Spotify has raised $100 million from Digital Sky Technologies, Kleiner Perkins and Accel Partners at a $1 billion valuation in advance of its takeover of America. (That’s half Pandora’s valuation in its IPO.) The streaming music service is all the rage overseas, where it has a million paid subscribers (and here too, where some hackers have figured out loopholes to get around its barriers) but has struggled to secure licensing deals with U.S. labels and it took them six months to raise their funding, AllThingsD reports. Read More
Amazon made a bold move several weeks ago when it launched a online locker allowing users to store music in the cloud. It offered 5 gigabytes of free storage to entice users and tied the service to its MP3 store, but did not bother to get the permission of the major labels, who have been negotiating for the last year with Google and Apple to launch exactly this kind of service. Google quickly followed suit, rolling out its own music locker during the IO developer conference.
But the buzz this weekend has been about Apple, which has reportedly locked down deals with three of the four major labels. Read More
“TuneSat LLC, an audio fingerprinting technology company that enables music rights holders to track the usage of their music on TV and the Internet, announced today that it has raised over $6 million in a funding round led by General Electric Pension Trust, advised by GE Asset Management… ‘TuneSat is revolutionizing the music industry by giving content owners the tools and business intelligence to take total control of where and when their music is performed,’ said Scott Schreer, CEO, TuneSat.” Read More
Dearly departed New York peer-to-peer filesharing start-up Limewire is close to a settlement with the Recording Industry Association of America, CNET reports, on track to “reimburse” that body for “damages” based on the premise that songs downloaded through the service represented potential sales. “Founder Mark Gorton said he saw most of his biggest competitors cease operating or try to legitimize their services after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against file-sharing operations like Limewire’s. He conceded that he chose to continue operating despite the court’s decision and the RIAA has shown that he pocketed profits as a result,” Greg Sandoval writes. Read More
This morning, Betabeat read the news that local start-up ExFM had raised a fair chunk of money to expand beyond its simple-but-clever music discovery extension for the Chrome browser. ExFM catalogues the addresses of all the cloud-hosted music files you come across while browsing and files them away in a library so users can stream and share them later, avoiding the liability that comes with hosting files or letting users upload them. The tactic allows ExFM to curate the music that’s already freely available on the web for users, with a touch of randomness.
But the online music market is a notoriously hard nut to crack, and it’s been the demise of many beloved start-ups. Legal challenges recently brought down New York-based Limewire, and the case could also be made that Myspace’s downfall was in part due to the fact that it became so mired in trying to court musicians to the platform. While some artists and labels are getting hip to using the web for branding and promotion, many still don’t get it–and the music industry’s institutionalized giants still look at any distribution channels they don’t totally control as untamed seas ruled by criminals.
So what’s ExFM’s plan? Read More
ExFM, the Chrome extension that automatically remembers the address of every audio file you come across while browsing the web and saves it in a cloud library, has raised $750,000 from investors including Spark Capital, Betaworks, Founder Collective, and Dave Morgan, TechCrunch reported today. Read More
New York based 8tracks took their internet radio game up a level yesterday, releasing an iPhone app that would let users listen and share mixtapes with one another on the go. As we mentioned in our rumor round-up, they were clearly on the hunt for some funds.
But apparently the 8 track team, Read More
Hot music start-ups abound in New York, even though Limewire (NYC) was sued and shut down, Amie Street (Long Island) was acquired by Amazon and shut down, and a neutered Kazaa (NYC) limps along in relative obscurity. Still, the Hype Machine (Brooklyn) is going strong and Ex.fm (Soho) getting off the ground; Grooveshark also has an office at WeWork and Spotify is hiring here. The Music Hack Day hackathon at General Assembly produced at least 72 projects and was also well-attended by hackers and given a lot of attention by investors and media.
Now General Assembly is announcing Music Start Up Academy, a series of six classes starting April 14 to teach music tech entrepreneurs how to start a company. Read More