UK based music platform Playful has developed a service that makes it easier for content creators to find quality free music to use in their videos posted on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and others. With over 500,000 users on board, the startup announces the closing of its £4.6m (US$6.15m) Series A funding round to help further grow its business.
Uppbeat was developed by Lewis Foster and Matt Russell, the UK-based co-founders of another music licensing company, Music Vine. The founders realized there was an opportunity to put their expertise to work to meet the growing need to offer a free music resource for the creator space. Today, more than 100 million people share content on social platforms, but there weren’t many great options for free, but high-quality music, the founders believed.
First launching in January 2021, Uppbeat helps eliminate the headaches that come with copyright claims on music used in creator content. It does this by offering an alternative to expensive music licensing platforms as well as free music options such as YouTube’s audio library or Creative Commons‘ music.
Based on a freemium model, Uppbeat allows creators to create an account that grants access to around 50% of the site’s catalog and offers 10 downloads per month. The Premium subscription ($6.99/month) offers full access and unlimited downloads (a three-year and lifetime subscription are also available).
In addition to music, Uppbeat now offers a library of sound effects and clips that works well for “meme-style” content, via a site expansion in September 2021.
Since the music tracks must be fingerprinted to fight against unlicensed use, a copyright claim will still occur when using Uppbeat music, but the system will search for the necessary credit and then erase the claim automatically, in about five minutes. Free users simply add a credit to their YouTube video description to clear copyright, while YouTube Premium users can whitelist their channel to automatically protect against copyright.
The system is not limited to YouTube – the music and effects can work on almost any platform used by streamers, podcasters, bloggers and other social media creators.
Upbeat artists, on the other hand, retain full ownership of their music and are paid in rev share.
The company says it now welcomes more than 75,000 new users per month and traffic to its site exceeds 1 million sessions per month. Retention is high and bounce rates are low, at less than 10%, the startup told TechCrunch. The average duration of the sessions is more than five minutes.
Uppbeat’s catalog has grown from a curated collection of 1,000 tracks at launch to over 3,000 tracks, and has since added 2,500 sound effects and clips. Meanwhile, the company reports that its annual revenue rate is $718,000, while Music Vine as a whole is around $2.4 million.
The company said it was unable to name its Series A investor, strategic backer and leader in the space who did not want to be disclosed.
With this additional investment, Uppbeat says it will work to better establish its brand presence on YouTube by streaming its music there and engage in more direct partnerships with online communities. It will also use the money to overhaul its backend and create a smarter user interface with customization features.
It also plans to roll out new features for creators, including one that allows them to manage and share their own playlists, which can also give Uppbeat artists greater exposure and could help creators earn revenue. silver. The company has previously worked with YouTubers to release hand-picked “partner playlists” to showcase the type of music they typically use on their own channels.
The nine-person Uppbeat team will also expand and move to new offices.
“Since Uppbeat went live, the response from the creator community has been truly amazing. Their positivity and feedback has pushed the platform to where it is today and it’s thanks to them that we have been able to secure this incredible investment as we enter an exciting new chapter for Uppbeat,” said co-founder and CEO Lewis Foster. “We believe this investment is not only a game-changer that will help fund the growth strategy ambition of Uppbeat, but also an exciting time for the creator community and an important milestone on our journey to give everyone the freedom to create,” he said.