Our mission is to be the best place for people who care about music to create and discover thoughtfully curated playlists. In essence, 8tracks is a platform for online mixtapes.
Playlists are compiled by people who know and love music. DJs upload MP3s from their music collection or select songs from the 8tracks library to sequence a playlist of at least 8 tracks. DJs create context for each playlist with a title, cover art, description, and tags that classify the playlist by genre, activity and mood. Listeners browse or search tags and artists to find a playlist of interest, or simply enjoy a playlist recommended based on their music preferences.
8tracks reaches 5M monthly active users who stream 20M-30M hours of music each month. Around two-thirds of that streaming is delivered to mobile devices and two-thirds is delivered to listeners in the U.S. and Canada. According to comScore, 8tracks is the third-largest “pure play” internet radio service among U.S. millennials.
Even with large incumbents, the market opportunity for online music is significant. Some 80% of all music listening is delivered through some form of radio -- be it traditional, satellite, or internet. And 80% of radio listening in the U.S. still happens through traditional radio. As it becomes easier to tune into internet radio in the car and home, we believe that lean-back radio listening will shift online and the market in both the U.S. and beyond is up for grabs.
Launched on August 8th, 2008, 8tracks was bootstrapped without employees for its first three years of existence. In August 2011, it hired its first full-time employees. Shortly thereafter it raised a $1.2M Seed round from Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, 14W (backed by Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries owns Warner Music Group), and a handful of angels from the music sector. Our angel investors included DJs Pete Tong and Steve Aoki, as well as Atlantic Records’ Chairman Craig Kallman, and Shazam co-founder Philip Inghelbrecht. The company has raised $3.3M to date and currently employs 26 people in Mission Dolores, San Francisco, and the Flatiron District, New York City, with satellite advertising salespeople in Chicago and Toronto.
What investors in 8tracks are saying
"8tracks is the future of radio."
- Pete Tong | DJ & Producer, BBC Radio 1
"8tracks is more than just a music service -- it's a real community built on a shared love of music."
- Steve Aoki | DJ & Producer, Dim Mak Records
"It's been amazing to watch 8tracks grow over the years. There's simply nothing else quite like it."
- Philip Inghelbrecht | Founder, Shazam; ex-YouTube
“Playlisting has exploded to become an amazing path for fans to discover and share music. The team at 8tracks has nailed it by forging a fantastic community that brings together artists, DJs, and listeners in a dynamic, creative exchange. It’s a great way to promote artists, but more importantly, it gives fans a compelling destination to find new music, which makes it a win-win for everyone.”
- Craig Kallman | Chairman, CEO, Atlantic Records
Listeners choose 8tracks over competing digital music services due to the depth of music selection. 8tracks has more than 2m playlists spanning every imaginable artist, genre, activity, mood and other theme -- delivered in a thoughtfully-packaged, lean-back fashion. In fact, some two-thirds of the streaming on 8tracks hails from independent labels or independent artists. This depth in turn affords a truly extraordinary opportunity for music discovery, with less repetition than that encountered on other internet radio services.
Each playlist tells a story, with a soul and personality behind the music. There is a human touch, a je ne sais quoi that transcends the music selection itself. Listeners and DJs can engage in a dialogue around the music, or really anything, connecting music through people, and people through music.
DJs create playlists on 8tracks because they want to help artists that they love to find an appreciative audience. Those artists may not get much attention on other outlets for streaming music. The DJs’ “fuel” for mix-making is the intrinsic reward of being recognized as a tastemaker, or an opinion leader, and they also enjoy the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with listeners.
Artists and labels, particularly those of the independent variety, love 8tracks as it provides an opportunity for exposure. The 8tracks audience is musically adventurous and loves discovering new music. Artists and labels can pay to promote a song after a playlist that is stylistically similar to that promoted song.
Brands love 8tracks as it provides an opportunity to reach millennials. 88% of our audience is aged 18-34, and that audience is highly engaged, early adopting, and culturally influential. Advertisers can run standard IAB advertising units, video ads, and native sponsored playlists on the platform. Top clients include Under Armour, Red Bull, and Victoria's Secret.
8tracks founder David Porter conceived of 8tracks as a mash-up of London’s electronic music scene of the late 1990s and one specific feature of the original Napster.
Rewind to 1996: David moved to London with accounting firm Arthur Andersen and quickly took to what was the vibrant mecca of electronic music at the time. A novel aspect of electronic music's fandom was its focus on the DJ. Given so many fragmented producers of electronic music spanning myriad subgenres, listeners needed a musical sherpa, a human filter, to make sense of it all. Whether the listener discovered music on BBC Radio 1 or pirate radio, from a compilation CD or at the club, it was the DJ -- not the artist -- who served as the focal point for music discovery.
Fast forward to 1999: Napster had recently launched. While the service itself wouldn’t last, David thought one feature was game-changing: the Hotlist Button, which allowed a user to see all of the MP3 files on another user's hard drive. This was arguably the first example of online social music discovery. It was as if you had walked into a complete stranger’s home to check out his music collection, knowing in advance that you had shared musical tastes.
As more music became available because of the decreasing costs of production and distribution, David believed the need for curation and discovery was accelerating. To address this opportunity, he applied the DJ paradigm that he knew and loved in London to bring order to the Napster Hotlist feature: the vision for 8tracks was to be a social network focused on the creation and consumption of streaming playlists. The NASDAQ crashed the following spring, and the VCs with whom David spoke -- while intrigued by the concept of a social music service -- urged him to get firsthand experience before building the company. He joined Live365, an early internet radio service that also featured stations created by a subset of its users, and soon cut his teeth leading the digital music startup. Eight years later, David launched 8tracks on August 8th, 2008.
8tracks quickly spread through word of mouth, amplified by social media. Themed playlists that captured shared cultural moments proved particularly popular. Web visitors jumped from 30,000 in February 2009 to 300,000 in March 2009 when 2 such playlists blew up on StumbleUpon: "Songs that make you feel better" (happy songs for recessionary times) and “The Ocarina of Rhyme” (featuring classic hip hop music alongside the soundtrack to the video game Zelda). Social sharing has driven growth -- and backlinks -- ever since, and these backlinks now help 8tracks rank highly for most search queries that include a genre, activity, or mood next to words like music, playlist, or mix.
8tracks remains a small team focused on doing the right thing for our customers. We love beautiful, smart products. Our goal is to deliver the highest quality to our listeners, DJs, artists and brands -- in effect, to “matchmake” among these stakeholders. To that end, 8tracks is building ever-better recommendation systems, an improved first-time user flow to ensure new listeners find playlists they’ll love, and integrations with on-demand subscription services to offer interactive access to 8tracks playlists and drive music subscriptions.
Frequently Asked Questions
"The SEC has qualified this offering" means the SEC has permitted 8tracks to offer for sale the securities described in the Offering Circular to investors such as you. The SEC is not judging the merits, accuracy, or completeness of the offering and information in the Offering Circular. Rather, the SEC is merely ensuring 8tracks has met all legal disclosure and regulatory requirements necessary to make these shares available to you.
When you complete your investment on SeedInvest, your money will be transferred to an escrow account where an independent escrow agent will watch over your investment until it is accepted by 8tracks. Once 8tracks accepts your investment, and certain regulatory procedures are completed, your money will be transferred from the escrow account to 8tracks in exchange for your shares. At that point, you will be a proud owner in 8tracks.
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Until a closing occurs, you may cancel your investment at any time, for any reason. You will receive an email when the closing occurs and your shares have been issued. If you have already funded your investment and your funds are in escrow, your funds will be promptly refunded to you upon cancellation. To cancel your investment, please go to your portfolio page.
Currently there is no market or liquidity for these shares. Right now 8tracks does not plan to list these shares on a national exchange or another secondary market. At some point 8tracks may choose to do so, but until then you should plan to hold your investment for a significant period of time before a “liquidation event” occurs. A “liquidation event” is when 8tracks either lists their shares on an exchange, is acquired, or goes bankrupt.
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This is 8tracks's fundraising profile page, where you can find information that may be helpful for you to make an investment decision in their company. The information on this page includes the company overview, team bios, and the risks and disclosures related to this investment opportunity. You will also find a copy of the 8tracks's Offering Circular, which has been qualified by the SEC. The Offering Circular includes important details about 8tracks's fundraise that you should review before investing.
This investment is highly speculative and should not be made by anyone who cannot afford to risk the entire investment amount. In addition to these risks, you should carefully consider the specific information and risks disclosed in 8tracks’s profile and Offering Circular.