by Patrick Fuller ’21 A&E Co-Editor
In the current competitive music arena, where streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud advertise only the most popular artists, college students seeking a career in music struggle to gain recognition. Even the more underground music categories require a threshold of streams to be bumped into auto-generated playlists or charts. For college students juggling course work, extracurricular activities, and a tight budget, being able to match the quality and quantity of celebrity artists’ output is near impossible.
While singers like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift have access to multi-million-dollar production equipment and closed studio time, most college artists are producing music in their bedrooms on their home computers. Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas only recently proved that home production can ascend to stardom, but college students still need a helping hand.
Quadio, a social media app connecting college musicians throughout the United States, seeks to lend that helping hand. President and CEO of Quadio, Marcus Welch, founded the service in 2018 in Brooklyn, New York along with Joe Welch, the current chief content officer. David Kwan, a Quadio representative, visited the Providence College campus before the beta launched. He explained that the Quadio beta would offer a “chart system based on organic growth,” and “collaboration between producers” which would greatly aid college start-ups in music creation and gaining recognition.
The Quadio website describes the service as “a social music streaming platform for the next generation.” Any college student with a university-affiliated email address (.edu) and a provided beta invite code can join the platform. Here, they can create a profile describing their occupation (producer, audio engineer, web developer, drummer, band, rapper, songwriter, etc.) and indicate what they are looking for from the community. Songwriters will be able to find singers, rappers will be able to find producers, and so on.
The sleek desktop interface filters searches based on university, state, region, nation, and genre. A quick filtered university search for artists on Providence College’s campus yields surprising results. Estarlyn Hirado ’21, stage name Starling, is on Quadio as a rapper, videographer, and audio engineer.
His biography mentions how his music “educates different communities about the injustices of the world through his art by telling breath-taking stories in a relatable but compelling way.” Thanks to the app’s “looking for” feature, Starling has indicated his need for an agent, vocalist, and trumpeter, all of which can be found through Quadio’s interstate, inter-university community.
PC audio engineer, radio DJ, and rapper Mark Healy ’20, also known as Marco $olo, also published his tracks “Another Time” and “BPZ (The Recipe)” on Quadio with good success.
Beyond allowing college artists to publish original content, Quadio includes both a “Hot,” and “All-Time” chart for college artists only. This function essentially gives college artists a place to be heard without having to compete with big labels, corporate producers, or popular celebrity musicians.
While the Quadio beta already provides an open, collaborative space for college musicians to grow, it is still developing. The service does not aim to replace big streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music; rather it seeks to lay the foundation for college artists to succeed in an independent community. As the service grows, partnerships with brands or music labels could generate campus events. But, for now, Quadio is a revolutionary step in the right direction for the next generation of artists.