The Yousician story started when two friends, Chris and Mikko met in a pub and found out that both of them attempted to learn to play an instrument but eventually failed. Their subsequent research revealed that traditional music education methods are unsuccessful for others too. As many as 85% of people starting to learn to play eventually fail. The two decided to re-think music education, a field neither of them had experience in, and to develop an alternative way that would be successful for people like them.
Chris and Mikko founded a company, then called Ovelin, and developed and launched their first product called WildChords. WildChords was a game aimed at children to learn the basics of guitar. Two things were novel about WildChords: (1) It was played with a real guitar, and the game listened to the player. (2) It was a real game, with a story, points, missions, etc. that kept players motivated to practice. WildChords was launched at the Slush conference in 2011, and the team won the Slush100 prize over the other 99 contestants. Watch the launch presentation here.
Based on the learnings from the first product, the team developed a new game, GuitarBots. For the first time, not only the beginners but also more advanced guitarists could play and have fun. As it turned out, even great musicians enjoy having their performance tracked, learn new songs and push their skills to the next level. GuitarBots was launched one year after WildChords, in 2012, again at Slush. It became an instant hit, and the company was able to get over 1 million users playing and learning the guitar with it.
Following the success, we wanted to provide everything that our users needed to play guitar easily… Thus GuitarTuna was created. Android and iOS apps were released to the public, and it was an instant success.
Realizing how important the music learning game GuitarBots was for guitar, the team planned to develop a version for other instruments as well. However, the name GuitarBots did not fit anymore. In November 2014, Yousician was launched, and the company shed its old name Ovelin at the same time. As the product matured, teachers from all around the world started using Yousician with their students. Incidentally, Yousician helped music teachers to solve their biggest challenge: keeping students motivated to practice.
After reaching 5M downloads, GuitarTuna released Bass 4 and 5 string, Guitar 7 and 12 string Banjo 4 and 5 string, Mandolin, Balaika, Violin, Viola, Cello, Fiddle, and Cavaquinho to the tuners list, totaling to more than 100 tuners. The addition of Italian and Portuguese translations was added to the already French, German, Russian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese languages from the year before. And after the Windows Phone Version was released, GuitarTuna hit more than 10 million downloads!
Music tastes and education preferences are so diverse that no one company can realistically offer the breadth of content that would do justice to this diversity. Yousician started to attract a more extensive range of users with different skills, music tastes, and learning preferences. An experiment with Yousician Teachers was launched, and teachers around the world used Yousician to help their students learn how to play their musical instruments!
Piano was launched in November and Ukulele was released in December 2015, gaining steam over Christmas time. In 2016, Yousician celebrated its 5th anniversary and then Bass was released in April. It was a big year for Yousician with Bass, Ukulele and Piano being added, totaling 4 instruments for the app.
In 2017, GuitarTuna reached a total of 50 million users! Previously the app only featured content written by Yousician, but in 2018 Yousician released famous songs! In the summer of 2018, Yousician released another new “instrument” — Singing! Now even users who don’t yet own an instrument can play along and become the singer they always imagined. Premium+ now offers users the chance to learn any 5 instruments at the same time while playing with famous songs.
The Songs Library was launched early in 2019, allowing users to search and preview songs in Yousician. And it is estimated that GuitarTuna will reach 100 million downloads by Summer 2019.