Like many startup founders, Jono Matusky began building a company that aimed to solve a problem he’d experienced firsthand.
A few years ago, Matusky was working with a record label in Havana, Cuba, but touring was challenging. They began looking at ecommerce options to increase merch sales, as it can be one of the biggest ways artists can make money. But it was sometimes a hard sell, he said.
“The problem is that most of this merch is sold at concerts, not online, and musicians are reluctant to crassly ‘plug’ their merch because they feel more comfortable talking about their music, their videos, their art,” Matusky said. “I wanted a way to help them integrate their digital content with their physical merch, to make it feel like a more holistic experience for fans.”
So, Matusky began work on Plynth, a platform that allows fans to unlock digital experiences from videos, audio or downloads with their phone. After scanning a QR code, a fan can hold their phone up and experience an augmented reality experience, swipe thorough an artist’s shop or find their music available for download — whatever the artist’s digital goals are.
For artists, it’s an easy way to bundle both physical and digital goods and release exclusive content, allow fans to presave or purchase art. The platform is currently in beta as Matusky works through Philly Startup Leaders‘ current Founded in Philly accelerator. Program leaders have already connected him with the ecommerce team of a well-known record label that’s interested in strengthening its online offering.
“The long-term vision of Plynth is to help all creators offer products that bridge the real and the virtual,” the founder said.
One Plynth customer, GroundUP Music, uses the platform to power a monthly postcard newsletter which pairs a limited-edition concert photo with exclusive content from their artists.
Matusky is currently handling the product and development work himself, but has worked with a team of designers, marketers, researchers and others to develop the platform. As he continues work on the startup, Matusky said he’s interested in connecting with labels, managers or visual artists, but feels the platform works for anyone who’s looking to add a digital experience to their physical products.
“With all the focus on NFTs, metaverse, AR and VR, it’s clear that there’s an appetite for digital goods and virtual communities,” the founder said. “Traditional creators are now trying to figure out how to tap into this and integrate it into their existing work. We want to help them do that.”