Vurbl launch introduces new ways of engaging music audiences
With nearly 99 million subscribers and 117 million ad-supported listeners in the United States, streaming is expected to overtake terrestrial radio audiences and already exceeds the number of consumers who still physically purchase music for the ‘listen, according to a 2020 “Continuously forward” Digital Media Association (DiMA) Annual Music Report by MIDiA Research. At the same time, real-time data continues to drive innovation in digital distribution, providing creators with new ways to engage audiences, such as Spotify’s songwriters pages.
Today’s launch of Vurbl, an ad-supported free streaming audio service, has brought listeners over 25 million individual pieces of audio, including vintage radios, podcasts and more. The platform, created completely in quarantine during the pandemic this year, additionally offers creators new distribution and audience engagement tools to improve their work and build more exciting relationships with fans.
“For a smaller group, or someone who is not published, they can come to our platform in the same way they can go and create an audience on YouTube,” says Audra Gold, CEO of Vurbl. “It’s really flexible, and as a creator it’s a much more intimate way to connect with your audience. “
Comprised of a mix of audio and UGC (user generated content), Vurbl is modeled on YouTube and offers real-time streaming and programmatic ad buying with revenue shares reserved for its creators. Gold explains that the service reverses the traditional music monetization model alongside the podcast model by posting and serving all the content, then selling real-time audio ads around the content and sharing it with creators using the content. platform. Its goal is to provide content creators and curators with additional revenue, considering the nominal payments they receive from traditional streaming services, and also to provide listeners with unique and centralized music experiences.
Creators using Vurbl can upload, grow an audience, and monetize their audio creations. Users can gain subscribers by creating playlists and creating audio stations only for their music content in the space. Listeners who subscribe to the stations, which operate similarly to YouTube, will receive email and in-app notifications whenever an artist updates or releases a new version.
Vurbl caught the attention of Grammy-winning music producer, musician and record industry manager Rob Cavallo, who said, “Vurbl offers musicians whole new ways to promote their music, to engage fans and develop their brand.
Musical artists can make their work more meaningful by using the platform to record narratives about the inspiration behind new songs or about creative collaborations they have enjoyed with other artists. Posting song introductions, uploading live shows to the platform, and social sharing of audio are additional ways for a creator to maximize their music library.
“It’s really a way to maintain a relationship with your audience that you can’t do anywhere else,” says Gold. “While artists post their work on traditional channels like Spotify, on Vurbl, they want to upload either behind the scenes or clips that weren’t included in their final album or single. “
In a podcast, Gold explains that his small team went to market after researching audio and discovering large open source databases of audio content that had enormous potential to be organized and maintained in a scalable manner. The Gold team was surprised to find a big disconnect between the high demand for audio and the low inventory that exists to serve it. Now, Vurbl is tackling the untapped search and advertising space as a priority platform for creators that brings audio to users and attracts traffic from day one.
In September, Vurbl announced the closing of a $ 1.3 million pre-seed round with funding led by AlphaEdison with other participants including Halogen Ventures, TEN13, Angellist and several strategic angels of audio spaces, advertising and entertainment. The company has also developed a network of editorial and partnership teams to support the continued curation of user and creator content.
Jesse Draper, general partner at Halogen Ventures, considers Vurbl to be one of the greatest opportunities on the internet today, and said in a statement: “Great companies have built themselves on streaming music, and combine that with user-generated content is a formula for huge growth. We have invested in the team at Vurbl and Audra because they are building the single source for all audio. We think it will be YouTube for audio, which doesn’t currently exist.
Vurbl plans to announce additional updates to the platform, including the launch of mobile apps, a downloadable desktop app and connected home devices.