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The latest round of funding means unveiling new products and global expansion for the Santa Monica-based online music licensing platform Songtradr.
The company has completed a $12 million Series B round earlier this month, led by Australian entrepreneur and Wise Tech Global CEO Richard White, raising a total of $21.5 million to date.
Songtradr founder and CEO Paul Wiltshire told Karma Network the latest round will be allocated to “expansion of development team, acceleration of product offering and selective acquisitions.”
Already an extensive music licensing platform with more than 400,000 artists from over 190 countries, the company is aiming to expand its global reach.
“We’re committed to simplifying the process of music licensing for creators and licensees across the globe with a platform that unlocks the potential of any artist and provides the most comprehensive, data-driven music offering,” Wiltshire said.
Last month, Songtradr acquired Big Sync Music, a London-based agency that provides licensing rights to mega-brands like Samsung, BMW and Unicef. Unilever Ventures, a co-founder of Big Sync, became a minority shareholder in Songtradr as a result of the transaction.
“Our recent acquisition of Big Sync has strengthened our global footprint and provided a base for further expansion in Europe and Asia,” Wiltshire said.
While most of the Songtradr’s team is based in the U.S., it already has expanded to the U.K., Asia and Africa.
Music industry analyst Mark Mulligan of MIDiA Research, a U.K.-based media and technology analysis company, told Karma Network Songtradr is well-positioned for growth.
"Songtradr has the advantage of being a well-established player with a wide range of services, most important of which is an extensive catalogue of original, independent music which it makes available to license without the hassle of protracted clearances for permission to use,” he said. “This helps ensure that Songtradr customers can get the music they want, quickly."
The company itself sees little competition.
“We are the only two-sided marketplace in the space so we do not know of any direct competitor, any perceived competitors are our potential partners,” Wiltshire says. “Songtradr is a technology that facilitates the frictionless licensing of music rights and we have designed the platform to be compatible with all music rights owners.”
Data-Driven Approach to Music
Songtradr’s analytics-driven approach is what sets it apart from the consumer and investor perspective as well.
“We are using data to make music licensing an intelligent and informed process. Historically, this has been predominantly subjective and costly, not attuned to rapidly emerging trends and cultural nuances,” Wiltshire notes. “Brands in particular seek more relevance with their consumers and music is a key driver of experience. Songtradr’s unique data aggregation capabilities, rendered from being a two-sided marketplace, enables us to provide music highly correlated to a brands’ consumer base, matched at a hyper-local level, if required.”
Songradr’s low entry fees are a part of its platform’s appeal. The monthly artist fee is $7.99, the licenses start at about $20 and almost every kind of music appears to be represented in their database.
A music license grants permission to synchronize a composition with visual media such as film, television, video games, advertisements, web videos and even background music in shops and restaurants.
Songtradr lets music supervisors and other creative decision makers choose music directly from any of the musicians and songwriters who have uploaded music to the platform. Artists pay a nominal monthly membership fee to upload an unlimited amount of music to Songtradr. Music supervisors, filmmakers and others who log into the service can request music according to their specifications or search Songtradr’s database for appropriate works.
Mulligan says Songtradr has an advantage in the increasingly competitive music licensing space with players hoping to bring efficiencies to an otherwise complex and inefficient industry sector.
Music licensing has become a significant revenue stream for independent musicians and songwriters. As streaming services continue to increase their content offerings, the need for original music is also growing. Prospects for the music licensing space look promising according to Mulligan.
“The global music sync market was worth $1.3 billion in 2018, up from $1.2 billion in 2017,” he says. “The sync market is vibrant and growing at a solid rate, spurred by the rise of new classes of sync customers such as streaming video platforms like Netflix and creators on YouTube. The next few years will see similar rates of growth, with the market continuing to grow at a steady rate.”