New York-headquartered music AI technology startup Hook has raised $3 million in a Seed funding round led by Waverley Capital, co-founded by former Warner Music Group CEO and Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr., and Steve Cohen’s Point72 Ventures.
Other notable investors in the round included Three Six Zero, led by Mark Gillespie, and Japanese entertainment giant Avex.
Hook describes itself as a music technology platform that is “innovating the way music is expressed on social media.” The company says it uses artificial intelligence “to empower anyone to remix and remake their favorite songs.”
The startup is led by founder and CEO Gaurav Sharma, formerly Chief Operating Officer of Indian music streaming platform, JioSaavn. Hook’s Chief Product Officer Simmi Singh launched and expanded consumer and creator products at Spotify and JioSaavn, while Chief Financial Officer Manav Choksi has helped startups raise more than $250 million from notable venture capitals like Andreessen Horowitz (aka a16z).
The platform plans to launch a closed beta later this year.
Hook says the investment will allow it to speed up the development of its music platform, which employs AI-powered music effects, enabling users to remix their songs “quickly, easily and legally”.
Hook plans to partner with artists and record labels to develop new technology that will open up fresh revenue streams for the industry, the startup said.
The company’s website offers a preview of its technology, showcasing a text-to-music generator. This tool allows users to input specific prompts, generating sounds that they can subsequently mix.
“Fan-created remixes on social media are helping drive music discovery, re-discovery and virality — but the way it’s happening doesn’t support rights holders.”
Gaurav Sharma, Hook
“Fan-created remixes on social media are helping drive music discovery, re-discovery and virality — but the way it’s happening doesn’t support rights holders,” said Hook founder and CEO Gaurav Sharma.
“Hook solves this problem by leveraging AI to let social media users express themselves creatively with music, while rewarding artists and rights holders at the same time.
“We’re humbled by Point72 Ventures, Edgar and the entire Waverley team, and the incredible group of music industry investors that have chosen to support us. Recently there’s been a lot of discussion around AI’s role within the music industry. We’re proud to say that we’re built by the industry and supported by the industry.”
Ishan Sinha, Principal at Point72 Ventures, said: “We think the music industry is uniquely positioned to leverage cutting-edge technology such as generative AI.”
“Yet, it’s essential to establish safeguards for artists, producers, and record labels. We believe the team at Hook is well positioned to merge innovation with prioritizing industry stakeholders. We are thrilled to join them on this journey forward.”
“Hook gives music fans the ability to put their own stamp on their favorite songs, it empowers artists to grow their audience and gives labels and other rights holders an avenue to a brand new stream of revenue.”
Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Waverley Capital
Point72 Ventures has also invested in music, film and television management company Range Media Partners.
Meanwhile, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Co-Founder, Chairman and General Partner of Waverley Capital, said: “Hook gives music fans the ability to put their own stamp on their favorite songs, it empowers artists to grow their audience and gives labels and other rights holders an avenue to a brand new stream of revenue.”
Hook’s appeal to investors comes at a time when the music industry continues to embrace AI. In August, Daouda Leonard, manager of Grimes and founder of Los Angeles-based AI development studio CreateSafe, said generative AI is set to “revolutionize the music business.”
“It offers tremendous potential for artists to explore their creativity and receive assistance from technology, while also providing valuable support to teams in their decision-making processes,” Leonard said.
Recently, the Independent Music Publishers International Forum, which represents independent music publishers worldwide, published a set of what they call “ethical principles” for AI developers.
Music Business Worldwide