Songtradr - Powering the World by Music
As Louis Amstrong liked to say - Music is life itself. And for many people, music is a way of life, even though managing a career in the industry isn’t easy.
The Australian performer and songwriter Paul Wiltshire decided to revolutionize how music artists connect and other people in need of music content.
The core purpose of Songtradr is to allow people to manage their careers in the music industry and establish music rights.
What started as a garage project in 2014 today allows a much easier song licensing process, authorizing others to use the pieces for films and advertisements. Artists can upload their music on the platform for free and set their licensing fees.
How did Paul build the world’s largest online licensing platform, and what drove him to pursue something of this magnitude? This is the mesmerizing journey of the former performer and songwriter from Melbourne, Australia, and his rise to the top in the music licensing industry.
Songtradr Started as a Garage Band
Paul Wiltshire was born in Kingston, New York, on 25 July 1970. At one year old, he moved with his parents to Australia and grew up in Western Victoria.
Paul had been interested in music since a young age and wanted to be a songwriter if he couldn't succeed in a band. In 1991, Paul promoted several music bands from the Ballarat region where he had lived since moving from the US.
Shortly after succeeding with the Ballarat regional bands, Paul moved to Melbourne to pursue a career as a songwriter and later as a record producer. Paul's idea from the start was to allow all records to be released and later commercialized.
He has always stated that only one out of ten songs would see success and will be commercialized.
While spending his time in the studio, he realized that some artists could not promote themselves due to licensing issues. This was the moment when he realized that the music industry needed a revolutionized platform where artists could sell their rights to advertisements, TV shows, or, simply put, all across the entertainment industry.
So, what started off as a garage band in 2014, was now evolving into something much bigger.
As Paul grew - so did his aspirations. He no longer wanted to be a band boy for his entire life, but something much bigger was brewing in his mind.
From Performer to Entrepreneur
Upon realizing that tons of music sits on the shelves and can’t be commercialized due to license issues, Paul decided it was time for a colossal change. Most of the artists he worked with got revenue from streaming, album sales, and touring, but one major factor was forgotten - music licensing.
To Paul, it didn’t seem that many people were paying enough attention to the issue, while everyone agreed that music licensing is a huge part of the music industry.
And if modern times require modern solutions, the free artists are in need of an app. But to help artists sell their work to others and make the new idea into reality, Paul had to find a third-party developer that would design a platform that matches his vision. As expected, the initial results were far from promising, as Paul decided to become an entrepreneur overnight.
Before Paul even ventured into entrepreneurship, he was a performer in Melbourne, Australia, an experience that ultimately led to a successful story.
To build his new music licensing platform, Paul drew experience from the only field he was passionate about - his work in the music industry as a songwriter and producer.
Paul was already aware that independent artists are having trouble when it comes to getting a big-time licensing deal. With his new upcoming platform named Songtradr, Paul wanted to make license selling much easier than it was, allowing musicians to sell their rights to companies for a price they’d be able to set themselves.
No Industry is Easy - The Music Industry Is No Exception
Entrepreneurship and challenges go hand to hand. Paul started working on developing Songtradr in 2014, but the first official version of the platform had to wait until 2016.
Once it was released, Paul encountered his first bigger challenge - it was unclear who the platform's primary targets were. Instead of a big hit right away, the numbers were not showing a positive outcome.
In his decades-long experience in the music industry, Paul worked with minor and influential artists, so now the question was who could benefit from the app. While everyone can use the app, it was clear that the less known artists and the label-free ones would come first.
So, it was now time to bring the platform to its audience. Paul was initially interested in how to bring the rest of the music catalog into the media landscape, most notably for TV and film, which, as he stated, was in the era of pre-Netflix.
Paul and Songtradr’s primary challenge was that not many artists thought that they could profit by selling their work, given that they were satisfied with revenues from live tours, album sales, and online streaming on YouTube and Spotify.
The additional problem was that Spotify was already the leading B2C music platform for streaming, so Paul changed the direction as he now calls Songtradr its ‘distant B2B cousin.’
Paul's first major funding for Songtradr was a Seed Round from Milamber Ventures, which was more than enough to overcome the initial challenges and make a breakthrough in the market.
How Did Songtradr Go Global
A few years after Songtradr went live, Paul saw that many artists were keen on his idea of online licensing. The platform evolved pretty fast - in the first year of its launch, Songtradr counted over 300.000 artists globally.
In less than two year’s span, in January 2018, Songtradr got a new investor through Series A, raising $4.2 million. Only a year later, the same investor raised over $12 million. The platform has raised a total of $101.2 million in over 9 rounds.
With the help of a few leading investors, Songtradr evolved into the largest online platform for music licensing in the industry. With the app, artists around the world discovered how easy it was to promote themselves and negotiate prices for their music rights.
As of February 2022, Paul has yet to take the company public, and its appearance is expected in the second half of the year.
Knowing that Songtradr must evolve, Paul took a step further. One of the several additions is the music search feature, where users can find songs of all artists registered on Songtradr.
Where Is Songtradr Now
Today, Songtradr and its founder Paul Wiltshire are doing better than ever. The company currently counts over 200 employees and a mindblowing number of half a million artists worldwide.
Paul remains to work at his life-work company and serves as its CEO, and still sticks to its main motto - ‘We power the world by music,’ and indeed he does.
The streaming feature is the newest addition on the platform, which makes Songtradr even more attractive. All music artists using the platform appear in the streaming section where non-users can listen to their songs.
For Paul, he is living his best life. What he thought was impossible is now more than just a dream. Thanks to him and Songtradr, every artist in the world can easily license their music and sell it to content creators for a specific price.
Songtradr is powering the world with music, and we are here to witness that from the first row!