Pirate Studios of Bristol raises $20m for ‘self-service’ recording, live stream and sharing music

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 15 Nov, 2018) London, Uk – –

Bristol-based startup creating 24-hour production studios, where artists can record, live stream and share their music, has raised $20m (£15m), benefitting from growing demand among musicians for more control of their content.

Pirate Studios has raised the cash from venture capital firm Talis Capital, taking its total valuation to around $46m.

It has previously received backing from Eric Archambeau, an investor in Spotify, as well as partners at Hong Kong-based fund Gaw Capital.

The company operates the studios in a similar way to how The Gym Group runs its gyms, providing those using its sites with codes they can then use to unlock and access the studios.

Since it was founded in 2015, Pirate has grown to around 350 studios across the UK, Germany and the US. It had initially only offered recording studios, but now also has facilities for DJs and producers, and those using the sites can automatically record their content and live-stream it to social media platforms.

“We wanted to create studios that were more affordable, so we did this by opening up our sites for a 24-hour booking period per day,” said David Borrie, co-founder and CEO of Pirate Studios.

“And what most people don’t see is that we’re half construction company, half music studio company, so all our designs are effectively flat pack which we can build very quickly and, because we’re in industrial buildings, our rates can be cheaper.”

The latest fundraise comes amid growing interest in the music production space, with companies such as Spotify launching artist development programmes and allowing artists to upload their own music to the platform. Apple Music, meanwhile, in October took on staff from smaller business Asaii, which uses algorithms to predict which artists will be popular.

Spotify and Apple Music have been battling for market share in music streaming space, although Spotify, which launched first, is still thought to be well ahead. In May, Apple’s subscription service had 50 million active users, while Spotify has around 87 million paying subscribers and 110 million unpaid users.

“Interestingly the Spotifys and the Apple Musics are doing a great job in pushing bands and artists to record their content and either they pay to record their own content or they have a label paying for them,” Mr Borrie said.

“But we’re really more at the grass roots, so we’re looking at the artists who are trying to make it. They are just starting their journey or trying to push on to that next level, where they can then go up, record or start producing material which can go on to the likes of Spotify or Apple.”

“As to whether Spotify or Apple would ever be interested in having their own studios, from our perspective we want to make it so that we’re not pushing artists down one particular channel. We want to give artists as much choice as possible and by entertaining discussions with any particular provider in terms of how their music is distributed it would be pigeonholing ourselves,” he said.

“I guess maybe at some point these companies might want to look at stuff that's more in the grass-routes area, but we're very happy with the support we give those artists at the moment and we'll try to continue that choice and freedom.”

By Hannah Boland