The music industry is one of two realities; the top artists live the glamorous lifestyles portrayed in movies and independent musicians often struggle to make ends meet. Prior to becoming a tech entrepreneur, Songfinch founder and CEO John Williamson spent many years working in the music industry and witnessed the inequity firsthand.
“The industry tends to be a star-driven league and the top two percent get a chance to participate and eat most of the dollars in the industry while the other 98 percent struggle and fight for scraps,” Williamson told Built In.
With his startup, Williamson has been shaking up the industry and has helped independent musicians make a living from their talent. On Thursday his company secured $17 million in a Series A funding round led by Valor Siren Ventures.
Founded in 2016, Songfinch is an online marketplace where customers can commission custom songs from independent artists that have been recruited and verified by Songfinch. The platform has over 1,800 musicians spanning different genres, giving customers a variety of options to choose from to have their custom creations brought to life.
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The company’s main offering is one song with two verses and a chorus that starts at $200. Customers can also choose to purchase additional verses and other services such as having their song uploaded to streaming services or made into a CD or vinyl.
Besides enabling consumers to participate in the music creation process, Songfinch also wants to create a middle class of musicians. According to Williamson, this involves helping independent musicians make a living off their talent and passion for music without necessarily having to perform at sold-out stadiums or be an A-list celebrity. With Songfinch, Williamson is working on making that a reality.
According to the company, over the past 12 months it has paid out over $12 million to artists for their work through the Songfinch platform, and on average an artist on the platform makes around $25,000 a year by creating custom songs for customers.
“We’re pumping dollars into [artists’] pocket which is allowing them to quit their jobs and the work outside of music and focus solely on music,” Williamson said. “I don’t think there’s any other platform in which you can generate those types of dollars without already having an established fan base.”
The funds from the latest raise will be used to continue supporting artists. To do that Williamson said Songfinch is looking to expand its team which currently employs around 70 people. By investing in the team, the startup will be able to continue building the Songfinch platform and also recruit more artists.
“We have an ambitious roadmap and this new funding will help us to continue leading the charge in reimagining the creator and customer relationship,” Williamson said. “Our primary goals with Songfinch are twofold — to provide an opportunity for anyone to create and share their life experiences through music and to give artists a better opportunity to earn a living from an industry that has routinely made that improbable.”
Prior to the Series A round, Songfinch raised a $5 million seed round. Since then the company has made several additions to the platform, such as integrating a buy-now-pay-later service. It is planning to add other offerings in the future.
Songfinch’s total venture funding now stands at $21.8 million.