Vita Bergen use Google Translate for their new tour

From taxis to restaurant menus in foreign climes, Google Translate has often been a useful travel tool for Music Ally. We’ve never thought of performing a song with it though. Leave that to Swedish indie-pop band Vita Bergen, who have teamed up with Google to put its translation tool to musical use. The band will […]

UMG’s Urban Legends turns music journalism into marketing

As we go into 2018, there are very real concerns about sustainable business models for music journalism, with magazines shutting or slimming down and websites scratching about for revenues. But there are some other models for music journalists emerging: from the original-content divisions of streaming services to commissions from labels. The post UMG’s Urban Legends […]

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile launch ‘mixtape exchange’

We’re big fans of the recent album by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, and we’re also impressed by the inventive Spotify-fuelled marketing campaign around it. So is Spotify: the streaming service has featured the campaign as a case study on its Spotify for Artists blog. The post Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile launch ‘mixtape exchange’ […]

Sandbox Issue 191: Ad ons

Lead: With so much music now being ostensibly free at the point of consumption, advertising is expected to do a lot of the heavy lifting for the digital content industries. As such, the nature and forms of advertising have had to rapidly evolve and expand. Today, ad campaigns must adapt to the vagaries of the […]

Sandbox Issue 190: Retarget practice

Lead: Have you ever been hounded around the internet by an ad for a gas boiler or cheap flights? Of course you have. It’s 2017, after all. That is, as you’ll know, symptomatic of bad retargeting. But don’t mock too soon as the music industry is far from innocent here. We speak to marketing executives […]

Sandbox Issue 189: D2C gets cranked up

Lead: D2C started to flex its muscles just as the decline in the traditional CD market began to really bite. Now it is more important that ever as both a revenue driver and a means of ensuring ongoing fan engagement. We look at five of the most interesting D2C offerings recently to understand what they […]

Big Shaq gets an augmented-reality Facebook Camera effect

In our recent report on augmented reality technology, we suggested that rather than launching standalone AR apps for artists, labels would do better exploring some of the AR features in the big social apps. Now Island Records has offered a new example with the biggest social app of all: Facebook. The label has launched a […]

Domino turns Franz Ferdinand Spotify pre-save into a fan club

The ability for fans to ‘pre-save’ an album on Spotify has become an increasingly-common marketing tactic since Kobalt pioneered the idea last year with Laura Marling. Now independent label Domino Records is trying something a bit different with the idea: its pre-save campaign for Franz Ferdinand’s new album is structured as a “fan club”. “Subscribe […]

Musical.ly starts to attract brands for influencer marketing

Social app Musical.ly has been cautious about getting into advertising – and with good reason, given the strong regulations in the US around advertising to children. However, brands are starting to make use of the app for their own marketing by working with its popular ‘Musers’ on influencer-marketing campaigns. The post Musical.ly starts to attract […]

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 […]

YouTube co-produces behind-the-scenes videos for Camila Cabello

Former Fifth Harmony star Camila Cabello is launching some new stuff on YouTube: a series of three ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos based on the actual music video for her single ‘Havana’. The interesting point here: the new videos have been co-produced by YouTube itself with Epic Records. The first episode went live yesterday, with the next two […]

Lessons from Kobalt’s Laura Marling pre-save campaign

At our recent Sandbox Summit conference, Kobalt Music Recordings’ David Emery outlined three lessons learned from running a Spotify pre-save campaign for Laura Marling. Now he’s turned the talk into a blog post, which makes good reading for any music marketer. We reported on his thoughts about getting away from your desk and inbox to […]

Universal Music to work on AR / VR experiences with Within

We’ve been writing about virtual reality startup Within since it was founded under the name of Vrse by Chris Milk, the filmmaker whose previous projects included the famous ‘Wilderness Downtown’ interactive video for Arcade Fire. Now Within has signed a high-profile music partnership with Universal Music Group, to make both virtual AND augmented reality experiences […]

Crossfaith invites fans to unlock new track… by headbanging

Japanese metal band Crossfaith are encouraging fans to headbang in their own homes with a marketing campaign for their new EP ‘Freedom’. Launched by label Sony Music and agency Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign gets fans to visit the band’s website and then headbang in front of their webcam, which unlocks a stream of a […]

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 […]

CD Baby joins the pre-saves party on Spotify

In December 2016, Kobalt launched a campaign for Laura Marling that enabled fans to ‘pre-save’ her next album, automatically adding it (and its advance tracks) to their Spotify playlists as soon as they were available. Since then, other labels and distributors have developed similar tools, capitalising on a feature in Spotify’s API that hadn’t previously […]

Spotify launches ‘Rise’ programme for emerging artists

A few years ago, Spotify had an initiative called ‘Spotlight’ which picked out its new acts to watch, promoting them in its local markets. Hozier, Tove Lo and Jack Garratt were among the beneficiaries. But Spotlight didn’t happen at the start of 2017: we were told at the time that the plan was to replace […]

Spotify launches new playlist-pitching system for labels

Spotify has moved to formalise the process by which major and independent labels pitch for slots in the Browse section of its service, with a quota-based system applying to global and local playlists. The move comes after longtime discussion within the industry about the extent to which Spotify promotes its own in-house curated playlists over […]

Digital marketing lessons from WMG, Kobalt and Lounge Books

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London yesterday included three short’n’sharp sessions where digital marketers outlined the lessons they learned from recent campaigns. Warner Music Group’s senior VP of global marketing Beth Appleton talked about influencer marketing. “We know that they’re the new tastemakers. And ultimately we’ve got the potential to reach millions globally. And […]

AEI Group’s Diluk Dias: ‘Vilifying YouTube is like moaning about the weather or Brexit’

“I am getting pretty fucking bored of the vilification of YouTube. It’s like moaning about the weather or moaning about Brexit… We are living in a time of abundant opportunity and tech companies are putting music front and centre.” Diluk Dias, founder of British music company AEI Group, had some firm views on the ‘value […]

What more could Spotify and Apple Music do for music marketers?

Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and their rivals have been working hard on back-end features for labels, managers and artists. But could they be doing more? The closing panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today invited the audience of music marketers to suggest a wishlist of new features. The session was […]

Influencer marketing: why labels are turning to social stars

YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchat stars, Twitch streamers, Musers on Musical.ly… The emergence of new stars on online-video services and social networks has provided a new promotional channel: influencer marketing. Paying social stars to promote a product or brand has been a growing trend for some time, but what does it mean for music marketing in 2017? […]

Pitch perfect: the trends around pitching to Spotify and Apple Music playlists

In 2017, pitching tracks to the in-house playlisters at Spotify, Apple Music and other music-streaming services is an important cog in labels’ marketing campaigns. But it’s also a discipline with plenty of mystery around it. How do labels pitch these curators, and what kind of pitches are most likely to succeed? A panel at Music […]

Musical.ly star Danielle Cohn launches her own app

There isn’t much excitement at all around apps for musicians in 2017: the heyday of artist-app platforms like Mobile Roadie is a rapidly-receding memory. But for social stars (or ‘influencers’) it’s a different story: they do still seem to see a value in bagging their own spot on fans’ homescreens. The latest example is Dani […]

iHeartRadio launches entertainment show on Facebook

The latest music brand looking to make use of video on Facebook is iHeartRadio. The US streaming service has launched a TV-style chat-show called ‘iHeartNow with Elvis Duran’, fronted by one of its most popular DJs. The show will see Duran interviewing musicians and celebrities, kicking off with former Fifth Harmony singer turned solo-star Camila […]

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