Self-described “web3-native music and economic tools” suite Sound.xyz has announced a multimillion-dollar raise and made its previously limited-access platform available to all artists.
Two-year-old Sound detailed the sizable funding round and the opening of its tools today, via a formal release that was emailed to DMN. Having announced a $5 million seed raise in December of 2021, the metaverse service has now pulled down another $20 million in an a16z Crypto-led Series A.
Additional participants in the just-revealed round include Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew, OpenSea backer Scalar Capital, POAP and Character.AI stakeholder A.Capital, “crypto-focused venture fund” Collab + Currency, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Coop Records, Crush Ventures, Coinbase, longtime crypto enthusiast Snoop Dogg, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, “Sicko Mode” producer Tay Keith, and former Def Jam head Paul Rosenberg, among others.
Sound.xyz plans to utilize the $20 million tranche to pursue its goal of becoming “the home of music discovery on the internet.” Expanding upon the point, the startup likewise touted itself as a means of helping “every musician to break free from the broken economics of streaming” and said that it had “generated $5.5 million in revenue for a select group of creators” during the past year.
Now, as initially noted, the entity’s officially opened its tools to all artists, who execs are encouraging to release music NFTs.
Doing so will per the company enable participating acts to “see exactly who supported” them and secure “instant” royalty payments (with an ostensibly seamless option to facilitate collaborator splits) – all while retaining “100% of master and publishing rights.”
And on the fan side, higher-ups have billed Sound’s offerings as an opportunity to “discover the hottest new music releases by rising independent artists” and to receive payments for “making playlists and sharing links to your favorite songs.” (Complete with charts and more, the service itself resembles and largely functions like other streaming platforms – albeit with options for users to comment on and purchase NFTs of artists’ work.)
Moving forward, it’ll be worth closely monitoring the reach and buildout of Sound.xyz, the core idea behind which isn’t too different from the streaming-reform calls voiced by the major labels in recent months.
After years of allegedly cheapening music and neglecting the long-term development of acts while prioritizing short-term profits above all else, the Big Three have during 2023 presented themselves as defenders of and advocates for artistry.
To be sure, with artificial intelligence pumping out song after song (some approved, others unauthorized), for instance, Universal Music Group is reportedly coordinating with Tidal, Deezer, and even SoundCloud on a royalty-reform initiative.
Additionally, May saw Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer complain of streaming services’ “low quality and meaningless volume,” and Atlantic Equities in June downgraded the stock of Warner Music Group due to the “rapid development of AI-created music.”