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The Deals: BandLab Raises Funding, Audacy Partners With Hard Rock

In this week's roundup of industry business deals: BandLab raises funding, Audacy partners with Hard Rock International and more.

 

BandLab, a Singapore-based social music platform, announced its first funding round to involve outside investors. Led by Vulcan Capital with notable participation from K3 Ventures as well as existing investor Caldecott Music Group, the $53 million round will allow BandLab to expand its team, along with refining and growing its offerings to music creators and aspiring artists worldwide.

“Our vision is a future where there are no barriers to making and sharing music, in particular among independent musicians and creators, and among mobile-first users, the billions with smartphones and original musical ideas,” said BandLab CEO & co-founder Meng Ru Kuok. “We’re not only doubling down on our market leading creator tools, but also prioritizing compensation for artists and protection for rights holders. If creators aren’t being paid fairly, it’s a major barrier to their development and growth as artists.” 

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Tommy Teo, managing director and head of Southeast Asia at Vulcan Capital, added, “With a passionate community of millions worldwide, BandLab has an incredible track record of providing innovative and meaningful tools for music creators and artists globally, not only to primary markets like the US, but extending far beyond into developing and underserved markets as well. With accessibility, creativity, and collaboration at their core, we strongly believe in their vision for the future of music creation, and are excited to embark on this journey as a partner.” 


Audacy announced a multi-faceted partnership with Hard Rock International, the global brand with venues in nearly 70 countries and 249 locations that include owned, licensed or managed hotels, casinos, shops, live performance venues and cafes. As part of the deal, Audacy and Hard Rock will partner on live events at a new performance space in New York City, as well as at music festivals and Hard Rock Cafe events around the country.

Last week, Hard Rock became the exclusive partner for Audacy Beach Festival in Fort Lauderdale. Next spring, Audacy will hold events at Hard Rock Live at the flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, including a new concert event, Leading Ladies Live, to celebrate country music’s female stars. Audacy and Hard Rock will also partner on existing festivals, including Tortuga Music Festival in conjunction with Live Nation.

Audacy and Hard Rock Cafe will additionally host a series of annual events at Hard Rock Cafe locations worldwide, including multiple private concerts at the Cafe in Nashville, as well as music industry events in both Nashville and New York City. In Spring 2022, Hard Rock Hotels will debut a new property on Music Row just outside of Times Square that will highlight the brand partnership – an Audacy Live performance studio and entertainment hub.

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with Hard Rock International,” said David Field, Audacy chairman, president and CEO. “The collaboration brings together two organizations that support music, artists and powerful fan experiences. We are excited to dive into the full slate of projects we will bring to life together.”

“Hard Rock and Audacy are brands synonymous with world class entertainment and music,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman and CEO. “This collaboration will translate into a powerful entertainment offering for music fans by two brands who know how to do it best.”


Tracklib, a service for sampling and licensing original music, announced a partnership with Repost, the distribution and creator services division of SoundCloud, to make Repost’s professional marketing and monetization service a preferred distributor on the Tracklib platform.

Through the partnership, creators and producers will be able to distribute their Tracklib-sampled tracks, all while their streaming revenue is reported automatically to Tracklib and paid to the right parties, leveraging Repost by SoundCloud’s automated payment splits feature. This aims to simplify the process and support fast and easy automated digital revenue payment, meaning creators and producers can spend less time with revenue reporting. Tracklib is currently the only sampling platform to support automated royalty payments with vetted distributors.

“Tracklib is pleased to partner with Repost by SoundCloud to refine, simplify and further automate the process of clearing samples,” said CEO & co-founder Pӓr Almqvist. “We look forward to continuing making improvements in the industry with Repost by SoundCloud. SoundCloud has always been an important and creator-first platform, so this partnership resonates well with us.”

“At SoundCloud we are fundamentally impressed with the problem that Tracklib is solving for artists and producers around sample licensing,” said Jeff Ponchick, vice president and head of creator at SoundCloud. “Tracklib’s offering is the ideal complement for Repost by SoundCloud creators to have access to, and we look forward to working alongside them to help drive revenue for artists in a new and compelling way.”


The IPO Group and VEVO have entered into a direct partnership that exclusively allows VEVO to distribute artists’ music videos from the label via YouTube and VEVO’s TV/Broadcast Network. The first artist signed to the deal is rising artist Malcs, who also signed a wide-spanning management deal with IPO that includes distribution through The IPO Group’s music division, IPO Records. Malcs will be the first artist to release music videos under the IPO x VEVO Partnership; he is scheduled to premiere two videos from his upcoming project titled The Rest Is History.

“We are extremely excited to partner with VEVO to expand the reach and visibility for IPO artists when it comes to music videos and content,” said IPO’s executive vp and general manager Mulu Habtemariam.


Short-form video app Rizzle announced today that it has partnered with SongClip to provide its creators with access to popular music. This is the first of Rizzle’s major music partnerships with SongClip, which is part of an effort to empower end-users to deepen their engagement with popular music on the platform. Users will gain access to hundreds of thousands of songs from varying genres, including Warner Music Group’s wide-ranging library of popular music.

“We are thrilled to partner with SongClip and bring popular music to Rizzle,” said Vidya Narayanan, co-founder and CEO of Rizzle. “Rizzle’s Filmi and Rimix features bring exciting novelty in terms of using music and creating differentiated videos. Short series creators now have a unique opportunity to incorporate popular music in their content to create highly immersive vertical video content on the phone, and we can’t wait to see what music brings to Rizzle!”

“The amazing thing about today’s video platforms is that literally anyone can be a creator of high quality short-form content. The advancement of technology and licensing, as with the proprietary Songclip API, are breaking down walls to using popular music and other professional content,” said John vanSuchtelen, co-founder and co-CEO of SongClip. “Rizzle puts this into overdrive by helping give voice to traditionally underrepresented creators. We are proud to play a small part in making this possible.”


Mixhalo, the company whose wireless networking technology delivers high-quality audio in real-time to attendees at live events, announced a $24 million Series B round led by funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC.

Mixhalo was conceptualized by Incubus guitarist and songwriter Mike Einziger and violinist Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger, who wanted to give every fan in venues the same stellar sound musicians hear through in-ear monitors while performing. The new funding will be used to scale up all aspects of the business, from engineering and marketing to growing the team.

Mixhalo has also made a series of key engineering hires and appointed veteran tech lawyer Dana Jewell as its general counsel. She has decades of legal experience, having worked for companies such as Dell and eBay. Jewell will work closely with the commercial team to close new deals, drive Mixhalo’s intellectual property strategy, build out compliance infrastructure and mitigate risk as the company continues to grow.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for the entertainment industry, but we’ve persevered by staying focused on improving our product while securing key partnerships along the way,” said John Vars, CEO of Mixhalo. “Now that live sports and entertainment have returned, and we have a fresh $24 million in the bank, we can reinforce our ranks with incredible talents like Dana who will help us unlock the magic of Mixhalo and delight fans everywhere.”

L-Acoustics, an industry staple in premium sound reinforcement and immersive technologies for live events, enters as another new major investor and exclusive professional audio partner. Mixhalo’s Series A investors also contributed to the round, including Foundry Group, Sapphire Sport, Founders Fund, Defy Partners and Another Planet Entertainment.

“We believe that Mixhalo will fundamentally transform the future of live events, and we’re excited to invest in them to make this future a reality,” said Ivan Yee, managing director of Fortress Investment Group and co-CEO of TSX Entertainment. “Personalized, immersive, premium experiences are what fans want at live events. Mixhalo delivers on that.”

“Investing in Mixhalo as a strategic partner was a no-brainer for us; not only do we believe in the product, but we share the same vision of elevating the listener experience,” said Laurent Vaissié, CEO of L-Acoustics. “With endless opportunities to collaborate and co-develop hybrid solutions together, from sports venues to immersive concert experiences, we look forward to shaping the future of live sound with Mixhalo.”


Audible Magic announced a partnership with global music technology platform Vydia, which allows Audible to expand its catalog of new music to its customers through social networks, gaming and fitness platforms.

Vydia has a library of global talent and independent artists, and adding Audible Magic to their ongoing list of distribution channels will further enable discovery and engagement opportunities for creators while maintaining the correct metadata and licensing. Audible Magic provides platforms with a fully integrated solution for music management, including licensing, fulfillment, rights administration and content identification.

On the partnership, Vydia’s head of strategic partnerships Jenna Tirico Nilsen said, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Audible Magic to help them achieve their aim of providing breakthrough music solutions around the world. We are delighted to be a part of their efforts to develop products that solve the demands of the ever-changing music and entertainment industry.”

“We are excited to work with Vydia to provide new opportunities for their artists,” added Vance Ikezoye, CEO of Audible Magic. “Access to great music is key for our customers as they build compelling user experiences to grow their audiences, whether it is for an exercise class, a social media post, or a gaming experience. We are happy to enable that to happen through our fulfillment and rights management services.”