The digital music business just got a fresh jolt of star power: Queen Latifah has invested in New York-based startup Indaba and joined its board of directors. Indaba is an online networking and collaboration tool that allows people to create and share their music.
Latifah's investment came at the end of Indaba's last round of financing that ended at the end of 2010, according to Chief Operating Officer Matthew L. Siegel. The company did not disclose the amount but characterizes Latifah as a "major investor."
Having Latifah on board can has the potential to be an important point of differentiation in a market that also includes startups like SoundCloud as well as a wide range of digital audio workstation products. "She has a great reputation and extensive experience working with brands, all of which will be helpful to Indaba in its marketing," Siegel tells Billboard.
The company has worked with a number of well-known artists and companies, often through remix contests. For example, Linkin Park and Myspace Music partnered with Indaba for a remix contest in July. Current TV is currently working with Indaba so users can submit original music for use in an episode of the show "Bar Karma."
Launched in 2007, Indaba has grown from 380,000 members at the beginning of 2010 to its current tally of 560,000, according to Siegel. It offers three levels of members: the free "basic" level, the $50-per-year "Pro" level and the $250-per-year "Platinum" level. The higher levels of service allow members to enter more contests, enjoy higher storage capacities and sell their music through iTunes and a personalized storefront.