Author: Stuart Dredge

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.
The post Music Tectonics launches community app for the music biz appeared first on Music Ally.
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.
The post Canada music consumption up 5.7% this year despite Covid-19 appeared first on Music Ally.
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.
The post Spotify launches top and trending podcasts charts in 26 countries appeared first on Music Ally.
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.
The post Zoë Keating and David Lowery talk streaming, fans and music artists appeared first on Music Ally.
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

Mrs. Green Apple celebrated fifth birthday in Animal Crossing

If you’re a regular reader of Music Ally, you may have spotted that we have some Animal Crossing fans on the team.
We’ve seen a couple of music marketing campaigns make use of the latest version of the game, Nintendo Switch title Animal Crossing: New Horizons – pop artist Alice Chater turning her music video outfits into in-game clothing for fans to wear, for example.
Now Billboard has news of how Japanese group Mrs. Green Apple celebrated their fifth anniversary by creating an Animal Crossing island themed around their career so far.
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Source: Music ally

Liam Payne set to launch ticketed livestreams on Veeps

Veeps! Another new livestreaming startup for artists? Actually, no, this one’s been around since 2017, and was founded by Benji and Joel Madden from rock band Good Charlotte.
It’s a platform for ticketed livestreams, and the latest artist to sign up is a biggie: former One Direction star Liam Payne. He’s going to be launching a series of ticketed livestreams on Veeps, starting on 17 July, with fans able to pay what they want (well, above a minimum spend of $10) to watch a fully-produced, full-band show broadcast from a music venue.
And, as with other platforms, there’s the promise of interactivity during the set: “Using a series of special effects and features, Liam will be uniquely equipped to interact with his audience during the show,” explained the announcement.
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Source: Music ally

Livestreaming startup Yoop to open more ‘eSpace’ venues

We wrote about startup Yoop in May, as the latest entrant to 2020’s livestreaming-platform scramble. Its concept was an ‘eSpace’ virtual venue, which artists would be able to play ticketed live performances in.
Now Yoop is expanding its activities: it’s creating eSpace venues in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and the UK, to complement its existing space in Montreal.
These are physical venues configured for Yoop’s livestreams: the idea being that artists can come in and quickly get a performance up and running that looks and sounds great to people watching online.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify snags $20m podcast advertising deal with Omnicom

Podcasts have sent Spotify’s valuation soaring in recent weeks, but they’re also starting to generate income for the company.
Yesterday, it announced a ‘strategic podcast advertising partnership’ with advertising giant Omnicom Media Group, which sees the latter committing a $20m spend for the remainder of 2020.
Note, this is a drop in the ocean of Omnicom’s $35bn annual spend – 0.06% to be specific – but it’s a start as Spotify looks to grow advertising revenues for its non-music content.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify sees more labels and distributors crediting songwriters

Spotify’s head of songwriter and publishing relations Jules Parker says that the streaming service’s addition of songwriter credits had a knock-on effect for labels and distributors.
“Since we began publicly displaying song credits on Spotify in 2018, we’ve seen a 60% increase in how often labels and distributors credit songwriters on their new releases, allowing artists and fans to dig deeper and recognise the work behind the scenes,” said Parker, in an interview for Spotify’s own blog.
The interview was supporting an expansion of Spotify’s ‘songwriter pages’ feature, which launched in beta this February. The company tells Music Ally that it will launch “hundreds” more profile pages for songwriters in the coming weeks, with ‘Written By’ playlists gathering recordings of their songs.
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Source: Music ally

TikTok was world’s most downloaded non-gaming app in June

Analytics firm Sensor Tower has published its latest rankings for mobile apps, reporting that TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app globally in June 2020, ahead of Zoom and Facebook.
The company claims that TikTok was downloaded more than 87m times across Apple and Google’s app stores, up 52.7% year-on-year. However, its top two markets – India (accounting for 18.8% of TikTok’s downloads in June) and the US (8.7%) – are the ones where it’s currently facing big challenges, as we reported yesterday.
Sensor Tower also estimates that TikTok was the top grossing non-game app globally in June, ahead of YouTube and Tinder, with more than $90.7m of user spending. 89% of this revenue came from its Chinese version Douyin – and it’s only user spending, not advertising revenues.
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Source: Music ally

After India ban, TikTok could face further sanctions in US

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been hit by a ban in India as part of a wider crackdown on apps of Chinese origin.
But there may be trouble brewing for the companies in the US, too, due both to the political jockeying around hardball trade negotiations between the US and China, and specific regulatory issues with TikTok in the US.
Speaking to Fox News this week, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if the US might ban TikTok and other social media apps from China.
“We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” he said. “We have worked on this very issue for a long time.”
Pompeo went on to bracket the issue with previous measures taken against Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE: “With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too.”
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Source: Music ally

China now has 904m internet users – 75m more than last year

A report published by the research division of the South China Morning Post puts some new figures on the growth of internet access in China – a key driver for the streaming music market there.
The report claims that there are now 904 million internet users in China – 63% of the population – with 75 million having been added in the last year.
Of the total, 897 million people are using the mobile internet, and 765 million are using mobile payments – the latter figure is 185 million more than last year.
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Source: Music ally

MelodyVR and Live Nation set for Brixton Academy livestreams

We reported last week on VR music startup MelodyVR’s financial performance in 2019 – £195k of revenues but a net loss of nearly £15m.
The company is continuing to explore new partnerships to grow its business, though, with the latest being a deal with Live Nation in the UK.
The pair will launch a series of live concerts from the O2 Academy Brixton venue in London, with fans able to buy tickets to watch online – in 360 degrees and/or virtual reality via MelodyVR’s app on smartphones and Oculus VR headsets.
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Source: Music ally

Wiz Khalifa to play Genius Live interactive livestream

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about livestreamed concerts during the Covid-19 lockdown, it’s that fans relish interactivity: at its simplest level seeing an artist read and respond to comments in between songs.
Genius is going further though: it’s launching a new “performance-oriented livestreaming and experiential platform” called Genius Live, with lots of interactivity.
Wiz Khalifa will be first to play a Genius Live concert this Thursday (9 July). It’ll be free to watch, and fans will be able to vote on the setlist, leave tips, chat to one another, and spend money on “special purchases” including getting a shoutout from Khalifa, or even going virtually ‘on stage’ with him.
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19: US music industry ‘missed out on nearly 900m streams’

Research firm Nielsen Music/MRC Data has published the ‘fifth wave’ of its ongoing study of Covid-19’s impact on the music and entertainment industries, based on surveys in the US up to the week of 10-14 June.
Among the findings: audio and video music streams have recovered from their initial decline in the early weeks of the US locking down, and a second dip in early June coinciding with protests across the country.
The net impact of those declines, though: “Given how streaming was trending, we can approximate the industry missed out on nearly 900 million streams,” suggests the report.
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Source: Music ally

UK musician bodies criticise Epidemic Sound / Adobe deal

In June, creative-software company Adobe announced the launch of a library of royalty-free music and audio with partners Epidemic Sound and Jamendo. Now two bodies representing musicians in the UK have attacked one of those deals.
The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union aren’t happy about Epidemic Sound’s business model of paying composers upfront in ‘full buyout deals’ which do not earn them royalties in the future.
“Epidemic Sound CEO Oscar Hoglund claims that musicians will benefit from being discovered on Adobe through Shazam. This exposure narrative forms part of a widespread exploitative model that the music industry has difficulty shaking. Exposure without royalties doesn’t pay the bills,” said the MU’s Naomi Pohl.
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Source: Music ally

UMG strikes distribution deal with Indian label Desi Melodies

Universal Music Group has big ambitions in India, having launched local hip-hop label Mass Appeal India last August; building its VRYL Originals roster of artists; and expanding its leadership team early this year.
Now UMG has announced a distribution deal with Indian label Desi Melodies, which focuses on Punjabi music – at a time when ‘regional’ music is one of the big growth areas in India. The deal is multi-year, exclusive and global.
UMG will distribute all audio recordings from Desi Melodies, including its back catalogue. Note ‘audio’ in that sentence: the Indian label has more than 5.5 million subscribers and 1.6bn views on its YouTube channel, but that appears to be not included in the deal.
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Source: Music ally

Next-gen console games may see retail price rise to $69.99

There’s an ongoing debate about why the base cost of a music streaming subscription ($9.99 a month) hasn’t risen since 2008. What’s happening in adjacent entertainment markets?
The Washington Post reports that the recommended retail price (RRP) of major games is set to rise by 10 dollars when Sony and Microsoft release their next-generation consoles later this year.
The RRP is expected to rise from $59.99 – a price that’s been maintained since 2005 – to $69.99, with basketball game NBA 2K21 the first to break cover with the new price.
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Source: Music ally

Harry Styles reads a ‘sleep story’ for meditation app Calm

“Hello. I’m Harry Styles…” Those four words have set off some social-media excitement overnight, spoken by Styles himself in a promo video for meditation app Calm.
He’s going to be reading one of the ‘sleep stories’ that have been so popular in the app, with the idea being that Harry’s voice will send fans off to sleep at night.
Calm followed up by tweeting a photo of Styles recording his story, which will be released tomorrow (8 July), yielding responses ranging from ‘OH MY GOD’ and ‘WHAT THE F**K I THOUGHT THIS WAS A JOKE’ to ‘DUE TO PERSONAL REASONS I HAVE PASSED AWAY’ and ‘I WANT THIS ETCHED INTO MY BRAIN FOREVER HOLY F**K’ (and a few responses without all-caps and/or enthusiastic swearing).
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Source: Music ally

Anti-piracy project The Music Mission reports first findings

In March, anti-piracy firm AudioLock and distributor Label Worx launched a campaign called The Music Mission, to try to shut down paid piracy websites, with backing from dance labels like Defected.
Now the initiative appears to be releasing some findings from its investigations, according to filesharing-focused news site TorrentFreak. Some of those findings are eye-opening.
“One particular pirate store owner conveniently have their own anti-virus software company as well as a music watermarking company. Both good partners to an anti-piracy company,” claimed The Music Mission. No, it’s not naming these companies at this point, for legal reasons.
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Source: Music ally

Youth Music launches £2m Incubator Fund for 18-25 year-olds

British charity Youth Music is launching a £2m ‘Incubator Fund’ that aims to help 18-25 year-olds – particularly those from under-represented groups – get into the music business.
The fund itself is for music companies, offering grants of between £5k and £30k to spend on wages and support for these young people. Youth Music is especially interested in ‘micro’ enterprises and small companies with up to 49 employees.
The fund will be open to companies, not-for-profit organisations and collectives working in the music industries – the charity is using that plural in its application guidance to stress that it’s not just talking about labels and recorded music.
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Source: Music ally

Tech firms want ‘strong copyright safe harbours’ in US/UK deal

With the UK ‘Brexiting’ the European Union, it’ll need a new trade deal with the US. Unsurprisingly, the big American internet companies have views on what that trade deal should require from the UK in terms of copyright and safe harbour rules. And no, sticking to the spirit of the recent European Copyright Directive isn’t […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music launches Africa Rising artist discovery initiative

Apple Music really is going big on music from Africa. The service’s latest move is a bi-monthly ‘artist program and companion playlist‘ which it says will focus on emerging talent from across Africa. Every two months, a new artist will be chosen to focus on – Nigerian-born Omah Lay is the first – with plans to “use […]
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Source: Music ally

Musician Maria Schneider files class action YouTube lawsuit

Artist and composer Maria Schneider has criticised YouTube publicly several times in the past. For example this open letter in 2016 calling the service “a resounding disaster” for musicians; and this piece in 2017 about the net neutrality issue which included the claim that “they deny musicians like me access to their Content ID blocking program”. Three years on, […]
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Source: Music ally

ByteDance warns of $6bn lost revenue from India apps ban

There’s a big, startling figure in the latest story about the Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese-origin apps, including TikTok. “An insider at TikTok parent ByteDance is telling Caixin the ban could come with a heavy price tag, costing the company more than $6 billion in lost revenue — a sum greater than all […]
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis Songs Fund seeks £200m of new equity financing

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has been snapping up a series of publishing catalogues in big-money acquisitions, and it has no plans to stop – but it needs another injection of funding to fuel its ambition. “With over £1 billion of acquisitions in the pipeline covering some of the most important songs and artists of all time, much […]
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Source: Music ally

Drake’s rap-battle partner Caffeine raises $113m funding round

Microsoft may have closed its Mixer livestreaming service and thrown its lot in with Facebook, but another of Twitch’s live-video rivals has just raised a big funding round. Caffeine is the company, and the round is $113m, with VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners joining media group Fox Corp in the investment. Bloomberg reported that it values Caffeine […]
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Source: Music ally

British music industry unites for #LetTheMusicPlay campaign

For every social-media hashtag campaign that takes off, many more wither and die without anyone noticing. So hats off to the British music industry for avoiding the latter fate with its #LetTheMusicPlay campaign this week across Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. Artists, industry folk and fans alike were sharing their memories of live music, and the campaign undoubtedly […]
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Source: Music ally

Deezer claims $1.4bn valuation with TV Azteca partnership in Mexico

Deezer is doubling down on Latin America courtesy of a partnership with Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca that it says values the music streaming service at €1.3bn ($1.4bn).
That’s based on a $40m investment in Deezer by TV Azteca over “a multi-year period”, and would mean that Deezer has not just maintained its ‘unicorn’ status – the term used for companies worth more than $1bn – but has grown in value by 30% since its $185m funding round in August 2018.
The deal isn’t just about investment. TV Azteca will be promoting Deezer across its television networks in Mexico, with more marketing through other subsidiaries of its parent group Grupo Salinas – for example retail chain Grupo Elektra.
On the TV side, Deezer is taking over a weekly show called Mugo Live on Mexican TV channel Azteca Uno, which has two million viewers, and renaming it ‘Deezer Live’. Deezer will also acquire social music app Mugo, although it is shutting it down and offering users a free Deezer Premium trial, rather than keeping it running.
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Source: Music ally

Israel’s music expansion opportunities, from wellness to AR

Digital music revenue in Israel will reach $40m in 2020, according to Statista, which also predicts an annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2020 to 2024, with streaming revenue to expand by 15.6% in 2020 to $36m. This result would put Israel – the subject of our latest country profile – roughly on a par […]
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Source: Music ally

The Royalty Network debuts Black Empowerment Thru Music scheme

Music publishing company The Royalty Network has launched an initiative to help emerging Black musicians, producers and songwriters build contacts and careers in the music industry. Called Black Empowerment Thru Music, the scheme will include offering free studio time at the company’s Los Angeles facility; financial support for organisations; grant matching; mentoring; webinars; donating instruments to […]
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Source: Music ally

More than 400 brands are boycotting Facebook ads this month

We wrote last month about the launch of a ‘Stop Hate for Profit‘ campaign encouraging brands to pause their advertising on Facebook and Instagram, in protest at Facebook’s policies around hate speech and groups. The boycott kicked off yesterday (1 July) with Reuters reporting that more than 400 brands are taking part, despite “last-ditch” meetings with Facebook executives who […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook is shutting down its TikTok-inspired app Lasso

“Can Facebook ‘Lasso’ teenagers with its new music app?” was the question in a Music Ally headline back in November 2018, as the social network launched a new app heavily inspired by TikTok – complete with a big (and licensed) library of music clips. Now we have the answer to our question: no it could not. […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube lands exclusive on archive Elton John concerts

His mammoth Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour might be on hold for now, but Elton John is making a series of archive shows available exclusively on his official YouTube channel. The series premieres on Friday (3 July) with the stated aim of raising $500k in donations for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund. Each […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music’s new ‘INDIY’ playlist focuses on DIY artists

Our first response to Apple Music’s new playlist ‘INDIY‘ is wondering how to pronounce it: is it ‘indie’ or ‘indie-why’ or ‘in-D-I-Y’? Whatever: its focus is on independent artists who, for the most part, are self-producing and self-releasing their music. It’s also mining a particular musical landscape: “the dissolution of borders between indie and R&B” […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify Premium Duo couples’ subscription expands globally

Spotify started testing its Premium Duo subscription plan in March 2019 in five countries: it was a $12.99-a-month Spotify subscription for couples, complete with a ‘Duo Mix’ playlist blending their tastes. It expanded to 14 more countries in Latin America in September last year, but now it’s going more global, launching in 55 markets. The idea is to tempt […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitch was watched for more than 5bn hours in Q2 2020

Twitch is one of the platforms seeing a big spike in usage during the Covid-19 pandemic. A new report claims that in the second quarter of this year, Amazon’s live video service was watched for 5.07bn hours. That’s up from 3.11bn in the first quarter of this year – a 62.7% quarter-on-quarter increase. The report comes […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify pulled into debate over ownership of ‘The Nod’ podcast

In the music industry, arguments over creators and ownership tend to focus on master recordings and publishing rights: how musicians can retain them from the start, or get them back later in their careers. Interestingly, there’s a similar debate starting in the podcasting industry. 
As The Verge explains, it’s not just about the rights, but also about access to ‘the feed’ – the RSS feed through which a podcast is distributed, with access required to upload new episodes. Many podcasts are very personal to their creators, but if they were employees at a production studio when they came up with them and launched the shows, they belong to the company.
This isn’t illegal or even particularly unusual in the creative industries, but podcast creators are beginning to criticise it, especially for shows that have been cancelled by a studio – and this next bit does feel harsh – with no way for creators to continue them independently.
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Source: Music ally

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda created his new album on Twitch

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of musicians have been thinking about doing more with live-video platform Twitch. But what should they do? Live performances, DJ sets (even though there are issues here), fan Q&As, playing games… All these have been tried.
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park has been using Twitch to broadcast his actual creation process: the music and artwork for his new album ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1′.
Earlier in the lockdown period, Shinoda began streaming live on Twitch every day at 10am PST, soliciting fans’ input with a system of ‘ShinodaBucks’ that they could spend on making suggestions like musical themes, with Shinoda improvising in real time to create tracks in response.
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Source: Music ally

Who cares about the charts nowadays? Well, 3.2m Brits do…

There’s a notion you’ll see voiced quite often in 2020, which is that ‘people don’t care about the charts any more’ – referring to the official music industry charts, rather than the rankings on streaming services (which are perceived to still carry a certain degree of clout).
The UK’s Official Charts Company is offering a statistical riposte to all this, however: its website broke its quarterly traffic record in Q2 this year, attracting nearly 3.2m unique monthly visitors.
“The engagement figures speak for themselves – music is the beating heart of Britain, and the one and only Official Chart remains one of the greatest snapshots of our lives here, through good times and bad,” was the ebullient statement from CEO Martin Talbot in the OCC’s blog post outlining some of its activities that fuelled the traffic growth.
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Source: Music ally

Downtown Music Holdings to host a ’summer school’ this July

The music industry has been talking and thinking about internships a lot recently: specifically how to use them to make sure a diverse group of people are entering the industry, rather than (for example with unpaid internships) catering to a narrow demographic.
One new challenge, however: internships are tough during a global pandemic when many companies are still working remotely. Downtown Music Holdings is trying to tackle that with something called the Downtown Summer School, which it describes as “a free, week-long virtual continuing education program on all aspects of the music industry and the music business”.
It kicks off on 27 July, with sessions from executives in Downtown’s various divisions (Downtown Music Publishing, Songtrust, CD Baby and Fuga) plus external partners.
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Source: Music ally

MelodyVR’s 2019: £195k of revenues and a £15m net loss

Virtual reality music startup MelodyVR has published its financial results for 2019. The company’s revenues were £195k ($242k) last year, down from £1.2m in 2018.
MelodyVR’s content sales – people paying to watch VR music performances in its catalogue – nearly doubled from £19k to £36.7k, but its revenue from content licensing dropped from just under £1.2m to £158.3k.
With a cost of sales of £1.8m and administrative expenses of £14.2m, MelodyVR reported an operating loss of £15.9m in 2019, and a net loss of just under £15m.
It ended the year with cash reserves of £6.8m, although it has since raised another £10.3m from the sale of shares (it’s a publicly-listed company) to ensure that in accountancy parlance, it’s a ‘going concern’.  Whether MelodyVR’s revenues can ramp up fast enough this year to make that still true in 2021 remains to be seen.
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19 tipped to spark €4.5bn loss for French music industry

In June, we reported on a claim by French industry body SNEP that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic could deliver a €235m blow to recorded music revenues in France this year. But that’s just a fraction of the anticipated losses, it turns out.
Another industry body, TPLM (Tous Pour La Musique) which represents all aspects of the French music industry, has put out a report tracking the anticipated impact overall.  “The music industry is expected to lose about 43% of its forecasted revenue, or about €4.5bn,” is its headline claim.
In these calculations, recorded music revenues are expected to come in 20% smaller than expected – a hit of €200m – but it’s the live industry that’s unsurprisingly hardest hit: an 83% drop in forecasted revenues this year, meaning a €2.29bn hit. Collections by society Sacem are predicted to come in at 23% below expectations, a €250m shortfall meanwhile.
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Source: Music ally

Report: global app spending was $50bn in first half of 2020

Could a global pandemic take the shine off the growth in the amount of money people spend on and within mobile apps? It could not.
“Consumers spent a combined total of $50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020,” claimed app analytics firm Sensor Tower. “This was 23.4 percent more than the $40.6 billion we estimate mobile users spent across both stores during the same period in 2019. Previously, revenue had increased 20 percent between the first half of 2018 and 2019.”
So growth is accelerating, even though it’s now 12 years since the launch of Apple and Google’s app stores. Note, Sensor Tower’s figures are about spending, not overall revenues – they don’t include advertising, nor do they include money spent outside those App Store payment systems (Spotify subscriptions, Uber ride fees, Deliveroo payments etc).
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Source: Music ally

The Midnight create a prom playlist generator for all ages

Ninja Tune/Counter Records act The Midnight have a new single out called ‘Prom Night’ and have created a special prom-themed playlist generator for it. On a dedicated website, users input their name as well as the date (month and year) of when their prom would have been – for non-US readers, this usually happens when you […]
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Source: Music ally

Hipster Bait turns music discovery into an AR scavenger hunt

“Unreleased rock songs are hiding all around North America. That’s right. You could be sitting on a song right now,” is the blurb from new app Hipster Bait’s website. Launched for Android and iOS devices, it’s an “interactive rock’n’roll music discovery game” that uses augmented reality (AR) technology. The idea: every week the company will ‘release’ […]
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Source: Music ally

Production music firm Artlist raises $48m funding round

Israeli firm Artlist is one of the companies offering a royalty-free catalogue of licensed music (plus video clips and sound effects in its case) to filmmakers, YouTubers and games developers. Launched in 2016, it now has more than one million customers, with YouTube creators having swelled those ranks in recent years – making it a competitor to Epidemic […]
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Source: Music ally

K-Pop stars Blackpink break YouTube 24-hour views record

This one is going to get the K-Pop stans roused up. In April 2019, BTS broke the record for one-day video views on YouTube, with the 78m views of their ‘Boy With Luv’ video trumping the previous record-holder, ‘Kill This Love’ by fellow K-Pop group Blackpink. Now the record has been broken again… by Blackpink! […]
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Source: Music ally

First speakers and agenda details for Sandbox Summit Global

Today we’re announcing the first confirmed speakers and outline agenda for our Sandbox Summit Global conference, which takes place online in September. The event will include Platoon’s Denzyl Feigelson in conversation with Q&A’s Troy Carter, as well as interviews with K Camp (the artist behind the viral hit ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ and business partner Genius. The […]
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Source: Music ally

Outdustry launches China music publishing arm Outdustry Songs

Outdustry has long been one of the most respected companies helping western music firms and artists do business in China (and more recently, India too). Its services have mainly focused on marketing and rights management / licensing, but now Outdustry is launching a music publishing arm focused on China called Outdustry Songs. It has non-exclusive direct […]
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Source: Music ally

UMG expands partnership with USC Annenberg diversity initiative

“Black artists consistently top the popular music charts, but African-Americans and other people of colour are not adequately represented in decision-making roles in the music business,” is the first line of a press release from… the biggest label group in the music business. So what is Universal Music doing about this disparity? Having already pledged a $25m ‘change […]
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Source: Music ally

TikTok strikes licensing deal for Prince back catalogue

There has been a lot of debate about which music licences TikTok has already, which ones it doesn’t (publishers have been particularly sharp on this one) and what it needs to do next to ensure performers and songwriters are getting paid for usage of their work in its app. So it’s interesting to see TikTok press-releasing […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube tests TikTok-style segmented 15-second videos feature

YouTube is testing a new feature for people to upload videos that are 15 seconds in length. We can’t think where it got that idea from…
Okay, this isn’t a pure TikTok clone: there are some interesting aspects to it. “We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in the YouTube mobile app and upload as one video,” explained YouTube on its online support page.
“If you’re in this experiment, you’ll see an option to ‘create a video’ in the mobile upload flow. Tap or hold the record button to record your first clip, then tap again or release the button to stop recording that clip. Repeat these steps until you’re done capturing footage up to a maximum length of 15 seconds.”
It’s being tested in YouTube’s Android and iOS apps “with a small group of people” for now. It’s the latest TikTok-influenced new feature from a bigger company: Instagram’s ‘Reels’ feature being another.
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Source: Music ally

Finnish artist Artem launches an ‘8D’ music video

Imagine if 2D was four times better, or if 3D was, ahem, 2.67 times better. That’ll be 8D! And it’s 8D that Finnish artist Artem, who’s signed to Warner Music, is exploring with his new music video.
We should stress, 8D isn’t about extra dimensions, but rather about a recently-developed way of recording and editing audio: this is a good explanation of what and how. 8D has been popular on YouTube, with a number of existing tracks having been reworked in 8D from the likes of Alan Walker, Imagine Dragons, Ariana Grande and Lauv.
Anyway, Artem has made a video for his new single ‘Värit’ that uses 8D sound – one of the first examples of the artist actually being involved in the process.
“8D-mixing creates an effect where the music sounds like it’s surrounding the listener’s head at different distances, immersing them in the experience. It is created through a program where one can manipulate the certain stereo-parts by moving them in a virtual 360 -degree space. This programming tricks the brain into thinking there’s much more mobility in the sound than there actually is,” explains WMG’s press release.
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Source: Music ally

UMG signs former Rocket Girls 101 star Sunnee to global deal

Earlier this week we reported on UMG’s latest success story in China: strong figures for the new album by artist Linong Chen. Now it’s talking about a new signing in the country: Sunnee (杨芸晴) from girl group Rocket Girls 101 (火箭少女101) who split up earlier this week.
UMG is releasing Sunnee’s new single ‘By Your Side’ today, with her debut album to follow later in the year. The announcement of the Thai singer’s signing has plenty of stats: she has more than 18 million followers on Chinese social network Weibo; her 2019 EP ‘Qing Ge’ was streamed more than 5m times on the QQ Music service; and her single ‘Wang Ji Yong Bao’ earlier that year was streamed more than 1m times on NetEase Cloud Music.
The key here is that UMG hopes to make Sunnee a star well beyond China. “We are looking forward to working with our UMG partner labels around the world to introduce her music and talent on a global level,” said UMG Greater China boss Sunny Chang.
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Source: Music ally

Report claims Apple could face an antitrust probe in the US

The debate about how Apple runs its App Store continues to rumble, and politics website Politico suggests that there could be a significant development in the US soon.
“The Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general are taking the first steps toward launching an antitrust probe of Apple,” it claimed, adding that the probe may focus on “Apple’s ironclad control of its App Store, the source of frequent griping by developers who say the company’s rules are applied inconsistently — particularly for apps that compete with Apple’s own products — and lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers”.
Any such investigation would run in parallel with the European Commission’s formal investigations into Apple, including one partially sparked by last year’s complaint from Spotify.
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Source: Music ally

Lady Gaga launches creative Chromatica contest with Adobe

In May we reported on Marshmello teaming up with creative-software firm Adobe on a ‘Be Kind’ campaign, getting fans to create a short video based on his new single. Now the company is launching a new contest with Lady Gaga based around her latest album ‘Chromatica’.
Gaga is providing her own assets for the competition: photos, illustrations, logos, icons and typography, with fans challenged to “create your Chromatica” using Adobe tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. A grand prize of $10k plus a print of their creation autographed by Gaga herself is up for grabs.
There are echoes (possibly unwanted, given its mixed reception) of Lady Gaga’s ‘ARTPOP’ app back in 2013, which included its own section for creating Gaga-inspired digital art.
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Source: Music ally

Sonos to lay off 12% of staff due to Covid-19 pandemic

Connected audio firm Sonos is the latest company to announced plans for layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Company initiated a plan on June 23, 2020 to eliminate approximately 12% of its global headcount. In addition, the Company is closing its New York retail store and six satellite offices,” revealed Sonos in a regulatory filing yesterday.
The last time Sonos revealed a headcount figure, for the end of September 2019, it had 1,446 full-time employees, so the layoffs are likely to be at least 173 staff.
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Source: Music ally

Fair Trade Of Music campaign aims to support US musicians

A coalition of US music industry organisations has launched a campaign called Fair Trade of Music, banging the drum for American musicians to be paid what it sees as their rightful royalties for usage of their music abroad.
“Many countries deny some non-native music creators royalties for the use of their work even though royalties are otherwise paid to artists who are nationals of those countries,” claims the campaign, which is backed by SoundExchange, A2IM, the Future of Music Coalition, MMF US and the Recording Academy among other bodies.
“As a result of this discrimination, music creators lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Annual losses to U.S. creators alone total more than $330 million globally. That’s a lot of lost royalty payments.”
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Source: Music ally

Rostr report claims music managers’ rosters are still male-dominated

Last December, Music Ally wrote about a report from startup Rostr analysing its database of music management companies and their artists. Now it has repeated the trick for 2020. Its report, which is free, is based on more than 3,000 management firms’ data, and ranks them by roster size, Spotify audience and YouTube subscribers.
It also looks at how the rosters of these companies break down in terms of genre, gender and major vs independent label deals. Among the findings: Red Light has the largest roster by far: 376 artists are on its books, compared to 84 for the next-biggest agency Maverick. However, when it comes to Spotify reach, Maverick is top dog with 565 million monthly listeners across its roster, ahead of second-placed Full Stop (501 million) and third-ranked Red Light (396 million).
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Source: Music ally

Controversy grows over Live Nation artist terms for 2021

Attempts by Live Nation to change its agreements with artists for concerts and festivals in 2021 have sparked a big row in the US which shows little sign of abating, even as the company began to row back from some of the controversial changes.
A memo sent to talent agencies had suggested that “unprecedented times” required pay cuts “adjusted downward 20% from 2020 levels”; paying artists 25% of the guarantee if a festival was cancelled due to poor ticket sales rather than 100%; and a cancellation fee of “two times the artist’s fee” if the artist cancelled a festival appearance. Unsurprisingly, agents were not happy.
This week, three organisations – the Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, and Future of Music Coalition – have written to the US Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law calling for an investigation of the “abusive 2021 performance terms, which would unfairly cut artist fees and shift the risk of pandemic cancellations to performers”, suggesting that in many areas, artists have “no practical alternatives to Live Nation facilities” to play.
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Source: Music ally

Instagram expands eligibility for in-app shops to musicians

Instagram has updated its ‘commerce eligibility requirements’ dictating who’s allowed to use its Instagram Shopping feature to sell products directly from their profiles. Good news: musicians are now included. And candle-makers will be waxing lyrical about the change too… “Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merch or […]
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Source: Music ally

Grid app aims to help events return with social distancing

Concerts are returning in some countries as Covid-19 lockdown measures ease, but with a variety of social distancing measures. Grid is a new app that’s positioning itself as helping: not just music concerts, but other kinds of hospitality and events businesses too. The app can be used for mobile ticketing and checking in to events; to […]
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Source: Music ally

Pandora launches Qmunity music station for Pride 2020

June is the annual Pride month celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, although due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations will by necessity be much more digital. Music streaming services are joining the party with playlists and other activations, as usual. In the case of Pandora, that includes launching a new radio station called Qmunity. Sponsored […]
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Source: Music ally

Move the Record event to raise money for independent stores

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a grim period for independent music venues and record stores alike, as they ponder not just when they’ll be able to reopen, but whether. It’s been heartening, at least, to see the success of several campaigns to support these businesses with artists and fans chipping in. The latest initiative sounds […]
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Source: Music ally

Universal Music launches Spinnup distribution arm in Japan

Spinnup is one of Universal Music Group’s distribution services for independent artists, which originally launched in Sweden in 2013 before expanding to other countries. Artists can use it to upload their music to digital services, with the additional hope of being spotted by UMG’s A&R teams – more than 80 Spinnup-distributed artists have been signed by […]
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Source: Music ally

UK’s Labour Party throws weight behind user-centric payouts

The debate about streaming royalties and ‘user-centric’ payments – primer here if needed – has largely been confined to the music industry so far. Could politicians get involved? Jo Stevens of the UK’s Labour Party, who’s the shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, got involved during a radio discussion last night. Asked by presenter […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify to promote Artist Fundraising Picks with emails

Spotify launched its ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ feature in mid-April, enabling artists to raise money from their Spotify profiles either for themselves and their teams, or for one of the charitable funds and organisations taking part in the streaming service’s Covid-19 Music Relief project. By the end of that month, around 50,000 artists were using the new feature. […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: there were 400m music subscribers globally at end of Q1 2020

There were 341 million people using paid music subscriptions at the end of 2019, according to global music industry body the IFPI. Now we’ve got an update on that figure, albeit from a different source.
Consultancy firm Midia Research has published its music subscriber market share figures for Q1 2020, claiming that by the end of March there were 400 million music subscribers globally.
By Midia’s reckoning, that’s year-on-year growth of 30%, with 93 million net new music subscribers added since the end of March 2019. In his blog post, MD Mark Mulligan noted that this is an acceleration in growth, since the prior 12-month period had seen 77 million net new subs.
(Note: we’re nearly at the end of Q2 2020 now. If the rate of growth had continued – a big assumption, given the uncertainties around the Covid-19 pandemic – the global total should be past 420 million at the time of writing.)
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Source: Music ally

Microsoft shuts down its livestreaming video service Mixer

Mixer was tech giant Microsoft’s rival to Twitch and other livestreaming video platforms, focused squarely on gaming.
You may remember that in August 2019 it signed an exclusive deal with Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins (of ‘played Fortnite with Drake’ fame, although to many young people, it’s more Drake who’s of ‘played Fortnite with Ninja’ fame). More on that deal in a minute. 
Mixer is now shutting down: “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” announced Microsoft.
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Source: Music ally

BTS take over Uno! mobile game and donate to Crew Nation

Music Ally knows card game ‘Uno!’ best for being second only to Monopoly in the chart of ‘games most likely to cause almighty family rows at Christmas’. What we don’t know it for, until now, are digital marketing campaigns with world-famous K-Pop groups.
But yes: BTS are taking over the mobile game version of ‘Uno!’ for the immediate future. “Win BTS themed cards, badges, and more while competing on the global leaderboards to prove that you’re the loudest fan of all,” explains its App Store listing, which notes that the promotion is “for a limited time” only.
The partnership follows the launch of BTS’s own mobile game BTS World in June 2019, and their management company Big Hit Entertainment’s acquisition a few months later of a mobile games developer called Superb.
The post BTS take over Uno! mobile game and donate to Crew Nation appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Hamburg’s Music WorX accelerator seeks four music/tech startups

We’ve written regularly about music/tech accelerators and incubators like Techstars Music, Abbey Road Red and Marathon Artists Labs. Another one that’s well regarded is Music WorX in Hamburg, run by the publicly-funded Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft body.
It’s kicking off a new cohort for 2020, with a three-month program for “teams who have not yet or only recently founded their company”.
There’ll be up to four teams participating in the program, which will provide €5k to help them develop their business idea plus another €1.5k per team per month towards living costs. The publicly-funded nature of the accelerator means it does not take equity.
The post Hamburg’s Music WorX accelerator seeks four music/tech startups appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV opens up to students for free

Legendary producer Quincy Jones is opening up his Qwest TV educational platform to school pupils and music-college / university students around the world. They’ll have free access to more than 1,000 concerts, documentaries and pieces of archive footage covering the full gamut of genres. P eople wanting access can pre-register now, with the content to be accessible […]
The post Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV opens up to students for free appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

ASCAP launches paid internship program for Black students

US collecting society ASCAP has launched a new paid internship program for students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Five students will work for ASCAP (remotely) during July and August, with plans to repeat the scheme every summer in future years. “We have a responsibility to seek to nurture talent and empower the next […]
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Source: Music ally

djay and VirtualDJ apps get real-time stem separation features

We’ve reported recently on one trend in DJ apps, which is Spotify shutting down their access to its API, forcing those that use streaming services as a source to turn to other DSPs, or even license directly. Still, those DJ app companies are also pressing on with new features, with two of them – Algoriddim and VirtualDJ […]
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Source: Music ally

PPL’s 2019 ‘most played’ chart hogged by collaboration tracks

British collecting society PPL has announced its annual charts of the most played tracks and artists in the UK, based on data from radio, TV and public performance locations (pubs, bars, shops etc). No surprises for guessing who tops the artists chart: Ed Sheeran, the fourth time in five years he’s headed that list. There’s […]
The post PPL’s 2019 ‘most played’ chart hogged by collaboration tracks appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

LiveXLive reports record revenues – but also increased losses

LiveXLive is the US-based company that’s been increasingly active around music livestreaming, as well as owning audio-streaming service Slacker. The firm has announced its financial results for its fiscal year 2020, which ended on 31 March. The company’s annual revenues grew by 15% to $38.7m, while its number of paying subscribers grew by 25% to 849,000. […]
The post LiveXLive reports record revenues – but also increased losses appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Universal Music hails China sales success for Linong Chen

The major western music companies are, it’s fair to say, very keen to expand their foothold in the Chinese music industry. From beefing up their offices in China to taking investment from its digital industry’s giant Tencent, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are all making the country a growth priority. Some new numbers […]
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Source: Music ally

Pressure mounts on Apple over App Store fees and policies

With the European Commission’s formal investigations of Apple getting underway, Spotify has seen some people and companies rallying to its antitrust cause this week. For example, the chairman of the US House’s antitrust subcommittee has been (perhaps surprisingly, given that role?) outspoken on the topic, in an interview with The Verge. “Because of the market power that Apple […]
The post Pressure mounts on Apple over App Store fees and policies appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

DanceFight gets people to challenge friends to dance battles

The search for ‘the next TikTok’ is – spoiler alert – going to turn up a LOT of apps that are not, in fact, the next TikTok. Which is to say, there’s an explosion in experimentation around short-form social video, often with music too, but many of these apps will struggle to cut through the noise […]
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Source: Music ally

Vibe app promises personalised music to help your wellbeing

Canadian startup Lucid has launched its first music app, called Vibe. The app “draws upon cognitive science, music theory, and artificial intelligence to develop a personalised profile for each user” before offering them playlists “to help you reach a mental goal”. Said goals including calm, focus, sleep, energise and ambience – the latter is a mixture […]
The post Vibe app promises personalised music to help your wellbeing appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Björk joins Bandcamp – and Black Lives Matter will benefit

Björk is adding her entire back catalogue to D2C platform Bandcamp, with a launch offer that will see proceeds from all sales donated to Black Lives Matter UK until the end of today’s Juneteenth fundraiser on the site. Her studio albums will be sold in digital, vinyl, CD and cassette formats on Bandcamp, making her one […]
The post Björk joins Bandcamp – and Black Lives Matter will benefit appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Mixcloud now has 20m monthly users says outgoing CEO

There’s a new statistic on the audience for streaming service Mixcloud to be found in the latest blog post from its CEO Nikhil Shah. “We’ve had 10s of millions of people download our apps, and 20m people tune into Mixcloud every month across all the different platforms,” he wrote. That means its audience has doubled over […]
The post Mixcloud now has 20m monthly users says outgoing CEO appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Alex Braga’s ‘Spleen Machine’ album used AI instrument A-Mint

The latest project representing a creative blend of artistry and AI is called ‘Spleen Machine’. It’s the work of Alex Braga, who’s both a composer and an inventor. For this EP, he invented his own AI music-making instrument called A-Mint. According to the album announcement, A-Mint creates “augmented music” after learning a musician’s style. “When A-Mint […]
The post Alex Braga’s ‘Spleen Machine’ album used AI instrument A-Mint appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Classical streaming service Idagio to launch in Japan

Classical music streaming service Idagio is launching in Japan later this month, tying in with its live video stream of a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra on 21 June. The Japan launch will include Idagio’s catalogue of more than 2m tracks, and its ‘Global Concert Hall’ series of livestreams. There’s certainly an audience to […]
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Source: Music ally

Pacemaker DJ app secures extension to Spotify API shutdown

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Spotify was ending its support for DJ apps, meaning that they’d be unable to use its API to provide music for their users. One of the main DJ app makers, Algoriddim, is switching to Tidal and SoundCloud, while another, Pacemaker, recently told Music Ally that it would be striking its own […]
The post Pacemaker DJ app secures extension to Spotify API shutdown appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Artists chip in for The Circle’s Covid-19 relief auction

Charity The Circle, which was founded by artist and activist Annie Lennox, has launched a global music auction to raise money for its Covid-19 Emergency Appeal. The charity is raising funds for women and girls who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus crisis this year. The auction is taking place on the Charity Stars platform, […]
The post Artists chip in for The Circle’s Covid-19 relief auction appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Afropop star Rema is Apple Music’s new ‘Up Next’ artist

Apple Music is placing a big strategic focus on Africa this year, and the latest emerging artist to join its ‘Up Next’ programme is the latest example. Nigerian Afropop star Rema will be getting some promotional welly from Apple’s streaming service this month, building on the success that has seen him already become the 18th […]
The post Afropop star Rema is Apple Music’s new ‘Up Next’ artist appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Ghostly International confirms merger with Secretly Group

Label Ghostly International is merging with fellow indie Secretly Group, in a deal that Billboard reports was delayed from earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We had poor visibility on how revenues were going to change and how the economy was going to go. It caused us to ask hard questions: Why now? Should we […]
The post Ghostly International confirms merger with Secretly Group appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

ByteDance and TikTok revenues under the microscope again

The rise of TikTok, and the assorted controversies around it, have meant there’s a lot more scrutiny of the economics of the app and its parent company ByteDance. Which is welcome for the music industry, as rightsholders go into licensing negotiations keen to strike as advantageous deals as possible. There are two new bouts of […]
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Source: Music ally

Smart links market heats up with Linkfire, Beatchain, ToneDen

You wait for a news story about ‘smart links’ for music marketing to come along, then three turn up at once… Linkfire has announced its latest conversion-data deal with a streaming service: Deezer. Artists and marketers sending fans to Deezer via Linkfire smart links will now get data like streams, follows and playlist adds to understand how […]
The post Smart links market heats up with Linkfire, Beatchain, ToneDen appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Adobe adds production music from Epidemic Sound and Jamendo

Adobe is the tech company behind creative software like Photoshop and video-editing tool Adobe Premiere. It also has a library of royalty-free images and other visual assets called Adobe Stock. As of yesterday, that library also includes music and audio. Adobe has partnered with two companies to fill that catalogue: Epidemic Sound and Jamendo. The non-watermarked […]
The post Adobe adds production music from Epidemic Sound and Jamendo appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Spotify reveals its playlist plans for Black Music Month 2020

June is Black Music Month in the US (or African-American Music Appreciation Month if you prefer: it was renamed by President Barack Obama in 2009, but its previous name is still often used). Spotify has revealed its plans for the month, including its previously-announced plan to devote its entire ‘New Music Friday’ playlist to Black artists for […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: 12.7m Australians are using music streaming services

Research firm Roy Morgan has published a report on music streaming usage in Australia. It claims that more than 12.7 million Australians – 61% of the population – now stream music on a monthly basis. That’s 3.7 million more than did so three years ago. The report also has some figures for the market shares of the various […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify talks Apple complaint as Hey email app sparks row

We reported yesterday on the news that the European Commission is launching two formal investigations of Apple, including one sparked by anticompetition complaints from Spotify and an e-books / audiobooks firm (not Amazon, but Rakuten subsidiary Kobo). Yesterday afternoon, Spotify held a Zoom call with journalists to offer its views on the news. You can read our […]
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Source: Music ally

Laura Marling sold 6,500 tickets for Union Chapel livestreams

Livestreamed concerts can be great for reach as free events, but can they be money-spinners for artists as paid events? There’s a lot of experimentation going on around this, and Laura Marling’s recent concerts broadcast from London’s Union Chappel venue were being watched as a key case study: the £12 tickets were sold through the […]
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Source: Music ally

Notes from Spotify’s Zoom call to discuss Apple antitrust investigation

Earlier today, the European Commission launched two formal antitrust investigations of Apple, including one spurred in part by Spotify’s complaint to the EC last year.
This afternoon, Spotify held a Zoom call for journalists where its head of global affairs and chief legal officer Horacio Gutierrez discussed the investigation, with added comments from external counsel Thomas Vinje, of Clifford Chance, who is Spotify’s lead counsel on the case.
Gutierrez spoke on the record, while Vinje spoke on background. You can read up on the specifics of Spotify’s complaint here, and Apple’s rebuttal last year here. But here are some of the key points made by Gutierrez during this afternoon’s call.
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite creator Epic Games tipped for valuation of $17bn

Epic Games isn’t just the publisher of Fortnite: it also owns also-popular-with-the-kids game Rocket League; video-chat app Houseparty; the Unreal Engine game development engine; and its own digital games store. No wonder its valuation is high: Bloomberg reported that Epic Games is about to raise a $750m funding round that values the company at around $17bn. That’s […]
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Source: Music ally

Cameo now helps fans buy a Zoom call with celebrities

Cameo is the app that lets people pay for celebrities to record personalised video messages for them (or friends and family as a gift). We wrote about it last June when the company raised a $50m funding round, noting that Snoop Dogg and Ice T were among the musicians available on Cameo. Now it has launched […]
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Source: Music ally

EC launches formal antitrust investigations of Apple – one sparked by Spotify complaint

In March 2019, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it managed its App Store and in-app purchases. 15 months on, the EC has now launched a formal antitrust investigation of Apple.
In fact, it has launched two, although they’re not just focused on Spotify’s complaint. The first will assess “whether Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store violate EU competition rules”, and was sparked by Spotify’s complaint as well as another unnamed ‘e-book / audiobook distributor’.
The post EC launches formal antitrust investigations of Apple – one sparked by Spotify complaint appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Sony invests $4.5m in sample clearance site Tracklib

Tracklib has been around since 2016, helping artists and producers to find and clear music for sampling. The company has just announced a $4.5m funding round from Sony Innovation Fund – the early-stage investment arm of Sony Music’s parent corporation – and Eelko van Kooten, founder of dance label Spinnin’ Records. Sony Innovation Fund had already […]
The post Sony invests $4.5m in sample clearance site Tracklib appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Covid-19 tipped to spur 21% drop for French recorded music biz

Earlier this year, Spanish industry body Promusicae predicted a €100m hit to recorded music revenues in Spain this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now French body SNEP has come out with a comparable prediction for its own market, suggesting that recorded music revenues will fall by €235m this year due to Covid-19 – a drop of […]
The post Covid-19 tipped to spur 21% drop for French recorded music biz appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Linkfire’s latest streaming data partnership is with Deezer

Music marketing firm Linkfire has announced a deal with Deezer to access data on what music listeners do after following one of its ‘smart links’ to the streaming service.
Artists, labels and marketers using Linkfire will now be able to see, for example, whether fans have gone on to play a song, add it to their library or to one of their playlists on Deezer.
It’s the latest such ‘attribution’ or ‘conversion’ data partnership for the company, tackling the longstanding problem of understanding how clicks/taps on smart links translate into streams and other fan actions: data that helps to judge whether marketing budget has been well spent or not.
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Source: Music ally

#TheShowMustBePaused next steps: ‘Potentially a moment for real change’

Friday’s Music Ally TV Show focused on the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign, and the next steps that the music industry needs to take as a result. Our panelists were Mulika Sannie, Keith Harris and Estée Blu.
Sannie is VP of business affairs at Kobalt, and also founded the UK Black Music Lawyers Network in 2018.
Harris is the longtime representative for Steve Wonder, with an industry career ranging from EMI and Motown Records to PPL and UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce. Last week, he published an open letter to the music industry calling for last week’s day of action not to be another false dawn.
Estée Blu is an artist and trustee of educational organisation Sound Connections. Last week, she also addressed the topic of how racism, sexism and colourism affects Black women in music, in a post on Instagram.
“This is definitely potentially a moment for real change. The reason I say that: this is the first time I ever remember major companies coming up with real money to try to do something,” said Harris, as the show kicked off.
“Obviously a lot depends on how that money gets spent, and over what period of time, and on attitudes inside the companies.”
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Source: Music ally

Broccoli Content CEO challenges Spotify to sign Equality in Audio pact

We wrote about the Equality in Audio Pact earlier this month. Launched by podcast producer Broccoli Content, it was a list of five pledges that audio production companies could make, including paying interns; hiring LGBTQIA+, black people, people of colour and other minorities for projects that aren’t just related to their identity; releasing race pay gap data; […]
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Source: Music ally

Pre-release promo tool Byta raises $1.9m seed funding round

Pre-release music promo and sharing service Byta has announced a new seed funding of $1.9m. The round was led by the Canadian Media Fund as well as private investors, such as Scott Kannberg (of indie band Pavement). The platform lets artists and labels securely share music with others in the industry ahead of release in a […]
The post Pre-release promo tool Byta raises $1.9m seed funding round appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Twenty One Pilots launch online scavenger hunt for fans

The latest artist sending fans to different corners of the internet to unlock content around a new album is Twenty One Pilots. It kicked off with a livestream (although fans who missed that can check out the ‘START HERE’ YouTube video that the band posted on Saturday). It prominently features a US phone number – 1-877-LVL-CNRN – note: […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (15 June)

Independent musicians, especially the ones who made the majority of their income, are having a very tough 2020. In the US, there’s a new body aiming to protect their interests, though. It’s called the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) and it’s been formed by a group of talent agencies to create a “broader coalition of the live […]
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Source: Music ally

Tencent has bought $200m stakes in Warner Music Group

On Friday it emerged that Chinese tech giant Tencent had bought a chunk of shares in Warner Music Group… but confusion reigned over exactly how much it had invested. The Wall Street Journal claimed it was $200m, while MBW said it was around $100m. As it turned out, both were right. Tencent Music Entertainment, the music streaming […]
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Source: Music ally

New Snapchat features include music lenses and mini apps

Yesterday, Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc announced a swathe of new features for the social app, including some that are directly relevant to music. One of those features is dedicated music lenses, explained yesterday – this link takes you to the relevant part of the YouTube video of the event – as “our new category of music lenses, […]
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Source: Music ally

UK regulator raises fresh concerns over Viagogo/StubHub merger

British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the merger of secondary ticketing firms Viagogo and StubHub. Its latest update on the investigation isn’t good news for those companies. The CMA says it is “concerned that the loss of competition brought about by the merger could result in customers who buy and resell tickets […]
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Source: Music ally

#TheShowMustBePaused: next steps, Stormzy, YouTube and more

One of the key points about the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign last week was that it was not a single day of action, but rather the springboard for much, much more. Today, there’s a lot to report on in that regard, within both the music and tech worlds. Start by reading Billboard’s interview with Brianna Agyemang and Jamila […]
The post #TheShowMustBePaused: next steps, Stormzy, YouTube and more appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Linkfire adds ‘Artist Bio Link’ feature for musicians

Music marketing platform Linkfire has a new feature that could be very useful for artists. It’s called ‘Artist Bio Links’. According to Linkfire, it “brings together all your promotions in one personalised microsite. Drive fans to your releases, merch, SoMe profiles, tours, and more, all with one shareable link”. The idea is that this will […]
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Source: Music ally

Swedish collecting society STIM’s revenues grew 15% in 2019

STIM is the main collecting society in Sweden, and like many of its counterparts around the world, it enjoyed healthy growth in its royalty collections last year. According to its annual report, STIM’s revenues grew by 15% in 2019, to SEK 2.4bn (around $259m), with SEK 1.8bn paid out to songwriters and rightsholders. 38% of […]
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Source: Music ally

One Little Indian Records becomes One Little Independent Records

British independent label One Little Indian Records was the home of Björk, Skunk Anansie, Crass and other artists. Why the past tense? Because One Little Indian is no more: the label has changed its name to One Little Independent Records. MD Derek Birkett explained why in a social media post, citing “an eye-opening letter from a Crass […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook criticised for removing anti-racist skinhead artists

Some racists are skinheads. Many skinheads aren’t racists – in fact, many are among the most committed anti-racists. This is hardly a secret, but Facebook got a blunt reminder this week, after mistakenly removing the accounts of hundreds of anti-racist skinheads, as well as pages devoted to ska and reggae music, and the organisation Skinheads Against […]
The post Facebook criticised for removing anti-racist skinhead artists appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Startup Show4Me expands into ticketed online concerts

Back in January, we wrote about Show4Me, which described itself as a “music interaction network”. It had raised $13.5m in funding and was offering acts a variety of tools such as music and concert crowdfunding campaigns, sales of music, D2F interaction and even a $1-per-year fan membership model. The company launched an online ticketing option in […]
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Source: Music ally

Artist Tom Walker plans a 12-hour world tour on Zoom

Rock band Def Leppard hold the record for playing the most gigs in different continents in one day (three: Africa, Europe and North America). Meanwhile, Jeff Aug holds the record for most gigs in different countries in a day (nine: Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria). Now artist Tom Walker is making his own globetrotting move, albeit […]
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Source: Music ally

Tuned Global ramps up B2B competition with 7digital in Europe

Tuned Global is one of the companies focusing on business-to-business (B2B) digital music: helping brands and other companies launch music services without having to build them and license them from scratch. Headquartered in Australia, it’s now making a push in Europe by poaching from one of its main rivals, British firm 7digital. Tuned Global has appointed […]
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Source: Music ally

NMPA reveals US publishing revenues grew by 11.6% in 2019

US publishing body the NMPA held its annual meeting yesterday – the first time it’s been online. It included some new stats from president and CEO David Israelite. He revealed that US publishing industry revenues grew by 11.6% in 2019 to $3.72bn, making last year the fifth consecutive year of growth for the sector. However, the […]
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Source: Music ally

Vivendi survey examines post-lockdown entertainment plans

Vivendi’s Brand Marketing division has been talking about its latest study: a survey of more than 7,200 people about their entertainment habits during the Covid-19 lockdown – and their plans once it eases. There’s another encouraging data point about digital subscription services (including, but not exclusively, music): according to Pollstar, 60% said they used more paid […]
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Source: Music ally

Virtual reality concerts startup Wave raises $30m funding

It’s been a difficult couple of years for many virtual reality startups, with VR headset sales slower than expected, and in some cases funding drying up as investors lost their appetite for immersive content. There have been success stories though: musical VR game Beat Saber has sold more than 2m copies, with Facebook acquiring its developer last […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify now lets people share Canvas videos to social media

Canvas is the feature on Spotify where artists can upload eight-second looping videos to accompany their tracks when played in the streaming service’s mobile app. It’s been growing steadily in popularity, and earlier this year Spotify started letting artists share their Canvas videos out to Instagram stories. Now that ability is being extended to listeners as well. […]
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Source: Music ally

How can classical music return after Covid-19?

We’ve been writing a lot about live venues in the context of the contemporary music scene, but classical music certainly isn’t immune from the impact of Covid-19. The Guardian has a feature on the challenges facing the classical scene as it tries to bring back concerts post-pandemic. The headline suggests an existential threat: ‘We could go […]
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Source: Music ally

Tomorrowland goes virtual with Around The World festival

Yesterday, we covered the news that the team behind Shangri-La at Glastonbury are running Lost Horizon, a ticketed VR event, next month. We can add Belgian dance festival Tomorrowland’s Around The World event to this growing list of virtual replacements for the hole blown in this year’s summer festival season. It takes place on 25-26 July, although […]
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Source: Music ally

90% of independent US venues fear they’ll shut permanently

We’ve been reporting recently on the #saveourvenues campaign in the UK, which identified 556 venues that were in danger of permanent closure as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Last we heard, its fundraising had enabled 140 of them to be taken off its ‘critical’ list, which was a positive step. There’s a similar campaign underway […]
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Source: Music ally

Fan-funding startup Corite closes its seed funding round

Music Ally wrote about Swedish startup Corite when it launched last year as the latest way for artists to make money by selling off stakes in their songs to fans. In its first month of operation, it raised $24k in fan-funding for its first crop of artists. Now the company has been raising some funding of its own: a […]
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Source: Music ally

UK groups call for anti-racist training and ‘urban’ removal

A group of Black executives working within the British music industry have published an open letter, through the Black Music Coalition and The Show Must Be Paused UK groups, with five “immediate calls to action” for the industry. They include mandatory anti-racism / unconscious bias training for non-Black staff at music companies; a specified annual budget […]
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Source: Music ally

Is Sweden a saturated music streaming market? Not just yet…

The question of when the Swedish music industry will plateau is a crucial one for the global industry, which looks to Spotify’s homeland for an indication as too how far streaming-led growth can go. Before Covid-19, at least, the signs were promising for Sweden’s continued growth: in 2019 recorded music income in Sweden grew 3.5% […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitch users get retrospective claims for past music use

In yesterday’s bulletin, we covered the news that livestreaming platform Twitch has reminded users that DJ sets are among the “types of music content you may not use in Twitch streams or VODs”. We suggested that the new guidelines may have been in response to an uptick in copyright takedowns filed by music rightsholders, and… […]
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Source: Music ally

Music livestreaming firm Livit Media acquired by eResonate

Livestreaming has never been more prominent than it is now as artists and venues try and plug that massive hole left by the cancellation of shows, tours, festivals and clubs. Now there’s some consolidation afoot in this area: a company called eResonate Media is buying another livestreaming startup called Livit Media. The companies have been working together since […]
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Source: Music ally

Team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La launches virtual festival

If you’ve ever lost yourself in the Glastonbury Festival’s Shangri-La zone, you’ll understand why for many people this year, the festival’s cancellation is carrying an extra tinge of sadness. However, the team behind Shangri-La is hoping to plug the gap with a virtual-reality event called Lost Horizon on 3-4 July. They’re working with VR startups Sansar and […]
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Source: Music ally

Debating Cory Doctorow’s internet blanket music licensing plan

This story begins with an article by author and activist Cory Doctorow on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation: ‘A Plan to Pay Artists, Encourage Competition, and Promote Free Speech’.
It proposed extending the kind of blanket licensing that allow clubs, restaurants and radio stations to play music to the internet as a whole, including any digital service that wants to use recorded music.
“Let companies pay a per-user license fee that gives them access to the same catalog that Amazon, Apple, and Google claim, without having to cut deals with every label and musician,” wrote Doctorow.
Music Ally wanted to explore this idea more, for our weekly Music Ally TV Show. So, host Joe Sparrow interviewed Doctorow for a pre-recorded segment in the show – you can watch the full interview here or via the embed below.
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Source: Music ally

YouTube reveals stats for its creator tipping economy

It hasn’t been available to musicians in the past, but YouTube’s tips economy – where viewers can buy ‘Super Chats’, ‘Super Stickers’ and channel memberships for the creators they love – has been something Music Ally has been keeping an eye on as it has grown. Now YouTube has revealed a new figure for the growth in the number […]
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Source: Music ally

#TheShowMustBePaused latest: Sony Music, #ArtistsForBlackLives and more

Something that came through very clearly about last week’s #TheShowMustBePaused day when music companies of all kinds paused their regular work to respond to the protests about racism and police brutality was that it couldn’t just be about one day: it was about paving the way for a host of actions and changes over the […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitch music guidelines rule out DJ sets without licences

The esports community has been chattering about Twitch’s latest guidelines on using recorded music in live broadcasts and video-on-demand uploads to its platform. Dot Esports’ top angle was the fact that using music from streaming services like Spotify is not allowed, but after looking at the guidelines, we think that there are also other points for musicians […]
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Source: Music ally

Australia and Germany’s plans to rebuild live music business

The easing of lockdown restrictions on music concerts has begun in some countries, but others are still looking ahead and making plans for what’s needed when this happens in the future. Australian live-industry body Live Performance Australia published its AU$345m plan to rebuild the ‘restart’ of the live performances industry – not just music, but theatres, arts […]
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Source: Music ally

BBC Sounds app expands its wellbeing and workout mixes section

Spotify and other streaming services have been luring talent away from radio for a long time now, with British public-service broadcaster the BBC suffering particularly from the brain drain. However, it’s also making its own moves that encroach onto what streaming services do. Witness last week’s announcement that it is expanding the ‘Mindful’ and ‘Pace Setter’ […]
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Source: Music ally

Midemlab startups contest announces its 2020 winners

Solfeg·io, Super Hi-Fi, Audoo and Uptune have been named as the winners of this year’s Midemlab startups contest, held as part of the Midem music industry conference.
Like the conference, Midemlab was an entirely-online affair, with the pitches of all 20 finalists broadcast this afternoon, followed by the announcement of the winners.
Music Ally is a partner for Midemlab – we help to choose the finalists – so naturally we were watching the pitches and taking notes.
They’re below: first for the four winners, and then for the other finalists. It’s a good snapshot (alongside our recent coverage of the Techstars Music demo day) of 2020’s best music startups.
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Source: Music ally

New study breaks down kids’ YouTube and TikTok habits

Sit down for this shocker: children spend quite a lot of time on YouTube and TikTok! Who knew? Next thing, someone will be telling us that they quite like Fortnite too. But no snark: a company called Qustodio, whose product is a parental control app, has been digging into its data to quantify exactly how […]
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Source: Music ally

#LolaDay created for 50th anniversary of Kinks classic

12 June is the 50th anniversary of ‘Lola’ by British band The Kinks, and there’s a digital campaign up and running to celebrate the anniversary. A dedicated microsite to celebrate #LolaDay (as it’s being dubbed) will have digital stickers available for fans to ‘Lolafy’ their own photos and share them on social apps. Meanwhile, on the […]
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Source: Music ally

Mass a-peel: ‘Banana’ track gets a bunch of TikTok plays

There have been some excellent bananas in music: Andy Warhol’s artwork for the Velvet Underground & Nico; Bananarama; Melt-Banana… Can Conkarah feat. Shaggy’s single ‘Banana’ follow in their footsteps? It’s already a bona-fide TikTok sensation. The track is based around Harry Belafonte’s 1956 hit ‘Banana Boat (Day-O)’, and comes with a #BananaDrop challenge based around […]
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Source: Music ally

Music apps firm Gismart adds artist partnerships scheme

Gismart is the company behind music-making apps like Beat Maker Go, Piano Crush and WeDrum, as well as non-music ‘hyper-casual’ games like Cool Goal, Domino Smash and, er, Pregnancy Idle 3D Simulator – a catalogue that’s so far generated 500m downloads. Now it has launched a new partnership programme aimed at musicians called ‘Games for Artists’. Through […]
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Source: Music ally

MMF GM: ‘We need to train people to value online content’

Jayne Stynes, general manager at management body the MMF, hopes that some of the innovation around livestreams during the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to lasting change. “At my most optimistic, I would love to believe that what is happening right now will open up a huge cultural shift towards consumers valuing online content beyond its […]
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Source: Music ally

‘Nobody’ does it better: DJ Neptune goes viral on Triller

TikTok tends to get the headlines when a music track goes viral through short-form videos. However, rival app Triller has also fuelled its fair share of hits by artists including Lil Tecca, Calboy, K$upreme, Rich The Kid, Darkoo and Chantel Jeffries. Now you can add Nigerian musician DJ Neptune to that list. His track ‘Nobody’, […]
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Source: Music ally

London set to get ‘first socially distanced immersive event’

Livestreams are plugging some of the gap left by the shutdown of live concerts, but people are already looking ahead to what those physical gigs might be like as the lockdown eases. One Night Records is the latest idea. Opening in October at “a secret London Bridge location” in London, it’ll be a musical installation “designed as […]
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Source: Music ally

Music app Endlesss hits Kickstarter target for desktop app

We’ve reported regularly on British music-making app startup Endlesss: from our interview with its CEO last year to its recent launches of an iOS app and its own record label. Now Endlesss is turning to crowdfunding to take its next step: the development of a desktop (Mac and Windows) application and a network for musicians to collaborate. It’s called Endlesss […]
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Source: Music ally

Amber Grimes and Nicole Wyskoarko talk leadership, support and diversity

Nicole Wyskoarko is EVP of urban operations at Interscope Records, and Amber Grimes is SVP of global creative at Capitol Music Group. Their joint keynote for the Midem conference, a video interview conducted by Billboard’s Gail Mitchell, was published this morning.
It addresses topics including the current Black Lives Matters protests following the killing of George Floyd; the music industry’s response and its need for more diversity; their views on mentoring; and advice for young people looking to break into the industry.
Filmed this week, the interview began with both executives offering their thoughts on the current situation.
“It’s been hard, y’know. It’s been incredibly emotional,” said Wyskoarko. “Just balancing the emotion with just doing your job, and existing, dealing with the ramifications of Covid right now, and having this just heavy heart with what’s going on in society.”
“Being up and in and out of tears, you start working and then you look up at the news or you just flash back to some of the images we’ve seen and you can’t help but be overcome with extreme emotion,” she added.
“It’s a real challenge, and it’s draining in a sense to balance all of that. It’s horrific what’s going on in this country right now. It’s horrifying. So it’s just a lot to balance and process, and I think a lot of us are feeling that right now.”
Grimes agreed. “I feel drained. I see co-workers and other people in this strange time – I can actually get to see everybody’s face all at one time on a camera – and I notice a different energy about many of my Black co-workers, and people that i’ve spoken to,” she said.
“On a positive note… I do feel like there is more acknowledgement of this issue than there has been in the past from a lot of non-Black people in our industry and in the world. It’s been nice to see many people step up and speak out, but it’s still not enough people.”
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Source: Music ally

MePlaylist wants to ‘change the perception’ of African music

Streaming service MePlaylist, whose president of global marketing is Mathew Knowles (aka Beyoncé’s father), is aiming to challenge the traditional way African music is pigeonholed in the west. “There’s a tendency to always put African music and African artists in a bucket, and that bucket is called ‘World Music’. We want to change that perception,” said […]
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Source: Music ally

Midia warns recorded music recovery depends on wider economy

Last month, we reported on research published by Goldman Sachs predicting that global music industry revenues would drop by 25% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those figures included a 75% plummet for live music revenues, and a slowdown in growth for recorded music (to 3%) and music publishing (3.5%). Yesterday, we reported on Kobalt CEO […]
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Source: Music ally

‘Equality in Audio Pact’ challenges companies to change

Last October, we reported on the latest podcasting joint venture by Sony Music: British company Broccoli Content, led by producer Renay Richardson. Its shows include ‘Anthems’, ‘Money 101’ and ‘Your Broccoli Weekly’, with a mission to tackle “the lack of opportunities for minority talent both in front and behind the mic”. Now the company has launched an […]
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Source: Music ally

WMG share price leaps on first day of public trading

Warner Music Group had a good first day of trading following its IPO this week. The company priced its shares at $25, valuing the major label group at $12.75bn. By the end of the day, WMG’s share price had risen to $30.86, sending its valuation to around $15.36bn. The IPO is being watched closely by […]
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Group delayed IPO share-pricing until today

Last week, Warner Music Group filed to go public in its IPO: you can read our analysis of the filing’s juicier bits here. According to the Financial Times, WMG was planning to announce the pricing for its shares in the IPO yesterday – which would in turn reveal the valuation of the company – but decided to […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify ‘Sound Up’ podcast program returns for third year

Spotify’s ‘Sound Up’ program aims to help people from underrepresented backgrounds take their first steps into the podcasting world. 60 people have so far gone through its program in the US, UK, Germany and Australia, with more than 20,000 having applied over the first two years of the scheme. Now Spotify is launching the third […]
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Source: Music ally

Streaming’s latest challenge is ‘fake features’ on tracks

Spotify’s management team must quiver every time they see the word ‘fake’ deployed in a headline, given past controversies around ‘fake artists‘, ‘fake albums‘ and ‘fake streams‘ on the service. But here we are with another one for the list: fake features. OneZero has a story about how “scammers are gaming Spotify by faking collaborations […]
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Source: Music ally

Kobalt chairman thinks publishing revenues will dip in 2020

Recently, Goldman Sachs published a report with new predictions for music industry revenues in 2020, Covid-19 impact included. It forecast a 75% drop for live music revenues, but growth of 3% for recorded music and 3.5% for music publishing in 2020. Kobalt founder and chairman Willard Ahdritz isn’t so sure. “Overall I do believe that […]
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Source: Music ally

African streaming service Boomplay now has 75m users

As one of the main pan-African music streaming services, Boomplay has grown rapidly in the past couple of years. In July 2018 it had 17 million monthly users, but grew this to 53 million by August 2019, and then 62 million by the end of that year. The latest figure for Boomplay is 75 million users, with 86% […]
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Source: Music ally

12m SoundCloud creators get heard every month (but 13m don’t)

This year’s Midem music industry conference is online-only, with new video sessions being published daily this week. One of today’s crop sees SoundCloud’s Kerry Trainor, Downtown Music’s Justin Kalifowitz and Raine Group’s Fred Davis discussing artist and label services. Trainor dropped an interesting pair of stats about his platform. “On SoundCloud we have content from […]
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Source: Music ally

New TikTok rival Zynn pays its users for watching videos

A new social-video app called Zynn has been making waves by springing from nowhere to top Apple’s App Store chart in the US. It looks a LOT like TikTok: you can create and watch 15-second videos (“with massive music library”). But as it turns out, the app didn’t just spring from nowhere: Turner Novak of investment firm […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify and Kobalt fall out over Eminem copyright lawsuit

In August last year, we reported on a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Spotify by Eminem’s publisher Eight Mile Style, based on around 250 songs from the company’s catalogue. The latest development in that case is a surprise: Spotify is dragging Kobalt Music Publishing into the lawsuit, claiming that the latter company is at fault. Spotify’s legal […]
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Source: Music ally

Stitcher report examines podcast trends in 2020

Stitcher is one of the longer-established podcast services, and now it has published a report exploring some of the podcasting trends of 2020 (and the last decade) based on its data. Among the points: nearly 7m podcast episodes were published to Stitcher in 2019 alone; the top genre that year was true crime; the average […]
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Source: Music ally

Prospa held a livestreamed rave in a 3D virtual warehouse

Last week, we wrote about a livestreamed set by Dutch DJs W&W, for which they had a virtual stadium full of dancing fans created. Now British duo Prospa have put a different kind of virtual environment through its paces: a warehouse for an old-school rave. It was the result of a partnership between Polydor, Prospa’s label […]
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Source: Music ally

Fans can get artist Alice Chater’s outfits… in Animal Crossing

We’ve mentioned the game Animal Crossing: New Horizons several times in this bulletin recently, mainly because it’s one of the chosen stress-busters for several members of the Music Ally team. But it’s also a fascinating cultural thing, including the ability for players to design their own clothing and share it for free with the wider community. That […]
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Source: Music ally

Dice boss on ‘20 things we’ve learned about livestreaming’

British mobile-ticketing firm Dice is one of the startups most affected by the Covid-19 impact, but the company has been pivoting during the pandemic to focus on livestreams. Now its CEO Phil Hutcheon has published an article about 20 things Dice has learned about music livestreaming, which we think has some practical, helpful advice for artists […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (29 May)

We’ve been running a series of stories (you can find the archive link below) about some of the positive news in our industry relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as relief efforts for and from the music community, and tools to help artists adapt to the situation. Start today with a new campaign from Global […]
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Source: Music ally

StubHub president to leave as company announces more layoffs

Secondary ticketing company StubHub isn’t having a good 2020, by any stretch of the imagination. Not only has the live industry shut down in many countries, but the eBay subsidiary’s planned $4bn acquisition by Viagogo has yet to see the two companies actually merge, amid regulatory investigation. Given past controversies around Viagogo and secondary ticketing more […]
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Source: Music ally

Canadian PRO SOCAN launches livestreams licensing scheme

Lots of artists and especially DJs are livestreaming on Facebook and Instagram, but as the latter platform recently made clear, there are some licensing restrictions on what music can be played. Canadian collecting society SOCAN has done something interesting though: a new program called ‘Encore!’ that will pay songwriters and publishers when their work is used in livestreams […]
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Source: Music ally

Report claims Americans are spending more time with Spotify

Spotify was ‘the audio platform with the highest daily engagement’ in the US last year, according to a new study by research firm Insider Intelligence. How is that measured? By daily minutes spent listening. The study claims that this metric jumped from just under eight minutes in 2018 for Spotify to just over 10 minutes in […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music adds Africa Now Radio and producer playlists

Apple Music’s growing focus on African music and artists continues, with a new show on its Beats 1 radio station called ‘Africa Now Radio‘. Hosted by Nigerian DJ Cuppy, it’s a spin-off from Apple Music’s ‘Africa Now‘ playlist, and will be playing new African music across genres including Afrobeats, highlife, alté, amapiano and kuduro. The […]
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Source: Music ally

Meet CISAC’s new president, ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus: ‘I’ll be outspoken!’

CISAC is the global body representing collecting societies. Its last president was Jean-Michel Jarre, and before him it was Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. Big shoes to fill for its next president, right?
Step forward… Björn Ulvaeus. The co-founder of ABBA will serve a three-year term as president of CISAC, having been elected by a meeting of its General Assembly this week.
He won’t be running the body – that’s director general Gadi Oron’s job – but Ulvaeus’ role will be to support CISAC’s work around creator rights, royalties and technology in music and other artforms.
“They’ve told me that the presidency is what you make of it. I can give my views, and I can talk about things that I think are important, and maybe there will be some kind of debate. I can reach governments at this level, from CISAC,” Ulvaeus told Music Ally, in an interview ahead of the announcement.
“I’ve given free reign, and I will suspect that they will regret that they gave me free reign, maybe! I’ll be outspoken, I think. I find it very difficult to hold back and be diplomatic and like a politician.”
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Source: Music ally

EFF’s Cory Doctorow sets out blanket music licensing plan

Author and activist Cory Doctorow elicits some strong opinions within the music industry, it’s fair to say: he was a key figure in the opposition to the European Copyright Directive (including encouraging “targeting and destroying the political careers of any politician stupid enough to vote in favour of this idiocy”) for example. So, news that he has […]
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Source: Music ally

Instagram to share revenue with creators with badges and ads

In April this year, we reported on the acknowledgment by a couple of Instagram executives that they had plans afoot to help creators (musicians included) to make money from their livestreams on the platform. Yesterday, Instagram made its first announcement on that score. “To give fans another way to participate and show their love, we’re introducing badges that […]
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Source: Music ally

Marshmello and Halsey offer up a Thought Of The Day on Alexa

We are seeing more artists embrace the possibilities of voice assistants, led by Amazon’s Alexa music + Alexa. Witness The 1975’s recent use of an Alexa skill to nudge fans towards their latest website. Amazon, too, is encouraging artists and labels to experiment with voice technology more, including through partnerships on its own content features. This week, […]
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Source: Music ally

Clubify launches subscription-based livestreaming service

The latest startup hoping to make a livestreaming splash is called Clubify, and its pitch to fans is “your favourite DJs, clubs and festivals live at home”. The UK-based startup’s focus is on electronic music, then, but also on charging for access rather than free streams. Its subscription membership will cost £14.90 a month or £149.90 […]
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Source: Music ally

Kenya Copyright Board takes aim at unlicensed DJ livestreams

Instagram has music licensing deals for user-generated content through parent company Facebook, but even it recently had to clarify its guidelines for people broadcasting music on the platform. The wider question of licensing for online livestreams is provoking debate across the world, including this week in Kenya. The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has delivered a warning […]
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Source: Music ally

Former HTC CEO unveils 5G VR headset with its own virtual world

Peter Chou used to be the CEO of technology firm HTC. Now he’s launched a startup called XRSpace, and unveiled its first virtual reality headset, the XRSpace Mova.
It’s lighter than many rivals, and is a ‘standalone’ headset like the Oculus Quest – which means it doesn’t need to be connected to a PC to run its games and applications.
One of its key features is the inclusion of 5G mobile connectivity – look away now, tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists – while another is its own virtual world called Manova, complete with avatars for people that Chou says are better than those on rival headsets.
“Today, one of the reasons why VR is not that exciting, is not getting that level of immersiveness, is that it’s lacking very good digital avatars. Today, most of the digital avatars are cartoonish and half body, really not something that we can call your ‘digital self.’ So what we really want to do is to let people really actually recognise this is you,” he told Engadget.
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Source: Music ally

James Arthur gets Super Mario-style Instagram stories game

Earlier this month, we wrote about a marketing campaign for Ministry of Sound that made inventive use of Instagram Stories to create a motorbike-racing game – with fans tapping to avoid obstacles and ravines (i.e. to move to the next story post).
Now the digital agency behind that campaign, F-That, is at it again – this time for artist James Arthur. It’s created a Super Mario-style game (except with Arthur rather than a moustachioed plumber) with a similar obstacle-avoiding structure.
In this case, the game also has a charitable angle, via a partnership with mental health charity SANE and the NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 appeal. It debuted on MTV UK’s Instagram profile, before moving to Arthur’s and F-That’s channels.
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Source: Music ally

Eminem taps Community platform for messaging with fans

“Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner, but I just been busy,” wrote Eminem on Instagram yesterday. “text me, ill hit you back” – with an accompanying phone number.
And no, of course Eminem isn’t giving out his cellphone number to 30.1 million people on Instagram: it’s part of a marketing campaign involving one of the messaging-focused fan engagement platforms.
The link in his bio takes fans to a landing page on the website my.community.com, which is the startup we wrote about back in January 2019 when it relaunched as a competitor to another platform called SuperPhone – Community had previously been called Shimmur, and was one of the first cohort of Techstars Music startups in 2017.
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Source: Music ally

Chartmetric says livestreams boosted artists’ social followings

Music analytics firm Chartmetric has published the third and final part of its analysis on Covid-19’s impact on music consumption.
The study focuses on livestreams, and the extent to which they boosted artists’ social media followings. The conclusion: yes they did.
Chartmetric says that “live streams scheduled by artists from their own channels generated significant lift in follower growth” while “artists making guest appearances on other artists’ live streams also saw meaningful engagement lifts, though perhaps not as substantial as consistent live streamers”.
The study is based on a relatively small sample group: 12 artists with decent followings who livestreamed regularly, with some of them compared to similar-genre artists who had not been livestreaming to explore the effects. 
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Source: Music ally

JioSaavn adds ‘Pro Rewards’ feature for paying subscribers

We reported yesterday on concerns that India’s growth in paid music subscriptions has slowed down. Now one of the main Indian streaming services, JioSaavn, has a new initiative that it hopes will make its JioSaavn Pro subscription tier more attractive to listeners.
The new feature is called JioSaavn Pro Rewards, and it’ll offer a range of benefits to subscribers, from three months of livestreamed yoga classes to discounts on e-health services.
JioSaavn is working with partner companies on all this: Sarva Yoga, HealthifyMe, 1MG and Care·fit, with the pitch to listeners being that they could get much more value in the rewards than they spend paying for a JioSaavn subscription – that costs 399 rupees a year, but the rewards for the month of May are worth 2,350 rupees alone, according to the company.
“We want a JioSaavn Pro subscription to add more value to our users’ lives beyond just ad-free and offline listening,” said VP of consumer revenue Mihir Shah. As part of the announcement, JioSaavn said that its subscriber total already grew fourfold since early 2019, although it did not offer any figures with that claim.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook launches Collab, an experimental music-making app

Facebook’s experimental apps team, NPE, is launching a new app – and it’s focused on music.
The app is called Collab, and it’s launching today for iOS as an invitation-only beta that, in the team’s words, “brings together creators and fans to create, watch, and mix and match original videos, starting with music”.
The app is based around the idea of a ‘collab’ – a collage of three different videos that play in sync.
“With the app, you can create your own arrangement by adding in your own recording or by swiping and discovering an arrangement to complete your composition,” explained NPE’s announcement, promising that “no musical experience is required”.
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share.
“The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. “The underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 10,500,000 shares of Class A common stock from the selling stockholders. The Company will not receive any proceeds from the offering.”
The group will be listed on the Nasdaq stock market with the ticker symbol WMG. Its S1 regulatory filing has been published today – you can find it here – with the prospectus for investors considering investing in a company whose recorded music business generated $3.84bn of revenues in its last fiscal year, with its publishing arm adding another $643m.
The prospectus doubles as a defence of major labels’ role in the modern music industry, claiming that “Today, global music entertainment companies such as ours are more important and relevant than ever.” It continues:
“The traditional barriers to widespread distribution of music have been erased. The tools to make and distribute music are at every musician’s fingertips, and today’s technology makes it possible for music to travel around the world in an instant. This has resulted in music being ubiquitous and accessible at all times. Against this industry backdrop, the volume of music being released on digital platforms is making it harder for recording artists and songwriters to get noticed. We cut through the noise by identifying, signing, developing and marketing extraordinary talent.”
It’s a long document, and we’ve only had time to skim-read it so far, but there are some fun nuggets, including:
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share.
“The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. “The underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 10,500,000 shares of Class A common stock from the selling stockholders. The Company will not receive any proceeds from the offering.”
The group will be listed on the Nasdaq stock market with the ticker symbol WMG. Its S1 regulatory filing has been published today – you can find it here – with the prospectus for investors considering investing in a company whose recorded music business generated $3.84bn of revenues in its last fiscal year, with its publishing arm adding another $643m.
The prospectus doubles as a defence of major labels’ role in the modern music industry, claiming that “Today, global music entertainment companies such as ours are more important and relevant than ever.” It continues:
“The traditional barriers to widespread distribution of music have been erased. The tools to make and distribute music are at every musician’s fingertips, and today’s technology makes it possible for music to travel around the world in an instant. This has resulted in music being ubiquitous and accessible at all times. Against this industry backdrop, the volume of music being released on digital platforms is making it harder for recording artists and songwriters to get noticed. We cut through the noise by identifying, signing, developing and marketing extraordinary talent.”
It’s a long document, and we’ve only had time to skim-read it so far, but there are some fun nuggets, including:
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Source: Music ally

Imagine if Fortnite had a music streaming partnership…

We’ve been thinking a lot about Fortnite and music recently. Travis Scott attracted 27.7 million people to his recent ‘Astronomical’ concerts within the popular game, while its new Party Royale mode has already hosted DJ sets from Diplo, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5.
There are quite a few unanswered (as yet) questions around this: for example, the nature of the deals being done with these artists, not to mention the potential licensing implications around virtual performances to millions, sometimes tens of millions of people.
However, it’s also made us wonder what more Fortnite might be able to do with music, and specifically, what it might be able to do with a music streaming partnership (or partnerships). How might music streaming be integrated into Fortnite in interesting ways?
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Source: Music ally

Netflix is encouraging inactive users to cancel subscriptions

Customers paying their subscription even though they’re not using your service? The stuff of dreams, so you’d think (well, you would if you owned a gym, for example).
In a world where streaming services have to keep a close eye on their ‘churn’ rate (cancellations) it might not seem in their interests to boot off those inactive subscribers. But booting them off is exactly what Netflix is doing. Well, it’s not being quite so brutal.
“We’re asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership. And we’ll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years,” explained product innovation lead Eddy Wu in a blog post. “If they don’t confirm that they want to keep subscribing, we’ll automatically cancel their subscription.”
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Source: Music ally

Andy and the Odd Socks launch new album with kids’ parties

Andy Day is a popular children’s TV presenter in the UK on TV channel CBeebies, but he’s also been building a music career as the frontman of Andy and the Odd Socks.
The band’s new album comes out today (22 May) through Sony Music’s children’s entertainment label Magic Star, and there’s an inventive marketing campaign around it. Over the next week, there’ll be 250 children’s parties happening in the UK: essentially album playback events with games and (occasionally) a drop-in appearance from Day himself.
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Source: Music ally

ICMP boss warns of Covid-19 financial hit to come in Q1 2021

When people in the music industry talk about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re often thinking about the immediate hit that artists have taken to their live revenues.
It’s worth remembering that there’s another sucker-punch lying ahead for musicians and rightsholders alike though.
“The particular challenge for the music industry is surmounting the delayed effect. As a rights and royalties-based industry, balance sheets will really redden come the first financial quarter of 2021,” says John Phelan, director general of independent publishers body ICMP. “That’s the crux of why we need close cooperation and to ensure the right structures are in place to adapt.”
He was talking for a feature on the Midem conference’s ‘Insights’ website, rounding up the various ways that the industry has responded so far to Covid-19.
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Source: Music ally

Why is the US share of global recorded music revenue growing?

In 2011, the US accounted for 26% of global recorded music revenues. In 2019, that share had grown to 36% according to industry body the IFPI’s figures, despite that period covering considerable global expansion for music streaming services.
Why is the world’s biggest music market taking an even bigger share of the revenue? Former Spotify chief economist Will Page has some thoughts, published in an article on Billboard.
“One factor: The dollar has been strong, with the trade-weighted exchange rate (measured against a range of currencies) rising 30% from 2011 to 2019,” he wrote. “Also, the world’s second-biggest music market, Japan, hasn’t grown in size over the same four years, fueling America’s dominance. Nearly 70% of Japan’s recorded-music revenue still comes from CDs, but as the CD business struggles with the store closures and distribution issues posed by COVID-19, the United States could increase its share of the global pie even more.”
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Source: Music ally

US Copyright Office report concludes tech safe harbours are ‘unbalanced’

Just finished a book and looking for a new, gripping read for the weekend ahead? Here’s a recommendation for you: ‘Section 512 of Title 17’. Admittedly, it’s got no wizards, romance, clutter-clearing tips or Henry VIII lopping people’s heads off. But in terms of music industry politics, it’s got the makings of a thriller.
The report is the US Copyright Office’s multi-year study of Section 512 of the US Copyright Act. That’s the part focused on safe harbours for internet service providers that allow user-generated content. Yes, we’re in ‘value gap’ territory here: the ongoing argument over whether copyright legislation (Section 512 in the case of the US) needs to be updated to – in the music industry’s view – bring platforms like YouTube more in to line with non-UGC services like Spotify in terms of licensing requirements.
It’s fair to say the music industry will be happy with the report. “The Copyright Office concludes that the operation of the section 512 safe harbor system today is unbalanced,” is the killer line. “The Report highlights areas where current implementation of section 512 is out of sync with Congress’ original intent, including: eligibility qualifications for the service provider safe harbors; repeat infringer policies; knowledge requirement standards; specificity within takedown notices; non-standard notice requirements; subpoenas; and injunctions.”
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Source: Music ally

Music Biz 2020 conference moves online due to Covid-19

We’re sorry to report that another physical music industry conference has bitten the dust in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Music Biz 2020 was due to be held in August in Nashville, but has now been cancelled by organiser the Music Business Association. Well, the physical event has. “We plan to follow up the success […]
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Source: Music ally

The 1975 reopen Mindshower site with stems, mags and more

In February this year, we wrote about The 1975’s ‘Mindshower’ campaign, which saw the band create a fictitious ‘digital detox’ retreat called Mindshower, complete with its own website and a spoof video ad on YouTube. Now, days ahead of the release of the band’s new album ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’, the website has reopened to the […]
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Source: Music ally

Colombian industry hopeful of growth despite Covid-19

The number one question for anyone in the music industry now – recorded or live – is what shape the business will be in when we finally emerge from the lockdown. Anything close to certainty is, of course, impossible but it some countries will inevitably emerge stronger than others. Colombia – the subject of our latest […]
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Source: Music ally

Pex study suggests 17% of podcast episodes include music

Licensing music for podcasts is a bit of a tangle. We know that. But how many podcasts are using music, be it licensed or unlicensed? That’s data that analytics firm Pex has been ferreting out for its latest study, announced in a series of tweets yesterday. “To date we indexed 32,402,790 unique podcast episodes. 5,447,823 of those contained […]
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Source: Music ally

Instagram publishes guidelines on use of copyrighted music

Verzuz battles, Robbie Williams’ kitchen karaoke, KT Tunstall solo raving… There have been some joyful musical broadcasts on Instagram Live during the Covid-19 pandemic. But as a blog post from Instagram noted yesterday, the recent boom in livestreams has “highlighted some confusion across the community — especially around the use of recorded music in Live on […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube Select aims to boost YouTube’s advertising revenue

A blunt truth underpinning the ‘value gap’ debate: if YouTube is going to pay music rightsholders more royalties, one of the best ways will be by increasing its advertising revenues. Which, as we reported earlier this year when parent company Alphabet started disclosing them, have grown from $8.15bn in 2017 to $11.16bn in 2018, then $15.15bn […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook goes big on ecommerce with Facebook Shops feature

Shopping on Facebook is already A Thing thanks to the social network’s ‘Marketplace’ feature, an eBay-like service connecting private buyers and sellers. Now Facebook is pushing on with its own ecommerce strategy, announcing Facebook Shops yesterday. “Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both […]
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Source: Music ally

Artist Gracey used Instagram to tease ‘Empty Love’ track

Polydor-signed act Gracey is promoting her ‘Empty Love’ single with an AR filter for Instagram that plays an instrumental passage from the song which can then be played around with by the user. It works by opening the selfie camera in Instagram so that anyone using it can use an on-screen slider to lower or increase the […]
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Source: Music ally

SendMusic launches app for professional music-files sharing

We first wrote about startup SendMusic in late 2018, when it emerged as a way to help musicians, producers and music industry colleagues to send big files to one another, including for promotional purposes. Now there’s an update: SendMusic has launched its official iOS app. “You can now send, receive, listen and reply all in one place… […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube reveals the latest artists for its Foundry program

YouTube set up its Foundry initiative back in 2016 as a way to offer emerging artists marketing, promotional and technology support. The 12 acts shortlisted for the class of 2020 have just been announced and include: Jaykae (from the UK); Joesef (UK); TESSÆ (France); Tems (Nigeria); Adam Melchor (US); Eladio Carrion (Puerto Rico); Gabriel Garzon-Montano (US); Natanael […]
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Source: Music ally

Sample library Tracklib switches to subscription model

We first wrote about stem licensing service Tracklib back in June 2016 when it pitched at MidemLab. It is aimed at the DJ and remixer worlds, allowing users to buy and license track stems in one location. In October it signed a deal with the estate of Isaac Hayes to make a number of his unreleased tracks available for […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify pays $100m+ for Joe Rogan podcast, adds $1bn+ to market cap

People often ask how the economics of podcasting work. Well, here’s how they worked for Spotify yesterday. The streaming service announced an exclusive licensing deal with one of the biggest podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience.
The Wall Street Journal claimed the deal was worth “more than $100 million”, but the ensuing spike in Spotify’s share price added more than $1bn to the company’s market cap.
(We’ll explain our workings here, as it’s not a day-on-day calculation. Just before the announcement yesterday afternoon, Spotify shares were trading at $169.35, and they closed the day at $175.03 – a 3.4% spike adding $1.09bn to the market cap, which closed at $32.55bn.)
Money well spent, seemingly. Rogan’s podcast will be made available on Spotify for the first time at the start of September, alongside other podcast platforms, but at the end of 2020 it will become a Spotify exclusive.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset has sold $100m of content

Virtual reality has yet to become a wildfire success, but within the sector, Facebook’s Oculus Quest headset has been a bright spot. Now the company has offered some stats to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its launch. Owners of the $399/$499 (depending on storage) headset have spent more than $100m on games and applications in the […]
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Source: Music ally

Bytedance appoints Disney+ boss Kevin Mayer as TikTok CEO

TikTok has a new boss, and he’s a media-industry heavyweight. Kevin Mayer is joining TikTok’s parent company Bytedance from Disney, where he was most recently chairman of direct-to-consumer and international – a key role overseeing the launch of the Disney+ video streaming service. Mayer will be chief operating officer of Bytedance, leading “music, gaming, Helo, […]
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Source: Music ally

Popgun takes its AI-powered Splash music-making app to Roblox

We’ve written regularly about Australian AI-music startup Popgun, including its belief that AI could be the secret sauce for a service “where teenagers come together to make music for each other… the ‘pop stars on training wheels’ place where they make music for each other, release it and watch each other pretend to be pop stars, but then go on to become legitimate pop stars”.
We also covered its launch of an app called Splash, using AI-generated beats and loops, to help kids make music. Now Popgun has turned Splash into a game for Roblox, the gaming platform with 125 million active users, including LOTS of children.
It takes the form of a virtual club – “Club Splash” – where people can DJ for their friends and other Roblox players by using Splash’s sound packs in genres including hip-hop, trap and dubstep. They can buy avatar clothing and stage props, while earning ‘fame’ and coins from their micro (sub-one-minute) sets.
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Source: Music ally

#BrokenRecord: ‘It’s about saying we all recognise this is problematic’

The #BrokenRecord campaign started by musician Tom Gray in the UK is gathering steam. Next Sunday (24 May) will see an online Tim’s Twitter Listening Party Festival allied to the campaign, which is calling for changes to the music streaming ecosystem that will benefit artists and songwriters.
Last Friday (15 May) Gray was one of the special guests on our weekly Music Ally TV Show, along with Deviate Digital CEO Sammy Andrews, who is also backing the campaign. You can watch the full show below (or here on YouTube) but we’ve also pulled out some of the highlights in this article.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook buys Giphy, sparking debate about data access

Facebook has acquired Giphy, the popular library of animated GIFs, and plans to “further integrate” it into Instagram and other Facebook apps, while still making it available to non-Facebook apps too. “We’re looking forward to investing further in its technology and relationships with content and API partners. People will still be able to upload GIFs; […]
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Source: Music ally

Khruangbin’s AirKhruang gets remixed as ‘Shelter in Space’

One of 2018’s cleverest music marketing campaigns was the one for US group Khruangbin. It included the AirKhruang website, which asked fans to input details of their upcoming flights, then created Spotify playlists to match their length, drawing on tracks that the group would use in their DJ sets, as well as artists from the countries under […]
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Source: Music ally

Social video editing app Trash adds features for musicians

We reported on the launch of Trash last June: an AI-powered video editing app launched by Hannah Donovan, formerly of Vine and This Is My Jam. Then, in January this year, her pitch won the startup showcase section of the NY:LON Connect conference in New York, with Donovan explaining that Trash had been licensing music for use in […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify for Artists is now for their labels too

The Spotify for Artists dashboard is no longer just for artists. “We’re bringing artist teams, labels and distributors to Spotify for Artists so you can manage your profile, see and analyze your data and pitch to playlists, together,” announced the streaming service on Friday, in what it described as “an effort to empower artists, managers, and labels […]
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Source: Music ally

Merlin CEO promises ‘long view’ around tech partnerships

Earlier this year, indie licensing agency Merlin appointed Facebook music exec Jeremy Sirota as its new CEO. On Friday (15 May) he gave his first public speech in the role at AIM’s online ‘AIM House’ conference. It included some colour about Merlin’s plans, and its recent growth. “I see a lot of value in taking […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (18 May)

Industry body Songwriters of North America (SONA) has launched a new hardship fund for songwriters, which will distribute emergency grants of $1k to creators hit by the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact. The new fund was set up thanks to a donation from publisher Sony/ATV last month, reported Billboard. Also in the US, collecting society BMI partnered […]
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Source: Music ally

Bad Bunny’s ‘Safaera’ returns to Spotify after sample dispute

Fans of Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny had been raging last week after his ‘Safaera’ song was removed from Spotify. Now it’s back, along with an explanation from the streaming service about why it had been rendered unplayable for a few days. “We are happy to report to Bad Bunny fans that Safaera is once […]
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Source: Music ally

Goldman Sachs: ‘Global music revenue will drop by 25% in 2020’

Nobody can know exactly what the overall financial impact of Covid-19 will be on the music industry in 2020, but that isn’t stopping analysts from guessing. Goldman Sachs made its prediction last week, and it’s a sobering one. “Global music revenue will drop by 25% in 2020 on our estimates, largely due to the widespread […]
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Source: Music ally

TikTok under fire again from US child-privacy campaigners

In February 2019, TikTok paid $5.7m as part of a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission following a child-privacy investigation dating back to the Musical·ly app (not us!) that TikTok merged with in 2018. Besides paying the $5.7m, TikTok promised to make changes that would ensure children’s personal information was not being shared, alongside other protections […]
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Source: Music ally

Music-VR startup ViRvii signs content deal with Oculus

We have not covered ViRvii before but it describes itself as “a technology firm that develops proprietary user experiences merging music, art and virtual reality” and was founded last year. Why we are writing about it now is that it has just signed a deal with Facebook-owned Oculus to develop VR content for the platform starting next […]
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Source: Music ally

Houseparty app launches ‘In The House’ events for co-viewing

Video-chatting app Houseparty has been one of the big hits of the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside Zoom, with people using it to chat to friends and family, and sometimes to play its embedded games. Now Houseparty is exploring music and livestreams through a three-day event called ‘In The House‘, which launches tomorrow (15 May). It’ll be […]
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Source: Music ally

Sofar Sounds launches ‘Keep Listening’ playlist on Spotify

Unsurprisingly, Sofar Sounds isn’t hosting any physical gigs at the current time. It has, however, launched an online ‘Listening Room’ for livestream performances by artists, which it says is earning them an average of $500 in donations from fans, as well as a performance fee from the company itself. Now Sofar has launched a Spotify playlist based […]
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Source: Music ally

Uncanny Valley wins the AI Song Contest, helped by… koalas

In January we reported on plans to hold an ‘AI Song Contest’ for “European teams of musicians, artists, scientists and developers” working with music-generating AI systems. It turns out they weren’t just Europeans: an Australian team called Uncanny Valley was announced as the winner of the contest this week with a track called ‘Beautiful The World’. “The team trained […]
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Source: Music ally

Blank-et coverage: Sony launches album-art colouring site

Adult colouring books are a significant part of the book publishing world, with plenty of apps offering this too – usually in the name of mindfulness. Now Sony Music UK is getting in on the colouring action with a new site called The Colouring Sessions. It’s based around album artwork from artists including Elvis Presley’s debut […]
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Source: Music ally

Lil Baby album gets digital ‘deluxe’ treatment with music videos

In the streaming age, what is a ‘deluxe’ album anyway? It’s more than just extra tracks and alternative versions. A number of artists have explored Spotify’s ‘enhanced’ playlists format, which inserts videos between the music tracks, for example. And video is also at the core of the strategy for the deluxe version of Lil Baby’s […]
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Source: Music ally

OMG! OMD sell £75k in merchandise from their virtual gig

We’re fairly sure Travis Scott made a killing from virtual items around his recent Fortnite concert, although a figure hasn’t yet been announced. One artist that is announcing some numbers from an online performance, though, is veteran British act OMD. Last Saturday (9 May) they streamed a recording of a November 2019 concert on YouTube […]
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Source: Music ally

Ambassador updates: FAC and Love Record Stores Day

When it comes to music ambassadors, the UK is really spoiling us this week. British artist trade body the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has announced 15 new ‘artist ambassadors’ to join its efforts. Skin from Skunk Anansie; duo Nova Twins; house music legend Larry Heard; Stiff Little Fingers frontman Jake Burns; and The Anchoress are […]
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Source: Music ally

Reveel launches music project-management platform in beta

Last October we reported on a startup called Reveel that was promising to help musicians to ensure they were credited correctly on all the songs they work on, through a ‘creator ID’ linked to each song or recording. Now Reveel has launched its actual platform (as opposed to just registrations for creator IDs) in beta. “Reveel is a collaborative […]
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Source: Music ally

Eventbrite thinks that smaller concerts will return sooner

Ticketing firm Eventbrite has published its quarterly shareholder letter accompanying its financial results. Unsurprisingly it focuses heavily on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the live industry. In Q1, its revenues fell by 40% year-on-year to $49.1m, leading to a net loss of $146.5m compared to $10m a year ago. “First quarter net loss […]
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Source: Music ally

What are user-centric music streaming payouts? Start here…

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Music Ally’s Q1 2020 report. In the light of the current #BrokenRecord campaign around music industry economics – see our piece last week for more on that – we wanted to also share it in front of our paywall.
The topic of user-centric music streaming payouts is one that’s going to keep popping up, and many people talk about it from a position of gut feeling – that it’s a fairer way to distribute streaming royalties – rather than a deep knowledge of the model and its implications.
The good news: now is a good time to gen up on this topic, as there’s a relatively limited pool of articles and studies that you need to read to get a handle on it. The challenge being that this handle might be: there are still lots of unanswered questions around user-centric payouts.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: if you’re new to the idea, user-centric payouts are a different way of distributing streaming royalties to the current ‘pro-rata’ system.
At its simplest level of explanation, that’s where the royalties pool a streaming service has available in a certain territory for a certain period is divided up according to share of streams.
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Source: Music ally

Epidemic Sound lays off 19% of staff in ‘realignment’ of business

Production music firm Epidemic Sound is making 79 of its 419 staff redundant, although the company says that this is not the result of a drop in revenues.
The majority of the layoffs have come from its sales department, with the other redundancies coming from support roles including finance and training.
Staff were told about the redundancies yesterday. CEO Oscar Hoglund told Music Ally that while the Covid-19 pandemic played a role in the decision, it was a “realignment” rather than a sign that Epidemic Sound is struggling as a business.
“Covid-19 has just accelerated this transition into becoming a digital-first company, and supercharged it,” he said, stressing that the overall business is still growing.
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Source: Music ally

Former Crowdstar execs launch Top Mix music app

A new music app called Top Mix is promising that “anyone can make music with the swipe of a finger”. Released for iOS, it’s the work of a team led by former executives from social mobile gaming company Crowdstar. Top Mix is free to download, and in its App Store blurb’s words “allows you to mix songs […]
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Source: Music ally

Zhu teams up with esports community Enthusiast Gaming

Zhu is the latest dance artist doing something interesting on Twitch – a livestreamed concert this Thursday (14 May) that will be used to premiere new single ‘Only’. However, it’s part of a wider deal for Zhu with a company called Enthusiast Gaming, which focuses on games and esports – the latter through its Luminosity Gaming […]
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Source: Music ally

Katy Perry launches a ‘virtual flower delivery service’

“Our goal is to provide the best virtual flower delivery service that can help you tell someone you care, you love them, you miss them, or simply thank them for believing in you. Select a bouquet you wish to share and write your personal message to go along with it.” No, not the latest Silicon […]
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Source: Music ally

Instagram Live soared for Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu, 6ix9ine

It’s fair to say that the Verzuz battle between Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu was hotly anticipated – and thankfully (given the technical difficulties we’ve seen in previous battles) lived up to expectations. It did pretty well in figures too: Scott posted a follow-up Instagram pic celebrating “1+ Billion Impressions” for the event, which saw both stars spinning […]
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Source: Music ally

US Copyright Office posts transcript of AI music debate

“Country music is going to be the biggest sort of paradox for AI because the underlying melodies and so on are very formulaic. But the lyrics are based on human experience. I’d be very interested how long it would take an AI to come up with this… Tammy Wynette song, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Unless that AI spent […]
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Source: Music ally

Napster needs outside funding within the next 12 months

Tech firm RealNetworks has published its quarterly financial results, including as usual figures for music-streaming firm Napster, in which it holds an 84% stake. Napster’s subscription revenues grew from $24.3m in the first quarter of 2019 to $26.3m in the first quarter of 2020: an 8.2% rise, albeit one that reflects the small scale of the […]
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Source: Music ally

Keep Music Alive campaign aims to ‘fix streaming now’

The UK’s Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy have teamed up for a campaign called ‘Keep Music Alive’ which the two organisations say “aims to ‘fix streaming’ and calls for industry stakeholders to come together to agree an equitable, sustainable and transparent model for royalty distribution in the streaming era”.
It kicks off this morning with an online petition calling for the British government to “urgently undertake a review of streaming” to “ensure that the flow of money is transparent and fair for the whole music ecosystem”. It’s already closing in on its initial target of 1,000 signatures, after being emailed to musicians this morning.
The campaign is related to (although also distinct from) the #BrokenRecord movement that’s been building a head of steam in the UK in recent weeks, started by musician Tom Gray, who’s also on the songwriter committee of The Ivors Academy. Note, the ‘Keep Music Alive’ campaign is aimed at labels as much as it is at streaming companies.
The post Keep Music Alive campaign aims to ‘fix streaming now’ appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 next to play Fortnite’s new venue

Fresh from hosting a Major Lazer-themed DJ set from Diplo, Fortnite’s new ‘Party Royale’ mode is set for its next music concert tonight. The ‘Party Royale Premier’ will take place at the virtual island’s ‘Main Stage’ venue, with DJ sets from Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 and Dillon Francis. As with the Diplo set, there will be two chances […]
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Source: Music ally

Finalists named for Midemlab 2020 startups contest

There will be no physical Midem conference this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the event will live on digitally – including its annual Midemlab startups contest. Yesterday, the 20 finalists for this year’s competition (disclosure: Music Ally is one of the selecting partners) were announced, narrowed down from 226 entrants this year. The Music […]
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Source: Music ally

Polaris survey reveals latest Nordics streaming stats

The Nordic region is one of the most mature territories for music streaming in the world. Now the Polaris Hub – the licensing hub formed by collecting societies in Denmark, Norway and Finland – has published its annual report on digital music in the region. “The number of inhabitants subscribing to a music streaming service has gone […]
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Source: Music ally

WMG approved for Nasdaq IPO listing as financials announced

Warner Music Group announced its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, but in the earnings call, CEO Steve Cooper kept his cards close to his chest regarding the label’s upcoming IPO. “The current market conditions are obvious, so our board and management will continue to monitor the situation,” Cooper told analysts. However, there was some news later: “We have […]
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite now has more than 350m registered players

Epic Games has put put a couple of new figures for its flagship game Fortnite, and they’re big. “Fortnite now has over 350 million registered players! In April, players spent over 3.2 billion hours in game,” tweeted the official Fortnite account yesterday. Note, the 350m figure isn’t active players – we don’t know how many of the registered […]
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Source: Music ally

Finnish artist JVG’s virtual gig drew 700k viewers

Last year in Sandbox, we covered the campaign for Finnish hip-hop duo JVG’s RATA/ RAITTI album where they used their links to the world of ice hockey (absolutely massive in Finland) and also Warner Music Live to get to arena level. Now they’ve done something else inventive. On Vappu Eve (the night before May Day […]
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Source: Music ally

Gallery view: Rita Ora gets an immersive online exhibition

We are seeing lots of campaigns having to quickly adapt their planned real-world elements to work as purely online initiatives – and the immersive video for Rita Ora’s ‘How To Be Lonely’ single is a very good case in point. The video was directed by Dave Myers and was made in partnership with Wonderland Agency. […]
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Source: Music ally

Garth Brooks to get his own tile in Words With Friends 2

Well, the partnership is more than just a tile, but given Garth Brooks’ status as an “avid Words With Friends player” we suspect he’s pretty proud of that achievement. The partnership with games firm Zynga is actually part of Brooks’ longstanding relationship with Amazon. “Under the arrangement, Brooks will promote Words With Friends with original […]
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Source: Music ally

T-Mobile US launches three-month Tidal trial for customers

Telco bundles can help drive up subscriber numbers when certain networks buddy up with particular DSPs. It is no surprise that T-Mobile US users are being offered three months of Tidal for free given that Tidal has a long-standing relationship with Sprint (notably a $200m investment for a 33% stake in the music service), with Sprint and T-Mobile merging […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitch tipped to launch original shows – music included

Twitch may be preparing a slate of original, live TV shows, according to a report by Bloomberg. It claims that Amazon’s video service will be commissioning and funding “a slate of original, unscripted series that would be live and interactive, airing two to three times a week”. What’s more, the genres in play are expected to […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify tests video podcasts with YouTubers Zane and Heath

Spotify’s next move in podcasts will be letting people watch as well as listen. The Verge reports that Spotify is running tests with YouTube stars Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar for their ‘Zane and Heath: Unfiltered’ show. “The global test, which allows the creators to upload their recorded video footage to the app, will show up for […]
The post Spotify tests video podcasts with YouTubers Zane and Heath appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Why Nigeria has ‘massive’ potential for music streaming

Recorded music revenue in Nigeria will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% over the next five years to reach $40m in 2023, according to PwC, which is tipping the country to be the world’s fastest-growing Entertainment and Media market over the next five years, albeit in percentage terms. In PwC’s Entertainment and […]
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Source: Music ally

Peloton recently added music from ‘thousands’ of publishers

Fitness firm Peloton is one of the businesses for whom the Covid-19 pandemic has a silver lining, with many people unable to visit gyms and thus working out at home. The company’s latest quarterly financial results reveal that its number of ‘connected fitness subscribers’ (people paying for a Peloton subscription) grew by 94% year-on-year to more than […]
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Source: Music ally

Music Tectonics to hold ‘Isolate or Innovate’ online event

Music Tectonics is one of our favourite music industry podcasts (and not just because they’ve had us on), and it’s also held well-regarded conferences. Like everyone else in the conference industry, it’s being forced to go virtual this year. On 19-20 May, it’ll hold Isolate or Innovate, a Zoom form that will “bring together prominent industry […]
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Source: Music ally

Yoop joins the ticketed-livestreaming platforms scramble

Forget Fortnite: 2020’s most intense battle royale might just be between all the livestreaming-video services promising to help musicians make back at least some of the revenues they’re losing from the concerts shutdown. The latest to join the fray is US startup Yoop, which has created an ‘eSpace’ that it describes as “a new immersive virtual venue designed […]
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Source: Music ally

Wicksteed Works launches ‘Getting Started with Fan Clubs’ guide

At the recent superfans event we held with the BPI and ERA, Wicksteed Works’ Jessie Scoullar was one of our experts, explaining how artists can make better use of mailing lists. Now she has launched a separate guide offering musicians and their teams an introduction to setting up a fan club or membership scheme for […]
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Source: Music ally

Over-55s are fastest growing group of UK music streamers

UK body ERA has published some new research showing that Brits aged 55 and over are the fastest-growing segment of music streamers. From its panel survey, ERA estimates that 2.3 million over-55s were using subscription music streaming services in February 2020 in the UK, almost double the 1.2 million figure a year before. That 90.2% […]
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Source: Music ally

Travis McCready and Marc Rebillet set for socially-distanced gigs

There’s plenty of uncertainty around when live concerts will resume in different parts of the world, but don’t forget the related question of what they’ll be like. Specifically: how will music concerts comply with whatever social distancing rules remain, as the lockdown eases. We’re getting some early hints in the US. Artist Travis McCready will […]
The post Travis McCready and Marc Rebillet set for socially-distanced gigs appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Sandbox Summit Global online event set for September

Music Ally is delighted to announce that we are taking our successful Sandbox Summit events online with a new global edition taking place from 21st September to 25th September across two hours each day. The event is supported by Linkfire and Chartmetric and is entirely free to access thanks to this support. The event will […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (6 May)

It’s back! Some days we’re not running a ‘positive news’ roundup, which doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s bleak and terrible: it might be that we’ve broken out a bigger positive story on its own, or just that there’s a lull in announcements. Good things to tell you about today, however, include Bandcamp’s announcement that last Friday’s revenue-share-waiving sale […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify CEO: ‘Long term, we do expect Apple to open up’

It’s all gone a bit quiet on the antitrust complaint front regarding Spotify versus Apple. Spotify filed a complaint in Europe against Apple more than a year ago, sparking a sharp rebuttal from the tech giant. We’re still waiting to see what action, if any, the European Commission takes over the complaint. However, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek […]
The post Spotify CEO: ‘Long term, we do expect Apple to open up’ appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

Techstars Music 2020 startups make their pitches (online)

The demo days of music/tech accelerator Techstars Music are usually a big draw in the physical world, with music industry execs and tech investors convening in Los Angeles to watch its startups pitch.
By necessity, its 2020 demo day was different: streamed online with pre-recorded pitches. It was an impressive and varied selection of companies with concise, well-crafted pitches – plus the announcement that Amazon Music will be joining its selection of partners/backers for 2021.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify should pay musicians more? Let’s talk more about how

Earlier this week, we covered the IFPI’s latest figures for global recorded music revenues, which grew by 8.2% in 2019. Artist rights group the Future of Music Coalition made an important point when it shared our story on Twitter.
It’s true. In 2019 the recorded music industry enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of growth, taking it nearly back to its 2004 level. Meanwhile, outside the recorded sector, publishers are also seeing their revenues grow, while collecting societies are regularly breaking their records for payouts.
All of this is being driven by streaming (and particularly by paid streaming subscriptions), yet this growth is accompanied by a resurgence in unrest from the musicians whose work has made that growth possible. Many are worried that streaming royalties aren’t providing a sustainable income.
The contrast between these fears and the rosy industry figures is sharpened now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the live music industry having shut down entirely in many countries, with an anticipated hit to public performance royalties to come.
The post Spotify should pay musicians more? Let’s talk more about how appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

#NextStageChallenge attracts applicants from 39 countries

We reported on the #NextStageChallenge last month: it’s an initiative that’s trying to round up developers for a hackathon and accelerator to tackle some of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has created for musicians. Music Ally is one of the companies collaborating on the challenge. We’ve now got an update on participation: 425 applicants from […]
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Source: Music ally

Were independents the big winners from 2019 streaming growth?

We covered the launch of the IFPI’s latest Global Music Report yesterday, and the official figures showing that global recorded music revenues grew by 8.2% to $20.2bn in 2019 – the biggest total since 2004. Now the analysis is continuing of what the figures tell us about trends in the market. Midia Research, which put out its own […]
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Source: Music ally

Ministry of Sound makes a game out of Instagram stories

Ministry of Sound has found an inventive use for Instagram stories: it’s turned them into a game to promote the single, ‘Mightnight (The Hanging Tree)’ by Hosh & 1979 ft. Jalja. The Sony-owned label worked with digital agency F-That to create the game, which involves driving a motorbike through a snowstorm while tapping to avoid obstacles […]
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Source: Music ally

Rolling Stones and Foals launch weekly YouTube shows

Two more artists have revealed plans for weekly YouTube formats during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rolling Stones have launched something called ‘Extra Licks’, which will stream past live performances on their YouTube channel every Sunday, using YouTube’s ‘premieres’ feature. The first, focusing on the band’s 2016 ‘Ole!’ tour of Latin America, can be watched here and has […]
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Source: Music ally

Cope-ing mechanism: 90s indie singer returns as kids’ star

Nick Cope was lead singer in British indie band The Candyskins, who were Oxford contemporaries of (if not as big as) Supergrass back in the 1990s. They broke up in 1998, and although they’ve reunited for a few one-off concerts since, there’s also an interesting postscript to their story in the new career of frontman […]
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Source: Music ally

Now That’s What I Call Windowing: Now 105 goes app-first

In the middle of April, music compilations brand Now That’s What I Call Music added a free ad-supported tier to its previously subscription-only app. Now it has made its latest album, Now 105, available exclusively through the app for its first week of release. The album went live on Friday (1 May) ahead of its physical and […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music adds artists’ audiobooks for streaming

We’ve written a fair amount about the differing strategies of Spotify and Apple Music when it comes to spoken-word content. Spotify is piling in to podcasts and giving them equal billing to music on its ‘audio-first’ platform, while Apple is keeping Apple Music and Apple Podcasts as separate entities and apps. But wait: Apple Music […]
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Source: Music ally

Pandora founder: ‘Subscription businesses are destroying music’

We tend to focus on startups’ tech and business models rather than their founders’ psychology, but new livestreaming startup Sessions is fascinating on both counts – in the latter case, seemingly as a response to CEO Tim Westergren’s experiences at Pandora. “The big piece of unfinished business for me at Pandora was, ironically, the artists,” he told […]
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Source: Music ally

Latin music revenues in US growing faster than overall market

The RIAA has published its annual year-end report on Latin (recorded) music revenues in the US, revealing that they grew by 28% to $554m in 2019. That’s more than double the rate of growth of the overall US market, which was 13% that year. $529m of those Latin revenues (i.e. 95%) came from streaming, helping the category […]
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Source: Music ally

Global recorded music industry grew by 8.2% in 2019 says IFPI

Music industry body the IFPI was due to publish its annual Global Music Report in March, with data on worldwide recorded music revenues in 2019. The launch was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the report has now been published today.
The headline figure: global recorded music revenues grew by 8.2% to $20.2bn in 2019, fuelled by streaming, which for the first time accounted for more than half of the total. In fact, it was 56.1% with $11.4bn of revenues.
That streaming income grew by 22.9% in 2019, including a 24.1% increase in paid subscriptions, which is now 42% of the total. The IFPI says that there were 341 million ‘users of paid subscriptions’ at the end of 2019, up by 33.5% year-on-year. That includes non-paying users of family plans.
The overall total is the highest since 2004, when global revenues were $20.3bn. Streaming’s growth once again more than made up for the decline in physical music sales (down 5.3% in 2019) and download sales and other digital revenues (down 15.3%).
The IFPI says that global performance rights revenue fell by 3.6% in 2019, but said this was “largely attributable to one-off settlements in 2018” which spiked that year’s total. Meanwhile, sync revenues from advertising, film, games and TV grew by 5.8%.
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite’s new ‘main stage’ venue hosted a Diplo DJ set

Quick work, Fortnite. Last week we reported on the addition of a ‘Main Stage’ music venue to the game in its new Party Royale mode, and speculated that it could be used for live performances and DJ sets. On Friday night, Diplo rocked up to play a Major Lazer set, giving us the first glimpse […]
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Source: Music ally

MusiCares forced to pause new applications for Covid-19 relief

We’ve been looking for the positive news around the Covid-19 pandemic in our industry, but we can’t avoid the challenges. That includes the news that one of those positive developments, the rapid raising of nearly $14m for the US-focused MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund, is rapidly being depleted. “It is the largest amount of money raised, […]
The post MusiCares forced to pause new applications for Covid-19 relief appeared first on Music Ally.
Source: Music ally

New Smart Audio Report explores Covid-19 smart speaker habits

US radio group NPR and research firm Edison Research have published their latest Smart Audio Report, which usually has plenty of interesting data on digital listening habits in the US. The new edition, for spring 2020, has added interest because it’s been asking people how Covid-19 and its accompanying lockdown has changed those habits. 26% of […]
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Source: Music ally

Pandora founder Tim Westergren launches livestreaming service Sessions

Streaming service Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren stepped down as CEO and from its board of directors in June 2017. Since then, he’s been a venture partner at VC firm Khosla Ventures; joined the board of AI music startup Popgun; and founded a new company called Next Music. What’s that? Well, it’s the firm behind a new […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music paid subscriptions are ‘up strong double-digits’

Apple published its latest quarterly financials yesterday, for the first quarter of 2020 (the company’s fiscal Q2). Services were once again a standout category for the company, setting another quarterly record of $13.3bn in revenues. There was also an announcement (of sorts) about Apple Music’s growth within that segment. “Apple Music and cloud services, both set […]
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Source: Music ally

Canadian firm VoxTonePro files lawsuit over Spotify Ad Studio

Spotify is facing another lawsuit, although this one isn’t focusing on licensing or royalties. Instead, a Canadian company called VoxTonePro is accusing the streaming service of stealing its trade secrets, and using them to build its Spotify Ad Studio – that’s the tool that brands and businesses can use to create their own audio ads to […]
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Source: Music ally

OpenAI reveals its latest music-generating AI: Jukebox

OpenAI is the non-profit artificial intelligence company backed by (among others) tech mogul Elon Musk. Just under a year ago it showed off Musenet: “a deep neural network that can generate 4-minute musical compositions with 10 different instruments, and can combine styles from country to Mozart to the Beatles”.
Now it’s following up with a new system called Jukebox: “A neural net that generates music, including rudimentary singing, as raw audio in a variety of genres and artist styles.”
It’s going to ruffle many feathers within the music community.
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music’s Steve Boom talks growth, Alexa, playlists and more

This is the second part of our Amazon Music piece, based on a face-to-face interview in February that was being held for our Q1 2020 report in early April.
Given the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic since February, we had a follow-up conversation with Amazon Music VP Steve Boom. Part one is based on that interview, but everything below is from the February meeting.
In mid-January, Amazon Music announced that it now had more than 55 million streaming customers, with its VP of music Steve Boom telling the Financial Times that “nearly all” of them were paying for a subscription, rather than using the ad-supported tier.
The figure included Amazon’s full range of subscription tiers, from the Prime Music service bundled into an Amazon Prime membership through its single device plan, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Amazon Music HD.
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Source: Music ally

Amazon Music’s Steve Boom talks Covid-19, MusiCares and lockdown listening trends

“It’s been very gratifying to see the music community pull together… It’s gone really well: we’ve raised over $10m now. Unfortunately, the need is enormous. We’ve had over 10,000 applications for aid already, and we’re only six weeks into this thing. The crisis is going to be long lasting…”
Steve Boom is VP of Amazon Music, but he’s also chairman of the board at MusiCares Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Recording Academy, which has taken a central role in the Covid-19 coronavirus relief efforts for musicians and the music community in the US.
Boom has been working with Recording Academy chairman Harvey Mason Jr. since “very early on” in the current crisis on the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund, which has already been backed by an array of major labels and publishers, digital music services, collecting societies and other industry entities.
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Source: Music ally

Facebook financials reveal ‘significant’ Covid-19 impact

You’d be forgiven for the tart reply ‘Well of course they do’ – even the world’s largest social network can’t be immune from the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks […]
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Source: Music ally

Source3 founder raises $1.5m for Bonsai career-mentoring startup

Music Ally readers may be familiar with Patrick Sullivan, who co-founded video copyright protection company Source3 and sold it to Facebook in 2017. (That team had previously set up RightsFlow and sold it to YouTube in 2011.) Sullivan’s new venture is Bonsai which is designed to give individuals seeking career advice access to one-to-one video meetings online with […]
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Source: Music ally

Holy £*@!: Deezer uses AI to filter out song profanities

Spotify launched its Spotify Kids app partly to reassure parents that their children would not encounter ripe phraseology when streaming music. Now Deezer is also looking into the challenge of ensuring family listening doesn’t accidentally turn the air a distinct shade of blue. The team behind its Spleeter stem-isolating tool have added in a ‘Keyword Spotting System’ […]
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Source: Music ally

SiriusXM to launch artist channels for Bowie, Eagles and more

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM is launching a bunch of authorised artist channels on its service on 1 May. It’s a raft of big catalogue artists: David Bowie, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait, Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Prince and The Rolling Stones. Produced with the artists’ teams / estates, the channels will broadcast a mixture of […]
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite ‘Party Royale’ social mode includes ‘main stage’ concert venue

The idea that Fortnite is more than a game, it’s a social network has been floating about for a while – tweens and teens especially have been using it as a virtual space to socialise (and, indeed, watch the odd music concert) for a long time.
The game’s new mode reinforces that point though. It’s called ‘Party Royale’ and it ditches the killing in favour of non-lethal interactivity: from driving challenges to virtual restaurants, a football pitch, nightclub and cinema to hang out in.
The perfect space, in other words, to perhaps hold some smaller-scale events with music, film and other entertainment partners, to complement the larger-scale Travis Scott / Marshmello / Star Wars set-pieces hosted within the main Fortnite island.
“It feels like I’m in a Fortnite theme park, obviously within a video game,” is how YouTuber Ali-A described it when taking his viewers on a tour yesterday – complete with a ‘constant performances’ festival-style venue.
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Source: Music ally

Serving the Superfans: takeaways from today’s BPI / ERA / Music Ally online insight session

Today was going to be the day for an insight session put on in London by British industry bodies the BPI and ERA in partnership with Music Ally about ‘Serving the Superfans’. Covid-19 put paid to the in-person plans, so the event was taken online via Zoom. Here’s our report of some of the key takeaways.
Music Ally’s Eamonn Forde introduced the event by talking about some of the findings from his ‘Serving the Superfans’ report which will be published next week, to follow on from today’s event.
He talked about the long history of the superfan, which stretches back to a performance in Paris by Franz Lizt in 1844, which was notorious for provoking fan hysteria.
“That essence of fandom hasn’t really changed that much. It’s about an overwhelming love for an artist and their music, and complete identification with that. The artists and fans are the two constants here, it’s just how they are connected and reach each other that has changed,” said Forde.
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s mantra for radio vs on-demand streaming: ‘Everything linear dies’

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and CFO Paul Vogel have been fielding questions from analysts following the company’s publication of its Q1 2020 financial results earlier today, and their interview with Music Ally shortly afterwards.
There were not many surprises, but Ek’s desire to (as he described it several times) “uplevel” the conversation around Spotify and what its competition is was the major standout.
“Both short and long term, we are always thinking about Spotify’s role within the larger ecosystem. While most [external] focus is on competition between streaming services, we continue to be focused on the billions of users who are listening to linear radio,” said Ek.
Multiple times during the call he came back to the notion that the big audio trend of the next 20 years is a move from “linear to on-demand” – which in the music world, is mainly about radio to streaming. At one point he even said “everything linear dies”.
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Source: Music ally

Two new reports on smart speakers and voice assistants

More research firms have been putting out numbers on the market for smart speakers and voice assistants. Juniper Research claims that by 2024 the number of devices with voice assistants in use will “overtake the world’s population” with more than 8.4bn devices – up from a predicted 4.2bn at the end of 2020. It sees big growth […]
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Source: Music ally

Red Light Management’s Hot Command signs esports partnership

Red Light Management – through its Hot Command gaming subsidiary – is partnering with esports company HyperX for a series of online streaming events. It will match Red Light’s artist roster with major esports names on HyperX’s books. The companies have not yet announced specifics of any of these pairings, but it’s another sign of […]
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Source: Music ally

Instagram Live is getting a donations feature – for charities

Instagram is opening up its Live feature to allow users to create a fundraiser initiative where 100% of the money raised will go to a nominated cause. There are a number of caveats – notably that fundraisers can only be undertaken for nonprofits and Instagram has its own list of approved nonprofits that any money raised can […]
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Source: Music ally

Ampled fan-funding platform waives artist fees for 2020

Earlier this month, we profiled Ampled, a new platform for artists to raise money directly from fans. At the time we noted that Ampled’s original business plan initially involved taking 15% of each transaction on its platform, with the aim of lowering that cut in the future. Now there’s been a change. “As a response to […]
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Source: Music ally

Children’s music booms on platforms from YouTube to JioSaavn

One of the factors in YouTube’s viewing increase (see story higher up this bulletin) is the fact that schools are closed in many countries, and children are getting (even) more time on screens. At the younger end of the age range, that’s having a notable impact on the figures for children’s music channels. Witness the latest […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: TikTok app added 5.6m US users in March alone

It won’t come as a big surprise to learn that TikTok is one of the digital services benefitting from the Covid-19 lockdown – in usage, if not necessarily in revenues. According to eMarketer, in March TikTok added more than 12 million unique visitors in the US alone. Wait: ‘visitors’? These are based on figures from comScore, […]
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Source: Music ally

Impala publishes 10-step ‘recovery roadmap’ for music in Europe

European indie body Impala has published its latest thoughts on the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the music industry. It’s a ten-step ‘recovery roadmap’ that sets out what it would like to see governments across the European Union doing in the coming months. Immediate steps that Impala would like to see include EU states recognising music and culture […]
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Source: Music ally

Alphabet’s Q1 included ‘significant slowdown in ad revenues’

It should come as no surprise that Covid-19 is figuring prominently in the Q1 financial results of every public company. Alphabet announced its figures yesterday, and warned that although its revenues were up 13% to $41.2bn in the first quarter of 2020, in March it saw a “significant slowdown in ad revenues”. YouTube is part of […]
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Source: Music ally

Pandora ad revenues up but monthly listeners are still falling

US satellite radio firm SiriusXM published its Q1 financial results yesterday, including updated figures for its Pandora subsidiary. The good news for Pandora: its ad revenues were up 4% year-on-year to $241m. The not-so-good news: its monthly active users are still falling: down from just over 66 million a year ago to 60.9 million now. Ad-supported […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s Daniel Ek talks churn, fan funding and why Covid-19 ‘might be a much better time to release music’

The Covid-19 pandemic is leading some labels to postpone big album releases, especially those for which tours were a big part of the marketing plans. Some big artists, like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd, have put out their albums as planned. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek thinks they may offer encouragement to other artists and labels […]
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Source: Music ally

Despite Covid-19 Spotify grew its subscribers to 130m in Q1 2020

With recent reports that audio music streams had fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been waiting for Spotify’s Q1 2020 financial results with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Would they reveal a decline in listening, but more importantly, about an impact on paid subscriptions?
The figures are out, and it’s good news – for now at least. Spotify ended Q1 with 130 million subscribers, up by 31% year-on-year, having added six million during the first quarter of this year.
Spotify ended the quarter with 286 million monthly active users, also up by 31% year-on-year, having added 15 million during Q1.
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (28 April)

TikTok is launching a new feature, ‘Donation Stickers’, that will enable creators on the app to encourage their followers to donate to charities. This isn’t only about music, but music industry charities MusiCares and Help Musicians are two of the first to be supported through the feature. The stickers can be added to videos, and […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches ‘Daily Wellness’ music and podcasts playlist

Spotify unveiled its latest personalised playlist yesterday, although for now ‘Daily Wellness’ is only available in the US and UK. Like ‘Your Daily Drive’ which launched in June 2019, the new playlist blends music and podcasts, except the focus now is on helping listeners find “positivity, mindfulness, or peace” throughout the day. Also new: ‘Daily Wellness’ […]
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Source: Music ally

Saudi Arabian fund acquires 5.7% stake in Live Nation

The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia has acquired a 5.7% stake in Live Nation, for a price estimated at nearly $500m. Live Nation is a public company, so this was a transaction on the open market, revealed in a filing by the ‘Public Investment Fund’ with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to Billboard, this […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: subscriptions growth ‘relatively unaffected’ by Covid-19

We’ll put the big caveat up front: predicting the impact that the Covid-19 coronavirus will have on any industry or sector this year rests on the supremely shaky notion that anyone can predict what will happen with the pandemic itself over the next eight months. Some countries are getting back to work and easing social […]
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Source: Music ally

Lion Babe used Instagram for ‘Around The World At Home’ tour

We wrote earlier this month about L Devine’s inventive ‘URL Tour’ in which she held livestreams on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube, as if each platform was a stop on a tour. Now US duo Lion Babe have put their own spin on a digital tour with ‘Around The World At Home‘. It’s based on only […]
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Source: Music ally

Carlos Vives launches #NoTeVayasDeTuCasa video-call campaign

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we’re seeing a growing number of artist marketing campaigns – and even the music that’s at the centre of them – address the crisis. The latest marketing example is from Colombian artist Carlos Vives, whose latest single is called ‘No Te Vayas’ (translation: ‘Don’t Go’). That theme has been adapted for […]
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Source: Music ally

Maestro is the startup partner for Erykah Badu’s livestreams

Earlier this month, we wrote about Erykah Badu building her own livestreaming destination rather than using the big social platforms to reach her fans during the Covid-19 lockdown. Now we’ve got some more information about the technology she used to do it. Badu’s partner was a startup called Maestro, which helps artists to create and stream shows from […]
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Source: Music ally

Zedd launched his Twitch channel by playing hot game Valorant

Dance artist Zedd has launched an official Twitch channel. It went live on Saturday with a stream of a 90-minute concert video from his Orbit World Tour. “I’m so excited to relive this show with everyone this weekend, and while so many of us are staying at home right now, I hope that this show will […]
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Source: Music ally

Want the Travis Scott Fortnite action figures? That’ll be $75

If you missed the Travis Scott concerts in Fortnite, and don’t want to have to watch with excitable YouTubers chattering over the top, there’s now an official ‘full event video’ (with well-chosen camera angles to get the full impact) on Scott’s own YouTube channel. It’s already been watched by nearly three million people at the time of […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive music industry-related coronavirus news (27 April)

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) is launching a campaign called #saveourvenues, which aims to drum up support for 556 ‘grassroots music venues’ that it says are in danger of permanent closure in the UK. “The situation is dire, government support has been exhausted, and it now falls to artists, music fans, local communities and the […]
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Source: Music ally

Lego and Universal Music team up for kids’ products in 2021

Universal Music Group’s latest partnership is with Lego. Announced this morning, it’ll see the pair teaming up for “the development of a new suite of Lego products launching in 2021, created to encourage and inspire the next generation of musicians, creatives and fans”. Details of what those products will be have not been announced yet: […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: UK physical music sales halved during Covid-19 crisis

It’s hardly a surprise that physical music sales have taken a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, through a mixture of physical stores being closed, and Amazon prioritising other products for its online store. Now the Financial Times has been talking to some companies in the UK to quantify the decline, suggesting that “sales of vinyl records […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook will soon let page owners charge for livestreams

In terms of reach, Facebook is a hugely powerful platform for livestreams, which is why many artists have been using it during the Covid-19 lockdown period for performances, fan Q&As and other live broadcasts. Making money directly from those broadcasts (as opposed to indirectly through promoting streams, merchandise etc) hasn’t thus far been the goal. […]
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Source: Music ally

UMG’s Michael Nash thinks music subscriptions will be resilient to Covid-19 impact

A flurry of recent reports have noted that in the initial weeks of the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown, music streams declined. Should the industry be worried? Universal Music Group’s EVP of digital strategy Michael Nash has dampened down those fears.
“The subscription business, which is the big driver for revenue, is relatively stable based on its underlying dynamics. You’ve got the recurring billing relationship with the consumer, and so even if consumption’s down a little bit, the revenue that’s being divided up among the artists and labels is relatively constant,” he said yesterday.
Nash was speaking in an online panel that was part of the Artist Rights Symposium II, organised by the University of Georgia Music Business Program at Terry College of Business.
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Source: Music ally

Startup Gotickety talks Example tie-up and streaming plans

We last covered Gotickety when it launched in September 2018, calling itself the “Candy Crush for the Music Industry” where users of the app play games in order to win meet and greets with musicians, personal video messages from stars as well as tickets/merchandise. The company has now revealed the results of a recent partnership with […]
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Source: Music ally

Trojan Records taps fans for Young, Gifted and Black campaign

It’s the 50th anniversary of the release of ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, and label Trojan Records is gearing up to celebrate it in style. It has launched a campaign of the same name, with an emphasis on fans. “Join in the celebrations by uploading a photo/video of yourself along with […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify’s music podcast Dissect returns with Beyoncé focus

Remember the days when you couldn’t stream Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album anywhere except on Tidal? The album eventually made it to other streaming services (including Spotify) in April 2019, three years after its initial release. More evidence of times having changed: ‘Lemonade’ is the subject for the latest season of Spotify’s music podcast ‘Dissect’, with two episodes […]
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Source: Music ally

12.3m fans showed up for Travis Scott’s first Fortnite concert

The first of Travis Scott’s ‘Astronomical’ concerts within Fortnite happened overnight, and it was a big hit with the game’s players. “Over 12.3 million concurrent players participated live in Travis Scott’s Astronomical, an all-time record!” tweeted the official Fortnite account. That means Scott beat the 10.7 million audience for Marshmello’s Fortnite concert in February 2019.
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Source: Music ally

Fortnite reveals items and challenges for Travis Scott Astronomical event

Travis Scott is coming to Fortnite this weekend with his ‘Astronomical’ event. Ahead of the multiple performances, the game has added several Scott-themed virtual products to its item shop. Fans wanting all of them will be spending nearly $35.
Here’s how that breaks down. There’s an Astronomical Bundle including two skins (characters) – Travis Scott and an Astro Jack alter-ego – as well as two ‘back bling’ decorations. Its official price is 3,500 of Fortnite’s V-Bucks currency, although that’s currently discounted to 2,500.
A separate Astronomical Gear set costs 1,600 V-Bucks – currently discounted to 1,100 – and includes a Diamond Jack harvesting tool (a replacement for the game’s default pickaxe), a Goosebumps wrap to customise weapons, and a Head Banger emote (dance move).
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Source: Music ally

AR firm Magic Leap lays off staff and refocuses on enterprises

Is more than $2.6bn of funding enough to insulate a tech startup from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? Not in the case of augmented-reality firm Magic Leap. “The recent changes to the economic environment have decreased availability of capital and the appetite for longer term investments. While our leadership team, board, and investors still […]
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Source: Music ally

Artist Plastician builds a Twitch audience… with pub quizzes

How’s your dubstep and UK garage knowledge? If you’re clued in, you might want to tune in for artist Plastician on his Twitch channel, where he’s been holding regular pub quizzes on the genres. He’s one of the DJs profiled in a new Pitchfork article about livestreaming, which notes that Plastician has gone more down the interaction route […]
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Source: Music ally

YouTube set for sing-along version of Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

This Saturday (25 April) a sing-along edition of The Beatles’ 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine will be screened on the band’s official YouTube channel. The film – which was remastered and restored for theatrical and DVD release in 2018 – has never been available on YouTube before. Well, not in an official capacity. This screening is […]
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Source: Music ally

Pharrell Williams and SoundCloud launch talent compilation

Pharrell Williams and his I Am Other creative company are working with SoundCloud to create a compilation for new artists. Artists hoping to take part must upload a track to SoundCloud with the #SCxiamOTHER hashtag, then the best 10 (or possibly more) will be picked by Williams and his team. The resulting ‘SoundCloud Presents: i am OTHER, […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (23 April)

Start today with YouTube’s announcement of a slate of Covid-19 related original shows, with several involving music. Stay Home With: Yungblud will explore the UK artist’s quarantine life, with viewers encouraged to donate to the No Kid Hungry charity, for example. Also positive is Abbey Road Studios’ new Topline Songwriting Competition, with songwriters, artists and producers invited to […]
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Source: Music ally

Hipgnosis acquires a 70% stake in Mark Ronson’s publishing

Hipgnosis Songs Fund is at it again. The thirsty-for-catalogue publishing company has acquired 70% of Mark Ronson’s publishing/catalogue. “Mark has been amongst the most exciting creators in the world over the last 20 years co-writing and producing records for the most important artists of their time including Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Dua […]
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Source: Music ally

Spanish body Promusicae breaks down potential Covid-19 impact

Spain was once seen as one of the toughest markets for recorded music thanks to the popularity of piracy. The country’s turnaround, fuelled by streaming, has been a big positive story for the music industry in the past decade. Recent figures published by industry body Promusicae revealed that the Spanish market grew by 22.5% in […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ tool is going live today

Last month, we reported on Spotify’s announcement that artists would soon be able to “link out to a verified funding page for themselves, for another artist in need, or for a separate initiative of their choice” from their profiles on the streaming service.
The new feature – named ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ – goes live today, and Spotify has revealed more details of the fundraising partners who artists will be able to link out to.
“Just like artists can select any piece of music to highlight on their profile as an Artist’s Pick, they can now highlight a fundraising destination (in addition to their Artist’s Pick),” explained the company in a blog post.
Spotify is launching the feature with three partners who artists will be able to raise funds for themselves, their bands and crews with: Cash App, GoFundMe and PayPal.me. The first of those has a closer partnership with Spotify, too.
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Source: Music ally

Snapchat now has 229m daily users (but still big net losses)

Snapchat’s parent company Snap published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, revealing another jump in its daily active users total. At the end of March, Snapchat had 229 million daily active users, up by 20% year-on-year, having added 11 million in the first three months of this year. “On average, more than 4 billion snaps were […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook confirms $5.7bn investment in JioSaavn’s parent telco

In March, we reported on speculation that Facebook was in negotiations to buy a 10% stake in Indian telco Reliance Jio, the parent company of music streaming service JioSaavn. Now Facebook has confirmed that it has made a $5.7bn investment in the company, which will make the social network its largest minority shareholder. Music wasn’t mentioned in the press […]
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Source: Music ally

Netflix added 15.8m paying subscribers in first quarter of 2020

We’re still waiting to find out what effect the Covid-19 pandemic is having on music streaming subscriptions. All eyes on Spotify’s Q1 financials next week for that. But Netflix’s first-quarter figures were published yesterday, giving us a glimpse at the impact on video subscriptions. Netflix added 15.8 million net new paid subscribers in Q1, benefiting from […]
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Group opens its live vaults for PlayOn Fest

This weekend (24-26 April), Warner Music Group is hosting the virtual PlayOn Fest where listeners can “relive epic performances one time only”. Over the three days, past shows from a huge range of acts, among them Coldplay, Green Day and Janelle Monáe (we only picked these three as they rhyme, but there are MANY more) will be […]
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Source: Music ally

Belle & Sebastian launch new fan-centric collaboration project

British band Belle & Sebastian are turning to their fans to crowdsource their thoughts and feelings about self-isolation and life under lockdown. ‘Protecting The Hive’ is a two-part project where fans will be asked to submit lyrics and song themes and the band will then turn them into music. The first fruits of this is a […]
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Source: Music ally

There’s now an AI to ‘generate deepfake dances’ for TikTok

Do you want to upload amazing dancing videos to TikTok like The Young People do, but are hamstrung by a lack of dancing skills? Fear not: AI is coming to your rescue. Possibly. Check out a new startup called Boogie, whose teaser website claims its technology will “generate deepfake dances with a single image” and thus […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify rolls its podcast ad-insertion tech out in Germany

In January, we reported on Spotify’s announcement in the US of its ‘Streaming Ad Insertion’ [SAI] technology: a system to boost advertising within its original and exclusive shows by giving brands and podcast makers alike more data on listeners and ad performance. Now SAI is rolling out elsewhere in the world, starting in Germany. The location is no […]
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Source: Music ally

Patreon lays off 13% of staff amid Covid-19 uncertainties

Fan-funding firm Patreon is laying off 13% of its staff, which according to TechCrunch is 30 employees. The company cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the cause. “It is unclear how long this economic uncertainty will last and therefore, to prepare accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with 13% of Patreon’s workforce,” said a […]
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Source: Music ally

Sonos launches its own ad-supported radio service

Connected-audio firm Sonos has always taken a Switzerland approach to supporting the various music streaming services, but it’s easy to forget that radio has been a big use case for its devices too, thanks to integrations with the likes of TuneIn and iHeartRadio as well as individual radio groups’ apps. “Today, nearly half of all […]
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Source: Music ally

Spotify launches its own set of curated podcast playlists

Spotify has a new plan to get people listening to podcasts, and it follows the blueprint of its music service in its focus on human curation. The company has launched three podcast playlists initially in six countries: the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Mexico and Brazil. ‘Brain Snacks’ will focus on the educational side of things […]
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Source: Music ally

Mixcloud launches a livestreaming feature for its creators

Streaming service Mixcloud has always been focused on uploads: DJ sets and radio-style shows uploaded for people to stream on-demand. Now, in a timely move, it’s adding a livestreaming feature. That’s audio (not video) livestreaming, as befits the platform. The company says the new Mixcloud Live feature will enable creators to stream live, archive the […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (21 April)

Spotify has added more partners to its Covid-19 Music Relief project. Having started with donations to MusiCares, PRS Foundation and Help Musicians, it is now also donating to funds and charities in France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Meanwhile, David Guetta’s livestreamed concert at the weekend generated 9m views on Facebook and nearly […]
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Source: Music ally

Warner Music Group invests in African distributor Africori

Warner Music Group is increasing its footprint in Africa with an investment in Africori, a distribution, rights management and artist development company. The deal will give Warner’s ADA distribution division access to a range of African artists through Africori’s roster of 6,500 artists and 700 labels, taking on their distribution and marketing globally. Warner will […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple Music adds 52 new countries taking its total to 167

Apple Music is expanding again, with its footprint now taking in an additional 52 countries. That means the service is now available in 167 countries, with Africa and Latin America prominent in the list of new additions – the former in particular, where the rollouts include 25 countries. MBW reported that the expansion includes the launch of Apple’s […]
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Source: Music ally

Travis Scott to premiere new track during Fortnite ‘tour’

There was lots of excitement around the huge audience for dance artist Marshmello’s concert in video game Fortnite in February 2019: 10.7 million players showed up to watch (and dance). Since then, there have been some other partnerships between Fortnite’s publisher Epic Games and the music world: an island based on Weezer; a dancing emote based on Rick Astley’s […]
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Source: Music ally

Facebook is taking on Twitch with an app to watch gaming

Facebook is launching a new app today: Facebook Gaming. It’s training its sights squarely on the territory occupied by Twitch: people playing games and streaming the footage online for others to watch. According to the New York Times, the launch has been brought forward from June. “Investing in gaming in general has become a priority […]
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Source: Music ally

Beatstream Box Office adds tech for ticketed live-audio streams

Startups and services based on live music are having to pivot quickly (if, hopefully, temporarily) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We wrote about ticketing app Dice’s launch of a livestreaming-focused Dice TV feature last week, and now fellow British startup Beatstream Box Office is making its own changes. The company’s main business is giving fans paid access to […]
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Source: Music ally

BPI yearbook highlights growth for British rap artists

British music body the BPI releases its annual All About the Music yearbook today, and to promote the launch it’s talking about some of the findings around rap / hip-hop in the UK. The genre accounted for 21.5% of all consumption last year in terms of singles, which is a new high since the BPI began […]
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Source: Music ally

One World: Together At Home raises $127.9m for Covid-19 relief

This weekend, a parade of stars teamed up for the One World: Together At Home livestream, organised and curated by Global Citizen and Lady Gaga to benefit the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. How did the event do? By yesterday it had already raised a total of $127.9m, of which $55.1m will go […]
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Source: Music ally

Taylor Swift cancels all her live performances in 2020

There are some tough conversations going on behind the scenes at the moment about when the live music scene might get back to any semblance of normality. If you’re still hoping for this autumn, Taylor Swift’s announcement that she’s cancelling all remaining concerts for 2020 isn’t good news. “Health organizations and governments around the world […]
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Source: Music ally

Tommy Boy president: ‘YouTube could become our number one DSP’

Friday saw the first ever Music Ally TV weekly show, broadcast using video-conferencing platform Zoom. Our guests included Rosie Lopez, president of Tommy Boy, and the topic at hand was YouTube.
“We’re feeling very optimistic about YouTube. We’re projecting that YouTube could potentially become our number one DSP in the future,” said Lopez. “It’s a lot of work… but it is a platform where you literally get what you put in, back out, if you put time into it, [and] if you have a great team.”
Lopez went on to note that YouTube is more than just a “profit centre” for Tommy Boy: it’s also “a way to grow the family, the close-knit people that come in and check on us on a daily basis”. She added that its social features are key to that.
“On Spotify, we can’t comment back to people who love our music. On YouTube we can,” she said. “On YouTube you’re gonna hear what people like, you’re gonna hear what they don’t like, and if you learn to pay attention, you’re gonna learn a lot from your audience on YouTube!”
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Source: Music ally

Amazon to begin testing its staff for Covid-19 infection

Amazon has announced that it will begin testing some of its ‘frontline’ workers for Covid-19, even if they are not showing any symptoms. “Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running,” wrote CEO Jeff Bezos in his annual letter to […]
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Source: Music ally

More data emerges on Covid-19 impact on YouTube ad rates

In terms of traffic, YouTube is getting an almighty battering at the moment, with people working from home (and just as importantly, children’s schools closed). But we’ve reported already on talk of the advertising rates on YouTube falling, as brands pause or pull their advertising budgets as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now there’s some more […]
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Source: Music ally

GENE genie: LA Priest creates online modular machine emulator

Domino Recordings act LA Priest has his second album, GENE, due for release in June. To promote the first single from the album, ‘What Moves’, he has created what he is calling the GENE Machine that lets users play around with the track’s audio. It is essentially an online emulator of the analogue drum machine that Dust […]
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Source: Music ally

Apple tipped to launch over-ear wireless headphones this year

Apple’s wireless AirPods earphones have been a big hit, but if you don’t like sticking things in your ears, they may not appeal. Never fear: Apple may well be working on some ‘over-ear’ wireless headphones, according to a report from Bloomberg. It claimed that Apple is “working on at least two variations, including a premium version […]
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Source: Music ally

Dice ticketing app adds livestreams with new Dice TV feature

We’ve already seen the biggest companies in the live music world, from Live Nation to Eventbrite, reveal some of their plans for cost reductions to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. What about smaller startups whose businesses are based on live music though? Ticketing app Dice is one of them, and this morning it has revealed part […]
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Source: Music ally

Roblox to stream One World: Together at Home concert in-game

The list of services that will be streaming tomorrow’s One World: Together at Home benefit concert for Covid-19 relief is lengthy, taking in Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, MTV, Roku, BBC Music, the Guardian, Alibaba and iHeartRadio among others. One of the most interesting names on the list, though, is Roblox. Often described as ‘the YouTube of […]
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Source: Music ally

Now That’s What I Call Music app adds free, ad-supported tier

The Now That’s What I Call Music (‘Now’ for short) compilation series has been running since 1983, evolving in the streaming era with playlists on the big DSPs, but also its own subscription-based mobile app. It costs £4.99 a month and has a tightly-focused catalogue of chart hits. Now the app has added a free tier, […]
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Source: Music ally

Study: privacy worries DO put people off products and services

This is one of those things that may seem obvious, but it’s useful to have some hard data for. The Pew Research Center in the US has been surveying Americans about whether privacy concerns would stop them from using a product or service. 52% of respondents said that they had recently decided not to use something […]
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Source: Music ally

Houseparty video-chat app signed up 50m new users in last month

50 million people have signed up to video-chatting app Houseparty in the last month alone, according to its CEO Sima Sistani, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg. The app is riding the same stay-at-home wave as Zoom (which has grown from 10 million daily active users at the end of 2019 to more than 200 million […]
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Source: Music ally

Drake’s ‘Toosie Slide’ heads towards 3bn views on TikTok

Drake released his new track ‘Toosie Slide’ on 2nd April, and as we reported before, TikTok and other social platforms were part of its marketing strategy right from the start, thanks to the recruitment of some prominent dancer influencers. How’s that campaign going? Well, there have been more than 2.8bn views of TikTok videos using the #toosieslide […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (16 April)

There’s more news from the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund in the US, which has now secured contributions from collecting societies ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The fund is now past the $10m mark on the back of support from all quarters of the music industry. Meanwhile, in the UK another collecting society, PPL, is donating £700k to […]
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Source: Music ally

Opposition filed to Liberty Media plans to increase iHeartMedia stake

In December 2019, it was reported that media group Liberty Media was seeking to increase its stake in radio and streaming group iHeartMedia – possibly to a level that would give it control of the latter company. Now a range of artist rights and consumer groups have written to the US Department of Justice outlining their opposition to […]
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Source: Music ally

Scott Cohen: Covid-19 could be live industry’s ‘Napster moment’

Warner Music Group’s chief innovation officer for recorded music, Scott Cohen, thinks that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic could be a ‘Napster moment’ for the live music industry. Cohen was speaking in a ‘From Holograms to the Holodeck’ online panel last night convened by the Social Broadcasting Company. “With this Covid-19 disruption, is this doing to […]
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Source: Music ally

Socan CEO Eric Baptiste resigns and steps down immediately

There’s a change at the top for Canadian collecting society Socan, as its CEO Eric Baptiste has resigned and stepped down with immediate effect. Why so abrupt? “With the end of the current CEO contract approaching, Eric thought it was time to move on and a mutual decision was reached with the Board to end […]
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Source: Music ally

Startup Dirac raises $6m and adds Spotify veteran to board

We’ve covered a number of startups in the ‘audio tech’ sector in recent times: among them Accusonus (which raised $3.3m in November 2019); Sonarworks (which showed off a personalised audio app called SoundID in January); and Tunefork (whose app for people with hearing loss impressed at Midemlab 2019). Now there’s another one for the list: Swedish startup Dirac, which describes […]
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Source: Music ally

Soundsgood closes its playlisting platform after being acquired

We first wrote about French startup Soundsgood back in 2015 when it launched after signing up a range of tastemakers to curate bespoke playlists across all the major DSPs of the time. Two years later, it was among the winners in the Midemlab contest for startups, triumphing in the marketing and data/analytics category. Over time, Soundsgood focused more on […]
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Source: Music ally

Sony/ATV teams up with music production marketplace BeatStars

Music Ally first wrote about production marketplace BeatStars back in June 2012, when we noted that it had already been dubbed ‘the iTunes of beats’. Eight years on, it’s now famous as the website where Lil Nas X bought a trap beat for $30 and used it to make a track called ‘Old Town Road’. In June last year, BeatStars […]
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Source: Music ally

COVID-19: Time to turn disruption into innovation (guest column)

This is a guest column from Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA:
“All around the world we are facing an unprecedented crisis, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale since before most of us were born. Like most industries, this also has also had implications for the music business, some parts more than others. We are getting all too used to hearing of festival, tour and conference postponements or employees losing their jobs.
Against these truly overcast skies, there are ways to make the best of the situation. We’ve all been forced to refocus on what we do and why, as we reimagine our workforces working from home. While disruptive, this focusing process not only enables us to cope best in the short term but to emerge stronger once the clouds clear.
Of course, working from home presents its challenges; for those looking after children normally at school, for singles and even more so single parents. But most of us who traditionally commuted to the office every day have been surprised by how much can be achieved. We have also quickly shaken off some outdated norms — a video conference with a baby or pet being introduced at the start of the meeting is if anything quite charming.
In this period of disruption, taking the time to revisit your objectives and key results provides an opportunity to clarify staff members’ priorities. And in fact, being removed from the general melee of an office can make it easier for team members to focus more clearly on their individual objectives.
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Source: Music ally

Covid-19 advertising slump is hitting YouTube channels

In terms of viewing, YouTube is thought to be having a big moment amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But are its advertising revenues also climbing? A story on Medium’s OneZero suggests that there may be something to worry about on that front. “YouTubers say that the rates companies pay to advertise on their videos are dropping significantly. That […]
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Source: Music ally

Jimmy Iovine invests in esports franchise FaZe Clan

Formerly of Apple Music (and, of course, before that a long and storied career as a producer, label executive and headphonepreneur) Jimmy Iovine is getting into esports. No, he’s not in training for the next Fortnite World Cup (although we’d absolutely pay to watch that) – Iovine has invested in one of the biggest esports franchises, […]
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Source: Music ally

Dolly Parton and Laura Marling release surprise albums

Well, in the case of Dolly Parton it’s ‘re-release’ since her “93 Song Surprise” is the digital relaunch of six of her albums from earlier this century. ‘Little Sparrow’ (2001), ‘Halos & Horns’ (2002), ‘For God & Country’ (2003), ‘Live & Well’ (2004), ‘Those Were the Days’ (2005) and ‘Better Day’ (2011) are the six, […]
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Source: Music ally

AIMS API uses AI to mine catalogues of recorded music

The latest startup using artificial intelligence technology to make sense of large music catalogues is AIMS API, from the Czech Republic. The company describes itself as “an API service that searches and recommends music within your catalogue based on reference audio tracks”. The startup’s background is in the production music world: co-founder Martin Nedvěd ran production […]
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Source: Music ally

SoundExchange has distributed more than $7bn since 2003

US royalties-collecting organisation SoundExchange has hit a new milestone: $7bn of distributions since it was created in 2003. The company passed $5bn of distributions in late 2017, and was thought to have reached $6bn in early 2019. The news came as SoundExchange announced that its distributions during the first quarter of 2020 were $224m, up 1.5% year-on-year. The firm […]
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Source: Music ally

Disney+ video service signs up 50m subscribers in five months

It took Spotify eight and a half years to sign up 50 million subscribers; it has taken Disney+ five months. And yes, that’s an unfair, apples to oranges comparison in terms of different kinds of services at different times. It’s just to show the startling scale of the initial growth of Disney’s video-streaming service. Launched in the […]
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Source: Music ally

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down made a music video on Zoom

As video-conferencing app Zoom continues to grow massively for business and personal use alike, it was only a matter of time before artists started using it to make music videos. Take a bow, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, for being one of the first. The band’s new ‘Phenom‘ video was made using Zoom, […]
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Source: Music ally

Instagram has plans to help artists monetise livestreams

Instagram is one of the best platforms for quickly drawing an audience for an artist’s livestream, if they have a healthy following on the app. However, when it comes to those artists making money from their broadcasts, Instagram Live is still at a very early stage. This thread of tweets makes for very interesting reading on […]
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Source: Music ally

BPI study reveals strength in streaming of catalogue tracks

British music industry body the BPI has been analysing its data on music streams in 2019. It includes the finding that tracks from that year accounted for 21.1% of all streams, with tracks released in 2018 accounting for 18.6%. That means the lion’s share of streams in 2019 in the UK came from tracks released […]
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Source: Music ally

TikTok launches ‘Live Sessions’ with popular UK artists

The live sessions and the livestreaming just keeps coming. TikTok has created a new Live Sessions series in the UK based around British artists. The first acts signed up to appear are Ashnikko (10th April), Mabel (14th April), Tinie Tempah (21st April), Jax Jones and Ellie Goulding (dates TBC). The aim is that each artist […]
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Source: Music ally

CNN buys ‘private discovery’ app Canopy to focus it on news

CNN has acquired the assets of startup Canopy and hired the company’s development team to work on NewsCo, the codename for the broadcaster’s planned news and information platform. We’ve written about Canopy several times: it was co-founded in 2018 by former Spotify executives Brian Whitman (previously co-founder of The Echo Nest) and Annika Goldman. The idea was […]
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Source: Music ally

Trolls World Tour film’s marketing includes Spotify and Pandora

“Is Trolls World Tour the most important film of 2020?” wondered a piece in the Guardian earlier this week. That may sound like hyperbole, but the main point was that it’s the first big movie of the year that’s going straight to streaming (due to cinemas being closed). If parents aren’t willing to shell out up to […]
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Source: Music ally

Safe In Our World launches mental health hub for Covid-19

We haven’t written about Safe In Our World before, but it’s essentially the British games industry’s equivalent of Help Musicians: a charity focusing on mental health and wellbeing for people in that industry. Like that organisation, Safe In Our World has launched a ‘hub’ focused on Covid-19 / coronavirus, and while it’s aimed at games-industry people, […]
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Source: Music ally

Tracking the trends of the ‘self-isolation entertainment boom’

Midia Research has published a report on the entertainment categories benefiting from what it is terming ‘The Self-Isolation Entertainment Boom’. Traditional media, notably TV and especially radio, is growing, with the report noting that in Italy 72% of respondents say they are currently watching more TV. Given radio has been slipping in importance in recent years, Midia […]
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Source: Music ally

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (8 April)

We’ve broken the big positive story out as our lead today, but there are other good things to report on too. Variety has a report on how ticketed-livestreams platform StageIt is growing during the pandemic: it made $884k in the last two weeks alone, compared to $500k in the whole of 2019. That translates into revenues […]
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Source: Music ally

Mobile video service Quibi launches to mixed reviews

Music Ally has been covering the build-up to the launch of mobile video subscription service Quibi for a while now, including the $1.75bn of pre-launch funding that it has raised, and its plans for a music-focused show. Now Quibi has launched, to reviews that are the classic mixed bag. Engadget nailed its colours to the mast with the headline ‘Quit […]
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Source: Music ally

Songstats is the latest startup providing music analytics

After past acquisitions of music analytics startups Next Big Sound (by Pandora), Semetric and Asaii (both by Apple) the industry once again has a clutch of independent dashboards competing to help artists, managers and labels make sense of their streaming and social stats. We’ve written regularly about the likes of Soundcharts and Chartmetric, but the […]
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Source: Music ally

The Roots ramp up original content for their YouTube channel

Usually the house band on The Tonight Show, excellent hip-hop collective The Roots are using this period of social distancing to work on their YouTube channel. They already have 267,000 subscribers to the channel and 165.3m lifetime views, but the coming weeks will see the group ramp up their original content. There’ll be DJ sets from Questlove, […]
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Source: Music ally

How closed venues can help the vulnerable during the pandemic

So many concert and cultural venues are closed at the moment, with their owners wondering whether they’ll be able to ride out the period until lockdowns end and punters can return. Here’s something that could be interesting to think about in the meantime though: a guide for cultural venues on how they can support homeless and […]
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Source: Music ally

Vinyl sales ‘expected to drop heavily’ says Vinyl Alliance

Industry body the Vinyl Alliance has been surveying its members about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their businesses. Spoiler: it’s not good. Its findings note that “even though many brick and mortar stores divert to online sales, sales are expected to drop heavily” – not least because Amazon has “temporarily moved its focus […]
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Source: Music ally

StubHub faces class action lawsuit over coronavirus refunds

With a huge number of festivals and concerts postponed or cancelled entirely amid the coronavirus pandemic, event organisers and ticketing companies have been mulling their options. One solution is to offer customers ticket vouchers (for when events are rescheduled) rather than cash refunds, as a way to stay financially afloat during the current period of […]
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Source: Music ally

FanBytes ByteHouse is a Big Brother-style house with UK TikTok stars

Imagine trying to launch a project at this specific point in time that involved a group of TikTok stars living together in a Big Brother-style house. Impossible. Luckily for agency Fanbytes, said TikTokers moved into its new ‘ByteHouse’ before the current social-distancing lockdown in the UK, so its project can proceed as planned. That project […]
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Source: Music ally

Report suggests Apple might buy live-VR startup NextVR

Music Ally has been writing about virtual-reality startup NextVR since 2015, when it raised a $30.5m funding round from investors including the Madison Square Garden Company for technology that would enable music concerts and sports events to be broadcast live to VR headsets. T he company had already streamed a concert by Coldplay. It then signed a deal with […]
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Source: Music ally

Drake tapped dancing influencers for ‘Toosie Slide’ release

If you’ve been spotting Drake’s new track ‘Toosie Slide’ all over your socials in recent days, it’s no accident. Rolling Stone has a piece explaining how the artist enlisted some popular dancing influencers to promote the single. Toosie, Hiii Key, Ayo & Teo (the latter are a duo) are the influencers in question, popular on TikTok, Instagram […]
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Source: Music ally

Tencent plans Africa expansion for Joox music streaming service

In its last set of financial results, Tencent Music revealed that it had 644 million mobile monthly active users of its online music services, including 39.9 million who were paying. That represents the scale of its business in its homeland, China, but now its parent company Tencent Holdings is planning some music-streaming expansion in another part […]
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Source: Music ally

Pollstar says 2020 global live revenues would have been $12.2bn

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bullseye was a popular darts-based British TV game show, complete with a ‘look at what you could have won’ element where losing contestants were shown the grand prize they’d just failed to win. It’s hard not to be reminded of that by Pollstar’s announcement on Friday of its estimate for what global live-music […]
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Source: Music ally

TikTok has label licences, but publishers are threatening to sue

We reported last week on TikTok signing short-term licensing deals with major labels, as a bridge to longer agreements at a later date. However, Bytedance’s social app still has some licensing headaches on the publishing side, and US body the National Music Publishers Association is threatening to make them worse. According to the Financial Times, […]
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Source: Music ally

Report: there were 358m music subscribers by the end of 2019

The IFPI has delayed the publication of its Global Music Report, with no new date yet set for its analysis of recorded music figures for 2019. A new report from Counterpoint Research is plugging one of the knowledge gaps: the number of people subscribing to music services globally. It claims this figure grew by 32% in 2019 […]
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Source: Music ally

Twitch will get games for streamers and viewers to play together

Amazon has been publishing games for a while now: its Amazon Game Studios division has been around since 2015. However, the company is preparing a new push, investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in its games development and distribution business according to the New York Times.
That includes big-budget PC games, but we’re just as interested in what the report describes as “new casual games that broadcasters on its popular Twitch streaming service can play alongside viewers in real time”.
This is all based on briefings with Amazon executives, so it’s fact rather than speculation. “We love this idea that you have a player, a streamer and a viewer all sharing in this synchronous interactive environment of Twitch,” said Amazon’s VP for game services and studios Mike Frazzini.
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Source: Music ally