Soundtrack Your Brand, a Spotify-backed Swedish startup that’s setting out to “kill bad background music,” has raised $22 million in a fresh funding round led by Nordic VC fund Industrifonden and the U.K.’s Balderton Capital, with participation from Telia Company, Northzone, Creandum, HMP, and Jörg Mohaupt.
Founded out of Stockholm in 2013 by Ola Sars and Andreas Liffgarden, former global head of business development at Spotify, Soundtrack Your Business offers two core products — Spotify Business , which is available in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, and Soundtrack Business, which is available elsewhere. They’re basically B2B versions of the popular music-streaming service that offer additional features, such as the ability to manage playlists in multiple locations from a central hub. So if you manage a giant chain of stores such as Starbucks, for example, you can control music in individual stores remotely.
The company had raised around $14 million before now, including an $11 million round back in 2015 that Spotify took part in, and it says it plans to use its latest cash bounty to “cement product leadership” and grow its global footprint. As a result of this deal, Balderton Capital partner Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, who previously served at Uber and Dropbox, will join Soundtrack Your Brand’s board of directors, along with Industrifonden investment manager Johan Englund.
“I’ve witnessed disruption first-hand,” said Fjeldsoe-Nielsen. “Dropbox made storage cool, and achieved a shift from a consumer to a business proposition. Uber changed the way we think of transportation. Soundtrack Your Brand will do the same thing to background music.”
Soundtrack Your Brand launched in the U.S. last May, having previously been limited to Scandinavia, with a “global framework agreement” in place to reach McDonald’s franchisees. It later expanded into more than 100 countries worldwide.
“Background music today is sold as a utility, and there’s rarely much thought going into what music brands are playing and why,” said Liffgarden. “Today’s background music sucks for brands and consumers alike, and it’s hurting the music industry at large. As lovers of music and technology, we’re completely overhauling this industry, to once and for all kill bad background music.”
Many brick-and-mortar retailers use the medium of background music to influence consumer behavior, so this is potentially lucrative territory for anyone looking to get businesses on board with streaming. Indeed, many businesses still use good old-fashioned CDs, according to Soundtrack Your Brand, so there is room for real disruption here.
“While our competitors are focused on shipping CDs by mail to large chains in the U.S. and Europe, we are growing the size of this market by digital means,” added Sars, who serves as Soundtrack Your Brand’s CEO. “We distribute our platform more efficiently and are continually improving the product experience. By selling online we reach the entire market, all the way down to mom and pops that nobody sold to before. And we do it on a global scale.”