This New A16z-Backed Startup Wants to Democratize the Music Industry

Co-founded by brothers Ameer and Anthony Brown, Breakr aims to streamline the influencer-artist relationship, allowing creators to have more control over the growth of their own business and brand online.

Written by Ellen Glover
Published on Dec. 02, 2020
This New A16z-Backed Startup Wants to Democratize the Music Industry
Breakr wants to democratize the music industry
breakr Founders (Left to right) Rotimi Omosheyin, Ameer Brown, Dan Ware and Anthony Brown. | Photo: Breakr

Over the last few years, social media has been transforming the music industry, blurring the lines between popularity and curation. These days, one well-timed collaboration between a TikToker and an up-and-coming musician can jumpstart their careers.

Here to facilitate these connections is Breakr, a new startup that offers a marketplace where influencers, artists and DJs can find one another and break new music together across social media.

Here’s how it works: Influencers set up profiles where they can link to their social media channels, update their music preferences and create digital campaigns. Artists can do the same, then submit their work directly to these campaigns for review. Artists and influencers can also connect based on matching interests and goals listed on their Breakr profile, removing the need for things like cold emails, DMs, comment spamming and other forms of communication that bog down the process now.

In the end, users can set their own prices and promote their work the way they want. The goal is to streamline the influencer-artist relationship and give creators more control over the growth of their own business and brand.

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Breakr’s proprietary technology is the first of its kind, and has been turning heads lately — specifically that of Andreessen Horowitz. Just this month, the VC firm chose the NYC startup to be a recipient of its competitive Talent x Opportunity Fund, designed for entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds who have the “talent, drive, and ideas to build great businesses.” Of the 1,200 applicants, only seven (including Breakr) were chosen.

“Creators have really been marginalized — particularly Black and brown creators — in a sense that they create these trends and they have this extreme God-given talent on the creative side, yet there’s never been a platform, particularly for micro-influencers, to be able to manage that,” Breakr CEO Anthony Brown told Built In. “As long as the user is at the baseline of every single product decision, every marketing decision, every company decision, I think that Breakr will continue to be something that the community embraces as a real utility.”

Anthony Brown co-founded Breakr with his brother Ameer Brown and former Florida A&M classmates Rotimi Omosheyin and Dan Ware. Ameer spent years in the music and promotion industry, running his own brand for a decade and working with major recording artists, influencers and DJs around the U.S. Meanwhile, Anthony was a principal at Acumen Fund and spent some time at J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs too.

Together, the Brown brothers used their respective backgrounds to come up with a tool the burgeoning social media influencer industry has never seen before.

“Breakr came from Ameer actually feeling this problem. The innovation was able to be born because he was of the culture of the party promotion scene, because he was a technologist, because he saw it in a very nuanced way,” Anthony Brown said. “This is literally a cultural breakthrough. ... I feel like, from a positioning perspective, [Andreessen Horowitz] thought the innovation was of the culture. And that’s what gave us a competitive edge.”

Looking ahead, Anthony and Ameer feel this is just the beginning for Breakr. They hope the company will eventually be able to solve problems in the larger music industry.

“We consider this a Trojan horse,” Ameer Brown told Built In. “We’re solving this one problem in terms of allowing influencers to charge off their social capital. But we believe that, down the line, we’re going to resolve this problem for brands in a more streamlined manner. And we’re also going to be able to solve this problem for record labels at scale. There’s a lot of opportunity down the road that keeps me excited and keeps us up at night, working hard.”

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