iHeartMedia, The Orchard, and Concord all invested in a seven-figure funding round for Gimme Radio. Now it’s shutting down after ‘being unable to raise the financing needed’ (update)

Six years after launching, and little more than a year after raising a seven-figure sum from investors, streaming service Gimme Radio is calling it quits.

“Sadly, today, I’m writing to announce that we are pulling the plug on Gimme on April 29, 2023,” co-founder and CEO Tyler Lenane (pictured) wrote in a post on Medium Monday (April 10).

“We unfortunately find ourselves in an economic climate where we have been unable to raise the financing needed to support the streaming services and grow Gimme to reach all music fans across all genres,” Lenane continued.

Gimme Radio ran two services – Gimme Metal for heavy metal fans and Gimme Country for country/Americana fans. It was launched with the idea “to build a venue where fans of genres outside of mainstream hip hop and pop were not marginalized, but catered to,” Lenane wrote.

Rather than serving up music suggestions through an algorithm, Gimme’s playlists were curated by artists. Among the DJs who hosted shows on the service were Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Johan Hegg of Swedish death metal outfit Amon Amarth. DJs on the country/Americana side included Brandy Clark and Joshua Hedley.

The service was advertiser-free, generating revenue through tipping, merchandise sales and a vinyl subscription club that charged $30 per month and offered fans a monthly exclusive vinyl variant.

Gimme also allowed fans to interact with artists through an in-app chat function, which Lenane boasts was built at a time when chat apps were still in their infancy.

“The lifetime duration of a vinyl club subscriber is 22 months with a lifetime spend of $660,” Lenane wrote.

“And these guys are buying more than just those vinyl records. We expanded our offerings to include merchandise, other physical music, virtual tipping, ticketing, digital goods/NFTs.”

Gimme raised $500,000 through crowdfunding in 2019, and another reported $3 million through a funding round in late 2021, led by iHeartMedia.

Other investors in Gimme via that 2021 round included The Orchard, Concord, Metal Blade Records, Riser House Entertainment, and Quartz Hill Records. A division of Spanish telecom giant Telefonica additionally invested in early 2022.

Update: Subsequent to this story going live, Tyler Lenane has contacted MBW to state that Gimme Radio’s 2021/2022 funding round was lower than the $3 million figure reported in the media at the time. MBW has updated elements of our story here to reflect this.

More than 1,200 artists hosted shows on Gimme, and among those, 350 artists got an average of $10 in tips from each listener.

“Our average customer spent $123 in 2021, compared with Spotify’s $54,” Lenane wrote, adding that “from September 2022 through February 2023 we did on average over $100,000 in top line revenue per month. … Our ARPU (across all paid and free users) was $1.10.”

Lenane said about 30% of customers engaged in the platform in some way beyond listening, such as making purchases, engaging in chats or liking tracks.

Yet for all the purported success, the service was unable to make a go of it. Lenane indicated the company had failed to close a $5-million funding round, which he said would have allowed Gimme to triple revenue within a year.

“It would have been big, that was the plan and we were on the cusp,” he wrote.Music Business Worldwide