Digital Music Distributor Gets $4 Million In Funding — 11 Years After Starting

Symphonic Distribution Offices, Tampa, FL

Symphonic Distribution Offices, Tampa, FL

It’s the least sexy way to grow a business.  But after nearly 11 years of self-financing, Symphonic Distribution has $4 million in funding.

Hang around the music tech space long enough, and you start to see some patterns.  One of those is the heavily-funded music startup that goes ‘poof’ three years later.  Or, quietly disappears after throwing a lot of SXSW parties and blowing $10 million.

This one’s a healthy break from that.  Symphonic Distribution, a company quietly staying self-financed for a decade, has now rallied $4 million in funding.  That’s right: a ‘Series A’ a decade later, with the foundation laid.

All of which is great news for Symphonic, but also a good sign for the broader industry as well.

The company was started in Tampa, Florida in 2006 by Jorge Brea.  Since that point, Symphonic has basically remained under-the-radar while amassing 10,000 label and artist partners.  But just like bigger rivals CD Baby and Tunecore, Symphonic distributes to all the usual suspects: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, etc.  And crafting long-term deals with a more boutique approach.

It’s not even clear these guys needed a funding round.

But Ballast Point Ventures has ponied up the $4 million infusion.  “After 10 years in business and being completely bootstrapped, we finally found a great VC firm we want to partner up with and we have received $4M in investment,” Symphonic’s Janette Berrios emailed DMN.

“It’s both an exciting and scary feeling, we have to admit, but ultimately we are really happy and excited on what’s to come.”

Actually, later-stage investments are nothing new.

Billions annually are deployed for ‘late-stage capital,’ with entire firms dedicated to the specialization.  So Ballast is likely seeing a great, technically later-stage growth story here as well.

It’s just a little unusual to see a story emerging quite like this.

For Symphonic, a surge in streaming also introduces a host of expansion possibilities from the initial foundation.  The company brands itself as a SaaS solution, and seems to be moving into royalty-accounting services as well.  Currently, rights owners face a patchwork of different royalty sources and rules, not to mention payment issues.

All of which is boosting an entirely new class of problem-solvers (think Stem, Exactuals, Kobalt, and GMR, for starters).  And obviously drawing a lot of new capital.

 

Ballast Point Ventures (BPV) currently has $360 million in capital, and targets equity investments in the $4 million to $10 million range.  The company focuses on companies in Florida, Texas, and broader Southeast US.

 


 

12 Responses

    • Jorge - Symphonic Distribution

      We felt it was best to only ask what we thought was needed. We don’t believe in what we see all of the time and what Paul somewhat alluded to and that is a lot of funding going into companies that perhaps may mismanage and/or spend more than what they should. The raise is one that we’re excited about and was sought after at this time only to accelerate the growth that we were already seeing.

      • t. wilson

        Congratulations Jorge, and continued success in your venture.

      • Blobbo

        Glad to see you here. The question is you are just distributors into Apple and Spotify right? That doesn’t matter as much as the fact that Spotify pays poorly and is also tracking plays poorly. As a producer and recorder of three starting acts with more to come, I want Spotify out of the loop. They are sucking too much money out of the process. I really think there needs to be a streaming company that services ONLY early stage acts that have NOT sold their copyrights, where the streaming company gets a set cut, like an agent, say 15%. The service is also not free at all.

  1. Joe Vangieri - DigiTrax

    Congrats to a really nice team at Symphonic besides being very knowledgeable and professional are some of the friendliest people in the music business. This is great good guys do win! I’m sure this is just the starting point.

  2. Paul Resnikoff

    $4 million is amazing in my book. Plus, Symphonic knows how to use the money and push it into a next stage of expansion. Would be nice to see music industry investors propel later-stage stories, I think they’d experience a lot more success using proven models that are self-financed already.

    • Jorge - Symphonic Distribution

      Thanks Paul and of course, thanks for sharing and continuing to do what you guys do here at DMN.

  3. Esquire

    If they had to pay advances to major labels they would not even be in the game.