ReplyYes CEO Dave Cotter and some favorite vinyl.
ReplyYes, a Seattle startup that uses a mobile messaging platform for retailers to engage with customers, is jumping into ticket sales under a deal with Universal Music Group.
The partnership was announced Thursday alongside a new $6.5 million Series A funding round, which GeekWire reported on in December. ReplyYes revealed more details about the round today; it was led by Madrona Venture Group, Cross Culture Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Muse Capital and Arnold Venture Group.
ReplyYes, a spinoff of Madrona Venture Labs, will work with Universal to allow artists to use its messaging service to sell tickets, music and merchandise to fans.
This isn’t the company’s first venture into music. Its first venture, “The Edit”, offers a way to sell vinyl on the ReplyYes platform. Customers receive daily recommendations for records via texts and can simply reply “yes” to purchase.
Since launching 18 months ago, The Edit as sold more than 100,000 albums.
“The ReplyYes mission is to help people discover and purchase the things that they love,” ReplyYes CEO Dave Cotters said in a statement. “Our platform enables brands to engage and transact with their customers where they increasingly are – on their mobile phones messaging.”
Messaging bots have gained traction in recent years. Facebook launched its own chatbot last year and more than 33,000 businesses currently have Facebook bots. Facebook’s Stan Chudnovsky told Wired in December that about one billion people were interacting with businesses on Messenger each month.
While messaging bots have been slow to gain traction with mainstream consumers, ReplyYes’ recent funding round and its partnership with Universal suggest the trend isn’t going away anytime soon.
“Our recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit from these exciting new forms of fan engagement and merchandising that are created by conversational commerce,” Peter Sinclair, Universal’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Engagement, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with ReplyYes, and even more excited for the millions of fans around the world who will experience this new and direct way of interacting with their favorite artists.”