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"DocuSign Meets PayPal" for Music Biz Could Solve Payment Issues for Labels and Musicians

Suppose your favorite band or artist just dropped a new record. In your excitement to buy the album and treat your eardrums to some musical bliss, you probably aren’t thinking about all the people and processes that played a role in creating it.

In addition to the musicians and singer-songwriters, a team of producers and audio engineers contributed to every single song that streams through your earbuds. They all need to receive proper credit and complete a variety of forms pertaining to intellectual property and payment before the song can be published.

This process can be cumbersome and time-consuming, which means you have to wait a long time for new music to make it from the recording studio to your iPhone or Spotify playlist. Even after the song is published, clerical errors resulting from the labyrinthine paper trail can cause payroll delays lasting months or even years.

Enter Jammber. A “DocuSign Meets PayPal” app for the music biz, aiming to alleviate these problems by tracking administrative information throughout the creative process. The SaaS is wrapped up in robust project management software that helps record labels send songs and paychecks out the door more efficiently.

Shortening the Gap Between Art and Commerce

Jammber was publicly launched in May, and is supported by a client base spanning seven countries and backed by $1.2 million in funding. With offices in Chicago and Nashville, this startup is gaining a lot of traction quickly, and it could soon set a new standard for electronic payment processing in the music industry.

The platform centers around a shared project calendar that tracks who worked on what and how they need to be compensated. As collaborators fill in the calendar, Jammber assembles the proper forms for information like song credits, royalty splits and electronic payments for recording sessions.

“All the information you put in there is used to generate the paperwork,” said Jammber’s co-founder and CEO, Marcus Cobb. “It comes to your phone, you sign on your phone, and you’re done. Then we pay you automatically.”

Jammber is a unique service with no true competitors that can match its all-in-one project management and payment platform. The company sells its product primarily to record labels and counts high-profile names like Sony and Big Machine Label Group among its client base.

In addition to simplifying payments, Cobb claims Jammber is a huge time-saver for clients.

“Every hour you spend in Jammber saves you 25 hours in operational costs, just in chasing down the creatives involved to get the paperwork,” Cobb said.

Protecting Creatives: Big Opportunity & Potential Risks

Jammber’s short-term prospects appear favorable, but it may have some obstacles to surmount in the long term.

Jammber currently has 800 clients representing 3,000 music licenses, but many of them are still testing out the platform with a small number of users and projects. At the end of their trial periods, some clients might ultimately decide they don’t need Jammber, which could result in a big reduction in Jammber’s current revenue.

Although Jammber was designed specifically for the music industry, the team is already exploring possible applications to other industries. For example, Nashville-based HCA is funding a proof-of-concept initiative to apply Jammber’s tech to the healthcare industry, and Cobb mentioned construction and book publishing as other areas of opportunity.

The team is wise to explore possibilities for growing their product beyond its initial conception, but they’ll need to carefully balance their aspirations to avoid losing focus on what already works well.

Empowering the Heart and Soul of the Music Industry

Notwithstanding these potential obstacles, Jammber is showing all the signs of a product that meets a huge need in its industry. The company has made impressive headway since graduating from Nashville’s Project Music accelerator in 2015 and securing seed funding from InCrowd Capital.

Jammber had an unexpected boost in revenue in Q2 of this year, and the company hopes to hit $2 million annual recurring revenue by the end of December. Jammber has also partnered with Nielsen to be a semi-exclusive provider for the upcoming Billboard Hot 100 Songwriters chart, which will recognize writers and publishers for their important contributions to today’s biggest hits.

This partnership is perfectly aligned with Jammber’s aspiration to empower the creative people who are the heart and soul of the music industry—and get their songs to your ears faster.

“Our mission is to be the shortest distance between creating professional experiences and sharing with the world,” Cobb said. “We want to shorten the gap between art and commerce.”