KIT Plugins, an audio software startup that helps producers and musicians enhance their sound, raises $1 million

KIT Plugins, a music software development startup, has raised $1 million in seed funding led by Copycat Holdings. The Nashville-based startup offers digital audio emulations of rare analog gear to help producers and musicians record quality studio sound.

The startup was founded in 2020 by CEO Matt Kleinman with the aim of giving producers and musicians access to audio plugins across creative and mixing tools to help them enhance their sound quality. Kleinman approached John McBride, the owner of Blackbird Studio, to create a company that would create software out of the studio’s collection of analog gear.

Kleinman, an audio engineer and producer who worked with big names like Fifth Harmony and Big Machine Records, says he was aware of the need for digital audio emulations, or audio plugins, in the music industry.

“The initial idea came from the sort of a hole in the market more than anything,” Kleinman told TechCrunch in an interview. “Blackbird is a pretty amazing facility within the music space and John has a collection of vintage equipment that is pretty much unparalleled. I had access to this amazing equipment and I would talk to friends who didn’t have access to software that could recreate that equipment as well as we wanted it to. I saw an opportunity to bring Blackbird into the plug-in world.”

KIT Plugins has now also inked a deal with the Norman Petty Recording Studio, which features audio gear that hasn’t been used in years, Kleinman says. The startup currently has three plug-ins in production emulating the sounds from the studio.

The startup’s primary focus is analog emulation, which means that it’s taking physical electronic equipment, such as a preamplifier or an equalizer, and turning it into software that lets you recreate that sound.

“You can download the software and you can load it up on your computer,” Kleinman said. “And when you’re creating music on your laptop or your desktop at home, you can capture that same sound as running through that equipment in the real world. And this has benefits. One is of course that $100 is a lot cheaper than buying a lot of this vintage equipment. The other benefit is for people like John who have access to the equipment but can’t travel with it. It’s sort of a two-edged blade in that sense. It helps people who can’t afford the gear, but it also helps people who may have the gear but can’t travel with the gear.”

Kleinman says KIT Plugins’ target demographic is wide, as the startup’s current customer base is established hobbyists and professionals. When starting out with the Blackbird plug-ins, the startup was more focused on people that were already in the music space, but as its new products come out, KIT Plugins is targeting anyone who wants get started in music production.

As for the new funding, the startup plans to use it to accelerate its business by creating more plug-ins faster and speeding up the development of new technology with the help of artificial intelligence.

KIT Plugins currently offers nine audio plug-ins that range from $29 to $200. The startup currently has more than 6,000 paid customers, and has seen an average monthly paid customer growth of 9% and an order growth of 14% monthly since its launch.

In terms of the future, the startup wants to be more than just a plug-in company, as it aims to be a platform where people can come together and collaborate. To achieve this, the company recently launched a subsidiary brand called NOIZ Hub that currently has a YouTube channel that offers educational content for the audio community.

As noted earlier, KIT Plugins also wants to leverage AI, as the company wants to use the technology to support creatives.

“The question everyone’s trying to answer, and we’re no different, is how does AI integrate into our future,” he said. “My mission is to be a company that uses artificial intelligence to support creatives. AI is there to help you do your job, not replace your job. My hope over the next you know, four or five, six years is to build a place where people can learn and find the right tools. Music production is probably one of the hardest things to get into. It took me a long time to feel confident in my ability as a musician and a producer. I want to make that easier.”