NextGen Crowdfunding Interviews 8tracks

8tracks’ Head of Business & Corporate Development, Tuhin Roy is interviewed at NextGen Crowdfunding’s ‘Ignition’ event. Interview questions include:

  • What distinguishes 8tracks from other music streaming services out there like Spotify and Pandora?
  • What kinds of music do people listen to on 8tracks?
  • How do you handle the music licensing aspect?
  • How do you plan on monetizing the product?
  • How do you approach marketing to acquire new users?

Find out why over 3,900 investors are backing the #3 internet radio service for US millennials, including top venture capital firms Index Ventures, a16z, & SoftTech. Learn more or participate in 8tracks’ investment round, ending soon here on SeedInvest.

Take me there

 

What is NextGen Crowdfunding?

NextGen Crowdfunding helps people explore the new era of equity crowdfunding. With unique in-person events and live streaming video content, NextGen enables individuals to discover, research and support specific companies launching crowdfunding campaigns.

 


*Disclaimer: © 8tracks, Inc. (“8tracks”) is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained fromseedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a. This Company’s profile and accompanying offering materials may contain forward-looking statements and information relating to, among other things, the Company, its business plan and strategy, and its industry. These statements reflect management’s current views with respect to future events based information currently available and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as they are meant for illustrative purposes and they do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, all of which cannot be made. Moreover, no person nor any other person or entity assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of forward-looking statements, and is under no duty to update any such statements to conform them to actual results.

What is 8tracks? – The First Investor Webinar

8tracks fam at the loft

Want to know more about how 8tracks works? Take a look at the slides and Q&As from the first investor webinar for our Series A equity crowdfunding round, presented by our CEO & founder, David Porter.

 

1. What are some plans after this investment round to bring 8tracks into competition with Pandora, Spotify, and other music services?

Porter: There’s a number of things, and I think that the most important thing is that we are focused on a part of the music listening realm which tends to be the most common, that is to say lean-back radio-style listening, and so at least in the near term we want to stick to what we do best.

We do have incredible depth of content, but I think that one of the things where we may have fallen short in the past is that it’s not as easy as it ought to be to find those playlists which are most relevant to you, so there’s a lot to be done in the sense of leveraging data science and personalization. Ultimately what we want is to make it dead-simple to find playlists that are relevant to a particular listener based on taste. There are different ways we are going to chew that up, and you will see more of that coming in the months ahead.

The other big thing that is an area of focus is to make it easier to create playlists. Right now the majority of playlists are made by uploading music, so one significant project is directly licensing a comprehensive library of ultimately all music, and in doing so we can remove the upload requirement — bringing the ability to make playlists to our mobile apps. Today playlists can only be made on web, and so only a third of our users (as you saw in the last two slides) can actually make a playlist, so we can make it much easier for users to create playlists on their handsets in the back of the bus or in the subway, so I think that fundamentally changes the first engine of production for 8tracks, which is playlist creation.

I think there’s also things we can be doing to optimize streaming on the handset, so that will be an area of focus. And we’re also getting ever more savvy about A/B testing out small changes to the website affecting 10% of our users and comparing the results. We’ve had such a small team so we’ve never really been able to do that in a scientific way, but that’s one of the bigger areas of focus so we can make steady improvements and ensure that the feedback that we’re getting from our users gets incorporated into an ever-better product.

2. Will 8tracks be cheaper in operation than sirius radio to get started?

Porter: That’s a really good point. Bringing a broader variety of music and personalities to the car currently relies primarily on putting satellites into outer space, which is obviously an expense at the outset. What’s different about internet radio broadly is that it’s much cheaper at the outset to set things up; the royalties that we pay as calculated as a percentage of revenue tend to be quite a bit higher than satellite radio. Satellite radio is primarily a subscription service, and the average revenue generated per listener tends to be quite a bit higher, but certainly in getting a service off the ground it is much cheaper for us to do so. And at the margin, for every hour that we stream, we want to make sure that the revenue that we’re bringing in from advertisers is sufficient to cover a healthy profit margin to cover the cost we incur in paying royalties to record labels and artists.

3. What’s the breakdown of advertising revenues?

Porter: 97-98% of our revenues come from advertising. We have a direct sales team based in NY primarily with satellite sales in Toronto & Chicago, and the advertising they sell is focused on brands that are a good fit with our user demographic. Typically it’s pre-roll video (video that runs before the music), and native ads. We also sell advertising through some partners and run advertising of our inventory through our ad networks.

The subscription side of things hasn’t been focused on primarily because of resource constraints, but we will begin to focus on that hopefully later this year. One of the goals is to bring a certain functionality that has been long requested by listeners as part of an extensive subscription radio offering. So for example, a listener will be able to tune in with more skips allowed than normal, and would also be able to cache some number of playlists for offline access for when you’re in the subway or plane or what have you. Those are pretty exciting, and we will keep everyone apprised as we get closer to rolling out those elements.

4. How does 8tracks intend to solve the issue with music rights in Europe? Did you observe a big decline in Europe after beginning to geo-block in February?

Porter: Yes we did, and most of that came from the mobile app because it is no longer available outside the US & Canada on either the iOS or the Android app. We continue to be available as a series of YouTube videos on the web, but obviously that’s a less-than-ideal experience. We absolutely want to be available in every part of the world; we’ll be focused on those territories where it makes the most sense soonest, and in fact our biggest focus right now is returning to Western Europe. I have a colleague named Tuhin Roy who is leading the charge, and we’re looking at the rights issues in particular in the U.K., Germany and France, and our hope is that we can return streaming to those countries, perhaps by the first quarter of next year.

Taking a step back, one of the things that makes 8tracks special is that it does represent listeners from every part of the world, so finding a way to make 8tracks available everywhere is important to us.

5. Are there plans to integrate the app with automobiles, and are there any future integrations on the horizon?

Porter: One of the things that we want to do is make sure that we are wherever our audience wishes to tune in. So we have a couple of examples, maybe one that a few of you may know about and be excited to hear is that we will be returning 8tracks to Sonos. I’m also particularly interested in the Amazon Echo and similar devices that are voice-controlled and AI-driven, and I think there is a pretty significant opportunity for 8tracks in that environment because in the absence of a physical interface, there is a natural tendency to want to ask for a program of music in human terms, so you know, “play me study music that includes ODESZA” or something.

My hunch is that longer-term the interface will also hook right into the car — it’s just sort of a logical thing given that when you’re driving on the highway at 65 miles per hour you don’t really want to be fussing around with the dial. So I think the most likely path to get there will be working through existing platforms, rather than doing one-off integrations, and have our app available on those platforms so that those can tune into 8tracks from wherever. But the most exciting thing that I’ve seen recently is the potential for voice activation of their music programs; that will be the main way that people ultimately listen to 8tracks in both the home and the car.

6. Are there plans to place audio ads between playlists during lean-back listening?

Porter: I think in the future we will have to do our own flavor/unique type of audio ad. One of the things that I see happening is an increasing shift away from consumption where there is a pervasive display component, with some of the potential use cases that I mentioned a moment ago such as in the car or in the home, which means there isn’t a way to monetize using traditional display or even a video ad at that point, so I think we have to be thoughtful about how we introduce audio ads.

Today we actually do have a form of audio ads: it’s essentially a partnership with another company called Feature.fm, and what they do is sell the ability for a label/artist to place a track that runs in-between playlists. Our objective internally is to make sure that the relevancy of that promoted track is high based on it being stylistically similar to previous and subsequent playlists. We failed at that in some cases, but we’re getting ever better at that thanks to our data scientist and his work in making sure that there is alignment in terms of the type of music we’re seeing being placed before or after the ad.

So that’s our first foray into audio ads, but I think at some point we will have to think about other audio ads, however I think in our case given our demographic, I think they need to be a little bit different; they need to be shorter for one, and be optimized for relevancy for that particular person in terms of demographics and the like. We want to innovate on audio ads in ways no one has really done it yet. A lot of traditional buyers of digital advertisements have never bought radio ads, and a lot of current radio ads are local (car dealers and the like), so I think part of this will be an education process/collaborative effort with some of the traditional digital buyers that we have worked with to come up with audio campaigns that they may not have done before. We will have to do that at some point, but we want to do it in the right way for our users, so we always choose a better user experience first: we want to create audio ads that are creative and engaging. That will be a bigger focus probably in the years to come, but there are no immediate plans to introduce audio ads; I’m keen on first promoting songs in the way I mentioned at the outset.

7. Has there been any thought towards allowing DJs to monetize based on playlist popularity?

Porter: One of our original ideas was that any music that was subsequently purchased from a DJ’s playlist is that some portion will be shared with the DJ. One of the challenges has been that there’s not a lot of extra room to play with in terms of dedicated resources, but having said that there’s two different ideas about what we could do there, and I think the most interesting idea is our resident DJ program. We set something up where DJs who are highly engaged and have a history of making excellent playlists have the opportunity to create playlists on behalf of a brand. It’s still in its early days, but the idea is to match those DJs who are interested in this kind of opportunity to have access to it. There isn’t a very stable way to do that today, but we’re looking to build that out further.

 

Join 8tracks as an investor

 

More Investor Webinars

Market, Vision & Positioning - 8tracks Investor Webinar 2

 

Strategy & objectives - 8tracks investor webinar 3

 

 

 


*Disclaimer: 8tracks, Inc. (the “Company”) is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained from https://seedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a/filing. This Company’s profile and accompanying offering materials may contain forward-looking statements and information relating to, among other things, the Company, its business plan and strategy, and its industry. These statements reflect management’s current views with respect to future events based information currently available and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as they are meant for illustrative purposes and they do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, all of which cannot be made. Moreover, no person nor any other person or entity assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of forward-looking statements, and is under no duty to update any such statements to conform them to actual results.

Eight years of 8tracks

8 years of 8tracks

8tracks, my oldest ‘child’ in a sense, turns 8 today (we launched on 8/8/2008). So I thought it’d be a good time to reflect on the 8+ years that’ve gone into it, beginning with a bit about me.

I grew up in Delavan, a town of 2,000 in central Illinois. After graduating from high school — with roughly the same 50 people with whom I’d started kindergarten — I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I studied accounting, joined once-venerable Arthur Andersen in Chicago, and fully intended to go to a finance-focused business school after a few years.

But after 3 years at Andersen, I had the opportunity to move to London, ostensibly to further my professional development but really, in large part, so I could explore its amazing electronic music scene. Around the same time, I read Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital, which predicted how the internet would ultimately change business, society and culture. I became excited about the potential for the internet and began to realize there could be a nice intersection between my personal interests and professional plans.

So when it came time to apply to business school, my ambitions had changed. I moved back from London to attend Berkeley in July 1998. And I decided to take a different tack than I’d originally intended, writing my application about starting an internet music company after graduation. I played the electronic music I’d discovered during the London years for classmates — this sort of music just wasn’t even available for sale in the States yet. There had to be a better way to help people discover the amazing music out there.

In my second year of b-school, I wrote a business plan for a media management class. Napster 1.0 had just launched, providing access to just about every song ever recorded. While cool, what I thought was most compelling was the Napster “hotlist” feature; if you were downloading music from a particular user time and again, you could click on his username, and then hit “hotlist” to see all of the other MP3s on his hard drive. It was like walking into a stranger’s home and checking out her record collection, knowing in advance that you shared musical tastes.

Then it hit me: DJs in the electronic music scene of 1990s London were often better known than the artists whose music they played. With so many producers creating so much electronic music in myriad subgenres, a listener needed a “music sherpa” to make sense of it all. It occurred to me that this DJ paradigm could be applied online, bringing order to the Napster hotlist feature, in effect, or to the vast expanse of music eventually available in a celestial jukebox. I wrote up a plan for a business I called Sampled & Sorted (a bit of double entendre to those familiar with the UK clubbing scene).

Sadly, I was unable to get the plan funded the following year, after the NASDAQ crash in spring 2000. A few VCs suggested I find another company doing something at least tangentially similar, and I ended up joining Live365. I worked there for 6 years, far longer than I’d expected. The company reached profitability in 2005, and I almost certainly earned my Gladwellian 10,000 hours. In 2006, armed with practical experience to better execute the Sampled & Sorted vision, I founded 8tracks.

I pitched Fred Wilson on 11/15/2006. While Fred thought my concept was interesting, he reminded me that he funds businesses, not plans. I needed to figure out a way to build the platform first, and ideally gain traction, before seeking funding. I enlisted my former Live365 intern and good friend Remi Gabillet, and we set about building the website. After a few missteps (Flex for one), we had a good-enough version ready by July 2008, and figured we’d go with the auspicious date 8/8/2008 for launch.

We saw good early take-up. Our launch coincided with closure of the very cool Muxtape, which led to some favorable coverage for 8tracks. The following spring, two playlists blew up on StumbleUpon: The Ocarina of Rhyme — a mixtape of classic hip-hop and music from the video game Zelda — and Songs that make you feel better — happy music for recessionary times. As a result, we grew 10X in a month, from 30k to 300k unique visitors. We raised some angel funding to ensure we could afford our growing royalty and Amazon Web Services bills. But we still had no full-time employees nor salaries.

Over the next 2 years we saw steady, continued growth, and we topped 2.5m unique visitors by spring 2011. Thanks to an intro by Alex Ljung of SoundCloud to Mike Volpi of Index Ventures, we were able to close our first institutional round and, in August 2011 (almost exactly 3 years after launch), hire our first employees. In addition to Index, the round included Andreessen Horowitz, 14W (backed by Len Blavatnik), SoftTech, English DJ Pete Tong and Atlantic Records chairman and CEO Craig Kallman. Equipped with a bit of cash from this $1.2m seed round, we could invest for growth — which we did, nearly tripling in traffic and reaching profitability within the next 2 years.

It’s been 5 years since raising institutional funding and hiring our first employees. We’ve faced a few challenges in the last couple of years — Spotify’s ascent, in particular, but also our removal of SoundCloud as an option in playlist creation and blocking access by listeners outside the US and Canada (the latter sets the stage for direct deals with labels and aggregators, a process that’s now progressing nicely, and we’ll be re-introducing 8tracks in certain countries in the months ahead). We remain the #3 pureplay internet radio service in the US (after Pandora and iHeartRadio) and draw 5m monthly active users across web, iOS and Android in the US and Canada.

I believe that the opportunity for digital music has never been more attractive. While 2 of the world’s most valuable companies (Google and Apple) offer music for strategic reasons, and the 2 top-of-mind brands for digital music (Spotify and Pandora) have raised billions, the market is simply massive and growing. Unlike other forms of digital consumption, music can be enjoyed while doing just about anything. If lean-back (aka radio) programming is sufficiently relevant in terms of taste and context, it’s the go-to option for most listeners, most of the time. Coupled with dead simple broadband access in the pocket (iPhone and Android), home (I’m bullish on the Amazon Echo and its imitators) and car (soon), internet radio could well become the most ubiquitous form of media mankind has known.

Where does 8tracks sit in this ecosystem? We’re lean-back that goes deep. If you ask most listeners what they like and dislike about Pandora, they’ll say it’s easy — but that it also tends to repeat, or draws from a (relatively) shallow pool. On the other hand, Spotify and SoundCloud now offer just about all recorded music. Spotify’s success with Discover Weekly notwithstanding, the top-of-mind use case for both is a la carte listening to a track, album or artist you already know. 8tracks lives in the middle, “packaging” music for any taste and moment in a scalable way, delivering the right balance of relevancy and discovery, while providing artists with exposure to an appreciative audience.

But we could be much, much better. Most critical to our future success is removing the friction for our DJs and listeners to do what they do. We’re building a music library to allow people to make a playlist without having to upload MP3 or AAC files; many (perhaps most) listeners in our core 18–24 demo don’t have music files lying around on their hard drive anymore, let alone on their phone. We’ll make our iOS and Android apps “feature complete” by including playlist creation in the months ahead. Listeners, in turn, should be able to open the 8tracks app and whatever playlist shows up first on home is exactly what they want to listen to right now, based on taste and contextual cues. There’s much more to accomplish in our data science game, so stay tuned.

We recently kicked off a crowdfunding round under Regulation A+ to allow the DJs and listeners who love 8tracks to invest directly in the company. This has only been an option for a year, and 8tracks is one of the first companies in the US to pursue this path. It’s a particularly good fit, as it is indeed our community that is 8tracks’ chief strength — 8tracks users create the mixes, 8tracks users share their mixes through word-of-mouth and social media, and so it stands to reason that they should have the opportunity to become owners in an economic sense as well. We’ll use the funding to reduce friction in listening to and making playlists, to ensure we’re available on all “dials” in home and car and anywhere else you’d expect to tune in, and to bring 8tracks back to a global audience. (If you’d like to participate, you can learn more or invest as little as $100 here.)

It’s been a long, beautiful journey. Thanks for listening, and here’s to the road ahead.

To celebr8 our 8th birthday, we’ve made you a special mix with 8 of the most popular tracks on 8tracks, ever. There’s a top track for each year since our journey began on 8/8/08. Check it out!


8tracks, Inc. (the “Company”) is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained from https://www.seedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a/filing. This Company’s profile and accompanying offering materials may contain forward-looking statements and information relating to, among other things, the Company, its business plan and strategy, and its industry. These statements reflect management’s current views with respect to future events based information currently available and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as they are meant for illustrative purposes and they do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, all of which cannot be made. Moreover, no person nor any other person or entity assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of forward-looking statements, and is under no duty to update any such statements to conform them to actual results.

We’ve All Gone Pete Tong

We've All Gone Pete Tong - #back8tracks - Featured

BBC Radio 1’s legendary DJ Pete Tong teams up with the 8tracks staff to bring you this bass-loving playlist – packed with 8 of the best electronic tracks sure to make you move.

“Pete Tong has been long regarded as the global ambassador for electronic music. We at 8tracks share his ambition for bringing new artists to light and empowering music discovery through people.

It’s an honor to have Pete #back8tracks as an investor and member of our vibrant DJ community.“
– David Porter, CEO & Founder, 8tracks

“8tracks is the future of radio.”
– Pete Tong | DJ & Producer, BBC Radio 1

Hundreds more DJs and artists have banded together to #back8tracks in a show of support for our crowdfunding campaign. Learn how you can join them and invest in 8tracks here. 

Tune in to hear more of the incredible handcrafted #back8tracks mixes here.

#Back8tracks -Playlists

Crowdfunding

To catch you up in case you haven’t seen, 8tracks is now in the middle of the world’s first crowdfunding campaign to create a music streaming company actually owned by the people who use it.

8tracks’ uniqueness as a platform has galvanized mega stars and casual users alike to band together under the hashtag #back8tracks – creating hundreds of playlists in a show of support. Here’s what some of them are saying:

“8tracks is more than just a music service — it’s a real community built on a shared love of music.”
– Steve Aoki | DJ & Producer, Dim Mak Records

“It’s been amazing to watch 8tracks grow over the years. There’s simply nothing else quite like it.”
– Philip Inghelbrecht | Founder, Shazam; ex-YouTube

“Playlisting has exploded to become an amazing path for fans to discover and share music. The team at 8tracks has nailed it by forging a fantastic community that brings together artists, DJs, and listeners in a dynamic, creative exchange. It’s a great way to promote artists, but more importantly, it gives fans a compelling destination to find new music, which makes it a win-win for everyone.”
– Craig Kallman | Chairman, CEO, Atlantic Records

Join thousands of people from around the world as an investor in 8tracks alongside Pete Tong, Steve Aoki, Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

Let’s make it happen!

 

 

 


8tracks, Inc. (the “Company”) is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained from https://www.seedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a/filing. This Company’s profile and accompanying offering materials may contain forward-looking statements and information relating to, among other things, the Company, its business plan and strategy, and its industry. These statements reflect management’s current views with respect to future events based information currently available and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as they are meant for illustrative purposes and they do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, all of which cannot be made. Moreover, no person nor any other person or entity assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of forward-looking statements, and is under no duty to update any such statements to conform them to actual results. The individuals above were not compensated in exchange for their testimonials. In addition, their testimonials should not be construed as and/or considered investment advice.

A New Era for 8tracks

#back8tracks

One of the things I’ve learned since starting 8tracks eight years ago is that life is absolutely full of surprises.

In February, we asked members of our community if they’d like to invest in 8tracks, but we never expected the amazing response we got! Over 40,000 people showed interest in owning shares in 8tracks, so we embarked on a path to make it possible.

We began 8tracks with a simple premise: the best music discovery experiences happen through people. Today, every single one of the 2,000,000+ playlists people have created on 8tracks reminds us how a shared love of music can build a true community.

With funding, we’ll be empowered to bring 8tracks to a global audience, introduce support for new platforms, enable easy playlist creation on web and mobile, and create a better, more personalized listening experience for everyone.

After months of preparation, I’m happy to announce that 8tracks is now accepting investments through the SeedInvest platform. Join us!

Learn More About Investing In 8tracks

8tracks Opens For Investment - It's All Because of You

Thanks,

David Porter
CEO & founder, 8tracks

P.S. In the weeks leading up to this exciting news, hundreds of DJs and artists have shown their support by creating incredible handmade playlists to #back8tracks. I’ve included a few of our favorites below – give ’em a spin!


 

#Back8tracks Playlists

A lovely blend of selections from 2016 chosen by some of our favorite DJs and musicians!


“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all”- Anne Tyler


the elusive peace that comes from within and journeys without


8tracks, Inc. (the “Company”) is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained from https://www.seedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a/filing. This Company’s profile and accompanying offering materials may contain forward-looking statements and information relating to, among other things, the Company, its business plan and strategy, and its industry. These statements reflect management’s current views with respect to future events based information currently available and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as they are meant for illustrative purposes and they do not represent guarantees of future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, all of which cannot be made. Moreover, no person nor any other person or entity assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of forward-looking statements, and is under no duty to update any such statements to conform them to actual results.

The Future of 8tracks

The 8tracks Community

Big news this week. After receiving over $33 million in indications of investment interest from 35,000 people, we’re taking the next step in our equity crowdfunding campaign and opening up the ability to reserve shares in 8tracks to everyone.

 Reserve 8tracks Shares Here
Our investment round will be launching in just a couple weeks, so we made this video to share a bit more about our journey and show you where we work (and sometimes live).

 

Investing in the Future of 8tracks

 

What Our Current Investors Are Saying

“8tracks is the future of radio.”

– Pete Tong | DJ & Producer, BBC Radio 1

“8tracks is more than just a music service — it’s a real community built on a shared love of music.”

Steve Aoki | DJ & Producer, Dim Mak Records

“It’s been amazing to watch 8tracks grow over the years. There’s simply nothing else quite like it.”

– Philip Inghelbrecht | Founder, Shazam; ex-YouTube

 

Latest Press

SF Station - 8tracks & the Power of Crowdfunding Rebels Among Music Streaming Titans

8tracks & the Power of Crowdfunding: Rebels Among Music Streaming Titans

David Porter - CEO @ 8tracks

Taking their support even further, intrepid DJs on 8tracks have banded together under the tag #back8tracks to serenade you with hundreds of hours of tunes. Check ’em out here and enjoy a choice few we’ve handpicked below.

We’ll be keeping you updated with more news as our investment round launch draws closer in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, remember to reserve your shares beforehand here:

 Reserve 8tracks Shares

 

#Back8tracks Playlists

A subtle blend (and wide variety) of relaxing tunes — handpicked in a collaborative show of support by talented artists and DJs around the world.


Starts off slow and heats up in the end. playlist for good feelings. 8 little tracks in support of 8tracks


13 applewood-smoked, honey-glazed beats to power you through the day. Drool-inducing image credit goes to @maximillian.


I can speak for SpaceBunnies everywhere: A sound curator capable of both rational and irrational thought and emotion will beat a dumb computer algorithm EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK.


 

© 8tracks, Inc. (8tracks) is accepting reservations for an Offering under Tier II of Regulation A. No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, it will not be accepted. No sales of securities will be made or commitment to purchase accepted until qualification of the offering statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) and approval of any other required government or regulatory agency. A reservation is non-binding and involves no obligation or commitment of any kind. No offer to buy securities can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received without an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Commission. A Preliminary Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement has been filed with the Commission, a copy of which may be obtained from www.seedinvest.com/8tracks/series.a. The individuals above were not compensated in exchange for their testimonials. In addition, their testimonials should not be construed as and/or considered investment advice.

 

Together, we’re making crowdfunding history!

8tracks Loft in SF

This week, we’re filing with the SEC to make it possible for anyone to buy shares in 8tracks — making us one of the very first music companies to announce an equity crowdfunding round.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve asked our listeners and DJs if they’d contribute to this crowdfunding path for 8tracks. The response has been astounding, with over $30,000,000 of investment interest expressed by 30,000+ fans!

Sufficiently inspired, we felt the urge to channel our feelings through this playlist we made for you:

You inspire us

You inspire us

This type of crowdfunding hasn’t always been available to startups. Until last summer, only accredited investors — people who earn more than $200,000 per year or have a net worth greater than $1 million — were primarily allowed to buy shares in private companies without relying on very particular regulatory exemptions. Thankfully, the US Jobs Act now makes it possible for anyone to invest in emerging companies.

With only $3.3 million in total funding, 8tracks has accomplished much over the past 8 years — serving 16+ million listeners over time and streaming more than 20m hours per month.

8tracks Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

New funding will allow us to bring 8tracks back to a global audience, extend access to new platforms in the home and car, and make it easier for listeners to find playlists they’ll love. We’ll also be equipped to pursue direct deals with record labels to offer a complete music library for making playlists on web and mobile.

The SEC normally takes two or three months to review applications, so we’re planning to launch our live funding round near the end of May or early June.

We’ve partnered with our friends at SeedInvest to help us through the equity crowdfunding process. Visit them here to indicate interest in investing and keep updated on our funding progress.

 Learn more about crowdfunding 8tracks
Thank you once again for your support. We’re thrilled to embark on this adventure with you to make 8tracks better for years to come.

 


 

Disclaimer: © 8tracks, Inc. (8tracks) is “testing the waters” to gauge market demand from potential investors for an Offering under Tier II of Regulation A. No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, it will not be accepted. No offer or sales of the securities will be made or commitment to purchase accepted until qualification of the offering statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission and approval of any other required government or regulatory agency. An indication of interest made by a prospective investor is non-binding and involves no obligation or commitment of any kind. To make an investment in any deal currently testing the waters on the SeedInvest platform available to the general public, the Company must first register and qualify the offering with both State and Federal regulators. No offer of securities will be made without a registration statement.

A change in our international streaming

What are we doing?

On February 16th, we’ll change how listeners outside the US and Canada tune into 8tracks.

We’ll no longer stream from 8tracks’ servers to listeners outside the US and Canada; instead, we’ll offer the ability to tune into playlists on the 8tracks website via YouTube video playback. Unfortunately, listeners outside the US and Canada will no longer be able to stream playlists through the 8tracks iOS and Android apps.

Your 8tracks profile and any playlists you’ve made will not be affected and you’ll continue to be able to stream any playlists with tracks you’ve personally uploaded. All of your playlists will continue to be accessible to listeners anywhere our content is available around the world. You will still be able to make and share playlists with everyone, however, your personal listening experience may be limited depending on which country you are in.

Later this year, we’ll offer listeners outside the US and Canada the ability to tune into all 8tracks playlists through an on-demand streaming partner’s website and native mobile apps.

Beyond this on-demand partnership, we’re working to ensure 8tracks’ long-term success as a stand-alone global platform for everyone to enjoy.

Why are we doing this now?  

In the US and Canada, 8tracks pays royalties to local collection societies for every track we stream. While we’ve neither actively marketed nor directly monetized 8tracks outside the US and Canada, we’re now seeking direct, global deals with record labels to ensure we’ve a solution for mix creation that extends to anyone who has the passion and knowledge to curate amazing playlists.

Later this year, we’ll revamp and streamline mix creation and extend this experience to our native mobile apps. Because most people don’t have many local music files on their phones, we’re preparing for a future in which you can easily access millions of tracks from our growing music library (thanks to direct licensing deals).

In order to ensure 8tracks’ existence for years to come, we’ve concluded — at least for now — that delivering our programming to listeners outside the US and Canada through a licensed on-demand partner is the best path forward. We remain committed to bringing 8tracks to a global audience so all can join us in creating and discovering playlists for every taste, time and place.

Have further questions? Learn more here


 

If you’re an ad-free subscriber, click here for steps to request a refund.

SoundCloud Transition

We’ve concluded together with SoundCloud that 8tracks playlists will soon no longer be able to access SoundCloud tracks through the SoundCloud API. There are two important dates to note:

  • July 24th: You will no longer be able to add tracks directly from SoundCloud when creating an 8tracks playlist.  In addition, any previous uploads that had been supplanted with a SoundCloud track will revert to the original upload.
  • September 30th: SoundCloud tracks can no longer be streamed from existing 8tracks playlists, and any playlists that fall below the 8-song minimum will no longer be playable on iOS and Android (until additional tracks are added).

We are thankful for your hard work in creating amazing playlists on 8tracks. We want to keep tracks and playlists playable, while making the transition as easy as possible for you. More than 96% of all tracks included in playlists today will not be impacted by this transition. Here’s how we’ll address the remaining 4%:

  • Matching SoundCloud tracks to our music Library and replacing them — so that you don’t have to. We’ve already matched 90% of the SoundCloud tracks played over the last 6 months.
  • Signing additional deals with labels to add more music to the Library. Over the past 6 months, 8tracks has directly licensed music from some of the most popular labels in the world (9 million tracks). We expect to have more music available for creating playlists by the time the transition is complete, providing further coverage for missing tracks and unplayable playlists.
  • Notifying you at the end of August of what playlists and tracks will be affected. During September, we will continue to match more music to the growing Library, and DJs will have the option to add tracks to playlists that have been impacted.

We’re sorry that this may create work for you; the only assignment we’d like to give you is to dance and smile. We’ll work as hard as we can to preserve your playlists. Below is a list of questions we expect you might have regarding the transition, along with our responses.

FAQs

1. What’s the SoundCloud integration?

2. What’s going to change?

3. When is this happening?

4. What does this mean for my playlist that has SoundCloud tracks?

5. What does this mean for 8tracks?

6. What will happen to the playlists that no longer include 8 playable tracks?

7. What will happen to the tracks that I’ve favorited on 8tracks that show up on SoundCloud?

8. Can I still favorite tracks and have them show up in my SoundCloud?

9. If I’m a SoundCloud artist and I still want my music on 8tracks, what can I do?

10. I love 8tracks. How can I help?

11. Why are you waiting until August to tell me which songs will be replaced?

1. What’s the SoundCloud integration? Both SoundCloud and 8tracks have benefit from an integration introduced nearly 5 years ago, allowing 8tracks DJs to search for and add SoundCloud tracks to their playlists. 8tracks plays an important role in exposure for independent artists, and the SoundCloud API has helped drive this objective.

2. What’s going to change? We’ve together concluded that the time has come for 8tracks to discontinue use of SoundCloud’s API. We have been preparing for this event by signing direct deals with labels and distributors, amassing more than 9 million songs in our Library so far. We’ve been working with SoundCloud to ensure a smooth transition, as we scale back our streaming of their content in the the coming months.

3. When is this happening? As of today, SoundCloud will no longer be available in the 8tracks playlist creation choreography. As of October 1st, listeners will no longer be able to stream from 8tracks playlists those SoundCloud tracks that were not matched to our licensed content library.

4. What does this mean for my playlist that has SoundCloud tracks? Roughly 96% of all tracks included in playlists will not be affected. The remaining 4% of content will need to be replaced, and we’re going to help you do that. Here’s how:

  • We have already begun to match tracks originally selected from SoundCloud to those available in our Library; we expect to match 90%+ of all SoundCloud content
  • We will continue to license music to expand the Library and will replace SoundCloud tracks that are currently unmatchable, when possible, with the objective of returning each playlist to its full, original tracklist
  • All DJs will receive an email in August that includes links to the playlists and specific tracks that we are unable to match at that point

5. What does this mean for 8tracks? Over the last year, we have launched and grown our Library, which now includes more than 9 million tracks from independent labels and artists. We are committed to growing this Library and expect to have more label deals to announce soon.

6. What will happen to the playlists that no longer include 8 playable tracks? As of October 1st, if a playlist still falls under the minimum number of tracks, it will no longer be playable — except on the 8tracks website using YouTube. However, we’ll maintain the playlist and, as tracks continue to be added to the Library through direct label deals, we will match the new available content. Once a playlist reaches the 8-track minimum, it will be available again for streaming on our mobile apps.

7. What will happen to the tracks that I’ve favorited on 8tracks that show up on SoundCloud? Nothing. Those tracks will still show up in your favorites on SoundCloud.

8. Can I still favorite tracks and have them show up in my SoundCloud? Unfortunately, no.

9. If I’m a SoundCloud artist and I still want my music on 8tracks, what can I do? We’ve recently partnered with a number of labels and aggregators to populate our Library. If you already distribute your music through one of them (listed here and here), you’ll be available in the Library, now or soon. However, if you do not distribute your works through one of these aggregators, we’d encourage you to consider TuneCore, which provides a relatively inexpensive way for artists to make their content available on multiple digital music platforms, including 8tracks. We also are planning a way for artists to directly upload songs into the Library. Please enter your email below if you’d like to be notified when an upload option is available.

10. I love 8tracks. How can I help? We love you too. If you’ve published a playlist on 8tracks, please look for an email from us in August; we’ll identify playlists and tracks that we’re still unable to match. While we’ll continue to enter into direct deals with labels and aggregators to provide further matches and coverage, we encourage you to replace any remaining SoundCloud tracks with songs from your personal collection, at your option.

11. Why are you waiting until August to tell me which songs will be replaced? We want to save you from unnecessary work. There are millions of songs we have already licensed but have yet to identify and match. It will take us some time to complete all of this, but once it’s complete we’ll notify you, leaving you at least a month to make any necessary edits to your playlist.