Custom song start-up Songlorious hits the nail on the head
Ellen Hodges, 28, and Omayya Trump, 33, were at an impasse.
When the Covid-19 pandemic sent the world on lockdown, the engaged couple lost their ability to play live music in New York City. They still had their day jobs, but music was more than just a side activity: they relied on the income from their concerts to survive.
Desperate, they spotted an opportunity in April 2020 when a friend offered to pay them to write a song for their wedding. A day later, the couple launched Brooklyn, New York-based Songlorious, an online marketplace where musicians can make money writing and recording songs for weddings, birthdays, and other life events.
“The greeting cards, the flowers, they all fall flat because they’re a little impersonal,” Trump said on Friday’s episode of “Shark Tank” on ABC. “Sooner or later they end up in the trash.”
The business, Trump said, took off faster than he expected. Since its launch, Songlorious has received at least 11,000 song requests from over 160 musicians. Last year, the company reported sales of $ 700,000. This year, it is on track to bring in $ 2.5 million.
After four months, the two co-founders quit their day jobs – Hodges was a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee and Trump was a production manager at Amtrak – to focus full-time on the growing business.
And on Friday, the couple landed an additional $ 500,000 from four of the five “Shark Tank” sharks – Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary and Peter Jones, a star investor on UK sister show “Dragon’s Den” – in exchange of a 40% stake in the company.
“I get the impression that you are not business people,” Jones said. “That’s why you’re here. You need help.
The couple attempted to counter the offer, asking for $ 800,000 in exchange for 40% of the company’s equity. The Sharks haven’t budged. “Think how much money you would have to pay to have four Sharks like us,” Jones said.
The idea behind the business is not really new. Songlorious’s competitive advantage, Hodges explained, comes from speed and level of customization.
Each song is written from scratch, at a cost ranging from $ 45 to $ 230, depending on the length and amount of instrumentation. According to the company’s website, artists begin writing within 24 hours of a request and return with an original song within two to four business days.
Artists receive around 35-45% of the price of each song, plus tips. Songlorious pockets the rest.
Each of the four Sharks offered to help in different parts of the business. O’Leary has promised assistance in expanding into the marriage market. John and Jones highlighted their ties to the US and international music industries, respectively. And Cuban has proposed a partnership with another of its portfolio companies, video maker AI Synthesia.
“You have four people hitting each base,” Cuban said. “It’s a home run.”
Hodges and Trump also plan to use the money to expand their business offerings. “Every time someone is promoted or hired… buy them a personalized song,” Hodges said.
More importantly, the couple plan to regularly rely on their new investors for strategic input.
“It’s going to be big,” Jones said.
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The 26-year-old started a hoodie business with $ 500 – she now has $ 350,000 in annual sales and a six-figure Shark Tank contract.