As we wrote back in August, it's a tough row to hoe for music startups focused on drawing ears and dollars to independent music. The incumbents -- Spotify, Napster, Google Play, Apple Music, Tidal -- operate at valuations and scales that require them to aim for the middle, relegating indies to their outlying real estate. (This is nothing new.)
One of the companies Billboard wrote about in that August article was Gyld, a Seattle-based startup that was pitching a unique, pyramid-and-patron model wherein artists would draw their fans to subscribe to the platform, offer up some new-to-the-internet work and get a 65 percent cut from any subscribers they bring to the table. (That figure mirrors what Spotify, for example, pays out -- roughly 65 percent of revenues to the owners of the masters they play.)
Gyld's lofty ambitions have, as the venerable Stranger reports today, resulted in the company quietly being placed on life support as of Sept. 9, leaving several stakeholders seemingly in the lurch. (Gyld did not respond to a request for comment.)
The death of a startup is less surprising than the success of one, doubly so for an enterprise predicated on music, and triply so for one based around independent music. That Gyld seems to have buckled under the weight of mismanagement and misinformation is an unfortunate denouement for a company that hoped to support artists that get little of it. Who, other than Bandcamp, can crack the nut?