The advent of the iTunes store led to a monumental shift in how we consumed music and since then, the emergence of streaming services has further changed the music industry. The advent of technology and web platforms has also allowed artists to connect with for artists to connect with their fan communities in novel ways previously unimaginable. Medallion is a direct-to-fan sales and marketing platform for artists. Artists can effortlessly launch their digital presences, leverage Medallion as an additional distribution channel for new releases and launches, communicate directly with their fan bases, and sell merchandise. Fans can showcase their loyalty and build their “record of fandom” to secure exclusive benefits including collectibles and tickets. The company works with several independent-minded artists and plans to scale its offering to serve the needs of any artist looking to build a fanbase of engaged enthusiasts.
AlleyWatch caught up with Medallion CEO Matt Jones to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We closed $13.7M of Series A investment. The round was co-led by Dragonfly and Lightspeed Faction, alongside technology investors such as Coinbase Ventures, Infinite Capital, J17, The Chernin Group, Third Prime, and Zeal Capital. The round also included music industry investors Bill Silva Entertainment, Black Squirrel, Guy Lawrence of Disclosure, Foundations Artist Management, Jungle, Mt. Joy, Method, Tiga, and TAG Music.
In 2022, we raised more than $9M of seed funding from investors including The Chernin Group, Polygon Ventures, Mike Shinoda, Betaworks, Red Light Ventures, and Noise DAO, along with current Medallion artists ILLENNIUM and Tycho. It’s been wonderful and encouraging to welcome artists that use Medallion among our investors!
Tell us about your product or service.
We’re building a sales and marketing platform built for artists to reach, engage, and monetize their fans. The technology allows artists to spin up white-label web app environments where fans can gather, target specific customer segments to deliver first access to tickets, music, and merch as well as sell native premium products to deliver more immersive fan experiences centered around their music. By using Medallion, artists own the fan data and don’t have to compete against large algorithms just to reach their core audience.
Our vision is to help artists achieve economic independence by enabling them to convert fans into lifelong supporters. Over time, fans interacting within Medallion-powered artist communities will be able to build and share a ‘record of fandom’ by taking key actions (e.g. checked in at a show, listening to new music first) and unlocking a series of collectibles as a result. We think there is a lot of upside to be unlocked in connecting artists and their fans more deeply.
What inspired the start of Medallion?
During 2021, at the height of the tech boom and when the music industry was still recovering from the effects of COVID, it became clear that more artists than ever wanted to go direct-to-consumer with their content and products. But there wasn’t a solution in the market that was made for musical artists to build a sustainable business and that could offer fans authentic and exciting digital experiences.
Medallion began operating in early 2022 to address this gap in the industry. The vision is to build the most powerful direct-to-fan sales and marketing platform for artists to turn big fans into lifelong supporters. With Medallion, artists can create a digital space that they own, invite fans to become members to capture data with account creation, reward them with early access to music and tickets, and sell exclusive digital music products.
How is it different?
For starters, we’re a moments-driven platform for artists, not another content treadmill they need to keep up with endlessly. There are a few critical moments in a cycle that are ‘make or break’ for most artists. Medallion is building fan engagement and monetization models that work based on this dynamic.
Second, we’re giving artists full ownership of the data and creative control over their fan environments. Most platforms that artists use today do not allow for this, nor do they prioritize the fan experience, which we do.
Additionally, we’re an extremely dedicated team with years of experience building game-changing technology within the media, entertainment, and e-commerce space. We’re laser-focused on building something artists and their fans love.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We’re targeting the top 5-10% of artists fans as we know they drive the majority of music consumption and sales (see Goldman Sachs’ Music in the Air report, and the Luminate report, both of which underscore the value and importance of an artist’s most engaged fans). By creating more direct pathways to reaching and delighting this segment, artists will have to do less overall sales and marketing work over time to drive overall impact.
What’s your business model?
We take a percentage of sales on the platform. Currently, artists can sell two types of products:
The first is Digital Deluxe, a unique album format that offers fans exclusive access to bonus content around music releases, including high-quality downloads. This can be additional videos, audio, or imagery. This product is fully native to the platform. Some examples include Sigur Ros’ ATTA, Illenium Remixes, and Jungle Film Bundle.
The second is the Collectible Bundle. With Collectible Bundles, artists can sell exclusive and limited edition bundles of physical and digital collectible items such as posters and trading cards. The fulfillment of physical items in this product is supported through an integration with Shopify. Examples include Mt. Joy’s tour bundle and Sigur Ros tour posters.
How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown?
Regardless of the macro environment, we are focused on building a platform that generates meaningful and sustainable new revenue for artists through content and experiences fans truly want to own. By selling digital products through our platform today, artists are already generating new revenue they wouldn’t have otherwise received, and the value is meaningful in comparison to streaming and merch.
On the fan side, we’ve learned that we have superfans who are willing to pay to express their fandom and support the artist. We’ve delivered products around meaningful content and experiences that fans actually want to own and believe these superfans will continue to support artists they love even in a downturn.
What was the funding process like?
We’ve been having conversations with a variety of investors for a long time. The fundraise was the culmination of lots of hard work from our product and technology teams to get us the traction we needed to underscore the huge potential for our business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Raising money is always a significant commitment – on top of running a company. So that’s always the primary challenge: continuing to build the business while also pushing forward with investors to show how their investments will be strategically deployed to move us to the next milestone.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Although we can’t speak to the specifics of why each of our investors decided to invest, all of our investors believe Medallion is tackling a really important problem for artists and fans, and traction around the platform has been very strong.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’ve been very intentional about onboarding the right artists early on so we can learn and deliver an experience fans deserve. We’ve learned a lot in this process and are excited to now scale to more artists and ship major updates to the core fan experiences surrounding key moments, such as first listens of new music, ticket pre-sales, and other premium music products that can’t be found anywhere else.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Stay close to your customers’ needs and solve their most important problems. If you do that well, everything else will follow.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re heads down, building! In the coming months, we plan to launch lots of exciting new artist communities and ship significant platform and fan experience updates.
What’s your favorite winter destination in and around the city?
We spend a lot of time in the Hudson Valley, NY area as we have family up there. We love the local farmers markets, hiking, and ice hockey (when it’s cold enough).