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Chatting with Tunescribers founder, Jeff Pepper

I’d like to introduce you to Jeff Pepper, the founder of Tunescribers.com! Tunescribers is an awesome new service to turn any song into sheet music! Jeff was kind enough to speak with me and answer some questions :)

Zach

Tell me about the story behind Tunescribers?

Jeff

I got the idea about a year ago when I was trying to find sheet music for a Chinese pop song that I wanted to learn. I looked at some of the transcription services that were available but they all seemed very expensive and had a cumbersome ordering process.

Ultimately after much searching through Chinese-language websites, I found a person in Taiwan who was able to do the work beautifully for me for a much lower price than what the other services were charging. I realized that there was an opportunity here.

So, I combined a very easy ordering process with the use of international, but highly skilled, transcription experts. And that became Tunescribers!

Zach

Did you have a background in music previously? I know you have an impressive resume in leading companies.

Jeff

I’ve been an amateur musician my whole life. I play guitar, some keyboard, and West African percussion. So, I’m not a professional by any means, but I really like good music. I’m semi-retired from my main company, Touchtown, and was looking for a new entrepreneurial project without a lot of operational overhead.

Zach

Could you walk me through the end to end user experience?

Jeff

The ordering process is very simple. The customer goes to www.tunescribers.com and simply pastes a YouTube URL into the homepage. Then, our software retrieves the video automatically from YouTube using their API. We show the video right on the screen, and the customer can move a couple of sliders to define a start and end point for the transcription. As they move the sliders, we calculate the price immediately and display it on the screen.

The entire process should take less than a minute or two.

The cost of our service per minute of music is the same regardless of how complicated the song. That is a unique idea in this industry. That means the customer doesn’t have to wait to have a conversation with the transcriber to set a price and conduct a transaction.

Zach

What, or who, are your competitors?

Jeff

Our competitors are individual music transcriptionists.

Zach

What is your cost vs the average independent transcriptionist for a four minute song?

Jeff

We charge $15.99 per minute of music. That’s it. So a four minute song would be 64 bucks. The same song from any other service would be at least $200.

Zach

How long does the transcription process itself take and what formats does the user receive?

Jeff

The whole process takes about a week for standard priority and three days for rush orders. We deliver a beautifully formatted PDF file of the music, a playable MP3 file, and an editable XML file.

We guarantee satisfaction, so if the customer is not happy we give them their money back. And if they see any problems, we fix them for free. So far we have not had to refund anybody, and all of our customers have been very happy!

Zach

How big is your community of transcriptionists?

Jeff

We have a core team of seven people scattered around the world. Each one has their own specialties, that is, types of music that they really like to transcribe. I also have a lot more people who are available, so as the business grows we can scale up our team quickly.

To join the team you have to pass a series of transcription quality tests that we administer.

Zach

What have been your typical client profiles so far? Is it mostly people transcribing foreign songs?

Jeff

It’s been quite a mix so far. I believe all the songs so far have been in English, which was a bit of a surprise to me. Some of the customers have given us their own songs to transcribe, but we’ve also had a few customers who wanted sheet music for other people’s songs. These are songs that the customer likes but needs help in learning how to play.

Zach

Interesting, yeah I could definitely see the market for transcribing your own music.

Jeff

Yes, I think that the big opportunity for our company is to become the in-house transcription service for music studios (companies that publish music for their artists). I think that would be a great business.

Zach

Have there been any particularly funny song choices so far?

Jeff

The genres of music are extremely varied, everything from patriotic folk songs to heavy-metal thrasher music. You can see the varied examples of past work here: https://www.tunescribers.com/portfolio

Zach

What would you say has been the biggest surprise in the last year? Something that surprised you about this business that you didn’t experience founding your other ventures?

Jeff

I’ve been surprised at how much fun it is! This is something I really enjoy doing every day. I love talking with customers, I love working with my team, and I love listening to all the different kinds of music that people send to us. I’ve had a chance to listen to some music that I normally would never hear.

Zach

And on top of that, you’re empowering more transcriptionists to make a profit doing what they enjoy. That is a very powerful concept.

Jeff

Yes, I completely agree. I think in our current political climate you hear a lot of people talking about America first and that sort of thing. But, this business has given me a chance to work with people from all over the world. They all have families, they all have hopes and dreams. It’s really a privilege to work with them and get to know them. People are people all over the world.

You can meet our team here: https://www.tunescribers.com/our-team

Zach

Sounds like the ideal venture. What do you think the future holds?

Jeff

I’m thinking about ways that this platform could be expanded into other, much larger, markets such as language translation. But, that’s down the road a bit.

Know someone who plays music? Be a good friend and share the link http://tunescribers.com with them!

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