Financial platform Stem, which counts Frank Ocean and Childish Gambino as clients, raises $8m

Los Angeles-based startup Stem, creator of software which ‘unifies and manages contracts, distribution, payments and data’ for artists and songwriters, has raised $8m in a new Series A funding round.

The round is co-led by Evolution Media and Aspect Ventures with continued participation from Upfront Ventures.

Additional strategic investments from the music and entertainment industries include Bruce Flohr and several other executives from Red Light Management; ROAR; WndrCo, whose partners include Anthony Saleh; music managers Tyler Henry and Kevin Henry with Jahron Brathwaite (p/k/a PARTYNEXTDOOR) and Armand Troy; Savan Kotecha (songwriter / producer); Big Loud Capital and Dina LaPolt (entertainment lawyer).

The service already counts amongst its clients the likes of Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Anna Wise, NoMBe, Chromatics and Poolside – all of whom, says the company, rely on it to get paid.

Today’s raise follows a $4.5 million seed round in April 2016, bringing total funding to $12.5 million.

The new cash will be used to scale Stem’s financial solutions in order, it said, ‘to further enable artists to take control of their careers and make decisions based on clear, actionable data’.

Co-founded by Milana Rabkin, Tim Luckow and Jovin Cronin-Wilesmith, Stem says its financial platform aims to give artists and creators ‘the tools they need to make their creative dreams a sustainable reality’.

“Each of our investors bring a unique perspective on music, entertainment and financial management, and we’re certain that together we’ll continue to develop a truly meaningful platform for artists and content creators,” said Rabkin, co-founder and CEO of Stem.

“Stem is extending and enriching the careers of creatives by giving them the tools needed to operate in the driver’s seat instead of being kept in the dark when it comes to data and financials.”

Savan Kotecha, songwriter

“There is money in streaming, and with Stem, we’re aiming to eliminate the notion of the starving artist by empowering the creative class with the necessary tools and data to succeed in an increasingly competitive industry.”

Stem both collects money earned from platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, as well as splitting payments among collaborators.

It also aggregates and analyzes data from distribution platforms into a dashboard to help inform and influence artists’ creative decisions.

The platform also operates on a consensus based agreement structure, in which payout agreements are predetermined.

“Milana and the Stem team have created a scalable back-end platform and dashboard that provides greater transparency and power to artists, musicians, and video producers,” said Ian Doody, Principal at Evolution Media who will join the board of Stem.

“We are excited about Stem’s combination of technology and industry insight and believe it can become the game-changing tool that helps creators build their businesses and take more control of their economic futures.”

“As a songwriter, I’m creating a product, and as such – like with any profession – I need to be compensated for it,” said investor Savan Kotecha, whose songs have sold more than 300 million copies with artists such as Usher, Maroon 5 and The Weeknd.

“Stem is extending and enriching the careers of creatives by giving them the tools needed to operate in the driver’s seat instead of being kept in the dark when it comes to data and financials.”

“Aspect is excited to join the Stem team and support the company’s vision of helping the creative class better manage their business online,” said investor Jennifer Fonstad, managing partner and co-founder of Aspect Ventures.

Music Business Worldwide

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