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Epidemic Sound

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Epidemic Sound
Type of businessPrivately held company
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden
  • Oscar Höglund
  • Peer Åström
  • David Stenmarck
  • Hjalmar Winbladh
  • Jan Zachrisson
CEOOscar Höglund

Epidemic Sound is a Swedish music company, providing an online library of royalty-free music and sounds for use in television and online content.[1][2] The company is headquartered in Stockholm.[3][4]


Epidemic Sound was founded in 2009 by Oscar Höglund, music producers Peer Åström and David Stenmarck, entrepreneur Hjalmar Winbladh, and the co-founder of TV4 and Zodiak Television, Jan Zachrisson.[5][6] Höglund, who took on the role of CEO, had previously worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.[6]

Initially, Epidemic Sound operated as a Business-to-business (B2B) company, providing soundtracks primarily for TV productions.[7][8] The company's services gradually expanded into digital video, following deals with multi-channel networks and leading to the development of an online music library accessible to the public, targeting online video creators in particular.[8] In 2015, the SAE Institute signed an agreement with Epidemic Sound, providing unlimited use of the company's library for student productions on all of SAE's European campuses.[4]

In May 2018, the company launched Break.Through – an artist-development scheme.[9]

In November 2019, former Google Head of Sales and Operations, Head of YouTube and managing director of Spotify (all for the Australia and New Zealand markets) Kate Vale joined Epidemic Sound as the managing director for North America.[10][11][12] In the same year, it was announced that Epidemic Sound would fund a short film about the Swedish composer and producer Ooyy (Henrik Olsson), in a joint project with photographer and filmmaker Peter McKinnon.[13]

Epidemic Sounds’ music has been used in adverts for Pepe Jeans, LG, Burger King, and Radisson.[14] It has also appeared on the soundtracks of Netflix series Drug Lords and Living with Yourself, as well as being featured on the YouTube channels of Will Smith, Jack Black, and Peter McKinnon.[14][15]

As of November 2017, the Swedish investment firm EQT holds a 40% stake in Epidemic sound, while the venture capital firm Creandum owns 20% of the company.[16][17] In March 2019, they were featured by Complete Music Update.[18]

In June 2019, the naming system of music tracks has changed from numerical names (e.g. We are legends 3) to dedicated names (e.g. Through the ages). While more memorable, an adverse side effect is that existing music tracks could no longer be found by the names they were formerly referred to.


Epidemic Sound provides access to its library of music and sounds on a subscription basis.[3] Registered users can use the platform's search engine, taking genre, mood, energy level, and beats-per-minute into account, to find music and sound effects for use in commercial and non-commercial videos and media.[5] Algorithms embedded in the website enable the platform to provide custom recommendations to returning customers.[5]

A monthly subscription enables users to access and use an unlimited number of tracks in their work. Exclusive usage of a song, for instance as brand music or an advertising jingle, is negotiated on an individual basis.[19]

Rather than representing music, Epidemic Sound owns the rights to all of the tracks in its library, which simplifies the copyright attribution process on the user's end.[4][8] Composers are paid upfront for their tracks and subsequently receive 50% of the revenue brought in by the track from streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer.[5][8]


  1. Malt, Andy (n.d.). "Epidemic Sound raises new funding". Complete Music Update. Retrieved 28 February 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. "Miljonklipp för Epidemic Sounds anställda". digital.di.se/. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Epidemic Sound, A Music Licensor For Creators, Onboards YouTube, Spotify Vet Kate Vale". Tubefilter. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "SAE Institute gives students unlimited use of Epidemic Sound's music library | SAE Alumni Association Europe". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Epidemic Sound raises $20M at a $370M valuation for its soundtrack music discovery and licensing platform". TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Davis, Ben (17 October 2013). "Start Me Up! A profile of Epidemic Sound: curing music license madness". Econsultancy. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  7. "Epidemic Sound surfar på digitala musikvågen". Computer Sweden (in svenska). Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Epidemic Sound gives its side of the Spotify 'fake artists' controversy". musically.com. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  9. "Epidemic Sound launches Break.Through program to develop artists". Musically. n.d. Retrieved 28 February 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "Former Spotify Australia boss Kate Vale joins Epidemic Sound as MD, North America". Music Business Worldwide. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  11. "Ex-Spotify Australia MD Kate Vale lands new North American gig". The Music Network. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  12. "One Liners: Epidemic Sound, Gorillaz, Liam Gallagher, more | Complete Music Update". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  13. Weiss, Geoff (n.d.). "Music Licensing Platform Epidemic Sound Taps Peter McKinnon To Helm Film About Resident Artist, 'Ooyy'". tubefilter.com. Retrieved 28 February 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "It's an exciting time for the music industry – particularly for emerging artists". Scandinavian Man. n.d. Retrieved 28 February 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. Dryburgh, Alastair. "Reinventing The Music Industry – Again". Forbes. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  16. "Investment fund EQT takes 40% stake in Epidemic Sound". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  17. Novac, Dragos. "Epidemic Sound gets EQT investment for 40% of the company". Nordic 9. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  18. "Discovery, Netflix and Epidemic Sound in the spotlight as the debate around audio-visual royalties gains momentum | Complete Music Update". Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  19. Lewan, Mats. "Epidemic Sound ordnar låten till filmen". Ny Teknik (in svenska). Retrieved 28 February 2020.

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