Backstage announced yesterday that it has acquired Sonicbids, the leading platform for bands to connect with promoters and market themselves online. The deal, financed by Guggenheim Partners, combines the two leading companies for actors, musicians, casting directors and promoters to showcase and discover talent. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Sonicbids is well known in the world music community. WOMEX (World Music Expo) used Sonicbids in the past to receive electronic press kits from showcase applicants.
Sonicbids launched in 2001 as a matchmaking site for emerging bands and music promoters and has grown into a global marketing platform connecting more than 400,000 bands with 30,000 promoters from over 100 countries. Furthermore, the company’s recently launched Social Music Marketing product suite enables brand marketers to reach and engage music fans and consumers using rich, music-oriented content. Sonicbids has many exclusive partnerships with leading industry events, including South By Southwest (SXSW), Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and CMJ Music Marathon.
Backstage and Sonicbids come from the same heritage of matching artists with opportunities. For more than 50 years, Backstage has been a leading name in casting, auditions and entertainment-industry opportunities. It helps actors, singers and dancers find opportunities, while connecting casting directors, producers, directors and choreographers with talent.
Combined, the two companies claim 600,000 registered users and 60,000 paying subscribers in a rapidly growing performing arts market. According to a study by RAND*, it is estimated that there are 7 million performing artists in the U.S. and approximately 100 million worldwide.
“Sonicbids and Backstage share the same mission of opening doors for the creative community,” said Panos Panay, Founder and CEO, Sonicbids. “Joining forces creates amazing synergies and brings the worlds of music, film and social marketing even closer together.”
“Our vision is to the fill the void where existing career sites drop off in serving performing artists,” said John Amato, Chairman and CEO, Backstage. “This market has great growth potential but has been under-served. We want to step in to become the destination site for performing artists to book opportunities, manage their careers and educate themselves.”
“Guggenheim is committed to live events, media and music,” said Todd Boehly, President, Guggenheim Partners. “We have seen great success with our brands, including Backstage, and this acquisition is a logical progression.”
The combined entities will include 70+ employees with offices in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles. Backstage is a portfolio company of Guggenheim Partners. The combined company will be headed by Chairman and CEO John Amato, with Panos Panay maintaining his role as leader of Sonicbids.
* RAND. (2001). Performing Arts in a New Era. Kevin F. McCarthy, Arthur Brooks, Julia Lowell, Laura Zakaras