Hip-Hop Entrepreneur Vaughan Taylor Merges Music and Tech with Air Playd

From the music biz to digital, this entrepreneur talks ins and outs of web-based venture

It’s nice that you have your wife as a support system. Sometimes people who have 9 to 5 jobs find it difficult to relate to or help balance out a creative type with a non-traditional schedule. How do you manage that?

It can be difficult, but when we got together, she was still doing her PhD. She had a very open schedule and so did I. We helped each other stay focused. We were in a similar place. We pushed each other. If she had a 9 to 5 back then, it probably would not have worked. But now, we have a solid foundation and a schedule that works for our daughter.

That’s awesome. What has been the response to Air Playd so far?

The response has been dope. After the first game, there were a few blogs that were saying Air Playd is a game changer. From looking at our analytics, about 50 percent of the people playing our games are in the U.S. and the other half come from abroad. We split the revenue from the sales with the artists.

How do you select the artists?

We are only two games in, so I reached out to The Black Opera and Burn Rubber. Everybody has been really happy with the response. With Burn Rubber, that game was in conjunction with the release of Reebok’s “Night Storm” shoe. The game for Burn Rubber’s “ Fly MC” is all about shoes. I wanted to show that Air Playd is capable of working with advertisers and sponsors. I try to be strategic in every aspect of building Air Playd.

What’s next for Air Playd?

Getting out there in the app world. It’s web based now, but we have to go mobile. Right now, I’m working on setting up a beat battle app. For the first one, we’re partnering with 14 KT, producer and Red Bull National Champion. The basic idea is you have to battle a producer to make the best beat. It’s something like Guitar Hero, but times 1000. In our app, you trigger drums and different sound effects to create your beat and advance to the next level. I’m really looking forward to this one and we have an artist we’re about to work with for another video game, but I can’t talk about it yet. Working things out with the label.

How do you get funding for something like this?

I’ve been applying to a few start-up accelerators. It’s mostly a timing issue. The main thing I need to do is get the games out. We’re doing this in a space that is kind of sexy to funding right now, which is the mobile world. I have a few that I’m focused on and like I said, we’re just working on getting our product polished and out there.

What’s your life’s theme song?

It would have to be Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Boy Fly.” That’s definitely my theme song right now.

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