Songtradr Acquires Livestream Music Licensing Platform Pretzel

Songtradr Secures $12 Million in Funding
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Music licensing and distribution platform Songtradr has acquired Pretzel, which offers creators on Twitch, YouTube, and other services access to a pre-cleared, “DMCA-safe” music library for livestreams.

Songtradr unveiled the buyout – one of several purchases it’s made since raising $30 million in a July of 2020 Series C – today, via a formal release that was shared with Digital Music News. September of 2020 saw the Santa Monica-headquartered sync-licensing company invest $1 million in Jaxsta, while November brought the acquisition of Cuesongs and March of 2021 delivered a deal for Song Zu.

Pretzel, “the world’s first platform to provide stream-safe music for livestreamers,” has experienced a more than 600 percent uptick in monthly recurring revenues over the last year, according to the release, and now boasts a catalog featuring north of 12,000 hours’ worth of music. The entity’s existing team will continue to handle day-to-day operations, per Pretzel’s website.

Addressing his company’s Pretzel purchase in a statement, Songtradr CEO Paul Wiltshire said: “Music and gaming has always gone hand in hand and gamers are some of the most engaged and valuable music fans.

“The explosive growth of lifestyle and gaming live streams opens up an array of opportunities for our artists and our clients. We immediately saw the potential for Pretzel’s groundbreaking user experience and rights management technology in our ecosystem and a clear alignment of vision, values and culture.”

Additionally, Pretzel co-founder and CEO Nate Beck touched upon the deal’s broader implications for his company’s position in the quick-expanding licensing space.

“Our goal with Pretzel has always been to allow broadcasters to stream the music they want to listen to, while compensating artists, songwriters, record labels and publishers fairly,” said Beck. “By joining forces with Songtradr, we will be able to accelerate our progress, developing a platform that revolutionizes the way music is licensed.”

Twitch in September of 2020 pivoted from its longstanding policy of issuing DMCA takedown notices to streamers whose videos contain music, launching a pre-cleared song catalog (“Soundtrack by Twitch”) for creators.

But the Amazon subsidiary, unlike Facebook Gaming, has yet to ink licensing deals with the Big Three record labels or Merlin, and multiple music-industry bodies subsequently criticized the solution. Then, Twitch in November of last year encouraged creators to avoid playing recorded music in their streams altogether.

Separately, Grammy-winning jazz professional Maria Schneider is continuing to litigate against YouTube for allegedly discriminating against certain creators with its Content ID program. As part of the roughly nine-month-old complaint, Schneider recently called on the Google-owned platform to disclose a list of the takedown notices it’s received as well as the identities of repeat infringers.