Zedge Acquirehires Freeform, Will Launch Marketplace for Artists to Monetize Their Work


zedge logZedge, a smartphone personalization platform, announced plans to roll out a marketplace for artists to monetize their creations later this year. To accelerate development, Zedge has acquired IP assets from Freeform and retained co-founders Tim Quirk and Bryan Calhoun. Quirk will become SVP of Marketplace at Zedge.

Quirk is a serial music tech executive who helped build and launch Google Play and Rhapsody. His co-founder, Bryan Calhoun, managed early digital strategy for Kanye West  and does ongoing work with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy, The Roots and others. image from crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.comFreeform has been building a distribution platform that musicians and other artists can use to generate revenue by adopting a freemium monetization model, similar to the one utilized by mobile gaming publishers.  It’s artist mobile apps often use free music, lyrics and more to attract fans for later monetization. 

“Bryan and I are ecstatic about combining our forces with Zedge’s. They’re a smart, nimble team with a vision for enabling artists that matches our own,” said Quirk.  “We always talk about pushing people up the pyramid, starting with free access to digital content and then monetizing from there, and Zedge has over 31 million active users a month engaging with free images and audio. The next step is to layer in some monetization options, giving users ways to generate revenue for creators even when the users themselves aren’t literally reaching into their wallets to do so. The combination of their massively popular platform and our proven approach to generating revenue for digital content is going to yield great things, quickly.”

“Zedge has long been the place to go to for user generated mobile personalization content and now we are making Zedge the ultimate platform for amateur, semi-professional and professional artists who want a path to distribute and monetize their content,” said Tom Arnoy, CEO and co-founder of Zedge. “With the addition of the Freeform team, we look forward to launching a marketplace built specifically for artists and creators of digital content. This is a great opportunity for Zedge – allowing us to both grow our customer base and introduce new revenue streams with compelling content.”

MORE: The Coming Arms Race In Online Music: Artist Services [TIM QUIRK]