25 Soaring Music Technology Startups

by Josh Howarth - August 12, 2021

According to the IFPI, the music industry grew by 7.4% last year (reaching $21.6B.) This represents the sixth consecutive year that the industry grew.

The IFPI cites streaming platforms, the blockchain and the continued rise of networking platforms as the main drivers behind this consistent growth.

This list presents 25 trending startups that are making an impact on the music space.

1. SoundBridge

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5-year search growth: 100%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2014

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Funding: Undisclosed (Accelerator)

What they do: SoundBridge is a digital audio workstation designed to be accessible. While building the workstation, the company had one thing in mind, “deliver a super simple workstation that anybody can use.” SoundBridge’s only round of funding to date has come from Northeastern University when it joined its venture accelerator.

2. Volta

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5-year search growth: 46%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: London, England

Funding: $460K (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Volta combines music with virtual reality. This allows artists to create mixed reality experiences and performances. Another unique Volta feature is that artists can broadcast their events from the app into streaming platforms, such as YouTube and Twitch. The platform is still in its testing phase and users can join a waitlist to get early access.

3. Corite

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5-year search growth: 400%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Corite operates a digital music streaming platform. What separates Corite from big streaming media, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc., is that it also serves as a crowdfunding space for music projects. For instance, an up-and-coming artist can post a campaign asking for funds for a new project. Fans can then invest in the campaign, and if it is a success, they get a share of the campaign’s earnings. Corite is also trying to launch a cryptocurrency. Their $CO token already raised $2.2M in pre-sales.

4. OneOf

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5-year search growth: 143%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Miami, Florida

Funding: $10M (Seed)

What they do: OneOf is a cooperative community for artists and fans. With a $0 minting cost, OneOf offers musical artists a way to create their digital assets at low prices and minimal environmental damage.

5. UnitedMasters

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5-year search growth: 99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: New York, New York

Funding: $120M (Series B)

What they do: UnitedMasters is a music distribution and marketing service. Artists can release their music right from iMessage into all major streaming platforms. The New York-based startup also helps artists connect to major brands such as Apple Music, the NBA, Bose, the NFL, and more.

6. AlphaBeats

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5-year search growth: 900%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands

Funding: Undisclosed (Seed)

What they do: AlphaBeats combines music with healthcare to deliver a stress-management platform. The application can measure a person’s stress level and play music to relax the brain. AlphaBeats separates itself from other similar platforms by allowing users to relax with their favorite music rather than simply providing pre-set sounds. This is made possible by the startup’s intelligent algorithm that augments songs to make them more relaxing. According to the startup, their platform makes music 3 times more comfortable than other solutions.

7. Storyblocks

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5-year search growth: 8000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2009

Location: Arlington, Virginia

Funding: $18.5M (Debt)

What they do: Storyblocks is a stock media marketplace. Artists can create music and can sell it through the platform. Buyers can then use their content for personal or commercial projects. Last year, the company announced they accepted an offer to be acquired by Great Hill Partners for an undisclosed amount.

8. Q Department

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5-year search growth: 75%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2003

Location: New York, New York

Funding: Undisclosed (Debt – PPP)

What they do: Q Department is a music production studio. Specifically, the company produces sound designs used in video projects. Combining the latest production tech with a team full of creatives, Q Department has won multiple AICP awards for its sound design on three VR films they collaborated on.

9. Tunify

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5-year search growth: 133%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2000

Location: Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

Funding: $4.73M (Later Stage VC)

What they do: Tunify has created software that personalizes playlists. The software is intended to help businesses quickly stream the correct type of music for their image. Initially, users answer some questions that allow the algorithm to recognize what type of business it is. Then, based on the answers to the questions, the software comes up with a tailored playlist that can stream immediately. Tunify’s clients can choose from three software packages, depending on the features they need.

10. Riyaz

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5-year search growth: 525%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Karnataka, India

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Riyaz is a music education platform designed to help users improve their singing. The platform can listen to a user’s singing voice and provide unbiased, instant feedback. Their excellent 4.7 stars and 4.5 stars rating on App Store and Play Store, respectively, has allowed the startup to amass over 2 million users.

11. Vertigo Media

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5-year search growth: 50%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2012

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Funding: $24M (Angel)

What they do: Vertigo Media’s vision is to “make it easier to bond with friends over the music you love, even when miles apart.” To make their vision a reality, the startup has created a mobile app that can play music while users are taking part in live video or chat. To ensure legal compliance, Vertigo Media plays music directly from the streaming platform the user has linked to the startup’s app. To date, the company has raised money only from angel investors.

12. Metronaut

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5-year search growth: 475%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Paris, France

Funding: $63M (Seed)

What they do: Metronaut is a music education platform. Instead of focusing on improving a user’s voice, the platform is intended to help people master the musical instrument of their choice. The startup’s application goes beyond just digital music sheets by providing annotation capabilities and tempo selection. Metronaut has already been selected as Apple’s “App of the Day” in over 120 countries.

13. Sunhouse

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5-year search growth: 117%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Long Island, New York

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Sunhouse has developed a technology they call “Sensory Percussion” that, simply put, supercharges your drum set. This allows drummers to control melodies and harmonies, add orchestra and combine samples from different songs, all on their drum set. The technology is powered and supported by artificial intelligence, sensors and signal technology. Having come out of New York University’s venture incubator, Sunhouse is backed by Backstage Capital, Magic Carpet and Futureworks.

14. Epidemic Sound

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5-year search growth: 341%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2009

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $476.12M (PE Growth)

What they do: Epidemic Sound is a cloud-based music library. It offers a catalog of music tracks that can be used in different digital media projects. Instead of buying the rights to a single track, users can subscribe to Epidemic Sound’s library and get legal rights to over 35,000 tracks and over 90,000 sound effects. Although the $1.4B-valued startup is still burning money, it reported a 49% YoY revenue growth in 2020.

15. Tracklib

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5-year search growth: 99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $12.31M (Later Stage VC)

What they do: Tracklib is a library that allows content creators to sample music for their projects. For $5.99 a month, users get licensed download access to over 100,000 songs and tracks. The platform has attracted significant music personalities varying from platinum artists such as J Cole to Grammy-winning producers such as Questlove.

16. Indify

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5-year search growth: 1566%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Armonk, New York

Funding: $4.35M (Seed)

What they do: Indify is a networking platform designed to connect music artists with music investors. Artists use the platform to seek funding for their new singles or albums. In exchange, investors get a share of the revenue coming from the project. Additionally, the startup incorporates artificial intelligence to analyze data and generate a ranking of upcoming artists. The algorithm was able to flag and pinpoint big names such as Khalid, Post Malone and Billie Eilish before they “blew up.”

17. Artiphon

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5-year search growth: 1300%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2011

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Funding: Undisclosed (Later Stage VC)

What they do: Artiphon is the manufacturer of Orba, a MIDI controller that helps artists create songs. The controller can interpret tapping, waving and sliding. And can seamlessly switch between violin, piano, drums and guitar. Artiphon has raised $1M in pre-orders to date.

18. Heir Apparent

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5-year search growth: 20%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Los Angeles, California

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Heir Apparent is a music discovery application. Artists upload their projects into the application. And fans vote on projects that they enjoy. Songs that get positive feedback are rewarded with tangible rewards, as well as clout. Heir Apparent’s rewards are powered by its own digital currency called Crown. The startup’s project is still in its testing phase.

19. Audius

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5-year search growth: 4300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $9.9M (Series A)

What they do: Audius is basically SoundCloud on the blockchain. The platform is governed by the $AUDIO token that gives users voting rights regarding the future of Audius. The startup is backed by world-renewed artists such as deadmau5, who serves as an advisor.

20. Aoede

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5-year search growth: 5200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Fujian, China

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Aoedes is a blockchain-powered music library. Users can announce, consume and license music within the platform. Furthermore, the startup’s blockchain means that artists can create and share music without the risk of piracy or unlicensed use.

21. Sonarworks

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5-year search growth: 79%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012

Location: Riga, Latvia

Funding: $28.59M (Later Stage VC)

What they do: Sonarworks is sound calibration software. It allows users to calibrate sounds and adjust the music they listen to depending on their preferences. For creators, the software calibrates their speakers and headphones so that artists can hear their music at the highest quality possible. Their award-winning technology has been used by over 45 Grammy-winning artists and producers.

22. Songfinch

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5-year search growth: 344%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Funding: $2M (Seed)

What they do: Songfinch is a service that generates personalized songs.. Users can go into the platform and request a song for an event (i.e., an anniversary) and the startup’s artists will create a piece suited to that occasion. Songfinch collaborates with artists who have played in over 10,000 concerts and have over 200M streams on different platforms.

23. Qrates

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5-year search growth: 89%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Qrates offers artists an end-to-end vinyl service. Artists can use the startup’s services to press their vinyl, access a global retail network, use their customer support, and more. Another important aspect is that artists keep up to 85% of the profits they generate.

24. Humit

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5-year search growth: 500%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Karnataka, India

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they do: Humit is a music sharing and discovery application. The application is fully integrated with Spotify, meaning that users can share snippets of all songs on the Spotify platform. To make Humit more accessible, the startup is looking to integrate with Apple Music, Amazon Music and other popular streaming platforms.

25. Songtradr

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5-year search growth: 1042%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Santa Monica, California

Funding: $101.07M (Series D)

What they do: Songtradr is a music licensing marketplace. What makes Songtradr different from other similar startups is that it is B2B-focused. Instead of allowing everybody to get access to licensed music, Songtradr is intended to connect artists with brands, labels and other digital platforms. The $300M-valued startup saw a 100% YoY revenue growth in 2020. And according to Songtradr’s executives, the company is positioned to achieve similar growth in 2021 as well.

Conclusion

This concludes our list of music and music technology startups worth keeping an eye on.

As seen from our list, startups competing in this sector are building the marketplaces, platforms, infrastructure and instruments that are changing how music is created, listened to, shared and financed.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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