Smule Announces Strategic Investment from Times Bridge in India

  • Times Bridge, the global investment and partnerships arm of the Times Group, announced that its strategic investment in Smule, the social network for music.
  • India is the 2nd largest international market for the app and they're keen to tap into India's multi-lingual music culture.
  • Aside from an investment of $20 million, Times Bridge will partner with Smule on community building, collaborations with local artists as well as targeted regional programs.

If you like music, then you’ve probably heard of Smule. And, today the leading social network for music has announced a strategic investment from Times Bridge, the global investment and partnerships arm of the Times Group. Going forward, Times Bridge will empower Smule with strategic insight as it expands its operations in India. This is especially significant since the country is Smule’s second largest international market.

Smule currently has 50 million active users that are using the platform to transform the global music scene from just passive listen to active collaboration, creation and expressive sharing. Anyone, anywhere in the world can log in and find different genres of music on the platform.

The strategic partnership entails an investment of over $20 million along with help on how to localise the platform for the Indian masses. India’s multi-lingual music culture is a good fit for the app, and an opportunity to tap into an even wider market. This is Times Bridge's third investment this year, after investing in MUBI and Houzz, in their bid to expand their existing investment portfolio of innovative consumer tech companies.

Leveraging its vast network of media assets, Times Bridge will partner on varied aspects such as community building, collaborations with top artists, targeted regional programs and advertising. Smule is the first social music platform to partner with Times Bridge in India.

India and Smule

India has a long and rich history of music. Its varied culture and shared passion for music makes it a priority market for Smule. With this investment, Smule plans to increase its exposure in the Indian digital music market and grow the market organically. Smule is keen to tap into India’s flourishing diverse music culture and is pioneering a unique way for people to create and engage with music. In May 2017, Smule raised $54 million in a financing round led by Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

“Indian audiences are passionate about connecting through music. We want to enhance those connections in an authentic way and we are thrilled to partner with Times Bridge to marshal the best of The Times Group on Smule’s behalf,” said Jeffrey Smith, Smule’s CEO and co-founder. “Smule is about empowering our community to do more of what they love – from singing with their favourite celebrities to collaborating with friends to discovering new music. We're thrilled to find a partner that both shares our vision and has the cultural insights and market reach to deliver it.”

Rishi Jaitly, CEO of Times Bridge, said, "Times Bridge’s mission is to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world. Smule is a deeply original, bold idea with a mission of changing the way the world experiences music. Our investment will advance Smule’s music mission across the Indian subcontinent and unlock the creativity of many millions along the way. We are delighted to be working with a partner who approaches India with the empathy, conviction and optimism that the Indian market warrants.”
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