News December 1, 2020

Aussie startup Muru Music Health launches crowd-sourced funding, eyes overseas expansion

Aussie startup Muru Music Health launches crowd-sourced funding, eyes overseas expansion
Image: Muru Music Health founder Nicc Johnson

Following its rapid rise in the last 12 months, Aussie startup Muru Music Health is casting its net wider. The company has today launched a crowd-sourced funding campaign to set up in the UK in the second quarter of 2021, with the US to follow.

Muru Music Health has enjoyed growth tailwinds from one simple mantra: you can’t stop the ageing process but it can be slowed down with music and AI. The subscription music listening platform helps users relax, relive positive memories or be active, all the while helping stimulate the brain. Its playlists are tailored to individuals based on age, language, childhood, heritage and music preferences.

“60 is the new 30,” observes the platform’s Sydney-based founder Nicc Johnson.

“The population is getting older, and experiences are happening later on in life. The downside is that our brains need to stay healthy as well.”

Just over a fifth of the global population is aged over 60, and someone is diagnosed with dementia every three seconds. By its nature, Muru Music Health has a built-in global appeal – and Johnson says it has the scale and flexibility to follow through. During its beta phase, it drew interest from 35 countries, mostly from the US, the UK and Australia.

Amsterdam-born Johnson, who grew up in Ibiza and was a regular DJ at Pacha, moved to Australia nine years ago. He concentrated on his creations, the AI Music Brain and PRSNL.ai.

When his parents stopped listening to music because the technology was proving too difficult, Johnson used his musicology studies – specialising in music and the brain and music taste – to set up the new platform. Last year it won attention in a competition and through 2020 it became his main focus.

The new funding will also be directed at increasing consumer awareness of the magical power of music, and to also upgrade the platform’s services. One goal is to introduce more languages, essential in a market like Australia with a high migrant intake.

“For someone growing up in England and someone growing up in India and both ending up in Australia, it’s both a different experience,” Johnson says.

“We want to provide that service regardless of their background or their language.”

Notably, Alzheimer’s sufferers tend to revert to their native language.

Muru Music Health’s deal with Universal Music’s catalogue provides music in 15 languages, although predominantly English. Users respond to familiar music, so choices are commercially released songs.

“This might be music you might not even have heard for 20, 30 years,” says Johnson.

The tracks go back to the 1920s, for relevance to an 80-year-old.

“It’s about providing music from someone’s past life. It’s finding the balance of songs, because it’s different for someone who is 80 years old to someone who is even 10 years younger.”

The platform’s partners are aged care homes and retirement villages, extending to music therapists, health care providers and carers.

“We also work with hardware providers that not only provide services to aged care but also tools on how to use digital, or tablets that allow residents to call their families more often,” Johnson says.

“Our mission is to keep our ageing population independent, happy and healthy for as long as possible.”

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