Word Collections

In late November, Spotify suddenly took down a number of (non-music) comedy albums amid arguments over whether Spotify had licensed both the recordings and the underlying literary works (basically: comedy’s equivalent of the composition). We reported that Spotify was under pressure to license those literary works from two agencies in the US: Spoken Giants and Word Collections. The Spotify takedown affected standups like Kevin Hart, whose work was removed, while others like Tiffany Haddish have recently moved to sign deals with Spoken Giants.

Now, Word Collections has closed a $3.5 million investment round, Digital Music News reports, and it claimed that it “has identified and begun recovering over $1 billion in earned and unpaid royalties specifically for streams and broadcast of spoken word comedy.”

Investors in the round include QPrime Management co-founders Clifford Burnstein and Peter Mensch, as well as their clients Metallica (who, interestingly, will also get Word Collections to license and collect for their publishing catalogue). Barely a year-and-a-half old, Word Collections was founded by TuneCore and Audiam founder Jeff Price, and counts comedians Margaret Cho and the estate of Robin Williams as clients.

Labels and artists have found benefits in creating spoken content to go alongside their musical releases – mainly as part of a wider marketing strategy. As Spotify and other streaming platforms continue to make a firm push into the non-musical spoken word and podcasting space – potentially dragging listening time away from music – this new potential royalty stream could be of great interest.

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