Universal Music Group (UMG) is launching ‘UMusicLift,’ a dedicated online hub designed to accelerate and connect music-related startups and entrepreneurs.
The hub was unveiled by Kristen Cullen Bender, UMG’s Senior Vice President of Digital Innovation Strategy and Business Development, at the Music Ally Connect conference on Tuesday (January 23).
UMusicLift will serve as the online hub for Universal Music Group’s Digital Innovation team, according to a dedicated website.
The platform, currently in pre-launch, will cater to music-focused startups through resources like educational materials, news updates, and avenues to connect with UMG’s team. Its mission, outlined on the UMusicLift website, is to support “the next generation of diverse, music-related startups and entrepreneurs who aim to accelerate the next wave of digital transformation.”
“You’re going to find tools for learning, news, spotlights, all these different resources and pathways they can use to connect back into the business,” Cullen Bender was quoted by Music Ally as saying.
“We really try to understand the goals, the needs of these businesses, help amplify their understanding of the industry, and navigate our organization, as well as the various different rights that they’re going to need to secure,” she added.
“We really try to understand the goals, the needs of these businesses, help amplify their understanding of the industry, and navigate our organization, as well as the various different rights that they’re going to need to secure.”
Kristen Cullen Bender, Universal Music Group
UMG, through its Digital Innovation team, has spearheaded several digital innovation initiatives. These include the UMG Accelerator Engagement Network, Capitol360 Innovation Center, an internal incubator known as Abbey Road RED, Digital Innovation Licenses, and diverse events within the digital music landscape.
These events encompass hackathons, panel discussions, and educational programming focused on the intricacies of the music business.
Abbey Road RED is UMG’s music tech incubator located within the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London. It takes its name from EMI’s Record Engineering Development Department. Abbey Road RED selects startups to participate in a “bespoke” development journey. Participants receive access to facilities, industry experts, and UMG’s vast network.
The program focuses on product development, market validation, and fundraising support. Since its launch in 2015, it has so far incubated 19 businesses, which have collectively raised $90 million and have a combined valuation of more than $350 million.
One of the startups that graduated from the Abbey Road RED incubator program is LifeScore Music, an artificial intelligence music technology company co-founded by Siri co-inventor and AI expert Tom Gruber. LifeScore raised £11 million ($14 million) in its Series A fundraising in 2022. The company recently launched its own record label called Kaleidoscope.
Another Abbey Road RED graduate is XONE, a music tech startup co-founded by James Shannon and Alica Molito, who previously founded mixed reality agency Auras Studios. In May last year, XONE teamed up with British band easy life to launch an immersive metaverse experience for the band’s fans.
UK-based music technology start-up Audoo also joined Abbey Road RED in 2019, and has raised $22 million to date. In October 2023, Audoo raised $5 million in funding from a group of investors that includes legendary British musician Sir Elton John and his husband and manager, David Furnish.
Music Business Worldwide