Boldon company Playlists.net acquired by Warner-owned company

Newcastle start-up was among the first to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Spotify and streaming music

Founder & chief executive of Playlists.net, Kieron Donoghue
Founder & chief executive of Playlists.net, Kieron Donoghue

A North East company that collects playlists created for streaming music service Spotify has been acquired by music giants Warners.

The Boldon-based Playlists.net has aggregated more than 150,000 playlists, while its website and apps were attracting more than 1.1m users a month by the start of 2014.

It has been sold to WEA, part of the Warners Music Group, in an undisclosed deal.

However, WEA has confirmed Playlists.net will continue to operate as a standalone company based in the North East, and run by founder and chief executive Kieron Donoghue.

“We were approached by WEA earlier in the year to discuss ways in which we could collaborate and it became apparent that there was much to be gained by us joining forces,” Mr Donoghue said.

“What’s really exciting is that WEA have committed to support Playlists.net as an independent platform, invest in its future and grow the team to take advantage of new opportunities in the streaming ecosystem.

“There is a huge appetite in WEA to further embrace streaming, develop new concepts and really innovate in this growing sector.”

Founded in 2009, Playlists.net began life after raising a modest £600,000 from private backers.

Originally named ShareMyPlaylists, the business was one of the first to seize the opportunities presented by the music streaming site Spotify, providing users with a place to upload and share playlists.

Playlists.net
Playlists.net
 

It subsequently added music discovery features, including a playlist generator powered by EchoNest, in addition to iOS, Android and Spotify apps that emphasised consuming music curated by its core users.

As of July this year, Playlists.net was generating 4.5m ‘listening sessions’ per month, and 1bn Spotify streams per year.

News of the acquisition comes at something of a boom time for playlists and curation, as services such Spotify become an essential part of how music is discovered and marketed.

Recent industry changes also mean that streaming music now counts towards the official music charts in the UK.

All three of the major music labels have dedicated divisions for curating and promoting streaming playlists, which attract hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of followers, based on themes and genres.

These playlists are then used to ‘seed’ new tracks as they are released by the labels.

Playlists.net had been working with several labels on marketing campaigns based around playlists, so some industry commentators believe it to be an obvious fit for a company like WEA.

Larry Mattera, from WEA, said: “Kieron’s success is due to the fact that he is a huge music fan, and has a uniquely creative take on how to engage other music fans.

“This investment will enable Kieron to expand on his existing formula for success, as well as work to create new music experiences.”

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