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About

Jammber enriches the lives of people in the entertainment industry, all over the world, by giving them tools that empower and enhance the creative process. Ultimately allowing them to do more of what they love, giving them superpowers they tell their friends about.

Contact

Publicist
Samantha Brickler
(812) 339-1195

Current News

  • 02/27/201702/27/2017

Meet Marcus Cobb, Advocate for the Entertainment Industry's Underdogs, Founder of Jammber

Technologist and entrepreneur Marcus Cobb defied the odds. Born in poverty in a tough neighborhood in El Paso, he moved from abuse, neglect, and quasi-homelessness to Microsoft’s youngest team leader in a matter of a decade.

His fascination with computers and passion for programming, coupled with just enough support at just the right times, helped the young African-American man forge a path forward. That path eventually led him to create Jammber. It’s the first serious platform...

Press

  • Forbes, Feature story, 07/07/2017, "DocuSign Meets PayPal" for Music Biz Could Solve Payment Issues for Labels and Musicians Text
  • Crain's Chicago Business, Feature story, 06/29/2017, This man shuttles between 1871 and Nashville. Here's why. Text
  • Chicago Tribune, Feature story, 05/14/2017, Jammber wants to be the app that musicians, labels count on
  • Chicago Tribune, Feature story, 05/09/2017, Jammber wants to be the money-tracking app musicians and labels count on Text
  • + Show More

News

02/27/2017, Meet Marcus Cobb, Advocate for the Entertainment Industry's Underdogs, Founder of Jammber
02/27/201702/27/2017, Meet Marcus Cobb, Advocate for the Entertainment Industry's Underdogs, Founder of Jammber
Announcement
02/27/2017
Announcement
02/27/2017
From poverty in El Paso, to Microsoft's youngest team leader, to lingerie designer, to music industry entrepreneur, Marcus has led an amazing life. "I knew this is what I'm made for, using technology to help improve and enrich lives - and this is music, music is important to all of us. We had to do something." MORE» More»

Technologist and entrepreneur Marcus Cobb defied the odds. Born in poverty in a tough neighborhood in El Paso, he moved from abuse, neglect, and quasi-homelessness to Microsoft’s youngest team leader in a matter of a decade.

His fascination with computers and passion for programming, coupled with just enough support at just the right times, helped the young African-American man forge a path forward. That path eventually led him to create Jammber. It’s the first serious platform for managing payment and paperwork for the entertainment industry, a company that champions efficient fairness in aid of the underdog.

It feels natural that fairness and transparency are guiding ideas for Cobb. He saw some of life’s darkest sides, from juvenile detention to disrupted education. He knows all too intimately what it means to be treated unfairly. However, as Cobb relates in moving detail in NFL linebacker Tim Shaw’s recent book, Blitz Your Life, he also learned how to muster limited resources and grow them into something formidable.

“I grew up in a lower income area of El Paso, TX, surrounded by gangs, drugs, and a variety of other factors, which would have probably lead me down the path many young minorities in those situations find themselves in. Except for a few differences,” Cobb notes. “I had access to computers and computer labs since I was in 2nd Grade at Hacienda Heights Elementary School. The computers and seemingly endless books at the library, even book mobiles, kept my imagination open and would lead to this career.”

Cobb may not have had support at home, but his community--caring neighbors, teachers, principals--offered constant support for his interests, from science fair projects to robot building. It showed Cobb what a difference a few, committed people can make--even with limited resources. Jammber is a testament to that: From bootstrapped startup, Cobb has grown the company in a few short years, thanks to $1.5 mil in seed capital and interest from major music business players. The company has Letters of Intent from major labels and big indies like Big Machine.

Race shaped Cobb’s experience, but never cast its shadow over his hopes and sense of his own ability to succeed in technology. “I didn't know being black mattered so it didn't to me,” Cobb reflects. “Not as a weakness or a shortcoming of any type for sure.  Being one of the best is often a result of being one of the most passionate.  True, I've been the only black technologist at most organizations I've worked at, but I was one of the best and all they really cared about was if I was adding value.  It was peculiar because it was rare but if anything it was my job to expand the ‘brand’ of what it meant to be black...beyond sports and hip-hop.  At the same time, I was just being me.”

Though Cobb has been an avid music fan and performer for much of his life, he came to the business side of music indirectly. After a number of modest attempts he eventually started and sold a software company, but realized after years of technology he was ready for a change. “I was burned out on coding. My partner and I just walked away from our successful consulting business,” recalls Cobb. “I had money saved up. I decided to do what I wanted. Something I was passionate about.”

He loved fashion, but didn’t have the usual skillset for developing a clothing line. “I was a technologist my whole life. I became a lingerie designer. I couldn’t draw or sew, but I could tell a story and build a team around it.” To turn tales into intimate apparel, he tapped into a community online filled with people willing to barter and collaborate, to make something happen. It resonated powerfully with Cobb’s own experience. “They were like me: They wanted to create the next amazing thing, even more than they wanted to make money. Money is important but creatives need to create.”

The spirit of this community, the supportive enthusiasm instead of dog-eat-dog competition, got Cobb thinking. Several challenging projects involving musicians and bands revealed a whole set of interlocking problems in the music business. “Here was this other creative industry I loved, but plagued by inefficiency and century-old business practices.” What if he could help create a collaborative space in music, similar to the one he’d found in fashion?

The idea morphed over time, from more freeform social platform to focused project and business management. “The biggest problem in music is that people don’t get paid,” Cobb states. “There are reasons, some of them unpleasant, for this. But one big one is the limited resources for dealing with an extremely complex set of business relationships.”

Another challenge: People in the music business seemed to accept the status quo, even if they despised it. “When we talked to people in the industry, they were focused on a different problem set entirely. Why did they tolerate this?” Cobb asks. “Because it had always been that way, and because they loved what they were doing.”

The Jammber crew decided enough was enough and sketched out some ideas for a platform that would relieve the main pain points. When they presented their idea at a pitch session for a business accelerator in Nashville, Project Music, investors in the room were skeptical. “We had a standing ovation from the musicians there. But two investors pulled me aside and said you’re making a huge mistake,” recalls Cobb. “One of those investors later became the first to write a check. She told us we lost our marbles in April, but wrote the first check in November. She saw the problem and saw we were creating value.”

Cobb and his team united existing resources (partnering with leaders in payroll and HR ADP) and bleeding edge technologies (blockchain and real-time metadata generation) to build a platform that covered all the bases. It’s attracted enough investment for this lean company to meet very ambitious goals, as Cobb has his entire life.

“We’ve been fortunate that it’s been easy to close capital because of our momentum, but they haven’t already seen the value, the potential. I see a lot of potential. I’ve been in growth companies before,” remarks Cobb. “I know I’m in one now.”

Beyond financial consideration and growth, however, Cobb sees Jammber as an extension of his experiences, the hope, commitment, and desire to give back. “When you're a product of that kind of collective support in that kind of environment, it creates this core sense of obligation and deep, deep empathy,” muses Cobb. “When we saw stacks of returned paychecks that never made it to musicians all over the country, and we learned this was systemic, it struck that chord in me. I knew this is what I'm made for, using technology to help improve and enrich lives - and this is music, music is important to all of us.  We had to do something."

About Jammber

Jammber is a pioneering platform serving the creative industries with simplified, intuitive ways to track credits, payments, and paperwork in one single, handy place. Based in Chicago and Nashville, the company got its start at the Project Music accelerator, quickly acquiring over $1.2M in investor funding. Now available to the public, its early clients include Brooklyn Basement Records and Grammy-nominated producer Dave Brainard, and there are more to come. Dozens of letters of intent have been received by top players in the industry including Sony Nashville, Warner Nashville, Big Machine Label Group, and 7 time Grammy award-winning producer Reid Shippen. 

Announcement
02/27/2017

02/13/2017, Jammber Teams up with ADP to Add Sleek Payroll and HR Functionality to its Platform for Creative Industry Professionals
02/13/201702/13/2017, Jammber Teams up with ADP to Add Sleek Payroll and HR Functionality to its Platform for Creative Industry Professionals
Announcement
02/13/2017
Announcement
02/13/2017
Jammber, the innovator in entertainment industry project management and payment solutions, is teaming up with payroll and HR leaders ADP to create a seamless way for music and other entertainment professionals to pay--and get paid. MORE» More»

Jammber, the innovator in entertainment industry project management and payment solutions, is teaming up with payroll and HR leaders ADP to create a seamless way for music and other entertainment professionals to pay--and get paid.

In the past, musicians and other creatives had to wait months, if not years, to receive payment for studio or other creative work (if the check arrived at all). Though many industry players work in good faith, the complex and repetitive paperwork and documentation often make payroll a nightmare for the business. Jammber has made it their mission to transform this process, knowing expertise from major players would bring faster transformation.

“We’ve been working hard to make it easy to do what was very complicated for too many years in our industry,” explains Jammber CEO Marcus Cobb. “Partnering with ADP demonstrates our level of commitment to creating a trustworthy, highly efficient way to track and pay for work.”

Jammber has worked with ADP to adapt the payroll specialist’s platform specifically to entertainment industry needs. This white-label partnership will help Jammber roll everything related to a project--from who was in the studio to who needs what tax form--into a one-stop shop. Instead of heading to one platform for metadata entry, one for payroll, and one for calendar or contract management, industry pros can simply log into Jammber. No more endless open tabs or session timeouts, no more lost paperwork.

“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Jammber, and look forward to helping this organization strive in their business mission,” remarks Nicole Halim, ADP’s District Manager.

Jammber currently serves labels, producers, publishers, and management companies, an expanding customer base tired of the tangles caused by analog paperwork and complex project management tasks. Early letters of intent have been received from award-winning producers and labels from Sony Nashville, Warner Nashville, and Big Machine Label Group.

“We are striving to do what few have attempted before: to create a clear solution that cuts through the murk and inefficiency that’s plagued creative industries like the music business,” muses Cobb. “With great partners like ADP, we’re succeeding, and this stands to benefit everyone involved, from session players and engineers to die-hard fans.”

About Jammber

Jammber is a pioneering platform serving the creative industries with simplified, intuitive ways to track credits, payments, and paperwork in one single, handy place. Based in Chicago and Nashville, the company got its start at the Project Music accelerator, quickly acquiring over $1.2M  in investor funding. Now available to the public, its early clients include Brooklyn Basement Records and Grammy-nominated producer Dave Brainard, and there are more to come. Dozens of letters of intent have been received by top players in the industry including Sony Nashville, Warner Nashville, Big Machine Label Group, and 7 time Grammy award-winning producer Reid Shippen. 

Announcement
02/13/2017

12/15/2016, From Three Years to Three Minutes: How Jammber Gets Musicians and Music Pros Paid In a Fraction of the Time by Slicing Through Red Tape
12/15/201612/15/2016, From Three Years to Three Minutes: How Jammber Gets Musicians and Music Pros Paid In a Fraction of the Time by Slicing Through Red Tape
Announcement
12/15/2016
Announcement
12/15/2016
Why don’t people get paid in the entertainment business? Red tape and the complexity of project management. Jammber, the automated platform for entertainment rights and business management, wants to change this, doing for the entertainment industry what PayPal did for online payments. MORE» More»

Why don’t people get paid in the entertainment business? Red tape and the complexity of project management. Jammber, the automated platform for entertainment rights and business management, wants to change this, doing for the entertainment industry what PayPal did for online payments.

“For every hour of studio time, there are a few hours of paperwork,” states Marcus Cobb, the developer and designer who co-founded and now heads Jammber. Dozens of people touch each studio track, and they need credits, tax forms, and other compliance measures. That leads to a whooping total of 450 hours of paperwork.

The delay of paperwork, from union timecards to I9s, does more than drag out project timelines. It means that session players and songwriters sometimes wait years to get paid for what should be a simple business arrangement--if the check ever comes at all. Similar tax and reporting forms demand the same data but have to be filled out multiple times. The industry doesn’t do direct deposit. The pain points are legion.

Cobb and the Jammber team have bootstrapped their way to a solution, taking a lean, mean entrepreneurial approach to a broad and complicated problem set. Jammber manages the entire music production process, keeping track of everyone involved, making sure the work flows, letting collaborators sign off on important steps digitally, and helping labels and artists file forms correctly. It’s a perfect fit for the music business, though Jammber has seen interest from other industries with similarly complex workflows and project management tasks.

“No one is capturing this data at the studio level en masse. Some other platforms and services are trying, but they don’t touch the whole ecosystem, including the paperwork,” Cobb explains. “Jammber captures a holistic view of the process as early as possible.” This holistic vision has led to partnerships with major players in HR and other fields, like ADP.

Cobb has been fascinated by computers and machines since boyhood, building robots and programming games starting in grade school. Growing up in an extremely tough neighborhood in El Paso, Cobb was in the peculiar position of being both scholarly and gifted, and surrounded by poverty and violence. His passion for computer science and determination to gain a decent education drove him to seek something else, and eventually he landed a job as one of the youngest team leaders at Microsoft.

He honed his skills in the corporate context, moved into consulting. Cobb, however, longed to do something substantive, something all his own. A friend and colleague Adam Clabaugh, Jammber’s original co-founder, agreed. “We stopped dead in our tracks and we did a show and tell. I had all these business plans in notebooks,” Cobb recalls. “We came up with five criteria: Something we were passionate about, something with residual income, something we were proud of, that impacted people for the better and that had the potential to one day become a billion-dollar business.”

They wrote the earliest iteration of Jammber up on the whiteboard. It had promise. The two shut down their consulting business more or less overnight.

To his surprise, Cobb found himself diving into the entertainment business. The technologist also had an artistic side, both in music and fashion. He created intimate apparel lines. He worked on a music video for Pitbull. He worked to put together a girl group, a process he found rife with frustrations. These diverse projects gave him a keen awareness of the faults and injustices of the creative industries, how difficult it was to keep on top of a project and how much many entertainers and musicians struggled to get a couple hundred dollars from a few hours of work.

Their original idea won the team a spot in the Nashville, TN music business accelerator, Project Music. The program introduced them to major players in the industry, from label heads to rock stars. It got them thinking. “Project Music pulled back the veil of the industry and we saw how the money moves,” says Cobb. “We saw that 30-50% of people don’t get credit for their work or don’t get paid at all, or get paid years later. We knew we had to do something about it.”

They were on week twelve of a fourteen-week program. But they decided to tear down their plan and start from scratch. “We did a shot of tequila and pivoted,” laughs Cobb. “We pitched Jammber that Friday. We got a standing ovation from the musicians in the room. Two investors pulled me aside and said you’re making a huge mistake. One told us we had lost our marbles.” That was in April, “but she wrote the first check in November. She saw the problem and saw we were creating value.”

The value stems from the combination of workflow management and savvy about the extremely siloed and fragmented processes of the music business, where the various stages of a project may involve completely different teams with different needs. It tracks all credits and payments, creates accurate metadata from day one, notifies all collaborators when certain tasks are due or completed, and allows them to sign off digitally on important paperwork.

“On more generalist platforms, team workflow isn’t really addressed well, in terms of automating compliance, nothing like the way Jammber works as this automated business manager for creatives,” Cobb notes. “It applies across agencies. I’ve had construction companies and health companies come to us, curious about how they might use our tools. I think that this is the natural evolution of the technology. We understand now what collaboration looks like online, and we know now how to shape it to maximize efficiency.” It’s a factor long missing from the music industry, something Jammber promises to change.

 

 

Announcement
12/15/2016