More speakers for Sandbox Summit Global including mxmtoon, Spotify & Twitch

Music Ally is excited to announce more speakers and networking details for our forthcoming Sandbox Summit Global event.    New Speakers mxmtoon, Artist (US) The Future of Playlists Lizzy Szabo, Editor, North America, Spotify (US) Genreless Playlists, The Future of Playlists Tracy Patrick Chan, Head of Music Product & Engineering, Twitch (US) Focus on Twitch […]

The Rise and Rise of Music Podcasts

Podcasts are firmly part of our media diet – with some turning into huge brands and others happy to cater to the most niche of interests.  The podcast economy boom is now so great that not only did Spotify pay $100m to secure the exclusive licensing deal for the enormously popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast, […]

Ghostly International confirms merger with Secretly Group

Label Ghostly International is merging with fellow indie Secretly Group, in a deal that Billboard reports was delayed from earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We had poor visibility on how revenues were going to change and how the economy was going to go. It caused us to ask hard questions: Why now? Should we […]

One Little Indian Records becomes One Little Independent Records

British independent label One Little Indian Records was the home of Björk, Skunk Anansie, Crass and other artists. Why the past tense? Because One Little Indian is no more: the label has changed its name to One Little Independent Records. MD Derek Birkett explained why in a social media post, citing “an eye-opening letter from a Crass […]

#TheShowMustBePaused latest: Sony Music, #ArtistsForBlackLives and more

Something that came through very clearly about last week’s #TheShowMustBePaused day when music companies of all kinds paused their regular work to respond to the protests about racism and police brutality was that it couldn’t just be about one day: it was about paving the way for a host of actions and changes over the […]

12m SoundCloud creators get heard every month (but 13m don’t)

This year’s Midem music industry conference is online-only, with new video sessions being published daily this week. One of today’s crop sees SoundCloud’s Kerry Trainor, Downtown Music’s Justin Kalifowitz and Raine Group’s Fred Davis discussing artist and label services. Trainor dropped an interesting pair of stats about his platform. “On SoundCloud we have content from […]

Spotify for Artists is now for their labels too

The Spotify for Artists dashboard is no longer just for artists. “We’re bringing artist teams, labels and distributors to Spotify for Artists so you can manage your profile, see and analyze your data and pitch to playlists, together,” announced the streaming service on Friday, in what it described as “an effort to empower artists, managers, and labels […]

TikTok spikes persuade more labels to change track titles

Earlier this year in our piece about how we worked with Atlanta rapper K Camp to capitalise on the TikTok success of his track ‘Lottery’, we explained that changing its title on streaming services to ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ because the second word was what kids were searching for – thanks to the producer tag in the clip that went […]

TikTok has label licences, but publishers are threatening to sue

We reported last week on TikTok signing short-term licensing deals with major labels, as a bridge to longer agreements at a later date. However, Bytedance’s social app still has some licensing headaches on the publishing side, and US body the National Music Publishers Association is threatening to make them worse. According to the Financial Times, […]

Super-bundle plans reportedly missing from Apple Music’s new deals

Amid all the blow-by-blow speculation about the progress of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels, it’s been easy to forget that – sit down for this revelation – other streaming services also have deals that periodically need to be renewed. Apple Music, for instance, which according to the Financial Times has quietly sealed its new deals with […]

Label-led piracy lawsuit against ISP Grande is postponed

The latest label-led copyright infringement lawsuit against an ISP in the US was focusing on Texan ISP Grande Communications. However the case has been postponed until September. The reason given was that the court only has six days available for the hearing, which both sides agreed was insufficient, suggesting that 10 days were required. The ISP […]

Labels roll out new policies in response to coronavirus

Major labels are beginning to place restrictions on international travel for their staff, in the face of the spreading coronavirus outbreak. Billboard reported on a Universal Music Group internal memo explaining that “for the health and well-being of our staff, and in order to be a responsible member of the global community seeking to stop the spread […]

Stem launches ’Scale’ feature for artist and label advances

Distributor Stem is the latest non-label company to start offering advances to its clients – although in this case, those clients include independent labels as well as individual artists. Its new feature is called ‘Scale’, and it will involve Stem drawing on a $100m pot (supplied via a capital partnership with investment firm CoVenture) to offer […]

Label Sahel Sounds uses WhatsApp to source music from Africa

US independent label Sahel Sounds is releasing a series of compilations of music from African artists, called ‘Music from Saharan WhatsApp’. The title is the clue to the digital twist: musicians are sending their tracks to label boss Chris Kirkley via WhatsApp, often just days before the album they appear on is released. The project […]

Cash Money docuseries to debut on Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist

It’s fair to say that Cash Money Records, whose roster has included Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj among others, likes exclusive documentaries about its history. ‘Before Anythang: The Cash Money Story’ launched on Apple Music in 2018. Two years on, and there’s a new docu-series on the way, but this time Spotify is the […]

Catalogue marketing rejuvenated

Catalogue marketing used to mainly be about the 20th anniversary box set (with some demos and a couple of new photos added in) or about the same 15 songs in a slightly different order, popped in a slightly different sleeve and called a “best of”. Streaming has changed that completely. Plus, with popular music now […]

German artists call for label changes over streaming royalties

Artists and their managers are unhappy with their streaming royalties in Germany… but for once it’s not streaming services who are the target of this unrest. MBW reports on 14 managers and lawyers representing popular artists in Germany, who have written to the three major labels plus BMG questioning whether the way they pay out streaming royalties […]

Can ‘fantasy record label’ games become big hits with fans?

In August 2018, we published an article questioning what ‘social music’ is in the streaming age, which included a (slightly depressing, in hindsight) rundown of past failures at wedding social features and music. Among them was a catalogue of music-discovery gamification services – fantasy labels or league tables of friends’ track-spotting skills – which included Thesixtyone and the […]

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 […]

Label Dirty Hit signs global distro deal with Ingrooves

British label Dirty Hit has made its name with The 1975 and Wolf Alice (not to mention Beabadoobee, one of the hot tips for 2020 in numerous year-end lists). Now the independent company has signed an exclusive, global distribution deal with UMG subsidiary Ingrooves – a “deepening” of an existing relationship, rather than a brand […]

Universal Music India’s VRYL project launches ‘Intezaar’ vide

Last week, Music Ally published a feature about the challenge that ‘non-film’ music is providing for Bollywood music in India – you can read it here if you missed it at the time. One of the projects exploring the potential for non-film music in India is Universal Music’s VYRL, which includes YouTube videos, streaming playlists and radio […]

Liz Longley smashes Kickstarter total to buy album back from label

When crowdfunding platform Kickstarter first started making waves in the music industry in the early 2010s, the pitch from artists was often ‘help me to make my new album independently’. In 2019, in the case of artist Liz Longley, the pitch is ‘help me to buy my new album back from my label so I […]

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: […]

UnitedMasters CEO: ‘Artists have been getting robbed…’

As a company trying to persuade emerging artists that they don’t need a label, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see UnitedMasters’ execs taking potshots at the traditional label system. The latest, from CEO Steve Stoute, focuses on the issue of artists owning their masters. “I know we’re doing something right. I know we’re […]

TV mogul Haim Saban launches new Latin label… with $500m budget

It’s a little unfair reducing Haim Saban to ‘TV mogul’ just for the purposes of a short headline: the 74 year-old’s career has also included stints as a musician, music promoter and soundtrack composer (true fact: he co-wrote the Inspector Gadget theme tune). However, it’s TV firm Saban Entertainment that made him a billionaire, with […]

The latest new music label is… Build-A-Bear Records?

We don’t get to report on stuffed-animal announcements very often in Music Ally’s bulletin, but today we bring you news that retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop is launching its own record label. Build-A-Bear Records is the result of a partnership with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division and its Warner Chappell publishing arm. The plan is to […]

Label Rehegoo Music Group launches background-music service

Record label Rehegoo Music is the latest company setting its sights on the background-music sector: providing curated music for businesses to play in their offices and public spaces. The label is offering a library of thousands of songs from “underground professional artists” with playlists based on various moods and genres – and the promise of new selections […]

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

New details have emerged on TikTok’s parent company Bytedance’s plans to launch its own music-streaming service. Bloomberg reports that the new service will launch this autumn “in a handful of territories, mostly poorer countries where paid services have yet to garner large audiences”. The countries aren’t named, but one clue comes from the news that Bytedance has […]

Australian labels win blocks against stream-ripping websites

Given the growth in paid streaming, few people in the music industry are genuinely running around panicking about the existence of ‘stream-ripping’ websites. That said, industry bodies and anti-piracy execs within rightsholders *are* continuing to tackle sites that help people turn streams into free, unlicensed downloads. The latest evidence of this crackdown paying off comes […]

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 […]

RAC and Goldroom launch a blockchain record label

Dance artists RAC and Goldroom (aka André Anjos and Josh Legg) have launched a new label called Minerva Music. Its twist: it has put blockchain technology at the centre of its distribution strategy. The company is working with revenue-tracking startup Stem, as well as blockchain firm Ujo Music. RAC is no stranger to the latter, having […]

Report 422: Playlisting’s next leap forward

Playlists have been referred to as everything from the new album, the new compilation, the new greatest hits, through to the new radio, the new MTV and more. Whether you’re a pop act trying to build a truly global audience or just trying to make a living from making mood music, if you’re not on […]

Report claims label-free artists made $643m in 2018

The IFPI is due to publish its Global Music Report for 2018 next month, but as usual, consultancy firm Midia Research is getting in early with its own estimates – although perhaps in an effort to avoid any tensions with the music body, this year its figures aren’t coming out the same week as the […]

Spotify sees label-relations and editorial teams working closer

Spotify wants its editorial and artist and label-relations teams to work “more in alignment” in the future, at least in the Nordic territories: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. That’s according to Johan Seidefors, head of content, Nordic, at Spotify. He was talking in the streaming service’s session at the by:Larm conference in Oslo last […]

Sample libraries and virtual-instruments firm Spitfire Audio launches a label

British company Spitfire Audio has built a business around sample libraries and virtual instruments for artists and producers to use when making music. Now the company is branching out with the creation of its own label, SA Recordings. The label launches today with an EP by Spitfire’s lead composer Oliver Patrice Weder, which will be […]

RIAA-backed report explores labels’ changing role in music

We’ll be blunt: anyone who tells you that labels are dead is talking out of their trumpet. But anyone who tells you that an artist can’t succeed without a label is just as big a fibber. The truth of the matter is that the ability for artists to thrive outside the traditional labels system in […]

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