A Los Angeles-headquartered startup whose goal is to reshape the relationship between artists and fans – including by side-stepping ticketing companies and the secondary ticketing market – has raised $5 million in a new funding round.
Afterparty says the money will go towards developing its new AI-powered platform, which will enable fans to have one-to-one interactions with their favorite artists by way of AI-generated content.
The latest strategic growth funding round brings the company’s total capital raised to $12 million, and was led by Blockchange Ventures, with participation from existing investors such as Acrew Capital, Act One Ventures and Tamarack Global, as well as new investors such as internet entrepreneur Vinny Lingham and business and IP law firm Wilson Sonsini.
Previous investors are listed as Red Light Management, Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media, and Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew.
Afterparty’s fan-artist platform already includes live streaming, one-on-one chats, real-life community events and collectibles. The company now plans to expand that to include AI voice, photo and video messaging capabilities that will enable creators “to infinitely scale personalized fan interactions,” the company said in a statement.
Those interactions will allow fans to create one-of-a-kind images and videos that can then be turned into collectibles that are unique to each fan, and are verified on Afterparty’s blockchain.
“The all-new ability to turn one-to-one AI experiences into fan-generated content takes interaction to an entirely new level,” Afterparty Founder and CEO David Fields said. “Creators retain control over their content, revenue, and fan relationships. Fans get the opportunity to become content creators and participate in the growth and success of those who inspire them.”
Every interaction and piece of content fans share serves as a “point of access” to exclusive experiences, the company said, giving fans opportunities to interact one-on-one with creators on Afterparty Livestreams.
Afterparty’s new AI technology is meant to solve the problem of creators not having the time for one-on-one interactions with all the fans who want such an experience, explained Afterparty Co-Founder Robert Graham.
“We heard from many of our creators in the Afterparty community that DMs were their fans’ most-valued experience. However, with thousands of messages coming in at any given time, they have found it impossible to respond in a more personal way both creators and fans crave,” he said.
“With Afterparty AI, we have developed a proprietary system from the ground up to scale creator-fan interactions. We work closely with creators to ensure that the AI experience is truly authentic to them in the same way we built our creator tools and IRL experiences.”
Launched in 2021, Afterparty began as a “token-gated” fan access and collectibles platform. Following a funding round in April 2022, which raised around $4 million, the company announced what it claimed was “the world’s first NFT ticketing platform for artists.”
That platform was designed to use NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to create a new way for artists to offer fans access to their events. In essence, the platform allows artists to mint NFTs in place of traditional event tickets.
“Far from being inactive art pieces decorating a virtual wallet or Twitter profile picture, these tokens represent dynamic, creative festivals, artist events and deeper artist-fan connections,” Afterparty said in a statement at the time.
“The all-new ability to turn one-to-one AI experiences into fan-generated content takes interaction to an entirely new level. Creators retain control over their content, revenue, and fan relationships. Fans get the opportunity to become content creators and participate in the growth and success of those who inspire them.”
David Fields, Afterparty
Those NFTs would then be registered on a blockchain that would keep track of ownership, which Afterparty suggested would eliminate the involvement of ticketing services such as Ticketmaster, which charge fees that can often significantly increase the price of a ticket, while at the same potentially preventing the reselling of tickets on the secondary market, where tickets are marked up, without artists seeing any additional income.
“NFT-based ticketing promises to put control of the sector back in the hands of artists and fans,” Afterparty said.
Investors in the April 2022 funding round included Paris Hilton 11:11 Media, Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff and NBA player Andre Iguodala, among many others.
The platform today boasts “thousands of creators,” including musicians Lauv and Jaden Hossler, dancer and choreographer Matt Steffanina, podcasters Tana Mongeau and Mads Lewis, and international stars Nicolle Figueroa and Strangehuman.
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