Music credits database Jaxsta appoints Vampr founder as new CEO

Music credits database Jaxsta appoints Vampr founder as new CEO

Jaxsta new CEO and Vampr co-founder Josh Simons.

Having just secured an extra $3 million of playing time thanks to a capital raise plugged in by WiseTech Global (ASX: WTC) founder and former musician Richard White, music credits database company Jaxsta (ASX: JXT) has hit shuffle on its leadership line-up.

At the start of this month Jaxsta completed its acquisition of Vampr, the world's largest social media network for musicians which was co-founded in 2015 by Hunters & Collectors guitarist Baz Palmer and Josh Simons of indie rock band Buchanan.

In exchange, Jaxsta's shareholders received almost 89 million JXT shares under escrow - currently worth almost $5 million - plus options and US$250,000 in cash.

When the deal was announced four months ago Simons stepped into the role of chief strategy officer, but today it has been confirmed he is now CEO of Jaxsta effective immediately.

He replaces Beth Appleton, a former CMO at the company who was promoted to the top job in April last year following the resignation of Jaxsta founder Jacqui Louez Schoorl, who stepped down from her role as a director as well three months later

"I will relish my time at Jaxsta and the initiatives that I drove. I wish Josh, and the incredible team, all the very best for the future. I’m proud to have been a part of the Jaxsta evolution, and look forward to watching the business continue on mission," Appleton said in today's announcement.

Appleton led the company through various milestones including launches of new subscription products for the music and entertainment industries, releasing business and enterprise solutions, the acquisition of Vampr which had 2 million monthly swipes and 125K monthly active users as of April, and the launch of VINYL.

The latter is an extensive music catalogue consisting of over 49,000 vinyl records available online, tapping into a revival for vinyl globally. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), 41.3 million records were sold in the US last year, up more than 45-fold compared to 2006 when the vinyl comeback began.

Jaxsta aims to solve the music industry's metadata problem as a source of truth, as summarised by Appleton in an update just over a year ago.

"Without official music credits the industry is hindered from accurate efficient revenue collection," she said.

"Without a platform for discovering who has contributed to a song or how to connect with the copyright representatives efficiently, opportunities are lost."

Appleton has also helped turnaround the company's financial situation with a reduction in quarterly cash outflows by more than $900,000 year-on-year by the March quarter. She will work with Simons to ensure a smooth transition.

Jaxsta chair Linda Jenkinson thanked Appleton for her significant contribution to Jaxsta during a period of growth and change, and wished her all the best for the future. The chair also described as Simons as a "visionary, product expert and highly energetic leader".

"Josh has worked closely with Beth and her team over the past few months and was instrumental in attracting new cornerstone investment into the company," Jenkinson said.

Simons said Jaxsta had a clear vision and product roadmap going into FY24, which was a credit to the board, Appleton, and the team who have done a remarkable job.

"Revenue, cost efficiency and profitability remain the top priorities for Jaxsta and I look forward to building on the current momentum," he said.

"We have the foundation for a transformational global music product as we continue to integrate Vampr into the business and scale the platform."

As a platform Simons has described as a LinkedIn crossed with Tinder for creatives crossed, Vampr has 1.3 million users and has facilitated more than eight million global connections. Aside from his musicianship with Buchanan, as a songwriter and producer Simons has shared credits with Travis Scott, Kanye West, and Troye Sivan.

WiseTech CEO Richard White said he had been following Simons for a number of years as the founder and CEO of Vampr.

"I have been impressed by his tenacity, focus, vision and particularly the ability to build a commercial model that grows and retains revenue and customers," White said.

"Now that Vampr is a part of Jaxsta, Josh will, no doubt, contribute his drive, skills and experience to the larger business. I see his contribution will be able to create a clear path to revenue and profitability for Jaxsta."

White's backing of Jaxsta gave him a 9.64 per cent stake in the company, but in September the group's largest shareholder is set to be Songtradr, an Australian-owned music licencing marketplace that has a convertible note with the company based on a $3 million loan given last year that will be converted into shares.

Songtradr was expected to hold 15.99 per cent of issued shares in Jaxsta after completion of the Vampr acquisition.

In October last year Songtradr's CEO Paul Wiltshire acquired a 7 per cent stake in Jaxsta, although the issuance of new shares have diluted his stake to the point that as an individual he is no longer a substantial holder.

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