Charles River Ventures leads $2 mln round for bop.fm

Digital music startup bop.fm has closed $2 million in funding. Charles River Ventures led the round with participation from other investors that included SV Angel, Y Combinator, FundersClub, Lew Moorman, president of Rackspace and Tom Ryan, former head of digital at EMI.

PRESS RELEASE

July 10th, 2014 — Y Combinator startup bop.fm, founded by Thiel Foundation Mentor Shehzad Daredia and partner Stefan Gomez, announces today that it has raised a $2M round of funding from Charles River Ventures, aiming to revolutionize the way we discover, share, and experience music online.

bop.fm’s funding round is led by prominent venture capital firm Charles River Ventures, with additional participating investors including SV Angel, Y Combinator, FundersClub, Tom Ryan (former head of digital at EMI), Lew Moorman (President of Rackspace), Drew Patterson (founding VP Marketing at KAYAK; CEO of Room77), Schwark Satyavolu (founder/CEO of BillShrink/Truaxis), and Loic Le Meur (founder of LeWeb).

Says George Zachary, a venture capitalist at Charles River Ventures and an early investor in Twitter, “Before bop, I always found it difficult to share music with friends across music services – it reminds me of how Twitter simplified the sharing of information and opinion.”

Already being called the “Switzerland of digital music,” bop.fm is a music startup that combines offerings from all the major music services, allowing users to stream, watch, or buy any song online, regardless of their country, device, or music service.

The startup automatically searches music services such as Spotify, Beats Music, Deezer, Rdio, Soundcloud, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, taking user-service arrangements into account to generate a single stream and single purchase link guaranteed to work. With bop.fm, users can share links with friends without worrying about country availability or paywall blockages, and assemble playlists seamlessly across service platforms.
Launched in December of last year, bop.fm has now logged over 50 million song plays since inception. The company has also secured partnerships with companies including Beats Music, RapGenius, and Deezer.

As CEO Shehzad Daredia explains, bop.fm was an intuitive complement to the rise in third-party music services, and a powerful solution to the problems it presents. “For the last decade or so, the way people access music has gone through dramatic and rapid changes,” says Daredia, who led user acquisition at Kayak.com before co-founding bop.fm. “If you look at user activity now, there is incredible diversity in the public’s interaction with music. Some of the services are paid, some are ad-funded, some are free with limited content. What you have are a number of niche services with different advantages and shortcomings, and then a few larger services that still take incomplete sections of the market.”

“For all the abundance of options, there is no unified experience for music. Some links will work for some users but not for others, some people pay to join services but can’t share their interests and tastes with friends who haven’t — it’s all very fragmented. We created bop.fm to sit on top of all the various ways people access music and streamline the process, fostering cohesion in the experience.”

bop.fm’s funding round is led by Charles River Ventures, a venture capital firm with offices in Cambridge, MA and Menlo Park, CA. Founded in 1970, Charles River Ventures is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful early-stage venture capital firms with approximately $1.4 billion under management. Since its founding in 1970, CRV funds have been ranked among the industry’s top performers.

Says co-founder and CTO Stefan Gomez, “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Charles River Ventures and George Zachary. They truly understand disruptive consumer services, having invested in Twitter among many other successful companies, and we believe they will help to a great degree as we continue to scale.”

The new funding will be used by bop.fm to hire developers, as well as to expand the company’s business development efforts.

bop.fm is also announcing the launch of Verified Artist Pages, in partnership with major artists such as Tiesto, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Paul McCartney. Not only will Verified Artist Pages allow users to dive deeper into exploring music by their favorite artists, but the feature will also give them an exclusive glimpse into what those artists are currently listening to. These pages will feature custom service-agnostic playlists curated by the artist for bop.fm, as well as the artist’s top songs, tour dates (powered by Songkick), related artists, and more.

Mr. Daredia explains that the fragmentation that has characterized the digital music industry affects not just fans but also artists as well. “Artists and their managers expend so much energy into distributing their content across several channels yet they don’t have an easy way to reach all their dispersed fans.”

With that in mind, artists from Linkin Park to Keith Urban, O.A.R., Capital Cities, Imagine Dragons, and Wiz Khalifa have been sharing bop.fm links in their social media campaigns and embedding bop.fm players on their websites.

“We decided to market Christina Perri’s new ‘Human’ remix EP using Bop.fm because Christina has such a large international audience that consumes music on several different platforms. By sharing Bop links on our Facebook and Twitter pages, fans were able to seamlessly and immediately hear the songs via their preferred service. In this digital age, insight and analytics allow us to gain a deeper understanding of our audience and Bop was kind enough to share a rather detailed report that tracked each of our posts,” says Ryan Chisholm, Nettwerk — Manager, Christina Perri.

Artists and managers who use bop.fm in their social campaigns and on their websites have benefited from the incremental revenue, increased fan engagement, and insightful analytics that bop.fm provides. With the launch of Verified Artist Pages, artists now have a service-agnostic platform for sharing their music, as well as the music they’re listening to, all in one unified place.

Artists participating in the Verified Artist launch include but are not limited to: Aer, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Asking Alexandria, 3LAU, Bear Hands, Ben Harper, Botnek, Burton Cummings, Carole King, Christina Perri, Creed, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Delta Spirit, Depeche Mode, Elbow, Esperanza Spalding, Evanescence, Gavin DeGraw, Gregg Allman, Hedley, Hot Chelle Rae, James Taylor, Jamie Lynn Spears, John Coltrane, John Mellencamp, K.Flay, Keith Urban, Kenny G., Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Martin Garrix, Max Schneider, Miles Davis, O.A.R., Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, PJ Rasmussen, Rebelution, Seether, Seven Lions, Slightly Stoopid, Snoop Dogg, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Switchfoot, Tiesto, Valerie June, Vince Guaraldi, Wild Cub, Wiz Khalifa, Young Money, ZZ Ward.

Incubated last summer at Y Combinator, bop.fm is a startup on the rise, with industry thought leaders saying that “bop.fm has piqued the interest of music portals, as well as labels,” calling it a “consumer- and business-friendly solution” to the “friction” of the present-day music experience.
With over 50 million songs played on its platform, and new partnerships with some of the world’s most influential musicians, bop.fm is poised to truly unify the digital music experience.

About bop.fm
bop.fm is a digital music startup revolutionizing the way we discover, experience and share music online. CEO Shehzad Daredia worked at Billshrink, Rho Ventures and Kayak prior to co-founding bop.fm with CTO Stefan Gomez, formerly a software developer at Science and development manager at Billshrink. bop.fm has streamed over 50M songs since inception, and has partnerships with Beats Music, RapGenius.com, and others.

About Charles River Ventures
Founded in 1970, Charles River Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund that takes a value-added, hands-on approach to support its portfolio companies. Charles River Ventures is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful early-stage venture capital firms with approximately $1.4 billion under management. CRV is dedicated to helping exceptional entrepreneurs turn their ideas into the next category leaders in high growth technology and media sectors.

 

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