Kid Cudi co-founded AR music app Encore launches with $9m in funding

Encore, an interactive live performance platform co-founded by Kid Cudi, has launched the Encore Studio App.

The launch follows a $9 million raise led by Battery Ventures, and other investments from 468 Capital, Parade Ventures, Nomad Ventures, Moving Capital, Kayak Ventures, and Gaingels.

Encore is a tool for musicians to release new music, and host conversations and interactive experiences with fans.

Through Encore, artists can create and perform live in custom augmented reality environments, essentially developing a stage show through their phones.

Fans participate via microtransactions in the form of a ten-cent ‘clap’, which can be used to watch live shows, chat with an artist, and interact.

‘Claps’ are split 80/20 between Encore and the creator, with 80% going to the artists, says the company.

While in private beta, “hundreds” of artists including SSGKobe, KYLE, Too $hort, and The Cool Kids created and performed Encore shows to “tens of thousands” of fans, says Encore, and were collectively “clapped almost a million times”.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Encore is led by a team of artists, creatives and technology entrepreneurs, all aiming to “democratize the music industry”, says the company.

Encore is co-founded by award-winning artist Kid Cudi (Chief Creative Officer), Hollywood Producer, Screenwriter and Director Ian Edelman (President), and Technology Entrepreneur Jonathan Gray (CEO).

Augmented reality is nothing new – Live Nation experimented with integrating AR products into select festival apps in 2019 – but Encore’s announcement ties in to a ramping up of companies increasingly investing in the technology.

In June 2021, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Snapchat inked what the companies called at the time an “expansive” and “multifaceted” global agreement.

The deal allowed Snapchat’s users to incorporate UMG’s catalog of recorded music and content into creative tools, including Sounds and augmented reality Lenses.

“Music artists are the original creators and they have been forgotten by the creator economy.”

Jonathan Gray, Encore

Jonathan Gray, CEO of Encore, said: “Music artists are the original creators and they have been forgotten by the creator economy and overrun by memes and algorithms on social media.

“Our live AR technology empowers any artist to create personalized content and host experiences for their fans without a production budget or crew and make real cash with 100’s of engaged fans.”Music Business Worldwide