Noteworthy deal: Music marketing platform Bandzoogle acquired by U.S. firm

Music streaming stock image

Ottawa-based music marketing and sales platform Bandzoogle has been acquired by U.S. independent digital music distribution service DistroKid, the companies announced this week.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Founded in 2003, Bandzoogle is an e-commerce platform aimed at musicians. In addition to building websites for thousands of artists, the 31-person company provides tools that allow musicians to sell music, merchandise and tickets without paying commission fees.

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Bandzoogle also manages musicians’ mailing lists, provides detailed customer analytics and helps artists integrate social media platforms into their sites. The firm says its technology now powers more than 60,000 websites and online stores for artists around the world. 

The company, which charges monthly subscription fees ranging from about $10 to $20, said earlier this year total sales on websites powered by its software have surpassed $100 million since its inception – with more than half that amount generated in the last five years alone.

Bandzoogle will remain a standalone entity under DistroKid’s corporate umbrella. CEO Stacey Bedford will continue to run the company. 

In a statement, Bedford said the acquisition marks “an exciting new chapter” for the Ottawa-based organization. 

“DistroKid has always put artists first, just like we have, so we’re thrilled to join forces to continue to empower artists,” she said.

Unlike many successful Ottawa tech enterprises, Bandzoogle was completely bootstrapped until its acquisition. 

In a 2021 interview, Bedford told OBJ that not taking money from venture capitalists gave the growing firm more freedom to chart its own course.

“We’re a bit of a rarity in the tech community, so we’re not beholden to profit-driven decisions,” she said. “We really get to make the best decisions for our member base while taking only what we need to run the company.”

When Bandzoogle came on the scene two decades ago, CDs were a staple in every household and music streaming was in its infancy. 

Over the years, the firm has survived a slew of major upheavals in the industry – including the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down live music venues virtually overnight. Knowing artists would need to quickly figure out new ways to make money, Bandzoogle created a “survival guide” for musicians.

Explaining that the company was originally “built for musicians by musicians,” Bedford attributed its longevity to its ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

“Because our team members are artists, we’ve been able to really keep our fingers on the pulse and understand what artists need today,” she said. “The other side of that is that we’re a great tech team so we’ve been able to adapt our toolset to those changing needs over the years.

Founded in 2013 by American entrepreneur Philip Kaplan, DistroKid allows musicians to stream or sell their music through online retailers such as Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music. The company says more than two million artists use its services and claims to distribute more than 30 per cent of all new music globally.

Kaplan said Bandzoogle’s services will complement his company’s existing offerings.

“At DistroKid, we’re always working on innovative ways to help artists,” he said in a statement. “Bandzoogle has built incredible tools that make it super easy for every artist to set up an impactful public website and e-commerce store.”

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