Author: Stuart Dredge

Spotify takes down four QAnon podcasts after media coverage

We don’t have space here to go into the full lunacy of the QAnon conspiracists movement, and the unwillingness of the actual US president to disavow it.
Suffice to say that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are among the big online platforms cracking down on QAnon content, but that crackdown has seen its adherents try to shift to other digital spaces. Including putting their podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other spoken-word platforms.
Media Matters reported on this late last week, noting that several QAnon shows were still available to listen to on these services. Now Spotify, at least, has removed the shows in question.
The post Spotify takes down four QAnon podcasts after media coverage appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Push Live Unlimited helps artists with simul-livestreaming

As the number of artists exploring livestreams at scale grows, so there’s going to be a need for decent infrastructure around that.
One example is being announced today, by live-tech firm Push. It’s a tool called Push Live Unlimited, which helps artists who want to broadcast on a number of platforms at once – for example, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Twitter.
The new service has been in testing this past few months: for example, Insomniac’s EDC Mexico used it for a three-day online dance festival, with 87 different livestreams across artists’ and partners’ channels.
The post Push Live Unlimited helps artists with simul-livestreaming appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Kylie Minogue set for Driift-run ‘Infinite Disco’ stream

More evidence for the growing ambition of online concerts for bigger artists comes with Kylie Minogue’s ‘Infinite Disco’ event on 7 November.
It’s the latest event from Driift, the company launched earlier this year by ATC Management, with investment from Beggars Group.
The 50-minute show will blend tracks from Kylie’s new album ‘Disco’ with older hits, with the promise of visual and choreographic wizardry.
The post Kylie Minogue set for Driift-run ‘Infinite Disco’ stream appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Billie Eilish merch store will be integrated into livestream

We reported earlier this month on plans for Billie Eilish’s first livestream, the $30 ‘Where Do We Go? The Livestream’ concert on 24 October.
Startup Maestro is the technical partner, and it’s been talking about a new partnership with ecommerce firm Shopify that will see merch sold during the event.
Open to all artists using the platform, it will let fans browse and buy merchandise within the livestream, rather than being pushed out to another website.
The post Billie Eilish merch store will be integrated into livestream appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Apple Music goes Boss-eyed with its Bruce Springsteen Week

Apple Music is pushing all the boats out for the release of Bruce Springsteen’s 20th studio album ‘Letter to You’.
There’ll be a week of radio shows on its new Apple Music Hits station, plus an album listening party and live Q&A, and a documentary on the Apple TV+ service, which drops on Friday alongside the album.
It’s a big push, and a reminder that Apple Music is now very keen on the classic/heritage audience. Which, we guess, is a category that Gorillaz might also fall into now, although if we’re dividing these things up by station, they’re still an Apple Music 1 artist rather than just Apple Music Hits.
The post Apple Music goes Boss-eyed with its Bruce Springsteen Week appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Believe was the buyer of playlisting platform Soundsgood

In April we reported on the shutdown of French startup Soundsgood. It had launched in 2015 as a way to curate playlists and manage them across multiple streaming services, before moving more towards B2B services for labels.
“These B2B activities have eventually led to our recent acquisition,” announced Soundsgood as it closed down, but the company declined to say who the buyer was.
Now, through the time-honoured journalistic tradition of ‘remembering to look at the former CEO’s LinkedIn profile a few months later’, Music Ally can reveal that the acquirer of Soundsgood was… distributor Believe.
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music TV channels classic MTV with music videos

Live radio is already one of Apple Music’s big differences to its streaming rivals. Now it’s trying out MTV-style music television, although for the most part without the VJs.
Instead, Apple Music TV is a 24-hour channel broadcasting music videos via the Apple Music and Apple TV apps, as well as on the web.
For now, it’s only available in the US, where it kicked off yesterday with a chart of the 100 all-time most streamed songs on Apple Music in that country. It’ll also broadcast livestreams and other artist events, like this Thursday’s Bruce Springsteen special, as well as clips of interviews and other content filmed for Apple Music.
The post Apple Music TV channels classic MTV with music videos appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

WMG set for $338m acquisitions (and possibly revenue decline)

It was a busy day for Warner Music Group yesterday, with several interrelated announcements. First, there was news of the company raising $250m of new funding through a ‘senior secured notes offering’ to be spend to “fund a portion of the aggregate cash consideration for certain acquisitions”.
Later that day, a US regulatory filing offered more information on those plans. “In early October we completed an acquisition for certain music assets, and we recently came to an agreement in principle regarding a second acquisition regarding certain other music and music-related assets… for aggregate cash consideration of approximately $338 million,” explained WMG, noting that it has set aside $90m of cash on top of the $250m offering to pay for the deals.
The post WMG set for $338m acquisitions (and possibly revenue decline) appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

The US music market isn’t yet at ‘peak streaming subscriptions’

Is the biggest recorded-music market in the world nearing ‘peak streaming subscriptions’ for music? In an article for Billboard, former Spotify chief economist Will Page offers some reasons for optimism, even though there are now 110 million music subscribers in a country with 110m households.
For example, he notes that there were worries that Sweden and Norway were reaching their ceiling back in 2015, but since then their subscriber numbers have grown by 85% and 78% respectively.
The post The US music market isn’t yet at ‘peak streaming subscriptions’ appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

PearPop helps fans to pay for screen time with TikTok stars

There’s a price on everything in the influencer world, and with a startup called PearPop, that includes collaborating with your favourite TikTok stars.
The company has announced a marketplace for TikTokers to charge fans for collab posts, and according to TechCrunch it already has more than 25,000 fans signed up.
The fees are public: a duet, stitch or sound post with Coby Persin (who has 7.1 million followers on TikTok) will set you back $500, but with Anna Shumate (who has 6.5 million) it’ll only cost $100, as the two (currently) most popular creators on the site.
The post PearPop helps fans to pay for screen time with TikTok stars appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Instagram promises crackdown on ‘hidden advertising’ in the UK

Since 2018, UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been running an investigation into whether influencers on social media are disclosing their endorsements properly.
In January 2019, that included eliciting ‘formal commitments’ from 16 British celebrities to be fully transparent, including musicians Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding.
This week, the investigation has put Instagram in the spotlight, as the CMA announced that it has secured promises from the Facebook-owned platform to do more to help.
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Source: Music ally

Defected to hold three-part ‘We Dance As One’ livestream

Dance label Defected Records did a great job earlier this year with its ‘Virtual Festival’ series of livestreams, raising $1.2m for the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 relief fund over 10 weeks.
Now it’s coming back with a new event called ‘We Dance As One’ spread over three dates: 30 October, 27 November and a finale spanning New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
DJs will be streaming sets from their home studios or from local clubs, with the broadcasts viewable on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
The post Defected to hold three-part ‘We Dance As One’ livestream appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Reshape Music report outlines challenges for disabled musicians

UK charity Youth Music has published a new report, Reshape Music, which explores the challenges facing disabled musicians ‘in education and beyond’. It’s the result of interviews with hundreds of musicians, music educators and retailers.
“Disabled people make up over a fifth of the population and yet they are hugely under-represented in the music industry and in music education,” is the key problem tackled by the report, with Youth Music keen for its findings to inform policy in the UK to change that.
The challenges outlined range from finding and buying the right instrument, to accessing music lessons and getting opportunities to perform.
The post Reshape Music report outlines challenges for disabled musicians appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

British parliament launches inquiry into economics of music streaming

For several months, the #BrokenRecord campaign in the UK has been calling for the government to step in to the debate about musicians’ streaming royalties. Today, there’s been a significant announcement on that front.
No, not legislation (yet). The British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee has launched an inquiry into the economics of music streaming.
“MPs will examine what economic impact music streaming is having on artists, record labels and the sustainability of the wider music industry,” it explained.
“Music streaming in the UK brings in more than £1 billion in revenue with 114 billion music streams in the last year, however artists can be paid as little as 13% of the income generated.”
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s new format puts music in podcasts – and pays royalties

Podcasters regularly complain about the difficulty and/or cost of licensing commercial music for their shows. With hundreds of millions of people now listening to podcasts globally, there’s a big opportunity for the music industry, if good licensing models can be worked out to put music in podcasts, while ensuring that rightsholders and musicians get paid.
Hang on though. Spotify has a huge catalogue of licensed music, is one of the biggest podcast distribution platforms, and has its own tool (Anchor) for creating podcasts. Couldn’t it do something about the problem? And today, it has.
The streaming service is announcing a new format – an “evolution” of its mixed-media playlists like Your Daily Drive – which will enable podcasters to put music in their shows, and for streams of those shows to generate royalties for the rightsholders.
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Source: Music ally

Disney reorganisation makes streaming its ‘primary focus’

Streaming being the primary focus for record labels is nothing new in our industry, but in Hollywood it’s still a major talking point.
Witness Disney’s announcement yesterday that the company is having a strategic reorganisation of its media and entertainment businesses “designed to further accelerate the company’s direct-to-consumer strategy, in light of the rapid success of Disney+”.
This isn’t Disney abandoning cinemas entirely, of course, but the announcement did make it clear that it’s now the company’s own streaming services (note the plural: Hulu and ESPN+ are included here) that come first, and the “legacy distribution business” second.
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Source: Music ally

Motive Unknown launches sister company Positive Subversion

Digital marketing agency Motive Unknown is spinning off a new company called Positive Subversion, which it describes as a “project and label management consultancy for independently-minded artists, managers and record labels”.
It’s a partnership with former !K7 exec Siofra McComb, and has already signed up Run The Jewels (already a Motive Unknown client) and label Innovative Leisure as its first clients.
“Managers are taking on more and more, but often lack the hands-on resource to manage the minutiae of a release campaign. We have also seen that taking on permanent staff in this space doesn’t make good sense due to the cyclical nature of campaigns,” said Motive Unknown boss Darren Hemmings.
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Source: Music ally

Monstercat goes ‘hyper-casual’ with Amanotes mobile games deal

Electronic music label Monstercat has always been keen to get its music into games, with a series of inventive licensing deals and partnerships. Its latest is with Amanotes, the Vietnamese developer of ‘hyper-casual’ mobile games.
The deal has already made some of Monstercat’s catalogue available within Amanotes’ biggest mobile game, Tiles Hop (350m downloads and counting) with plans to add the tracks to more than 30 of its other games by the end of this year.
Amanotes says it has more than 95 million monthly active users across those games, with a demographic dominated by 25-44 year-old women.
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Source: Music ally

Feeling Good: free report on music, fitness, wellbeing and technology

Earlier this month, Music Ally teamed up with British industry body the BPI for an online event called ‘Feeling Good’ about the intersection of music, fitness/wellbeing and technology.
Now we’ve published a tie-in report, which you can download for free here. In it, we’ve explored some of the companies who’ve been innovating in these areas, from Peloton and Calm to Weav Music, FitXR, Headspace and more.
We’ve also looked at the playlist ecosystems emerging around fitness and wellbeing on streaming services; explained ‘gymfluencers’ and their musical activities; and reported on the views of 7digital and a panel of experts (WMG’s Scott Cohen, CrossBorderWorks Consulting’s Vickie Naumann and Sound Media Ventures’ Shachar Oren) convened at the event. Enjoy!
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Source: Music ally

Report: Triller could go public with shell-company merger

Remember those July reports that short-video app Triller was raising a funding round of up to $300m? Whatever happened to that? Reuters has an update, claiming that the company has “so far secured around $100 million in that round at a $1.25 billion valuation” according to unnamed sources “familiar with the matter”.
However, the report claims that Triller may opt against the funding round after all, and instead go public via a merger with a ‘SPAC’ (a special purpose acquisition company: a shell company formed solely to raise money through an IPO, then merge with a private company to take the latter public).
SPACs are currently popular in the US for “providing a path to going public with less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty over the valuation that will be attained and funds that will be raised” according to Reuters.
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Source: Music ally

Soundtrack Your Brand renews WMG deal, launches on-demand tier

B2B streaming service Soundtrack Your Brand has renewed its licensing deal with Warner Music Group, a couple of months after striking an agreement with Universal Music Group.
In WMG’s case, it’s a renewal of the deal signed two years ago with Soundtrack Your Brand, which provides music to businesses including retailers, restaurants and hotels.
The news came as the company also announced a new tier for its service, Soundtrack Unlimited, which will offer customers on-demand access to its playlists (rather than just being able to play them as curated) and enable them to build their own playlists, for a higher price.
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Source: Music ally

US gets new #SaveLiveEventsNow campaign to support live music

We’ve written about the #SaveOurStages campaign in the US to support independent music venues, launched by their representative body NIVA. Now there’s another campaign, #SaveLiveEventsNow, which expands the remit to larger venues and the people who work on concerts and festivals using them.
It’s backed by a who’s who of the industry: the RIAA, Recording Academy, Live Nation, AEG Presents, Universal Music Group, key talent agencies and more.
“Saving our stages is one component of what our industry needs,” claims the new campaign’s website, making its status as a reaction to NIVA’s drive clear. “We also need to save the people who power live events so that they can bring music, theater, comedy and all kinds of culture back when the show can go on once again.”
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Source: Music ally

Round Hill Music confirms plans for $375m Royalty Fund IPO

The rumours were right: music publisher Round Hill Music is planning to take its songs fund public. The Round Hill Music Royalty Fund has announced plans to raise $375m through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. You can read its announcement here.
The company says it has already identified more than 40 catalogues containing more than 120k songs that it plans to buy with the proceeds from the IPO.
The lineup of artists whose work is included in those catalogues is long and starry: The Beatles, Celine Dion, the Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley and… well, you get the picture.
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Source: Music ally

SongShift says Spotify won’t let it transfer people’s playlists

Almost as long as there have been a number of popular music streaming services, there have been apps and websites designed to help people transfer their playlists between them (for example when leaving one service to join another) or to maintain playlists across several of them (aimed at curators more than regular users).
Nobody’s found a great business model for these tools yet, but at any point there have been a few to choose from. One of the current crop is SongShift, an iOS app that shifts playlists between services including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and Tidal. This weekend, the developers made an announcement.
“Unfortunately, as of SongShift v5.1.2, you will no longer be able to create transfers from Spotify to another music service. We understand this will be a disappointment for a lot of you. We wish we didn’t have to,” they wrote.
The post SongShift says Spotify won’t let it transfer people’s playlists appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Report: TikTok now more popular than Instagram with US teens

Investment bank Piper Sandler publishes a semi-annual study of US teenagers – 9,800 of them for its latest drop. It covers all kinds of topics, from social and political issues to favoured brands, but digital habits are also included.
The big news from the latest study is the claim that TikTok has just overtaken Instagram to become the second-ranked social media platform for teenagers in the US, although the top dog remains Snapchat.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify adds ‘promo cards’ feature for artists and podcasters

Spotify’s now traditional end-of-year Wrapped promotion sees artists and listeners alike flooding social media with branded graphics on their stats.
Now the streaming service is extending that idea for artists (and podcasters) with a feature called ‘Promo Cards’.
It’s an online tool that they can use to create promotional graphics for songs, albums and artist profiles – as well as for a selection of Spotify’s playlists when they have a track included on them – ready for sharing on social media.
The post Spotify adds ‘promo cards’ feature for artists and podcasters appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Major labels target Apple in Russia over iOS piracy apps

It’s been a while since we’ve seen public tensions in the west between music rightsholders and Apple over piracy apps – Apple’s involvement being as the owner of the store through which those apps are distributed.
According to TorrentFreak, it’s all kicking off in Russia over this issue though, following a new law cracking down on piracy apps.
It reported that Sony Music, Universal Music and WMG subsidiary SBA Music Publishing have filed complaints against Apple in the Moscow City Court, requesting that the company remove three apps: PewPee: Music Player, iMus Music Player and Offline Music Download Music / Music Downloader & Player (which must be in line for some kind of SEO prize).
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Source: Music ally

Livestreaming startup Mandolin raises $5m in seed funding

Six months ago, livestreaming was in many quarters seen as a temporary sticking plaster for the shutdown of physical concerts, likely to return to a niche once the latter returned.
A lot of people have changed their tune since then: physical concerts aren’t returning anywhere near as soon as we had hoped, and successful livestreaming case are steadily mounting up to make a case for online concerts to stick around for the long term.
That in turn is fuelling a boom in innovation from and funding for livestreaming startups. The latest example is US firm Mandolin, which was behind the recent ‘Live at the Ryman’ concerts in Nashville.
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Source: Music ally

US Latin music revenues grew by 18.6% in first half of 2020

US trade body the RIAA has published its mid-year figures for Latin music in the US, and once again it has outperformed the overall market.
The body recently reported that the US recorded music market grew by 5.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, but revenues from Latin music grew by 18.6%.
At $296.1m, it accounted for 5.2% of the overall market. What’s more, this particular sector’s growth is accelerating: in the first half of 2019, it was up by 13.5% year-on-year.
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Source: Music ally

Radio Tools tracks music plays on radio and TV stations

The ‘will streaming kill radio’ debate rumbles on, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet: radio airplay remains important for many artists, and tracking it globally remains a challenge.
We’ve written about startups like World Airplay Radio Monitor (Warm) in the past, and now there’s a new contender: Maltese startup Radio Tools.
It’s analysing the music played on more than 48k radio stations around the world, as well as 1.2k satellite TV channels.
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Source: Music ally

BPI launches its equality and justice advisory group

British music industry body the BPI has launched an equality and justice advisory group, which it says will “advise and challenge the BPI on matters initially focused on race and gender in order to further support and promote equality and inclusion in music alongside other industry initiatives”.
It’s an expansion of the existing Brits Diversity Advisory Group, which was created in 2016 after criticism of a lack of diversity in the Brit Awards and its voting body.
The new group, which will have a wider industry focus, is co-chaired by Kwame Kwaten, Paulette Long OBE, and Ged Doherty.
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Source: Music ally

Ascap Lab Seed Project reveals first projects from its teams

The more music industry entities working hands-on with startups and developers the better, as far as we’re concerned.
The latest example is US collecting society Ascap, whose innovation arm Ascap Lab has been running an 11-week ‘Seed Project’ challenge for graduate students in New York.
Five teams were involved, exploring new ways to interact with music. You can read the results of their work here.
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Source: Music ally

Oda connected speakers have their own season of concerts

Oda is a startup making a pair of speakers (also called Oda) that look very nice indeed – “made of wood, glass, cotton, and steel: materials that are humble and human, not technological” as the blurb puts it – with as much attention to detail paid to their audio innards.
However, what interests us about the $299 speakers (which work with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) is the music that comes with them.
Oda will be running four seasons of music performances a year: 12 weekends in each of winter, spring, summer and autumn, plus artists in residence performing throughout the week during that time.
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Source: Music ally

Deezer commissioned covers for its new ‘InVersions’ album

Like its streaming rivals, Deezer is experimenting with commissioning original music that won’t put labels’ noses out of joint.
The latest example is a compilation album called ‘InVersions’, which is a collection of cover versions by 10 independent artists.
Fontaines DC, Arlo Parks, Dream Wife, Alfie Templeman and Chloe Moriondo are among the artists chosen – the latter with a very on-trend cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’.
Standards by the Beach Boys, Robyn, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Winehouse and Sinéad O’Connor are among the songs covered, and the album has been released through the Deezer Originals program.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify for Artists has a new boss, joining from Patreon

Camille Hearst was the head of product, creator and general manager, merch at crowdfunding platform Patreon, until now. As of today, she’s joining Spotify as its first head of Spotify for Artists. Hearst announced the news in a series of tweets this afternoon.
“In this new role, I’ll lead a cross-functional team including product, tech, design, user research, and more. Not to mention getting to work closely with the SoundBetter team…what a cool platform,” she wrote.
“I’ve spent almost the entirety of my career working on helping artists and creators make a living from their craft. And now I get to continue that work at one of the companies best-positioned to make a serious dent in this space.”
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Source: Music ally

Lyte tests ticket reservation tool for return of physical gigs

A lot of physical concerts have been cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s been heartening how many fans have held onto their tickets for the ones that have been postponed – even those delayed for a year or more. Now ticketing firm Lyte has developed a tool that capitalises on this loyalty in a different […]
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Source: Music ally

Nearly 1.2m people attended Ava Max’s party in Roblox

Last month we wrote about the plans to hold an album launch party for artist Ava Max in gaming platform Roblox. So how did that go? Well, according to the public stats, the ‘Ava Max Heaven & Hell Launch Party’ has generated more than 2.4m visits from Roblox players, with nearly 49,000 people marking it as a favourite. […]
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Source: Music ally

Smule adds Snapchat lenses to its AutoRap music app

Music apps firm Smule is the latest company to use the Snap Camera Kit launched by Snapchat’s parent company. Smule has integrated it into its AutoRap app, which lets people choose beats, rap over the top and share the results. Now they can add Snapchat’s augmented-reality lenses (filters) to their videos in AutoRap’s iOS app, with Android […]
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Source: Music ally

African streaming service Mdundo has 5m monthly active users

Mdundo is one of the established music streaming services in Africa, and its CEO Martin Nielsen has been talking to Nigerian news site Pulse·ng about its latest figures, and the wider African music market. According to the piece, Mdundo currently has more than five million monthly active users across Africa, including 3.5 million in its key markets […]
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Source: Music ally

Ascap thanks Spotify for accelerated payments during Covid-19

Spotify has taken plenty of flak from songwriters over its history, and with its appeal against new royalty rates in the US still not settled, there’ll be more to come we’re sure. However, the streaming service will at least have enjoyed the latest letter to members of US collecting society Ascap from its president and chairman Paul […]
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Source: Music ally

Mixcloud adds ticketing for audio and video livestreams

Audio streaming service Mixcloud launched a livestreaming feature in April this year, enabling people to stream live audio or video on its platform. Today, it’s announcing an expansion of ‘Mixcloud Live’ to add ticketing. Several artists will be testing the new feature out, including Flying Lotus, Róisín Murphy and Nas (who recently invested in Mixcloud, which […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify and YouTube double down on their music charts

The charts of digital music services having clout with consumers and the industry alike isn’t a new trend for anyone who remembers the heyday of Apple’s iTunes rankings around the world. We’re interested in the current burst of activity around streaming services’ charts though. Both Spotify and YouTube Music had announcements this week shedding more […]
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Source: Music ally

Scooter Braun on the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic

Manager and investor Scooter Braun appeared at the Fast Company Innovation Festival this week, and had plenty to say on the music industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “With all this time, we are creating new lanes that didn’t exist before. When you talk about your work life, I always tell people . . . build time […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek outlines his leadership style

The Observer Effect has published a long interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, focusing on his management style and processes.
So, there aren’t many news lines for the likes of us to pick out on Spotify’s business, but lots of food for thought for anyone wondering what they can learn from the way its CEO runs the company.
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Source: Music ally

Dua Lipa launches TikTok-assisted ‘Levitating’ music video

In August, Dua Lipa launched her #DuaVideo challenge on TikTok, inviting fans to submit videos based on makeup, animation or dance using her ‘Levitating’ single.
The promise was that the best creators would make it into a music video for the track. TikTok says that the contest generated more than 150k videos which were watched more than 300m times.
Now the promised music video has launched – as a four-part vertical video on TikTok itself. A clever touch: it’s been uploaded to Dua Lipa’s profile in reverse order, so the first part is at the top of her feed, and fans can swipe down to move through the four parts.
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Source: Music ally

AiR Show augmented-reality concerts app acquired for $300k

This might just be a record for the shortest gap between a startup being first covered by Music Ally, and being acquired.
We wrote about Trick 3D and its ‘AiR Show’ app a couple of weeks ago: it promised to beam artists into fans’ living rooms using augmented reality technology, for performances.
It had a partnership with an upcoming series of livestream concerts in Atlanta, but now it’s been snapped up by a bigger company.
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Source: Music ally

Charli XCX to kick off Oculus and Tidal’s VR concerts series

We knew that Tidal and Facebook’s Oculus were working together on plans for some virtual reality concerts. Now we know who’s playing the first one: Charli XCX, who’ll be performing within the Oculus Venues app this Friday (9 October).
It’s the first of a series of six concerts organised by the companies, each of which will see an artist playing at least a 45-minute set. The other five artists in this series have yet to be confirmed.
It’s part of a wider push into VR concerts by Oculus using its Venues app. Alicia Keys performed in a concert on 18 September backed by American Express; Tiësto held a ‘virtual dance party’ in the app on 24 September; Steve Aoki played on 30 September; and Major Lazer are lined up for 18 November – these aren’t Tidal shows.
The post Charli XCX to kick off Oculus and Tidal’s VR concerts series appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Fender Play nears 1m subscribers thanks to free lessons

Instrument maker Fender is extending a promotion offering three months of free access to its Fender Play digital guitar-lessons service.
The promo launched in April, shortly after Covid-19 lockdowns began in many countries. Fender says that the Fender Play user base has grown from 150,000 to 930,000 subscribers since then.
With the promo extended until the end of 2020, that community of learners seems set to pass one million very soon.
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Source: Music ally

Gema warns of ‘even more difficult’ 2021 for many musicians

Germany collecting society Gema held its annual general meeting last week – online, of course, with around 1,000 of its songwriter, composer and publisher members taking part.
The event included some blunt words from CEO Dr Harald Heker on why Covid-19 relief measures taken by the society this year can only go so far.
“We are aware that these acute support schemes are not enough. From a financial perspective, 2021 will be even more difficult for many of you. Our revenues will be lower than in 2020, and we will therefore pay out less to you,” he warned delegates at the AGM. “Since March, hardly any events have taken place, which is an economic disaster of huge proportions.”
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Source: Music ally

Triller denies new allegations of inflated user numbers

Short video app Triller has found itself at the centre of another controversy around its public user numbers. A report by Business Insider citing ‘six former Triller employees’ claimed that when Triller said in October 2019 that it had 13 million monthly active users, the true figure was “closer to two million”.
The details are important here: the report cited a screenshot from analytics tool Localytics, taken by one of those former employees a few weeks after the 13 million announcement, which appeared to show that Triller had “just 2 million monthly active iOS users and about 484,000 monthly active users on Android devices”.
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Source: Music ally

Roli boss talks Lumi keyboard and music education’s evolution

Music Ally first came across Roli in 2013, when it was named as a finalist in the SXSW Music Accelerator startups contest, before we reported on its $12.8m funding round the following year from investors including Universal Music Group.
The company was focused on music instruments, with its first being the Seaboard Grand, a keyboard whose rubber keys allowed players to bend notes a bit like a guitar. It was priced for professionals, but it marked the company out as one to watch in the music hardware space.
Since then, Roli’s products have been getting more accessible and affordable: there was the Seaboard Rise in 2015; the Roli Blocks modular synth controllers in 2016; the Seaboard Block keyboard in 2017; and then the Lumi keyboard in 2019.
Lumi, which launched with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that drummed up £1.6m in pre-orders, was a hardware/software/service play. A keyboard that could light up with different colours, designed to be used with an app that would teach you to play piano, with access to a subscription-based library of lessons and songs.
The post Roli boss talks Lumi keyboard and music education’s evolution appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Amazon Music HD adds ‘thousands’ of tracks from UMG and WMG

We should clarify this headline quickly: Amazon Music HD already has many more tracks from Universal Music and Warner Music.
The news is that Amazon is working with the two labels to remaster thousands of tracks in ‘Ultra High Definition’ for its hi-res streaming service.
Amazon’s definition of Ultra HD is tracks with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate of up to 192kHz, and it has more than 5m of them already. However, the bulk of Amazon Music HD’s catalogue is its 60m-plus ‘High Definition’ tracks – 16 bits / 44.1kHz.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok creator fund reportedly paying 2-4 cents per 1,000 views

TikTok’s Creator Fund started as a $200m commitment in July to be distributed among US-based TikTokers trying to build careers on the platform. It quickly expanded to a promised $1bn over three years, with a European fund following in September aiming for $300m over three years.
Beyond those big headline numbers, though, details of how the funding works and how much money creators can make from it have been scarcer. This article on online-video industry site Tubefilter is worth a read, then.
The site has been canvassing some of the early recipients to assess the fund’s impact.
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Source: Music ally

ShareChat’s Times Music deal includes short-video app Moj

Moj is one of the short-video apps making hay in India in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Launched in July, it grew to 50 million users within a month, then 80 million by late September, when its parent company ShareChat raised $40m of funding to continue the momentum.
ShareChat said then that partnerships with music labels would be one use for the funding: a sensible strategy, as Indian rightsholders have been rumbling about the lack of licences in the short-video space generally there.
A week on, there’s news of a deal: ShareChat has inked an agreement with Times Music that covers both Moj and its existing ShareChat social app. It includes Times Music’s catalogue, and also that of Punjabi-music label Speed Records.
The post ShareChat’s Times Music deal includes short-video app Moj appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Triller gets a licensing deal with pan-Euro licensing hub Ice

Triller has been making the most of TikTok’s recent troubles, poaching creators, trumpeting its user growth and even pitching itself in the US as “a form of patriotic capitalism”. But with that higher profile has come scrutiny of Triller’s licensing status, not least from US publishing body the NMPA.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in Europe, Triller has a new licensing deal in place today though. It’s with Ice, the pan-European licensing hub originally created by collecting societies PRS for Music, Gema and Stim.
“The deal covers Triller from its launch and will support the growing service by licensing it into 160+ territories for rights represented by Ice’s society and publisher rights holders,” announced Ice – the latter group including Concord, Downtown and Peermusic.
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Source: Music ally

WMG’s latest partnerships: Tips Music in India and SOSV in Asia

Post-IPO, there’s a flurry of dealmaking and senior appointments happening at Warner Music Group, as the company gears up for its next stage of growth. Today alone it has announced new partnerships with Indian company Tips Music and investment firm SOSV.
The former deal will see Warner Music India distributing the film-music label’s music in India, while WMG’s distribution division ADA will handle it worldwide.
“Tips’ Hindi YouTube content receives more than 5.1 billion views per month, so the appetite for its music is there for everyone to see,” said Warner Music India MD Jay Mehta.
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Source: Music ally

The bigger picture around Twitch, music licensing, and industry criticism

When we reported on the launch of Soundtrack by Twitch earlier this week, we had a sneaking suspicion that we’d be hearing from the publishing sector – and US representative body the NMPA’s boss David Israelite – sooner rather than later with some opinions. And lo, he’s one of the interviewees in a Rolling Stone follow-up about the wider question of whether a platform like Twitch needs proper sync licensing.
“Watching a video on Twitch is really no different than watching a television show or a movie. The people making television programming or movies — there’s no question that before they use music, they go out and secure the proper rights and they negotiate a fair compensation for the people who made the music,” said Israelite.
“Somehow, these giant Internet companies have convinced themselves that they should be playing under different rules. Instead of acting like someone broadcasting television or movie content to consumers, they want to pretend that it’s the users making the content that somehow have all the responsibility, and not the platform — despite the fact that they are making significant amounts of money from the activity.”
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Source: Music ally

Rewind and remix radio with Teenage Engineering’s new OB-4

Teenage Engineering’s pocket-sized synthesizers are marvellous, but now the Swedish company is applying its innovation skills to radio.
Its latest device, the OB-4, is pitched as a “magic radio” – a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also receive FM radio broadcasts. The twists being that, well, owners will be able to twist the audio itself.
“OB–4 continuously memorises everything you listen to on an endless looping tape,” explained the company – said tape being a rolling two-hour recording to its internal storage. “Rewind, time-stretch and loop at the flick of your fingertips. on purpose or by accident.”
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Source: Music ally

Baidu’s smart devices and voice assistants arm is worth $2.9bn

Smart speakers and voice assistants are increasingly popular, but what’s their value in corporate terms?
It’s hard to tell given that many of the companies making them – Apple, Google and Amazon included – don’t split out their revenues from this technology, and the companies’ market caps are based on their entire businesses.
But here’s a number to play with: $2.9bn. That’s the valuation of Chinese tech firm Baidu’s ‘Smart Living’ group, which includes its smart speakers and displays, as well as its voice assistant.
The post Baidu’s smart devices and voice assistants arm is worth $2.9bn appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Spotify adds video for ‘Written by’ songwriter playlists

In February this year, Spotify launched a beta ‘Songwriter Pages’ feature offering more visibility for songwriters on its service, including their own profile pages and playlists of recordings of their works.
Today, it’s expanding that with video on some of those pages. Songwriters Mike Dean, Raye and Cautious Clay are the first to get the treatment, with videos in their ‘Written By’ playlists showing them discussing their careers and collaborations.
The videos are part of the wider efforts of Spotify’s songwriter relations team, which have also recently included a ‘Songwriter Saturday’ series of interviews on the Spotify for Artists Instagram profile, and another Instagram series called Writer’s Pad.
The post Spotify adds video for ‘Written by’ songwriter playlists appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Rockifi streaming service will focus on hard rock and metal

Scottish startup Rockifi isn’t brand new: back in 2018 it was being hailed as ‘Tinder for rock fans’ with an app that helped rock and metal fans find likeminded fans to go to concerts with.
However, it’s relaunching this month with a bigger ambition: to be a fully fledged streaming service for hard rock and heavy metal.
“It will allow fans to stream live events, discover and rate new artists, purchase merchandise and donate funds to support bands and workers in the Covid-afflicted music community,” reported Herald Scotland, adding that Rockifi is looking to raise up to £350k to fund its next stage of development.
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Source: Music ally

Boomy expands free tier and adds vocals to its AI music

Boomy is the startup that lets anyone sign up and create music using its AI tool – and then release it to streaming services. We’ve covered the company regularly (this profile for example), and now the company has launched a major update to its platform. That includes an expansion of its free tier: “Starting today, […]
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Source: Music ally

Deezer still pushing for user-centric payouts: ‘We will continue fighting…’

Just over a year ago, music streaming service Deezer announced its desire to launch a pilot of a ‘user-centric payment system’ (UCPS) by early 2020.
You can read our primer on the user-centric model here, but in a nutshell, it ensures that the money from your streaming subscription only goes to the music you listen to.
It feels like a fairer way to divide out streaming royalties than the current system, where the royalties from your subscription go into a big pool divided by overall share of streams.
[In another nutshell: if BTS or Taylor Swift or Drake or whoever get 5% of everyone’s streams, they get 5% of your subscription even if you never listen to them.]
Nobody’s quite sure exactly who’ll benefit from a switch to user-centric: there have been a few academic studies, and they were all cautious about drawing big, bold conclusions.
That’s exactly why Deezer wanted to run a pilot, in just one country (France) and only with labels (not publishers or collecting societies), to gauge the impact. The company said it had “the majority of French labels” on board, yet a year later the pilot still hasn’t launched.
Yesterday, for a special episode of our Music Ally TV Show, Deezer’s chief content and strategy officer Alexander Holland joined us for an update, and to talk about why the company is still keen to test UCPS.
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Source: Music ally

Soundtrack by Twitch offers licensed music to streamers

Livestreaming platform Twitch is launching a new feature, Soundtrack by Twitch, with a catalogue of licensed music for its community of creators to use in their streams.
The Amazon-owned company has licensed more than 1m tracks from more than 30 independent labels and distributors for the beta launch, in what’s its second attempt at an in-house music library.
Labels on board include Anjunabeats, Chillhop, Empire, Monstercat, Nuclear Blast and Alpha Pup. The initial distributor partners are DistroKid, UnitedMasters and SoundCloud.
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Source: Music ally

Amuse / Midia report explores Covid-19 lockdown trends for musicians

Distributor Amuse and consultancy Midia Research have teamed up for their second report on the independent music community.
One of the headline figures from Independent Artists: Pathfinding Through a Pandemic – that the ‘artists direct’ sector grew by 32% to $873m in 2019 – isn’t a new stat, having originally been published by Midia in March this year.
However, the new report has fresh material on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has been having on independent musicians, from their incomes to their creative processes, based on responses from 376 artists.
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Source: Music ally

Four Tet gets his own looping chillout stream on YouTube

Channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music can do it. Hollywood star Will Smith can do it. Even Pepsi can do it. So why can’t Four Tet? He can!
The ‘it’ in question being ‘looping lo-fi chillout music streams on YouTube’ of course.
Electronic artist Four Tet has what appears to be a 12-hour loop that began streaming on his YouTube channel on 23 September.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube Music tests Spotify Daily Mix-style ‘My Mix’ playlists

Spotify launched its Daily Mix playlists in 2016 as a collection of personalised playlists based on different ‘clusters’ of a listener’s musical tastes. Now it looks like YouTube Music is launching a similar feature.
Tech blog Android Police reported on some users seeing up to seven new ‘My Mix’ playlists, each seemingly based on a different genre or group of related artists.
They’re sitting within the ‘Mixed for You’ shelf on the service alongside ‘Your Mix’ (an endless personalised stream covering all genres) as well as ‘Discover Mix’ and ‘New Release Mix’.
The post YouTube Music tests Spotify Daily Mix-style ‘My Mix’ playlists appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Michelle Obama Spotify podcast spreads to other platforms

‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ is perhaps the most high-profile show that’s exclusive to Spotify. Well, it was until today.
Spotify has announced that the show, co-produced with the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground, will now be available on “a number of additional platforms”.
It didn’t say which platforms, but there’s already a listing for the show on Apple Podcasts, seemingly ready for the first season to debut there, so even Spotify’s fiercest rival appears to be getting the show.
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Source: Music ally

As Trump stews, TikTok launches an in-app US elections guide

We’re still waiting to find out what the Trump administration will do in response to a judge blocking its ban of TikTok in the US.
We suspect the president won’t be too keen on its latest feature though: an in-app guide to the 2020 elections.
It will provide TikTok users with information about candidates; explain how to vote in each state; and will offer “educational videos about misinformation, media literacy, the elections process, and more”.
The post As Trump stews, TikTok launches an in-app US elections guide appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

YouTube singalong to celebrate Oasis album’s 25th anniversary

It’s about to turn 25 years since the release of Oasis’s second album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’, which several members of our editorial team are in firm age-related denial about.
The band remains on hiatus thanks to ongoing tensions between its founding brothers, but celebrations are afoot on YouTube.
This Friday (2 October) there’s going to be an ‘official album playback and singalong event’ starting at 6pm BST, which will showcase the recently remastered (in both an audio and video sense) music videos for some of the album’s key tracks.
The post YouTube singalong to celebrate Oasis album’s 25th anniversary appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Spotify could face an Apple-style payments fight with Google

With recent app store controversies involving Spotify and Epic Games, the focus has been squarely on Apple and its App Store, even though the Fortnite publisher also has issues with Google and its Google Play store.
Spotify’s relationship with Google has been much friendlier: the companies have teamed up on smart-speaker giveaways, and Spotify has used direct credit-card billing for subscriptions in its Android app without also offering Google’s in-app purchases.
There may be trouble ahead. In a blog post this week, Google revealed not new rules, but plans to enforce the old rules that it hasn’t really been enforcing on Google Play.
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Source: Music ally

Marvel goes K-Pop with SM Entertainment / SuperM collab

Korean music company SM Entertainment has announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment, with K-Pop group SuperM first to benefit – just in time for the release last Friday of their debut album ‘Super One’.
There’s a range of dual-branded merchandise available from the SuperM online store: t-shirts, hats, luggage stickers, and special packages with the album and various items in.
“The new initiative serves as a launch point between SME and Marvel to create future SuperM x Marvel co-branded content, products, and live fan experiences spanning the SME portfolio,” announced SME on Friday.
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Source: Music ally

J-Lo and Maluma’s #PatiChallenge races to 1.2bn TikTok views (but…)

Well, it sort of has, and sort of hasn’t. We’ll explain. Last week we reported on the marketing campaign around Jennifer Lopez and Maluma’s new singles ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, including a #PatiChallenge on TikTok launched with influencer Charli D’Amelio.
Her video has been watched 24.4m times so far, but videos using the challenge’s hashtag have racked up more than 1.2bn views.
Here’s the big caveat: when a challenge starts trending, all manner of TikTokers jump on the bandwagon, slapping the hashtag in their videos no matter what music track they’re using.
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music adds Defected and Glitterbox DJ mixes and live sets

The latest external playlist curator getting some love from Apple Music is independent dance label Defected Records, including its Glitterbox brand.
It’s providing Apple Music with some exclusive DJ mixes and live sets, kicking off with a selection including sets from Ibiza in 2019 (Roger Sanchez, Gorgon City, Sam Divine) and from the recent Glitterbox Virtual Festival (Idris Elba, Jellybean Benitez, Boys Noize etc).
Apple Music said this would be “the start of a regular schedule of new mixes & sets from the label” on its service.
The DJ sets may be exclusive to Apple, but Defected isn’t ignoring other platforms with its playlists: Fresh House Friday, Defected Selectors, Defected Classics and others are still on Spotify for example.
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Source: Music ally

300k listeners voted on the songs for Tencent Music’s new compilation

In China, Tencent Music has plenty of history as a direct distribution channel for independent musicians, which is now concentrated in its Tencent Musician arm.
Its latest project is interesting. ‘Root Music’ is a collection of Chinese folk tracks in local dialects, with its lineup chosen by listeners rather than by Tencent Music’s own curators. Nearly 3k tracks were submitted as part of a contest, with nearly 350,000 fans then voting to decide which 12 songs would make it onto the compilation.
The album is available on TME’s three streaming services in China, with documentaries on each of the 12 artists also released.
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Source: Music ally

Judge blocks Trump administration’s TikTok app stores ban

Wake up, take a look at the US app stores (if you can) and see that… TikTok remains available to download. That’s because a US District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction last night to prevent the Trump administration’s proposed ban on new downloads of the app from taking effect.
The judge’s written explanation of the ruling may be released later today. During a hearing yesterday, TikTok’s attorneys focused on the ongoing negotiations with Oracle and Walmart to reach a deal that would render the ban unnecessary.
“How does it make sense to impose this app store ban tonight when there are negotiations under way that might make it unnecessary?” said lawyer John E. Hall during that hearing, according to Reuters.
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Source: Music ally

The evolution of podcasts: ‘I hope that the industry diversifies’

“I remember looking for podcasts hosted by Black people. I think I found four in the UK!”
Renay Richardson is the CEO of podcast production company Broccoli Content, and also a prime mover behind the ‘Equality in Audio Pact’, an initiative encouraging the industry to tackle “the lack of opportunities for minority talent both in front and behind the mic”.
Starting Broccoli Content, and then launching the pact, was a reaction to that dearth of British shows hosted by Black people, when she was working on an NHS campaign during Black History Month to drive blood donations.
Have things improved? “There are so many independent POC [people of colour] fronted podcasts, but there was still a lack of opportunity among the professionals,” said Richardson, during a session on the evolution of podcasts at last week’s Sandbox Summit Global conference.
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Source: Music ally

Music marketing tips: the pros share their best advice at Sandbox Summit

The final day of Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference had a practical focus on music marketing, with two panels of experts offering their advice.
First was a ‘tips from the top’ session picking the brains of Sarah Ismail (regional marketing director, Greater China and South East Asia, Warner Music Group), Negla Abdela (head of digital marketing, Ministry of Sound Recordings) and Jordan Moran (director, digital marketing, Primary Wave).
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Source: Music ally

Making the most of Twitch: tips for artists from its music team

Amazon’s livestreaming video platform Twitch was already looking to do more with music before Covid-19 struck, but the pandemic has fuelled a moment where lots of musicians are also suddenly keen to do more with Twitch – and livestreaming more generally.
At Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference this week, Twitch’s VP of music Tracy Patrick Chan and music partnerships manager Allyson Toy joined Music Ally’s Joe Sparrow to talk through what the platform can offer artists and rightsholders.
Chan outlined Twitch’s two key strengths: first, for building communities where creators (artists now included) can “interact on a regular basis with your fans”, and second, for that community to “financially support you: we have lots of singers, songwriters, producers who are making five or six figures a year on Twitch”.
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Source: Music ally

M to the B, Bella Poarch, and a tale of TikTok virality

“If you don’t know me I’m M to the B / Coming in hard, you better watch it Sophie…”
If those lyrics mean nothing to you, then you clearly aren’t an aficionado of the mid-2010s Blackpool grime scene, nor do you have a tweenage TikTok fan in your household.
The lyrics are from a 2016 diss track by young British rapper Millie B, who was part of that scene (famously documented by Noisey).
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Source: Music ally

Japanese artist Reol made $130k from a YouTube livestream

Can you make money from livestreamed music performances on YouTube? Japanese artist Reol certainly did: to the tune of $130k.
YouTube’s director of Black music and culture Tuma Basa revealed the figure in his appearance at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference yesterday alongside colleague T. Jay Fowler, director of product management.
Reol’s livestream had 181k views while it was airing, with fans buying ‘super chats’ (highlighted messages that stay pinned at the top of a video’s chat window) and ‘super stickers’ (animated stickers to help their chats stand out) to show their support.
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Source: Music ally

Apple has acquired podcast curation startup Scout·fm

Back in June 2018, Music Ally wrote about a startup called Scout·fm, which was launching a ‘voice-first podcast curation service’.
It had an Alexa skill that would ask people questions to understand their interests, then provide a radio-style stream of podcast episodes.
The next we heard of it was early this year, when Scout·fm joined a startup camp for voice-focused firms run by Betaworks.
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Source: Music ally

Blackpink trail new album with Spotify and PubG Mobile

One of the K-Pop groups that have been smashing down global barriers recently is Blackpink, who you can expect to see splashed over many digital platforms in the coming week ahead of their new album’s release on 2 October.
Two examples today: Blackpink have launched an ‘enhanced album’ playlist on Spotify, complete with some videos of Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa talking about their musical inspirations.
Obviously most of the album tracks aren’t out yet, so for now it’s mainly a playlist of the band’s picks: The Strokes, Nirvana, Catfish and the Bottlemen (!) included.
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Source: Music ally

BTS Universe Story mobile game launches for Android and iOS

The new mobile game for K-Pop stars BTS has gone live. Netmarble’s BTS Universe Story was made available for Android and for iOS overnight, and is the band’s second foray into mobile gaming following last year’s BTS World.
As we recently reported, BTS Universe Story is about tapping the BTS Army’s creativity: creating their own animated stories set in the BTS Universe, featuring the band members.
Music Ally has been testing the app out this week ahead of its release, and it’s impressive: with an easy mode to help fans create stories, and a more complex mode for those who really want to get stuck in.
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Source: Music ally

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma held a YouTube premiere ‘afterparty’

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma have just released a pair of singles together: ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, and like a growing number of artists, they unveiled the music videos in a YouTube premiere, yesterday.
However, they also held an afterparty (a #PaTiAfterParty in hashtag form) which saw J-Lo and Maluma chatting about the collaborations, promoting their upcoming movie ‘Marry Me’, and encouraging fans to register to vote in the US.
This is something we’re going to see more of on YouTube: video premieres with an additional Q&A / chat element, whether it’s a livestream leading up to the premiere, or this kind of follow-on.
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Source: Music ally

Ava Max is holding an album launch party inside Roblox

Gaming platform Roblox has more than 150 million monthly active users, and its head of music recently told Music Ally how keen the company is to work with artists and labels.
Now we’ve got one of the first examples: pop artist Ava Max is holding an album launch party in Roblox later today (25 September).
Atlantic Records and Artist Partner Group worked with a Roblox developer to create the ‘Ava Max Heaven & Hell Launch Party’ space, based on the album’s ‘supernatural space’ theme.
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Source: Music ally

SignalFire report explores the growing ‘creator economy’

Is everyone an influencer in 2020? Well, not everyone, but according to investment firm SignalFire “more than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, despite the creator economy only being born a decade ago”. That’s the introduction for its new report, ‘Creator Economy Market Map‘, which catalogues more than 100 of the startups […]
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Source: Music ally

AI music startup Endel raises $5m Series A funding round

Endel has been one of the higher-profile startups exploring AI-generated music: in its case, focusing on its application as music to help people concentrate, relax and sleep. Now it has raised a Series A funding round of $5m to further its ambitions. The round was led by True Ventures and its partner Kevin Rose – […]
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Source: Music ally

Musician bodies team up to attack Epidemic Sound again

Production library Epidemic Sound is taking flak from musician bodies again, in what’s becoming a regular, one-sided war of words. European bodies Aepo-Artis, Ecsa and FIM, who represent composers, songwriters and performers, are lambasting the company over issues including 100% buyout contracts; replacing composers’ names with the company name in TV credits; and its recent […]
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Source: Music ally

Amuse financials reveal $9.5m revenues but $10.9m net loss

Swedish distribution startup Amuse is one of the more disruptive music/tech companies to have emerged in recent years, but is it a profitable one? Not yet. The company’s financial results for 2019 show that it generated revenues of SEK 85.1m (around $9.5m), which was impressive 209% growth year-on-year. However, the company’s net losses nearly doubled […]
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Source: Music ally

Kanye West on contracts campaign: ‘I will help set precedents’

The music industry may still be picking its way through Kanye West’s self-leaked Universal Music Group deals, but West is making it clear that his campaign around artist contracts is more than just a moment on Twitter. “The desired effect will only be achieved when every artist owns their masters. I’m Team ‘Free Artists.’ I’m […]
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Source: Music ally

Streaming panel calls for more innovation from DSPs and labels

Are the big music streaming services too similar to one another? And if so, how can they break out of that box to innovate and differentiate themselves?
A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference yesterday, had some ideas. Angel Gambino, partner at venture development firm Prehype and until recently chief commercial officer at Napster, set the ball rolling.
“One of the things that I’m struck by from a consumer standpoint is that there isn’t so much differentiation between the streaming services from an experiential standpoint,” she said.
“One of the things that needs to happen is looking at not just expanding into other genres of programming – i.e. podcasts – but what can the DSPs and the wider ecosystem of startups, of people who are working in music/tech on a daily basis, what can we do from a product and service and experiential standpoint to help take playlisting and discovery to the next stage?”
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Source: Music ally

Lorem, Pollen and Oyster: how Spotify’s genreless playlists are ‘driven by culture’

Playlists have become a hugely important part of the music streaming world, and many of them have a tightly-curated theme, be it a musical genre or a specific mood or activity.
Not all, though. Some of Spotify’s most interesting emerging playlists – Lorem, Pollen and Oyster for example – are designed to be ‘genreless’. Today at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference, we heard more about how (and why) those playlists work.
Spotify’s Lizzy Szabo (editor, North America), Sophia Olofsson (studio project manager, Nordics) and Iman Hazheer (senior editor, Nordics) were the explainers, in a session moderated by CD Baby’s market development coordinator for Europe and the UK, Henriette Heimdal.
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Source: Music ally

Epic Games invests in Roblox-like startup Manticore Games

We’ve been writing about popular children’s gaming platform Roblox for some time, including its desire to work with the music industry. It’s not the only platform of its type.
Manticore Games is the company behind Core, which is a similar “digital playground and community designed to unleash imagination and explore new play experiences”.
It came onto our radar this week with a $15m funding round led by Epic Games – and according to Forbes “the first outside investment that the Fortnite maker has made”.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube deploys AI to tighten up age restrictions on videos

YouTube is keen to ensure that underage viewers aren’t watching videos that are inappropriate. It’s announced plans to “build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions”.
In other words, YouTube’s AI will be rating videos, although uploaders will be able to appeal if they feel the age rating is wrong.
YouTube also says that “viewers attempting to access age-restricted videos on most third-party websites will be redirected to YouTube where they must sign-in and be over 18 to view it” as part of its changes.
This is very relevant for the music industry, as YouTube’s guidelines on which videos will be age-restricted to over-18s include content that “invites sexual activity, such as provocative dancing or fondling” as well as videos with “heavy profanity in the title, thumbnail or associated metadata”.
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Source: Music ally

TuneCore encourages artists to upload music to TikTok for free

The latest distributor to announce a partnership with TikTok is TuneCore, which hopes its latest promotion will tempt more artists into putting their music on the social app.
Between 22 and 29 September, TuneCore artists can upload a track to TikTok for free. This follows the deal signed with TikTok by TuneCore’s parent company Believe in July, although TuneCore added TikTok as a distribution option before that, in October 2019.
Since then, around 320,000 of its artists have distributed more than 333k releases to TikTok, according to TuneCore. Tracks uploaded during the promotion will stay on TikTok for a year, with an option to keep them up after that.
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Source: Music ally

Featured Artists Coalition appoints new artist ambassadors

UK artist trade body the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has announced its latest crop of artist ambassadors.
There are 19 of them, including some famous names: Bob Geldof, Aluna, Ghostpoet, Roni Size, Shaun Ryder, Roger Sanchez and Maxi Jazz out of Faithless. However, there are also some newer artists in the group: Dream Wife, Bishi, Porridge Radio and The Lady Blacktronika for example.
“It is these artists that create the records, pack the venues and sell out the festivals that make our whole industry a success story.  We welcome them at a time when the music industry and in particular, music creators, are facing an existential challenge from the impact of the global pandemic,” said FAC boss David Martin.
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Source: Music ally

Echelon’s Peloton-like ‘Prime Bike’ is not an Amazon product

Some headlines overnight suggested that Amazon was launching its own exercise bike to take on Peloton, in partnership with a company called Echelon.
You can see the press release that sparked those reports here: claiming that “Echelon’s new EX-Prime Smart Connect Bike – also known as the Prime Bike –officially hit the online market as Amazon’s first-ever connected fitness product”.
Later, it said that the $499 bike was “developed in collaboration with Amazon”. Like Peloton, the bike was accompanied by a digital service offering live and on-demand workout classes, including music.
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Source: Music ally

Shesaid·so launches Patreon to ‘stay alive and independent’

We’ve written regularly about the activities of Shesaid·so, the community for women and gender minorities in the music industry, which was founded nearly six years ago.
Now it has announced plans to launch a new community ‘hub’ for its members, and also a Patreon campaign to raise ongoing funding to support that – including from non-members.
“With your continued support, we will be able to stay alive and independent after a 60% loss in our income due to the pandemic,” wrote founder Andreea Magdalina in a blog post.
There are several tiers for the Patreon, including a $5-a-month ‘Alice’ membership for women and gender minorities at all levels of the music industry, and a $10-a-month ‘Nina’ membership for more senior members of the industry.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches ‘Your Daily Drive’ playlist in the UK

After a few weeks of badgering people to go back to work in company offices, the British government yesterday executed its latest u-turn of the Covid-19 crisis, telling them to work from home if they could again.
The timing was certainly unfortunate for Spotify, which had chosen yesterday as the day to launch its ‘Your Daily Drive’ playlist in the UK, aimed squarely at people’s morning commutes.
Well, the commutes may be cancelled again for many, but the playlist’s blend of podcast news snippets and personalised music recommendations may still appeal.
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Source: Music ally

China blast for TikTok deal as ‘dirty and underhanded trick’

President Trump may have tentatively approved TikTok’s deal to avoid a ban in the US, but what will the Chinese government make of it?
Judging by state-media outlet China Daily’s blistering editorial column this morning – title: ‘No disguising proposed TikTok deal is a dirty and underhanded trick’ – the omens aren’t good.
“What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company,” is how it opens.
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Source: Music ally

Bandcamp’s monthly sales are up by 122% year-on-year

There’s a thriving trade in ‘Bandcamp as the anti-Spotify’ articles this year: the latest, from the Los Angeles Times, puts the ‘anti-Spotify’ phrase right in the headline. However, lower down there are some interesting figures showing Bandcamp’s current momentum.
In the past year, fans have bought 5m digital albums, 2m tracks, 1m vinyl albums, 600k CDs, 300k cassettes and 250k t-shirts from Bandcamp for example – yes, there’s clearly some rounding of figures going on there – with more than 40% of buyers paying more than the asking price of items.
CEO Ethan Diamond told the newspaper that in the last 30 days, sales are up by 122% year-on-year, suggesting organic growth, not just a spike from the platform’s recently-introduced ‘Bandcamp Friday’ sales.
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Source: Music ally

Denzyl Feigelson and Troy Carter talk artists, labels and music industry evolution

Q&A and Platoon are two of the most interesting new artist-focused music companies to emerge in recent years, and we had their founders Troy Carter and Denzyl Feigelson in conversation at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global conference today, interviewed by Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley.
From working with top artists at early stages of their careers (a 14 year-old Billie Eilish for Platoon; Lady Gaga for Carter in his initial management days) to experience within the biggest music-tech companies (Platoon is now owned by Apple; Carter headed up Spotify’s creator services division) and a firm focus on artist development in the digital era, they had plenty of knowledge to impart.
In fact, their first connection was when Feigelson was involved in Apple’s iTunes Festival in London and Carter was managing Lady Gaga, and they bonded over what Carter described as “that appreciation for artists and an appreciation for ideas and creativity and quality”.
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Source: Music ally

K Camp and Genius talk artist entrepreneurs: ‘Ain’t nobody gonna babysit you!’

If you don’t know Atlanta artist K Camp, it’s highly likely you know his track ‘Lottery (Renegade)’, or at least the 15-second clip of it that blew up on TikTok early in 2020, in turn sending the track zooming back up the charts.
There’s far more to K Camp than one viral track, however. With DJ, producer and business partner Genius he’s been steadily building his career both as an artist, and as an entrepreneur.
The pair co-founded Rare Sound, a creative hub that encompasses a label, recording studio, distribution and other musical activities. And today, they talked about some of the principles that have helped them to build and grow, at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference.
As an artist, K Camp has worked within the major label system – with Interscope – and also independently. It’s been a journey of continual enlightenment.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook warns that it could pull out of Europe altogether

American TikTokers have been grappling with the existential (in app terms) question of what they’d do if the app was banned. Now imagine the rumpus if Facebook and Instagram were suddenly unavailable across the whole of Europe.
It could happen.
Well, Facebook is claiming that it could happen, as part of its fightback against a recent decision by the Irish Data Protection Commission – the regulator that oversees Facebook in Europe – that the social network must stop sending user data to the US.
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Source: Music ally

Amanda Palmer launches The Art of Asking Everything podcast

Artist Amanda Palmer has always been eager to explore new ways of connecting with her fans. The latest example is a weekly podcast, The Art of Asking Everything.
It launches on 29 September with 10 episodes already lined up, and like some of the most popular artist podcasts (Jessie Ware, George Ezra etc) it will see Palmer interviewing a range of guests. Elizabeth Lesser, Lenny Henry, Laura Jane Grace, Eli Pariser and KT Tunstall are among those appearing in the first run.
Palmer is funding the podcast’s production through crowdfunding platform Patreon, where she has nearly 15,000 patrons now.
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite is the next frontier for K-Pop stars BTS

BTS are no strangers to the gaming world, having starred in their first mobile game BTS World last year, with a follow-up (BTS Universe Story) about to launch. Now the K-Pop stars are heading to one of the biggest, buzziest games of all: Fortnite.
This Friday (25 September) they’ll be premiering a new “choreography version” music video for their recent single ‘Dynamite’ within the Party Royale mode of Epic Games’ title.
Fans will also be able to buy a pair of BTS-themed emotes (dance moves for their characters) in Fortnite’s in-game store from 23 September in preparation, with those emotes usable in all of the game’s other modes too.
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Source: Music ally

AiR Show app wants to bring artists to fans’ homes using AR

Artists turning up in your living room to play a concert is awkward at the best of times – what if you run out of teabags or biscuits? – but impossible under current social distancing rules in many parts of the world.
Cue a startup that wants to do it virtually. A company called Trick 3D has launched an app called ‘AiR Show’ that will bring musicians to fans’ homes using augmented reality technology.
It’s available for Android and for iOS, and already has a partnership for an upcoming series of livestreaming concerts being launched in Atlanta by another company, Axis Reply, and rapper Offset.
The idea: fans will buy tickets to watch the livestreams, and will then be able to use the AiR Show app to “pose and hang with the artists in augmented reality”.
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Source: Music ally

UK’s Musicians’ Union delivers new warning over Covid-19

With the UK bracing itself for a ‘second spike’ of Covid-19 cases in the autumn and winter, things aren’t looking good for the return of physical live concerts. Now the Musicians’ Union has published the results of its latest survey, warning about the potential consequences.
“A third (34%) of musicians are considering abandoning the industry completely, due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” it claimed. “Nearly half (47%) of our members have already been forced to seek work outside of the industry, with seven in 10 (70%) unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work.”
88% of the MU’s members think the British government hasn’t done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.
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Source: Music ally

Hi-res streaming service Qobuz raises €10m funding round

Qobuz is the hi-res music streaming service founded in France, which has expanded to 12 countries so far. Now it has a new funding round to fuel further growth.
The company has raised €10m ($11.7m) from existing investors Nabuboto (the holding company of CEO Denis Thébaud’s company The Thébaud Group) and Canadian telco and media corporation Quebecor Group.
Qobuz said that its revenues grew by more than 45% in its last financial year, and that it is “now pursuing a major development plan… setting up a new management team and launching a recruitment plan that is unprecedented in the company’s history”.
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Source: Music ally

The future of streaming and music marketing post Covid-19

After an introductory session offering views on Covid-19’s music impact around the world, Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global conference turned its attention to what happens next.
The online event’s ‘Future of Streaming Post-Covid’ strand began with some views from Chaz Jenkins, chief commercial officer at Chartmetric.
“If we’re to use one word to describe what we’ve seen happen in the marketplace this year, it would probably be ‘volatile’,” he said, adding that a number of trends that had been happening slowly suddenly went into overdrive during the pandemic.
“Where we listen to music, when we listen to music, why we listen to music, and crucially what we listen to has changed fundamentally over the course of the year,” he said.
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Source: Music ally

Saving independent venues: ‘It is a challenge for the entire industry’

The whole music industry should be throwing its weight behind independent venues’ struggle to survive, according to Ana Rodriguez, co-chair of international managers body the IMMF.
Speaking at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference today, she called on fans and industry entities alike to support local venues.
“The most important thing about them is the cultural impact on local communities, and the role they have as foundations for talent, and a launchpad for acts that get to be known globally,” she said.
“Their future remains uncertain, and this really makes me nervous, because for a band to develop their audience, and to get experience… with their show, they need to be on stage during the early days. There is no shortcut for this part of the process.”
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19 could encourage global thinking for Japan’s music industry

The Covid-19 pandemic may be encouraging the Japanese music industry to look outwards more, according to Tatsuya Nomura, president of the Federation of Music Producers Japan (FMPJ).
Speaking at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference today, he described how the pandemic came at a sensitive moment in Japan’s transition from a recorded music market dominated by sales, to one driven by streaming.
“The timing was very bad, however with this situation, the number of Japanese music industry people who take a process of trial and error to tackle the problem is increasing,” he said.
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19’s music impact: views from Latin America, China and Nigeria

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference began today with some quickfire talks on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the music industry in Latin America, China and Nigeria.
Noemí Planas, network development director at global independent body WIN began with a blunt assessment of the challenges in Latin America.
“In recent months we have often heard that music was one of the first sectors most affected by Covid, and will be one of the last to recover from it. This is especially true for Latin America,” she said.
Planas described a “ten-year setback” for economic growth in the region generally, with several territories still enmeshed in the longest quarantine/lockdown periods in the world.
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Source: Music ally

Logic blames UMG for not letting game-streamers use his music

Having officially retired from music earlier this year, before signing what was reportedly a seven-figure exclusive deal to stream on Twitch, artist Logic is a prominent figure at the intersection of music and livestreaming. A tweet on Friday is thus making a few waves.
“Too many of my gaming homies @Ninja included have wanted to play my music during stream and on YouTube but @UMG wont let me,” he wrote. “I want 2 give to this great community and allow them 2 use my music for free! This is beyond a dollar sign. I want the community to enjoy my music.”
And yes, it’s true that if Logic wanted a rights carve-out for game streamers he should have asked for it when signing his record deal – but by going public with his complaint now, it might encourage other artists to make such a request.
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Source: Music ally

WMG’s Arts Music signs YouTube kids brand Super Simple Songs

Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division has been steadily growing its catalogue of kids and family music, with partners including Sesame Workshop, Mattel and Build-a-Bear Workshop.
Its latest deal is with a popular YouTube children’s music brand, Super Simple Songs. Well, with its parent company Skyship Entertainment anyway, which will be making the Super Simple Songs catalogue available through Arts Music, with Warner Chappell handling the publishing rights.
The Super Simple Songs YouTube channel has 24.6 million subscribers and 22.8bn lifetime views. In the most recent weekly chart published by online-video industry site Tubefilter, Super Simple Songs was the 36th biggest channel on YouTube with 133.4m weekly views.
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Source: Music ally

Kanye West offers guidelines for recording and publishing deals

Fresh (well, maybe that’s not the best word) from expressing his views on the music industry by tweeting a video of a Grammy award being urinated on, Kanye West offered some more constructive suggestions for how he’d like to see the industry change.
In a series of tweets yesterday, West outlined some “new recording and publishing deal guidelines”, having already tweeted out a selection of his own contracts with UMG last week.
West wants artists to own the copyright for their recordings and songs, and lease them to the label and publisher “for a limited term. 1 year deals”, with those “service provider” partners taking a 20% cut of the income.
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music gets Latin music hub and exclusive Neil Young EP

Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to make a concerted push around music from Latin America, with its new ‘Amazon Music Lat!n’ hub. It will offer a mix of Latin playlists, original/exclusive tracks, interview and mini-documentary videos with artists, and podcasts.
There’s also a program called ‘Rompe’ to promote emerging artists in the US, Latin America and Spain; and a content brand called ‘Raices’ which will spotlight established artists – starting with Marc Anthony.
Amazon has also rebranded its ‘Fuego Latino’ playlist as ‘Platino’ for a new global push, with separate playlist brands for new tracks (‘Hoy’), classics (‘Clasicos’ and hits (er, ‘Hits’).
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Source: Music ally

TikTok US ban postponed as Trump approves Oracle/Walmart deal

It’s been another topsy-turvy weekend in the US for TikTok. On Friday, the Department of Commerce announced that as of 20 September (Sunday) US app stores would be banned from making the app available to download, or for it to be updated for existing users.
Yet on Saturday, the department announced that “in the light of recent positive developments” the ban would be delayed a week until 27 September.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had filed a lawsuit on Friday against the Trump administration to try to block the ban, but as the ‘positive developments’ quote shows, that wasn’t the reason for the delay.
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Source: Music ally

Tonal is the latest connected fitness startup raising big money

From watching Peloton we know how interesting the connected fitness world is, with exercise devices for the home accompanied by live and on-demand workout videos and other digital features.
And we also know that music is often an important part of these services, often with licensing opportunities (and the odd argument) for rightsholders.
Anyway, it’s a sector worth keeping an eye on, not least because there’s a TON of venture-capital money flowing into it at the moment. Tonal is the latest example.
It’s a big wall-mounted screen that helps people to do their strength training, with built-in weights and a team of coaches on hand digitally. It’s also just raised a $110m funding round, not that long after a $45m round in April 2019.
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Source: Music ally

BPI inks three-year deal with hi-fi brand Bowers & Wilkins

British music industry body the BPI has a new partner: hi-fi maker Bowers & Wilkins, with a three-year deal for the latter to be involved in events and other campaigns.
B&W will be a key backer for the Hyundai Mercury Prize award, as well as the UK’s annual National Album Day, and also fortnightly online events called ‘The Record Club’.
“The Hyundai Mercury Prize, National Album Day and The Record Club all celebrate the album as the ultimate expression of an artist’s creativity, while Bowers & Wilkins enables them to tell their stories in the highest possible audio quality. We look forward to working together to bring those experiences to more music fans,” said BPI boss Geoff Taylor.
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Source: Music ally

U2’s YouTube channel relaunches with remastered music videos

U2 are the latest heritage artist to be getting their archive of music videos spiffed up for modern-day viewers online.
The band’s YouTube channel is relaunching as part of a collaboration between UMG’s Island Records, Interscope, UMe and UMC divisions and YouTube, with plans to spend the next year releasing remastered HD versions of U2’s music videos.
It’s kicking off today with the remastered video for ‘Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of’, and a YouTube Premiere at 12pm EST.
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Source: Music ally

Startup Synaesthetic seeks artists for ‘immersive music’

We spotted Synaesthetic in October last year, as a startup promising to develop “a new musical medium, that is more engaging and practical; through classical music theory, cutting-edge AI, and neuroscience”.
Nearly a year later, the company is showing off more of its plans for a product called ‘Lava’, and an artist-testing scheme called ‘Leap’ that goes along with it.
Lava is an acronym – Light for Audio-Visual Augmentation – a connected projector that streams content from a companion mobile app. The idea is to bring light-shows designed by artists to people’s homes as they listen to music.
Synaesthetic wants some artists to sign up to experiment with the technology – you can find the signup form here – as it works towards launch. 
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Source: Music ally

The latest player in the lo-fi hip-hop YouTube game is… Pepsi

Sure, you may like round-the-clock streams of lo-fi hip-hop on YouTube from channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music, but wouldn’t it be nice if their animated backgrounds were more branded?
And in fact, wouldn’t the music be nicer if it had a few more lyrics about fizzy drinks?
Fear not: Pepsi has you covered. It has launched its own ‘LoFi Radio: Beats To Sip To’ stream on YouTube, complete with original tracks including ‘Don’t Cry Over Spilt Pepsi’, ‘Pepsi Hits Different’ and ‘Wash It Down’.
So yes, it’s an endless stream of lo-fi hip-hop with lyrics about Pepsi. It’ll have to go some to compete against the giants of the genre on YouTube though.
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Source: Music ally

Chartmetric launches new charts tracking music on Twitch

Twitch has been doing more with music and musicians, and analytics firm Chartmetric has been tracking that. The result is four new charts for music on Amazon’s live-video platform, presenting the top users by viewer hours both weekly and monthly, as well as the top users by followers both weekly and all-time.
Chartmetric says it’s tracking more than 5,000 artists, labels and ‘music-centric users’ on Twitch for the new rankings, pulling data “every few hours” to ensure the charts are up to date.
Among the findings so far: the most-followed music-related streamer on Twitch is Ibai Llanos (username: Ibai) who has nearly 2.4 million followers, ahead of US streamer LilyPichu, whose broadcasts mix gaming, drawing and piano-playing (hence her inclusion in the chart).
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s ‘Radar’ picks were streamed 2bn times since March

Spotify is putting some oomph behind its ‘Radar’ initiative to promote emerging artists.
Originally launched in March, it now has a dedicated hub on Spotify, highlighting new releases from the artists as well as country-specific ‘Radar: First Listen’ playlists gathering some of their tracks.
The idea is that listeners don’t just discover the artists from their country, but also those from other parts of the world.
Spotify published some stats alongside this news: the 115 artists chosen for ‘Radar’ have been streamed more than 2bn times since the campaign’s launch in March by 112 million listeners, while collectively seeing their followers grow by 64% on average.
Read our recent interview with Beabadoobee, the latest artist chosen for ‘Radar’ in the UK.
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Source: Music ally

Rufus Wainwright launches catalogue-spanning livestream series

As the physical live-music lockdown stretches on, artists are finding new spins on livestreaming. The latest example is Rufus Wainwright, who’s kicking off his ‘Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective!’ series of streams in October.
He’s going to perform each of his nine studio albums in chronological order, splitting each into two broadcasts (corresponding to ‘sides’ in a vinyl stylee). Actually, each album will have three broadcasts: the two sides and a separate Q&A session.
For example, part one of the performance of his debut album ‘Rufus Wainwright’ is on 9 October followed by a Q&A the same day, with part two of the performance following on 16 October.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook unveils Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and Tidal deal

Facebook’s Oculus Quest has been the most successful virtual reality headset yet, finally delivering on some of the early hype around what VR was capable of. Now it’s getting a sequel.
The Oculus Quest 2 costs $299 – $100 less than its predecessor – and is lighter and more powerful. It comes out in October, and gaming is at the forefront of the marketing messaging around it, including some exclusive titles and big-brand game ports.
Yesterday also saw a music announcement though: Facebook and Tidal are teaming up to stream a series of live concerts within the Oculus Venues app, which will also be streamed (not in VR) on Tidal.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify faces internal unrest over Joe Rogan’s old podcasts

Signing podcaster Joe Rogan to an exclusive deal certainly gave Spotify’s share price a boost, but it’s also created some internal headaches for the company.
Vice has a story about some recent internal meetings with staff at Spotify to discuss concerns about the back catalogue of The Joe Rogan Experience. And no, this time it’s not just about interviews with white nationalists.
According to Vice, an episode of the show interviewing an author who compared transitioning (gender-wise) to eating disorders and self-harm, with Rogan criticising trans activists, has caused unrest within Spotify.
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Source: Music ally

Composer Wojtek launches a carbon-emissions tracker website

Classical musician Wojtek released his album ‘Atmosphere’ in July, with fans made aware that it was produced and written ‘carbon neutrally’.
Now he’s launched a website explaining how, with infographics showing how carbon emissions were neutralised during the making of the album, as well as some of the other ways Wojtek is trying to balance his environmental impact.
The site’s launch came ahead of his talk at the Reeperbahn Festival in Germany today on the same topic.
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Source: Music ally

Keith Urban premieres new album with Apple Music livestream

Apple has a history of music-related livestreams: for example the broadcasts of its London iTunes-branded concerts back in the day. There’s something interesting happening this year around livestreams and artists though.
We wrote about Apple Music’s virtual listening party for Victoria Monét in August, and now it’s repeating the trick for country star Keith Urban.
1,000 of his fans on Apple Music will be able to join a virtual listening party for Urban’s new ‘The Speed of Now Part 1’ album. The event today (17 September) is branded under the ‘New Music Daily’ playlist, with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe on hosting duties for the Q&A section.
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Source: Music ally

Beatleap video-editing app includes Epidemic Sound music

Lightricks is the developer behind popular photo and video editing apps like Facetune and Videoleap, with more than 350m downloads so far. Now it’s launching a new creativity app with a music twist.
It’s called Beatleap, and it’s a partnership with production music firm Epidemic Sound. The app helps people to edit their videos to fit with more than 1,000 songs from the latter company’s catalogue.
“Utilising machine learning, the app determines the exact moment to slow down or speed up a user’s video to perfectly align with the beat of the music,” is how Lightricks put it.
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Source: Music ally

Apple One bundles range from $14.95 to $29.95 a month

Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ press launch last night focused on Apple Watch and iPad but not iPhones, as predicted. However, there were also some big services announcements, including the long-anticipated Apple One bundle. Well, bundles: there are three of them, which will launch this autumn.
The ‘Individual’ tier includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 a month for one person. The ‘Family’ tier includes those three services and 200GB of iCloud storage for up to six family members for $19.95 a month. And the $29.95-a-month ‘Premier’ tier throws in Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ (we’ll get to that in a minute) and 2TB of iCloud storage, again for up to six people.
Unsurprisingly, Apple didn’t talk about any licensing wrangling required to create these bundles, including with music rightsholders. There’s plenty to think about: not just about what bundles mean for Apple Music royalties, but also the extent to which Apple One will nudge people towards family plans rather than individual subscriptions, and the impact that will have – which we’re not assuming will be negative – on Apple’s payouts to music rightsholders.
Midia Research offered another angle on this, suggesting that Apple One’s main appeal may be its ‘recession-proof’ nature. “While rights holders will not have been exactly enthusiastic about further royalty deflation (one for artists and songwriters to keep an eye out for when Apple One starts to gain share) they are also keenly aware of the need to ensure they keep as many music consumers on subscriptions as possible… Lower music rightsholder ARPU may be a price worth paying for shoring up the long term future of the music subscriber base.”
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Source: Music ally

The Chainsmokers launch their own VC fund with $35m to invest

Concerts with disputed social-distancing safety measures didn’t work out so well for EDM duo The Chainsmokers. Perhaps venture capital will go better.
Alex Pall and Drew Taggart are launching an early-stage VC firm called Mantis, with backing from some Silicon Valley luminaries including Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois and Ron Conway.
TechCrunch reported that Mantis’s debut fund already has $35m, and there have already been investments in fitness app Fiton and mortgage-lending startup LoanSnap.
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Source: Music ally

Google enlists musicians as guides for virtual artworks

Lots of musicians have artistic interests well beyond music. Now Google is capitalising on that through its Google Arts & Culture initiative, enlisting some popular musicians to act as virtual tour guides for works of art.
It’s part of a series called ‘Art Zoom’, which is in its second season. J Balvin, Ellie Goulding, fka twigs, Grimes, Matty Healy from The 1975 and Chaeyoung from Twice are the musicians taking part, talking about artworks ranging from the European Renaissance to Korean landscapes.
It follows a first series that featured Jarvis Cocker, Feist, Maggie Rogers, Girl in Red and Lolo Zouaï. The tours are available for free on the Google Arts & Culture website, or via its mobile app.
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Source: Music ally

Next BTS livestream comes with month-long virtual exhibition

K-Pop stars BTS are already one of the big success stories of lockdown livestreams: their ‘Bang Bang Con’ concert in June pulled in 756,000 paying customers.
Now they’re following it up with an even more ambitious event. ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ will take place on the weekend of 10-11 October, with two broadcasts.
However, there’ll also be a month-long virtual exhibition opening on 13 October: a ‘3D virtual space’ according to Billboard, with merchandise including some that only official fan-club members can buy.
There’s a breakdown of the ticketing here: a one-day ticket costs 49k won ($41.75) alone or 61k won ($52) with virtual exhibition access. A two-day pass costs 90k won ($76.72) or 101k won ($86.09) with the exhibition. Fan-club members, as with ‘Bang Bang Con’, can get discounts.
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Source: Music ally

Twitch gets global deal with rap-battle league King of the Dot

Rap battles are a perfect match for livestreaming services: not only are they fun to watch and chat about, but musically speaking, they’re original content with far fewer copyright headaches for the platform.
Twitch knows all about those headaches, so its latest deal is interesting: with rap league King of the Dot. The exclusive agreement will see Twitch broadcasting battles every Sunday from KOTD’s ‘Grand Prix 2020’ tournament, with the league also running streams “focused on sports, gaming, music and culture with their artists and celebrity guests at the centre of it”.
KOTD co-owner Charles Morgan said that Twitch’s team “has assured us that they are committed to augmenting the culture for our audiences and artists alike. We had conversations with all the major services and the only team that made it feel right from the start was Twitch”.
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Source: Music ally

TuneCore expands into Brazil and Russia with new offices

One of the music distribution trends of recent years has been aggressive geographic expansion, as distributors look to gain footholds in burgeoning new markets for music streaming – or those anticipated to grow rapidly in the years ahead.
TuneCore is one of those firms: it signed a deal with Tencent in China in October 2019, then opened an office in India in July this year. Now it’s launching in two more countries: Brazil and Russia, which it says are its ninth and tenth countries where it has boots on the ground.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify adds livestreams to its in-app concert listings

Spotify has been showing artists’ upcoming tour dates on their profiles for years, although data on how effective those listings are at selling tickets is scarce.
With the live industry still shut down in many parts of the world due to Covid-19, the streaming service is taking the logical step of adding listings for livestream performances too.
Artists can’t just add links willy-nilly though: Spotify is working with Songkick and Ticketmaster as its partners. “If you have an upcoming event you want Spotify to share with listeners, you should work through Songkick to get these events listed,” the company advised artists in a blog post. “A select number of Ticketmaster events will also be automatically listed on Spotify.”
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Source: Music ally

The latest TikTok twist: plans for a standalone company?

The deadline is approaching for TikTok to be sold, shut down, or find an alternative solution that satisfies President Trump’s administration. After tech firm Oracle said it was part of a proposal submitted to the administration as a “trusted technology provider”, more details have emerged of the plan.
“ByteDance will place TikTok’s global business in a new US-headquartered company with Oracle investing as a minority shareholder,” reported the Financial Times. “As part of the proposal, Oracle will have a stake in the whole of TikTok and not just the US operations.”
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Source: Music ally

Beabadoobee talks Fake It Flowers, Spotify and lockdown creativity

“It’s so hard to stay positive in a time like this, but it’s about finding the little things. Once this is all over, there’s going to be the Summer of Love, and festivals, and touch. I can’t wait!”
Beatrice Kristi Laus – aka Beabadoobee – is looking for the silver linings in the Covid-19 pandemic, although she’s not dodging the fact that it’s a “complete shitshow”.
Another silver lining: lockdown has given her the time and space to fully concentrate on the finishing touches for her debut album ‘Fake It Flowers’, which comes out in October. “I’ve been given so much time to perfect the aesthetic,” she tells Music Ally.
Part of that aesthetic will be a print zine gathering together artwork, Polaroid photos and stories (plus a CD) that will be offered to her top listeners on Spotify, as part of a wider partnership with the streaming service.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s Anchor says it’s cracking down on copycat podcasts

There have been growing complaints about copycat podcasts uploaded through Spotify’s Anchor app. That means taking other people’s podcasts and re-uploading them – often with the same artwork – as your own, in the hope of snagging some advertising revenues before you get caught.
Now Anchor is cracking down on it. “This is definitely a new type of attack for Anchor,” co-founder Mike Mignano told The Verge.
“The good news is that so many creators are using Anchor, and that growth has been far more than I think we projected, which is great, but I think the downside in this case is that, with any rapidly growing platform, that has brought on some growing pains and we need to do a better job of anticipating things like this.”
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Source: Music ally

JioSaavn’s Amplify offers direct distribution to emerging artists

Indian streaming service JioSaavn is launching a new scheme offering direct distribution to emerging, unsigned artists. It’s part of its existing ‘Artist Originals’ initiative, and is called ‘Amplify’.
It’ll encourage musicians to submit their demos to JioSaavn’s A&R team, based in Mumbai and New York. Artists chosen by the team will get upfront payments, marketing support and analytics tools, while their music will also be distributed beyond JioSaavn, globally, courtesy of the company’s partnership with The Orchard.
“This program intends to find and provide a platform for the next generation of independent artists,” said Artist Originals director of A&R Hiba Irshad in a statement.
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Source: Music ally

Applications are open for the MMF’s next manager accelerator

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is teaming up with YouTube Music once again for its Accelerator Programme for Music Managers in the UK.
Applications open today for the scheme’s 2021 cohort, which will be its third year. It’ll offer 12-month grants of up to £15k as well as training and other support.
The MMF has also updated its stats on the previous years. 45 managers have taken part in the scheme so far, representing more than 130 artists. Over its first 18 months, the MMF estimates that the scheme has helped those managers generate £2.3m for their clients.
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Source: Music ally

Voisey star Olivia Knight (aka poutyface) signs major deals

When we profiled social music app Voisey early this year, its co-founder Olly Barnes talked about its ambitions to discover new talent.
“We have users in remote parts of the world, who have never made a song before, and have low self-confidence, but Voisey allows them to make the step to songwriting,” as he put it, about an app that helps singers to find music loops created by producers, to sing over.
Now one of the first people to go viral on Voisey during its 2019 beta test has signed a pair of major deals. Olivia Knight (aka ‘poutyface’) has a label deal with Island Records and a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell, having also worked with Apple’s artist development subsidiary Platoon.
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Source: Music ally

WMG’s ADA Worldwide follows LatAm expansion with Asia launch

Warner Music Group’s distribution arm ADA Worldwide is on an expansion drive. In July, it launched ADA Latin to oversee Latin America and Latin music in the US as well as Spain and Portugal. Now it’s turning its attention to Asia.
ADA Asia will be headquartered in Singapore, with a remit to sign up artists and independent labels from China, South Korea and south east Asia. Chee Meng Tan, who was Spotify’s director of label relations for the APAC region until December 2019, will head the new division.
“From K-Pop to Asian Hip-Hop, our region is a hotbed of creative talent that’s increasingly finding an international audience and ADA is uniquely placed to partner with these creators to take them to the next level, while embracing their originality and creativity,” he said in a statement.
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Source: Music ally

Gaming star Ninja returns to Twitch with exclusive deal

Twitch may be doing more with music, but gaming remains its bread-and-butter content. Now one of the platform’s first and biggest stars is returning to it.
Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is well known to Music Ally readers: he broke livestreaming records when playing Fortnite with Drake; competed in pro-amateur tournaments of the same game with Marshmello; then worked with Capitol Records on a compilation album.
In August 2019, Blevins left Twitch after signing a lucrative exclusive deal with Microsoft’s new livestreaming service Mixer, but in June this year that was shut down, making him a free agent once again. And now he’s back with Twitch, in a new exclusive deal.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook and Xiaomi join Amazon’s Voice Interoperability Initiative

A year ago we reported on a new ‘Voice Interoperability Initiative’ from Amazon, which was created to ensure that different voice assistants could work on the same devices.
Spotify, Sonos, Microsoft, Baidu and Tencent were among the first companies to join Amazon in the initiative. Now it has announced some more: Dolby, Facebook, Garmin and Xiaomi, taking it to 77 member companies.
However, that list still doesn’t include Apple or Google, the two biggest rivals in the voice-assistant / smart speaker space for Amazon in the west.
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Source: Music ally

Super Hi-Fi and Rotor Videos bulk up with new experts

It seems to be the time of year for startups to be beefing up their wise-old-heads quota with advisors and board members. The two latest examples are Super Hi-Fi and Rotor Videos.
US startup Super Hi-Fi (which we profiled last year: its tech helps streaming services with the gaps between songs, whether that’s making transitions smoother, or automatically inserting audio content, radio-style) has appointed Tristan Jehan as a ‘strategic advisor on matters of music science and technology’.
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Source: Music ally

Why the Covid-19 struggles of small venues are a big problem

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been writing about campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic to save independent music venues.
These spaces may seem a world away from the big concert halls, arenas and stadiums of the live music industry, but Midia Research has published one of the better explanations of why they matter.
“Without this testing ground for emerging artists, an artist development gap is going to appear. One that could hold back the careers of the next generation of artists, affecting not just their live business but the entire spread of their careers – with clear implications for labels and publishers,” wrote Midia boss Mark Mulligan.
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Source: Music ally

As Twitch Sings shuts down, Snapchat gets a karaoke game

Twitch recently announced that it was shutting down its karaoke game Twitch Sings, including removing all the archived broadcasts and clips using it. But where one karaoke game closes, another one pops up backed by a different digital platform.
That game is called SingHeads, and the platform is Snapchat, which is an official partner. Released initially for iPhone with Android to follow, the game gets people to log in to their Snapchat accounts, then sing along to a rotating selection of popular songs – recent hits like ‘Despacito’, ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Shotgun’ as well as golden tracks from ABBA, Queen and Robbie Williams.
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Source: Music ally

Podcasts proving popular for classical streaming service Primephonic

Primephonic is one of the streaming services focusing on classical music, with a comprehensive collection of albums and playlists. However, neither of those are its most popular format with listeners. It’s podcasts.
The company has been producing its own shows blending interviews with classical music artists, composers and conductors with their music.
“These podcasts are our most popular content. They are more popular than playlists, and more popular than normal albums,” said Primephonic’s CEO Thomas Steffens, in an online panel session organised by his company this week.
Steffens suggested that it’s been a helpful way to connect the interviewees with their audiences, at a time when classical music concerts – like the rest of the live music industry – have been shut down in many countries due to Covid-19.
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Source: Music ally

US recorded music revenues grew by 5.6% in first half of 2020

US music industry body the RIAA has published its annual mid-year stats for the recorded music market there. They show that revenues grew by 5.6% year-on-year to $5.7bn in the first half of 2020.
The story here, as in other countries, is that Covid-19 had a significant impact in the second quarter of this year, but not enough to push the recorded music market into decline.
That 5.6% growth is a notable deceleration – in the first half of 2019 the growth was 18% – but the RIAA is looking at the positives, including a 12% rise in streaming revenues.
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Source: Music ally

Charlamagne tha God launches Black Effect Podcast Network

Veteran radio host Charlamagne Tha God is launching a new podcast network, in partnership with radio/streaming firm iHeartMedia in the US. It’s called The Black Effect Podcast Network, and is promising to create shows in genres including social justice, pop culture, sports, mental health, news, comedy, focusing on Black listeners. It’ll launch its roster of 18 […]
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Source: Music ally

PlaylistSupply helps managers and artists research playlists

A new tool to help managers and artists research Spotify playlists appears to be picking up some steam. PlaylistSupply was launched by a manager, Noah Motion, as a way for his peers to search for Spotify playlists relevant to their artist’s genre (or other search keywords), see their public data, and find contacts – email addresses included – for […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube Music rolls out more features for its playlists

As it prepares for a migration of users from Google Play Music, YouTube Music’s team have been talking about some of their recent improvements to playlists on the service. That includes assistive playlists, with YouTube suggesting songs to add to a playlist based on its title, the songs already in the playlist, and the user’s listening history. […]
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis buys independent publisher Big Deal Music

We know that Hipgnosis Songs Fund likes buying publishing catalogues, and sometimes recordings rights too. But now it’s also buying publishing companies. Well, one publishing company this morning: Big Deal Music, which owns rights in songs that have been recorded by Shawn Mendes, One Direction and Panic at the Disco among other artists. This isn’t […]
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Source: Music ally

Global Citizen and Spotify enlist artists for US vote campaigns

With less than two months to go to the US presidential election, efforts to encourage people to vote are heating up. Musicians – and now even music streaming services – are playing a prominent role. Global Citizen, which was at the forefront of music-related Covid-19 relief efforts earlier this year, has turned its attention to the US […]
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Source: Music ally

BMI sets new revenue and distribution records despite Covid-19

We’re in a peculiar time right now, where despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individual musicians’ incomes, we’re also seeing announcements by industry bodies, major music companies and collecting societies of positive (and even still record-breaking) figures for their businesses. The latest is US society BMI for its last financial year, which ended […]
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Source: Music ally

Sony Music steps up its podcasting with nearly 40 new shows

Sony Music has been signalling its podcasting ambitions with a series of partnerships over the past year. Now it has revealed nearly 40 new shows resulting from those deals – and they’re all launching this year. The unveiling happened at the major label’s first IAB Podcast Upfront presentation, with shows in categories including true crime, politics, […]
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Source: Music ally

1% of artists account for 90% of streams says Alpha Data

The question of how long the ‘long tail’ of streaming is – and also how miserable it might be – has long been a subject for debate in the music industry. US analytics firm Alpha Data has some new figures to contribute, but they may not make reassuring reading for musicians lower down that tail. Rolling […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple and Deezer reveal their latest books and audiobooks expansion

Music and podcasts are increasingly intertwined on various streaming services, but books – and specifically audiobooks – may also be joining the party.
We recently reported on Spotify’s ambitions on that front, but Apple already has an ebooks store with audiobooks options. Now it’s announced its latest related partnership, with Oprah Winfrey and her famous ‘Book Club’.
Her latest selection, ‘Caste’ by Isabel Wilkerson, is now available on Apple Books in ebook and audiobook form, with plans for Winfrey to curate related articles on the Apple News app next month; to interview Wilkerson in her Apple T+ show; and for a ‘Caste’ discussion guide on Apple Books.
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Source: Music ally

Indian short-video app MX TakaTak is doing 1bn+ daily views

We’ve been writing about the jockeying for position in the Indian short-video apps market in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Now another of the contenders has been talking (to the Economic Times) about its growth.
MX TakaTak says it has more than 10 million daily active users and 45 million monthly active users, with its app generating more than 1bn video views a day. And this, only a month after the app launched.
That growth hasn’t come without challenges: MX TakaTak is one of the apps that has been sent copyright violation notices by Indian film-music company T-Series, as we reported yesterday.
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Source: Music ally

Music livestreams are getting their own awards ceremony

A music industry trend isn’t a proper trend until it gets its own awards ceremony, right? If so, livestreams are graduating to the Big Trends league, because LiveXLive has announced plans for ‘The Lockdown Awards’ this October to “honour artists and entertainers who create content for fans amidst the pandemic”.
Categories include Best Virtual Festival; Best Show Shot with an iPhone; Best Use of Technology/Zoom; Favorite Remote Duet; and Biggest Star Who Got It Right. There’s also a sense of humour at work here, with The John Legend Award for Being Ubiquitous During a Pandemic.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s Dissect podcast returns with Childish Gambino season

The last time we wrote about Spotify’s album-deep-dives podcast Dissect was in April, when its sixth season launched with a focus on Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album. Now it’s season seven time, and Childish Gambino is the artist under the spotlight.
Specifically his 2013 concept album ‘Because the Internet’ – “a nobly expansive attempt at plumbing the catacombs of social media for meaning and exploring the gap between the performative avatars we present as our online selves and the offline realities of our lives” as the podcast’s blurb puts it.
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Source: Music ally

Apex Rides hopes to take on Peloton, and it’s licensing music

Where there’s a startup that’s gone public in a big IPO, there’ll be fledgling rivals hoping to follow the same path and compete with it. Such is the case with fitness firm Peloton.
One of its latest rivals is called Apex Rides, with its own combination of a physical exercise bike, and digital workout classes available live or on-demand. The cost: £1,200 for the bike and a £30 monthly subscription for the accompanying service.
The interest from Music Ally’s perspective is that Apex Rides is already engaging in music licensing. It has signed a deal with B2B firm 7digital to use the latter’s “in-house licensing services to negotiate and finalise rights to millions of premium tracks”.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok battles to remove a graphic video showing a death

The latest TikTok controversy doesn’t involve music, or even Donald Trump.
Instead, it’s about a video of a man shooting himself, which has been shared by a number of popular meme accounts on the app (that’s a link to a news article about this: we’re not going to link to any of the clips) even as TikTok’s moderation team swung into action to remove those videos.
The last 24 hours has showed the best and worst aspects of TikTok’s community: a number of popular TikTokers have posted videos warning their young fans about the video, including showing a thumbnail of the beginning so they know what to avoid, which is good.
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Latina launches a mobile game for Kidd Keo

Kidd Keo is a Spanish hip-hop artist signed to Warner Music Latina, and now the label has launched an official mobile game for his new album ‘Back To Rockport’.
Released for iOS and Android, Back To Rockport – The Game is an endless-runner game in the same vein as app hits Temple Run and Subway Surfers.
Fans play as Kidd Keo, running through the fictional city of Rockport collecting coins and avoiding paparazzi photographers.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube contest involves making a music video for Hans Zimmer

For any aspiring filmmaker, the chance to have their work soundtracked by composer Hans Zimmer would be a dream come true. Now it will come true for five people.
Zimmer has teamed up with Sony Music and YouTube for a contest challenging people to create original music videos for five of his compositions. A winner will be chosen for each, and will become its official music video.
The compositions are from some famous films too: Gladiator, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Da Vinci Code and The Lion King. No pressure then.
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Source: Music ally

8tracks is planning a relaunch with licensed music catalogue

8tracks was one of the early music streaming services, launching just before Spotify in August 2008. However, it shut down at the end of 2019 after struggling with its profitability.
Earlier this year, we reported on a comeback for 8tracks, after its assets were acquired by a company called BackBeat, Inc. Now its new CEO Jeffrey Treichel has been talking to tech site TheNextWeb about the plans for the service, which currently has one million active users.
It’s looking to license some music rights – currently it uses YouTube’s API globally – and launch in Canada, with ambitions to roll out to the UK, Germany, India and Latin America after that.
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Source: Music ally

Roxi streaming and karaoke service reveals deal with Sky

Roxi is the UK-based music streaming and karaoke service formerly known as Electric Jukebox, which until now has found its way into people’s living rooms via its own set-top box hardware.
That’s changing: the company has just announced a deal with UK satellite broadcaster Sky to make its service available through the latter’s Sky Q set-top box too.
It’s being described as an exclusive deal: “something competitors Virgin Media and BT don’t have – and won’t have” according to Roxi.
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Source: Music ally

Record Union and Equilibrium to hold wellness workshop online

Even before Covid-19 and its lockdowns around the world, there was a growing amount of talk about wellbeing in and around the music industry. The pandemic has only sharpened the sense that as an industry, we could be doing more to protect our mental health.
One example of action being taken comes from distributor Record Union, which is holding an online event on Thursday (10 September) with health organisation Equilibrium.
‘Applied Wellness for the Music Industry’ is free to sign up for, and will include a panel and workshop including experts on personal training, meditation, sleep science and nutrition.
The post Record Union and Equilibrium to hold wellness workshop online appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Facebook Watch now has more than 1.25bn monthly visitors

Facebook Watch is the dedicated video hub on Facebook, and it’s one of the main places that official music videos live on the social network, since that content was added in late July in the US.
Now Facebook has provided an update on how popular Facebook Watch is. “Today, more than 1.25 billion people visit Watch every month to discover and share videos from millions of creators and publishers,” revealed Facebook’s head of video products Paresh Rajwat in a blog post.
That stat represents growth from the 720 million monthly visitors that Watch had in June 2019, the last time Facebook announced numbers for it. The social network ended Q2 this year with 2.7 billion monthly active users overall, so that means around 46% of them are visiting Watch.
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Source: Music ally

Riot Games created a new virtual influencer called Seraphine

Last month we reported on Riot Games, the publisher of esports game League of Legends, launching a new track for its virtual pop group K/DA.
What we hadn’t spotted, then, was a cover of the group’s past hit ‘Pop/Stars’ by an influencer called Seraphine, which was released a couple of weeks ago.
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Source: Music ally

Lo-Fi Player is the latest Google Magenta AI-music project

Magenta is a research project within Google exploring the intersection of AI and creativity, including a range of music demos. The latest of those is called Lo-Fi Player, and it launched this month.
It’s riffing off the increasingly popular trend for listening to lo-fi hip-hop as a study aid or relaxation tool. In this case, through a virtual room where people can interact with the music by clicking on different objects: from instruments to a tail-waving cat.
“You might think: this kind of generation will never replace the great producers! We completely agree. The design goal is not to replace existing Lo-Fi Hip Hop producers or streams,” stressed the project’s creators Vibert Thio and Douglas Eck.
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Source: Music ally

B2B music firm 7digital raises £6m in new funding

It’s not that long since B2B digital music company 7digital was having serious financial troubles, but it’s been working hard to survive.
By January 2020 the company said it had “stabilised itself”, before borrowing £500k in March to use as working capital over the following year. It’s also been announcing new business, including deals with Triller and Jazzed.
Now 7digital has another injection of funds, this time from a share placement and subscription – it’s a public company – raising £6m.
The post B2B music firm 7digital raises £6m in new funding appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Loup Ventures claims Apple Music will make $8.6bn in 2020

Investment firm Loup Ventures keeps a close eye on Apple’s business, including its music activity. Now it has put out some estimates for Apple Music’s progress.
“Apple Music has room to grow with 82m subs out of 980m active iPhone users (8%) paying for the service,” wrote managing partner Gene Munster in a blog post. “We estimate the average Apple Music subscriber is paying about $7.00 per month, which equates to about $6.8B in revenue this year, or 2.5% of total revenue.”
Munster also claimed that Apple Music is “converting potential customers into paying customers at a rate 2.5x faster than Spotify”.
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Source: Music ally

Twitch is shutting down its Twitch Sings karaoke game

Amazon’s Twitch live-video service may be doing more with music artists, but it’s also shutting down one of its existing music projects: karaoke game Twitch Sings.
“As we look to the future, we have decided to invest in broader tools and services that will help support and grow the entire music community on Twitch. Because of this, we have made the difficult decision to close Twitch Sings on January 1, 2021,” explained Twitch in its announcement.
“On December 1, we will begin removing Sings videos and clips per our contractual obligations, and on January 1, the game will stop working.”
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Source: Music ally

TikTok gets five-day premiere of David Guetta and Sia’s Let’s Love

A moment of relief for TikTok executives: a music story making headlines, rather than the latest revelation about the company’s potential sale or ban in the US. TikTok is getting a “five-day premiere” of the new single from David Guetta and Sia, and it’s a useful pointer to how the app is developing as a platform for music marketing.
‘Let’s Love’ comes out on Friday (11 September) on streaming services, but a 15-second edit will be available for TikTok users to make videos with from today, as part of an official #LetsLove challenge that’s being promoted by Guetta through his TikTok profile. “Can we go over difficult times together? Use the #letslove to show us how you stay positive: fitness, dance, drawing… it’s your time to shine,” is how the challenge words it.
It’s one of the most high-profile examples of a track (or rather, a portion of it) being made available on TikTok before its official release date, with the aim of whipping up the kind of virality that will generate an early spike in streams elsewhere come Friday. We’ll see today whether the label (or, indeed, TikTok itself) is putting some marketing budget into getting popular influencers on the app to join the challenge.
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Source: Music ally

Tom Walker is quizzing his fans in his new Alexa skill

The latest artist to get their own Alexa skill for Amazon’s smart speakers is Tom Walker, for whom Sony Music UK has launched ‘No. 1 Fan Music Quiz’.
It’s a daily quiz where Walker sets the questions (about his own “songs, musical training and celebrity friends”) and fans test their knowledge by answering them. The skill will also enable fans to enter a prize draw to win a signed poster of the artwork from Walker’s new single.
“We’re viewing applications such as Alexa Skill as an extension of an artist’s channels and a way to grow and engage their audience,” Dorothy Hui, VP of digital and audience development at Sony’s 4th Floor Creative team, told The Drum.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook says it might stop users from sharing news items in Australia

Facebook has warned that it will stop users of Instagram and Facebook from sharing local and international news if a draft law drawn up by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is passed. The ACCC’s planned code is designed to protect media companies, and would require Facebook (and Google) to negotiate with them for use of […]
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Source: Music ally

Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast episodes missing on Spotify

Spotify paid over $100 million to exclusively license the Joe Rogan Experience, a move that caused the platform’s market cap to almost instantly spike by $1bn. Rogan’s podcast has now appeared on the platform – with “dozens” of the more controversial shows absent. At the time of the deal, Rogan was pleased by Spotify’s hands-off approach, […]
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Source: Music ally

TikTok adds creator merchandise sales integration with Teespring

Apps are fond of keeping users within the app, and creators like to ping fans all over the internet to where they can get them to pay for things. To strike a balance, TikTok has followed Youtube and Twitch in partnering with Teespring to allow TikTok’s creators to sell merch they’ve created on Teespring within TikTok, […]
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Source: Music ally

Indian streaming service Gaana raises $50 million in debt

The largest Indian streaming platform, Gaana, has raised the equivalent of just over $50 million in debt from Tencent Cloud Europe and Time Internet, reports Indian startup news site Inc42. Tencent’s involvement accounts for nearly $41 million of the deal in a new allocation of shares, with Times Internet, the majority owner, making up the rest. Gaana […]
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Source: Music ally

Radio station SWR uses AI to let users to “Shuffle” live songs

Music radio persists in an era of hyper-personalised playlists, possibly because it offers a contrasting linear, set-and-forget experience. One of Germany’s most popular radio stations, Südwestrundfunk (SWR), has launched a new radio app with the usual live-rewind and listen again functions, but is also trying something slightly different: AI-powered, in-show song personalisation. (Article in German) If the user doesn’t […]
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music integrates Twitch livestreaming into app

It’s almost a surprise that this hasn’t happened sooner, but Amazon Music has now integrated Twitch, the live streaming service owned by Amazon, into its Amazon Music mobile apps. Artists can now livestream via Twitch, with the streams appearing on their profile page in the Amazon Music mobile app, and followers will be alerted when they […]
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Source: Music ally

DiMA report hails music streaming’s impact in the US

The US-based Digital Media Association (DiMA) is the lobbying body for music streaming services from companies including Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube.
Its new ‘Streaming Forward’ report – produced with consultancy firm Midia Research – thus focuses on the positive aspects of streaming’s impact on the US music industry.
Its data from 2019 notes that there were $10.3bn of streaming revenues in the US (“$28.2m per day generated for the music industry”) and that by the end of the year there were 87.2m streaming music subscriptions in the US and 99 million subscribers.
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Source: Music ally

League Of Legends K-Pop group K/DA return with new track

Hot on the heels of announcing a big partnership with Spotify, the publisher of esports hit League of Legends is bringing its virtual K-Pop group K/DA back with new music.
Riot Games launched K/DA two years ago as a group of avatar characters – each voiced by a real singer. Their debut live performance at the League of Legends World Championship in 2018, with all manner of augmented-reality whizziness, has been watched more than 40m times on YouTube, while the official video for that track (‘Pop/Stars’) has more than 366m views.
Anyway, now K/DA are back, still with two members of real K-Pop group (G)I-DLE providing vocals for two of the characters. The new track is called ‘The Baddest’, and it comes ahead of a full EP with the same title, to be released later this year.
The post League Of Legends K-Pop group K/DA return with new track appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Machine Gun Kelly’s new podcast is a Halloween-themed musical

Sure, music podcasts with artists talking about their music can be interesting, but wouldn’t it be more fun to make, say, a four-part Halloween-themed musical podcast instead?
Hey presto! Machine Gun Kelly has done just that. He’s working with production company Audio Up Media on ‘Halloween in Hell’, a four-part series which kicks off on 10 October.
“A story about the most horrific reality show ever dreamed up. Two mega stars from the world of music have mysteriously ended up on Satan’s newest game show stage,” as the blurb explains.
“This is over the top no holds barred singing contest requires them to sing or die. The devil is out for blood and ultimately gets to decide the rules and change them as he goes.”
The post Machine Gun Kelly’s new podcast is a Halloween-themed musical appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

UK study explores class imbalances in the creative industries

A report published by the UK’s Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre yesterday suggests that more needs to be done to open up these industries – music included – to people from working-class backgrounds.
“Echoing wider research, we find widespread and persistent class imbalances. Those from privileged backgrounds are more than twice as likely to land a job in a creative occupation,” explains its executive summary. “They dominate key creative roles in the sector, shaping what goes on stage, page and screen.”
The study divides people into three groups: people from ‘privileged’ backgrounds, ‘intermediate’ backgrounds and ‘working-class’ backgrounds, based on their parents’ employment history.
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Source: Music ally

Pro artists are making $5k-$20k per livestream on Sessions

Sessions is the startup launched earlier this year by former Pandora boss Tim Westergren: a livestreaming platform for musicians to broadcast “with just a laptop and a microphone”. Now Westergren has been talking to Pollstar about how things are going.
“In the first 6-9 months when we were in beta, we recruited about 150 artists from around the world, and these were all amateurs, hobbyists, people with no fans. People at home playing music, big dreams but no presence. We put them on the service, gave them an audience and started letting them perform. And now, a significant percentage of them are making good money,” he said.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok sale announcement could come as soon as next week

Strap in: the TikTok sale process may be even speedier than President Trump expected. CNBC reported today that TikTok is “nearing an agreement” to sell its operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – as soon as next week.
Its sources claimed that the deal could be worth between $20bn and $30bn, but added that TikTok is still in talks with both Microsoft and Oracle over the potential sale. What’s more, those sources suggested a third US company has also thrown its hat in the ring.
“Walmart has been working with SoftBank on a potential acquisition, but because that offer doesn’t include a cloud technology backbone component, it is likely a nonstarter with the US government,” claimed CNBC.
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Halo sees tech giant get into the digital fitness game

Apple has quietly been becoming a digital health and fitness company for a while now, with wellbeing becoming a key selling point for its Apple Watch smartwatch. Now Amazon wants in on the fitness-wearables game.
It has unveiled a device called Halo, which is a fitness band (sadly not one that hovers above your head) with a companion app and subscription service. They’re launching in the US initially, with early adopters able to pay $64.99 for a band with a six-month subscription to the Halo service thrown in.
“Unlike smartwatches and fitness trackers, it doesn’t have a screen or constant notifications,” is the rivals-side-eyeing pitch. Instead, the wrist-worn band measures activity with a points-based system, as well as sleep and body fat percentage.
The post Amazon Halo sees tech giant get into the digital fitness game appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Restream raises $50m to power multi-platform livestreams

Do you want to stream to YouTube, Twitch or Facebook? How about these and a couple of dozen more platforms simultaneously? That’s what the technology of a startup called Restream does, and investors are excited to the tune of a $50m Series A funding round for the company.
Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners led the round, which will be used to continue developing a tool called Restream Studio.
TechCrunch described that as “a platform for creators to do more production around their videos: for example, writing captions and lower-thirds, adding watermarks, managing chats, and editing and repurposing excerpts of streams on other channels, and managing analytics” – adding: “Think of it as the Hootsuite of video streaming.”
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Source: Music ally

Spotify expands Discover Weekly sponsorship to EMEA countries

In early 2019 Spotify opened up its flagship algo-personalised playlist, Discover Weekly, to brand sponsorships. However, so far the option for advertisers to sponsor the playlist has only been tested in North America and Latin America, as well as the UK.
Now it’s crossing the seas to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nine countries, to be specific: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey. So, not the biggest markets in mainland Europe yet, but an expansion nonetheless.
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Source: Music ally

Algoriddim launches tool to extract stems from music tracks

In June, we wrote about a pair of DJ apps getting ‘real-time stem separation’ features, so that DJs could mix with the individual elements of tracks (like vocals or basslines).
One of those apps was djay from Algoriddim, where the feature was called ‘Neural Mix’. Now it’s being spun off into its own software for Mac computers, called Neural Mix Pro.
“You can create beat-precise loops, change tempo, and transpose the key of a song, all while removing vocals, percussive, or harmonic parts in real-time,” explains its website.
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite’s new season is live… but not for Apple devices

The new season of Fortnite goes live today: Chapter 2 – Season 4 is a big tie-up with Marvel, with a bunch of its superheroes and supervillains added to the game, complete with their most famous locations – and an in-game comic explaining how they got there.
But one section of Fortnite’s player community won’t be joining in: people who use iPhones, iPads or Mac computers to play Fortnite. This is because of Epic Games’s ongoing legal battle with Apple over its desire to use its own in-app purchases system on iOS rather than Apple’s.
As things stand, new downloads of Fortnite as well as updates for people who’ve already downloaded it are both blocked. The latter means iOS (and now MacOS users too) won’t be able to get the new season.
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Source: Music ally

Joe Budden says he’s taking his podcast away from Spotify

For Spotify, as one ‘Joe’ podcasting era begins, another appears to be drawing to an ill-tempered close. The streaming service will soon be the exclusive platform for The Joe Rogan Experience, but what about the deal it signed back in August 2018 for hip-hop show The Joe Budden Podcast?
It’s not ending well.
“September 23rd, new episodes of this podcast will no longer be available on Spotify,” he told listeners in his latest episode. “September 23rd, I cannot tell you where this podcast will be, but as it stands I can tell you where it will not be, and that is Spotify.”
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Source: Music ally

Katy Perry’s ‘Smile’ album comes with its own video game

The new Katy Perry album comes out tomorrow (28 August) and ‘Smile’ will be accompanied by its own promotional game. It’s a partnership with computing brand Dell – or rather, with its high-end gaming sub-brand Alienware.
The game is called Katy Quest, and from the clip shared by Perry on her socials, it appears to be a collection of circus-themed mini-games, riffing off the theme of the video for the album’s title track.
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Source: Music ally

eMusic gets into livestreaming with eMusicLive launch

The last time we checked in on eMusic, it had just launched its eMU token as part of a blockchain drive, while its boss had joined the board of B2B firm 7digital. A few months on, the two companies are hopping aboard the livestreaming bandwagon.
eMusic is launching a platform called eMusicLive, which it says will be a way for artists to put on virtual concerts and earn money from them “by bundling ticketing, music sales, merchandise and collectibles” as well as signing sponsorship deals.
These performances might be hosted directly on eMusicLive, but artists can also embed their livestreams from YouTube, Twitch and Instagram.
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Source: Music ally

BPI and UK Music join UK’s creative industries trade advisory group

What kind of trade deal will the UK have with the European Union after the end of its Brexit transition period this year? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ is the best description, in the absence of an emoticon denoting ‘throwing hands in the air and running around screaming’.
There is some positive news though: the British government has created some new trade advisory groups to ensure it gets advice from key industries. One of those trade groups is for the creative industries, and two music bodies – the BPI and UK Music – are represented on it.
The post BPI and UK Music join UK’s creative industries trade advisory group appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Tidal makes social VR move with $7m investment in Sensorium

It seems to be the week for music streaming to meet virtual reality startups. VR firm MelodyVR announced plans to acquire Napster, and now Tidal is making an investment in VR company Sensorium Corporation.
It’s not a traditional deal though: Tidal has bought $7m in tokens issued by Sensorium – yes, that’s Music Ally’s blockchain klaxon you can hear wailing away: read more about ‘Senso Tokens’ here – as part of its Sensorium Galaxy social VR platform.
Due to launch next February, it’ll be a virtual world with an emphasis on music, dance and hanging out in VR nightclubs.
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Source: Music ally

Music distribution and services firm Stem raises $10m

Stem is the US-based company that combines tools helping musicians to track their royalties with distribution to digital music services.
It has just raised a funding round of $10m from investors including Coach K, the COO of label Quality Control Music; Mark Gillespie, founder of management company Three Six Zero; a number of managers working for Red Light Management; and former basketball star Baron Davis.
“With this new round of financing, we are focused on accelerating the portfolio of products offered to our artists,” said Stem’s CEO Milana Rabkin Lewis. “We’ve assembled the top players in music who have built careers of the world’s top artists to amplify our efforts.”
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Source: Music ally

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns three months into the job

We promised you twists in this tale. TikTok is taking to the courts to battle the Trump administration’s executive order forcing its sale or shutdown in the US, but it will be doing so without its recently appointed CEO. Former Disney executive Kevin Mayer has resigned barely three months after taking the reins at TikTok in May.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” wrote Mayer in his parting letter to staff, which quickly leaked.
“Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company. I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell-off of the U.S. business.”
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Source: Music ally

Skrachy launches livestreaming app for DJs – royalties included

News of a livestreaming app for DJs can’t help but spark questions about royalties for the musicians whose work those DJs are using in their sets.
Skrachy is a US startup which claims to have an answer for that: it will charge DJs membership fees, and pay royalties out from that.
“A Skrachy membership equips DJs with the tools to monetize their business, including a virtual storefront, gig scheduler complete with built-in calendar and payment processing, a virtual console for livestreaming, and royalty protection for their event mixes,” is how the company’s launch announcement described its plans.
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Source: Music ally

Good Splits is a streaming royalty calculator for musicians

A new site called Good Splits is promising to help musicians “quickly and easily calculate royalties from aggregator services”. The idea being that they can not just see how much they’re earning, but also split the revenues between their collaborators with the minimum of spreadsheet-wrangling.
“This app hides complicated accounting math inside a simple UI that lets you scan for the most important info and won’t overwhelm you with extra data,” explains the site, although the actual payments will still have to be done by musicians.
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Source: Music ally

Vevo explores demographic differences in digital video habits

Music videos firm Vevo has published a report called ‘The Anatomy of a Video Experience: a Multicultural Story’.
It analyses how people are watching video on various devices – TV, mobile and PC – as well as exploring whether there are differences in behaviour between demographics including Asian, Black / African-American, Hispanic / Latino and White viewers.
The report, which was produced with Magna and IPG Media Lab, unsurprisingly includes some findings that play neatly into Vevo’s business model: for example, 60% of each group is receptive to ads while watching music videos.
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Source: Music ally

Dua Lipa launches #DuaVideo fan challenge with TikTok

Dua Lipa is the latest major artist to launch a TikTok challenge, but in her case, she’s looking for fans to appear in her next proper music video.
The challenge is #DuaVideo and runs for a week, having been launched yesterday with a video by Dua herself. Fans are being challenged to submit clips showing their creative skills in one of three disciplines: makeup, animation or dance, accompanied by the audio from the new single ‘Levitating’.
Warner Music Group is running the contest alongside TikTok, and digital marketing nerds (like us!) may enjoy scooting through the terms and conditions to see how this kind of user-generated contest is structured.
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Source: Music ally

The latest BTS product is a Korean language-learning kit

In March, BTS launched a new video series online called ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ – 30 three-minute lessons teaching their global fanbase how to speak the band’s native language.
Now this has evolved into a physical package developed by the educational arm of Big Hit Entertainment, the band’s management company.
The new product includes four textbooks and a ‘sound pen’ that “lets you hear standard pronunciations when placed on text”, as well as keyboard stickers with the Korean alphabet and a notebook.
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Source: Music ally

Techstars Music goes virtual and promises founder diversity

The Techstars Music accelerator has announced its plans for 2021, including the addition of Amazon Music as a new ‘member’ partner.
The program will also run entirely virtually for the first time when it kicks off on 16 February 2021, including its selection process, which is underway now.
Its managing director Bob Moczydlowsky is also promising that the startups chosen for the next program will have a diverse range of founders.
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Source: Music ally

MelodyVR raises $15.3m to help fund Napster acquisition

Yesterday we reported on MelodyVR’s planned acquisition of streaming service Napster for $26.3m in cash and stock, and wondered why the company was describing it as a $70m deal. A separate announcement from Napster’s majority owner RealNetworks cleared that up: the deal also saw MelodyVR assuming “approximately $44m in payment obligations, primarily to various music industry entities”.
The cash portion of the deal is $15m, and shortly after our story was published, MelodyVR raised $15.3m from a new share placement – it’s publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM sub-market – to fund it. The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year.
MelodyVR boss Anthony Matchett talked to Rolling Stone yesterday about the company’s ambitions to combine livestreamed performances and a streaming music catalogue. “Historically, the major recorded music streamers aren’t content creators. They may get content from the record labels but they don’t create new content like we do,” he said. They may pay massive sums of money to broadcasters for exclusive rights to a show, but again that’s not their content. We come at this from a different angle.”
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Source: Music ally

Survey: 30% of musicians are planning weekly livestreams

Bandsintown has been one of the companies around live music that has pivoted during Covid-19 – in its case, turning its site and app into places for fans to discover livestreams by artists, as well as launching its own live channel on Twitch.
Now the company has published a report based on a survey of artists and fans using its platform. On the fan side, 73% have tuned in to a livestream during lockdown; 60% say they’d like to continue watching these events even after the restrictions on large offline gatherings are lifted; and 80% say they’d be willing to pay to watch a livestream in order to help their favourite artist.
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Source: Music ally

IFPI takes aim at more ‘music streaming manipulation’ sites

Global music body the IFPI is continuing its battle against ‘streaming manipulation’ services. Together with German body BVMI, it has secured court injunctions against the operators of five websites promising to inflate artists’ streaming counts artificially.
The sites are Socialnow·de, Socialgeiz·de, Likergeiz·de, Netlikes and Likesandmore, with a sixth site (Fanexplosion·de) having already removed the relevant service in response to a cease and desist letter.
“Streaming manipulation companies deprive right holders of revenue and mislead consumers. We are committed to tackling this problem,” said IFPI CEO Frances Moore.
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Source: Music ally

The mystery of Tasmin Little’s missing Spotify royalties

Pitchfork’s article about ‘how musicians are fighting for streaming pay during the pandemic’ isn’t new: it was originally published in June. However, after the site re-shared it on Twitter yesterday with some stats on classical violinist Tasmin Little’s earnings, it’s sparking debate.
There’s definitely something puzzling afoot. The article references a tweet from Little in May revealing that she was paid £12.34 (around $16.16) for six months of plays – “around 5-6 million streams” – on Spotify.
Here’s why we’re puzzled: according to the ‘2019-2020 Streaming Price Bible’ data shared by artist-rights blog The Trichordist earlier this year, Spotify’s average per-stream rate (for a mid-sized independent label) was $0.00348 – so around $3,480 per million streams on average.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok’s Trump lawsuit reveals it has 689m users worldwide

TikTok has followed through on its promise to sue President Trump’s administration over its recent executive order setting a deadline for the app’s US operations to be sold or shut down. The lawsuit includes some important new figures on TikTok’s business globally, as well as in the US. 
Globally, TikTok grew from 54.8 million monthly active users in January 2018 to 271.2 million by the end of that year, and then 507.6 million by the end of 2019. As of July 2020, TikTok had 689.2 million monthly active users worldwide.
Over that same timescale, TikTok’s US userbase has grown from 11.3 million monthly active users to 91.9 million, meaning that in July – as talk of a potential ban ramped up – the country accounted for nearly 13.3% of TikTok’s global total.
The filing also includes a figure for August, revealing that TikTok has passed the 100 million monthly active users milestone in the US.
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Source: Music ally

Music VR startup MelodyVR announces plan to merge with Napster

Music-focused virtual reality startup MelodyVR has announced plans to merge with streaming service Napster. To be clear: MelodyVR is the buyer, although the Napster brand will live on.
“Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company will be merged with and into Napster (with Napster being the surviving entity),” explained MelodyVR’s announcement to the markets this morning.
“The Company will pay consideration totalling approximately $26.3 million to the vendors of Napster to be satisfied in aggregate by $15.0 million in cash, and the issuance of approximately 200 million MelodyVR shares.”
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Source: Music ally

‘Apple has become the navy, and different rules apply’

The row between Apple and Epic Games rumbles on, with plenty of commentary from external observers – some of it useful, much of it not. File in the ‘useful’ category this blog post by tech analyst Benedict Evans, which suggests that some of the criticisms of Apple carry weight. “When Apple launched the app store it had […]
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Source: Music ally

Oracle gets support for its TikTok bid… from President Trump

We do try to choose our words carefully when writing about the world of politics, but it seems increasingly uncontroversial to suggest that the process around the potential sale of TikTok’s US operations… well, it stinks. First President Trump suggested that the US Treasury should get a piece of the transaction that’s been enforced by […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube’s latest originals include a GRM Daily documentary

YouTube has revealed its latest slate of ‘originals’ – documentaries commissioned by the video service – for the UK this autumn. They include a four-part series about GRM Daily, the Black British music channel. ‘Together We Rise: The Uncompromised Story of GRM Daily’ will debut on 28 September, with interviewees including Skepta, Giggs, Stormzy, Julie […]
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Source: Music ally

The Rolling Stones to open shop on London’s Carnaby Street

Soho’s swinging Carnaby Street (copyright: the 1960s) is getting a new boutique retailer from 9 September: RS No. 9 Carnaby. Otherwise known as a ‘world-first flagship store’ for The Rolling Stones. As part of their wide-ranging new deal signed with Universal Music Group in 2018, the band have worked with UMG’s Bravado subsidiary on the new […]
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Source: Music ally

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion give away $1m on Twitter

Generally, if we see a celebrity giving away money on Twitter, we assume they’ve been hacked and it’s a scam (and pro tip: if Elon Musk is giving away bitcoin, it’s NEVER the real Elon Musk…) But here’s the exception that proves the rule: Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion really have been giving away $1m […]
The post Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion give away $1m on Twitter appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Apple Music Radio adds live country and hits stations

Spotify’s ‘audio first’ strategy involves an aggressive move into spoken-word content with podcasts (and soon audiobooks?) to compete with live radio. Apple Music has followed a different path, with the Beats 1 live radio station part of its service since launch. Yesterday it got a rebrand – to Apple Music 1 – and two new sister stations: Apple […]
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Source: Music ally

NME Asia goes live from Singapore after BandLab acquisition

The print edition of NME shut down in 2018, 66 years after its launch as New Musical Express. However, the NME brand has continued online, and in 2019 it was acquired by Singapore-based music/tech company BandLab Technologies. Now BandLab is launching a dedicated NME Asia site, promising daily music and pop culture news with an initial focus on Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: Classical streams are booming for younger listeners

The Covid-19 lockdown has been very tough for classical musicians in the live sense, but if there’s a silver lining, it may be classical’s performance on streaming services. A new report co-published by Deezer, British industry body the BPI and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) aims to show the growth, using data from Deezer. Globally, […]
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Source: Music ally

Save Our Stages Act aims to help independent US venues

Even as Covid-19 lockdowns ease and physical concerts tentatively start to return, independent music venues are still facing a battle to survive. The level of support they’ve been getting from governments varies widely around the world, but in the US there are new moves afoot to help those venues (plus promoters and festivals) to stay […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches ‘Alone With Me’ microsite for The Weeknd

“Hey there, it’s Abel. How are you? So glad you could join me. I’ve been waiting for you. There’s a lot I want you to know,” The Weeknd told us this morning. Sadly it’s not an exclusive interview, but rather a new “personalised generative experience” launched for the artist by Spotify. Its ‘Alone With Me‘ […]
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Source: Music ally

Oculus VR headsets will require users to log in using Facebook

Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus VR in 2014, and since then users of its headsets have been able to log in with their Oculus accounts, or their Facebook accounts. Now Facebook is making some changes, from October this year. “Everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with […]
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Source: Music ally

Indian short-video app Moj has 50m users a month after launch

TikTok’s ban in India has created a feeding frenzy among other short-video apps, from Roposo, Zili and Dubsmash to streaming service Gaana’s new HotShots. One app we hadn’t written about yet was Moj, which was launched in early July by social networking firm ShareChat. It was downloaded more than 1m times in its first week, but judging by figures shared […]
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Source: Music ally

BTS fanfic meets mobile games as Netmarble preps BTS Universe Story

Netmarble is the South Korean company that launched the BTS World mobile game in June 2019, offering the BTS Army the chance to play manager to the K-Pop stars – complete with an original soundtrack album.
The game topped app store charts in 25 countries immediately after its release, and by the first quarter of this year Netmarble’s financials revealed it was 2% of the company’s sales, meaning that the game made around $9m that quarter.
Now Netmarble is working on a second BTS mobile game: BTS Universe Story. Due for release later this year, it’s an intriguing blend of gaming and fan-fiction.
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Source: Music ally

A tale of two synthetic reality startups: Hour One and Reface

We’re fascinated by the potential of ‘synthetic reality’, an area that brings together virtual reality, AI, ‘deepfakes’ and other technologies. Two more startups in the news this week offer some more sparks for thought on this score. Hour One is the first: a company that takes real people and turns them into virtual characters, with uses […]
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite publisher’s battle with Apple steps up another notch

Things are getting even spicier in the battle between Fortnite’s publisher Epic Games and Apple over the latter’s App Store rules. Apple booted Fortnite out of the store last week after Epic added a new non-Apple payment option, but now Epic is claiming that Apple has threatened to “terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify wants to ‘imagine new possibilities’ for audiobooks

When Spotify bagged an exclusive on a new J.K. Rowling audiobook – a celebrity re-reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – we wondered if it hinted at ambitions to do more with audiobooks.
Now look: Spotify is recruiting a head of audio books for its Spotify Studios division, based in either New York or LA.
“In this role, you will be responsible for the creative oversight, content strategy, editorial and programming, and execution of our Audiobook strategy,” explains its job ad, which was spotted and tweeted by freelance strategy director Katya Kotlyar.
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Source: Music ally

San Juan Symphony launches $99 ‘digital season’ passes

If you thought getting concerts up and running again with four-piece bands was tricky, imagine doing it with an orchestra.
The classical music industry has been hit for six by Covid-19 lockdowns just like the rest of the music business, but there are also orchestras figuring out alternative, digital models to start their recovery.
The San Juan Symphony orchestra, for example, is launching a digital season pass called ‘Essential’, which will cost $99 and provide access to four concerts filmed at different locations.
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music acquires viral content firm Imgn Media

Warner Music Group’s latest acquisition is an intriguing one: of Israeli company Imgn Media, which creates videos and memes designed to go viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
TechCrunch reported that WMG paid “just under $100m” for the company, which claims that its content generates more than 3bn views a month, with more than 40 million subscribers (i.e. people who follow its channels on the social apps, not paying subscribers).
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Source: Music ally

NetEase Cloud Music saw ‘triple-digit revenue growth’ in Q2

Chinese technology firm NetEase published its latest financial results last week, with no new figures for its NetEase Cloud Music streaming service. However, the service was mentioned in the subsequent earnings call with analysts.
“For NetEase Cloud Music, we continued to see triple-digit revenue growth in the second quarter year over year, with both membership and live streaming striking new highs,” said chief financial officer Charles Yang.
That revenue total wasn’t quantified, but NetEase Cloud Music sits within NetEase’s ‘innovative businesses and others’ category in its financials, which saw revenues grow by 39% year-on-year to RMB 3.7bn ($533.4m) last quarter.
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Source: Music ally

Trump sets new deadline of 12 November for TikTok US sale

Earlier this month, President Trump set a 45-day deadline after which transactions by US companies with ByteDance or Tencent’s WeChat would be banned.
That was seen as a deadline for a sale of TikTok’s US operations, but now a new executive order from the president has set a longer deadline for that.
ByteDance has been ordered do divest all its interests and rights in TikTok’s US operations, as well as permanently destroying any data on US citizens it has obtained from TikTok, or the Musical·ly app that was acquired and merged with it.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook launches paid livestreams (and takes a pop at Apple)

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, musicians offering livestreams have been exploring the different ways to make money from them. Paid ticketing has tended to be restricted to the smaller livestreaming companies, while on the bigger social/video platforms (Facebook/Instagram, YouTube and Twitch) it’s been more about free streams and revenue from virtual item sales and/or merchandise.
So, here’s news from Facebook. “Today we’re launching the ability for businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to earn money from online events,” it announced on Friday. “Now Page owners can create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payment and host the event, all in one place.”
The launch covers 20 countries, ranging from the US, UK, Germany and France to Mexico, Brazil, India and Singapore (the full list is here) and will be available to pages that qualify for Facebook’s ‘partner monetisation policies’. The social network said it will not be taking a cut of any revenues from paid events for “at least the next year”. That means 100% of the money will go to creators. Well, usually…
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Source: Music ally

TikTok rival Likee now has 150m monthly active users

TikTok isn’t the only short-videos app from China to be making a big splash. Tech firm Joyy’s latest financial results reveal the growth of its app Likee, which has a similar community of people creating videos with special effects and music.
The app, formerly known as ‘Like’, saw its average mobile monthly active users grow by 86.2% year-on-year to 150.3 million people last quarter, according to Joyy.
This isn’t just about users in China: Joyy’s chairman and CEO David Zueling Li said that the company had been focusing on “cultivating Likee’s global ecosystem by diversifying its content offerings, refining its product features, and tailoring its expansion initiatives to different regions”.
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Source: Music ally

Glass Animals created a music video with fans’ head-scans

Back in May, we wrote about an inventive digital marketing campaign for the band Glass Animals, letting fans poke around a virtual computer desktop and create stuff with their assets.
Now label Polydor’s ongoing campaign for their album ‘Dreamland’ has taken some new twists. Fans were asked to download an app called Trnio, which scans real-world objects and turns them into 3D models.
In this case, what they were scanning was their own heads, which visual artist Marco Mori then turned into a music video for Glass Animals’ track ‘Tangerine’. It’s… strange (but good).
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches a website for Billie Eilish’s ‘My Future’

Billie Eilish’s latest single ‘My Future’ has been streamed nearly 42m times on Spotify at the time of writing. That figure may be boosted by the latest marketing partnership between the artist and streaming service: a website called ‘A Letter to Your Future Self’.
It encourages fans to “write a letter and send it to the stars. It will come back to you in the future”. That means typing a message, signing it and then choosing a return date up to two years’ away, at which point it will be delivered to your chosen email address.
“While your Letter is private on this website, some of us at Spotify will be reading these Letters – don’t submit any illegal, derogatory, defamatory, offensive or hateful content. We’re not interested,” explain the terms. “You acknowledge that your submission of the Letter is for Spotify’s marketing purposes.”
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Source: Music ally

Beggars Group financials reveal £63.1m revenues for 2019

Independent label Beggars Group has filed its latest annual financial results with Companies House in the UK. The company’s revenues fell from £74.2m in 2018 to £63.1m in 2019.
The report notes that the 2018 figure was skewed by Beggars’ revenues from the sale of Spotify shares after the streaming service went public. “Like for like we are pleased to note that the growth in sales is consistent across our key territories,” reported the label.
The financials offer some thoughts on the risks posed to Beggars Group (and by extension other labels in the UK) by the Covid-19 pandemic, and also the UK’s exit from the European Union.
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Source: Music ally

John Legend is meditation app Headspace’s new ‘chief music officer’

We’re big fans of famous artists being given spurious job titles as part of partnerships with tech companies, dating back to the glory days of Lady Gaga as Polaroid creative director and Will·I·Am as director of creative innovation at Intel.
But perhaps meditation app Headspace really did need a ‘chief music officer’ and John Legend happened to shine the brightest in the interview process.
Enough snark though: even if Legend misses the daily Zoom meeting, it’s an interesting partnership. He’ll be working with the company’s new Headspace Studios division, tasked with “creating and distributing mindful living content” for the app, which has more than 65 million users.
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19 sparked ‘boom’ in paid subscriptions in UK says ERA

‘How Britain entertained itself during lockdown’ is the title of the latest press release from UK body the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era). Surprisingly, the answer isn’t ‘doomscrolling Twitter in tears and making forts from panic-bought toilet rolls and flour’.
Era is understandably more focused on music, TV and gaming habits, and a “boom in sales of subscriptions”. In its latest tracking study, which began on 25 May, Era asked people which subscription services they had added since the start of lockdown.
Video hogs the chart: 10.5% of respondents had signed up to Disney+, and 8.4% to Netflix. But music makes an appearance too: 5.6% of people had added Amazon Prime (admittedly with free shipping and Prime Video the draws alongside Prime Music) while 4.2% had started subscribing to Spotify, 1.4% to YouTube Music and 1.2% to Amazon Music Unlimited.
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Source: Music ally

Chinese music subscribers have doubled to 60m in two years

Music Ally has just published our latest country profile, of China, and it includes some new figures on the growth of the recorded music industry there.
We already knew from the IFPI that in 2019 China’s market grew by 16% to $590.9m, becoming the seventh biggest recorded music market in the world.
For the profile, we talked to Warner Music Group’s president, Asia region, Simon Robson, who told us that there are currently 60 million paid music subscribers in China – the second highest total globally, but still less than 5% of the Chinese population.
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Source: Music ally

‘Apple One’ entertainment bundles could debut in October

Apple may be preparing to launch its long-awaited bundles of entertainment services, with music included. Bloomberg reported that the bundles – working title: Apple One – are “planned to launch as early as October alongside the next iPhone line”.
It went on to suggest that the basic bundle will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, with more expensive tiers adding in gaming service Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and extra iCloud storage.
“The goal is to offer groups of services at lower prices than would be charged if consumers subscribed to each offering individually,” added Bloomberg. “The offerings are designed to save consumers about $2 to upwards of $5 a month, depending on the package chosen.”
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Source: Music ally

Spotify has company as Fortnite maker sues Apple (and Google)

Spotify seemed well prepared when its EC antitrust complaint against Apple last March came with its own spin-off website detailing its issues. Now Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has taken that up several levels.
Yesterday it sued Apple alleging “use of a series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices”, and that lawsuit came with its own launch trailer: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’, a parody of Apple’s famous 1984 TV ad introducing its Macintosh computer. The trailer was published online, and also shown within Fortnite to players.
No, this wasn’t improvised on the hoof: Epic Games had been preparing for this dispute, and in fact it made a calculated move to provoke Apple into banning Fortnite from its App Store in order to fire the starting gun on the lawsuit. Not to mention Google, which Epic Games is also suing over its app store policies. And this is all very relevant to Spotify’s ongoing battle with Apple, and the formal EC investigation that last March’s complaint led to.
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Source: Music ally

China’s Twitch equivalent DouYu has 165.3m monthly users

We haven’t written about DouYu before, because the Chinese livestreaming video platform is focused on games rather than music.
The numbers are startling though: according to its latest financial results, DouYu averaged 165.3 million monthly active users in the second quarter of this year, including 58.4 million people on mobile devices.
Meanwhile, DouYu generated RMB 2.51bn ($354.4m) in revenues in Q2, up by 33.9% year-on-year. Of those revenues, only RMB 188.3m ($26.6m) came from advertising, while RMB 2.32bn ($327.8m) came from various ways that users/viewers pay.
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Source: Music ally

Beck teams up with Nasa for an AI-powered visual album

Beck released his ‘Hyperspace’ album in November 2019, but now it’s getting reimagined in an interesting way: as a visual album called ‘Hyperspace: A.I. Exploration’.
It’s a partnership with space agency Nasa, pulling in mission images, visualisations, animations and data, using several AI technologies (computer vision, machine learning and generative adversarial neural networks to be specific).
“Actual Nasa expeditions and data are transformed into vivid new universes ‘imagined’ by an emerging new kind of creative intelligence,” as the blurb puts it.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches ‘Day 1 Club’ for its RapCaviar playlist

“Have you been listening to your favorite rappers since Day 1?” asks Spotify’s latest spin-off website, complete with a big red button tagged ‘Prove It’.
Proving it involves signing in to Spotify to be told which hip-hop stars you were listening to early. “An exclusive group of fans that have been riding with an artist the longest,” in Spotify’s words.
“This isn’t a measure of streaming an artist the most. It’s a measure of how early you listened to an artist on Spotify… In this case, we look at the first 15% of fans who listened to an artist on Spotify, before others.”
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Source: Music ally

PubG Mobile, the world’s top mobile game, made $208.8m in July

The amount of money sloshing around in the mobile games industry continues to startle. According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the top mobile game in July 2020 was PubG Mobile, published by Tencent.
It generated $208.8m in user spending via in-app purchases on Google and Apple’s app stores that month.
Comparison time: Tencent Music generated less than that ($186.6m) from music subscription revenues in the entire second quarter of this year.
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Source: Music ally

Muse to bring Simulation Theory show to virtual reality

Muse’s live shows are famously spectacular when it comes to the staging, so it’s no surprise that the band’s new concert film is out of the ordinary too.
Drawn from their ‘Simulation Theory’ tour in 2019, it will be released to IMAX cinemas on 17 August in full wraparound vision – yes, there’ll be lots of social distancing and sanitation at those venues – with a pair of deluxe box-sets with items including VHS-style packaging, fluorescent pink cassettes and a jacket, wooden-sunglasses and facemask combo.
What’s more, this autumn will see the launch of ‘Muse’s Simulation Theory: Virtual Experience’ by VR startup Stageverse. It’ll blend 360-degree footage from one of the shows on the 2019 tour with a virtual concert venue for fans to explore, including meeting one another as avatars, and buying virtual merchandise.
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Source: Music ally

Neil Young Archives site ditches Facebook and Google logins

Neil Young’s official archives site is getting rid of the ability for fans to log in using their Facebook or Google accounts. Instead, they’ll be asked to register their email address and a password to access the site.
In an article explaining the decision, Young – who’s been a prominent voice in the run-up to this year’s US presidential election – gave Facebook a pasting.
“Facebook knowingly allows untruths and lies in its political ads to circulate on the platform, while bots sow discord among users. Sowing dissent and chaos in our country via political disinformation is something we can not condone. Simply put, Facebook is screwing with our election,” he wrote.
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Source: Music ally

NetEase Cloud Music says it’s tops for Japanese music in China

China has become an important market for Japanese artists and labels in recent years. Now streaming service NetEase Cloud Music is staking its claim to be the “platform of choice for fans of Japanese music” in China.
It’s wielding a report published by research firm Small Antlers Think Tank as its proof: a survey of around 100,000 people in China. The report praises NetEase’s catalogue of Japanese music, from J-Pop and classical to game and anime music, as well as its features for commenting on music.
“The report concluded that 61% of NetEase Cloud Music’s users read comments and around 25% of users write comments,” claimed NetEase’s press release – these are useful stats to understand its service, beyond the Japanese angle, by the way.
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Source: Music ally

Aloha by Elk wants to improve remote music collaboration

We’ve written about a blizzard of new livestreaming startups in recent months, but Aloha – which is the work of Swedish ‘audio operating system’ firm Elk – is a bit different.
It’s described as “a virtual shared studio, rehearsal room, stage and or classroom with options to stream performances to audiences over social platforms” – so it’s a production tool for live, synchronised performances which can then be watched elsewhere.
“It enables musicians, producers and educators from different locations to create, rehearse and perform as if they were in the same room. The ultra-low latency service operates over high speed internet and 5G networks, allowing users to collaborate, play together live and in sync.”
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Source: Music ally

Judge sinks Genius’s lyrics-scraping lawsuit against Google

Last June, Genius accused Google of scraping its song lyrics without permission, and later in the year launched a $50m lawsuit against the tech giant and its partner LyricFind. It hasn’t gone well for Genius: a federal judge has now dismissed the lawsuit.
The Hollywood Reporter has the full ruling, and the gist is… well, it’s complicated. The case has essentially been thrown out because Genius’s claims “are preempted by the Copyright Act”. In other words: publishing lyrics without permission is copyright infringement, but Genius isn’t the copyright owner (that would be publishers).
So (in the ruling’s words) “the case law is clear that only the original copyright owner has exclusive rights to authorize derivative works”.
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Source: Music ally

NMPA hopeful of keeping songwriters’ top line rate increase

We reported yesterday on the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the appeal by Amazon, Google, Pandora and Spotify against new songwriter royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board. The decision was seen as backing the streaming services in ruling against the procedure used to set the new rates.
Now the ruling has been unsealed – you can read it here in full – and the National Music Publishers Association has been offering its opinion on why it’s not a clearcut victory for the DSPs.
In a statement, CEO David Israelite claimed that the ruling “supported the rate increase granted by the CRB to music publishers and songwriters, agreeing that writers have been underpaid and that the rate increase start date is January 1, 2018”.
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Source: Music ally

Campaign aims to support Deaf and disabled people in UK music industry

British organisation Attitude is Everything focuses on accessibility in the live music sector. Now it’s launching a new campaign called ‘Beyond the Music’ which aims to create more opportunities for Deaf and disabled people in the music industry.
The campaign will be “supporting Deaf and disabled people to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and contacts they require to work or volunteer in the music industry, while providing training, resources and guidance to help music businesses build a truly inclusive work environment”.
It kicks off today with a survey aimed at Deaf and disabled people who work in the industry (or want to) – their answers will be used to inform the three-year project.
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Source: Music ally

Metallica preps drive-in gig with $115 ‘per vehicle’ tickets

$115 to see Metallica? We know concerts are in short supply, but this is outrageo… Oh wait. Metallica’s upcoming concert does cost $115 for a ticket, but that ticket covers a vehicle with up to six people: potentially just over $19 per head, which is actually rather good value.
The band are the latest artist to take part in the Encore Drive-In Nights series of concerts at drive-in cinemas in the US and Canada – and the first non-country act.
Encore Live, which is running the concerts, says that it attracted more than 500,000 fans to its first two events, spread across the various cinemas where the concerts were shown.
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Source: Music ally

Separating TikTok from ByteDance won’t be done in 45 days

Who’d have thought it: untangling a company from its parent corporation takes time. Reuters is reporting that if Microsoft wants to buy TikTok within President Trump’s 45-day deadline, it will surely have to negotiate more time to actually separate the social app from ByteDance.
“A technically complex endeavor that could test the patience of President Donald Trump’s administration,” in its words. This task is about technological separation – from TikTok’s server code to the data powering its recommendation algorithm – as well as (if Microsoft only buys TikTok in the US, Canada and Australasia as it announced) geographical separation outside China.
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Source: Music ally

Report claims Amazon is adding podcasts to its music service

When we interviewed Amazon’s music boss Steve Boom earlier this year, we asked him if Amazon Music might follow Spotify’s push into podcasts. “I can’t talk much about it… we’ve been noting with interest how much time they’re spending on podcasting, but I don’t really have much to say on it,” he said.
That may change soon: media news site The Desk claims to have seen a copy of an email to podcasters from Amazon with a licensing agreement attached.
“Hello Podcaster, we’re excited to let you know that Amazon Music and Audible will be adding podcasts to our respective services, including Amazon Music’s free tier,” explains the email, which was republished by the website.
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Source: Music ally

UMG signs NetEase deal and launches label with Tencent Music

It was a busy day for Tencent Music, and for China’s digital music industry as a whole. Universal Music Group made two announcements about its latest deals there: one with NetEase Cloud Music, and the other with Tencent Music.
The NetEase deal is significant: a multi-year direct licensing agreement (rather than UMG’s previous deal that saw Tencent Music sub-license its music to rivals like NetEase Cloud Music.
The new deal will “increase the scope of premium offerings and experiences” on NetEase’s service. That’s not just subscriptions: it sells access to digital albums on top of that (as UMG knows well: Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Folklore did $1.2m of sales in three days on NetEase Cloud Music in July).
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Source: Music ally

The next Fortnite? Fall Guys is already a livestreaming hit

When people think about what ‘the next Fortnite’ might be, they often fall into the trap of expecting it to look and play a lot like Fortnite.
However, what if it’s less about guns, and more about a bunch of bouncy Minions-y characters bundling around neon-splashed obstacle courses like a cartoonish Takeshi’s Castle / It’s a Knockout (delete according to your age and/or game-show cultural background) though?
Meet Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
Released last week for PlayStation 4 and PC by developer Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital, it’s already neck and neck with League of Legends as the most-streamed game on Twitch; and has topped the chart on digital games store Steam, making it a bona-fide hit.
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Source: Music ally

Simon Fuller will launch his next pop group… with TikTok

Entertainment mogul and ‘Idol’ founder Simon Fuller has been busy with his multi-national pop band Now United in recent years, but now he’s got a new project on the go.
It’s a partnership with TikTok to put a new group together. The press release doesn’t have many details other than the promise of an “in-app audition process on TikTok”, and the focus on “extraordinary undiscovered artists”.
With a growing number of TikTok stars having signed label deals in recent months, it’s fair to say there’ll be plenty of interest in the project. Cue super-bullish canned quotes!
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Source: Music ally

Indian artist Badshah questioned by police over ‘fake views’

Remember the controversy last year when Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record with his new video ‘Paagal’?
After it emerged that views from Google ads were included in the total, YouTube did not accept the claimed record – and later changed its charts and 24-hour-record calculations specifically to exclude paid advertising views. Loophole closed, story over, right?
Wrong.
Badshah has spent recent days being questioned by the Mumbai Crime Branch’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) about the campaign – but in matters going well beyond Google ads.
It’s in connection with what the Mumbai Mirror describes as “an international racket involving the creation of fake social media profiles, the sale of ‘followers’, views and ‘likes’ to genuine accounts, and other fraudulent activities by websites presenting themselves as social media marketing agencies”.
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Source: Music ally

Jazz Re:Fest to stream with MQA and Bluesound partnership

Another festival forced to switch from offline to online this year is Jazz Re:Fest in the UK. Its 2020 version will be held on 23 August, with four hours of performances streamed from a two-stage set in The Mill studios.
That way, artists will be able to perform their 30-minute sets while the other stage is being sanitised and prepared for the next act.
The event will be streamed on the YouTube channel of its parent organisation Jazz Re:Freshed, but there’s also a partnership with hi-res music firm MQA and Bluesound.
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Source: Music ally

LiveXLive financials reveal revenues of $10.5m for Q2 2020

US music-streaming and livestreaming company LiveXLive has published its latest financial results, including a new record for quarterly revenues: $10.5m.
That’s in the second quarter of 2020 (its fiscal Q1), with those revenues having grown by 11% year-on-year. The company reported a net loss of $7.5m though, although at least that was down from $11m this time last year.
LiveXLive ran 45 music livestreams last quarter, which it said generated more than 76m live views. The bulk of those came from the 48-hour ‘Music Lives’ online festival in April, which was sponsored by TikTok and Facebook’s Oculus Venues, garnering more than 50m live views.
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Source: Music ally

Ride apologise after technical problems nix paid livestream

The music industry is increasingly excited about the potential for ticketed livestreams, but we can’t ignore some of the risks involved too.
For example, British band Ride were forced to abandon their concert last night and apologise to fans who’d bought tickets to watch it online, after technical troubles at the venue.
Ride: Live From London was due to be broadcast “loud and fully amped from an intimate, secret location”, with fans paying £12 via ticketing app Dice to watch then take part in an after-set Q&A with the band. After kicking off the gig and then having to restart it due to “streaming issues”, Ride were ultimately forced to call it off.
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Source: Music ally

Julianna Barwick releases three tracks on meditation app Calm

Julianna Barwick is the latest artist to release music through meditation app Calm, following in the footsteps of Moby, Above & Beyond and Kygo.
Barwick, who’s signed to Ninja Tune, is releasing three extended versions of tracks from her latest album ‘Healing Is A Miracle’, with Calm getting a 30-day exclusive on the new versions.
Calm is giving the tracks some promotional love within the music section of its app too: “Experience a distinctive meditation with these deep, reflective compositions brought to life by human voice and strings, enriched by reverb and complementary harmonies,” it explains.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify teams up with DJs for ‘track IDs’ dance playlists

“Do you ever dance to your favorite DJ and wonder what track they’re mixing?” begins Spotify’s latest blog post, seemingly blithely unaware that the Shazam app was ever invented.
Sorry, we’ll stop snarking: Spotify is actually doing something interesting around this question. It’s a new range of playlists under the brand ‘track IDs’ which are being created with DJs including Black Coffee, Nina Kraviz, Carl Cox, Kelly Lee Owens, Todd Terry and more.
The idea is that the DJs will regularly add the tracks they play in their sets to their playlists, ensuring that fans can find tracks that they enjoyed live (or, at the moment, livestreaming).
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Source: Music ally

Google launches tools for audio ads on Spotify and Pandora

Is there more money to be squeezed out of the ad-supported music market? Google hopes so. But for once, we’re not talking about YouTube in this context.
Google’s advertising business is also putting some more effort into ad-supported music, with the launch of some audio-focused tools in its Google Ad Manager service, and an audio section of its Display & Video 360 ad-buying platform.
“Advertisers can buy ads from Spotify, Pandora, AdsWizz, iHeartMedia, and Triton Digital, and Google plans to add brand lift, which tracks metrics like brand perception, awareness and purchase intent, for audio ads later this year, similar to what it does for YouTube campaigns,” reported Business Insider.
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Source: Music ally

Latest Bandcamp Friday looks to build on $75m sales so far

Independent artists and labels have sold $75m of music and merchandise so far on the ‘Bandcamp Fridays’ series of sale days, during which the D2C platform waives its revenue share.
Today’s the latest one, as part of Bandcamp’s decision to repeat the sale on the first Friday of every month – complete with an ‘Is It Bandcamp Friday?’ website to help people in different timezones know if the sale is still on.
As ever, it’s a marvellous chance to fling some money at independent artists you love, and also to take a punt on some emerging acts who might be up your street.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok rivals continue to see spike in US downloads

Events around TikTok and its proposed ban in the US are moving so fast, any data on how consumers are responding risks being out of date as soon as it’s published. Still, Sensor Tower has some new numbers on how TikTok’s rivals are benefitting from the uncertainty.
“As talk of a ban ramped up from mere conjecture during the week of July 27, four of the largest challengers contending to be the top social video-sharing app in the US saw their installs collectively grow 361 percent compared to the week before,” reported the app-analytics research company.
Those four rivals cited are Triller, Zynn, Dubsmash and Byte, which together saw nearly 1.5m US installs in the week of 27 July. “During this time, Triller reached No. 1 among the top free iPhone apps in 50 markets including the US on August 1,” added Sensor Tower.
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Source: Music ally

Executive order bans US transactions with ByteDance… and Tencent

As promised, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all transactions by US companies with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. However, a separate order extends the ban to messaging app WeChat AND its parent company Tencent – including “any subsidiary of that entity”.
Strap yourselves in. Given Tencent’s web of investments in and from music industry companies, there may be some chaos ahead.
Here’s the TikTok/ByteDance executive order and here’s the WeChat/Tencent one. Both set a deadline of 45 days after which transactions with ByteDance and Tencent will be prohibited, and both note that the US Secretary of Commerce will “identify the transactions” covered by the order… in 45 days’ time.
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Source: Music ally

Midem and Nyege Nyege to shine a ‘Spotlight on East Africa’

One of the best steps forward for the Midem industry conference in recent years has been its expanded focus on Africa: not just booking a few speakers, but running events there and programming day-long strands at its flagship Cannes event.
Now Midem is building on that with a partnership with Ugandan music festival Nyege Nyege. It includes a two-day ‘Spotlight on East Africa’ event with sessions to be made available through Midem’s digital platform.
Midem says that speakers from telcos, collecting societies, labels, publishers, artists and managers, journalists and industry bodies will be taking part, although the programme has yet to be announced.
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Source: Music ally

Music Tectonics conference goes virtual in October

Last year’s Music Tectonics conference in Los Angeles was a welcome addition to the industry calendar, and it’s returning for its second year on 28-28 October.
As with other conferences, the event will be online, with the promise of “highly interactive small-group and one-on-one networking” and exhibitor/demo rooms, along with panels and keynotes.
Among the confirmed speakers so far: WMG’s Scott Cohen, Water & Music’s Cherie Hu, Roblox’s Jon Vlassopulos, Panache Ventures’ David Dufresne, and Feed·fm’s Lauren Pufpaf.
Tickets will cost $59, with a ‘VIP’ option for $300, and AdRev, Linkfire and Super Hi-Fi are signed up as sponsors. Find out more at the Music Tectonics website.
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Source: Music ally

Defected Records and Heineken get ready for a football party

The Covid-elongated European football season isn’t over just yet: the next three weeks will see the Champions League and Europa League tournaments play out their remaining rounds.
Now one of football body UEFA’s key sponsorship partners Heineken has teamed up with dance label Defected Records to soundtrack the rejigged tournaments.
They’ll be holding an eight-hour livestream called ‘The Kick Off’ this Sunday (9 August) featuring eight DJs broadcasting from their homes or special locations. Bob Sinclar (one of our go-to cheer-up livestreamers during the early weeks of the Covid-19 lockdown) is one of the DJs, alongside Idris Elba, Purple Disco Machine, Low Steppa, Melvo Baptise, Aline Rocha, Ferreck Dawn and DJ Monki.
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music goes deep on catalogue: starts with Bob Marley

Amazon Music has announced a new initiative called [Re]Discover, which it says will focus on digging into artists’ back catalogues.
It’s kicking off with Bob Marley this month: there’s a [Re]Discover branded playlist drawn from his entire career, but also the launch of an ‘Official Bob Marley Store’ on Amazon’s main shopping service, bringing together music streams, downloads and physical editions, as well as merchandise.
However, there’s more to [Re]Discover than just Bob Marley: Amazon Music says that the first Tuesday of every month will see it pick a new ‘artist of the month’ for the initiative, as well as launching new playlists for others.
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Source: Music ally

SoundGym launches ‘a gym for the ears’ of musicians

A startup called SoundGym has launched a service called ToneGym, which it describes as “a new ear-training web application that uses deep gamification and deliberate practice methods to help musicians train, learn, improve skills, and unleash their full potential”.
Or, if you want the soundbite: “A gym for the ears”.
The web-based service will offer daily exercises, lessons on music theory, social features to connect with other musicians, and analytics to help track their progress.
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Source: Music ally

PlayStation Plus and Disney+ both report subscription growth

We like to keep an eye on subscription-based entertainment businesses outside music, and yesterday two big companies’ financial results offered us some new data to consider.
Sony Corporation’s results included the announcement that there are now 44.9 million people paying for the PlayStation Plus service, up from 41.5 million a quarter ago.
PS Plus costs $9.99 a month, $24.99 a quarter or $59.99 a year, and enables people to play PlayStation 4 console games online, as well as getting two free PS4 games a month and various discounts. Sony’s wider PlayStation Network (a decent measure of PS4 owners) has 113 million monthly active users, so that’s a conversion rate of 39.7%.
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Source: Music ally

NetEase Cloud Music ups moderation after ‘NetEmo’ meme

We’ve written before about one area where Chinese music streaming services like NetEase Cloud Music beat most of their western equivalents: they have a thriving comments ecosystem where listeners are giving their views on music.
The flipside of that: those western streaming services don’t have to worry about comment / community moderation, which can be challenging and sometimes controversial work. Just ask any social network.
By way of illustration, check the South China Morning Post’s article about the latest moderation challenge for NetEase Cloud Music. A meme called ‘NetEmo’ has been gaining popularity on its platform, focusing (seriously for some users, and jokingly for others) on feelings of anxiety and depression in 2020.
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis buys royalties for Blondie co-founders’ catalogue

This will soon be the Daily Hipgnosis Cash-Splashing News Site if the company continues at this rate of snapping up music catalogues.
This morning’s announcement concerns Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, the co-founders of Blondie, who have sold 100% of their writer’s share and neighbouring rights royalties to Hipgnosis for an undisclosed amount. This is a catalogue of 197 songs.
“Their singles have been not only massively successful but era and genre defining. Equally well they have made cultural albums of the greatest importance,” said Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis.
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Source: Music ally

Indian labels hit short-video apps with infringement notices

It’s not just the US where short-video apps are facing pressure from music rightsholders over their licensing deals (or lack of). It’s happening in India too, where a number of these apps have been spiking in popularity since TikTok was banned there in June. 
Livemint reported that four music labels – including India’s biggest, T-Series – have been sending copyright infringement notices to short video apps.
“Many content sharing mobile applications such as Roposo, Triller, Takatak, Josh, Mitron, Snack Video etc are taking advantage of TikTok’s ban in India and to gain immediate success are using popular music, most of which belongs to T- Series without our permission,” said T-Series president Neeraj Kalyan.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube responds to Koda over Danish music takedowns

Earlier this week, we wrote about a controversy brewing Denmark with a dispute between collecting society Koda and YouTube.
Koda announced that YouTube would be removing its members music from its platform, after the society declined a temporary extension to its licensing deal (while a new one is being negotiated by pan-Nordic hub Polaris) that it claimed would “reduce the payment provided to composers and songwriters for YouTube’s use of music by almost 70%”.
Now YouTube has offered Music Ally its side of the story, saying that despite making good progress with Polaris, it has yet to finalise a deal. YouTube also says that the short-term agreement to cover interim licensing for Koda reflects the performance of the society’s members’ music over recent times.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube reveals Google Play Music will shut down in October

As long goodbyes go, Google Play Music’s has been LONG. It was July 2017 when YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen first revealed plans to merge Google’s music streaming (and cloud locker) service with YouTube’s equivalent – then called YouTube Red, but since rebranded as YouTube Music. Nearly three years later, in May 2020, YouTube […]
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Source: Music ally

WMG boss: ‘We’re very happy that Spotify is investing in podcasting’

Having published its latest financial results this morning, Warner Music Group held its quarterly earnings call this afternoon, with CEO Steve Cooper and CFO Eric Levin fielding questions from analysis.
One of those questions focused on Spotify’s podcasts expansion, and whether it’s causing tensions around the potential impact on royalties paid out to companies like WMG. It’s safe to say Spotify will be pleased with Cooper’s answer.
“We’re very happy that Spotify is investing in podcasting. It gives them an opportunity to create another vertical that they can create not only an ad/free service around, but presumably over time a premium service,” he said.
“I believe personally that there will be people that come to Spotify for a podcast and stay for music, and that there will be people that come to Spotify for music and stay for a podcast. It does not impact our economics either on the free side or the subscription side,” continued Cooper.
“But hopefully what it will do is create appeal to a broader audience… I am sure that there will be an overlap in those Venn diagrams to drive people from podcasting to music, and music to podcasting. I also believe that that being said, that Spotify’s basic foundation stone or basic foundation will always be music. I don’t see that changing anywhere near the foreseeable future.”
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Source: Music ally

WMG revenues down 4.5% year-on-year but digital still growing

Warner Music Group has published its latest quarterly financial results, for its fiscal third quarter (calendar Q2). They reveal the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have on its business.
WMG generated revenues of $1.01bn last quarter, down by 4.5% year-on-year. However, its digital revenues grew by 11% to $720m as part of that, accounting for 71.3% of the company’s total revenues.
WMG recorded a whopping operating loss of $433m, although that was due to ‘a higher non-cash stock-based compensation expense of $426 million related to the Company’s long-term incentive plan’ as well as $86m of costs associated with its IPO in early June.
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Source: Music ally

Clash Video short-video app signs up 200k users in its first week

It seems to be the season for TikTok alternatives to be staking their claims for young video creators. The latest example is a new app called Clash Video, which soft-launched last week for iPhones in the US.
“We’re building the first Creator-Founded social network, empowering short form video creators through innovative monetization options, inclusive communities, and fun, creator inspired features,” explains the blurb on its website.
News site Tubefilter has more details. Clash’s co-founder is Brendon McNerney, who was big on Vine back in the day – an app that has influenced Clash. The latter enables people to post looping videos up to 21 seconds long, although there isn’t (yet) a catalogue of music clips to use.
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music hosts virtual listening party for Victoria Monét

Apple Music is working with artist Victoria Monét on “an exclusive virtual listening party” taking place this Thursday (6 August) to celebrate the release of her new album ‘Jaguar’ the following day.
The event will be presented by Apple Music’s ‘Today’s Hits’ playlist and hosted by Beats 1’s Nadeska Alexis. According to Broadway World, this is the first in a series of these listening parties, which “could include everything from unreleased tracks, to special guests and surprise performances and will also give fans the opportunity to chat live with their favourite artists”.
Apparently up to 1,000 fans will be able to take part, by reserving tickets online, but they will need to be Apple Music subscribers.
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Source: Music ally

WMG appoints head of global equity, diversity and inclusion

Warner Music Group’s push for diversity and inclusion across its company has a new boss. Dr Maurice Stinnett will be WMG’s new head of global equity, diversity and inclusion, having joined from a similar role at BSE Global, owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center venue.
Stinnett certainly has seniority: he’ll report directly to WMG chief executive Steve Cooper.
“Our business can and should lead the way in opening up a new era of diversity and inclusion. We’re at a turning point in history, and there’s a genuine commitment and desire for real transformation and transparency at WMG,” said Dr Stinnett in a statement.
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Source: Music ally

Motown’s latest artist accelerator will be run virtually

Storied label Motown Records is holding its second accelerator for artists this year, although thanks to Covid-19 the program will be virtual this time round.
The 12-week program will see four artists from Detroit – Madelyn Grant, Curtis Roach, B Free and Sara Marie Barron – sharing $20k in grants and working with the label and its mentors. Motown said they were chosen from 474 applications for this year’s Motown Accelerator.
“It’s crucial, now more than ever, to help artists navigate their careers,” said the program director Suai Kee. “We’ve had to make programming adjustments, of course, all meetings are virtual, including what would have taken place during trips to New York and Los Angeles in past programs.”
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Source: Music ally

Publisher Round Hill Music sues TuneCore and Believe

It’s clearly the time of year for lawsuits and legal threats. Publisher Round Hill Music is suing distributor TuneCore and its parent company Believe.
The lawsuit claims that the two companies “reproduced and distributed musical compositions owned or controlled by Round Hill… despite knowing that the Round Hill Compositions were never properly licensed. Moreover, beyond failing to properly license Round Hill Compositions, Defendants have not properly paid for the corresponding uses.”
219 of the songs in Round Hill’s catalogue are cited as part of the lawsuit. MBW reported that the works include ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘She Loves You’ by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, as well as songs written by Ted Nugent, Florida Georgia Line and Ari Levine. TuneCore and Believe have yet to comment at the time of writing.
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Source: Music ally

Snap strikes deals for licensed music in Snapchat app

Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc has signed music licensing deals with Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell, Universal Music Publishing, Merlin and a number of members of US publishing body the NMPA.
Bloomberg reported on the deals this morning, adding that Snap is testing a new feature in Australia and New Zealand that lets people add music to their Snapchat posts. Snap has confirmed the news of the deals to Music Ally.
“We’re constantly building on our relationships within the music industry, and making sure the entire music ecosystem (artists, labels, songwriters, publishers and streaming services) are seeing value in our partnerships,” said a spokesperson.
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Source: Music ally

Noah Cyrus’s new video was made using PS4 game Dreams

Shooting music videos is possible but challenging within the social distancing measures of this Covid-19 pandemic. The latest example of an artist getting a creative way around those barriers is Noah Cyrus, as part of the ‘A Sony Collaboration’ series of projects.
You may remember we wrote about a Nicky Jam TikTok video created through the scheme earlier this year. The idea is to connect Sony Music artists with tech from the wider Sony empire, and in Noah Cyrus’s case that means a PlayStation 4 game called Dreams.
Well, it’s more a creative application really: a tool that people can use to make their own games. Or, as it turns out, music videos. A team pulled together by Dreams developer Media Molecules built the music video for Cyrus’s ‘July’, with a separate behind-the-scenes video showing how they did it.
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Source: Music ally

Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok in US and other countries

Events have moved fast since Friday for TikTok’s business in the US, it’s fair to say. We’ll start with the latest news: confirmation from Microsoft that it’s in talks about an acquisition of TikTok in the US and certain other countries, with a mid-September deadline to reach an agreement with the app’s parent company ByteDance – not to mention the US president.
“Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States,” announced Microsoft yesterday.
“Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
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Source: Music ally

One Direction and Goldie get new anniversary websites

One Direction and Goldie? Now that’s a collaboration made in musical heaven, possibly. Sadly they’re not working together (yet!) but they have both just got new websites to celebrate significant anniversaries.
It’s 10 years since One Direction were formed during TV show The X Factor, and their 10 Years of 1D website offers an interactive timeline of that decade, even though the band went on hiatus six years in.
Fans sign in using Spotify or Apple Music, and browse the timeline’s videos, voice notes, lyrics and image galleries, clicking to ‘like’ things as they go. At the end, those likes are turned into a personalised playlist on the streaming service they signed in with.
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Source: Music ally

Blockchain music service Audius raises $3.1m funding round

We first wrote about startup Audius when it raised a $5.5m funding round in August 2018 for a service that was described as ‘SoundCloud on the blockchain’.
When it launched its public beta a year later, it was interesting, but its ‘censorship-resistant’ philosophy created some headaches in the potential for unauthorised uploads, and the difficulty for rightsholders to get them taken down.
Since then, Audius has launched an iPhone app, and now it has announced another funding round: this time for $3.1m. There’s another figure too: “Today, there are more than 250,000 fans using Audius every month,” revealed the company, adding that more than 40,000 artists have so far uploaded music to the platform – with Deadmau5 being the highest profile.
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Source: Music ally

Wire protest after Bandcamp ‘scam page’ sells their album

Bandcamp has been getting a lot of love from artists in recent months, thanks to its Covid-19 relief and Black Lives Matter sales. One artist who’s not quite so keen, though, is British post-punk band Wire, who’ve been having some problems with their albums appearing on Bandcamp without their say-so.
“You may have recently seen 10:20 for sale on Bandcamp. This was a scam page that was nothing to do with Wire, and is actually the second time this has happened on that site,” the band announced on Facebook – ’10:20′ being their latest album, released this year.
The post goes on to explain that Wire don’t use Bandcamp, so “you will never find legit Wire releases (digital or otherwise) for sale there”. A mailout to fans earlier this year gave details of the first time this had happened, with their 2017 album ‘Silver/Lead’.
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Source: Music ally

Twitch to feature artists in its first ever ‘music month’

Twitch is building on its recent growth of music livestreams by launching its first ever ‘Music Month’.
It’ll be spending August promoting some of the musicians who are operating on its platform, including featuring their streams on the service’s homepage and its own official channel. The latter will include a show every Friday called ‘Follow Fridays: Music Edition’ which will focus on clips from musicians.
Meanwhile, Twitch is also launching a ‘community development program for music’, which will offer advice and tips for people streaming in the platform’s Music & Performing Arts category to help them build their audiences and improve their broadcasts.
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis snaps up Barry Manilow’s global recording royalties

Another day, another big deal for UK-based Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which continues to enthusiastically splash its cash on music catalogues. The latest belongs (or rather, belonged) to Barry Manilow.
“Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of Barry Manilow’s worldwide recording royalties (excluding Sound Exchange royalties) in his Catalogue comprising 917 songs,” announced the company this morning.
We don’t need to list Manilow’s hits for you to know that it’s a significant catalogue for Hipgnosis to have snapped up, although we’ll settle for putting ‘Copacabana (At the Copa)’ in your head as a Monday earworm.
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Source: Music ally

ATC and Beggars Group team up for Driift online concerts firm

The founders of music management company ATC Management have launched a new firm called Driift, to produce and promote ticketed online concerts.
The team has already worked on recent livestreams for Laura Marling (who sold 6,500 tickets for her recent Union Chapel concerts), Lianna La Havas and Dermot Kennedy (who Driift says sold more than 30,000 for a show last week) and is planning upcoming gigs for Biffy Clyro and Sleaford Mods.
Driift says it will be handling ticketing, production, licensing, rights management and digital marketing for online concerts. Independent label Beggars Group is a founding investor and shareholder in the new company, which is being run by ATC’s Ric Salmon and Brian Message.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube under fire over music licensing impasse in Denmark

Something is kicking off in the state of Denmark, and it’s the latest music licensing controversy around YouTube.
Danish collecting society Koda issued a press release last week titled ‘Google removes all Danish music from YouTube’, although the first paragraph makes it clear that this removal hasn’t happened yet.
The background is negotiations for a new deal between YouTube and collecting societies in Norway, Finland and Denmark, operating jointly through their Polaris licensing hub to replace their existing individual deals. Koda’s expired in April, but the society says it was temporarily extended while the new Nordic deal was being thrashed out.
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Source: Music ally

It’s official: Facebook launches music videos (in the US)

As predicted, Facebook is officially launching music videos, courtesy of licensing deals with all three major labels plus indie licensing agency Merlin, as well as BMG, Kobalt, and other labels, publishers and collecting societies.
It’s not a global launch. For now, it’s in the US, as well as in India and Thailand, where the new feature has been in testing already. Facebook has no news (yes, we asked) to share on expanding to other markets at this point.
“Starting this weekend, you’ll be able to discover, watch, and share music videos from today’s top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various music genres on Facebook,” announced a blog post by VP of music business development and partnerships Tamara Hrivnak and VP of entertainment Vijaye Raji.
From today, there will be a dedicated section for music videos on Facebook Watch, the social network’s video hub, with options to browse by genre, artist and mood, as well as curated playlists.
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Source: Music ally

BoxVR fitness game to get a major overhaul as FitXR

FitXR is the UK-based startup that’s had a hit with virtual reality fitness game BoxVR. Earlier this month, the company raised $7.5m of Series A funding, and now it’s announcing a major overhaul of its main product.
Renamed FitXR, the app will start with more than four hours of boxing workouts, each with their own musical soundtrack, and audio prompts from its roster of trainers. Later in the year, the company says it will add “different styles of workout” to take the game beyond boxing – the phrasing being used is “virtual fitness studio”.
As we noted at the time of the funding round, music is a crucial part of BoxVR (and now FitXR) with the punches, dodges and blocks in its workouts synchronised to soundtracks including rock, hip-hop, pop and drum’n’bass.
Thus far, that music is mainly being sourced from production libraries, but with FitXR already selling extra workouts as downloadable content (DLC) packs, there’s potential – as has been explored by VR game Beat Saber – for licensed artist packs too.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify CEO talks Covid-19, artist incomes and podcasting (interview)

Spotify announced its latest financial results yesterday, with growth in listeners and subscribers at the top end of its forecasts, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. CEO Daniel Ek talked to Music Ally after the financials were announced, starting with his view on the growth.
“It’s very encouraging. Already last earnings call we were seeing a lot of the numbers stabilising and it was looking very promising, so it’s nice to see that stability and to see more and more regions get back to normal again, with a continuing trend from Q1,” said Ek.
One of the lines that jumped out of Spotify’s Q2 earnings announcement was “Gone are the days of Top 40, it’s now the Top 43,000” – referring to the fact that the streaming service’s ‘top tier’ of artists – those accounting for the top 10% of its streams – now number more than 43,000, compared to 30,000 a year ago.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify Q2 2020 financial results reveal Covid-19 impact

The early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic’s global spread didn’t hamper Spotify’s growth in the first quarter of this year. But how about Q2, the first full quarter (near enough) of lockdowns, furloughs and financial uncertainties across much of the world?
Today we have our answer, with Spotify’s latest quarterly financial results.
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Source: Music ally

Shodement app aims to help independent artists build fanbases

UK firm Shodement has been building its ‘talent network’ since 2012, working on music projects and developing artists – the latter including investment, signing brand deals, booking live shows, managing releases and building fanbases.
It also has a creative agency division working with big brands of all stripes, and runs events and festivals. Now it’s also in the apps game, spurred by the current coronavirus pandemic.
“When Covid-19 hit, we saw an increased demand for our services, whilst most of our artists remained unaffected, generating thousands per month in revenue. This led us to build our own AI driven app that could make our resources accessible to artists worldwide,” said MD Jay Lamusica.
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Source: Music ally

Taylor Swift Folklore made $1.2m in three days… from one Chinese DSP

Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Folklore’ may have been a surprise release, but its popularity is entirely unsurprising. According to Republic Records, the album sold more than 1.3m copies in its first 24 hours, and was streamed 80.6m times on Spotify and 35.5m times on Apple Music.
Critical acclaim has been flooding in for the album, while the D2C strategy is already into its next phase: a phone stand, hair ties and bandana are the latest items up for grabs on her store.
Global sales are good, but we think there’s an even more interesting story in how ‘Folklore’ is being sold in China, on streaming service NetEase Cloud Music.
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Source: Music ally

Wiley’s antisemitic tweets spark 48-hour Twitter walkout

British artist Wiley had something of a meltdown on social media on Friday and Saturday, posting a series of antisemitic tweets and Instagram videos over a period of several hours.
Eventually his account on Twitter was temporarily suspended and many of the tweets removed, although a number of his posts are still live on Instagram at the time of writing.
Wiley has also been dropped by his long-term manager John Woolf of A-List Management, and also by his label’s distributor ADA.
“While Wiley controls and releases his music through his own label, he has a digital distribution agreement with ADA and we are terminating that agreement,” said the latter in a statement.
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Source: Music ally

Snoop Dogg / DMX Verzuz battle broke viewing records

Fresh from striking an exclusive deal with Apple Music, the Verzuz battles series garnered its highest viewing figures yet from its latest episode.
That’s the one where Snoop Dogg and DMX went head to head in a ‘battle of the dogs’ last Wednesday (22 July). Verzuz posted the stats itself, noting that the battle had more than 525,000 concurrent (simultaneous) viewers on Instagram at its peak, and more than two million viewers overall.
The broadcast generated 1.75bn impressions; sparked 168% more tweets than the previous record battle; and was a pretty big hit on Apple Music too.
On that platform, it had more than 600,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, and more than 1.4 million overall. According to Verzuz, that’s broken the “all-time Apple Music livestream record” – not bad for your first post-deal broadcast with the new partner.
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Source: Music ally

Influencers firm TalentX gets into the record label business

Will Josh Richards be the next new music star to emerge on TikTok? TalentX certainly hopes so. It’s the digital talent management company behind influencer collective Sway LA, of which Richards is a member, and he’s the first signing to the company’s new label TalentX Records.
It’s a partnership with Warner Records, which it claims is a first, and follows partnerships with Sony/ATV and management firm Ozone Entertainment, along with the appointment of a full-time head of music, Gavin Rudolph.
Keen followers of the TikToker penis-disparaging diss-tracks scene will already have a sense of Richards’ artistic merits: his ‘Still Softish’ song from earlier in 2020 has done 27.7m YouTube views and 11.7m Spotify streams.
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Source: Music ally

Former Echo Nest / Spotify exec invests in startup MyPart

MyPart is the Israeli startup that’s been working on technology for deep analysis of music, for A&R and other purposes. Part of the Abbey Road Red incubator, we profiled the startup earlier this year, and reported on its pitch at the NY:LON Connect conference in January.
Anyway, you know another company that famously built tech for deep analysis of music? The Echo Nest, which was ultimately acquired by Spotify to power its personalisation wizardry.
Now there’s a link across the startup generations, with The Echo Nest’s co-founder and chief scientific officer Tristan Jehan – later director of research at Spotify – joining MyPart’s advisory board and investing in the company.
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Source: Music ally

Beats marketplace BeatStars expands into distribution

BeatStars is the online music marketplace that famously sold Lil Nas X the $30 trap beat that he’d use for ‘Old Town Road’.
By June 2019, the company had paid out more than $50m to its community of producers supplying beats for sale, and that had grown to $70m by April 2020, when BeatStars signed a deal with Sony/ATV for the latter to provide its community with publishing and administration services.
Now there’s a new figure for payouts – $85m – and the announcement of a move into traditional distribution.
BeatStars Distribution will offer services for its 2m+ musicians to put their music on more than 30 download stores and streaming services, according to MBW, charging a flat monthly fee of $1.99 with musicians keeping 100% of their royalties.
The company says it signed up more than 4,000 artists for the new tool in its first week after launching.
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Source: Music ally

India’s new livestreaming tariff plans are already changing

We reported earlier this month on plans by Indian collecting society IPRS to start charging licensing fees for music livestreams – and initial criticism that the plans could leave artists out of pocket.
Now the plans are changing. Medianama reported that the introduction of the new tariffs appears to have been delayed until September, amid more protests from Indian musicians.
Then journalist (and Music Ally contributor) Amit Gurbaxani talked to IPRS for Firstpost about its plans. What’s happening now is that the collecting society is “working towards fixing revised licence fee rates” in response to the criticism, with CEO Rakesh Nigam promising that they will be “not a burden on anyone but that the IPRS members’ interests are protected”.
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Source: Music ally

Tencent Music reveals figures for indie artists initiative

‘Tencent Musician’ is Tencent Music’s program for independent artists in China, offering them distribution and promotion across its three streaming services. To celebrate the initiative’s third birthday, Tencent Music (TME) has published some figures.
“The program has generated 590 million yuan in revenue for original music content creators since its inception,” it announced. That’s around $84.3m. The initiative has seen artists release 850k tracks on TME’s services, generating more than 400bn streams.
The company also said that the first ‘One Hundred Million Yuan Incentive Project’ run by Tencent Musician helped more than 40% of its artists double their incomes, adding that since the Covid-19 pandemic began, it has organised 50 livestreamed concerts with artists that have reached an audience of nearly eight million people.
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Source: Music ally

TV Girl shine spotlight on Spotify fake music problem

‘Fake music’ on streaming services is an ongoing challenge for labels and artist teams to tackle.
That’s the case whether the music is really by a star but uploaded without their permission under a different artist name, or the flipside of that: music by an unknown artist uploaded in a way that makes it appear to be by an establish act – including appearing on their profile and in personalised recommendations for their fans.
The latest example is outlined by Input, with a rogue track on Spotify that appeared to be by the band TV Girls, but wasn’t. “They hadn’t greenlit a new single, and the cover art, a hi-res stock photo of two hands clasping, was a far cry from their usual two-tone, film-grain aesthetic… Instead of the hypnotic bedroom pop the band built its following on, this was generic, sanitised EDM,” it explained.
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Source: Music ally

Report hails Twitch’s ‘skyscraper’ viewing hours in Q2 2020

Another Covid-19 lockdown trend is the sharp growth of viewing hours for livestreaming video services, particularly Twitch. Industry firms StreamElements and Arsenal·gg have published their latest ‘State of the Stream’ report quantifying this growth.
“Twitch’s 2nd quarter chart bars look like skyscrapers compared to Q1’s single floor dwellings,” it claimed, with a chart showing monthly viewing hours for Twitch in Q1 and Q2. “Twitch grew 56% in hours watched in Q2 compared to Q1 of this year surpassing the 5 billion mark.”
There’s also a stat on how the ‘Music and Performing Arts’ category on Twitch is doing. “The 16th most viewed category with a 268% increase in hours watched from January to June 2020 with a peak viewership of 25m hours watched in May,” according to StreamElements.
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Source: Music ally

Twitter in ‘very early’ phase of exploring subscriptions

The key Covid-19 trends for social media seem clear: spikes in users and engagement (because lots more people are at home doomscrolling through their feeds) but big challenges to ad revenues, with brands holding back their budgets.
Twitter’s latest financial results are the latest evidence for both. The company averaged 186 ‘monetisable daily active users’ (mDAUs) in the second quarter of this year, up from 166 million in the first quarter.
However, Twitter’s revenues were down 19% year-on-year to $683m, leading to an operating loss for the company of $124m for the company compared to an operating profit of $76m this time last year.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify answers some questions about playlisting policies

This should be received wisdom by now, but still isn’t: getting on streaming playlists isn’t a marketing strategy. It’s certainly part of a wider plan, but putting your faith entirely in getting a prominent slot on a playlist is a big eggs-in-one-basket mistake.
And besides, in 2020, it’s all the other activity and your story as an artist that’s most likely to lead to playlist recognition.
Enough of our views though: Spotify has been putting some common questions to its playlist team, and publishing the answers on its blog.
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Source: Music ally

MMP app recommends music based on your facial expression

Facial recognition technology is currently a hot potato in all kinds of sectors, music included. So the idea of a music app that monitors the listener’s facial expression to provide recommendations may spook a fair few people.
It’s interesting to see what’s possible though, and a new app called MMP is using machine learning technology to “detect your mood based off your facial expression and pick a perfect song for you”. 
Released as a free Android app (with in-app purchases) by developer Carl Duncan, it claims to recognise seven separate moods from facial expressions: happy, sad, neutral, surprised, disgusted, angry and scared. The facial analysis isn’t constant: users press a camera button when they want to be scanned.
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Source: Music ally

Study explores how 90s music is being remembered (or not)

Research news of the day! “Millennials know ‘No Diggity.’ But Gen Z? Maybe half of them, at best.”
This is one of the findings from an interesting study published by The Pudding on how well (or not) hit songs from the 1990s are being remembered.
It’s based on more than 3m datapoints collected via a music quiz to find out which tracks have maintained their status, and which have faded from memory with new generations.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok launches a $200m ‘creator fund’ in the US

TikTok is paying a growing number of music creators through its licensing deals – see this week’s agreements with Believe and the NMPA for the latest on that.
Now the social app is launching a $200m fund in the US for ‘creators’ more generally – as in people creating videos on its platform.
“We’re launching the TikTok Creator Fund to encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers,” explained its announcement.
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Source: Music ally

Pandora kicks off a new series of concert livestreams

Streaming service Pandora is getting into the livestreaming game with a series of performances branded Pandora Live.
The first one takes place next week (28 July) with country star Kane Brown, with the promise of more “across country, Latin, R&B, pop, and rock” to follow this year.
Besides streaming performances live, Pandora said that there’ll be additional interactivity: “Select attendees will receive access to virtual meet and greets, Q&As with the artist, exclusive merchandise, live chat functionality, and more.”
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Source: Music ally

Bandcamp’s rev-share waiving Friday sales to continue

Bandcamp has held four of its special sales – Fridays where the platform waives its revenue share of all music and merch sales – since March, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
According to CEO Ethan Diamond, those four days generated more than $20m of sales for artists and labels on Bandcamp – a big chunk of the $75m spent on the platform since March. Diamond revealed the figures alongside an announcement to build on the success so far.
“Because the pandemic is far from over, we’ll continue to hold Bandcamp Fridays on the first Friday of every month until the end of the year,” he wrote. The next day is set for 7 August, then 4 September, 2 October, 6 November and 4 December.
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Source: Music ally

Taylor Swift drops surprise album… with eight deluxe editions

“Surprise,” wrote Taylor Swift in a social post yesterday. “Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.”
The album – ‘Folklore’ – was written and recorded in Covid-19 isolation. “Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world,” wrote Swift.
Cue predictable excitement for Swifties on social media, but also keen interest from the music industry: this is probably the most high-profile ‘quarantine’ album so far from a major artist, so the release and marketing strategy around it will be watched closely.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok signs licensing deal with US publishing body NMPA

Another day, another licensing deal for TikTok, and this one’s a biggie. It’s signed a global, multi-year agreement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the US.
That’s big because the NMPA has been rattling its sabre at TikTok for some time over licensing, with publishers angry at the lack of royalties coming their way for music used on the popular social app.
The deal “accounts for TikTok’s past use of musical works and sets up a forward-looking partnership” according to the announcement.
“This new partnership will give NMPA members the ability to opt-in to a licensing framework that allows them to benefit from their works included on TikTok and is effective retroactively as of May 1, 2020.”
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Source: Music ally

Apple-commissioned study defends App Store commission rates

Apple is facing antitrust scrutiny over the way it runs its App Store, including the 30% cut of in-app purchases (which drops to 15% for subscriptions after a year of someone paying) that it takes. But look! Here’s a study that has found “Apple’s App Store commission rate is similar in magnitude to the commission rates charged […]
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Source: Music ally

Actress gets a guess-to-unlock campaign for free track

Ninja Tune-signed artist Actress has launched what we can term a “guess-to-unlock” campaign for new (and free) track ’88’. The British electronic act started it all rolling by tweeting a very simple message on 14th July. “Album on bandcamp in 24hrs,” he wrote. There was some speculation among his fanbase that this was going to be the […]
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Source: Music ally

BTS set a new world record for livestreamed music audience

We’ve already reported on BTS’s successful ‘Bang Bang Con’ livestreamed concert in June. Now it’s been awarded an official Guinness World Record for attracting the ‘most viewers for a music concert live stream’. The official figure is 756,000 fans from more than 100 countries – and what made that even more impressive was that this was a paid livestream, with […]
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Source: Music ally

LyricFind expands into India and Africa with new teams

Lots of music companies see India and Africa as important areas for growth in the coming years, and that applies to companies focusing on lyrics too. LyricFind announced its expansion plans yesterday, with two new remote teams in India and South Africa. The Indian team will be focusing on providing lyrics in Hindi and Marathi, […]
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Source: Music ally

Napster lets subscribers choose charities for subs donation

Napster has launched a new charitable giving programme in the US called Napster4Good. People taking out a new Napster subscription can nominate a charity to receive a portion of their $9.99 a month, for as long as their subscription lasts. What’s more, the entirety of their first month’s subscription will go to that charity. Napster has […]
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Source: Music ally

Roblox head of music tells labels and artists: ‘We’re open for business!’

“Who in the room knows Roblox?” asked WMG’s chief innovation officer for recorded music Scott Cohen at the NY:LON Connect conference in January.
Only a few people put their hands up in response. “It’s a gaming platform for kids, and they not only play games, they create their own games and play those games with their friends,” continued Cohen.
“The average age there is between eight and 18. The music business is like ‘Holy shit, that’s our audience!’. There’s over 100 million monthly active users on this platform, and almost nobody in this room has ever heard of it? This is where the target audience is… This is where the kids are. Roblox.”
Music Ally has been reporting on Roblox for similar reasons: its announcement in February that it now had 115 million players and a $150m new funding round (the official figure has since grown to 120 million); its in-world livestream of the One World: Together At Home Covid-19 relief concert in April; the launch of AI-powered music-making game Splash in Roblox in May; and a recent study finding that “half of all children aged 9-12 in the USA play Roblox every week, logging over 1.5 billion hours a month on the platform”.
Here’s the latest news, particularly interesting in the light of Cohen’s comments: Roblox has a global head of music. In fact, Jon Vlassopulos has been there since August 2019, quietly working on a music strategy for the company.
His name may be familiar: in the late 1990s he was working at BMG on business development, including its investment in Napster and (ultimately canned) work building a music service that would mix filesharing, music cloud-locker storage, radio and recommendations.
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Source: Music ally

HBO Max and Peacock are already losing big movies

Imagine if, a few weeks after you started paying for Spotify or Apple Music, some of your favourite artists’ back catalogues disappeared from the service?
There have been pullouts like this in the past (Taylor Swift, most famously) but in 2020, we take it for granted that the catalogues of music streaming services are both comprehensive and stable – stuff doesn’t suddenly vanish.
In the online video world, as has been well documented already, it’s a very different story. Not only are exclusives par for the course, but TV shows and films are regularly taken down from Netflix and its rivals, as the licensing deals that put them there elapse.
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Source: Music ally

Lianne La Havas campaign wants fans to grow virtual flowers

British artist Lianne La Havas has just released her latest, self-titled album, and one of the marketing elements for it wants to encourage fans to get planting… virtually.
The ‘Flowerbed’ website is exactly that: a digital flowerbed where fans can plant a new flower every day. They make those flowers bloom by signing in to Spotify and listening to songs from La Havas’s discography.
There’ll be prizes and raffles as incentives for them to keep coming back and planting / playing, including signed CDs and vinyl copies of the new album, and vouchers for Fleurop, a (real!) flowers delivery service.
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Source: Music ally

Tim McGraw to host an ‘all-live album premiere’ livestream

The longer this lockdown goes on, the more artists are finding different ways to experiment with the format of livestreams – and also to charge for them.
Country star Tim McGraw is the latest example. He’s going to be holding a “unique all-live album premiere” event on 22 August, broadcasting from Nashville to tie in with his new album’s release.
“Tim McGraw is inviting all fans to participate in a one-time-only performance to share the stories behind the new songs,” explains the splash site. “Together with his band, McGraw will play some old favorites along with new tracks. Up-close and live, this will be an intimate performance with interaction and connection for everyone watching.”
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Source: Music ally

KKBox to launch OurBeat platform for aspiring beatmakers

“KKBOX Group and Bitmark’s Open Letter to Beatmakers” may be slightly over-egging the pudding of what’s basically the launch of a new licensing platform.
The letter, from Taiwan-headquartered digital music firm KKBox’s group chief content officer and rights tech company Bitmark’s CEO, is announcing OurBeat, which in fairness is an interesting thing.
“Anyone who registers their beats with our app can freely sample and remix beats from other OurBeat creators,” they explain. “Those beats are streamed on OurBeat Radio – free of cost for anyone to listen to, free of cost for anyone to contribute to. A constant 24/7 ad-free stream created by you and the OurBeat community.”
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Source: Music ally

Not retiring just yet: Logic signs a seven-figure Twitch deal

On 17 July, artist Logic announced his retirement ahead of the release of (seemingly) his final album ‘No Pressure’ a week later. “It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father,” he tweeted.
As it turns out, it’s also time to sign a megabucks exclusive deal with a livestreaming video service. That service is Twitch, which has made Logic the first musician to sign the kind of exclusivity deal that has traditionally been reserved for gaming streamers.
“I’m blessed enough to have millions of fans and followers. So it is a great partnership. I’m going to bring new eyes to their service, they’re going to bring new money to my bank account,” he joked to The Verge, before (not joking) saying the deal is worth seven figures. Logic already has more than 75,000 followers on Twitch ahead of a livestreamed premiere later today (21 July) of the new album.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok star Addison Rae is launching a podcast on Spotify

Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian West, Michelle Obama… and now Addison Rae. Spotify’s lineup of podcast exclusives continues to swell, with Rae the latest to join its roster.
She’s currently the second most popular star on TikTok with 51.4 million followers – behind only Charli D’Amelio’s 72.6 million – and now she has a deal with Spotify’s Parcast subsidiary for podcast Mama Knows Best.
It’s a collaboration with her mother Sheri Nicole, and will be exclusive to Spotify, with the first episode already available, and more to follow on a weekly basis. Terms of the deal haven’t been made public at this point.
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Source: Music ally

Amplify London pilot to fund five grassroots music projects

In February this year we wrote about Amplify London, a new partnership between YouTube Music and UK charity London Music Fund to support grassroots projects for young musicians.
Now the first five projects to benefit have been announced, which will reach up to 200 11-21 year-olds across London in the UK.
The projects include: a music studio for youth club Ambition Aspire Achieve, which works with vulnerable 12-14 year-olds; songwriting programme Voice Against Hate, which promotes respect and tackles hate in schools; six-day summer camp Girls Rock London in 2021 for young women and trans youth to learn instruments and form bands; six-week training programme for young rappers, producers and sound engineers Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation; and three-week summer songwriting camp Windrush Amplified, for vulnerable 11-16 year-olds.
The post Amplify London pilot to fund five grassroots music projects appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Spotify research explores dearth of UK podcast diversity

We reported recently on production company Broccoli Content’s launch of an ‘Equality in Audio’ pact to change the lack of diversity in the podcasting industry.
Spotify was one of the companies signing up – admittedly after a bit of public nudging from Broccoli Content boss Renay Richardson – and now the streaming service has published some research that shows why the pact is needed.
Fewer than 5% of the top 100 podcasts in the UK are hosted by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women or non-binary people, according to Spotify. Meanwhile, it interviewed 1,000 women in the UK who identify as BAME, and found that 74% think that BAME women are underrepresented in podcasting.
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Source: Music ally

Underoath launch three-part series of livestream concerts

Metalcore band Underoath are the latest artist to do something more involved with livestreaming.
Underoath: Observatory is a series of three concerts, each of which will see the band playing one of their albums in full, from a venue in Florida. Tickets for each show cost $15, while a three-show ticket bundle is $45.
However, each show also has the option of an ‘Elite’ ticket for $45, which adds an exclusive t-shirt, and a ‘Platinum’ ticket for $70, which adds the t-shirt and a vinyl copy of the album being played that night. Finally, there’s a $140 ‘All Access 3 Show Bundle’ which includes the t-shirt and all three vinyl albums.
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Source: Music ally

Renegade TikTok meme is now an official emote in Fortnite

Earlier this year, we published an article about how Atlanta rapper K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ track went viral on TikTok and Instagram last year, kickstarted by teenager Jalaiah Harmon’s video of herself dancing to the track.
The track was renamed ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ early this year to ensure that people searching for its ‘Renegade’ hook found it on streaming services.
This weekend, Harmon’s dance became an official ’emote’ in the game Fortnite. ‘The Renegade’ cost 500 V-Bucks to buy (around $5) and as with Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ emote earlier this year, a clip of the original track was included with the dance.
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Source: Music ally

PRS for Music and Qatar Airways case to be heard in England

UK collecting society PRS for Music is suing airline Qatar Airways for copyright infringement, and the case will be heard in the English courts – an early boost for the society.
“The airline, which operates over 200,000 flights per year, and offers music as an integral part of its in-flight service with up to 4,000 entertainment options, has never remunerated PRS members, songwriters, composers, and music publishers, for the use of their intellectual property,” said PRS for Music in its announcement of the news.
“With no equivalent representative collective management organisation situated in Qatar, Qatar Airways has for decades evaded licensing the performing right in copyrights used in its in-flight services.”
The post PRS for Music and Qatar Airways case to be heard in England appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Ultimate Fighting Championship launches music streaming app

We sometimes use ‘fight’ and ‘battle’ metaphors when talking about the music streaming market. Well, you wouldn’t want to get into a scrap with the latest entrant into that market.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the popular mixed martial arts organisation, and now it’s launched its own music streaming app: UFC Ultimate Sound. It’s the result of a deal with music firm ACX Music, promising UFC-themed mixes and content from its roster of fighters.
“UFC Ultimate Sound is packed with mixes for every type of workout, party or just for fun – all inspired by UFC and fighters on its roster. Fans can follow UFC fighters and get a taste for their music preferences,” as the announcement put it.
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Source: Music ally

Google joins Facebook with stake in JioSaavn’s parent telco

Reliance Jio Platforms is the parent company of Jio, the largest telco in India and the owners of the JioSaavn music streaming service. The company has been on a spree of funding announcements in recent months – raising more than $20.2bn from various technology companies and investors. We reported on Facebook taking a $5.7bn stake in April, […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitter hack by bitcoin scam compromised verified accounts

Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa and Apple’s official Twitter account all had a message for followers last night: to send them bitcoin, and because they were feeling generous, they’d send back double. Sit down and grab the smelling salts for this revelation: their accounts had been […]
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Source: Music ally

Two more livestreaming startups: Gramrphone and LiveFrom

And still the new livestreaming startups keep coming: we have two more to tell you about today. Gramrphone was one of the six winners in the #NextStageChallenge hackathon earlier this year – Music Ally was a partner in that event. Its service helps artists to stream live from their digital audio workstation (DAW) via Gramrphone’s software, creating their […]
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Source: Music ally

Amazon IVS could help music companies build their own Twitch

Amazon already owns one of the key livestreaming video platforms, in Twitch. Now its Amazon Web Services division is launching something that could help brands (perhaps including labels) to create their own-brand versions of Twitch. It’s called Amazon Interactive Video Services (IVS) and is described as “a managed live streaming solution that is quick and easy to […]
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Source: Music ally

Will Smith has joined the lo-fi hip-hop YouTube bandwagon

In the Q1 2020 edition of our Music Ally Report (which you can read here if you missed it) we looked at ‘the hi-power growth of lo-fi hip-hop playlists’ on YouTube and Spotify alike. Round-the-clock streams of chilled-out hip hop have attracted millions of subscribers to YouTube channels run by curators like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music, […]
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Source: Music ally

Liteboxer launches, already hailed as the ‘Peloton of boxing’

Liteboxer is the latest fitness startup that’s making music a key part of its service. It launched yesterday, with both TechCrunch and Engadget running with the ‘Peloton of boxing’ shorthand to describe the company’s offering. That means a combination of hardware and software: a free-standing machine with lights to guide your punches, which connects to a smartphone or tablet app […]
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis buys catalogue of songwriter and producer RedOne

Another day, another catalogue acquisition for deep-pocketed investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund. This time it belongs to Grammy-winning songwriter and producer RedOne, whose credits include collaborations with Lady Gaga (‘Poker Face’, ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Just Dance’ included); Nicki Minaj, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez. Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of RedOne’s songs and recorded music interests: […]
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music gets its own program for emerging artists

Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to launch a programme to push emerging artists. It is called Breakthrough and echoes the initiatives of Spotify (Radar), Apple Music (Up Next), Deezer (Next) and other rivals. The initial crop of acts is drawn from the US, UK and Germany – Arlo Parks, Jay1, Kiana Ledé, Gabby Barrett, Provinz […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple News updates show how Apple and Spotify’s audio strategies differ

Spotify’s ‘audio-first’ strategy – as originally outlined here – is about one audio app to rule them all, currently focused on music and podcasts, with an eye to other kinds of content in the future. All delivered through the same app. Apple’s strategy is markedly different: its audio is split between three different apps. Music in Apple […]
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Source: Music ally

Live concerts are opening up again in Japan and Germany

It’s important that the industry (us included) starts to move away from talking about the ‘live concerts shutdown’ as a global trend, now that a growing number of countries are tentatively opening up their live industries again. In Japan, for example, the government has further relaxed its restrictions on mass gatherings. Having previously capped indoor events […]
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Source: Music ally

Watch for YouTube impact of Facebook’s music videos move

Let us take you back on a short tour of Facebook music-video speculation. Start in 2012 when reports claimed Vevo – then the key aggregator of music videos – was in talks to ditch YouTube in favour of a partnership with Facebook. Then move to 2015, when video was one of the topics in the social network’s tentative talks […]
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Source: Music ally

IAB report quantifies Covid-19 hit to US podcast ad revenues

Advertising industry body the IAB has published its latest figures on the podcast ads market in the US. “With an expected growth rate of 14.7%, US podcast advertising revenues are nearing the $1bn mark,” it claimed.
Are they really, though? The report doesn’t actually give a figure for its 2020 revenue prediction, but it does for 2019: $708.1m. 14.7% growth on that would mean $812.2m of podcast advertising revenues in 2020. It’s certainly nearer to $1bn than last year, but ‘near’ seems a bit of a stretch.
The report does explain how the IAB has revised its original forecasts for the year though: it expected 29.6% growth for the US podcast ads market this year (which would have taken it to $917.7m) before the Covid-19 pandemic hoved into view, causing many ad campaigns to be put on hold.
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Source: Music ally

Feature·fm adds conversion data from Anghami, Qobuz and more

We’ve reported on Linkfire’s various partnerships to get conversion (or ‘attribution’) data from streaming services, so that music marketers can tell not just that fans tapped or clicked on smart links, but whether they streamed, followed etc afterwards.
But this isn’t an idea confined to one smart-links company. Feature·fm has just announced the addition of its own conversion and attribution features, starting with artists’ own merchandise stores, as well as from data partners Rough Trade, Anghami and Qobuz.
“The advanced attribution data we provide means you will be able to see conversion data for sales, streams and revenue after a fan clicks through to a store from one of your links,” promised the company, which is making the feature available to its Pro Artist, Pro Marketer and Enterprise customers.
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Source: Music ally

Pitbull signs LiveXLive deal for paid livestreams and vodcast

Pitbull is the latest artist looking to do more with livestreaming and video content, and he’s found a partner to help.
He’s working with US firm LiveXLive in a “multi-year revenue-share content partnership” that will see Pitbull play a series of pay-per-view livestream concerts, while also launching a video podcast (or ‘vodcast’). The latter will be distributed through PodcastOne, the podcasting network that LiveXLive recently bought.
The first livestreamed concert will be on 12 September, as part of a run of four weekly events for which tickets will cost $9.99 a pop from LiveXLive’s site and apps. Tickets won’t be the only revenues either.
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Source: Music ally

Twitch set for multi-week run of Amazon Music Sessions

Slowly but surely, the crossover between Amazon Music and its parent company’s Twitch subsidiary is growing.
Amazon Music’s channel on the livestreaming platform has been ramping up during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the streaming service has also been throwing some promotional weight behind artists’ own streams on Twitch.
Now it’s launching a series of ‘Amazon Music Sessions’ of its own, which it describes as a “multi-week run of performances, Q&As, discography discussions and community interaction” from artists.
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Source: Music ally

FanTracks and Bulldog DM are the latest livestream startups

To adapt the old cliché about buses: you wait ages for a music livestream startup to arrive, then two come at once! Except actually, the two are arriving just after what feels like another couple of dozen. Can FanTracks and Bulldog DM stand out from the crowd?
FanTracks is launching with a prominent artist at least: rock band Bush, who’ll be livestreaming a concert on its platform this Saturday (18 July). They’ll play a 70-minute set from a studio, with fans able to choose different camera angles, tweak a four-channel audio mixer and access ‘AR experiences’.
FanTracks also says its platform will be capable of hosting pre-show channels, merch deals, virtual signings and post-show Q&As.
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Source: Music ally

Indian TikTok rival Roposo is adding 500k new users an hour

TikTok remains banned in India, and some of the rival short-form video services there are enjoying their moment in the sun as a result. One of them, Roposo, has given some startling figures to Bloomberg on its growth in the wake of the ban.
“It’s peaking at 500,000 new users an hour and expects to have 100 million by month’s end. That’s almost double the 55 million it had before the ban,” explained the report, which also quotes Naveen Tewari, CEO of Roposo’s parent company InMobi: “It was a rocket ship instant for the country’s app startups.”
The story is also a good refresher on Roposo’s recent history. Originally founded by three graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, it grew to 42 million users before being acquired by Glance, the maker of a popular app showing news and content on people’s smartphone lock-screens.
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Source: Music ally

PRS for Music warns of royalties hit to come from Covid-19

British collecting society PRS for Music has offered another warning that the Covid-19 pandemic will be delivering its biggest hit to songwriter royalties later this year.
PRS has just paid out its July 2020 distribution, £132.4m, which was up by 3% year-on-year. However, CEO Andrea Martin warned the society’s members that there are tough times ahead.
“As this distribution covers revenue collected mostly prior to Covid-19, we are only just starting to see the impact of the pandemic on royalty payments in July’s distribution. This will mean a further reduction in the royalties usually seen from Live, Public Performance, Commercial Radio, and International from October 2020 onwards,” she said in a statement.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify Russia launch is part of eastern Europe expansion

Last week’s reports of an imminent Spotify launch in Russia were correct, but it’s part of a wider expansion in eastern Europe for the streaming service.
Yesterday, it launched in 13 new countries in the region: Russia plus Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The launches came with 200 new playlists focusing on artists from the region, with five of the countries getting Spotify’s free and premium tiers, and the other eight getting those plus its family, student and couple subscriptions.
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Source: Music ally

Live Nation to double Black US leadership representation by 2025

The latest music company making promises about how it plans to make its senior management more diverse is Live Nation.
“We commit to increasing diversity at every level of our company. This will start at the very top with our Board of Directors, where we plan to nominate more Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and women candidates as we strive towards having at least 30% of our directors be diverse by 2025,” explained CEO Michael Rapino in an open letter to staff.
“In the United States, we plan to have doubled our Black leadership representation, and to have increased our overall racially/ethnically diverse leadership representation to 30% by 2025. We’ll be investing at least $10 million globally over the next two years as we expand and launch new programs focused on developing, promoting and hiring Black and underrepresented talent as we work to bring our overall employee population to parity across race and gender in every country.”
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Source: Music ally

Jason DeRulo makes ‘far more’ than $75k per TikTok post

Apparently rumours on Twitter have suggested that music artist Jason DeRulo earns around $75k for every TikTok video that he posts. Complex went to the horse’s mouth to establish whether it’s true, asking DeRulo about it in an interview.
“I think it’s tacky to say what I do make from them, but it’s far more than that!” said DeRulo. “But I’m not gonna say what it is.”
DeRulo has 28.3 million followers on TikTok, and his last 10 posts have averaged 8.1m views apiece. DeRulo also talked about TikTok’s growth, after his use of it was compared (by the interviewer) to DJ Khaled’s breakthrough on Snapchat in late 2015.
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Source: Music ally

Music Tectonics launches community app for the music biz

You might know Music Tectonics for its music industry podcast, or for its conferences in the US. Created by PR company Rock Paper Scissors, it’s now pulling its content and community together in a mobile app.
Released for Android and for iPhone yesterday, it’s aimed at anyone working in / interested in the intersection of music and technology.
It offers a community forum, a curated news feed, and exclusive videos from Music Tectonics events, as well as livestreams. There’ll be some launch content this week, including interviews with journalist Cherie Hu and CD Baby boss Tracy Maddux, and a livestream from Music Tectonics / Rock Paper Scissors chief Dmitri Vietze.
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Source: Music ally

Canada music consumption up 5.7% this year despite Covid-19

Nielsen Music / MRC Data has published its mid-year report on the Canadian music market, revealing that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, total audio consumption rose by 5.7% in Canada in the first half of 2020.
That’s based on the research firm’s formula blending album and track sales with on-demand audio streams. Breaking that down, Canadians streamed 42.2bn on-demand audio tracks in the first half of this year, up by 16.7% year-on-year.
That was enough to outweigh a sharp decline in total album sales (down 38.4% to 3.1m units for digital and physical combined) and a 26.6% drop in digital track sales.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches top and trending podcasts charts in 26 countries

More than 15 million people follow Spotify’s ‘Global Top 50’ music chart, making it an important discovery channel on the service. Now it’s looking to do the same thing for podcasts, albeit locally.
This afternoon, Spotify is launching podcast charts in 26 countries, including the US and UK. The format mirrors its music rankings: the podcast equivalents of the ‘Top 50’ and ‘Viral 50’ charts will be ‘Top Podcasts’ and ‘Trending Podcasts’.
In seven countries, there will be sub-charts devoted to individual podcast genres – true crime and so on – in that country. At launch, the charts will be available within Spotify’s iOS and Android apps, within the podcasts section of the search/browse screen.
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Source: Music ally

Zoë Keating and David Lowery talk streaming, fans and music artists

Besides being musicians, Zoë Keating and David Lowery have been two of the most prominent voices for artists’ rights in the streaming era.
Solo artist Keating has regularly published her streaming income data to further transparency around payouts for artists. She was an early adopter of Bandcamp, went public with her concerns about YouTube’s artist contracts in early 2015, and was one of the first artists to talk about the potential of blockchain technology for music.
Lowery combines his music career (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven) with teaching at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, running artist-rights blog The Trichordist – which publishes its own annual table of average per-stream rates – and also filed a class action lawsuit against Spotify on behalf of independent songwriters in late 2015. The lawsuit was settled in 2017.
Earlier this month, Music Ally brought Keating and Lowery together (via Zoom) for a conversation about streaming and artists. Specifically, in the light of recent public discussions about how the model pays off for musicians – #BrokenRecord in the UK for example – how they think streaming could and should improve.
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Source: Music ally

Report analyses every single YouTube ‘trending’ video of 2019

More than 70k videos appeared in YouTube’s ‘trending’ section last year. That’s the tab that spotlights videos that YouTube’s algorithm thinks are currently taking off, and it can drive significant traffic to them.
So how does it work? Data scientist Ammar Alyousfi has been doing the hard work, analysing the data from those 70k videos to identify interesting patterns.
Among the findings: some videos appeared on the trending list when they only had around 50,000 views; most trending videos have titles between 36 and 64 characters long and descriptions between 500 and 1,500 characters long; on average videos take around one and a half days to appear on the trending tab for the first time; the average number of tags used is 21; and the most common objects in thumbnails for trending videos is a person.
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Source: Music ally

The Streets set for August pay-per-view livestream concert

The Streets are the latest artist to explore ticketed livestreams, with plans for a pay-per-view concert on 6 August filmed at the Earth venue in London.
It’s part of the band’s series of drive-in concerts across the UK, planned to replace the string of festival dates which were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The livestream tickets will cost £10 in a presale and then £15 when they go on general sale, with additional album and merch bundles, and the option to donate to charity Show Racism the Red Card.
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Source: Music ally

Rave Family Block Fest Minecraft festival postponed again

We reported on Friday about the bumpy start for Rave Family Block Fest, the dance music festival being held within the game Minecraft.
People who’d paid for tickets to attend were finding it difficult to access the event, and when they did get in, they realised that the music itself had to be streamed separately from MixCloud. Later that day, the event’s organisers decided to postpone it for a second time, to sort out the problems.
“It’s not fair to anyone involved to deliver a subpar experience and knowing what we’ve actually built versus what we were able to deliver is heartbreaking. People who attended paid for an experience that they deserve,” said the announcement.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook SDK, not Juice Wrld album, crashed Spotify

Music Ally is long enough in the tooth to remember the days when big music stars really could cause traffic spikes that might crash big digital services.
That’s rarely the case nowadays, which is why we were extremely sceptical on Friday when we saw the headline ‘Juice Wrld’s fans crash Spotify as posthumous third album drops’. There’s no doubt that there was anticipation around the release of ‘Legends Never Die’, but surely not Spotify-crashing levels of anticipation.
Sure enough, the truth was more prosaic. Spotify’s iPhone app was crashing on Friday: listeners tapping on its icon saw it begin to launch before quitting out.
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Source: Music ally

MLC says it will launch its user portal ‘later this quarter’

The US’s new Mechanical Licensing Collective body (MLC) has provided an update on its plans to launch a portal for independent songwriters to register their works.
At the NY:LON Connect conference in January, MLC chair Alisa Coleman said the aim was to have the portal live early in the second quarter of 2020. Then the global Covid-19 pandemic happened, so it’s no surprise that the plans have been pushed back.
“The MLC intends to begin rolling out the first version of its user portal later this quarter,” explains a press release now. “This version will enable users to set-up their accounts and then search, view and edit The MLC’s data for existing musical works and register new musical works.”
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Source: Music ally

Bandcamp generated $20m of sales for artists in last month

The Financial Times is the latest publication with an approving profile of Bandcamp. It’s part of a wave of admiration for the platform after its recent Covid-19 and Juneteenth / Black Lives Matter rev-share waiving sales, as well as the wider issue of artists’ income from streaming.
There’s a new figure too. “Over a 30-day period to July 10, artists sold more than $20m worth of products,” reported the FT.
Note, that period did *not* include Bandcamp’s three Covid-19 sales days (on 20 March, 1 May and 5 June) although it did include the Juneteenth sale on 19 June.
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Source: Music ally

There are now one billion mobile games downloads every week

The mobile games industry is one of the sectors benefitting from the Covid-19 pandemic, at least in terms of people’s engagement with its products.
According to analytics firm App Annie, there were an average of 1bn mobile game downloads a week during the second quarter of this year, up by 20% year-on-year.
“Quarantined consumers also set new quarterly records for consumer spend in mobile games, with over $19 billion spent on purchases through the app stores in Q2 2020 — the largest quarter ever,” it explained, adding that by the end of this year, mobile games will be generating more than three times the revenues of console games.
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Source: Music ally

Penguin Random House reveals its ‘accelerated inclusion plan’

As the guests on the recent #TheShowMustBePaused edition of the Music Ally TV Show made clear, music companies promising to address a lack of diversity in their businesses is good, but the proof will be in what they actually do to make that happen.
With that in mind, see what book-publishing giant Penguin Random House UK is doing: it announced an “accelerated inclusion plan” yesterday, with some clear targets.
Those include making sure that new hires and acquisitions (the latter meaning book deals – the publishing industry’s equivalent of labels’ signings) must be at a minimum ‘reflective of the UK’s different ethnicities’ by 2023; that the company will publish ethnicity pay gap reports; will hold mandatory exclusivity training for all staff; and will review the advances it pays to authors and its marketing spend to ensure there aren’t disparities based on ethnicity.
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Source: Music ally

Sony Corporation invests $250m in Fortnite maker Epic Games

Sony Music’s parent company is investing $250m in Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite.
Sony Corporation announced the deal yesterday, and said it “allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem”.
That could spell more opportunities for Sony Music artists, following Travis Scott’s recent Fortnite event. Bear in mind, though, that the partnership will surely be centred on the PlayStation side of Sony’s business.
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Source: Music ally

‘Contextual intelligence’ startup NumberEight raises $2.3m

We’ve written about UK-based startup NumberEight a few times in the past: for example its Midemlab contest pitch in 2018, and its first funding round later that year.
The company has been working on “contextual intelligence” technology, using various sensors on smartphones to understand what their owners are doing, and then (after anonymising them) to help digital services serve those people accordingly.
“For music-streaming services, this technology could be used, for example, to understand whether someone is at the gym or travelling on a bus, and adapt accordingly – from music recommendations to targeted advertising,” is how we described it in 2018.
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Source: Music ally

BoxVR developer FitXR raises $7.5m of Series A funding

If Music Ally’s news has packed a little more… punch recently, it might be because our editor’s lockdown-fitness activity is jabbing, hooking and upper-cutting thin air in virtual reality game BoxVR.
Now the game’s developer, British startup FitXR, has raised $7.5m of Series A funding – specifically $6.3m from VC firms and a $1.2m innovation loan from Innovate UK.
The company says it plans to expand its operations in Europe and North America and launch “several exciting new products and services for people to keep fit in virtual reality” with the funding.
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Source: Music ally

Recording Academy stresses diversity of its new members

US industry body the Recording Academy has faced a lot of criticism about the diversity of its membership in recent years. It’s hoping to win some praise for its 2020 intake though.
More than 2,300 new people have been invited to join, and while the big names include John Legend, Ozuna and Yolanda Adams, it’s the demographics of the whole group that the organisation is keen to shout about.
“The 2020 class of invitees is 48 percent female, 21 percent African American African descent, eight percent Hispanic, and three percent Asian American and Pacific Islander,” explained its announcement. “The representation of this class also spans ages, genre and region.”
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Source: Music ally

UnitedMasters Select gives artists 100% of their royalties

Music distributor UnitedMasters has launched a new tier for the artists who use its service. it’s called UnitedMasters Select, and it’ll cost them $5 a month – but will enable artists to keep 100% of the royalties for their music.
The alternative is a free tier where the royalty split between artists and UnitedMasters is 90/10. The company is promising that Select artists will also see their releases go live on the major streaming platforms in 10 days or less, while also getting access to its growing stable of partnerships with brands.
Talking of which, a new partnership was also announced yesterday, with broadcaster ESPN. It’ll be picking music from artists on the ‘Select’ tier to use within its sports shows and promo content.
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Source: Music ally

Court grants motion to dismiss Wixen / Pandora complaint

In June 2019, Wixen Music Publishing sued streaming service Pandora, alleging ‘unauthorized commercial exploitation’ of lyrics from songs in its catalogue. The case focused on Pandora’s feature showing lyrics from partners including LyricFind, which was mentioned in the lawsuit.
How’s the case going? Well, there’s been a development this week. The latest filing reveals that Pandora moved to dismiss the case in January, but before that could be ruled on, Pandora and Wixen entered settlement talks.
Now the court’s patience appears to have run out with those.
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Source: Music ally

175m music fans are tracking artists in WMG’s Songkick app

Warner Music Group bought the Songkick app and website in July 2017, and has continued to run it since as a way for people to find out when artists they like are playing concerts near them. WMG is also continuing to invest in Songkick: today, for example, it announced the appointment of a VP of technology […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: Amazon Music subscriptions grew by 104% in last year

Research firm Counterpoint Research has published its latest estimates for the size of the music streaming market globally. It claims that by the end of March there were 394m music subscriptions globally, representing year-on-year growth of 35%.
Counterpoint also offered its estimates for some of the biggest players, suggesting that Spotify accounted for 33% of subscriptions and 30% of subscription revenues at the end of Q1 2020, followed by Apple Music (21% of subscriptions and 25% of revenue).
Amazon is the big grower though: Counterpoint claimed that its subscriptions more than doubled (104%) year-on-year, while its share of revenues was 12%, ahead of fourth-ranked YouTube Music (9%) and fifth-placed Pandora (5%).
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Source: Music ally

Report: half of US 9-12 year-olds play Roblox every week

People in the music business (us included) bang on about Fortnite a lot, but we think Roblox is another gaming platform that should be less under the radar for our industry.
A new report by children’s media research firm Dubit offers some stats that might help. “Half of all children aged 9-12 in the USA play Roblox every week, logging over 1.5 billion hours a month on the platform,” it explained.
Roblox isn’t a game: it’s a platform full of games created by users – YouTube is its equivalent in the video world. There are more than 115 million of those users every month.
“Games can quickly grow to over 600k concurrent players, and the most popular have over 1 billion plays,” added the report. The top game on Roblox earns more than $10m a year, while the top 100 games average $420k of annual revenues.
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Source: Music ally