Creators often work with different collaborators for different projects. And splitting payments with others is one of the biggest challenges for creators. Mozaic (previously Jammber) is trying to solve this problem through its range of solutions, including APIs and Chrome extensions.
The company has raised a $20 million Series A round of funding from Volition Capital. Mozaic has raised more than $27 million to date from investors like Rise of the Rest, Maverick Nashville and music industry executive Joe Galante. The startup was founded by CEO Marcus Cobb and SVP of Growth Rachel Knepp in 2015 with an aim to develop tools to handle different parts of the music business, ranging from credits management to ticketing.
Cobb told TechCrunch that, while initially the company decided to focus on the B2B aspects of music, Mozaic decided to pivot to creating a collaborative payments product using its experience in music project management in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“To test potential product/market fit, we put together a PowerPoint sales deck in about two days and cold-called 200 music distributors. When 60 LOIs (Letter of Intents) came in within 30 days, it signaled the pivot was the right choice. We committed to the new direction and the early beta went live about 16 months later in January 2022,” Cobb said.
The idea was to have creators move away from solutions such as PayPal, CashApp, Venmo and Zelle, which might not work if their collaborators were in a country where these solutions don’t exist.
Mozaic’s core product is its API, which can easily plug into platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Twitch and other custom solutions. Jason Hadshian’s Made By Us Music and Creative Space & Events — who have worked with artists like 50 Cent, P Diddy, The Clipse and Rihanna — uses Mozaic’s solution to automate payments to clients.
How does this work?
Cobb said that typically a song has three to five collaborators and only the creator gets paid immediately. They then have to distribute the money. A lot of times, splitting payments was also a design problem as there was no way to define these splits with rules. He said that Mozaic has JSON-based smart contracts (not the blockchain kind), which automatically send payments to different collaborators based on the rules of that project.
Artists directly receive payments and reports about different projects on the platform. If they don’t have an account, they will need to sign up with basic info to start getting payments automatically. Mozaic takes a fee of 1.99% + $1 per transaction (capped at $25) for its services.
A music industry executive told TechCrunch that record labels and distributors have their own systems in place, but they are laborious in nature and a lot of reporting is manual. This is tiring for collaborators as they need to follow up multiple times with very little transparency on the process. So something like Mozaic could be a good solution. But to have wider adoption, the startup’s API will need to work with labels’ own legacy systems.
Future roadmap and challenges
Modern distributors such as DistroKid and ByteDance’s SoundOn are building automatic royalty split algorithms in their solutions. However, Mozaic believes that because of its cross-border competence, its solutions will be adopted well.
Cobb said that labels and creator houses wanting to be competitive in the space will need to adopt modern solutions to pay artists in a timely manner. Otherwise, they risk losing them.
While Mozaic has worked with the music industry a lot, it said that the startup’s solution would work well with creators ranging from YouTubers to Twitch streamers and newsletter writers. To make it easier for creators to split payments, the company is launching a Chrome extension and a mobile app in an invite-only mode in January with plans to make it available to all creators later in Q1 2024.
“What I’m personally most excited about is a Chrome extension that allows you to add splits to anything. That Chrome extension will work on YouTube, on Etsy, on Spotify and on GitHub. And it’s as easy as tagging your friends on the product pages,” Cobb said.
Mozaic is also working on a website for businesses for better reporting and split revenues or affiliate sales.
The company is cashflow positive as of this year and even after plans to expand its team through newly raised funds it plans to stay close to profitability.
Larry Cheng, co-founder and managing partner at Volition Capital, said that the growth-stage venture firm has worked with many brands led by creators and the problem of payment split is a huge burden on them. He said that even some established artists don’t have their accounting or financing team to handle all the complexities.
Cheng, who also sits on the board of GameStop, added that given that alternative creative verticals like YouTube Gaming are gaining traction, Mozaic is well positioned to take advantage of that trend.