Artist-Advance Startup beatBread Completes $34 Million Seed Round

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Photo Credit: Markus Winkler

Artist-advance startup beatBread has announced the completion of a seed-funding round, which elevated its total capital raised to over $34 million.

San Francisco-headquartered VC Deciens Capital led the multimillion-dollar round, which also drew support from Credit One Bank backer IAG Capital Partners and Wakie stakeholder Afore Capital, among several other fintech-focused investors.

Established in November of 2020, Utah-headquartered beatBread says that it’s provided north of 300 advances to artists and labels thus far, ranging in size from $1,000 to $2 million apiece. Higher-ups issue advances based in part upon applicants’ presence on streaming services, and the startup’s website notes that musicians might not qualify for capital if they “are not getting 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify on a consistent basis.”

Regarding the logistical specifics of said advances, beatBread’s website explains that the company will distribute payments against catalog royalties or compensation from upcoming releases, with applicants selecting the term length and included music. Recipients can purportedly spend the cash as they see fit, and the text likewise emphasizes that the balance on advances won’t increase in size or affect long-term ownership of the underlying IP.

Addressing his company’s raise in a statement, beatBread co-founder and CEO Peter Sinclair described his vision for accessible and non-predatory advances in today’s streaming-driven music industry.

“We are excited to team up with Deciens and other experienced investors to continue to grow and offer more access to flexible capital to more artists,” said the former Universal Music Group SVP of consumer and ecommerce.

“This investment will allow us to expand our feature set and will extend the already large capital pool in beatBread’s invite-only Investor Network. In the legacy music industry, artists were forced to sacrifice control of their career and their masters to access growth capital. Our mission is to enable artists to access capital on their own terms,” he concluded.

During a discussion last year with Steve Stoute – whose UnitedMasters major-label alternative raised $100 million in 2021 – Pharrell Williams compared label advances to “illegal” loans. Also on the non-label advance front, song-play monitor Utopia Music in late October of 2021 purchased Nashville-headquartered artist-advance business Lyric Financial.

Lyric Financial relayed at the time that it had funded over 22,000 advances, with a cumulative value of $100 million. And in the three or so months since the involved companies announced the sale, Switzerland-based Utopia has finalized a number of additional acquisitions.

Worth mentioning in conclusion is that recent weeks have delivered an array of new catalog purchases, and some of the deals include upfront payments for royalty streams. Primary Wave, for instance, purchased a larger stake in Def Leppard’s publishing catalog as well as a piece of the act’s “master royalty income stream” before inking a similar agreement with the estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr.