Songtradr Gets $30M to Make it Easier for Musicians to License Their Tracks
Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.
Songtradr has grown by making it easier for artists to get their music in ads, television series and movies. Now, it wants to take advantage of the explosion of video streaming services hungry for more music.
The music rights and licensing marketplace platform announced a $30 million Series C raise on Monday, giving the company a $165 million valuation. The raise was led by the St. Baker Australian family office, which is an amalgam of other prominent Australian family offices and several existing investors.
Founded by musician and producer Paul Wiltshire, who moved from Australia to Los Angeles to launch the Santa Monica-based company seven years ago, Songtradr is intended to give artists more avenues to sell their work. It has worked with companies as varied as Netflix, Toyota, Disney and AirBnb.
"We're absolutely big believers in disruption, we have a philosophy of disrupt and not destroy," said Wiltshire. "The industry has enough problems without us creating any additional ones. We're here to solve problems."
Musician and producer Paul Wiltshire moved from Australia to Los Angeles to launch Songtradr seven years ago, Courtesy Songtradr
Songtradr's marketplace allows artists more control over how and from whom they make money. Musicians and their agents can license their music or earn royalties from streaming and digital sources such as Youtube and TikTok. The platform has also been a boon for advertisers, producers and others.
The process to get songs into ads, video games, TV series, films or other audio-visual projects is known in the industry as "sync licenses." It used to be arduous and take months.
Sync revenues grew by 5.8% year-over-year to $500 million in 2019, according to a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry released this year.
"It's a great help to, first of all, to music users. I'm talking to music supervisors, film studios, TV networks, everybody who needs to license music quickly, thoughtfully and creatively smash into a production — usually at the last minute and on budget," said Larry Miller, associate professor and director of the Music Business Program at NYU Steinhardt.
Songtradr features 500,000 musicians and artists from across Europe and the Asian Pacific.
Most of the musicians they work with aren't on Billboard's Top 10, but their music is recognizable just the same — especially to loyal gamers or streamers.
"Can't nobody do it like me," raps Destiny Roberts on the opening for Netflix series "Chambers," about a transplant patient looking for the truth behind her donor. The song is one of the many placed through the platform.
"It's also a great help to music creator songwriters, and their music publishers for getting licenses done quickly and in a low friction way," Miller said.
During the first half of 2020, the company's revenue growth shot up by 160% over last year. Part of its appeal is that it offers a quick way to get songs placed, because the licenses have already been cleared.
Songtradr also sells a tiered-subscription service, which lets users access the platform's database to view trends and statistics.
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Palantir Technologies' stock rose more than 30% after the enigmatic, big data analytics company officially went public with a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
The stock under the ticker symbol PLTR ended the day at $9.50 per share or $2.25 above its $7.25 reference price.
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Musicians are facing a tough road and the pandemic hasn't made life any easier. But changes are afoot that could help.
A flurry of deals between music copyright owners and a grab bag of online video purveyors may be just the first step in a process that could see "the most important copyright reform since the U.S. passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 22 years ago," according to one industry observer.
With it, artists and rights holders should be better positioned to benefit from the growing relevance of music across social media platforms, gaming consoles, virtual gyms and much more.