In only a few years Reverb.com has established itself as the premier site for musicians wanting to buy and sell used music and audio gear, so it’s no surprise that larger online sales companies would eventually want a piece of the action. Yesterday the company announced that it was being acquired by the online marketplace known as Etsy for $275 million in cash, subject to certain conditions.
Both companies have similar business models in that they generate their revenue through commissions on gear sold on the site, as well as seller services like promoted listings, payment processing, shipping labels and insurance.
Etsy is by far the larger of the two, with product sales of nearly $4 billion last year which provided about $600 million in revenue. Reverb, which was founded in 2013 by David Kalt and funded by a group that includes Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, country star Brad Paisley, Cracker frontman David Lowery, and numerous high-profile Silicon Valley investors, has quickly risen to be the preferred alternative to Ebay for musicians selling gear.
Kalt (listen to my podcast #267 on May 28th to hear David talk about at how the company works) will continue on as CEO until Etsy finds a replacement. That said, Etsy has indicated that Reverb will continue as a standalone business after the deal closes later in the year.
Whenever a large company takes over a smaller one with highly loyal customers, there’s a collective breath-holding until we see what changes the new company will bring. I think that’s the case here as well, since Reverb is so well-liked by musicians everywhere.
Let’s look back next year at this time and see how Reverb.com progresses.