Stockholm-based Freshsound scores €1.3 million for its original music licensing platform

Giving the growing community of content creators and storytellers access to the best possible music, Stockholm-based startup Freshsound has hit the music tech space with €1.3 million. Its licensing platform original music is filling a growing gap in the content marketing and streaming space.

Content creation and online storytelling are two massive growth sectors – from the rise of freelancers dedicated to content curtain to brands using streaming and content for marketing, it’s an area that’s exploding. One thing all players in the space need? Access to premium and original music. Welcome, Freshsound.

Founded in 2021 by Stephen Gyasi and Sara Larsson, Freshshound’s licensing platform ensures that content creators and storytellers are enabled with the best possible music for their visual content in a friction-free way. The startup has just raised €1.3 million from renowned angels and family offices. 

The investors include Aligned Ventures, Kristina Tunkrans (former Partner är Cederquist, CEO of PRMD publishing/AtNight and Chief of Music, Epidemic Sound), Shiv Prakash (former VP of Investment, Hipgnosis Song Fund), Marcus Konstantino (Partner, HDR Partners), Gustav Nordlindh (Founder and CEO at Royal Streaming), Kim Fai Kok and Dara Gill (Framtid). 

With this fresh funding, the Swedish team also announces that Helen McLaughlin, former Managing Director of Warner Music Sweden, Head of A&R at Sony Music Sweden, Head of A&R and Business Development at The Kennel and CEO at V2 Music Scandinavia will join the fold to lead expansion and growth. 

Helen McLaughlin commented: “I have spent more than three decades working in the music industry and seen its pivotal shift from the physical to the digital era. During the last years, artists, labels, composers and publishers have lost huge amounts of business within the sync space to companies offering musical works not registered with public rights organisations – this is mainly due to the time-consuming clearance process. 

I am very humble about the complexity of clearing music, but the need for a tool to make the process quicker and more seamless, while still allowing creators and rights holders to set their own terms and requirements in what context their music should be available for customers is paramount. I am really excited to join the Freshsound team as the platform offers all of this – even allowing it on a track by track basis – whilst keeping the pricing individual and matching available works with whatever the sync customer is looking for.

While content creation is exploding, more and more original music is needed – and it’s needed at a fast pace. Marketing teams and online storytellers are putting out content on a high frequency, and need plenty of music options to keep up the rhythm. However, licensing original songs for commercial use (branded content, games, films, and TV series) can take months to complete. 

This is driven by a cumbersome process involving multiple parties, complex negotiations, and time-consuming administrative work with labels, songwriters or any rights-holder. For brands and creators, this means giving up on the perfect music for their content in favour of a much faster and easier process. 

The music tech startup has created an automated pre-cleared licensing platform and a marketplace for original music that removes all the friction of negotiating and lets creators and storytellers instantly license premium songs for their content. The platform also has a music discovery feature and a dynamic pricing model that instantly gives clients a quote for any type of use. 

Already the young company has signed agreements with over 60 labels and publishers, fully pre-clearing the music and is continuously adding more songs. Big ad agencies like McCann and Forsman Bodenfors have already used Freshsound’s platform for their campaigns.

Stephen Gyasi, CEO & co-founder of Freshsound, said: “The sync and licensing market is still stuck in the pen and paper era, and is yet to be digitized. While it is growing and we see an increased demand for quality music, the process of licensing songs is too complex and time consuming. This results in songwriters and artists losing out on potential profits, while creators and storytellers are missing the opportunity to get the perfect song for their visual content. We want to ensure that the rights holders remain in full control and ownership of their rights and to make it easier than ever to license premium music.”

This new investment boost will enable the start-up to rapidly accelerate its commercial expansion, expand its catalogue, product development and R&D, and launch its licensing platform in the Nordics, Germany and UK. With a team already drawing from their experience at companies and record labels like Warner Music, V2 Music, Hipgnosis, Spotify, Epidemic Sound, EMI, Sony Music, iZettle, Dassault Systèmes and BCG, Freshsound will also use the fresh capital to continue onboarding exceptional talent to the company.