Jessica Powell is the CEO and Co-Founder of AudioShake, an audio research and deep tech company that can deconstruct audio into its different components so they can be used for new and emerging formats. The company has partnered with studios, labels, publishers, and other companies to open audio to opportunities across localization, mixing and mastering, AR/VR, and interactive or immersive audio formats. Powell began her career at CISAC, the International Society of Authors and Composers in Paris, and spent over a decade at Google, where sat on the company’s management team.
Tell us about how you got your start in the music industry, and how it led to the work you do today.
One of my earliest jobs was at CISAC. I didn’t know anything about authors’ rights, but I was lucky enough to be hired there, and learned so much about the state of creators’ rights in different countries and industries. I then went on to Google, where I worked on a number of their “content” products (books, YouTube, and music). But what really drew me to work on AudioShake, post-Google, was the simple desire to get back into creative work again. I had always written, and played music, but a lot of that really fell by the wayside when I was in Big Tech. When I left, I immersed myself in those worlds again, and, along with my co-founder, started thinking of all the things we had both always wanted to do with music.
Is there a success story or career milestone that you are most proud of?
Whether you’re an artist, small business, or start-up, I think there’s something really vulnerable, risky, and thrilling about creating something and putting it out into the world. I’m really proud that our small team was able to build something that’s helped artists and rightsholders drive greater revenue for their work, and open up new creative possibilities.
Are there any projects you’re working on or company updates that you’re most excited about?
We announced a whole slew of cool projects in 2023 where artists used our technology to open up their audio to new uses, including:
- Releasing De La Soul original discography on digital platforms for the first time
- Remixing Nina Simone’s debut album Little Girl Blue in Dolby Atmos with Immersive Mixers
- Isolating an ODB sample for SZA’s chart-topping album SOS
- Mixing live albums for jazz icons Oscar Peterson and Tomasz Stanko (read), mastered from 1970’s broadcast recordings
- Localized lyric videos for global TikTok star Lala Sadii
- Breaking down the stems for AJR’s new single “Yes, I’m a Mess” with Cole Lumpkin
Because our team is always working to improve and grow this ability, we’ve been able to expand more broadly across the entertainment industry. We have recently made improvements to all of our stems and have launched new models. AKA, we have better stems for you!
These improvements were made possible by our team’s deeper understanding of the variety of playing styles and expressions of individual instruments. Our stems now offer:
- Reduced bleeding from other instruments, meaning cleaner stems overall.
- More defined separation quality across vocal, bass, drum, and “other” stems.
- Snappier drums with punchier kick drums and sharper cymbals.
- Deeper and cleaner bass notes
We also have lyric transcription available for indie labels to transcribe and align their new and existing catalogs. AudioShake’s lyric transcription has been used by artists like Sia and is available for labels to take advantage of the same tactics including new opportunities for revenue, reaching new markets, or increasing engagement.
Outside of your work in music, do you have any other hobbies/ particular areas of expertise/interest etc.?
Between kids and work, I don’t have much spare time, but I do love to write fiction when I can, and I’ve had my stories published in The New York Times, VICE, and WIRED. I also still enjoy playing music, though lately that has meant playing drums while my kids sing along with Rock Band.