A Sydney-based company that allows music fans to collect non-fungible tokens (NFTs) related to their favourite artists has raised $6 million, with the investment supported by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.
Founded by Max Shand in 2020, Serenade will use the fresh capital to enhance the company’s current NFT offering and grow its artist partnerships team to serve the US, UK and Australia.
The funding round saw a myriad of new investors join alongside Jackman, including Damian Christian of Atlantic Records, Reynold D’Silva of Silva Screen Records, Danny Rogers of Lunatic Entertainment, Bernard Fanning of Powderfinger, Paul Piticco and Jessica Ducrou of Splendour in the Grass/Secret Sounds, Jaddan Comerford of Unified Music, Nathan McLay of Future Classic, Dan Rosen of Warner Music Group and David Hancock of Afterpay.
“In the six months since we launched Serenade, we have been blown away by the support we’ve received from artists, their representatives and the wider music industry,” Shand said.
“There is a clearly an enthusiastic demand for eco-friendly, easy-to-understand, artist and fan-friendly NFTs and the fact that so many respected music and creative industry professionals have backed us with personal investments is humbling.”
Launched in 2021, Serenade allows music fans to purchase a variety of NFTs such as digital artwork, digitally signed albums or one copy of a song released via Serenade exclusively.
In a recent collaboration with The Brit Awards, Serenade released a collection that commemorates this year's winners, one of which being Dua Lipa who won Best Pop/R&B Act.
The company claims its NFTs produce 1/44,000th of carbon emitted by a standard NFT using an authentication method called the ‘Proof of Stake’, while it is able to transfer payments made by a credit or debit card into cryptocurrency.
Former YMU Group managing director Iain Watt has been appointed chairman of the company’s advisory board and will help steer Serenade’s commercial and strategic direction. YMU represents artists including Chet Faker, Blink 182, Steve Aoki, Jane's Addiction, Common and Friendly Fires.
“I have been an enthusiastic supporter since I first met Max Shand and he outlined his vision for the future on NFTs in the music industry,” Watt said.
“I am delighted to be heading up the Serenade advisory board alongside some exceptionally talented people with whom I will be working to help the company fulfil its amazing potential.”
Shand - who was an early employee at fintech giant Afterpay in 2014 and also founded angel investor network Strangelove - has welcomed the move, saying “Iain knows what artists want and has the determination and passion to serve them.”
“There’s nothing more important in the world of music NFTs than a genuine love of artists and their work, and the creativity to serve them within a new technology space, and Iain navigates this with clarity and vision.”
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