The big news today in the music industry is that Warner has acquired a storied record label, 300 Entertainment, for $400 million.
Or is it? For those who believe the most rapid future growth in music might come from indie creators, rather than blockbuster rightsholders, this news could, eventually, prove just as commercially profound:
Bandlab, described as a ‘social music platform’, has just raised $53 million, valuing its company at $303 million.
BandLab is the flagship product of BandLab Technologies, a division of Singapore-based Caldecott Music Group (CMG), which also owns Vista Musical Instruments and NME Networks, which counts publications such as NME, Uncut and Guitar.com amongst its roster of brands.
The BandLab Technologies division also includes professional-level digital audio workstation, Cakewalk.
The $53 million investment in BandLab has come from Vulcan Capital with participation from K3 Ventures as well as existing investor Caldecott Music Group.
It comes 10 months after Splice, another creator tools company, raised $55 million, led by Goldman Sachs’ GS Growth.
Bandlab says that the new $53m round will allow it to expand its team and “continue to refine and grow its offerings to music creators and aspiring artists worldwide”.
BandLab’s platform features a Mix Editor and a royalty-free Sounds library, as well as Mastering, an AI-powered ‘SongStarter‘ tool, and BandLab Distribution.
The investment in the platform comes amidst a rise in what MBW noted this week is the $9.99 creator subscription economy: a fast-growing – segment of the modern music industry that offers artists tools and instruments with which to create music and sell creations.
What differentiates BandLab from its rivals in the music making platform market, however, is that it claims to be 100% free to use.
At the root of this trend in the growth of music making platforms is that music fans (possibly accelerated by more time spent at home during the pandemic) are increasingly also considering themselves to be music creators.
According to Midia, the number of releasing artists grew by a third in 2020 alone.
BandLabs’Lead investor Vulcan Capital is the multi-billion-dollar investment arm of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.
New investor K3 Ventures is a venture capital firm which was an early backer of super app Grab as well as tech giant Bytedance.
“WE’RE NOT ONLY DOUBLING DOWN ON OUR MARKET LEADING CREATOR TOOLS, BUT ALSO PRIORITIZING COMPENSATION FOR ARTISTS AND PROTECTION FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS. IF CREATORS AREN’T BEING PAID FAIRLY, IT’S A MAJOR BARRIER TO THEIR DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AS ARTISTS.”
MENG RU KUOK, BANDLAB
BandLab CEO & Co-Founder Meng Ru Kuok, said: “Our vision is a future where there are no barriers to making and sharing music, in particular among independent musicians and creators, and among mobile-first users, the billions with smartphones and original musical ideas.
“We’re not only doubling down on our market leading creator tools, but also prioritizing compensation for artists and protection for rights holders. If creators aren’t being paid fairly, it’s a major barrier to their development and growth as artists.”
“WITH ACCESSIBILITY, CREATIVITY, AND COLLABORATION AT THEIR CORE, WE STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THEIR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF MUSIC CREATION, AND ARE EXCITED TO EMBARK ON THIS JOURNEY AS A PARTNER.”
TOMMY TEO, VULCAN CAPITAL
Managing Director and Head of South-east Asia at Vulcan Capital, Tommy Teo
Managing Director and Head of South-east Asia at Vulcan Capital, Tommy Teo added: “With a passionate community of millions worldwide, BandLab has an incredible track record of providing innovative and meaningful tools for music creators and artists globally, not only to primary markets like the US, but extending far beyond into developing and underserved markets as well.
“With accessibility, creativity, and collaboration at their core, we strongly believe in their vision for the future of music creation, and are excited to embark on this journey as a partner.”