Acquisition Enables Creation of Full-Service Venue and Event Monetization Platform and Brings Key Music Recognition Technology Talent On Board
In a strategic double-whammy, music technology company VNUE, Inc. (OTC: VNUE) today announced that the company is acquiring live streaming innovator StageIt in a deal that will add over nine million in revenue and access to thousands of performers and creators. The deal brings hundreds of thousands of live music fans and complementary technology to VNUE’s portfolio in addition to delivering key pioneering talent in the Music Recognition Technology (MRT) space to VNUE’s roster, which the company believes will accelerate the rollout of the company’s groundbreaking platform, Soundstr.
The companies expect to close within 60 days pending the completion of diligence and the required financial audit, and Stageit will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of VNUE.
StageIt, launched by musician Evan Lowenstein in 2010, is one of the earliest and most prominent live streaming companies. Lowenstein has served as Executive Chairman of StageIt since music industry veteran Stephen White joined as CEO in 2020. Exploring new alternative revenue-generating options outside of touring became essential for the live entertainment industry when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Since then, thousands of artists have utilized StageIt’s services to monetize their livestreams and stay connected to their fans, from Grammy Award-winning Ramsey Lewis, American Idol star David Archuleta, and rock icon Joan Jett to international stars Celtic Thunder and fan favorites Devin Townsend and Rhett Miller. Music fans purchase tickets to see online concerts powered by StageIt’s best-in-class platform and enjoy the intimacy of these unique live experiences. The StageIt service is complimentary with VNUE’s set.fm “instant live” mobile and web platform, and the company will add a feature that not only allows fans to enjoy a livestream but purchase the audio of the performance immediately afterwards and relive the experience over and over.
In addition to White, Stageit is led by Chief Product Officer Vadim Brenner, both of whom have a long tenure in audio content recognition. White was president of Gracenote, Inc., which was bought by Nielsen in 2017, and more recently was CEO of music rights company Dubset Media Holdings, which was acquired by Los Angeles-based Pex last year. Gracenote is a well-known pioneer in audio “fingerprinting” technology, and Dubset specializes in ensuring that uploads of unofficial mixes and DJ sets can obtain copyright clearance for streaming, and that the subsequent royalties get paid to the right stakeholders.
Brenner also served in high level positions at both companies – at Gracenote, as Vice President of Product Management and at Dubset, as Chief Product Officer. In addition, the acquisition also brings together a “dream team” of engineering and development talent that VNUE not only will leverage to further the growth of StageIt, but also for Soundstr initiatives.
Zach Bair, CEO of VNUE, said, “The acquisition of StageIt represents the first step in a multi-pronged plan to grow the business and enhance shareholder value, as I have committed to since day one. The company will pursue both organic and inorganic opportunities that are synergistic, and with StageIt, we have incredible synergy not just with the StageIt platform and how we can integrate with our existing content platforms such as set.fm, but with the incredible leadership and talent pool that we will now have access to in order to move our Soundstr technology forward.”
“VNUE, as their name suggests, has been creating a platform for artists, labels, rights holders and venue operators that enhances revenue and helps resolve complex rights compliance. The addition of StageIt will enable the first full monetization suite for venues, festivals and events that will make it simple for our clients and operators to generate more revenue and embrace the hybrid future that livestreaming provides,” said White. “We couldn’t be more excited to join Zach and the VNUE team and to help push this vision forward.”
StageIt hosted 6,280 shows in 2020 and paid out over $7M to artists, generating more than $9.2M in gross revenues. The platform has over 58,000 performers and over 900,000 users from 135 countries. The company launched a venue program in 2020 and has a significant set of venue partnerships that include historic venues such as The Bluebird Cafe in Franklin TN, d.b.a. in New Orleans, LA, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA, and many others.