Audiam, a start-up that helps artists identify and monetize user-uploaded YouTube videos that feature their music, on Friday announced it has raised $500,000 in angel financing to fuel its expansion into the U.S. market.
Investors include Scott Schreer, the Chief Executive of TuneSat, Tom Cohen of PTC Advisors, serial entrepreneur Jonathan Siegel and Chris Woods, TuneSat’s Chief Operating Officer.
The company initially launched as a beta service in Canada on June 12. It introduced its service in the U.S. on July 23.
Audiam already has collected in excess of $50,000 on behalf of more than 1,000 artists signed up, including Jason Mraz, who see the company as a convenient solution to monetizing their copyrighted content on YouTube, whose platform is watched by more than 1 billion viewers a month. The company finds YouTube videos that use an artist’s music, claiming them on behalf of the artist so that ads can be placed against the videos. In exchange, Audiam takes a 25% cut of the advertising revenue generated by videos that it finds. The company can also manage artists’ own YouTube videos, passing through 100% of all ad revenues for those videos back to the artist.
"YouTube is just an exploding opportunity for musicians," said Woods in an interview with Billboard. "It had $4 billion in ad revenue last year, and that's growing to to $5 billion this year. There's a need for a company like Audiam to watch out for the interests of independent musicians" who don't have the resources to monitor YouTube content for videos that use their music.
The company, headed by TuneCore co-founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells, also announced it has hired David C. Willen, who was Chief Web Architect for Avon and has worked as Chief Technology Officer for TuneCore, TheStreet.com and Barnes & Noble. In addition, Audiam has hired Michael Gavigan and Bryan Hoffman as Directors of Artist Licensing, Royalties & Administration. Gavigan worked at RightsFlow before it was acquired by YouTube in December 2011. Hoffman had worked as a researcher at YouTube, locating publisher and royalty data for unclaimed videos.