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About Indaba Music

Founded in 2005 and launched in 2007 by co-founders Matthew Siegel, Dan Zaccagnino, music producer and Capitol Records/Blue Note executive Mantis Evar, NYC tech scene veteran and early adopter of Ruby on Rails Jesse Chan-Norris, and former Disney Imagineer and current head of R&D for AOL Chris Danzig, Indaba Music is an online marketplace that connects musicians around the world with commercial music consumers including labels, publishers, brands, film studios and game companies. The company is fueled by a collaborative spirit that is central to its mission and is embodied by the Indaba name, which comes from a Zulu word that refers to a gathering for sharing ideas, doing business, and discussing important matters.

Matt and Dan met while attending Harvard University, where they established Veritas Records, a record label for student musicians. With the help and guidance of Mantis Evar, Siegel and Zaccagnino released multiple student compilation albums and put on a series of successful live events which led to the building of Harvard’s on-campus bar and performance space. In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg launching Facebook on campus, Matt and Dan began brainstorming ways to connect musicians using social networking and the power of the internet. After graduation, the two moved to New York and began working on Indaba Music out of their apartment on the Bowery, just a stone’s throw away from the original location of legendary rock club CBGB’s, bringing together Mantis’s long experience in the music business with Jesse and Chris’s deep background building consumer-facing web applications.

The company got its start as a music collaboration platform, offering members the opportunity to work together on new music through the “session” platform. This platform enables Indaba’s community of more than 600,000 musicians to exchange files, offer feedback, pay one another, and record music using their own local software or Indaba’s cloud-based, in-browser digital audio workstation, Mantis.  To date, Indaba members have created more than 400,000 projects that span every genre and instrument imaginable. Members include all types of musicians, from those collaborating online for fun to professional session players to Grammy Award-winning recording artists.

As the number of musicians on the site grew, the company was able to harness the talent of Indaba’s community through remix competitions and other music challenges. These events were aggregated within the Opportunity Marketplace, giving the Indaba community a chance to be discovered by creating and submitting music for use in TV shows, films, video games, major-label releases, and integrated brand programs. So far, the Marketplace has connected Indaba musicians with well-known artists such as Paul Simon, Jane’s Addiction, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Daft Punk and Joe Jonas as well as blockbuster films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Indaba members have been featured on TV shows including The Colbert Report, and brands including Red Bull, Bacardi and Mercedes have used Indaba to crowd-source music for commercial use.

In 2011, Indaba enhanced its content licensing capabilities to place members’ original songs in front of music supervisors, publishers, record labels, and digital licensing businesses that need music for commercials, TV shows, films, and more. The site enables members to submit music for possible inclusion in the Indaba Licensing Catalog, a professionally curated collection of songs that are shopped to major companies for sync placements. Artists receive a 50% split of any revenue generated by a placement and retain 100% ownership of their composition and masters. Indaba also maintains deep partnerships with top music publishing companies such as Sony/ATV, and has worked to help monetize cover songs and other videos through YouTube.

In November 2010, Indaba implemented a three-tier subscription plan for members: Basic (free), Pro ($50/year), and Platinum ($250/year). Those with the Basic plan can participate in three opportunities per year, can store 200MB of data, and cannot distribute their music through Indaba’s direct-to-fan store and direct feed to iTunes. By upgrading to a Pro or Platinum subscription, members can participate in unlimited opportunities, increase their data storage, set up a direct-to-consumer store for digital and on-demand CD sales, and distribute songs through iTunes.

Indaba also strengthened its team in 2011, bringing in music industry veteran J.J. Rosen as CEO. Having previously served as Executive Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment’s Commercial Music Group after running notable music startups N2K and RunTones, Rosen is well-positioned to lead Indaba through its next stage of growth. He joined a Board of Directors that also consists of co-chairs Queen Latifah, world-renowned recording artist and actor and Martha Crowninshield, General Partner Emerita at Boston Ventures; as well as Matthew Siegel, Co-Founder and COO of Indaba; Dan Zaccagnino, Co-Founder and CSO of Indaba; Iris Keitel, Senior Vice President of ABKCO Music & Records Inc.; and Tom Zaccagnino, Co-Managing Director of Wellesley Advisors Corporation.


Executive Bios

J.J. Rosen – CEO

J.J. Rosen, 42, has been a leader in the online music space since 1994, when he co-founded N2K, Inc., which was the first significant company to leverage the Internet for promoting, marketing and selling music.  N2K completed a successful IPO in 1997 and merged into CDNow in 1999. The merged company was then acquired by Bertelsmann in 2000 for $117 million.

He then co-founded and served as the CEO of Run Tones, the first company to produce and deliver master ringtones for the US market.  Run Tones was acquired by Sony Music in 2002, which made him Vice President and General Manager of the Sony Music Mobile Products Group, and in 2004, Sony Music promoted him to SVP & GM of its Global Digital Business Group.  While at Sony, Rosen built the foundation for monetizing ringtones, downloads, streaming audio, and videos through numerous partnerships and deals. He negotiated the first ever master ringtone distribution deal in the USA (with Sprint), which set precedent for the business terms between record labels and phone operators.

In 2007, Rosen was named the Executive Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment’s new Commercial Music Group, supervising custom & strategic marketing, synchronization licensing, and digital marketing and leading the drive to transition the digital team from a marketing function to a revenue driver. In addition to growing synchronization and digital music sales revenue, he incubated new product lines including fine art prints and merchandise.

Rosen has a BA in Political Economy from Tulane University and an MBA with a specialization in Finance from Rutgers University. He lives with his wife and family in New York, NY.


Matt Siegel – Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer

Matt Siegel co-founded Indaba Music in 2006, combining his passion for the arts with his knack for business. As Chief Operating Officer, Siegel is responsible for Indaba’s overall vision and strategy, as well as management of Indaba’s engineering, marketing, finance, and business operations. In 2010, Siegel was named one of Billboard’s “30 Under 30” Power Players of the music industry.

Siegel first came to fame not in music, but as a child actor, earning a leading role in the acclaimed CBS-TV series Brooklyn Bridge. He first sampled the music business as a Harvard undergrad, when he co-founded Veritas Records with Indaba Music partner Dan Zaccagnino. The label is sponsored by Rolling Stone and remains active under the guidance of the current Harvard student community. Inspired by their classmate Mark Zuckerberg’s TheFacebook, the two wanted to create an online community for musicians for long distance collaboration, which led to the launch of Indaba (the South African word for a meeting of the community to discuss important questions).

After graduating from Harvard Cum Laude with a degree in Economics in 2005, Siegel worked as a management consultant with Katzenbach Partners, LLC (now Booz & Co), where he worked primarily with software and telecommunications clients. Siegel has spoken at Digital Music Forum East, Harvard Business School, Dartmouth, Duke University, NYU, and numerous industry conferences.


Dan Zaccagnino – Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer

Dan Zaccagnino’s passion for music led to the creation of the site that would allow more than half a million musicians around the world to collaborate and advance their careers.  As Indaba’s Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder, Zaccagnino is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the company, focusing on product and business development.

Zaccagnino met Indaba co-founder Matthew Siegel while attending Harvard University. While at school, the two co-founded the student-run record label, Veritas Records, and Dan also worked for Blue Note Records and Virgin Records. The two closely watched classmate Mark Zuckerberg launch Facebook, and hatched the idea for a social media site that would make musicians’ lives easier by putting together all of the resources they need to record, collaborate, distribute, and find new opportunities for their music. Taking its name from the Zulu word that refers to a gathering for sharing ideas, doing business, and discussing important matters, Indaba Music launched in 2007.

Zaccagnino is an active musician, songwriter, a member of The Recording Academy (NARAS), and a member of the Steering Committee for Education Through Music, a non-profit that promotes the integration of music into the curricula of disadvantaged schools.