You don’t have to like music to work at RootMusic. But it doesn’t hurt.
The San Francisco-based company—which developed the BandPage Facebook application for musicians—announced today that it raised a $2.3 million Series A round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures.
Founder and CEO J Sider told me yesterday the funding will be used to “hire engineers and innovate through new technology and new offerings.” He declined to discuss specifics about where the company would innovate, although I would hazard a guess that it would involve a mobile offering. He said I’d have to wait and see, but don’t expect RootMusic to expand with additional Facebook apps for other entertainment industries.
RootMusic, which Sider bootstrapped and was founded in October 2009, currently has 10 employees and Sider says that music is always playing in the company’s offices, located in the SoMa area of the city. Sider also said that the entire team is going to SXSW, the annual music, film and tech conference in Austin, Texas.
“We all are passionate about music,” said Sider, who previously was a singer songwriter before he got into the business of music. His investors feel equally passionate about music.
As part of the funding, David Feinleib, a partner at MDV who can play the violin (according to his bio), joined the company’s board. The RootMusic board also includes Sider and Larry Marcus, an angel investor in the company and managing director of WaldenVC, where he has invested in music-related startups Pandora and SoundHound. Marcus is also an accomplished drummer.
Since RootMusic launched its services in March 2010, more than 60,000 artists have used the BandPage app to develop fan pages on Facebook, which have reached more than 12.7 million fans, according to Sider. RootMusic recently rolled out a campaign to bring in more musicians (see video below). The company provides BandPage free to customers, which can opt to pay $1.99 a month for premium services.
With Facebook now the dominant social networking site, with more than 500 million users worldwide, the growth of the BandPage app is perhaps another knock on MySpace, which has long been the place where musicians have connected with fans and provided hundreds of thousands of free songs.
But, more importantly, RootMusic’s growth—along with competitors iLike and ReverbNation—signals a shift in the music industry that will certainly continue thanks to Ping, Apple’s iTunes-based musical social network. Also, Google plans to soon launch a music store that will reportedly have social networking functions.
It’s all music to RootMusic’s ears.