Music Ally’s guide to AI music: startups, artists and big questions

There’s no question any more about whether artificial intelligence can create music – the arguments are about how good that music will be, what it might be used for, and what that might mean for human musicians. We’ve been covering this area for some time now, interviewing and writing about startups like Jukedeck, Amper Music […]

Smart speaker primer: sales, forecasts and market shares

The music industry is intensely interested in the growth of the market for smart speaker devices: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and other speakers controlled via voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respectively. Research firms are also interested in this market, putting out regular estimates of how well these devices are selling […]

Spotify ‘Bulgarian’ scam fuels call from MMF for user-centric licensing debate

The ‘Bulgarian scam’ on Spotify, revealed earlier this week by MBW, allegedly involved an entity uploading a collection of sub one-minute tracks to Spotify; then arranging them into a few playlists. Devices tied to Premium Spotify accounts were then used to stream those playlists round the clock: even at a monthly cost of nearly $12k […]

SoundCloud: ‘Do not think of us [just] as a streaming service… we’re a form of social media’

How did Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert and other artists have such success building an audience on SoundCloud? Because they saw it as more than just a music-streaming service. That’s according to SoundCloud’s director of label relations Julia Killer, who was talking at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week. “Do not think of […]

Lyor Cohen: ‘The music industry will recognise us as a huge value contributor’

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, has told Music Ally that 2018 will be “the year of music for YouTube and Google” and suggested the animosity between the video platform and the music industry will soon be a thing of the past. “It’s too easy of a soundbite – ‘value gap’,” he said. “I […]

New report quantifies the independent US creative economy

A new report published by a lobbying coalition called Re:Create – we’ll get to who that is in a bit – is trying to put some numbers to the independent creative economy in the US. The report is deliberately narrow in focus, attempting to calculate how much musicians, filmmakers, artists and other creators earned from […]

Diversity in the music industry: ‘We are all part of the solution’

From the recent open letters from women working in the Swedish and Australian music industries condemning harassment to the ‘step up’ storm currently engulfing Grammys organiser the Recording Academy, diversity is a huge topic for our industry in 2018. The term covers a number of related issues, from harassment to equal opportunities to enter and […]

Debating the future for music merch and direct-to-fan sales

From merchandise and ticketing to crowdfunding, modern music artists have more options than ever to go ‘direct to fan’ and build a sustainable income to complement their recordings. But how can they make the most of those options? A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today debated how the D2F (or D2C) world is […]

Music streaming is booming… So what happens next?

The music industry is understandably excited about its streaming-fuelled return to growth over the past couple of years, but there’s also a widespread awareness that this isn’t the time for resting on laurels. The challenges and opportunities around how streaming should evolve were a topic up for discussion in a panel at the FastForward conference […]

Artist managers talk data, transparency and the attention economy

Coming off the back of 2014’s Dissecting The Digital Dollar report and 2017’s guides on both digital deals and transparency (as well as the beta launch of the Digital Deals Comparison Calculator), music management body the MMF organised a managers roundtable in London earlier this month, chaired by Music Ally. The purpose was to openly […]

Expansion on the agenda for YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify

Three separate stories this morning come together into a strand illustrating 2018’s status as a continued landgrab for new music-streaming subscribers. YouTube is finally readying a global push for its YouTube Red tier; Apple Music is launching its student membership plan much more widely across the world; and Spotify is offering lovebirds a Valentine’s-themed two-month […]

Recording Academy faces further industry criticism

Earlier this month, a group of six senior women from the music industry wrote to the Recording Academy calling for it to up its game on diversity, and offering their help. One report yesterday suggested that they have been “seriously underwhelmed” by the response. So, in a world where the term ‘hepeating’ has been coined […]

A&R in the digital age: ‘Learn with your artist and be open to admitting your mistakes’

In a world of streaming, social networks and the ability for any artist to get their music up on digital platforms, how is the role of the label A&R evolving? A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London today addressed the topic of ‘A&R in the digital age’. The speakers included Vidhi Ghandi from Ninja […]

Independent artists talk fans, streaming and digital survival

Around 20,000 new songs are added to streaming services like Spotify every single day. A sobering statistic for an independent artist wondering how they can cut through the noise to reach people who’ll love their music. So how are artists using streaming services, social networks and other means to build their audiences and sustain their […]

Record labels, huh? What are they good for in 2018?

If Music Ally had a pound for every time we’d heard someone predicting The Death Of The Label, we’d have enough money by now to buy at least two of the majors. The post Record labels, huh? What are they good for in 2018? appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

How does UK radio and streaming-playlist plugging work in 2018?

What’s more important for an independent artist in 2018: getting A-listed by prominent radio stations, or bagging some prominent slots on the playlists curated by Spotify and Apple Music? A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London today explored the evolving world of plugging with a focus on independent artists and labels. It included Secretly […]

Case study: marketing Laura Marling’s Semper Femina album

Laura Marling’s last album, ‘Semper Femina’, is a wonderful piece of work: something I’ve returned to again and again since its release, discovering new details every time. Hats off to that, then. But also to the team that worked hard on the marketing campaign for an album, released through More Alarming Records via Kobalt Music […]

Google ‘tightens standards’ on secondary-ticketing search ads

Google has implemented a new policy on secondary-ticketing websites, which will now have to ‘radically increase their transparency’ to be certified to book advertising on its platform. To be certified, secondary sites will have to not ‘imply’ that they are a primary marketplace; prominently disclose their status as a ticket reseller / secondary marketplace; prominently […]

Gareth Emery of blockchain music startup Choon: ‘We’re committed to radical transparency’

We’ve seen a few blockchain-music startups in our time, but Choon is the first one named after what you might shout at the DJ when feeling over-excited and emotional in a club. That’s a world that the startup’s founder Gareth Emery knows well, mind. His career has seen him crack the top 10 twice in […]

Apple Music’s latest milestone is 36m paying customers

Apple says its Apple Music service now has 36 million subscribers, up from “well over” 30 million in late September 2017. The milestone was shared with the Wall Street Journal as part of a wider piece on Apple Music’s progress – including the claim that it’s growing faster than Spotify in the US. “Apple’s subscriber-account […]

Hi-res music: ‘The barrier is the understanding of the value of the proposition’

Major labels are very excited about upping the audio quality of music-streaming services, under the banner of ‘hi-res music’. Audio hardware firms are excited too, while some streaming services (Tidal, Deezer and dedicated services like Qobuz for example) have adopted the technology. And music fans? That’s the challenge: as yet there isn’t an obvious surge […]

Spotify adds songwriting and production credits to its desktop app

Spotify is adding credits for songwriters and producers to songs on its service, although for now they’ll only appear within its desktop app. From today, listeners can right-click on a track and choose a ‘Show Credits’ option to see the credited performers, songwriters and producers in a pop-up window. The post Spotify adds songwriting and […]

Facebook’s viral crackdown sees time spent on service fall

It’s unusual to see a company proudly announcing in its quarterly financial results that people have been using it less. But Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 goal of focusing more on ‘time well spent’ on Facebook makes it an unusual case. “Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time […]

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard talks streaming, Hysteria and label rows

When you have sold over 100m albums and shift more tickets today than you did in your supposed peak in the 1980s, you are “not exactly hurting” for money and can therefore afford to take your time when considering the leap into new, digital revenue streams. This, according to Def Leppard’s lead singer Joe Elliott, […]

She Makes War: Laura Kidd on the experience of crowdfunding an album

UK-based musician Laura Kidd writes, produces and records music as She Makes War, with three albums under her belt so far. She’s crowdfunding her fourth using PledgeMusic: here’s her take on the experience as an artist. “In the time since I crowdfunded my second album ‘Little Battles’ in 2011, using sites like PledgeMusic to raise […]

Elton John: ‘I’ve never downloaded anything in my life. Not even porn!’

Elton John held a press event with YouTube yesterday (24 January) to announce his farewell tour – a 300-date, multi-continent extravaganza that will start in September and run into 2021. While that news dominated the headlines, he also used the event to unveil a potted history of his career in music in VR as well […]

Despite Trump: ‘There are no walls that can stop Latin music…’

The most pointed quote of the second day of Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York came from Jesús López, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula. He used US president Donald Trump’s infamous ambitions to fortify the US border with Mexico as a jump-off for a reminder […]

Kobalt CEO blasts ‘elitist’ concerns about music as background listening

Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz delights in ruffling feathers within the music industry, so his appearance as a keynote speaker at Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York promised to deliver a fair few zingers. He was interviewed by Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley. The post Kobalt CEO blasts ‘elitist’ concerns about […]

Beggars Group, AEI Media and Atlantic Records talk modern-day music companies

Is it too much to hope that we’ve seen the last ‘death of labels’ story in the modern music industry? Labels aren’t dying as an industry entity, but they are evolving in interesting ways, as are management companies, publishers and music companies with their roots in the digital world. It’s the blurring of the boundaries […]

Music and tech startups: where is the innovation in 2018?

What kind of partner does the music industry make for music/tech startups in 2018? There have certainly been bumps in the past, from venture capitalists swearing never to invest again in startups requiring music rights, to shutdown firms blaming rightsholders for their business failure. Yet for their part, rightsholders argue that their focus is rightly […]

AI that makes music: ‘Labels should be buying this stuff…’

Should Ed Sheeran be getting worried about artificial intelligence dethroning him from his place atop the modern pop pantheon? It may sound like crazy foolish talk, but that was the question sparked by a session on creative AI at Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference this afternoon in New York. There is already […]

CMO Seth Farbman on Spotify: ‘It’s maybe more like a republic than a democracy’

Seth Farbman used to be chief marketing officer at clothing retailer The Gap. Now he’s marketing a music-streaming service, as CMO of Spotify. Farbman joined Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York this morning for a fireside chat on how he sees the world. The moderator was Music Ally’s head of […]

Def Leppard break digital deadlock as entire catalogue goes online

Def Leppard, one of the last multi-platinum digital holdouts, have licensed their entire catalogue to download and streaming services. It is available today (19 January) on all the major streaming and download platforms. The band, whose global album sales top 100m, were conspicuous by their absence from iTunes, Spotify and more. This was partly down […]

Native Instruments launches Sounds.com loops and samples platform

The music industry is very familiar with the all-you-can-eat subscription model for streaming. Now Native Instruments is applying it to a different audio market: loops and samples. The company, best known for its Maschine music-production hardware and its Traktor DJing tools, has launched a new site called Sounds.com which will offer a catalogue of more […]

Facebook confirms plans to focus more on ‘personal moments’

Rumours have been bubbling for several months that Facebook was planning a shift for its news feed back towards ‘personal’ content from friends and family, rather than ‘public’ posts and content from brands and media. Now CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the changes, which he says are part of the social network’s determination to make […]

Facebook signs music deals for Irving Azoff’s GMR, Kobalt and indie publishers

Facebook’s latest music-licensing deal, following its agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV, is something a corker: it’s with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights. That would be the Irving Azoff who’s regularly castigated YouTube in recent times over its licensing and royalty payments? The very same. “Today, we are excited to announce that Global Music […]

Reports claim Spotify has already filed to go public

Spotify may go public in the first quarter of this year, according to several reports citing the company’s confidential filing of documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in December. “All indications are that Spotify wants to list in Q1, and timing of the confidential F-1 filing would support such a calendar,” claimed Axios. […]

20 music/tech startups we’ll be watching in 2018

Here at Music Ally, we covered a lot of new music/tech startups for the first time in 2017. We’ve now chosen 20 of them that we think have the potential to make an impact in 2018 and beyond, from analytics to artificial intelligence, and from blockchain tech to radio monitoring. The post 20 music/tech startups […]

India: The sleeping giant of digital music is ready to wake up

At the end of September this year Music Ally was invited to attend the inaugural All About Music conference in Mumbai, India. We’ve since been speaking to some of its main contributors, and taking a look at the key themes that emerged on how India is evolving as a music market. All About Music is […]

Facebook signs Universal Music licensing deal for music, video and more

Music labels and publishers have spent much of 2017 wondering what Facebook’s plans were for licensing music. Today the social network announced its first major-label licensing deal, with Universal Music Group. The companies are describing this as a “global, multi-year agreement” that will license Universal’s recorded-music and publishing catalogues for “video and other social experiences […]

Read our Sandbox Best Music Marketing Campaigns of 2017 report

Here it is – Sandbox’s massive run down of the best, most innovative and most exciting music marketing campaigns of the past 12 months. Download the report HERE. As usual, all campaigns are listed in non-partisan alphabetical order. But this year there is a twist. We have given campaigns that have impressed us special commendations […]

Guest Column: How fixing the secondary ticketing market will help future music events be better

This guest column comes from Maarten Bloemers, CEO and co-founder of GUTS: “The secondary ticketing market has recently been under scrutiny in the UK, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this month publishing the findings of a year-long investigation. The post Guest Column: How fixing the secondary ticketing market will help future music events […]

PRS for Music CEO: ‘How to unlock rightsholders’ money around the world’

This guest column comes from Robert Ashcroft, CEO of PRS for Music: “The issues of data, value and protection for songwriters have never been so high on the agenda. In early 2016 I had a conversation with George Howard for a blog he was writing for Forbes about the biggest issue facing the industry in […]

Spotify and Deezer lobby EC (again) over big-tech gatekeepers

Spotify and Deezer’s CEOs have both signed a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker calling for the EC to ensure they get a “level playing field” on platforms owned by large US technology companies including Apple and Amazon. The pair – along with a group of European games companies – are calling for “clear […]

7digital’s Pete Downton talks streaming, telcos, voice control and Apple

In the mid-2000s, Pete Downton had a PowerPoint presentation. It included a slide with a map of the world plotting Warner Music Group’s licensing partnerships with 40 mobile operators: a network with a theoretical reach of 1.8 billion customers. “There was a certain amount of truth in that, because we had deals in place to […]

SoundCloud revamps app home screen with playlists and recommendations

SoundCloud is redesigning its app’s home screen with more focus on playlists and recommendations, including two new own-brand playlists showcasing trending hip-hop and dance tracks. The app’s homepage will now be based around sideways-scrolling carousels of playlists and albums, some of which will be tuned to the listener’s tastes. These will include ‘More of what […]

Artists, blockchain and experimentation: ‘We’re at the very start of what’s possible’

Imogen Heap’s Mycelia event in London today wasn’t just about announcing a world tour and Creative Passport initiative for artists. There was also a panel of ‘reflective bytes from absorbent minds’ about some of the issues raised in Heap’s keyonote. The panel included Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament; Sammy Andrews, CEO of Deviate […]

Imogen Heap is taking Mycelia on tour… with Creative Passports

We’ve seen a few music-industry conference venues in our time, but never a giant tipi until today. Built in the grounds of musician Imogen Heap’s home in Havering-atte-Bower, it was the location for Heap to talk about the next steps for her Mycelia project. She was unveiling Mycelia’s proposal for a ‘Creative Passport’, which is […]

Biggest tracks could be main losers from user-centric streaming payouts (#SlushMusic)

Research being conducted in Finland into a ‘user-centric’ payments model for music-streaming suggests that the biggest tracks may be the main losers under such a system. That’s according to Lottaliina Pokkinen, head of legal affairs at the Finnish Musicians’ Union, although she stressed in a session at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this week […]

How does free ‘promotion’ fit in to the music-streaming era? (#SlushMusic)

“The industry’s problem to solve is we’ve been addicted to promotion for the entire time that the music industry has existed. We’ve always given stuff away to sell something. But that mindset in the consumption world just doesn’t really stack up…” The music industry’s view in the ‘value gap’ debate, at its simplest is ‘YouTube […]

Scott Cohen: ‘The music industry isn’t broken. It never was’ (#SlushMusic)

Attendees at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning may have turned up expecting to hear The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen telling them why the music industry is broken, and how he’s going to fix it. That was, after all, the title of his session. It was a red herring. “Once a week somebody […]

How to spot the next music/tech giant (#SlushMusic)

2017 has been a fascinating year for digital music, from the growth in paid streaming to a wave of new accelerators and initiatives to help talented music startups get up and running. A pair of sessions at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning provided some insights into the music/tech world. Raine Group partner […]

Evolving exit strategies for music startups (#SlushMusic)

We’ll be blunt: for many music startups, the ‘exit’ is either shutting down when nobody wants their product or service, or an ‘acquihire’ of their team and/or tech by a bigger fish without the kind of valuation that gets investors salivating. Might there be bigger and better exits ahead? A panel at the Slush Music […]

Saavn teams with Amazon, Snapchat and new strategic investors

Indian streaming service Saavn is having a busy month, thanks to a partnership with Amazon, a marketing campaign running on Snapchat, and a pair of new strategic investors for the company. Saavn has also seen its latest original track, ‘Bom Diggy’, become a hit not just on its own service in India, but also on […]

Controversy sparked by plans to row back US net neutrality

There are some lobbying rows that pit the creative and technology industries against one another: the US Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012, for example, or the current debates in the US and Europe over safe harbour. But in other cases, the two industries stand together. Net neutrality – the principle that all traffic on […]

Epidemic Sound gives its side of the Spotify ‘fake artists’ controversy

“We were on our summer break, because we’re Swedes and nobody works for two months in July and August. But that’s when the whole fake-artists thing hit, so we were surprised, but mostly offended. Granted, we hadn’t been telling the story that much, but there was nothing fake about this…” The summer of 2017 is […]

Kickstarter relaunches Drip for Patreon-style creator subscriptions

Kickstarter is relaunching Drip, the platform for artist and label subscriptions that it bought in 2016, shortly after its previous owners warned they were having to shut it down. “Today we launch a new Drip for artists and creators across the full spectrum of disciplines we support on Kickstarter,” blogged Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen. As […]

FUGA’s Pieter van Rijn: ‘Embrace the change’ (guest column)

This guest column comes from Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA: “In a business as dynamic as music, it goes without saying that one of the few constants is change. It’s also no huge revelation to say that we weren’t always in a place where change was understood or appreciated. Parts of the record industry […]

10 talking points around music and virtual / augmented reality

PRS for Music held an event at its London offices last week exploring the impact and potential of immersive technologies on music – including virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR and MR). There has been plenty of hype around these technologies, often fuelled by the companies making headsets and content, but from licensing and […]

Coldcut on 30 years of innovation: ‘We are finally growing up’

30 years ago, Matt Black and Jon More met on the mixtape and rare-groove scenes in London and formed Coldcut as a rolling music, technology, art and politics project. They had enormous hits in 1988 with ‘Doctorin’ the House’ and ‘The Only Way Is Up (under the guise of the Plastic Population), both featuring Yazz, […]

Shania Twain goes mobile gaming with Home Street partnership

Mobile gaming is a huge and growing industry, with spending up 18% to $40.6bn in 2016 according to research firm SuperData – a figure that matched global box-office revenues for films that year. Mobile games based on musicians, however, are… less lucrative. Publisher Glu Mobile had flops with its games based on Katy Perry, Nicki […]

Q&A: Blockpool’s Kevin Bacon talks Björk, blockchain and cryptocurrency

Earlier today, Björk announced more details about her upcoming album ‘Utopia’, including plans to reward fans who pre-order the album with free AudioCoins cryptocurrency, through a partnership with British blockchain startup Blockpool. The company’s CEO Kevin Bacon has been talking about the project in an interview published this morning. We used selected quotes from it […]

Björk hits the blockchain with cryptocurrency fan rewards

Fans will be able to buy Björk’s new album ‘Utopia’ using cryptocurrencies, and pre-ordering it directly from the star or her label will earn them crypto rewards too. The musician has teamed up with British blockchain startup Blockpool, which is working with label One Little Indian on the online store to process ‘Utopia’ pre-orders using […]

Mixcloud premium plans include individual creator subscriptions

Mixcloud’s plans for premium subscriptions will include the ability for individual DJs, curators and podcasters on its platform to launch subscriptions for their mixes and shows. The streaming service’s ambitions to move beyond its traditional ad-supported model were revealed earlier this month, when it signed its first direct licensing deal, with Warner Music Group. Since […]

Kickstarter’s Molly Neuman talks artists, crowdfunding and confidence

Molly Neuman has been head of music at Kickstarter for two years. She used her presentation at the BIME Pro conference in Bilbao to explain how her original career in music as a member of Riot Grrrl band Bratmobile informs the importance she places on community at the crowdfunding platform. “My career began in community,” […]

Facebook tests relegating page posts to secondary news feed

In recent years, we’ve regularly covered claims by digital marketers that posts from their pages are seeing their ‘organic’ (i.e. not paid for) reach decline. Less of their fans are seeing their posts unless they pay to boost their reach. But now imagine a world where page posts are scrubbed from Facebook’s main news feed […]

RIAA half-year figures reveal 17% rise for US recorded-music revenues

Paid music-streaming subscriptions are the star of US industry body the RIAA’s latest half-year figures, which show a 17% year-on-year rise in recorded-music retail revenues in the first six months of 2017. That means $4bn of spending on recorded music in the first half of the year, up from $3.4bn in the first half of […]

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