Mostdon’t begin on an NFL field, but that’s where founder, CEO, and offensive tackle Jason Fox conceptualized the idea behind Earbuds. As he watched first-overall draft pick Cam Newton warm up before a in 2011, dancing to music, Fox couldn’t help but wonder what the future NFL MVP was listening to — and he bet that the crowd of 85,000 fans was curious, too. Ten years later, Earbuds has raised a $3 million Series A round for its social listening app, , with additional investment from the Andre Agassi Foundation and LFG Ventures.
Since its launch in 2019, Earbuds has allowed users — famous artists, NFL stars, or ordinary people — to share their favorite playlists, Livestream music like a DJ, and comment on other people’s music picks. Some notable figures on the the artist Nelly and professional quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, the highest-paid player in the NFL. Mayfield and Mahomes are in the app.
With this recent rise, Fox and his team of six plan to expand the app to add creator monetization tools, incentivizing people to use the app. Earbuds also announced that it hired two former, David Ransom and Sean Moubry, who joined Earbuds as head of Products and Head of Engineering, respectively. Tech veteran Drew Larner also came aboard as a senior advisor and investor — in 2015, he sold the Rdio to Pandora. Pandora was then sold to Sirius XM for $3.5 billion in 2018.
Soon, Fox says. Earbuds should have integrations with paid versions of Amazon Music and Pandora. These integrations are how the app, available on iOS and Android, can source music for streaming. To use Earbuds, users must have a paid Spotify or Apple Music account. But regardless of which platform a listener uses, they can still take advantage of the on Earbuds, listening to live playlists and commenting with other listeners.
When you connect your account, you can easily import your existing playlists. Then, on the app, you can add voice clips to comment on your song choices. Users can save the playlist to their streaming service or share it as an Instagram story when listening to a stream. Fox declined to share user numbers but expressed confidence that soliciting users from other streaming platforms’ existing subscriber base won’t be a big hurdle for user acquisition; when it comes to paid streaming music subscribers, Spotify has 165 million users, Apple Music has at least 60 million, and Amazon music has at least 55 million.
“We want to continue to add additional streaming partners to accommodate everyone. We want to Fox wants more musical artists to use the app. Still, given his background as an NFL player, much of the company’s existing marketing has been targeted toward athletes and “You’ve got the quarterback before the an exciting potential market for Earbudsise NCAA athletes, who are newly able to monetize their image and likeness. rivalry game, and they want to be able to monetize the fans while they’re listening to music and getting amped up with them before the game,” Fox explained.their platform,” Fox said.
Since these monetization tools haven’t rolled out yet, no in-app purchases ares available on Earbuds. This would give Earbuds, which isn’t yet profitable, another income stream. So far, the app has made money through in-app sponsored posts from partners like the NBA, the moving forward will be through partnerships, integrations, and supporting the creator economy,” Fox said. Currently, Earbuds has a partnership with , so if someone subscribes to the platform via Earbuds, Earbuds gets a cut of their subscription payment. As streaming services like Spotify grow, like Earbuds are emerging, too. Spotify has recently rolled out more social listening features, similar to Earbuds’ offerings., innovative speaker companies, and beverage companies. “We can continue to do that, but we feel like the majority of growth and revenue