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Embedding music posters with bar codes

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Articles - February 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011


Jon Duell, Paul Riedel and Todd Bachmann have developed software to connect music posters with concert info and ticket sales. // Photo by Teresa Meier
You see a music poster. It looks interesting. You make a mental note of looking up the band, maybe even buying tickets to the show, once you get home. You walk away and promptly forget. It happens all the time.

Taggr, a Portland-based startup music promotions company, plans to change that by allowing consumers to interact directly with those music posters that spark their interest.

“We give people the ability to enhance their offline marketing initiatives with their digital counterparts,” explains founder and CEO Paul Riedel.

This is how it works: A band or promoter creates a website using Taggr’s software. The website then spits out a QR barcode that can be printed onto posters or flyers. When the barcode is photographed by a smartphone, it acts as a link to the band’s website. There, users can listen to sample songs, download albums, find links to Twitter and Facebook, and purchase concert tickets.

The technology for the QR barcode was first developed in the mid 1990s, but has since largely been relegated to the publication industry. Riedel says Taggr is the first company to offer the QR barcode in conjunction with easy-to-create mobile platforms exclusively for bands.

Taggr is the brainchild of Riedel and Todd Bachmann, who met for the first time at Startup Weekend Portland this April, where they built the initial prototype of the product. The company took home the winning prize from the conference, and recently took on a third partner, Jon Duell, a developer at Portland-based Ombu Web, to build out the service. Riedel is a Bay Area transplant and Bachmann has spent the last 12 years in public radio in Chicago.

The group is launching an invite-only beta test at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin in March, where they will get feedback on pricing models and features, and is also working with Mississippi Studios in Northeast Portland to begin incorporating the service for the venue’s shows.

“This is really the best city for this idea to start,” Bachmann says. “Portland is such a great music town. I’ve been impressed with the amount of indie rock music here and feel like we have a leg up because we’re doing this here in Portland.”


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