Music startups have raised $350m+ to help artists go viral

Startups are giving artists the music-making and audience outreach tools to blow up on TikTok and Spotify.


July 9, 2021

In the annals of internet-enabled stardom, Justin Bieber’s journey from a 12-yearold YouTube musician to global icon ranks up there.

The “next” Justin Bieber will most likely be found on TikTok, the viral short video platform.

The app — which is dominated by 10-to-30-second videos — has even influenced musicians to make shorter songs in an attempt to break through.

A number of music-related startups…

… have raised $350m+ to help independent, aspiring artists blow up on TikTok (and competing services like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels), per The Information.

These include:

  • Rapchat: An online recording studio for rappers
  • Splice: Music production tools and a library of royalty-free beats
  • Music Breakr: A marketplace connecting artists with social media influencers (that can help a song go viral)
  • UnitedMasters: A platform that helps artists distribute songs to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music

Going viral on TikTok is no joke

A number of songs have topped streaming charts after breaking out on TikTok:

  • Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”
  • Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License”
  • 24kGoldn’s “Mood”

And who can forget the viral cranberry-drinking skateboarder who sent a Fleetwood Mac album back onto the Billboard charts for the 1st time in 4 decades.

Music industry is almost back to its peak

Sales of recorded music — with streaming accounting for 83% of the pie — hit $12B in 2020, +9.2% YoY.

This is the 5th straight year of growth, putting the industry near its record revenue of $14.6B in 1999.

Whether or not this industry momentum actually produces the next Bieber, it’s safe to say “Despacito” will always be the best summer song ever.

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