New York City-headquartered rights management company Word Collections has announced the close of a $5 million funding round and set its sights on accelerating the buildout of proprietary technology.
Word Collections emailed DMN today about the $5 million raise, which has wrapped a little over three years after the Jeff Price-founded business arrived on the scene. Out of the gate, Word Collections made headlines for its efforts to obtain royalties for clients on the spoken-word side – referring specifically to the work of comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, David Cross, and Bill Engvall.
Subsequently, though, the entity began representing the catalogs of well-known musical artists including Greta Van Fleet, The Offspring frontman and chief songwriter Dexter Holland, and Metallica, to name a few. Bearing in mind the latter point, Metallica’s Black Squirrel Partners and “an additional group of investors” are said to have led the now-closed $5 million round.
A longtime Word Collections backer – Black Squirrel likewise led the $3.5 million raise that the company closed in December of 2021 – the Metallica- and Paul Donahue-founded operation itself debuted in 2020. (Metallica in March purchased a Virginia record pressing plant, and Black Squirrel in May contributed to the $2.7 million round of AI music separator AudioShake.)
As initially highlighted, Word Collections intends to put the capital towards bolstering proprietary tech and enhancing its overarching global direct licensing model, which it says “removes intermediaries” and “circumvents black boxes” en route to paying member creators “more money, more quickly.”
Regarding Word Collections’ aforementioned royalty collections on behalf of comedians, late 2021 saw the entity (as well as Spoken Giants) kick off a campaign to secure streaming service compensation for stand-ups’ underlying compositions.
All manner of comedy works were then yanked from Spotify and different platforms – among them Pandora, which Spoken Giants and Word Collections are also suing for the alleged infringement of more than a few compositions. (Substantially similar suits from individual Word Collections and Spoken Giants clients such as George Lopez, Lewis Black, and the estate of Robin Williams were consolidated in 2022.)
Last time we checked in on the courtroom confrontation, the presiding judge in April dismissed with prejudice the monopoly-centered countersuit of Pandora, determining in part that the SiriusXM-owned streaming platform had “failed to plead enough ‘factual content that allows the court’ to conclude” a violation of the relevant component of the Sherman Antitrust Act.