Podcast update: Acast buys RadioPublic and Podimo raises €11.2m

Spotify’s big podcasting moves get lots of attention in the music industry, but the company’s aggressive push into podcasts has had a bigger ripple effect. From Amazon Music buying production firm Wondery to iHeartMedia’s recent acquisition of ad-tech firm Triton Digital, lots of big players are making big moves at the moment to position themselves […]

Sofar Sounds snaps up ticketing startup Seated in acquisition

In 2018, ticketing startup Seated made people, ahem, sit up and take notice when it was one of the winners at the Midemlab startups contest. We reported on its winning pitch at the time, with the company working directly with artists to sell tickets to their shows, and to remind fans when they were on sale – even automatically […]

Hipgnosis Songs Fund raises another £75m for acquisitions

On the rare news-day when we don’t have a Hipgnosis catalogue acquisition to report, it feels like there’s often news of the company raising more money for its next swathe of deals instead. On Friday, Hipgnosis announced that it had raised £75m (around $103m) through its latest sale of shares, with MBW reporting that Morgan Stanley Investment Management led […]

Short videos app Clash raises funding and buys rival Byte

We wrote about Byte when it launched in January 2020: it was created by the co-founder of Vine as a new take on short-video apps. In July, it announced plans to add music to its app. We’ve also written about Clash Video, another short-video app, founded by a TikToker and launched in July 2020. Now the two are […]

Snap acquires music-focused short-video app Voisey

Snapchat’s music ambitions just took another significant step forward, with parent company Snap seemingly having acquired startup Voisey, whose app is used to create and share original music videos. We say ‘seemingly’ because neither company has yet commented, but the news – broken by Business Insider then followed up by TechCrunch – isn’t in doubt. Voisey’s four co-founders resigned as directors last […]

Ticketing firm Eventbrite buys marketing platform ToneDen

We’ve written about ToneDen a few times in recent memory: for a profile of its social and streaming marketing tools in November 2019, for example, and then a story in June this year about its ‘StreamLinks’ feature offering smart links for livestreaming events. Now the startup has been acquired by a company very much rooted in the live events […]

Scooter Braun sells Taylor Swift catalogue to Shamrock Holdings

When Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group for around $300m in 2019, the deal included Taylor Swift’s back catalogue of recordings – something that made Swift furious given her ongoing disputes with Braun. Nearly a year and a half on, Ithaca has sold those master rights to Swift’s first six albums on, in a […]

Viagogo could sell StubHub’s business outside North America

It’s not been smooth sailing for secondary ticketing firm Viagogo’s $4bn takeover of rival StubHub since it was announced in November 2019, thanks to regulatory investigations and Covid-19. Now Viagogo is proposing a solution that it hopes will fend off the regulators: selling StubHub’s business outside North America, while hanging on to the US and Canada […]

Shutterstock acquires assets of AI music startup Amper Music

Amper Music has been one of the more prominent AI music startups since emerging in 2017 as one of the first startups to take part in the Techstars Music accelerator. It launched with a tool for people to make music with its AI to use in their own creative projects, and along the way has collaborated with artist […]

iHeartMedia is buying podcasting tech firm Voxnest

It’s open season for acquisitions of podcasting startups whose technology and/or shows seem appealing to a bigger fish. The latest example is Voxnest, a company that makes advertising tech for podcasting, and which is now being bought by iHeartMedia. Cue adspeak! “iHeartMedia, through Voxnest, will now be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory […]

BMG to buy majority stake in German live firm Undercover

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic grows in many countries, now’s a very difficult time to be involved in live music. However, it may also be seen as an opportunity by companies looking to make acquisitions in live. BMG, for example, is getting into live music for the first time, with an agreement […]

Believe was the buyer of playlisting platform Soundsgood

In April we reported on the shutdown of French startup Soundsgood. It had launched in 2015 as a way to curate playlists and manage them across multiple streaming services, before moving more towards B2B services for labels. “These B2B activities have eventually led to our recent acquisition,” announced Soundsgood as it closed down, but the company […]

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

This might just be a record for the shortest gap between a startup being first covered by Music Ally, and being acquired. We wrote about Trick 3D and its ‘AiR Show’ app a couple of weeks ago: it promised to beam artists into fans’ living rooms using augmented reality technology, for performances. It had a partnership with […]

Apple has acquired podcast curation startup Scout·fm

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

Hipgnosis buys independent publisher Big Deal Music

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

MelodyVR raises $15.3m to help fund Napster acquisition

Yesterday we reported on MelodyVR’s planned acquisition of streaming service Napster for $26.3m in cash and stock, and wondered why the company was describing it as a $70m deal. A separate announcement from Napster’s majority owner RealNetworks cleared that up: the deal also saw MelodyVR assuming “approximately $44m in payment obligations, primarily to various music industry entities”. The cash […]

Music VR startup MelodyVR announces plan to merge with Napster

Music-focused virtual reality startup MelodyVR has announced plans to merge with streaming service Napster. To be clear: MelodyVR is the buyer, although the Napster brand will live on. “Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company will be merged with and into Napster (with Napster being the surviving entity),” explained […]

Oracle gets support for its TikTok bid… from President Trump

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

Warner Music acquires viral content firm Imgn Media

Warner Music Group’s latest acquisition is an intriguing one: of Israeli company Imgn Media, which creates videos and memes designed to go viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. TechCrunch reported that WMG paid “just under $100m” for the company, which claims that its content generates more than 3bn views a month, with more than 40 million subscribers […]

Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok in US and other countries

Events have moved fast since Friday for TikTok’s business in the US, it’s fair to say. We’ll start with the latest news: confirmation from Microsoft that it’s in talks about an acquisition of TikTok in the US and certain other countries, with a mid-September deadline to reach an agreement with the app’s parent company ByteDance […]

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; […]

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 […]

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; […]

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 […]

Tencent finally seals the deal for 10% stake in Universal Music

On the very last day of 2019, Tencent Holdings (heading up a consortium of investors) signed an agreement to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group. Now, in a neat bit of quarterly timing, that deal went through on the very last day of the first quarter of 2020. As previously announced, the deal valued Universal Music Group […]

New York Times buys startup that turns articles into audio

It’s not just music streaming services who are excited about podcasts and long-form audio more generally. The New York Times just acquired a startup called Audm, which runs a “subscription-based audio app that offers listeners the world’s best longform journalism, read aloud word-for-word by celebrated audiobook narrators”. It launched in 2016, and aggregates articles from the NYT but […]

Ticketmaster expands in Asia with acquisition of Tixcraft

A photo of a BTS stadium gig in Taiwan accompanies the latest announcement from Ticketmaster, signifying its ambitions in Asia. The company has acquired Taiwanese ticketing company Tixcraft, while also launching a Ticketmaster Singapore operation. “We have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” said Ticketmaster International […]

FTC to examine past acquisitions of big US tech companies

Whenever Apple buys a startup not big enough to ping any regulatory radars, it has a standard statement that it gives to journalists requesting comment on the acquisition: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.” Now, however, Apple – along with Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Google and […]

Downtown Music Holdings’ latest acquisition is… FUGA

Downtown Music Holdings, the parent company of Downtown Music Publishing and Songtrust, is buying distributor and music/tech services company FUGA, for an undisclosed amount. The deal comes just 10 months after Downtown made a splash with the acquisition of AVL Digital Group, whose subsidiaries included CD Baby, AdRev, DashGo and Soundrop. AVL is the entity […]

Billboard parent company buys Nielsen Music as battle of charts heats up

Valence Media, the owner of Billboard, is buying the Nielsen Music “insights and product suite’ that it uses for its charts in the US.  The two companies were previously under the same roof between 1999 and 2009 when they were part of Dutch media group Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen (VNU). That was until VNU sold Billboard […]

Tencent may seek partners for Universal Music investment

It’s been known for some time that Chinese tech firm Tencent is in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to acquire another 10% for up to a year afterwards. The deal is thought to value UMG at around €30bn, but now there’s been a development: Tencent may not […]

Report: Facebook held serious acquisition talks with Musical.ly

Chinese technology firm Bytedance bought social-video app Musical·ly for reportedly north-of-$800m in November 2017. Then, in August 2018, it folded Musical·ly into TikTok (obligatory reminder: Musical·ly had nothing to do with us, Music Ally, and thus we’re still open to nine-digit acquisition offers…) But in a parallel reality, Musical·ly is now owned by… Facebook! Well, Buzzfeed News […]

Shazam financials reveal it added 78m users in 2018

Shazam reached 478 million annual active users in 2018, which is 78 million more than in the previous year. The company’s revenues fell by 23% to £31.4m last year, but it swung from a loss of £17.7m in 2017 to a profit of just under £124m in 2018.  That’s the benefit of being bought by […]

Google tipped to buy TikTok-ish social app Firework

Another story for the soon-to-be-bulging file of ‘TikTok killers’ – most of which will turn out to be anything but. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google “has held discussions” about acquiring a startup called Firework, whose smartphone app is like TikTok, but with a 30-second limit (rather than 15) for videos, and an older demographic. […]

Alibaba reportedly buying a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music

Big moves are afoot in China’s music-streaming world, with reports that tech giant Alibaba is acquiring a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music, as part of a wider $2bn investment in the latter’s parent company NetEase. MBW suggests that the deal may value NetEase Cloud Music as high as $9bn – less than half that of rival […]

Look beneath the drama of the BMLG / Scooter Braun / Taylor Swift row

There’s a whole sub-genre of YouTube channels and Instagram accounts dedicated to documenting ‘drama’ – the breakups, makeups, shade and almighty rows within the world of social-media stars. Today, music-industry media feels like our own version of that, as all hell broke loose over the news that Big Machine Label Group has been acquired by Scooter […]

BandLab buys British music-media brands NME and Uncut

TI Media (formerly magazine publisher Time, Inc’s UK subsidiary) is selling two of its key music properties to BandLab Technologies, the company behind the BandLab music-creation app. NME and Uncut are the brands in question: the former is the digital-only incarnation of the famous weekly music magazine – the print edition closed in 2018 – […]

Downtown Music snaps up CD Baby as part of AVL acquisition

Downtown Music Publishing’s parent firm is acquiring AVL Digital Group, the company that includes distributors CD Baby, DashGo and Soundrop, as well as video-monetisation outfit AdRev. In its announcement of the deal, Downtown noted that AVL’s companies work with more than 900k artists, labels and rightsholders, while distributing / making money for more than 10m tracks in […]

Songtradr buys music-licensing agency Big Sync Music

There is more consolidation afoot in the music-licensing world, with Songtradr announcing yesterday that it has acquired British firm Big Sync Music. The latter company focuses on sourcing music for brand campaigns, and counts Dove, Samsung, Amazon, Johnnie Walker and Axe among its clients. Songtradr intends to combine the agency’s contacts and knowledge with its […]

Spotify paid €300m for Gimlet Media and Anchor acquisitions

When Spotify announced that it was buying podcast companies Gimlet Media and Anchor, it declined to say how much it was paying, other than that they were part of a wider $400m-$500m earmarked for podcast acquisitions. “We’re not commenting on that today, because we have other transactions in the works, and I don’t want transactions […]

Spotify buys podcasting firms Gimlet Media and Anchor

Rumours that Spotify was about to shell out $200m-plus on podcast production company Gimlet Media were correct: the acquisition was announced today. But Spotify is also buying a second company, Anchor, which makes an app that people can use to create their own podcasts. The value of the acquisitions has not yet been announced (Spotify […]

PledgeMusic asks for patience amid acquisition talks

After a troubling start to 2019 (and to be honest, a pretty worrying 2018 for artists whose payments were delayed) PledgeMusic is asking for patience as it sorts out its financial issues. “The situation that PledgeMusic has found itself in is unacceptable and to all of the artists, managers, labels and fans who have put […]

SiriusXM reveals more on its plans for Pandora

As it prepares to close its acquisition of Pandora, satellite-radio service SiriusXM has published its latest quarterly financials. We already new from the company’s trading update earlier this month that it ended 2018 with 34 million subscribers in the US. Now we also know that SiriusXM’s revenues grew by 6% to $5.8bn last year – […]

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