Epidemic Sound raises $450M at a $1.4B valuation to ‘soundtrack the internet’ – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

The popularity of video and other streamed content like podcasts is continuing to grow at a breakneck speed. Today, a startup called Epidemic Sound, a marketplace to source the background music for that media, is announcing a massive round of funding to scale along with it. The Stockholm-based startup has raised $450 million from Blackstone Group and EQT Growth, an equity round that values Epidemic Sound at $1.4 billion.

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Epidemic currently features some 32,000 music tracks and 60,000 sound effects, and the plan will be to continue building out the technology on its platform to provide better tools to creators for matching music to media, to expand that catalog, to grow its customer base, and to take the service global with more localized offerings.

$450 million may sound like a lot of money for a company that — if you’ll excuse the pun — hasn’t made a lot of noise up to now. But the funding is underpinned with some big ambitions and significant metrics.

“It ties into the size of the vision,” co-founder and CEO Oscar Höglund said in an interview. “We are trying to soundtrack the internet. That’s what it comes down to.” For an idea of how the startup is growing, when we last covered funding for Epidemic Sound in 2019 (a more modest $20 million at a $370 million valuation), it saw its tracks playing for an average of 250 million hours each month on YouTube alone.

Since then, that figure has grown by more than 400% and is now well over 1 billion hours each month. Höglund says that YouTube videos using music from Epidemic Sound artists are played 1.5 billion times each day in terms of streams. And that’s before you consider the traffic for Epidemic music used across TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. The macro trend is exploding,” Höglund said. Counting composers and other creators, around 150,000 people are using its platform today.

But considering that there are around 37 million YouTube channels, and that’s not counting the many other places like Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and elsewhere that you might find people, there is a lot of room to grow.

“We look for huge open-ended markets, and [in this market] Epidemic is growing into an industry leader,” Jon Korngold, the global head of Blackstone Growth who led on its investment, said in an interview.

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