UK-based online talent scouting platform Instrumental has raised £3m ($4.2m) to build on its proprietary digital A&R tools in what the startup says will be an “aggressive growth plan for 2018 and beyond”.
The round was led by London-based digital venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, and included investment from music industry veteran Bill Roedy (ex-CEO of MTV International).
Instrumental’s flagship product, TalentAI, monitors billions of data points each day from sources such as Spotify and other socials to deliver trend intelligence on emerging artists to the A&R and talent spotting teams in music labels, publishers, promoters and marketers.
The new funding will see Instrumental significantly increase their investment in machine learning for ‘faster identification of high potential, emerging artists’.
The company has also agreed a new 2-year exclusive partnership with UK based data science experts Fospha – who helped design the first version of Instrumental’s TalentAI platform.
Instrumental says it will expand its sales and marketing capabilities in the U.K. and North America to drive customer acquisition.
The growth drive comes off the back of Instrumental’s successful 2017 expansion from its origins as an artist development label into a full SaaS platform selling subscription licenses to the TalentAI dashboard and tools.
Licenses have been secured in 2018 with all three majors (Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music) and a wide range of indie labels – both in the UK, US and internationally.
Interestingly, Instrumental was founded by ex-President of Warner Music Entertainment Conrad Withey – and today’s news comes on the day that his ex-employer, WMG, acquired an online A&R tool in Sodatone.
“With this funding round we can focus on building better and better products for our existing and future clients.”
Conrad Withey, Instrumental
Withey commented: “The need to use data in smarter and smarter ways is an inescapable part of the new music business.
“TalentAI is proving that big data doesn’t need to be a turn off to creatively driven executives in A&R and scouting roles and can transform their work flow and performance. With this funding round we can focus on building better and better products for our existing and future clients.”
Instrumental Chairman and Blenheim Chalcot partner Charles Mindenhall added: “BC backs ventures that are looking to disrupt the way industries work through tech and data. Instrumental is pioneering that work in the music business and we have been extremely excited to see the progress made in 2017 and to be participating in this next stage of expansion”.
Instrumental’s tech ingests API data from Spotify, YouTube, Instagram and other digital sources to make recommendations.
Instrumental first made the headlines in 2016 when it discovered the single ‘Dancing On My Own’ through TalentAI and delivered a Top 20 hit with the track.Music Business Worldwide