a team that includes president Ian Edelman, a Hollywood director, and CEO Jonathan Gray, a software engineer who previously worked for Facebook and sold his last startup, Cask Data, to Google for an undisclosed sum, TechCrunch reported. Cudi will head Encore’s artistic vision, the company said, but Encore declined to give specifics on what Cudi’s role in the company would be or how he will be using the app going forward.
“The energy from a concert is undeniable, both for the fans and artists,” Cudi said in a release. “I am excited to launch Encore to help bring the live music experience back to our fans. Encore is committed to empowering both established and new artists and delivering the best mobile music experience out there.”
Encore, currently in private beta, is a destination for artists to preview music, interact and chat directly with fans, and set up livestream concerts. The app’s concept isn’t unique; other apps like Geojam have similarly popped up during the pandemic to help artists interact with fans, sell merchandise, and show off new music since touring and performing live is no longer an option. Livestreaming and fan engagement are becoming increasingly competitive, but backing from a high-profile act like Cudi gives Encore clout.
The news of Cudi’s involvement comes just after the rapper announced a teaser for his much-anticipated album Man on the Moon III, which doesn’t yet have a release date.
Justin Bieber, J Balvin, and the Weeknd have also all invested in new tech in light of the pandemic — those three specifically in virtual concert producer Wave, Rolling Stone previously reported. Wednesday, Rae Sremmurd rapper Swae Lee became the first music artist to invest in new esports organization XSET. Elsewhere, artists have been upping their branding presence, with some talent agencies telling Rolling Stone earlier this summer that they expect to close twice as many branding deals for their artists in 2020 compared to a typical year.