Word Collections, a digital rights management company founded by music entrepreneur Jeff Price, has secured $5 million in funding from investors led by Metallica’s Black Squirrel Partners. The funds will be used to accelerate the company’s global direct licensing business and further develop its music-identification and tracking technology. Word Collections launched in 2020 with the goal of collecting payment for broadcasts and other uses of comedians’ and spoken-word performers’ works. In its first year, the company identified and began collecting over $1 billion in earned and unpaid royalties for streams and broadcasts of spoken-word comedy performances. It now represents catalogs of both comic and musical artists, including Metallica.
Metallica’s investment in Word Collections is part of their broader involvement in various ventures, including AI music startup AudioShake and vinyl record maker Furnace Record Pressing. Black Squirrel Partners, formerly known as Worldwired IP Fund, was co-founded by Metallica and other partners in 2020. This investment aligns with their efforts to meet the demand for Metallica vinyl and support the needs of vinyl lovers in their fan base. Word Collections is Jeff Price’s latest endeavor in the music industry, following his past ventures such as indie record label SpinART and music distribution platform TuneCore. Price previously launched Audiam, a company focused on recovering mechanical rights revenue for songwriters and publishers, which was later acquired by Canadian collection society SOCAN and then by SESAC. In 2021, Word Collections closed a $3.5-million funding round, also led by Black Squirrel Partners.