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Epidemic Sound: The Future of Music Has Its Own Soundtrack


Imagine a world without music, commercials without jingles, no soundtracks in the movies. It is close to impossible! There’s no doubt that music is an indispensable part of everyone’s life. But, the business of music makes it excruciatingly difficult to nurture the real love for the art.

Changing the tide and giving quality music the air to breathe, Peer Åström and David Stenmarck created Epidemic Sound. A seemingly simple platform, Epidemic Sound is a place where worldwide storytellers can have access to soundtrack music, use it freely, and share it with the world!

The platform's innovative digital rights model opens the way for creators- from YouTubers to small businesses to the world's largest brands. Creators can use 'restriction-free music' to take their videos to the next level while supporting the musicians financially and creatively. Beyond the artistic, here is how two men gave new music waves a whole new sound, audience, and a place to thrive!

Once Upon a Childhood

David Stenmarck was born on 20 February 1974 in Stockholm, Sweden. He has dedicated his life to music and writing lyrics, and produced almost everything he has done. This 47-year-old legend works out of his own studio, Planet Plant Studios, located in Stockholm. But, before David could get to write songs for artists like Martin Kesici and German pop idol winner Alexander, Westlife, he needed to earn his place among its competitors.

Peer Åström was born in 1972 in Ljusdal, Sweden. At a very young age, Peer started showing tremendous interest in music. After finishing his music studies, Peer became a successful lyricist, musician, record producer, and composer. Alongside his partner Anders Bagge, Peer wrote and produced many songs for stars like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Lara Fabian, and Celine Dion, among others. Peer is also a gifted instrumentalist, having his way with drums, bass guitar, and keyboards. After meeting David, Peer also created and co-founded Epidemic Sound.

Five for the Win

The idea to create something different would take more than David and Peer. To enhance their efforts, the duo trusted two main figures - Oscar Höglund and Jan Zachrisson. Oscar Höglund was born in London. He started a career as a management consultant and graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and The Wharton School. Years later, Oscar joined ZodiakTelevision, owned by Jan Zachrisson. Jan Zahrisson was born in 1962, in Sundsvall. He is a producer and musician, as well as co-founder of Epidemic sound.

The idea about founding Epidemic Sound originally came from David Stenmarck and Peer Åstrom. Both David and Peer were on a harrowing mission to produce a track for the world's most famous female artist - Celine Dion. They were discussing how most of their colleagues didn't have financial stability in the music industry. At the time, Jan Zachrisson and Oscar Höglund were licensing music for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Even though four heads worked better than one, the team lacked yet another brain of operations. To complete the circle, the four got introduced to their fifth and final co-founder, Hjalmar Winbladh, a successful digital entrepreneur and founder of the world's first mobile internet company - Sendit.

When the fivesome first got together, they discussed the essential need to solve the many issues musicians and up-and-coming artists in the industry faced. What began as a simple conversation would soon turn the team into a musical force to be reckoned with.

Sound of the 00s

After years spent in the music industry and going through many difficulties, all four David, Peer, Oscar, and Jan wanted to revolutionize the music world by using the best, new, and modern technology systems.

Peer Åstrom and David Stenmarck had more than 220 entries on the US Billboard working with Miley Cyrus, Cee Lo Green, and Madonna. At the same time, Hjalmar put his successful digital entrepreneur career to good use, whereas Jan and Oscar worked on licensing music tracks.

Initially, the team wanted to create something that would offer music composers and writers a different and unique way of making a living. Yet, they didn't even imagine that the platform would bring upon a groundbreaking change in the music industry.

Epidemic Sound was founded in 2009 by Peer, David, Oscar, Jan, and Hjalmar. It was introduced as the first MusicTech company with the goal of making the ownership of music rights simple for its artists. The platform introduced a model where storytellers could easily access their music by simply subscribing to the platform.

As a refined platform, Epidemic Sound allows musicians worldwide to handpick their soundtrack tune from a staggering 32,000-track library! The best thing about the platform is not its unique approach alone, but also the fact that all its created music is absolutely royalty-free and playable across all music streaming platforms!

Pushing Through

Together, the team overcame numerous challenges, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, which also took its toll on the music market. Oscar Höglund kept on doing interviews during the pandemic yet admitted the times were challenging, and that quality music suffered as a result.

But, Oscar has been pretty inspired by the platform’s content creators as they have adapted easily to the limitations of the lockdown and never missed out on a day of creating content. At one point, he even claimed that staying together through the hard times and the good was of the essence to everyone’s creativity. Although the Covid-19 brought many changes to the music industry, the Epidemic Sound team overcame the storm and even kept up the pace of their platform in terms of engagement.

Epidemic Sound Funding

Epidemic Sound received total funding of $508.9 million, carried out over five rounds. The first funding was raised in 2014 by Series A and estimated at a generous $5 million. The second funding Venture Round estimated $1 million and took place in 2017. Later that same year, another Private Equity Round poured in.

In 2019, a Venture round took place, held by five investors who raised a whopping $20 million. By 2021, the company raised its biggest sum yet, a $450 million investment, also courtesy of the five investors.

Since 2019, Epidemic Sound has grown by a fantastic 400%. All Epidemic Sound founders and co-founders wanted to go global. So they did, taking their brand in front of international audiences.

In 2020, Epidemic Sound partnered up with Adobe as a way to incorporate 27,000 tracks into Epidemic's premiere pro and stock products. This was an excellent opportunity for all creators due to the accessibility of the feature. Among other things, the deal made tracking content far easier, simpler, and quicker for all musicians.

Walking the Distance

With over 5 million people using its services, Epidemic Sound has finally made it big. Currently, the platform features artists played 1.5 billion times a day, with their soundtracks played for an average of 250 million hours on YouTube - a month!

The platform counts ten investors, 42 contracts, and ten employees. It is constantly growing and developing. Today, Epidemic Sound offers creators full access to more than 35,000 tracks and 90,000 sound effects, all royalty-free and accessed in no time.

Given its high popularity and unique modus operandi, the company is more than deserving of its $1.4 billion worth. Creating music in over 170 different genres - for professional artists and video, social media, and TV production - Epidemic Sound replaces music’s commercial purpose with a unique business model everyone can benefit from.

Opening more room for investment, especially via the EQT Mid Market Europe’s strategy, Epidemic Sound creates quality-sound future prominent artists can look forward to!