One of the most prominent developers of do-it-yourself music creation platforms, BandLab Technologies, raised $25 million in Series B1 financing at a valuation of $425 million, the company announced Tuesday (May 23).
The round was led by existing investor Cercano Management – formerly Vulcan Capital, the venture capital arm of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Holding company – with participation from Prosus Ventures, a giant technology investor with a portfolio that includes e-commerce, delivery, fintech and education platforms.
The new funding will allow BandLab to augment its work force, offer more emerging creator campaigns, boost its support services – such as BandLab for Education – the company stated in a press release. Last year, the company raised $65 million in a Series B round that valued BandLab at $315 million – $110 million less than the latest valuation – and was led by Vulcan Capital with participation from Caldecott Music Group and K3 Ventures.
BandLabs Technologies is best known for its namesake platform, BandLab, a mobile-first digital audio workstation with over 60 million registered users. The company also owns the long-running digital audio workstation Cakewalk, which it acquired in 2018; ReverbNation, a 16-year-old independent artist services provider acquired in 2021; and Airbit, a beats marketplace acquired in February.
It competes in a growing category of cloud-based music creation tools that offer a far more simplified user experience than common studio platforms like ProTools. Like BandLab, Soundtrap, acquired by Spotify in 2017, makes creating songs an easy and collaborative process. RapChat boasts more than 10 million music creators on its feature-rich mobile app.
“BandLab serves a vital role in today’s music creation ecosystem, enabling more artists to break through at previously unfathomable levels,” Meng Ru Kuok, BandLab CEO and co-founder, said in a statement to Billboard.” This additional investment amplifies our position in today’s environment to accelerate our vision and deepen meaningful collaborations, bridging the gap between emerging talent and established industry players. We’re ready to double down on our mission, empowering artists at scale.”
Over the last two decades, independent musicians have been given digital tools that markedly lowered the barriers to entry. Digital audio workstations like Apple’s GarageBand gave anybody with an Apple computer the ability to easily record and edit audio files. Digital distribution services such as TuneCore allowed anybody to sell their music online. Now, tools to create music have been simplified to mobile phone apps and artificial intelligence-powered products – such as BandLab’s SongStarter – give the average internet user the ability to make music.
Sometimes, BandLab users have found legitimate chart success using the app’s entry-level toolkit. Last year, “Romantic Homocide,” created on BandLab by 17-year-old Houston artist d4vd, reached No. 45 on Billboard’s Hot 100 after another of his songs “Here With Me” got him signed to Darkroom/Interscrope Records. Also last year, BandLab teamed with Billboard to launch the Bringing BandLab to Billboard portal to help expose its creators to a global audience. Two artists were featured at Billboard.com as a result: The Moon City Masters and Hitha.