Songfinch, the music tech startup focused on personalized songs just had a $2 million seed round. Investors include The Weeknd, XO Records CEO Sal Slaiby, and Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman.
On Songfinch, fans order personalized songs for $199. Users select the style of their song and share stories to shape the lyrics. Songfinch then matches users with an artist who writes and records the song for the user. Customers get a personal use license in perpetuity, but they can’t monetize the song.
The platform has constraints: Songfinch users can’t choose specific artists and prices are fixed at $199. Constraints can be good in the early startup days though. Internally, they help startups focus less on features and more on customers. Externally, they heighten user creativity and set the tone with early adopters. Today’s biggest social platforms have benefitted from early constraints.
Cameo for songs. As Songfinch grows though, there’s an opportunity to build a marketplace where fans choose artists and artists set their own rates. This will attract fans who want personalized songs from specific artists and attract artists who are willing to make songs for more money. Given the major record label execs now backing Songfinch, this expansion seems inevitable.
This would be a similar model to Cameo, the personalized video message platform that blew up in 2020. It generated over $100 million in gross merchandise value and earned 30% from each transaction.
The risk for Songfinch is if Cameo moves first. In my Trapital Podcast chat with CEO Steven Galanis, he said that audio is on the roadmap. It already has artists on its platform, which is the hard part. If Cameo wants to accelerate its timeline, it could acquire Songfinch.
The disintermediation of music. The personalized music marketplace—whether it’s Songfinch, Cameo, or Downrite — is another example of disintermediation in the music industry. Fans paying artists directly to make songs looks like a toy now, but watch! There’s potential here.
Artists can use these services to collaborate on mixtapes with a select group of diehard fans with a high willingness to pay. If the money is right, it can be a meaningful revenue stream. Remember, Beyonce got paid a rumored eight figures to perform at a private wedding in India and earned $6 million in Uber equity after a private performance in 2015.
If fans will pay artists big money for private gigs, they will pay directly for exclusive music too.
Read more about Songfinch in Rolling Stone.
P.S. – notice how startups funding announcements look like music festival posters? Startups are gonna buy songs to announce funding rounds. I know. It sounds ridiculous. But hey my job is to give you a heads up on these things.