AI music startup AudioShake raises $2.7M in seed round with backing from Crush Music, peermusic… and Metallica

Jessica Powell

AudioShake — a startup that uses AI to deconstruct music tracks into stems that can be used for remixes, sampling and other applications — has announced it’s just raised USD $2.7 million in a seed round.

That takes its total fund-raising to date over $5 million, the company said.

The San Francisco-headquartered company has made waves since its launch in 2020 by developing a technology that some thought impossible: It can break apart recordings into their component stems — such as drums, guitar and vocals — even if all of those stems are only available on a single track.

That opens up a world of possibilities — for instance, by enabling producers to create new remixes or remasters of an artist’s vocal on long-forgotten recordings.

But AudioShake isn’t about to unleash a new wave of music piracy on the world; it’s a B2B enterprise, and its customers include all of the big three recording companies, as well as publishers like Hipgnosis, peermusic and Downtown.

The company’s latest seed round was led by Indicator Ventures, with participation from Precursor Ventures and Side Door Ventures.

Among the investors in the round are Black Squirrel Partners, a growth equity and content investing firm founded by Metallica, alongside Q Prime, Eric Wasserman, Paul Donahue and others.

Other investors include Black Angel Group, a group of African-American investors from within Google parent Alphabet, plus Crush Ventures, the venture capital arm of Crush Music – which manages Miley Cyrus, Lorde and Sia, among others – peermusic, and S-Curve Records founder, Steve Greenberg.

Jessica Powell, co-founder and CEO of AudioShake, said: “We started AudioShake to open up audio to a broader range of experiences, making music, film, and speech more interactive, editable, and customizable–all while helping artists and creators expand opportunities for their work.

“We’ve been thrilled by the adoption of our technology across the entertainment and tech industries, and are excited to now see third-party implementations of our music and speech separation technologies taking off thanks to our APIs.”

Steve Greenberg, CEO of S-Curve Records and an investor in the seed round, said in a statement: “To hear, in isolation, individual musicians’ performances on tracks from the days before multi-track recording is a real revelation.”

“I look forward to contemporary recording artists incorporating such performances into new works in creative ways, with, of course, the approval of the original musicians and rights holders.”

Among the achievements of AudioShake’s technology so far: Breaking apart the stems in a VHS recording of Ol’ Dirty Bastard for sampling on SZA’s Forgiveless; and a guitarless version of 2000 Light Years Away that allows Green Day fans on TikTok to play along with the track.

AudioShake was formed when Jessica Powell, formerly of Google, joined forces with Plaid alumnus Luke Miner.

“To hear, in isolation, individual musicians’ performances on tracks from the days before multi-track recording is a real revelation.”

Steve Greenberg, S-Curve Records

The company’s work goes beyond the music industry. Among its customers have been Hollywood film and TV companies, as well as dubbing and transcription companies. Its API technology has applications in sync licensing, speech synthesis, and interactive audio for augmented reality, gaming and fitness.

In a recent column, republished at MBW, Powell argued that the recent explosion of AI-generated fake tracks — such as the now-famous “fake Drake” song — will lead to innovations in the music field, ones that don’t infringe on copyrighted works.

“We will see labels and artists announce AI voice remixing, with embedded technology that will allow an authorized version to be distinguished from a fake, thereby 1) creating a new revenue stream for these artists, and 2) providing an easier-to-use alternative to piracy,” Powell wrote.

“It will surely not eliminate deep fake music, but should be able to cut into it, just as iTunes did with Napster.”Music Business Worldwide

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