NEW YORK, NY , 9th February 2023 VAULT, the mobile-friendly Digital Music Collectible (DMC) format created by the co-founders of sports betting market leader FanDuel, announced that it has raised $4M in Series A funding following a breakthrough six months in which fans purchased over 3,000 DMCs from FLETCHER, the critically lauded singer-songwriter and fast-rising queer icon, who recently released her acclaimed debut album Girl Of My Dreams.
The funding will further scale the company’s DMC format, which offers music fans authenticated, instantly unlockable digital box sets and experiences from their favorite musicians, and accelerate the launch of the VAULT protocol, an open and fully decentralized standard for purchasing, playing, and sharing DMCs on third-party apps, to the broader music industry.
“From day one our focus has been on creating a new format that respects the relationship between musicians and their fans and allows them to interact and connect on a deeper level,” says VAULT CEO Nigel Eccles. “We are thrilled to have launched the DMC format with an artist like FLETCHER who puts her fans first and is willing to give them a deeper look at her music and the creative process behind it. By opening the VAULT protocol, we believe we can not only create a new revenue stream for music companies and artists alike, but we can do so by showcasing musicians’ art in a beautiful, collectible format.”
The Series A round was led by Placeholder VC, a premier investor in decentralized networks, with additional participation from existing investors AlleyCorp, Bullpen Capital, and Everblue Management. The recent funding brings the company’s total funding amount to $13M.
“Given their success in founding FanDuel, the team at VAULT understands the power of engaged communities and the importance of consumer-friendly design,” says Chris Burniske, Partner at Placeholder VC. “Their vision to create an open, protocol-agnostic format has the potential to transform digital music and media ownership, and playability across physical and virtual worlds. We are excited to support the team’s efforts to bring VAULT technology to fan ecosystems within the broader music and media industries.”
The funding announcement comes on the heels of a major industry first which drove mainstream adoption of the DMC format. In October 2022, VAULT partnered with FLETCHER, to allow her super fans the power of influencing her set list for each night of her sold out “Girl Of My Dreams Tour.”
FLETCHER invited fans to choose a “Dream Sequence”—each delivered in VAULT’s DMC format—ahead of each show to determine which of the songs from her musical vault she would perform. There were four Dream Sequences to choose from each night which included fan-favorites from her new album as well as successful singles from earlier in her career. The most popular Dream Sequence picked by the fans for each tour date was performed at each show.
“Touring has always been about getting to go on a journey with my fans,” says FLETCHER. “Being able to share exclusive content through VAULT along with providing an opportunity for my fans who have been there since the beginning to choose which special songs I perform as a surprise in the set each night gives the Fletch Fam in each city the show of their dreams.”
But not only did fans pick the songs, each DMC also contained exclusive content from FLETCHER, including a Dream Sequence preview, behind-the-scenes content from each night of the tour, a signed digital set list and more unique offerings. Throughout the course of FLETCHER’s U.S. Girl of My Dreams tour, fans purchased over 3,000 DMCs for $4.99 each.
In the wake of FLETCHER’s success, a series of musicians across genres will release deluxe singles, EPs, and albums in the DMC format, including the French-Haitian singer-songwriter Naïka. Most recent is a drop by SUM SUN, a DMC deluxe single experience for their new song “Stereo” that includes an original voice memo of the song, handwritten lyrics, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the track, and access to an exclusive stem player.
Independent artists are flocking to the DMC format as well, enticed by favorable revenue splits and the opportunity to self-monetize their work with their core fanbases.
“I don’t believe that scrolling and streaming alone create meaningful fan relationships for the majority of artists,” says Eccles. “Many musicians see our format as an alternative to the algorithms that monetize music today—and they can offer fans a richer, more meaningful experience of their music as well.”
In addition to scaling the DMC format to more artists globally, VAULT will also open its proprietary decentralized protocol to the broader music industry. Currently, digital music and content ownership models fail because they don’t allow owned content to move with a user across platforms. However, by creating a fully decentralized and open network, the VAULT protocol can be utilized by artists or music companies on third-party apps and websites. As a result, music superfans are free to move, trade, sell, or play their DMCs on any website, application, or music player supported by the VAULT protocol.