Word Collections, the digital rights management company founded by music entrepreneur Jeff Price, has secured $5 million in funding from investors led by Metallica’s Black Squirrel Partners. The funds will be used to accelerate Word Collections’ global direct licensing business and develop its proprietary music-identification and tracking technology. In its first year, Word Collections identified and collected more than $1 billion in earned and unpaid royalties for streams and broadcasts of spoken-word comedy performances. The company represents the catalogs of notable comedians and musicians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Metallica, and Greta Van Fleet.
The company distinguishes itself through its unique direct licensing business model, relying on proprietary sound recording identification technology and income tracking systems. Word Collections aims to fix the inefficiencies in the traditional industry that allocate royalties based on market share and, instead, get the money directly into the pockets of rights holders while removing liability for digital services. Metallica’s investment in Word Collections is part of their involvement in various ventures, including AI music startup AudioShake and vinyl record maker Furnace Record Pressing.
Jeff Price, the founder of Word Collections, has a strong background in the music industry, having launched indie record label SpinART in 1990 and music distribution platform TuneCore in 2006. In 2013, he launched Audiam, a company that specialized in locating metadata for sound recordings and recovering mechanical rights revenue. Price’s previous ventures have been successful, with Canadian collection society SOCAN acquiring Audiam in 2016 and US performance rights organization SESAC taking a controlling stake in 2021. Word Collections previously closed a $3.5 million funding round in 2021, also led by Black Squirrel Partners.