Spotify officially launches its ‘Lite’ app in 36 countries

‘Introducing Spotify Lite’ is the title of the streaming service’s latest announcement, although its new app won’t need much introduction to anyone who’s been following Spotify’s business in the last year. The company began testing its data-saving app in Brazil in July 2018; it launched in Malaysia in April 2019; and then in India in May, still described by […]

South African music-streaming app My Muze reaches 1m downloads

South African telco Vodacom’s My Muze music-streaming app has been downloaded more than 1m times since its launch in April this year. Those downloads have come on Android alone, although the service is available in a web-browser version for Apple devices, according to the Financial Mail. It also reported on how Vodacom has been pricing the […]

Report: TikTok was installed 344m times in first half of 2019

Thanks to Apple’s official response to Spotify’s complaint to the European Commission, we know that around 680,000 of the latter company’s subscribers are paying their monthly fees through the iOS in-app purchases system. But what about the wider apps economy? Analytics firm SensorTower has put out its latest figures on how that’s growing, and which apps are benefitting from […]

Meditation app Calm raises $27m more funding at $1bn valuation

We’ve written about meditation startup Calm several times this year: for example when it raised an $88m funding round in February (an announcement that made us wonder whether Spotify would be doing more with meditation), and when it was the exclusive distribution partner for a new album by artist Moby the following month. Now there’s some more news – […]

Chinese government to ‘curb industry chaos’ with audio apps

The Chinese government has launched a crackdown on audio apps, with one prominent music-streaming service included. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that 26 audio platforms that spread “historical nihilism and obscene pornography” are the first batch of services it has taken action against. The announcement promises a “comprehensive centralised rectification of the audio industry” that […]

Cameo raises $50m for its celebrity-shoutouts app

Startup Cameo has an app that lets people pay between $5 and $3k to get personalised video messages from celebrities, including Snoop Dogg – also an investor in the company. Now Cameo has raised a $50m funding round to continue building a business that it claims is currently generating around 300k transactions a month, with the company […]

Former This Is My Jam exec launches AI video-editing app Trash

The Guardian’s piece on the launch of a new app called Trash mentions that it’s from the ‘ex-head of Vine’, but Music Ally also remembers Hannah Donovan as the co-founder of music-discovery site This Is My Jam back in the day. Her new venture isn’t specifically about music, but it could certainly be useful for musicians. Trash […]

MelodyVR reveals beta smartphone app and ‘Viewer’ hardware

One of the things holding back music virtual-reality startups so far as been the slower-than-expected growth of VR-headset ownership. Now startup MelodyVR is making moves to tackle that challenge. First: it’s launched a closed beta of its app for Android and iOS devices, with plans for a commercial launch this summer. It’ll offer the company’s […]

Mobile music-video creation app Voisey raises funding round

Voisey is a music-making app that gets people to sing or rap over pre-produced beats, then create one-minute videos (including split-screen duets) to share with friends. Think Smule’s Sing! Karaoke meets TikTok. Voisey soft-launched in Norway in December 2018, then in the UK in January 2019, with plans to debut in the US this summer. The […]

Fortnite publisher Epic Games buys social-video app Houseparty

Having raised a $1.25bn funding round, and with its Fortnite game continuing to be a licence to print money, publisher Epic Games is on the acquisition trail. It recently bought Psyonix, the developer of popular game Rocket League. Now it has diversified into social media. Epic has bought startup Houseparty, whose “face-to-face social network” is […]

Mobile games are 10% of app time but 74% of app spending

More games stats? We got ‘em! Well, analytics firm App Annie has got ‘em, at least. It’s published some new data on the mobile games market, as a sub-sector of mobile apps. “33% of all mobile downloads and 10% of time spent on mobile are now games,” explained the company in its latest blog post. […]

TikTok parent Bytedance launches Feiliao messaging app

TikTok may be taking over the western world (in terms of downloads at least, as we reported last week) but its parent company Bytedance has just launched a new app in China. It’s called Feiliao, although TechCrunch reports the English-language version of the name is ‘Flipchat’. “Here are your familiar chat, audio and video calls. In […]

TikTok was the third most-downloaded app globally in Q1 2019

Social app TikTok may be at a point in its lifetime where big numbers around its growth are counter-productive – at least in one specific context: licensing negotiations with the music industry. The bigger TikTok gets, the keener rightsholders will be to point out how important music has been to its growth, and why any […]

BBC promises to build ‘public-service’ recommendation algorithm

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC is hoping to jog people out of their algorithmic comfort-zones with recommendations in its BBC Sounds app. The broadcaster’s director of radio and education James Purnell announced the plans at the Radio Festival 2019 conference in London. “The BBC rests on three foundations: to entertain, yes, but also to inform and educate. […]

Create Music Group’s new app will manage songwriting splits

Music firm Create Music Group has launched a new app aimed at songwriters. It’s called ‘Splits’ and it aims to help writers nail down the royalty-splits for their work as early as possible in the process. The promise is that it takes just a few taps to create a new agreement, add collaborators with their […]

Dating app Tinder now has a ‘Festival Mode’ for music fans

Dating at festivals has come a long way since the days of drinking seven cans of mind-altering cider then finding a friendly face in the crowd. In 2019, inevitably, the culture of swipe-right dating apps is coming to music festivals too. Specifically, Tinder has added a ‘festival mode’ to its app, to help people hook […]

Audzilla app will blend fans’ concert videos with HD audio

Here’s a startup so new, its website isn’t quite up and running yet. However, Los Angeles-based Audzilla does sound interesting from its just-added profile on investment site AngelList. “Audzilla is a music technology that allows fans to create one of a kind fan generated videos at live events by streaming the high definition audio from the soundboard […]

Childish Gambino gets his own Google-powered multiplayer AR app

“The experience begins with the opening of an AR portal. Walk through it to explore an augmented cave where you can find and interact with hidden glyphs while still being able to see out into the real world…” No, not the introduction to the latest Pokémon Go-style game. It’s Google’s blog post about its latest collaboration […]

$100m-funded Luminary podcasts app to launch on 23 April

Music Ally wrote about Luminary earlier this year: it’s a US-based podcasting startup that emerged from stealth mode brandishing pre-launch funding of $100m, plus plans to launch more than 40 podcasts with hosts like Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien. But the company was more than just a podcast production-studio: it had plans […]

Requestify is the latest spin on social, digital jukeboxes

The US in particular has seen several ‘digital jukebox’ startups in the last decade: often focused around people requesting songs from a smartphone app to play in the bar/space where they’re hanging out. Requestify, from Norway, is interesting because it’s doing more than just that. So yes, it’s a “fully app-driven social jukebox designed to […]

Jam Session app hopes to spark social co-listening

Music Ally has seen a few startups try to make ‘co-listening’ a thing in our history, from Turntable and the original incarnation of Soundrop a few years ago to the radio-like Stationhead now. Next to try is a US startup called Jam Session, which is currently in beta. It’ll be an app that “lets you listen […]

Beat The Intro mobile game will push new releases and deep catalogue

A new music-based game has launched that claims it will create “new revenue and promotional opportunities for the music industry”. Beat The Intro says it has licensed “millions of tracks” already and, as its name suggests, tests how well users know music and how quickly they can identify a track. A short song intro is played […]

China to introduce ‘youth mode’ time limits for short-video apps

The challenge of levering children off their favourite app is one being grappled with by parents across the world, whether it’s YouTube, Fortnite, TikTok or Roblox. Now the Chinese government is introducing regulations that will crack down on one particular sector: ‘short-video’ apps including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin and rival Kuaishou. “From June, all such […]

Report claims mobile app spending will reach $156bn by 2023

Newsflash! People quite like apps, and spend a fair amount of money on them – and that’s probably going to continue for the foreseeable future. And on that bombshell, we return you to your regular music-industry bulletin… No, research firm SensorTower has at least put some numbers on this predicted growth for the apps market. “User spending […]

Report claims Apple Music’s Android app has 40m installs

Apple Music will add 3.8 million new users in the first quarter of 2019… on Android devices. This, at least, is the claim by research firm SensorTower, in its latest report. It also reckons that Apple Music has now been installed 40m times from Android’s Google Play store since its launch in 2015 – and that […]

Sandbox Issue 224: Up Hit Creek. THE DRY STREAMS PARADOX

Lead: The Dry Streams Paradox is when there is a huge gap between the number of streams an act gets and the number of fans they have or can reach. Just because someone plays one of your songs, it does not follow that they even know what your name is. Does this all mean that […]

Tuner app will build on Spotify to offer ‘the new radio’

There’s a little bit of confusion around the name of this new app: its profile on investment site AngelList refers to it as Tuner, while its website refers to it as Brassroots. We’ll surmise that a rebranding is underway, although from what to what we’re still unsure about – it’s also possible that Tuner is the company name and […]

New Moby album is exclusive on… meditation app Calm

Moby has a new album out, and it’s streaming exclusively on one service: but NOT a music-streaming service. Although we rather gave that away in the headline, didn’t we… Yes, ‘Long Ambients 2’ is being made available exclusively through meditation app Calm, with six tracks designed to help people relax and get to sleep. Calm has […]

Stage is the latest startup planning live concerts in VR

Things have gone a little quiet around music and virtual-reality technology in recent months, don’t you think? There are still startups developing the technology with apps and services up and running, but the hype around VR possibly being The Next Big Innovation for live music has certainly died down. Perhaps partly as the interest in […]

Ticketing app Dice launches in the US – in LA and New York

British ticketing app Dice has been expanding in Europe for some time, but now it’s targeting the biggest music market of all: the US. The app is now available in the US with a roster of concerts initially in Los Angeles and New York, including exclusive partnerships with a selection of venues. The launch isn’t […]

Report 421 :: AI on the Prize

Artificial intelligence is a hot ticket in the music industry and is spinning off in a variety of exciting new directions. It is being used to create music but also to power recommendations, to better understand the contexts of listening and to patch the leaks in the hull of metadata. It is, therefore, the Swiss […]

Startup AI Music has launched its first app: Ossia

British startup AI Music has been talking since last year about its plans for ‘shapeshifting’ music – using AI to shift recordings between different genres and moods. Recently, the company released its first demonstration app, showing how music listeners can interact with its technology. The app is called Ossia, and for now it’s available as […]

Dubsmash has relaunched as an app focused on dance challenges

The last time Music Ally wrote about social-music app Dubsmash was in December 2016, when it had just raised a $9.6m funding round in order to fight back against fast-rising rival Musical.ly, which was gaining more traction with a similar app for shooting and sharing lip-sync videos. We know how that story ended: Musical.ly’s user-base continued to […]

Classical streaming app Idagio has passed 1m downloads

Idagio is one of the companies (see also: Primephonic) trying to build a business out of a music-streaming service focused purely on classical music. It has a new milestone to report: more than 1m app downloads globally, with an admittedly-less-useful stat that it now has subscribers in 180 countries. It’s taken four years to reach the […]

Pitchfork calls TikTok ‘the great music meme scam’

Pitchfork spares no punches in its profile of social-video app TikTok, drawing an unflattering comparison between the value of its parent company Bytedance, and the level of royalties being paid to musicians for use of their work. That said, a tale does emerge of viral TikTok videos sparking streams of music on YouTube and other platforms […]

Israel and Wales get new local-focused music-streaming services

Shiri? Isn’t that what you talk to on your iPhone when you’ve had a few-too-many gins? But no: Shiri is actually a new music app launched by the National Library of Israel, with a catalogue of more than 400k tracks by Israeli artists. It’s been launched to promote local musicians, as well as to make […]

India draws up new rules for ‘intermediary’ apps like TikTok

Social apps from overseas, particularly China, have been dominating the upper reaches of app stores in India. Now the government is responding, with new regulations aimed at ‘intermediary’ apps that get their content from users. The Financial Times reported that any such apps with more than five million users in India ‘need to set up […]

Apple clarifies rules for iOS in-app subscriptions

Apple has published some new rules for how in-app subscriptions should be advertised to people using iOS apps. Those rules include clearly explaining the terms of a subscription to new customers, including the billing amount. “In the purchase flow, the amount that will be billed must be the most prominent pricing element in the layout. […]

WaveAI launches its Alysia app as an AI ‘singer-songwriter’

We’ve written about startup WaveAI in recent months, with its plans to launch an AI-music-creation app called Alysia. This week, the app went live on Apple’s App Store for iPhones and iPads. It’s pitched at music fans as well as musicians: they can choose background music in a range of styles and genres, then generate […]

Research firms publish apps and games market data for 2018

If you’re following the mobile apps and gaming markets, a couple of reports published yesterday will make interesting reading. App Annie has put out its annual ‘The State of Mobile’ report, which claims that across Apple’s App Store, Android’s Google Play and third-party Android app stores in China, there were 194bn worldwide downloads in 2018. […]

Sandbox Issue 219: The Tools and Trends That Will Shape 2019

Lead: A new year and a new slate. To kick off the year, we speak to marketers around the business and around the world about what tools they think will be indispensable and what trends they believe will shape 2019. From AR filters and scarcity to algorithmic personalisation of playlists, the continued rise of Latin […]

TikTok culture is wider (and possibly crueller) than its app

Many people in the music industry are trying to get a handle on social-video app TikTok: particularly how young people are using it, and what kind of culture is growing around their shared clips. If you’re one of those people, New York magazine’s exploration of TikTok is well worth a read – especially because it […]

AR-powered ‘David Bowie is’ app launches as $7.99 download

The ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition was a real treat for keen (and even casual) Bowie fans, debuting at the V&A Museum in London in 2013 before touring the world. Last year, plans were revealed to turn the exhibition into an augmented-reality app, and this week it’s been released for Android and for iOS by Sony […]

Manager Jake Udell thinks artist subscriptions WILL work

Monthly subscriptions are doing a pretty good job for the music industry in the context of Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services. The idea of individual artist subscriptions has been tested regularly by startups and crowdfunding platforms, without yet catching on. Something admitted by manager Jake Udell in his latest blog post, which focuses on […]

TikTok ‘Lite’ apps have been installed 12m times already

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify are among the apps that have launched ‘lite’ versions aimed mainly at markets where mobile networks are slower, and/or where mobile data is more expensive. Now social-video app TikTok has quietly followed suit, launching a pair of ‘Lite’ apps (one with a lower-case ‘l’ in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and other […]

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