LA Tech Updates: Wave's Roll Continues; TikTok Sweetens Deal for Music Stars
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
- Virtual concert creator Wave adds Netflix executive to C-Suite
- TikTok signs music distribution deal with UnitedMasters
Wave Reels in Former Netflix Exec as New CMO
Tina Rubin is Wave's new chief marketing officer
Wave, a startup that transforms musicians into avatars for interactive virtual concerts, has reeled in former Netflix executive Tina Rubin as its chief marketing officer, the company announced Monday.
The L.A.-based entertainment company has been on a winning streak lately, closing a $30 million round in early June and scoring partnerships with Grammy-award winners John Legend and The Weeknd. It's also beefed up its C-suite, adding former Riot Games executive Jarred Kennedy as chief operating officer last month.
Rubin, who oversaw strategy for Netflix's young adult and family division (including Stranger Things and Umbrella Academy), will focus on ticketing, merchandise, product development and brand awareness at Wave. She'll also build out new ways for artists and their fans to interact remotely.
"I look forward to helping Wave connect music fans with the artists they love in even more immersive and accessible ways," Rubin said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Wave designed the avatar and set for The Weeknd's virtual concert on TikTok, which broadcast the show via its main @TikTok account. Wave representatives reported the performance attracted 275,000 peak concurrent viewers – the most in TikTok history – and 1.2 million total unique viewers, a record for a solo artist's performance on the platform.
Wave, founded in 2016, has now hosted over 50 concerts. Originally conceived as a virtual reality-concert platform, the company has expanded and now distributes its concerts across social media, gaming platforms and VR headsets.
Rubin replaces Wave interim CMO Jeremy Welt.
TikTok Signs Music Distribution Deal with UnitedMastersTikTok Doles Out Money to Creators, Batting Away Rivals
Short-form video-sharing app TikTok announced a deal with indie music distributor UnitedMasters on Monday that will make it easier for artists and creators who go viral on the platform to get their music up on streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.
It comes as President Donald Trump has ordered ByteDance, the company's Chinese owner, to divest within 90 days from its U.S. operations.
The move gives musicians an easier way to leverage their success on TikTok without needing a middleman such as a record label to get their songs onto streaming platforms.
The partnership is the first distribution deal struck by the company, which earlier this year hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its CEO. TikTok has also recently fortified its partnerships with several music publishers so that users can include songs in their videos without worrying about infringing on copyright.
TikTok thinks it can leverage the UnitedMasters deal to draw in more top and trending artists such as Curtis Roach, Curtis Waters, Breland, Tai Verdes and BMW Kenny. The deal will complement TikTok's recently announced $1 billion Creator Fund to pay top TikTokkers, as the company tries to attract and retain creative talent amid growing competition in the short-form video space.
UnitedMasters, launched in 2017 by former Interscope executive Steve Stoute, also arranges music deals with brands like ESPN and the NBA.
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GoodRx earned dot.LA's top 2020 Startup award on Wednesday, beating out the popular sneaker reseller GOAT, the meditation application Headspace, mobile gamer Scopely and viral-video app TikTok.
"GoodRx started in Los Angeles, and will always be a Los Angeles-based company," said co-CEO Doug Hirsch. "We're so excited about the support we've received over the last decade from both entrepreneurs and investors and just incredible people that make up the ecosystem here in California and specifically in Los Angeles."
Pivot of the Year: Curative Inc.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTExNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjU5MTI5NX0.pM73tZDRm3V9A5JyHu-R1NjWai-HOH7TuGI-Ga6P-lY/image.png?width=980" id="13389" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267f3b38acca6bfb5532720fad230a8b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Social Justice Award: Alejandro Guerrero<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTE4My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODg3MDA5NH0.fQxq4punqafEMqsX3dMO9HXRclVmF30A1jttfz9oE7s/image.jpg?width=980" id="a7a8c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9b45abeacaa70b07c0267c0b4ac201b2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Rising Entrepreneur: Morgan DeBaun<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTE5My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjE2MzEyMn0.-Snvn1-Ba9IARx0fhjR2Y8KWxIw-32c3_pD2w2aiM70/image.png?width=600&coordinates=49%2C0%2C49%2C0&height=600" id="17428" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="835305e0ba6360729fece3121835b003" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Rising Startup: Openpath<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTE5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNDc1NDk4N30.eoL8XlFuNIPVukXQEgiF6qcUcvPKGJ0e4m97C1BYy3Y/image.jpg?width=980" id="b37fe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5821d2b30f5f8bef78c7e781f8e7508e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Entrepreneur of the Year: Shivani Siroya<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTIyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNTAzODE0MH0.K-_u9V5IDY7KI8sWes70QQc9ciswIY_-Yw13fSsxGSY/image.jpg?width=980" id="51619" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d71bd28ff9f08d1728227d1326c998f2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Startup of the Year: GoodRx<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyOTI0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDEwMDYyNX0.6-l952IAHHCBtktsdktNPjD1Jei1TeSFy9Ij_3b71hE/image.jpg?width=980" id="e84f6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7abea2960ef53726b8d60446a278b86" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>The prescription-discount app GoodRx became one of the first Los Angeles tech companies to go public this year.</p><p>Co-founded by former Facebook executive Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek, the Santa Monica company makes money by collecting fees from pharmacy benefits managers.</p><p>GoodRx is the most downloaded medical app in the United States and boasts 70,000 pharmacies on its platform. It's also profitable. The company earned $54 million in profit for the first six months ending in June, up from $31 million over the same time last year.</p><p>The company expanded into telehealth with the purchase of Heydoctor in 2019. </p><p><strong>Finalists</strong></p><p><strong>GOAT</strong>: Fast-growing global luxury shoe and apparel retailer.</p><p><strong>Headspace</strong>: A meditation app that recently raised $100 million in debt and equity.</p><p><strong>Scopely</strong>: A mobile video game company that acquired FoxNextGames from Disney in January. </p><p><strong>TikTok</strong>: The video-sharing platform was the top grossing app on iOS App Store globally in Q2 2020.</p>
Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah