It has been nine full months since America went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While it has not been easy for a company that works in the live entertainment industry to stay afloat, we at Ion feel blessed to still be around when so many great companies have closed permanently. Our survival would not be possible without a team that has been extremely committed and flexible. Here is their story.
In mid-March Ion had turned profitable for the first time. Muséik was about to have its Carnegie Hall debut. Overseas sales were starting to pick up. And we had a big handful of exciting projects in the works. By late March the performance calendar was empty, the team was laid off, and revenues dropped to zero. It was a scary time.
But within a few days the phone began ringing. Music educators who knew Muséik wanted to use the program to drive audio files like the piano accompaniments for choral works. We had already done testing on this idea and knew the software could be really good at that job. But we also knew that Muséik was missing a few important features necessary to drive audio files well.
Over the next ten days the team was called back in, we held many planning and strategy meetings, the dev team explored every possible scenario for how we could deliver the platform, and some investment funding was secured. By early April we had begun what was supposed to be a minor revision of the software. By May that minor revision had turned into a major rebuild of Muséik from the ground up. Chris Baker (Ion’s lead programmer) and J Allen (Ion’s CTO) worked tirelessly straight through the summer and by 1 August Muséik 3.0 was ready for beta testing.
From August through December our efforts have shifted from software development to producing Continuo show files. The production team was expanded, we brought a studio pianist onboard to record accompaniment tracks, and we did some early testing with vocalists recording voice parts at home. At the same time we organized a Muséik Continuo Pilot Program with ten choirs across the country.
Without question, we have been busier during quarantine than we have ever been. But after months of hard work the payoffs have started to arrive. Muséik 3.0 is getting high marks from customers, our Muséik Continuo product line is growing, and early feedback from the Continuo Pilot Program has been positive.
After a spring full of so much uncertainty, optimism has returned to Ion Concert Media and we are hopeful that the darkest days are behind us. Today, with a vaccine on the way, it is possible to see light at the end of the tunnel. We are looking forward to offering ensembles both film and audio products as we work to rebuild our performance calendar.
None of this would have been possible without our amazing team that has rolled with the punches and remained dedicated to the product throughout. A huge thank you goes out to each of them for a job well done.