Music mixing marketplace EngineEars raises $1M, with help from Kendrick Lamar

EngineEars today announced a $1 million raise. The company’s first round of funding features investments from Kendrick Lamar, DJ Mustard, Roddy Rich and Slauson and Co. “Quality of sound is still important in music,” Lamar said in a quote provided to TechCrunch. “Ali has always been a progressive thinker. Engineers will transcend the culture.”

The service was launched in 2018 by Grammy winner Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, who has worked on a slew of high-profile tracks from artists including Lamar, Jay Rock, SZA, Nipsey Hussle and Snoop Dogg.

The educational courses turned into a touring curriculum, with 15 workshops in four countries, where Ali says he was able to determine what the community most needed.

“During that time, we really learned what the problem is,” says Ali. “All of the problems entailed tracking payments, being credited, the antiquated business model of file transfers and essentially just helping an independent audio engineer sustain and create a business for themselves.”

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EngineEars has since branched out into something more akin to a marketplace for audio engineers. Independent mixers can offer their services and connect with artists and labels, get credit for the tracks they’ve worked on and — perhaps most importantly in the world of freelancing — get paid.

The platform launched an alpha version in January and since has 120 engineers verified by an existing vetting process. The invite-only service has another 2,000 people on its waiting list, according to Ali.

The service is currently working on a feature roadmap based on the requests of existing users and looking toward potential additions like the ability to buy beats, going forward. Other suggested features include contract negotiations for work-for-hire, but much of this is still very much in early stages.