Blockchain Music-Investment Platform Royal Raises $55 Million From Nas, The Chainsmokers, Kygo, and Others

The Chainsmokers in 2015. Photo Credit: Love This City TV

Music-investment platform Royal.io has raised $55 million in a Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz, with support from The Chainsmokers, Kygo, Nas, and other artists.

Royal just recently took to social media and Medium to announce the multimillion-dollar funding round, which arrives about six months after the company debuted. Co-founded by former UBS and Credit Suisse junior analyst Justin Blau, who releases music as 3LAU, Royal previously raised $16 million in seed funding, for a post-Series A total of roughly $71 million in capital to date.

Regarding the full list of Royal investors, the startup – which bills itself as “a platform that allows anyone to purchase the right to earn royalties from their favorite songs” – has received backing from Logic, Stefflon Don, Joyner Lucas, and Disclosure on the creator side, besides the initially mentioned parties. Plus, Paradigm, Connect Ventures (a project from CAA and NEA), Crush Music, the Founders Fund, and Coinbase Ventures likewise contributed to the massive raise.

As an aside, it bears mentioning that Nas cashed in on an early Coinbase investment back in April. Plus, The Chainsmokers – who co-launched NFT marketplace YellowHeart and provided a statement for Royal’s Series A release – have set an image of a Bored Ape Yacht Club character as their social-media profile picture.

Royal intends to put the $55 million tranche towards investing “in the growth of its ecosystem,” as north of 120,000 artists, “from household names to up-and-comers,” have applied to the platform since late August, per execs. Royal’s “artist submission” page includes 15 questions, relating to music-ownership figures, distribution specifics, and more.

The release also reiterates that 3LAU last month “gave away 333 limited digital assets (Royal’s extended version of an NFT) representing 50% streaming ownership in his latest single, ‘Worst Case.’” This track has since “reached an implied value of over $6m with fans holding half of the value,” according to the text, while “the tokens have traded over $650k in secondary market volume.”

“Connecting artists directly with fans as royalty owners creates a deeper connection with aligned incentives, providing numerous advantages for everyone involved and flipping the legacy music business model upside down,” Royal’s release proceeds, before stating that its own business model affords fans “access to opportunities that traditionally have only been available to major labels, hedge funds and highly-connected individuals.”

On the latter front, it’s worth noting that Andreessen Horowitz in late October led major-label alternative UnitedMasters’ most recent funding round. Finally, Republic Records owner Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit against investment platform OpenDeal (which operates as Republic) about two weeks ago, claiming that the defendant’s recent entry into the music space constitutes trademark infringement.

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