‘AI-enabled’ indie label SNAFU Records launches with $2.9m venture capital backing

A new Los-Angeles based, “AI-enabled” indie label called SNAFU Records has launched with $2.9 million in seed funding.

The company claims to be “the first full-service record label built on AI-music discovery” and is operated by “technologists, A&Rs, producers, and creatives” including those previously employed by Universal, Sony/ATV, BMG, and Capitol, and who worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, and David Guetta.

Since being quietly founded in March 2018, SNAFU Records has signed 16 artists in addition to having secured $2.9m in venture capital from TrueSight Ventures, Day One Ventures, Agnetha Fältskog (from ABBA), John Bonten (who launched Spotify in 60 markets), Samanta Hegedus Stewart (Head of IR for William Morris, previously at Snap), Jesper Theil Thomsen (Founder of Soundboks), and Nicholas Shekerdemian (Founder of Headstart.io), amongst others.

The label says that its proprietary algorithms analyze all open platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, Youtube, and TIKTOK scraping 150,000 unsigned tracks each week.

It is then able to identify “undervalued” independent artists within the first two to nine days of a release, compared to what SANFU says takes traditional labels take four six weeks on average.

SNAFU looks for the earliest indicators of a hit starting on the first day of its release by going through streaming figures, blog posts, tweets, playlist additions and any other open platforms to identify indicators of popularity.

Then, using advanced machine learning models, SNAFU claims that it can predict which artists are likely to be popular, based on “sentiment analysis, song structure, decision trees, and neural networks”.

The most promising 15-20 artists are then analyzed by the label’s in-house team.

“We started SNAFU Records because we wanted to build a bridge for the thousands of artists out there whose music the world is dying to hear, but don’t get a chance.”

Ankit Desai, SNAFU Records

Ankit Desai, Founder, and CEO of SNAFU Records previously spent five years between Universal Music in Stockholm and Capitol Records in LA where he built algorithms to predict if songs would be hits.

He was involved in the development and marketing of stars such as Avicii, Logic, Mike Posner, and Swedish House Mafia.

Carl Falk, Head of Creative at SNAFU Records is a songwriter and producer who has written for the likes of Madonna, One Direction and Nicki Minaj.

Two early artist case studies cited by SNAFU Records’ include a duo called Joan who had 2,000 followers, who were discovered and signed on day two of their first song release. They’ve since hit over 20 million cross-platform streams.

The other case study is jazz artist Mishcatt (pictured) whose song Fades Away has been streamed over 5 million times in five weeks since its release.  She also played The Avicii Tribute show in front of 58,000 people.

“We started SNAFU Records because we wanted to build a bridge for the thousands of artists out there whose music the world is dying to hear, but don’t get a chance,” said Ankit Desai, Founder, and CEO of SNAFU Records.

“Since launch, we’ve already utilized our technology to identify, sign, and help artists from Arkansas to India, from Stockholm to Singapore, all while being based in Stockholm and Los Angeles.”

Music Business Worldwide

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