Soundtrap Lands $6M for Collaborative Music & Audio Creation App

Soundtrap, a recording studio app that competes with Apple’s GarageBand, announced today it has raised $6 million to expand its reach in both the consumer and education markets.

Like GarageBand, Soundtrap is easy to use and has been adopted for use in schools, Soundtrap CEO and co-founder Per Emanuelsson says. What differentiates Soundtrap is that it’s designed to allow users all over the world to collaborate on a song, movie soundtrack or other audio creation, no matter what computer or mobile device they’re using, he says. All the audio elements are created and shared in the Web-based app.

Founded in 2012, the Stockholm, Sweden-based startup formally launched its online studio in mid-2015. By the beginning of this year it counted 300,000 users, including more than 1,000 schools. In January it launched the education version of its app in Palo Alto, CA, where it also has an office. Soundtrap’s total worldwide user number is now 750,000, and the app is used in 3,000 schools, Emanuelsson says. The growth is continuing, he says.

“Every month is beating the month before,” Emanuelsson says. Consumers, teachers, and students can sign up for free accounts, but users can also pay for extra audio storage and other features. Soundtrap doesn’t disclose its revenues, or the number of its paying customers.

Soundtrap recently landed a distribution deal in North America with Fremont, CA-based SYNNEX, (NYSE: SNX) which distributes technology products directly to customers and to resellers.

Soundtrap’s Series A was led by Stockholm-based venture capital firm Industrifonden, which was joined by previous investors and former Spotify CFO Peter Sterky. The new capital commitment brings Soundtrap’s total fundraising to $8.5 million.

The capital infusion will be used to double Soundtrap’s staff of 22 people in the course of about six months, Emanuelsson says. Hiring will be across the board, in product development, sales, marketing, and customer relations.

Soundtrap’s biggest markets now are in the United States, Canada, the Nordic countries, Australia, and New Zealand. The company plans to expand into non-English-speaking countries by translating the music app’s content into other languages, Emanuelsson says. The user base is now split about 50-50 between consumers and users in schools. “We still have a very balanced community,” he says.

Emanuelsson says Soundtrap gained an advantage in the educational technology market early this year when Google chose the app as one of three included in a package of software designed for use with Chromebooks, the inexpensive laptops whose operating system is Google’s Chrome OS. Some Chromebooks sell for less than $200.

In the third quarter of 2015, Chromebooks accounted for more than 50 percent of devices purchased for use in US schools, surpassing products from both Apple and Microsoft, according to educational technology research firm Futuresource Consulting.

Asked which revenue sources might turn out to be the most robust for Soundtrap, Emanuelsson doesn’t predict that far ahead. The company should “just keep doing what we do,” he says.

“We should just kind of run ever faster,” Emanuelsson says.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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