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 […]

Music Ally Startup Files: SyncFloor aims to shake up the sync market

Kirt Debique met his SyncFloor co-founder Cestjon McFarland during a 20-year stint at Microsoft. Immersed in the Seattle music scene, he left the tech giant to start a label (Brick Lane records, named after his favourite part of London) when the music industry was struggling. “I spotted the bottom of the trough of the last […]

#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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Radiant’s Spotify-powered DJ is an AI

Squeezing new uses from existing technology sparks creative revolutions. Dancing to recorded music was weird until someone who understood the crowd started to link the right songs together in the right place, and created the nightclub. (It’s probably best not to dwell on one of the main claimants of that innovation, mind…) Fast forward to […]

#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 […]

What can we learn from Covid-19’s impact on China’s music industry?

The Chinese music industry saw 16% growth in its recorded music revenues in 2019 according to the IFPI, but it was also the first country to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Does that make it a canary in the coalmine for the global music industry, in terms of learning lessons from the coronavirus impact, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Fanaply’s limited-edition digital collectibles

In November 2019, WMG’s head of innovation, recorded music, Scott Cohen told Music Ally that he was interested in the ways that blockchain technology could create new value for the industry. One example: digitally-scarce collectibles that fans would buy and show off. Fast-forward six months, and one of the startups in the latest cohort for […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Liz Pelly talks Spotify, independence and ‘big music tech criticism’

Over a series of articles for US journal The Baffler, journalist and critic Liz Pelly has examined the culture and dynamics of music streaming in general and Spotify in particular. In Discover Weakly, Unfree Agents, Streambait Pop and Big Mood Machine, she offered some of the sharpest criticism of Spotify’s business, its impact on musicians […]

Music Ally Startup Files: MyPart’s new spin on AI music analysis

Israeli startup MyPart aims to use AI to turn the long tail of music catalogues into revenue streams that humans may have overlooked. In fact, the company wants to do more than analyse music and pull the needle from the haystack: it wants to pair the songs no human would consider with artists who never […]

Love ISN’T in the air as DSPs’ US royalty-rates appeal kicks off

David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association in the US, has never been a man to pull his verbal punches when taking digital services to task. “Songwriters: This week, Spotify and Amazon are quite literally taking you to court,” is how his latest guest column for Billboard begins, and it doesn’t get any less […]

I Heart Songwriting Club interview: ‘There is no ceiling to this!’

“I was having panic attacks. I was completely anxious and stuck, because I wasn’t doing the thing I wanted to do. I struggled to write songs: I judged every idea as boring and not good enough, and that stopped me writing altogether. Four songs a year was all I could manage at one point…” Australian […]

How K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ (aka ‘Renegade’) went viral – and what happened next

Atlanta rapper K Camp began releasing mixtapes in 2011, before signing to Interscope in 2014, building up a loyal following. However, the release of his track ‘Lottery’ in early 2019 changed everything. The track initially had a slow build through platforms including Instagram, YouTube and Triller, but then a few months later users of TikTok […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Flutin, India’s new music discovery app

Indian startup Flutin has a bold, dual-pronged mission: to round up millions of music fans and serve them – for free – new music that they’ll love; and to provide artists with an easy-to-reach fanbase that’s eager to engage and even purchase. Dig a little deeper into the company, and there are some interesting lessons on how […]

Spotify launches ‘songwriter pages’ feature in beta

Spotify is launching a new feature aimed at songwriters, giving them their own profile pages on the streaming service, complete with playlists of recordings of their songs. ‘Songwriter Pages’ launches in beta today, accompanied by a tweak to Spotify’s existing track credits feature to make the names of songwriters taking part in the beta clickable, […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Jambl, the music-making app for non-musicians

Music is different to other creative acts: there’s a palpable barrier to entry compared to, say, photography. Jambl aims to change that by making music-creation fun, simple and entertaining, but with a full industry vertical behind it. Can hits be made, remixed, identified, and fully exploited, all in one platform? Jambl, which recently received half […]

Ninja Tune MD on the climate emergency: ‘We need to step up’

Peter Quicke isn’t just the managing director of independent label Ninja Tune and chair of British indies body AIM. He’s also a co-founder of Music Declares Emergency, the working group set up last year to drive the music industry’s response to the climate emergency. At AIM’s London conference this week, AIM Connected, Quicke addressed what […]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek: ‘With The Ringer, I think we bought the next ESPN’

Spotify published its latest quarterly financial results earlier today, followed by an earnings call with analysts in which CEO Daniel Ek talked about its just-announced acquisition of media and podcasts firm The Ringer. “If you up-level this conversation and think 10 years out, the trend we’re investing in is that radio is moving online, because […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Voisey is the TikTok for music creation

If co-founder Olly Barnes’ infectious optimism is correct, Voisey is a phenomenon-in-waiting. It’s an app that has the potential to shake up how songs are made; tap into hitherto locked-away artistic talent; develop a new breed of pop star and pop songs; and maybe even bypass the traditional label system. Sounds too good to be […]

Music’s global evolution: K-Pop, China, and Eastern Europe

The second morning at this year’s NY:LON Connect conference focused on ‘emerging international and influential markets’. Three territories in particular: South Korea, China, and Russia / Eastern Europe. The track began with a keynote from Sun Lee, YouTube’s head of music content partnerships and subscriptions for Korea and Greater China. Lee was interviewed by Billboard […]

Tech, innovation and music: ‘Pick one little thing and go deep!’

“VR is shit! It’s shit but it doesn’t have to be. Certainly the hardware’s not all the way there yet, it’s quite bulky and if you put it on for an hour or so you’re going to get a pretty raging headache and neck ache. But the real problem is the content is shit. The […]

Troy Carter talks music disruption: ‘I’d still be in a panic if I were a major label…’

Troy Carter was the closing keynote at Music Ally and Music Biz’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York on Friday. The former Atom Factory boss (where he managed Lady Gaga during her rise to fame) and Spotify exec is now running Q&A, a company blending artist development, distribution and technology. I interviewed Troy on-stage at […]

Publishing and rights: ‘Everybody needs to play ball in order for this tech to work’

“You can choose to grow one copyright at a time. That’s going to take a really, really long time. We went to look for solutions that would help us scale more quickly. And what drove that was really find likeminded people, find people with whom you have shared values… with whom you have a vision […]

Global music streaming: ‘We are just on the tip of the iceberg of what this will become’

“I think it’s good that we have a lot of players in the market, because it means we all get better… The streaming landscape, and particularly for us the audio landscape, will continue to grow. We are just on the tip of the iceberg of what this will become.” Cecilia Qvist is global head of […]

The evolution of labels: ‘What’s your value proposition?’

“Labels who call themselves labels? That’s like dinosaur shit to me! It’s what’s your value proposition? What’s my value proposition? Can one plus one equal 10? As long as I can say to somebody that you and I together will be better… 300 is not a label, we’re a platform. We’re an opportunity for people […]

Analysis: the music industry enters 2020 on a wave of growth – and optimism

Barring a major surprise, 2019 will have been the fifth straight year of growth for the global recorded music industry. Over those five years, its annual revenues have grown from $14.2bn to $19.1bn, taking it almost back to its 2004 level. If 2019 matched 2018’s 9.7% growth, we could be talking about $21bn last year. […]

In 2019, UK music-streaming spending passed £1bn for the first time

Consumer spending on music streaming in the UK passed the symbolic £1bn mark for the first time last year, according to figures published by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) today. Brits spent just over £1bn on streaming subscriptions in 2019, up by 23.5% from the £812m spent in 2018 – and 31 times the spend […]

We’ve tested Bytedance’s Resso app: here are our first impressions

Earlier this month, we reported on Resso, the new music-streaming app that TikTok’s parent company Bytedance is testing in India and Indonesia. We asked journalist Amit Gurbaxani, who has written regularly for Music Ally about the music industry in India, to try the app and offer his first impressions. “The most distinct thing about Resso, […]

Music Ally’s Music/Tech Startup Files #1: Five Vectors

Gamer music fans want music that fits the exact gaming moment they’re experiencing, and they want to show off their fandom. Five Vectors’ tech scans and funnels music programmatically to those audiences, and helps fans pay for it in ways that make interaction meaningful and status-based, like being skins in Fortnite. The post Music Ally’s […]

What’s the real end-game for AI music? Popgun’s CEO has some ideas…

“What’s the end-game for this? There isn’t this place in the world where teenagers come together to make music for each other. That place does not exist, and that’s nuts! That thing needs to exist, and it will exist. And getting the AI working is the price of admission to build that thing…” Stephen Phillips, […]

Billie Eilish wins big in Apple awards and Spotify 2019 stats

What we need, said almost nobody in the music industry, are a few more awards ceremonies. But now we have two, from the world’s biggest subscription music-streaming services. Spotify’s first awards will take place in Mexico City next March, driven entirely by its data, but Apple Music’s first event took place overnight, chosen purely by the company’s […]

Capitol Gains: Capitol Records talks innovation, startups and music

In September, Music Ally spoke to three of Warner Music Group’s senior innovation and business-development execs, about how they work with startups and innovative technologies. That month, we also interviewed some music/tech startups, who gave some blunt, honest feedback on the challenges they have faced working with major labels in general. It’s a conversation that’s […]

We need to talk more about legal issues around training musical AIs

When most people think about the potential legal issues around AI-created music, they tend to think about the output – the music itself, and questions like whether an AI-generated track can attract copyright protection. Sophie Goossens, counsel at law firm Reed Smith, thinks that just as much attention should be paid to the input. “AI is […]

Capitol Royale roundup: empowerment, hacks and A&R’s evolution

On Saturday and Sunday (November 16-17), Capitol Music Group held its 2nd annual music and tech festival, Capitol Royale, at its Los Angeles headquarters. The theme for this year was ‘Music on the Move’, with workshops, hackathons, panels, and social events revolving around the ever-changing landscape of music and innovation. Kicking off on Friday was […]

Crowdfunding is still effective – and it’s still not begging (guest column)

This article is an excerpt from Ari Herstand’s second edition of How to Make It in the New Music Business: In 2009, I was co-managing one of my favorite Minneapolis bands with my girlfriend. I was actively touring, playing 100+ dates a year myself, so the day-to-day duties were mostly handled by her. The band […]

Most Wanted: Music report – Scott Cohen, diversity, Africa and more

In Berlin, talk around music usually takes two paths: techno or the blockchain, and both involve a lot of earnest nodding. At the Most Wanted: Music 2019 conference, conversation was nudged towards the creation of new value streams, pushing for meaningful diversity, and embracing change in an age that demands it. The post Most Wanted: […]

CISAC report reveals growth in global music collections

CISAC, the global collecting-societies body, has published its annual ‘Global Collections Report’ setting out the collections of its 239 members in more than 120 countries. As ever, it’s a useful counterpart to the IFPI’s annual Global Music Report: while that publication focuses on recorded-music royalties, the music section of CISAC’s report quantifies collections for songwriters […]

Is Bollywood losing its dominance of the Indian music industry?

It’s a debatable opinion but one that warrants consideration in the Indian music industry in 2019: is Bollywood slowly but surely losing its dominance? Major Indian labels such as international heavyweights Sony and Universal and local biggie T-Series are increasingly releasing what they term “non-film music”, a loose if somewhat nebulous term used to classify […]

Secret Chord Laboratories raises $315k for music-analysis tool

Algorithmic A&R continues to be a touchy subject in some quarters of the music industry, where there is distrust (and/or existential fears) of the prospect of big data encroaching onto the traditional territory of humans’ ears and guts. That’s even more the case when the algorithms are tracking not the momentum of an artist in […]

Tencent Music’s Andy Ng talks AI recommendations and karaoke expansion

In a keynote interview at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) conference in Amsterdam, Tencent Music’s Andy Ng outlined his role in combatting piracy in China, building a legal streaming market there and why he and his employers are betting heavy on the EDM boom. Ng stepped back from his role as group VP at Tencent […]

Spotify-developed tool used for Skygge’s AI-powered ‘American Folk Songs’ EP

There’s plenty of new music out today: Camila Cabello, Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, Halsey, Travis Scott, K-Pop supergroup SuperM, Juice Wrld and Skygge are among the artists dropping new tracks. Wait, Skygge? Who’s that? An avatar blending AI-powered music with a cappella recordings by legendary US folk singers like Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger […]

Transgressive Records at 15: ‘Sometimes great things take time…’

On paper, 2004 was one of the worst years in living memory to set up a record label. The decade-and-a-half decline in recorded-music revenues was well underway, with CD sales falling off a cliff. And the main lifeline in sight, Apple’s iTunes Store, was unbundling the traditional album. Optimism was in short supply. And yet: […]

Dead End Hip Hop talks platforms, Patreon and hip-hop in 2019

Founded in 2011, Dead End Hip Hop (DEHH) has built a strong community around its discussions of hip-hop’s music and culture, with more than 233,000 subscribers on YouTube, and nearly 3,300 fans funding the company’s work through Patreon. In an email interview with Music Ally, DEHH’s six-strong team – Kennith B. Inge, Roderic Wright (aka […]

Music listening in 2019: 10 takeaways from the IFPI’s new report

Global music-industry body the IFPI has published its latest ‘Music Listening’ report, for 2019, based on a survey of 34,000 people in 21 countries. Whereas the body’s annual Global Music Report focuses on revenues, this study is all about people’s music habits: how much they’re streaming and buying music; what devices they’re doing it on; […]

Napster’s Angel Gambino talks tech, Ek and streaming’s evolution

Angel Gambino has been in the digital trenches since the late 1990s. Her career has seen her work in early social gaming (for Gameplay·com); test the digital waters for TV (at the BBC and Viacom); and forge content strategies for social networking (Bebo). In 2019, she’s putting the lessons learned to work in her current […]

Deezer steps up its efforts to introduce user-centric payments

Deezer is hoping to launch a pilot of a user-centric payment system (UCPS) by early 2020 in France, if it can persuade labels to back the idea. As part of its preparations, it has launched a website this morning explaining UCPS to music fans. As a quick reminder: user-centric payments divide the streaming royalties from […]

Warner Music Group talks startups, technology and investment

In Music Ally’s latest analysis report, we take a look at the three major labels’ strategies around music/tech startups and investment. The full report is for Music Ally subscribers only, but you can sign up for a free trial, which includes access to the latest report. An extract from it follows, focusing on Warner Music […]

Big Ear Games sees more potential for music-learning apps

The intersection of mobile gaming and music education is a category Music Ally has been tracking since 2011, when a Finnish startup called Ovelin started to get attention for a music-learning game called WildChords. It later rebranded as Yousician, and as of summer 2019 has generated more than 100m downloads of its apps. Now history might […]

New music revenues in India, from sync to digital merch

On the first day of the All About Music conference in Mumbai, IMI boss Blaise Fernandes cited an “underexploited” public performance market as one of the drivers of growth that will help steer India in its quest to become one of the world’s top ten biggest music markets by 2022. On the second day, at […]

Indian music industry debates potential for paid music subs

“I think we’re on course,” said Blaise Fernandes, the president and CEO of India’s official recorded music industry body the Indian Music Industry, when asked on a status update on the country’s plan to break into the top ten of the world’s biggest music markets by 2022, at this year’s edition of the annual All […]

Amuse CEO talks growth, Old Town Road and artist-friendly deals

“What have you done for me lately?” Diego Farias, CEO of music distributor and label Amuse, is on the other end of a video call to Music Ally, singing the chorus of Janet Jackson’s classic track with a smile on his face, but thankfully no wardrobe malfunctions with his clothing. It’s not (just) for the […]

Spotify’s Q2 2019: 108m subscribers, €1.67bn revenues, and a €76m net loss

Spotify has published its financial results for the second quarter of 2019, revealing that the streaming service added 15 million new listeners including eight million paid subscribers during Q2. Spotify ended June 2019 with 232 million listeners, up 29% year-on-year from the 180 million it had a year ago, and up 7% quarter-on-quarter from the […]

How Gaana became India’s top audio-streaming music service

There has been some debate over the title of India’s top music audio-streaming service, with multiple companies staking their claim. Most recently, in December 2018, Gaana said that it now had 80 million monthly active users (MAUs), which would make it the country’s top service “with a fair margin” according to CEO Prashan Agarwal. So […]

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