A Buffalo-based startup has been selected to help people learn the songs from Fox Entertainment’s new television show about music.
Zealot Interactive – which relocated from Virginia to Buffalo last year, then won $500,000 in the 43North competition – will use its Fret Zealot platform to help people learn the guitar parts on original songs and select covers that appear in the show “Monarch.”
The company developed the Fret Zealot system for learning songs on the guitar. That includes an LED hardware device and a web-based platform with interactive lessons.
CEO Shaun Masavage said the partnership is an example of an entertainment company looking for cutting-edge ideas to connect with potential fans.
“When we were introduced to Fox in September, they were looking for something interactive, exciting and collaborative,” Masavage said. “This shows that we’re able to move beyond traditional music education into interactive learning and eventually into things like musical gaming.”
“Monarch” stars Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins and Anna Friel in the story of a powerful country music family. It will debut Jan. 30, following the NFC Championship football game and then continue on Tuesdays. Fox will air a brief segment promoting the partnership with Zealot Interactive at the conclusion of each episode.
Fret Zealot will unveil its first Monarch song lesson Jan. 7 for “The Card You Gamble,” written by Hillary Lee Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose. The lessons are available via the Fret Zealot app as part of an all-access subscription.
Masavage established an office and studio space in the Tri-Main Center last year while he builds out his team in Buffalo. The company raised a $350,000 seed round last year with participation from Buffalo-based angel investors Jack Greco and Dan Magnuszewski.
Masavage said the company’s long-term goal is to become an integral partner with record labels and musicians – building the business by supporting their goals. As the industry cracks down on illegally published music lessons, Zealot Interactive has spent years striking deals with publishing houses and generally making sure it is legally compliant.
“We want to work with the industry instead of competing with it,” he said. “We want artists to sign with the record label and then come to us for the musical education part of it.”
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