By Kristy Dorsey

The owners of a new Scottish-based music streaming service are looking to raise up to £350,000 following today’s launch of a platform designed as a “community” for heavy metal fans.

Rockifi has enlisted legendary drummer Richie Ramone as its first brand ambassador as it seeks to tap into the £19 billion global market for hard rock and heavy metal music. The service will target an estimated fan base of 530 million people world-wide.

Operating on a pay-per-view model, Rockifi claims to be the only streaming platform dedicated to the hard and heavy metal genre. It will allow fans to stream live events, discover and rate new artists, purchase merchandise and donate funds to support bands and workers in the Covid-afflicted music community.

The company’s owners, Ruaridh Currie and Felicitas Betzl, have invested £150,000 in the platform during two years of development, including grant support from Scottish Enterprise. When the pandemic hit, bringing an end to live music performances, they adjusted their business model to take account of the dramatically altered landscape.

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“It’s been all of our savings and everything else we could lay hands on – I sold my car to get us up to this point,” Mr Currie said. “It’s what you do if you really believe in something.”

To mark the launch, death metal band Ingested will perform two live streamed events on Halloween from a secret location in their home city of Manchester. One will be timed for a UK and European audience, the other for fans in North America, where the band has recently been touring.

Based in Edinburgh, Mr Currie said Rockifi has benefited from advice from former executives of Team Rock and Warner Music. The company is in discussions with various labels, including Rise Records of the US, to secure performance dates with other bands.

Early plans are also being discussed for a performance by Rockifi’s brand ambassador, the namesake behind New York punk band The Ramones.

HeraldScotland: Ruaridh Currie and Richie RamoneRuaridh Currie and Richie Ramone

Mr Currie said Rockifi is focused on creating a community for like-minded fans that is lacking on other platforms such as Ticketmaster. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, both existing and new entrants into the market have been using live streaming to meet demand for live performances and generate income for artists and others employed within the industry.

He said the appetite for hard rock and heavy metal is “truly staggering”, with research showing fans will spend an average of four times more per month on music compared to other genres.

“Rockifi is a two-way platform which also supports hard rock and heavy metal artists in getting their music out to an international community, including during this present time of pandemic-related challenges,” he said.

Ms Betzl added: “While we are based in the UK, Rockifi will have a strong focus on Brazilian, North American and Scandinavian markets which contain the highest concentration of hard rock and heavy metal enthusiasts. This audience has, until now, been underserved by music streaming services.”

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The platform has been developed partially in-house by chief technical officer Greg Fyans, with support from Scottish agency Bad Dinosaur. Rockifi is seeking fresh funding to hire two to three new developers while also creating two new marketing roles.

“We are searching for further investment to help us roll out our longer-term global strategy which includes reaching fans and artists in their native languages within every key market,” Ms Betzl said.

“We also have plans to further develop the Rockifi technology across other music genres where we’re exploring options to provide white labelling and licensing options for record labels, artist management agencies and festivals.”

Mr Currie met Richie Ramone at the end of 2018, when the first Rockifi prototype was available. Introduced through a public relations agency, the two met up in London for “a few beers” to discuss the project, and have stayed in touch since.