Last year, a 17-year-old Houston-based artist named d4vd released “Romantic Homicide,” which he created using BandLab, a Singapore-based social music creation platform. “He recorded a song in his sister’s closet using a stock preset on his mobile phone with Apple earbuds,” says the CEO. meng rue kuok – Stock presets are just one of the many things aspiring musicians can find on BandLab, making it possible for anyone who wants to make music, regardless of their skill set.
“Romantic Homicide” became an example of that ideal: brooding on TikTok, the guitar-hook track caught fire, and d4vd (pronounced “David”) signed to Interscope, with the song peaking at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Meng says of d4vd, “I was cheering him on.” “We’re very excited and rewarded when people go other places, whether they stay independent or are signed by a major label.”
BandLab, which was founded in 2015, does not receive royalties from the music produced on its platform. Instead, the company earns money on artist services (which include distribution, livestreaming and BandLab Boost), which allows it to convert their profiles or postings on the platform into advertisements in order to better reach BandLab’s 50 million registered users. .
Meng, 34, has been aggressively expanding BandLab’s assets, which are grouped under the holding company Caldecott Music Group. Along with instrument manufacturing and sales (including Michigan-based Heritage Guitars and Swee Lee, Asia’s largest musical instrument retailer), Caldecott has editorial properties such as Guitar.com, not cut And nme, (BandLab acquired 49% Rolling stone in 2016 before being sold to Penske Media in 2019. Boardis the parent company of.) In September, Board And BandLab launched the Bringing BandLab to Billboard portal to expose emerging artists to a global audience.
“On a day-to-day basis, it’s not only divided geographically, but also mentally in terms of all those regions,” Meng says.
In November 2021, BandLab announced the acquisition of independent artist platform ReverbNation from its parent company eMinor. And in April, it announced that it had raised $65 million in Series B funding, bringing the platform’s valuation to above $300 million. BandLab envisions a different kind of future – short songs created by anyone, using presets or artificial intelligence (AI) – with the idea that the more music that exists, from instrument cases to advertising, the more it The range of offerings is equally needed. , Meng says the business is “gangbusters” in terms of focusing on the product and improving the experiences we bring.
Do you feel that d4vd’s success has validated your business model?
Yes, it is very beneficial. We have seen such news happening at a rapid rate. Earlier this year, we were treated to an amazing viral success with an incredibly talented young rapper. He was 13 when he started making music on BandLab. He is just 14 years old. His name is Cl4pers. He has 1.2 billion views on his hashtag on TikTok alone. It’s not just viral success but incredible talent – like d4vd, like Cl4pers – who, prior to BandLab, weren’t making music with the capabilities that their creativity would have afforded them. D4vd is now signed to Interscope Records and [its artist development/management joint venture] darkroom and has transformed his personal career and his family’s life. Millions of people around the world have heard his songs and really connected with it. It’s really special, and it just reminds us of what we’re doing every day, beyond just building a great business that we’re excited about.
What are the numbers behind that growth in BandLab?
Our last public figure we shared, we have over 50 million registered users worldwide. More than 16,17 crore songs are being created in a month on BandLab. I still feel like we’re just starting a small stage. We have 80 full time employees, 140 if you include all the team members around the world. It’s grown relatively quickly, and we have a lot of hiring plans to expand even further over the next six to 12 months.
Do creators get royalties?
Yes, it goes to the cast. We do not take a position on the rights of artists. There’s a big movement, obviously, of independent creators having complete control over what they own. This is really important to us. We are focused on empowering artists. Music is his material. So if they’re distributed by BandLab or ReverbNation or TuneCore, CD Baby, DistroKid, they’re generating their own royalties – that’s one way they can make money off their music. The artist gets 100%. that’s what we do.
You don’t take commission?
not us. In fact, we have a lot of Creator Economy features on BandLab. For example, a person can tip users on BandLab in their profile. We allow users to subscribe to other users such as Patreon or OnlyFans. We have features where artists can sell their tracks and albums, for example, similar to the iTunes Store or Bandcamp, and the artist keeps 100%. We don’t take any commission from artists’ earnings after the processing fee; Stripe and PayPal are involved in that transaction. We don’t cut out for the maker economy as a platform. We believe that monetizing artists is very important. Especially in the United States, you guys are taxed substantially. They don’t need more taxes than a stage above.
How do you make your cut?
We’re focused on empowering artists with something that’s accessible and free, and truly democratized music. What Apple did with GarageBand was obviously an incredible advance in the democratization of music creation, but 80% of the world uses Android. Being able to buy an iPhone is already out of reach for many people around the world. We don’t believe that people’s creativity or ability to make music or express themselves should be limited by their spending power or their knowledge of songwriting.
Where we make our money is really in artist services. If you’re spending to distribute your music to Spotify, Apple Music, if you’re running a promotional campaign – to promote your music or help develop your career as an artist – that’s it. That’s where we charge. We have a subscription service that we just announced. We have a BandLab Boost membership. We also have ReverbNation services that come via subscription and various a la carte services.
Does your business also offer royalty-free music packages?
We provide royalty free samples. BandLab Sounds is one of our specialties: we collaborate with artists, commissioning their own sample packs for people to use in their music-making. And they are provided royalty-free – loop samples, one shot, which are used by musicians around the world to create music. We also have an AI feature called SongStarter that helps generate royalty-free song ideas for people to start their songwriting process.
All music on BandLab is original music and original content. We are very strict and pro rights owner as we are trying to protect creators and all rights holders. This is something we take very seriously with regards to licensing. It is about the protection of rights holders both on platform and off platform.
Do you train your AI to mimic popular human artists?
No we do not.
In the United States, the presumption based on the Copyright Office is that only works by human authors can be copyrighted. Who owns the copyright to AI-generated parts of songs?
Content developed from and through our AI Songstarter tool is owned by the user.
Do you provide marketing services?
We provide a wide range of services not only through BandLab but also through our ancillary services. We acquired ReverbNation last year, which allows you to run third-party ad campaigns on sites like Board, nme And Rolling stone, For example, they can buy campaigns and centralize their music for promotion on Instagram, Facebook, and videos released on YouTube. We recently announced the start of the rollout of BandLab Boost, which allows users to boost their posts and their profiles on the BandLab network for a fee.
Do you have relationships with streaming services?
Absolutely. we are not [digital service provider], We believe that there are platforms that do their job incredibly well. We are here to empower the music that ends up on these platforms. Obviously we have business relationships, like our distribution relationships, but also where we can funnel exciting talent that blows up on their platform.
Who do you see as a rival?
I’ve been asked this question a bunch. BandLab is creating a whole new category of platform. There are a few services out there that do similar things, but our overall view on the ecosystem is that music is collaborative. Naturally, it’s not just about the tools – it’s about the collaboration, it’s about the different effects when people get together. Services also need to cooperate. At the same time, we work closely with other platforms that outsiders may see as competitors. There are many ways that platforms like BandLab can have relationships through affiliate partnerships as a funnel to other services. There are many businesses that have the full suite of tools that we have as BandLab, and it is our main objective to work together with all of them. If the market for music grows and the market for creators grows, everyone benefits.
How has BandLab and other companies and applications changed the democratization of music creation?
Hurdles to hit are now more accessible to fundamentally anyone. To do this, you do not have to have a long education or engineering degree. A lot of this is being fueled by short-form videos and the shift in the music industry where a hit song is no longer three minutes long but 10 to 30 seconds – which is really creepy and meaningful at the same time.