Sofar Sounds raises $25m — but will performers see any dough?

The startup Sofar Sounds, which hosts small concerts in people’s homes, raised $25m -- but the artists powering the platform often take home just $100 per show.

May 23, 2019

Sofar Sounds, host of secret in-home music gigs around the world, raised $25M.

Surprise living room jam seshes? Very cool… for everyone except the musicians, that is.

Sofar, a self-styled supporter of local artists, generally pays bands $100 per show and pockets the remaining $1k to $2k from tickets.

Like Uber, the startup has been criticized for perpetuating the underpayment of those workers so integral to company success.

Ticket sales are musicians’ bread and butter these days

In today’s streaming age, artists rely increasingly on live performances for earnings. But Sofar is paying peanuts, while simultaneously pulling viewers away from the higher-paying venues.

One musician roasted Sofar for “not-so-delicately wedging themselves in-between the customer and merchant” in a model where “everything but the service-provider is put first.”

Can’t pay for gas with exposure alone

Sofar CEO Jim Lucchese maintains that artist payout largely comes in the form of exposure and fan conversion (…TYSM, I’ll go deposit that into my account today).

Lucchese says the recent funding inflow will be used to improve the situation. Cue the waiting music.

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