Sound Source: Meet People and Make Music, All Online

Susanna Kemp, Reporter

Meet Quadio. It’s Spotify, SoundCloud and LinkedIn all in one, and it’s for college students. We talked to the platform’s co-founder Joe Welch, as well as two Northwestern students who are Quadio campus reps. One of them is an artist, the other’s a manager. Both have met collaborators through the app.

SUSANNA KEMP: Joe Welch can’t sing.

JOE WELCH: I wish I could, but I can’t, so I can only make instrumentals. I’m actually an EDM producer. That’s kind of my artistic realm.

SUSANNA KEMP: So when he started his freshman year at Williams College in 2014, he was looking for singers to collaborate with.

JOE WELCH: I was super excited to work with as many people as I could to, you know, make finished pieces, but it was just a lot harder than I expected to find these people. Like you know they must exist on campus, but there’s just no real way to foster those creative connections, or at least there wasn’t for me. So it wasn’t until senior year, I took this songwriting class, and I met some of the most talented people I’ve ever heard sing, heard play instruments. And it’s like, I was with you for four years on this campus of 2,000 people at Williams College, like how did I not know about you? You should be able to get to campus and from the very first minute you step onto campus know about every single other creator that exists around you so you can really just maximize your creative potential for the four years at school.

SUSANNA KEMP: Joe wanted to make it easier for college musicians and producers to find each other, and so after he graduated, he co-founded Quadio with his step-cousin Marcus Welch. From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Susanna Kemp, and you’re listening to Sound Source.

SUSANNA KEMP: Joe founded Quadio back in 2018. Now, he’s the head of the artist relations team.

JOE WELCH: Quadio is a new social streaming platform that’s completely college-based. So the idea is that it basically acts as a digital music hub on your campus where any artist can come to find any other artist on their campus to collaborate, to make music with. But it also allows an artist to tap into that peer network, to tap into 100 percent of their campus when they might not be able to tap into that before, and then grow organically to the state, to the region, to the nation.

SUSANNA KEMP: Quadio looks a lot like Spotify, but users are identified not just by their name, but by their school, too. If you’re an artist, you can include who or what you’re looking for in your bio, whether that’s a bass player, a manager or gigs. And you can upload finished songs or works in progress that you want collaborators for. Quadio was just desktop based for a while, and it was private, only open to select users as the company tested things out. But in February, Quadio made its platform available to anyone with a .edu email address. And at the end of March, Quadio released an app.

JOE WELCH: We’re fired up for the app. So you know, obviously the desktop is great for creators, but when people are driving, when they’re running, whatever, they need an app. So we’re super excited for the app to come out to just give people a better listening experience.

SUSANNA KEMP: Quadio really launched at Northwestern this fall, when some of the people on Joe’s artist relations team visited campus and recruited a few students to be Quadio campus reps. That means promoting Quadio on social media and reaching out to students about getting them on the platform. The reps were also planning some events with Northwestern’s .WAV Company, a student organization that supports student artists. But amid COVID-19, those events are on hold. One of Quadio’s campus reps at Northwestern is Communication sophomore Jay Towns. Back in November, he got this DM from Quadio.

JAY TOWNS: I don’t know if you’ve ever received a spam DM before on Instagram. But that’s what I thought it was, because I didn’t really read it at first. But I came back to it the next day just because I was curious, and I wanted to see what it was. And then I actually read it, and I was like, “Oh, this is super interesting.”

SUSANNA KEMP: Quadio’s team had done some research on Northwestern, and they wanted to meet with Jay when they came to campus. Jay hadn’t released any music at that point, but he was planning to. He has a YouTube channel, so he thinks Quadio might have found him there.

JAY TOWNS: Quadio seemed like something that should have existed a long time ago and wasn’t there, and the fact that somebody was in the preliminary stages of creating it and reached out to me was a huge opportunity in my eyes. Quadio is also a place that I was like, “I’m definitely going to put my music here, because this is a new community and nobody like knows about it yet,” which was a really cool place for me to be as an artist — to be larger in comparison on a smaller platform that I think is going to get really big.

SUSANNA KEMP: Jay put out his first release two months ago, and it has 180 plays on Quadio, which is pretty big for the platform. And it led to a collaboration.

JAY TOWNS: “I Don’t Mind,” which is the first song that I put out on there, got pretty popular on it, like comparatively. A lot of people heard it, and a lot of the other musicians who had made music that I’d heard as well listened to my music. In a smaller community, you run across things more frequently, obviously. And so basically, this guy Wil Brookhart, he reached out to me recently.

SUSANNA KEMP: Wil goes to the University of North Texas.

JAY TOWNS: He was like, “Hey, man, I listened to your song. I loved the vibe. I’ve talked to this other artist, Chloé Hogan,” — whose songs I had heard also on Quadio — “and you guys seem like you would sound great together. I produce music. Let’s make a song.” I’ve met musicians that I’m going to be collaborating with in the future that I just would never would never have met.

SUSANNA KEMP: Weinberg freshman Foster Taylor is another one of the campus reps at Northwestern. He learned about Quadio through his brother, who had interned at the company during the summer, and he met musician Meyer Fishman through Quadio, who was looking for a manager.

FOSTER TAYLOR: He just DMed me and he said something like, “I see you’re a manager. I’m looking for a manager. Do you have time to talk?” Something like that.

SUSANNA KEMP: Now Foster’s been managing him for a few months. Meyer attends University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the two FaceTimed after messaging on Quadio. Foster thinks Quadio provides a more level playing field for artists.

FOSTER TAYLOR: With Spotify and Apple Music, for college artists, they have to recognize that when you’re dropping a song, you’re really competing with Drake and Quavo and all these other guys who just have more resources than you do, who do it as a career. And Quadio kinda understands like, “Hey, you’re full-time students. But you can still make dope music, and we respect that.”

JOE WELCH: You come on Quadio, get this super relevant, super passionate fanbase of your peer network. But at the same time, we just want what’s best for artists, so in no way do we want you to not post on Spotify if that can help you capture a different audience. The problem is, those platforms are so saturated.

SUSANNA KEMP: When it comes to making songs popular, Joe has seen the impact of a community.

JOE WELCH: Senior year, I was kind of messing around with one of my roommates at the time, who was a hip-hop artist. And I’m a producer, so naturally, we made this kind of very, very average track, and we put it out on SoundCloud. And then people started picking up on campus and playing it at parties and sports warm-up mixes, stuff like that, which was obviously an awesome experience, but more than anything it kind of showed us how much power there is in a community to really engage with music and rally around, you know, someone’s creative pursuit.

SUSANNA KEMP: Joe wants Quadio to help college students tap into their school’s creative scene. He’s excited to get more users on the app, especially once Quadio can start up live events again. Foster thinks that as the app gets bigger, we’ll see more collaborations between artists.

FOSTER TAYLOR: That’s the whole mission statement of the company, “Make music, make friends.”

SUSANNA KEMP: If you want to connect with the Quadio community, one of their artists plays an Instagram Live set every weeknight at 7 p.m. Central. It’s all part of a series they’re calling “Live from Inside.” Their handle is @quadiomedia on Instagram, and tomorrow night, you can hear Loyola Marymount’s Tiffany Day. Foster and Joe also have some listening recommendations for you. Let’s start with Northwestern artists.

FOSTER TAYLOR: Honey Butter.

JOE WELCH: Alex Banin is amazing.


SUSANNA KEMP: And outside of Northwestern,

JOE WELCH: Cannon is one of my personal favorites. He’s from Boston College.

FOSTER TAYLOR: j solomon from NYU. Hans Williams from Tulane.

SUSANNA KEMP: This episode was reported and produced by me, Susanna Kemp. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Molly Lubbers, the digital managing editors are Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava, and the editor in chief is Marissa Martinez.

What We Knew – Everett Ave X Chæ
Cry Me A River – Jay Towns
But I Don’t – Meyer Fishman
I Don’t Mind – Jay Towns

Email: [email protected]

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