Blackpink trail new album with Spotify and PubG Mobile

One of the K-Pop groups that have been smashing down global barriers recently is Blackpink, who you can expect to see splashed over many digital platforms in the coming week ahead of their new album’s release on 2 October. Two examples today: Blackpink have launched an ‘enhanced album’ playlist on Spotify, complete with some videos of Jisoo, […]

BTS Universe Story mobile game launches for Android and iOS

The new mobile game for K-Pop stars BTS has gone live. Netmarble’s BTS Universe Story was made available for Android and for iOS overnight, and is the band’s second foray into mobile gaming following last year’s BTS World. As we recently reported, BTS Universe Story is about tapping the BTS Army’s creativity: creating their own animated stories set in […]

Ava Max is holding an album launch party inside Roblox

Gaming platform Roblox has more than 150 million monthly active users, and its head of music recently told Music Ally how keen the company is to work with artists and labels. Now we’ve got one of the first examples: pop artist Ava Max is holding an album launch party in Roblox later today (25 September). Atlantic Records […]

Epic Games invests in Roblox-like startup Manticore Games

We’ve been writing about popular children’s gaming platform Roblox for some time, including its desire to work with the music industry. It’s not the only platform of its type. Manticore Games is the company behind Core, which is a similar “digital playground and community designed to unleash imagination and explore new play experiences”. It came onto […]

Fortnite is the next frontier for K-Pop stars BTS

BTS are no strangers to the gaming world, having starred in their first mobile game BTS World last year, with a follow-up (BTS Universe Story) about to launch. Now the K-Pop stars are heading to one of the biggest, buzziest games of all: Fortnite. This Friday (25 September) they’ll be premiering a new “choreography version” music […]

Logic blames UMG for not letting game-streamers use his music

Having officially retired from music earlier this year, before signing what was reportedly a seven-figure exclusive deal to stream on Twitch, artist Logic is a prominent figure at the intersection of music and livestreaming. A tweet on Friday is thus making a few waves. “Too many of my gaming homies @Ninja included have wanted to play my […]

Gaming star Ninja returns to Twitch with exclusive deal

Twitch may be doing more with music, but gaming remains its bread-and-butter content. Now one of the platform’s first and biggest stars is returning to it. Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is well known to Music Ally readers: he broke livestreaming records when playing Fortnite with Drake; competed in pro-amateur tournaments of the same game with Marshmello; […]

As Twitch Sings shuts down, Snapchat gets a karaoke game

Twitch recently announced that it was shutting down its karaoke game Twitch Sings, including removing all the archived broadcasts and clips using it. But where one karaoke game closes, another one pops up backed by a different digital platform. That game is called SingHeads, and the platform is Snapchat, which is an official partner. Released initially for […]

Warner Music Latina launches a mobile game for Kidd Keo

Kidd Keo is a Spanish hip-hop artist signed to Warner Music Latina, and now the label has launched an official mobile game for his new album ‘Back To Rockport’. Released for iOS and Android, Back To Rockport – The Game is an endless-runner game in the same vein as app hits Temple Run and Subway Surfers. […]

Riot Games created a new virtual influencer called Seraphine

Last month we reported on Riot Games, the publisher of esports game League of Legends, launching a new track for its virtual pop group K/DA. What we hadn’t spotted, then, was a cover of the group’s past hit ‘Pop/Stars’ by an influencer called Seraphine, which was released a couple of weeks ago. The post Riot […]

League Of Legends K-Pop group K/DA return with new track

Hot on the heels of announcing a big partnership with Spotify, the publisher of esports hit League of Legends is bringing its virtual K-Pop group K/DA back with new music. Riot Games launched K/DA two years ago as a group of avatar characters – each voiced by a real singer. Their debut live performance at the […]

Fortnite’s new season is live… but not for Apple devices

The new season of Fortnite goes live today: Chapter 2 – Season 4 is a big tie-up with Marvel, with a bunch of its superheroes and supervillains added to the game, complete with their most famous locations – and an in-game comic explaining how they got there. But one section of Fortnite’s player community won’t be […]

Katy Perry’s ‘Smile’ album comes with its own video game

The new Katy Perry album comes out tomorrow (28 August) and ‘Smile’ will be accompanied by its own promotional game. It’s a partnership with computing brand Dell – or rather, with its high-end gaming sub-brand Alienware. The game is called Katy Quest, and from the clip shared by Perry on her socials, it appears to be […]

BTS fanfic meets mobile games as Netmarble preps BTS Universe Story

Netmarble is the South Korean company that launched the BTS World mobile game in June 2019, offering the BTS Army the chance to play manager to the K-Pop stars – complete with an original soundtrack album. The game topped app store charts in 25 countries immediately after its release, and by the first quarter of this year Netmarble’s financials revealed […]

Spotify has company as Fortnite maker sues Apple (and Google)

Spotify seemed well prepared when its EC antitrust complaint against Apple last March came with its own spin-off website detailing its issues. Now Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has taken that up several levels. Yesterday it sued Apple alleging “use of a series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices”, and that lawsuit came with its own launch trailer: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’, […]

China’s Twitch equivalent DouYu has 165.3m monthly users

We haven’t written about DouYu before, because the Chinese livestreaming video platform is focused on games rather than music. The numbers are startling though: according to its latest financial results, DouYu averaged 165.3 million monthly active users in the second quarter of this year, including 58.4 million people on mobile devices. Meanwhile, DouYu generated RMB 2.51bn […]

PubG Mobile, the world’s top mobile game, made $208.8m in July

The amount of money sloshing around in the mobile games industry continues to startle. According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the top mobile game in July 2020 was PubG Mobile, published by Tencent. It generated $208.8m in user spending via in-app purchases on Google and Apple’s app stores that month. Comparison time: Tencent Music generated less […]

10 talking points around kids, music and technology in 2020

Last month, Music Ally took part in the BPI and ERA’s New Kids on the Block online event, looking at children’s digital habits and what they mean for music. Research company Kids Insights produced a report for the event too, which has been published today. We contributed a section on some of the interesting stories […]

The next Fortnite? Fall Guys is already a livestreaming hit

When people think about what ‘the next Fortnite’ might be, they often fall into the trap of expecting it to look and play a lot like Fortnite. However, what if it’s less about guns, and more about a bunch of bouncy Minions-y characters bundling around neon-splashed obstacle courses like a cartoonish Takeshi’s Castle / It’s […]

PlayStation Plus and Disney+ both report subscription growth

We like to keep an eye on subscription-based entertainment businesses outside music, and yesterday two big companies’ financial results offered us some new data to consider. Sony Corporation’s results included the announcement that there are now 44.9 million people paying for the PlayStation Plus service, up from 41.5 million a quarter ago. PS Plus costs $9.99 a […]

Noah Cyrus’s new video was made using PS4 game Dreams

Shooting music videos is possible but challenging within the social distancing measures of this Covid-19 pandemic. The latest example of an artist getting a creative way around those barriers is Noah Cyrus, as part of the ‘A Sony Collaboration’ series of projects. You may remember we wrote about a Nicky Jam TikTok video created through the scheme […]

BoxVR fitness game to get a major overhaul as FitXR

FitXR is the UK-based startup that’s had a hit with virtual reality fitness game BoxVR. Earlier this month, the company raised $7.5m of Series A funding, and now it’s announcing a major overhaul of its main product. Renamed FitXR, the app will start with more than four hours of boxing workouts, each with their own musical soundtrack, […]

Report hails Twitch’s ‘skyscraper’ viewing hours in Q2 2020

Another Covid-19 lockdown trend is the sharp growth of viewing hours for livestreaming video services, particularly Twitch. Industry firms StreamElements and Arsenal·gg have published their latest ‘State of the Stream’ report quantifying this growth. “Twitch’s 2nd quarter chart bars look like skyscrapers compared to Q1’s single floor dwellings,” it claimed, with a chart showing monthly viewing hours […]

Roblox head of music tells labels and artists: ‘We’re open for business!’

“Who in the room knows Roblox?” asked WMG’s chief innovation officer for recorded music Scott Cohen at the NY:LON Connect conference in January. Only a few people put their hands up in response. “It’s a gaming platform for kids, and they not only play games, they create their own games and play those games with […]

Not retiring just yet: Logic signs a seven-figure Twitch deal

On 17 July, artist Logic announced his retirement ahead of the release of (seemingly) his final album ‘No Pressure’ a week later. “It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father,” he tweeted. As it turns out, it’s also time to sign a megabucks exclusive deal with a livestreaming video service. […]

Renegade TikTok meme is now an official emote in Fortnite

Earlier this year, we published an article about how Atlanta rapper K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ track went viral on TikTok and Instagram last year, kickstarted by teenager Jalaiah Harmon’s video of herself dancing to the track. The track was renamed ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ early this year to ensure that people searching for its ‘Renegade’ hook found it on streaming […]

Rave Family Block Fest Minecraft festival postponed again

We reported on Friday about the bumpy start for Rave Family Block Fest, the dance music festival being held within the game Minecraft. People who’d paid for tickets to attend were finding it difficult to access the event, and when they did get in, they realised that the music itself had to be streamed separately […]

There are now one billion mobile games downloads every week

The mobile games industry is one of the sectors benefitting from the Covid-19 pandemic, at least in terms of people’s engagement with its products. According to analytics firm App Annie, there were an average of 1bn mobile game downloads a week during the second quarter of this year, up by 20% year-on-year. “Quarantined consumers also set […]

Sony Corporation invests $250m in Fortnite maker Epic Games

Sony Music’s parent company is investing $250m in Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite. Sony Corporation announced the deal yesterday, and said it “allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem”. That could spell more opportunities for […]

BoxVR developer FitXR raises $7.5m of Series A funding

If Music Ally’s news has packed a little more… punch recently, it might be because our editor’s lockdown-fitness activity is jabbing, hooking and upper-cutting thin air in virtual reality game BoxVR. Now the game’s developer, British startup FitXR, has raised $7.5m of Series A funding – specifically $6.3m from VC firms and a $1.2m innovation loan […]

Report: half of US 9-12 year-olds play Roblox every week

People in the music business (us included) bang on about Fortnite a lot, but we think Roblox is another gaming platform that should be less under the radar for our industry. A new report by children’s media research firm Dubit offers some stats that might help. “Half of all children aged 9-12 in the USA […]

Next-gen console games may see retail price rise to $69.99

There’s an ongoing debate about why the base cost of a music streaming subscription ($9.99 a month) hasn’t risen since 2008. What’s happening in adjacent entertainment markets? The Washington Post reports that the recommended retail price (RRP) of major games is set to rise by 10 dollars when Sony and Microsoft release their next-generation consoles later this […]

Report: global app spending was $50bn in first half of 2020

Could a global pandemic take the shine off the growth in the amount of money people spend on and within mobile apps? It could not. “Consumers spent a combined total of $50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020,” claimed app analytics firm Sensor Tower. “This was 23.4 […]

DJ Regard gets his own Regard Runner promotional game

Music Ally last covered Kosovo-based artist DJ Regard in September 2019, when his ‘Ride It’ track became a TikTok-assisted viral hit. Now the artist, signed to Ministry of Sound, is getting his own casual game, Regard Runner, which can be played on mobile devices and computers alike. Ministry commissioned digital agency The Creative Corporation to make the […]

Microsoft shuts down its livestreaming video service Mixer

Mixer was tech giant Microsoft’s rival to Twitch and other livestreaming video platforms, focused squarely on gaming. You may remember that in August 2019 it signed an exclusive deal with Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins (of ‘played Fortnite with Drake’ fame, although to many young people, it’s more Drake who’s of ‘played Fortnite with Ninja’ fame). More on that […]

Fortnite creator Epic Games tipped for valuation of $17bn

Epic Games isn’t just the publisher of Fortnite: it also owns also-popular-with-the-kids game Rocket League; video-chat app Houseparty; the Unreal Engine game development engine; and its own digital games store. No wonder its valuation is high: Bloomberg reported that Epic Games is about to raise a $750m funding round that values the company at around $17bn. That’s […]

Sandbox Issue 254: The Rise of Music Podcasts

Lead: If you aren’t making or appearing on a podcast, do you actually exist? Even with DSPs and record labels investing in them heavily and building whole podcasting divisions, there is still the issue of licensing music for them that is holding back their creative potential. Yet beyond that knotty problem, the sector is still an […]

Music apps firm Gismart adds artist partnerships scheme

Gismart is the company behind music-making apps like Beat Maker Go, Piano Crush and WeDrum, as well as non-music ‘hyper-casual’ games like Cool Goal, Domino Smash and, er, Pregnancy Idle 3D Simulator – a catalogue that’s so far generated 500m downloads. Now it has launched a new partnership programme aimed at musicians called ‘Games for Artists’. Through […]

Fans can get artist Alice Chater’s outfits… in Animal Crossing

We’ve mentioned the game Animal Crossing: New Horizons several times in this bulletin recently, mainly because it’s one of the chosen stress-busters for several members of the Music Ally team. But it’s also a fascinating cultural thing, including the ability for players to design their own clothing and share it for free with the wider community. That […]

What is the future of virtual concerts on Fortnite and other online games?

Travis Scott is the latest act to turn an appearance in Fortnite into a landmark event for music, building on what Marshmello achieved within the game last year. Scott’s first concert there drew in 12.3m people and he will have made significant income from sales of digital peripherals. The runaway success may – only in […]

James Arthur gets Super Mario-style Instagram stories game

Earlier this month, we wrote about a marketing campaign for Ministry of Sound that made inventive use of Instagram Stories to create a motorbike-racing game – with fans tapping to avoid obstacles and ravines (i.e. to move to the next story post). Now the digital agency behind that campaign, F-That, is at it again – this time […]

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, […]

Get set for Wireless Connect and Electric Blockaloo virtual festivals

Livestreams are all the rage in 2020, but the related ‘virtual concerts’ category is seeing some activity too. Travis Scott’s performances in Fortnite, which attracted 27.7 million people in total, are the obvious example, but there are also experiments happening around virtual reality, as well as other online games. VR startup MelodyVR has expanded on its […]

Popgun takes its AI-powered Splash music-making app to Roblox

We’ve written regularly about Australian AI-music startup Popgun, including its belief that AI could be the secret sauce for a service “where teenagers come together to make music for each other… the ‘pop stars on training wheels’ place where they make music for each other, release it and watch each other pretend to be pop […]

Former Crowdstar execs launch Top Mix music app

A new music app called Top Mix is promising that “anyone can make music with the swipe of a finger”. Released for iOS, it’s the work of a team led by former executives from social mobile gaming company Crowdstar. Top Mix is free to download, and in its App Store blurb’s words “allows you to mix songs […]

Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 next to play Fortnite’s new venue

Fresh from hosting a Major Lazer-themed DJ set from Diplo, Fortnite’s new ‘Party Royale’ mode is set for its next music concert tonight. The ‘Party Royale Premier’ will take place at the virtual island’s ‘Main Stage’ venue, with DJ sets from Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 and Dillon Francis. As with the Diplo set, there will be two chances […]

Garth Brooks to get his own tile in Words With Friends 2

Well, the partnership is more than just a tile, but given Garth Brooks’ status as an “avid Words With Friends player” we suspect he’s pretty proud of that achievement. The partnership with games firm Zynga is actually part of Brooks’ longstanding relationship with Amazon. “Under the arrangement, Brooks will promote Words With Friends with original […]

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 […]

Fortnite ‘Party Royale’ social mode includes ‘main stage’ concert venue

The idea that Fortnite is more than a game, it’s a social network has been floating about for a while – tweens and teens especially have been using it as a virtual space to socialise (and, indeed, watch the odd music concert) for a long time. The game’s new mode reinforces that point though. It’s called ‘Party Royale’ and it […]

Red Light Management’s Hot Command signs esports partnership

Red Light Management – through its Hot Command gaming subsidiary – is partnering with esports company HyperX for a series of online streaming events. It will match Red Light’s artist roster with major esports names on HyperX’s books. The companies have not yet announced specifics of any of these pairings, but it’s another sign of […]

Want the Travis Scott Fortnite action figures? That’ll be $75

If you missed the Travis Scott concerts in Fortnite, and don’t want to have to watch with excitable YouTubers chattering over the top, there’s now an official ‘full event video’ (with well-chosen camera angles to get the full impact) on Scott’s own YouTube channel. It’s already been watched by nearly three million people at the time of […]

12.3m fans showed up for Travis Scott’s first Fortnite concert

The first of Travis Scott’s ‘Astronomical’ concerts within Fortnite happened overnight, and it was a big hit with the game’s players. “Over 12.3 million concurrent players participated live in Travis Scott’s Astronomical, an all-time record!” tweeted the official Fortnite account. That means Scott beat the 10.7 million audience for Marshmello’s Fortnite concert in February 2019. The post 12.3m […]

Fortnite reveals items and challenges for Travis Scott Astronomical event

Travis Scott is coming to Fortnite this weekend with his ‘Astronomical’ event. Ahead of the multiple performances, the game has added several Scott-themed virtual products to its item shop. Fans wanting all of them will be spending nearly $35. Here’s how that breaks down. There’s an Astronomical Bundle including two skins (characters) – Travis Scott and […]

Travis Scott to premiere new track during Fortnite ‘tour’

There was lots of excitement around the huge audience for dance artist Marshmello’s concert in video game Fortnite in February 2019: 10.7 million players showed up to watch (and dance). Since then, there have been some other partnerships between Fortnite’s publisher Epic Games and the music world: an island based on Weezer; a dancing emote based on Rick Astley’s […]

Roblox to stream One World: Together at Home concert in-game

The list of services that will be streaming tomorrow’s One World: Together at Home benefit concert for Covid-19 relief is lengthy, taking in Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, MTV, Roku, BBC Music, the Guardian, Alibaba and iHeartRadio among others. One of the most interesting names on the list, though, is Roblox. Often described as ‘the YouTube of […]

Twitch will get games for streamers and viewers to play together

Amazon has been publishing games for a while now: its Amazon Game Studios division has been around since 2015. However, the company is preparing a new push, investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in its games development and distribution business according to the New York Times. That includes big-budget PC games, but we’re just as interested […]

Kesha taps Spotify for Blessed Mess room-wrecking promo game

“You can’t get to heaven without raising a little hell darlin’,” is how the website for Kesha’s new promotional game Blessed Mess greets fans, before inviting them to “connect to Spotify, wreck Kesha’s room and unlock exclusive content”. As with other Spotify-linked campaigns, connecting the streaming service means the label (Sony Music in this case) will get […]

Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is now a Fortnite emote

We confess to smiling at a YouTube video published from the official Fortnite channel (then shared on socials) titled ‘Watch How This Bear Made The Unlikeliest Of Friends’. The video is a rickroll: anyone clicking through will see Fortnite’s Fishstick and Polar Patroller characters (aka the fish and the polar bear) dancing to Rick Asley’s […]

Fortnite boss sees ‘free stuff in games’ as future of ads

It’s a bit reductive to call Tim Sweeney just the ‘Fortnite boss’ – his company Epic Games has a big business outside that game too, from the Unreal Engine development platform to game series like Gears of War and (via acquisition) Rocket League. But it’s Fortnite’s success that has reinforced Sweeney’s stature within the games industry, […]

The most lucrative mobile game of 2019 is part of Sony Music

Earlier this month, a report by app-analytics firm App Annie offered its estimates for (among other things) the most lucrative mobile games of 2019, based on consumer spending. Top of the list was a game called Fate/Grand Order, a turn-based tactical RPG that was first released in 2015. Like all the biggest mobile games, it’s free to […]

Epic Games launches TikTok contest to find next Fortnite emote

The streams of the two biggest current digital youth-trends are crossing this month, as the publisher of Fortnite launched a dance contest on TikTok. The #EmoteRoyaleContest will be catnip for Fortnite’s tween’n’teen superfans too, as it gives them a chance to get their own dance routines added to the game as one of its ‘emotes’. […]

Report suggests Bytedance set for big push into mobile games

Fresh from test-launching its Resso music-streaming service, Bytedance is set to expand into another sector that will bring it into direct competition with fellow Chinese firm Tencent. That sector is mobile gaming, which drives huge revenues for Tencent already. Bloomberg reports that Bytedance has “rapidly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore […]

Artist Danny Brown to host a Grand Theft Auto V radio station

The game Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013, but six years on it’s still going strong, having sold more than 115m copies across various consoles, and with a popular online mode extending its lifespan. It’s also still making musical waves, with the latest example being a new station for the game’s in-car […]

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 […]

Mixmstr mobile game wants to generate revenues for artists

“Play gigs! Buy records! Fill the dance floor & become a Superstar DJ.” But enough about Music Ally’s ambitions for December. No, this is the introductory blurb for a new mobile game called Mixmstr, launched by developer Youth Control Games. It’s the latest music-rhythm game for smartphones (“tap to beat to mix records like a mixmaster”) […]

Lessons from game streaming: the platform, not the gamer, rules all

The State Of The Stream report from Stream Elements covering Q3 2019 has been published and offers plenty of insights into the game-streaming world. Unsurprisingly, Twitch is the dominant platform here, accounting for 75.6% of hours watched in the period. What is perhaps most interesting is the fact that gaming giant Ninja recently defected from Twitch […]

Everyone is getting sucked into the Fortnite black hole

If you are parents to children of a certain age, the pain of the last few days will have been immense. “Is it back yet? Is it working again? WHY?” Fortnite’s servers have been down since Sunday as it wrapped up its 10th season. Instead of the normal game play, users were presented with a swirling black […]

Vroom! Rick Ross gets his own racing game on Facebook

Is Facebook gaming still a thing? After a decade of ignoring Music Ally’s FarmVille farm, we don’t dare log back in to find out what became of our crops and animals. But yes, Facebook gaming IS still a thing: the social network’s catalogue of ‘instant games’ now sits within a dedicated gaming tab on the […]

Major Lazer remix Fortnite music and launch in-game pack

After Marshmello and Weezer, the latest artist to launch a high-profile collaboration with video-game Fortnite is Major Lazer. The Diplo-led group have remixed two of the tracks that players hear in Fortnite’s ‘lobby’ – ‘Default Vibe’ and ‘Default Fire’. Meanwhile, the game’s publisher Epic Games has created a ‘Lazerism’ set of virtual items, including a […]

Korn will play a virtual concert in AdventureQuest games

When Marshmello played a concert in the game Fortnite earlier this year, he pulled a virtual crowd of 10.7 million people. Korn won’t have expected that scale of audience for their own virtual in-game shows yesterday, but the move shows that in the wake of the Marshmello success, other games and other artists are exploring the […]

Migos star Offset buys a stake in esports crew FaZe Clan

The list of musicians who’ve invested in esports teams is growing longer by the month. Drake, The Weeknd, Will Smith, Drake (again), Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons are among those who’ve acquired stakes in the esports business so far. Now you can add Offset, of hip-hop trio Migos. He’s investing in one of the most famous esports franchises, FaZe Clan, taking an undisclosed stake […]

Sandbox issue 232: Music Marketing in Trigger Cities

Lead: This issue we have a special extended feature looking into the phenomenon of Trigger Cities. These are places outside of the obvious music markets that are now – due to streaming and how algorithms are fed – playing a key role in helping break artists and genres. This represents a whole new dynamic for […]

Marshmello launches his own mobile game to debut new album

EDM star Marshmello’s association with gaming is already well known: he’s teamed up with online star ‘Ninja’ to win pro-am Fortnite tournaments, and attracted more than 10 million people to his virtual concert within that game earlier this year. Now he’s testing the waters in mobile gaming too, with his own game. It’s called Marshmello […]

More than 9m people play Candy Crush Saga for 3+ hours a day

British politicians are currently interviewing a range of people from the games industry, as part of a select committee investigation into “immersive and addictive technologies”. Yesterday, an exec from mobile games publisher King gave evidence, with some interesting (or perhaps: quite scary) stats about how people play the game Candy Crush Saga. Alex Dale revealed […]

Trisha Yearwood helps celebrate Farmville’s 10th birthday

Here’s an anniversary we didn’t remember was coming: 10 years since the release of FarmVille, the Facebook farming game that established US firm Zynga as an early giant of the social gaming world. Music is part of the birthday celebrations, thanks to a partnership between Zynga and country star Trisha Yearwood. She’ll be appearing in […]

BTS World mobile game launches today with another new track

Today’s the day that BTS fans get to play the band’s new, official mobile game, BTS World. It’s being released by publisher Netmarble as a free download for Android and iOS from this evening (26 June). As we reported previously, the game puts players in the role of BTS’ manager at the start of their career, […]

Capitol Music Group is building its own game-streaming studio

Fresh from launching a compilation album with gaming star Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, Capitol Music Group is now building a studio in its Los Angeles HQ to help musicians follow in his game-streaming footsteps. “Because we know our artists have an affinity to game, we’re going to build out a streaming studio at Capitol Records in […]

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. […]

Global spend on gaming reached $132bn in 2018 says Futuresource

Amid the hubbub of the E3 games conference in Los Angeles this week, research firm Futuresource Consulting has put out some new numbers on the global games market. They are, unsurprisingly, huge. The company claims that in 2018, global consumer spend on games software reached $132bn, including $63bn on mobile games and $28bn on console games. Other […]

Imagine Dragons launch 10-track song-pack for Beat Saber game

Virtual-reality music game Beat Saber has been one of the success stories in VR so far. Released in May 2018, it sold its millionth copy in February this year. Now it’s going down the traditional Guitar Hero / Rock Band route of selling music in-game, in partnership with artists and labels. Yesterday, the band Imagine Dragons released […]

TheFatRat on music and esports: ‘The potential is growing every year’

TheFatRat is a German dance artist and producer (real name Christian Büttner) who’s also one of the early musicians to get involved in the world of esports – professional gaming. In November 2018, he was announced as the first artist to be signed to Enter Records, the label joint-venture founded by Universal Music and esports organisation ESL. Büttner […]

Twitch gamers can earn up to $50k an hour from games publishers

If you were a a popular gamer on video service Twitch, how much do you think game-publishers would pay you to promote their new titles? According to the Wall Street Journal it’s between $25k and $50k an hour, for those broadcasters capable of drawing audiences of more than 15,000 simultaneous viewers. The report suggests that big publishers […]

Record label 777 Music launches its own esports offshoot

The latest label exploring the crossover between music and esports is 777 Music, which has launched its own esports division. The company says it’s keen to explore the potential for genres beyond electronic-music to reap the rewards of pro-gaming partnerships. It has launched an online community for music and gaming fans, and is setting up […]

Games consolidation as Fortnite publisher buys Rocket League developer

For once, here’s a story in the Music Ally bulletin that you can tell a passing 10 year-old, and watch their jaw drop. The publisher of craze-popular game Fortnite is buying the developer of also-hot game Rocket League. That means Epic Games is acquiring Psyonix, for an undisclosed amount, with the deal expected to close in […]

PRS for Music boss Robert Ashcroft talks growth, YouTube and Fortnite

“Maybe what I’ll say is this: I’ve done 10 years of this. I’m going to let someone else take on the internecine warfare that seems to be endemic to the music industry!” Even when he’s playing a straight bat to a sensitive question – in this case, one about whether songwriters deserve a bigger slice of […]

Sandbox Issue 226: What people just don’t “get” about digital marketing

Lead: what digital marketing trends are most underrated or simply misunderstood in 2019? That’s the question we put to the music marketing community and got them to hold forth on the subject. This resulted in a lot of ideas and a lot of new paths for marketing this year and beyond. Campaigns: TikTok goes all […]

Apple Arcade games service tipped to have $500m+ budget

Apple recently announced plans for a subscription-based games service, Apple Arcade, which will offer games across iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs for a single monthly fee – with no advertising or in-app purchases. Due to launch later in the year, the service appears to be getting a significant investment. “Several people involved in the […]

The Weeknd invests in esports company OverActive Media/Splyce

If an esports company exists and a US pop star or major label doesn’t buy a stake in it, does it even exist? That existential conundrum is not one that OverActive Media, the company that owns esports brand Splyce, will have to worry about now as The Weeknd has just invested in it. The Canadian company […]

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 […]

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo under investigation over online gaming subscriptions

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is investigating how three major companies – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo – are handling renewals for their online gaming services. The CMA will look at the T&Cs they offer users alongside how they process subscription cancellations and refunds. At the heart of this is the issue […]

Snapchat gets the Bitmoji Party party started

Talking of Snapchat… the social app has created its first multi-player game, Bitmoji Party. It is part of its Snap Games arm and will be one of six planned games – the other five being created by third-party developers and exclusive to the app. Players compete against friends across a series of mini games and […]

Apple announcements: TV, news, games… and a credit card

Apple held its services-focused press launch last night, and as predicted there were announcements of new subscription-based video, news and games products. Apple TV+ will launch later in the year with original shows from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams, as well as the ability to subscribe to other providers (through […]

Nav promoted his new album in Fortnite stream with Ninja

Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has become one of the go-to influencers in the gaming world in recent times: Electronic Arts reportedly paid him $1m to promote its new game Apex Legends earlier this year for example. Meanwhile, he’s also firmly on the music industry’s radar thanks to his compilation partnership with Universal Music, as well as his live-streamed Fortnite […]

Google takes the wrappers off game-streaming service Stadia

Google was rumoured to be launching its own games console at the GDC event this week. Actually, the big reveal was something slightly different: but still a big move in the games world. Google’s new thing is called Stadia: a new cloud-gaming service that will let people play games by streaming them on TVs, laptops, […]

Snapchat tipped to launch its own gaming platform in April

Google might be launching a games console this month, but it’s not the only tech company ramping up its gaming activities. Snapchat may be on the verge of launching its own games platform, albeit one within its app rather than on a physical piece of hardware. “The mobile game platform, internally codenamed ‘Project Cognac,’ will […]

Report claims 2.4bn people will play mobile games in 2019

The phrase ‘attention economy’ has been on the lips of plenty of music-industry people for years now, as we recognise that music is competing for attention with games, video-streaming and other forms of digital entertainment. That’s one of the reasons Music Ally writes regularly about the mobile games market – another being that there are […]

Weezer get a Fortnite island where their new album is streaming

If you’d asked us who the next music artist would be to work with Fortnite after Marshmello’s recent in-game concert, it’s fair to say Weezer wouldn’t have been our obvious choice. Yet Weezer it is: the band have their very own island in the latest season of the popular game, called Weezer World. Mashable reports that it’s […]

Fortnite is holding its first World Cup – with $30m of prizes

Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, has announced plans of its first ‘World Cup’ esports event for the popular game. It’s due to take place in New York this July, with the top 100 solo players as well as 50 ‘duo’ teams competing for a prize pool of $30m over the three-day tournament. “Each one […]

10.7m people showed up for Marshmello Fortnite concert

We knew that more than 10 million people watched Marshmello’s recent concert within video-game Fortnite. Now we’ve got a specific figure from the game’s publisher Epic Games. “On February 2nd, Fortnite had its best event day ever with 10.7 million players showing up for the Marshmello concert,” it told The Verge. It’s interesting to note how […]

Sandbox Issue 222: SYNC IN. Music Synchronisation Gets Smarter

Lead: as synchronisation grows in importance, a new wave of tools is emerging to make that whole process work seamlessly and smarter, covering both micro-licensing and pitch management. We look at the key players here, what they do and where they are taking synch – plus consider how AI is set to shake things up […]

Supercell’s two ‘Clash’ mobile games have grossed $10bn so far

Supercell is the Finnish mobile-games publisher behind monster hits like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale – so popular that Tencent acquired an 84.3% stake in the company in 2016 for $8.6bn. The company’s CEO Ilkka Paananen has just published some figures for Supercell’s 2018, as well as milestones for its biggest games. The bad news: […]

Steve Aoki joins Star Trek Fleet Command mobile game

Dance artist and DJ Steve Aoki was early in to esports, and now he’s become the first artist to nab a starring role in the latest mobile game based on Star Trek. Aoki is appearing in Star Trek Fleet Command as a character called Officer D’Jaoki, joining the game yesterday. This isn’t a brand new relationship with […]

Marshmello Fortnite gig sent his YouTube views soaring

More than 10 million people watched Marshmello’s first concert in video-game Fortnite last weekend. Now Nielsen has put out some figures showing how the event caused a big spike in his on-demand video (i.e. YouTube) streams. Billboard reports that his track ‘Check This Out’ saw a nearly 24,000% increase in views on the day of the concert, […]

Sandbox Issue 221: Fake Views. Lies, damned lies and music statistics

Lead: Smoke and mirrors have always been part of music, but when it comes to data, truth is starting to play second fiddle to hype. The nefarious and ruthless are finding ways to “massage” social media and streaming numbers while offering the desperate and gullible a quick fix. But the platforms are getting wise to […]

Marshmello Fortnite concert thought to have attracted 10m fans

Those rumours that dance artist Marshmello was going to play a concert within video-game Fortnite were right: it happened on Saturday. In fact, he played two concerts, 12 hours apart, to ensure people could attend at a suitable moment for their timezone. What’s startling is how many people the first of those concerts attracted. Pollstar […]

Marshmello may be playing a gig within Fortnite this weekend

The popularity of video-game Fortnite has recently sparked a series of lawsuits from rappers and dancers, angry at the game including some of their signature moves without asking for permission or paying any kind of licensing fee. Some musicians have a more positive relationship with Fortnite though: EDM star Marshmello, for example, who’s broken online-viewing […]

TV, games, esports… lessons from outside the music-industry bubble

Panels where people from the music industry talk about the music industry in front of people from the music industry are obviously useful in terms of exchanging ideas and taking the temperature of the business. But equally it is important – especially in an age of discovery algorithms, big data, targeted marketing, in-app revenue opportunities […]

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 […]

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