UK music rights fintech company Salt has closed a funding round with backers including songwriters and producers, as well as a European investment company.
Salt’s platform streamlines music rights & royalties from attribution to distribution, and has a global network that the company says is accurate, high–speed and transparent.
The new investors in Salt include ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, Quincy Jones and Canadian songwriter and producer Dan Kurtz. The level of funding has not been disclosed.
The investment has seen Björn Ulvaeus join Salt’s board alongside Robert Ashcroft, former chief executive of UK collection society PRS For Music, and Roger Faxon, former chief executive of EMI.
Dan Kurtz has joined as senior vice president for the Americas and Niclas Molinder has been appointed as head of industry relations.
Other investors in Salt’s latest strategic funding round include European investment company Lansdowne Investment Company and the family office of Nicolas James Group.
Salt Royalties’ platform processes usage, matches ownership and calculates royalty distributions. It provides societies with royalty–processing software, so they can pay rights-holders quickly and accurately.
Salt’s other software platform Session allows songwriters, producers, artists and other performers to easily assign the correct metadata and songwriting credits to their work during the creation process.
Salt’s platforms are designed to help fix the problem of unclaimed or misallocated royalties. An Ivors Academy report found this so-called ‘Black Box’ to be as high as £500m a year.
This global problem is caused by essential metadata – names and identifiers of writers, co-writers, and other stakeholders – being incomplete or missing entirely, resulting in royalty payments having no verifiable recipient.
Salt has already signed a 10-year deal to process over €3bn of music royalties with its first customer, BumaStemra, the Dutch music collection society representing the interests of music authors and publishers. The first payments to thousands of Dutch songwriters using Salt technology have already been issued.
For the music industry to survive and flourish, it’s vital that creators get swift and accurate payments for their work
Salt has also just signed a deal with The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) in the US to provide data matching services to improve music rights & royalties collection for music creators. The MLC administers blanket mechanical licences for eligible streaming and download services, collecting royalties due under those licences and paying music publishers and administrators, ex-US collective management organisations (CMOs) and self-administered songwriters, composers and lyricists.
Salt CEO Doug Imrie said: “Making and distributing music is easier than ever. But the systems for crediting and rewarding creativity are stuck in the pre–digital era, unable to compete in a world where 140,000 tracks are added to Spotify every day.
“That’s why we created Salt. It plugs into existing back-office systems, processing usage, matching ownership and calculating distributions with cloud-powered speed and accuracy. With Salt, music creators will get played and paid.
“We’re proud that people of the stature of Dave, Quincy, Dan and Björn, who have created some of the most played music of all time, have invested in our plans to help other musicians and songwriters. We also warmly welcome Lansdowne Partners as investors to help fuel Salt’s global expansion.”
Salt board member and investor Björn Ulvaeus, who is also president of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), added: "I am delighted to have joined the board of Salt and to work with this team of committed industry experts to bring transparency and accuracy to the music industry.
“Salt’s revolutionary technology will enable the smooth and secure flow of royalty payments to the very people who make the music and keep this industry thriving, ensuring they get fair pay for every play.”
New Salt investor Dave Stewart added: “It’s 40 years since we released Sweet Dreams but now for many new songwriters and artists, getting paid for their work has become a bit of a nightmare. For the music industry to survive and flourish, it’s vital that creators get swift and accurate payments for their work. Salt is the solution that songwriters have been waiting years for and that’s why I wanted to invest.”
PHOTO: (L-R) Salt CEO Doug Imrie with new investor Dave Stewart and co-founder of Salt’s Session, Swedish songwriter and producer Niclas Molinder.