Flipagram Raises $70 Million to Burn on Major Label Licensing Deals…

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Want big licenses?  These days, the best route is to burn a ton of cash, get really, really big, and force rightsholders to either (a) license you, or (b) shut you down.  Luckily for Flipagram, option (a) is getting easier and easier to pull off, thanks to an ever-weakening recording industry and lots of available cash.

Like, $70 million in Series B funding.  The latest round was led by Sequoia Capital and included Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, and Caufield & Byers.

The app, which allows users to set photos and videos to music, has also conveniently entered licensing deals with some key labels and publishers.

They’ve struck deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music, Merlin, The Orchard, Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing Group, and BMG.

Flipagrams are about 30 seconds in length and are similar to Snapchat Stories, but Flipagram says their platform is for stories that you don’t want to disappear. They also provide links to purchase the music used in Flipagrams.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more: @nine_u

5 Responses

  1. Realist

    Are these blanket Synch deals across the entire label and publishing catalogs – i.e. the same catalogs that streaming services license? If that is the case this would be a game changer for synch licensing to low end users. A whole host of companies have crashed and burned attempting to synch license catalog for these types of personal usage – I know by bitter experience. More information please.

  2. anonymous

    Kudos to Flipagram…its pretty easy to get licensed once you have proven large scale and have tons of cash to write big checks…All of these artists who are jumping on the platform now (Garth Brooks etc..) are reinforcing the message for start ups to go ahead and utilize their music for free build up their valuations and ask for forgiveness later…its great for the big labels who can get a bigger up front payday for past sins, but are the artists seeing any of that money?

    Funny how a company can build up a valuation north of $300+ million operating without license to use the music content for the past ~18 months and nobody says a word about it, but now they are licensed and everyone is writing about what industry darlings they are…no wonder things are so screwed up

  3. Missing Something?

    Sorry, I’m still lost on the business model. How does Flipagram ever plan to make money?

  4. Heiko Schmidt

    This can’t be licensed from these players. It’s against the existing copyright law.
    If a song is used in any capacity in sync with something else, like pictures or films, user generated or not, all copyright holders have to agree to that use. Most songs are co-written between multiple writers and that means every writer and related publisher has to agree upfront.
    And that is law in most countries in Continental Europe or with other words, neither BMG nor Universal can grant this right on a whole catalog base.
    That is the same problem with sound cloud has and this problem doesn’t go away.

    • Paul

      Various entities grant bulk sych rights (societies, publishers..) without asking the original writers for consent (most of the time). Money talks. And black box royalties make it hard to trace any (small) uses.

      Interestingly, though, even if Flipagram is music licensed, as they say in their media relations, they don’t really pass the license on to their users. Check their Terms..

      “The App provides you the ability to create personal video stories by sequencing your photos or other images, and if you choose, to accompany them with your music, narration, or other sounds. The App may also provide the capability for third parties to offer you music or audio clips to use in your creation of User Content. You continue to own all of your original User Content in any Flipagram video created by you. However, you do not own any music, audio clips, video, or other content provided by third parties via the App, including any such content that you include in a Flipagram video, and you may only use such content for private noncommercial purposes and to the extent of the functionality of the App.”


      Clearly commercial use is not licensed. Sorry, dear commercial artists, artist managers and beverage brands out there. It’s not for you.

      Private use for private people may be tolerated (based on the provided capability that third parties (rights holders) may offer to use their music). That’s about it, though. It’s a vague offer, IMO

      Of course Flipagram compensates THEIR licensors, and reports royalties to them, based on the data they spy and collect on users devices. Flipagram just shares money, nice. The don’t grant users any music license, though. In fact, they reserve the right to remove any content at their discretion (users can’t rely their content stays up). Hold on, they even go a step further. As user you

      “grant, and you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary to grant, to Flipagram a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such User Content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Content, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, for use in connection with the App and Flipagram’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of our App (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

      Music license to users? Nada. Raw deal.

      Good back-end money sharing exercise idea on behalf of Flipagram and partners, though, and I guess that’s why right holders prefer to grant some sort of bulk catalogue license and take the cash in return – opposed to sueing Flipagram, or their users. I guess it’s called Music Monetization 3.0