Royal, a music investment platform that makes it easy for fans to invest in artists and earn royalties alongside them, today announced that it has secured $16 million in seed funding led by Paradigm and Founders Fund, with participation from Atomic, as well as strategic partners including musicians, crypto leaders, and top technologists.
Founded by Justin Blau, a leading electronic dance music artist and producer performing under the name 3LAU, and JD Ross, previously co-founder of Opendoor and General Partner at Atomic, Royal aims to create a new co-ownership model where fans can not only invest but truly own pieces of their favorite music. Royal’s platform will enable users to own true rights in music through limited edition, autographed digital assets. Listeners will invest and own music as an asset class, and by owning these Limited Digital Assets (Royal’s novel non-fungible asset standard), fans can earn royalties alongside artists as their music increases in popularity.
“As a musician, my success is driven completely by my fans, listeners and supporters,” said Justin Blau, CEO and co-founder of Royal. “My livelihood is based on how much my fans support my music. Right now, my listeners aren’t compensated at all for that interaction. Humans are deeply connected to music, but in today’s digital-first world, it’s impossible to actually own and collect it at the scale we consume it. Royal is changing that by turning music into an asset and creating an incentive for fans to be aligned financially and emotionally with their favorite artists. When your favorite artist succeeds, you succeed.”
The global music industry was valued at over $21 billion in 2020, and streaming music alone is expected to grow by over $7 billion between 2021 and 2025. Historically, ownership of music royalties, streaming included, has been exclusively available to labels, hedge funds, and private equity firms as an portfolio asset.
“Culture and investing are bleeding together, and crypto is where that’s happening fastest. Justin and JD both live in that intersection,” said Fred Ehrsam, co-founder and managing partner of Paradigm. “Royal is the future we are headed to: creators go direct to fans and fans share in the success of creators.”
A crypto early adopter who began working with NFTs in 2018, 3LAU is one of the top five highest-earning artists in electronic dance music. In March 2021, 3LAU sold the world’s first digital tokenized album, earning a record-breaking $11.7 million in under 24 hours and has earned over $20 million in total NFT sales in the past year. 3LAU has continued to be a luminary in the NFT community, releasing an ongoing collaboration with long-time creative director Slimesunday called SSX3LAU. 3LAU has been an advocate for creating a new economy for music on blockchain technology. Fortune named 3LAU among the 50 Most Influential People in NFTs, and Cointelegraph included him in its Top 100 Most Notable People in Blockchain for 2021.
“Royal is fundamentally upending the hundred-year-old music industry,” said Keith Rabois, General Partner at Founders Fund. “Music has always connected people, but until today fans could not directly invest in their favorite artists. Royal offers a glimpse at the future for both music lovers and creators.”
Helmed by co-founders Justin Blau (3LAU) and JD Ross, Royal is building a music platform that makes it easy to invest in artists and earn royalties alongside them. With Royal, anyone can own a piece of their favorite music. Backed by Paradigm, Founders Fund and Atomic, Royal is redefining the meaning of owning music. For more information, please visit www.royal.io.