Social Audio Innovator Gimme Radio Raises $3 Million, Inks Media Partnership with iHeartMedia

More than a streaming service, Gimme provides a venue where artists choose the music and fans show support through tipping, merchandise sales, and vinyl subscriptions

Gimme Radio, the digital radio destination where fans connect directly with their favorite artists and support them through tipping, vinyl subscriptions, and merchandise sales, today announced $3 million in funding in a round led by iHeartMedia, the #1 audio company in America.

iHeartMedia joins a slate of music industry heavyweights who have backed Gimme’s bold vision for a thriving and sustainable future for digital music, including The Orchard, Concord, Metal Blade Records, Riser House Entertainment, and Quartz Hill Records.

Gimme is a community of music fans where artists and tastemakers choose the music, and everyone is welcome to chat while they’re listening. Country musicians and fans, for example, can use Gimme’s unique tools to connect and curate a music channel, while the entire fanbase chats and reacts in real time, building a new kind of community around music curation.

The ability to support artists is at the center of the Gimme Radio experience, which invites members to virtually tip the DJ and buy merchandise, just like they would at a live show. The fresh investment, which includes media spend across iHeartMedia properties, will allow Gimme to amplify its reach to millions of fans across more genres, while offering iHeartMedia an innovative way to build communities of music fans around its programming and talent.

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“With our unparalleled reach in communities across America, iHeart’s brands and platforms connect artists and fans like no one else,” said Chris Williams, General Manager and Chief Product officer of iHeartRadio.  “We’re pleased to partner with Gimme to further extend that important connection while enabling Gimme to reach our audience and provide companionship to Country and Metal fans with their innovative community- and creator-oriented features.”

Gimme Radio was founded by a team of music industry executives with extensive experience at digital music services including Beats, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Napster (formerly Rhapsody).  They’ve also been musicians and have covered the industry as journalists, so they deeply understand all aspects of the industry.

“This team helped shape digital music as the world knows it today and Gimme is our vision for the future,” said Tyler Lenane, CEO and co-founder, Gimme Radio. “Creating rich communities of artists and fans who can have meaningful conversations, build real relationships, and transact directly with one another is how the world will experience music and support artists. In an era of pennies, Gimme is already putting whole dollars into artists’ pockets through incredible, community-based fan experiences.”

Artists have responded enthusiastically to the Gimme community, with over 1,200 artists hosting shows across the company’s two stations, Gimme Metal and Gimme Country, including Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, comedian Brian Posehn as well as and Jesse DaytonChuck Prophet, and Laura Cantrell who have regularly occurring shows that have generated an engaged, global audience that has spent an average of about $10 each on tips to more than 350 artists.

“Connecting with my fans is what keeps me going and keeps a roof over my head,” said recording artist Jesse Dayton, who has a popular show and station on Gimme Country. “My show on Gimme Radio has built up a real following, and I can talk with my fans from all over the world, even when I couldn’t tour. Their energy and support have kept me going during a time that has been extremely difficult for all of us.”

Music labels were among the first to invest in Gimme and noticed that it was at the convergence of two massive digital media trends: the rise of podcasting and the digital creator economy. Gimme’s social audio platform offers a rich and rewarding experience for both artists and fans, with revenue opportunities to independent artists that are unmatched by existing services.

“This team created an opportunity to connect artists and fans through a digital music service that delivers value across the entire value chain, not just for the biggest names, but for independent artists as well,” said Brad Navin, CEO, The Orchard. “We are impressed by Gimme’s ability to attract audiences who support our artists through commerce, ticket sales, tipping, and word-of-mouth.”

The issue of artist compensation has been a challenge for legacy streaming services, who have been criticized for paying artists fractions of cents for plays, creating a system where only the most popular artists can expect a living wage from the services, which account for a growing majority of all listening.

“In a world full of spin, we are a revolution,” quipped Lenane. “Most fans believe that when they play an artist on one of the legacy platforms, a portion of their subscription is going to that artist, but not what’s actually happening.

“We allow fans to financially support artists online the way they do out in the world: buying a record or going to a show and getting something at the merch table. Our members have shown a lot of love to their favorite artists as we have rolled out e-commerce, tipping, and vinyl subscriptions, and already, we have DJs who are earning tens of thousands of dollars in tips alone–a number that we expect will grow significantly as we use this financing to scale up our audience and expand Gimme Radio to more genres.”

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