Def Leppard’s long tail gets flicked on interactive concert map

Having been digital holdouts for years, Def Leppard have taken to online with gusto in recent months. It’s the live arena where their next digital dalliance is happening, in part to promote the anniversary tour around 1987’s blockbusting ‘Hysteria’ album, but also to drive up the band’s total streams.  The Def Leppard Tour Book is an […]

Blockpool / OpSec blockchain deal could power merch and ticket sales

British blockchain startup Blockpool is best known to Music Ally readers for its recent partnership with Björk and One Little Indian, to reward fans who pre-ordered her new album by giving them cryptocurrency. Now it has announced a partnership with a company called OpSec, which could also have implications for music. It needs a bit […]

BTS beat YouTube’s 24-hour views record for 2018

Despa-WHO-to? K-Pop band BTS are the flavour of the month (again) on YouTube with their new single ‘Fake Love’. According to the video service, the official video did 35.9m views in its first 24 hours: the biggest such total in 2018 so far, and third in the all-time rankings for this particular metric (behind the 43.2m views […]

S-Curve Records’ Steve Greenberg talks startups and music-marketing history

Steve Greenberg is certainly a music man with some pedigree. The renowned music executive and founder of S-Curve Records is also a Grammy-winning producer of hits for artists including Joss Stone, Hanson, Baha Men, Jonas Brothers, AJR and Andy Grammer. In his time he’s also been head of A&R at Mercury Records, president of Columbia […]

Spinnin’ Records rebrands playlists with smart-speakers in mind

Fresh from being acquired by Sony Music, dance label Spinnin’ Records is experimenting with its streaming playlists – with a particular focus on how they’re accessed through smart speakers. “While curated music content is becoming the norm, voice-recognition is rapidly changing the digital landscape. According to Google, about 20 percent of all mobile search queries […]

Landmrk powers ‘frame-by-frame’ album-unlock campaign for CNCO

Latino boy-band CNCO have a new album on the way, and for the second time they’re working with location-based-marketing startup Landmrk to promote it. In August 2016, their label Sony Music US Latin used Landmrk for a campaign called CNCO Go, which encouraged fans to visit ‘hotspots’ in Latin America and Spain to hear the […]

Genius and YouTube launch new ‘Song Stories’ video format

2018 is already a very active year for lyrics-focused company Genius: its latest $15m funding round was revealed in early March, before a partnership with Spotify on a podcast called Déjà Vu which was announced last week. Now Genius is working with YouTube on something else: a new format called ‘Song Stories’ which will tell […]

Facebook shuts down its ‘partner categories’ for ad-targeting

Facebook has announced that it’s shutting down its ‘partner categories’ ad-targeting feature. “This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook,” explained the social network in a brief blog post. “While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve […]

Spotify and Genius team up for Déjà Vu music podcast

Spotify’s latest podcasts move is a partnership with lyrics-focused firm Genius. The companies have collaborated on a podcast called Déjà Vu, which launched yesterday. It’s a panel-based podcast discussing “the ways that modern hitmakers connect to the iconic musicians from the past who paved the way”, focusing on a different current star each episode. “Does […]

First BTS ‘Burn the Stage’ episode does 3.9m views in 15 hours

The first two episodes of K-Pop stars BTS’ new ‘Burn the Stage’ documentary series went live on YouTube overnight. The first episode was made available for free on the band’s own channel, with the second (and future) episodes being kept behind the YouTube Red subscription paywall. That first instalment is already proving popular: the 21-minute […]

Messenger bot makers reveal ‘pause’ in new bot launches

Want to launch a new Facebook Messenger bot in the next few weeks? Good luck with that. As part of the fallout from the ongoing Cambridge Analytica revelations, the social network has “paused” app reviews while it implements changes to its platform. It has now emerged that this also applies to the approval of all […]

Sandbox Summit 2018 | NYC #MarketMusicBetter

Music Ally is pleased to announce some of the key speakers for Sandbox Summit NYC – the one-day music marketing conference sponsored by Linkfire and Push Entertainment which takes place at Opry City Stage, Times Square, New York on Wednesday 25th April. After the hugely successful inaugural Sandbox Summit in London, we have responded to demand in the US […]

Instagram music’s Lauren Wirtzer Seawood talks artists, fans, stories

“The reality, particularly for artists, is that people want to feel like they can connect with you. And it’s really hard to connect when you’re perfect all the time…” It’s interesting that Lauren Wirtzer Seawood is saying this, given that she’s the head of music partnerships at Instagram – a social-media platform that’s still seen […]

‘First on SoundCloud’ program will celebrate early creators

For all its troubles in the last year, SoundCloud still elicits affection from a lot of artists who made their first moves on the platform – including some who’ve since become global stars. Now the streaming service is flagging that up much more prominently with a new initiative called ‘First on SoundCloud’. It’s partly about […]

Spotify and Deezer reveal latest artist partnerships

Spotify and Deezer have announced their latest artist-focused partnerships. For Spotify, that’s an initiative called ‘Louder Together’ which is an extension of its Spotify Singles program. The new thing isn’t just about getting artists in the studio to record covers, but rather about organising collaborations between different artists on original songs. Artists Sasha Sloan, Nina […]

Google and OK Go launch ‘sandbox’ for use in classrooms

US band OK Go’s latest brand partnership is with Google, and it has an educational focus. The pair have launched something called the OK Go Sandbox, which they describe as “a collection of materials created for and with K-12 educators: design challenges, educator guides, and more”. K-12 meaning primary and secondary education: so the full […]

Sony shows off virtual-reality music video for Khalid

When it comes to experimenting with virtual-reality technology, Sony Music has one advantage over other labels: its relationship with Sony’s consumer-electronics division, with its PlayStation VR headset. We’ve seen that relationship work last year with a VR experience for classical musician Joshua Bell, but now in 2018 it’s rising star Khalid getting the virtual treatment. […]

Linkfire gets a deeper data partnership with Pandora

Linkfire has become a popular tool for music marketers using ‘smart links’ to direct fans to artists’ music on digital services, while getting analytics back from those clicks. Now the company has announced a deeper partnership with one of those services, Pandora, which will be providing Linkfire with “advanced attribution data” for its customers to […]

K-Pop stars BTS are getting their own YouTube Red series

YouTube has been one of the main engines behind the global success of K-Pop band BTS in the last year. Now they’re getting their own series on its YouTube Red subscription service. The eight-episode series is called BTS: Burn The Stage, and will launch on 28 March, offering fans an “intimate, personal portrayal” of the […]

Humble Angel boss wants self-serve artist ads on Spotify

As the founder of Playlists.net and subsequently a playlists/streaming-focused executive at Warner Music, Kieron Donoghue knows a thing or two about the streaming ecosystem. Now running indie label Humble Angel Records, he’s published a blog post calling for Spotify to offer better and more-affordable self-serve advertising options for artists on its platform. Donoghue compares Spotify […]

Google’s latest search feature is official posts from musicians

The question of what appears in Google search results when people look for their favourite music artists has sparked controversy in the past: rightsholders regularly attacked Google for returning links to illegal downloads. They’ll be happier about Google’s latest search feature, which has been announced tonight. It’s called ‘search posts’, and will offer social network-style […]

Roxanne de Bastion: ‘What I learned crowdfunding from my own website’

“You’d be surprised by who’s willing to support your music.” 

These were the words of my singer songwriter friend E.W. Harris back in 2010 (insert a thick US Southern drawl for a more accurate quote). He had just financed his new album via a crowdfunding campaign, a concept still alien to me at the time. […]

Die Fantastischen Vier launch an augmented-reality video app

German hip-hop group Die Fantastischen Vier is the latest example of an artist exploring the potential of augmented reality (AR) technology. The band have launched a free iPhone app called Tunnel AR, which is an interactive music video for their recent single ‘Tunnel’. The app enables fans to project the video onto a nearby table, […]

Palo Santo Messenger bot kicks off Years & Years album campaign

What is Palo Santo? It’s a fictional city where androids and humans live side-by-side, of course. But don’t worry if you didn’t know that: this is only just being revealed, bit-by-bit, to fans of British band Years & Years. Or perhaps we should say bit-by-bot, since one of the initial planks in the campaign for […]

Spotify and Smirnoff launch ‘unconscious gender bias’ campaign

Like us, you’ve probably been wondering when a prominent vodka brand would weigh in to 2018’s music-industry debates around diversity and inclusion. Congrats if you had ‘early March’ in the sweepstake: Smirnoff has teamed up with Spotify on a marketing campaign called the Smirnoff Equaliser. It’s based on the fact that the top 10 tracks […]

Pew Research: 73% of US adults use YouTube, while 68% use Facebook

The Pew Research Center’s surveys of Americans are well-respected, so its new study of social-media habits is well worth perusing today, to see some of the trends at work. Facebook remains the top platform overall, used by 68% of American adults according to the survey, with around three quarters of them logging in every day. […]

Smaller channels gauging impact of YouTube’s new policies

As of 20 February, YouTube’s new monetisation policies went into effect, with channels required to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last year before they are allowed to be ‘monetised’ through ads. When YouTube announced the changes, it claimed that around 90% of channels affected were making less than […]

Auddly launches #MetadataPays campaign for music creators

Startup Auddly’s service aims to help songwriters and musicians to start creating metadata around their songs from the earliest stages of writing and recording. Now it’s launching a campaign to promote these practices, called #MetadataPays, in partnership with British collecting society PRS for Music. The campaign will focus on a three-step process for musicians to […]

Airbnb Concerts expands to 25 cities around the world

Airbnb isn’t just a platform for finding non-hotel accommodation around the world. It’s been edging in to music for some time via its ‘Experiences’ initiative, which includes getting hosts to hold secret gigs in unusual locations. Now that’s getting a proper rollout to 25 cities including London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and […]

SoundCloud: ‘Do not think of us [just] as a streaming service… we’re a form of social media’

How did Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert and other artists have such success building an audience on SoundCloud? Because they saw it as more than just a music-streaming service. That’s according to SoundCloud’s director of label relations Julia Killer, who was talking at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week. “Do not think of […]

Drake gives away nearly $1m for his new music video

How to follow up the success of a video where the highlight was your dad-dancing on a flight of stairs? For Drake, the answer is giving away $996,631.90 to strangers. That’s the clever premise of the video for ‘God’s Plan’ – already a big global hit thanks to the streaming services – which sees Drake […]

Debating the future for music merch and direct-to-fan sales

From merchandise and ticketing to crowdfunding, modern music artists have more options than ever to go ‘direct to fan’ and build a sustainable income to complement their recordings. But how can they make the most of those options? A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today debated how the D2F (or D2C) world is […]

Case study: marketing Laura Marling’s Semper Femina album

Laura Marling’s last album, ‘Semper Femina’, is a wonderful piece of work: something I’ve returned to again and again since its release, discovering new details every time. Hats off to that, then. But also to the team that worked hard on the marketing campaign for an album, released through More Alarming Records via Kobalt Music […]

Avicii launches his own mobile game: Gravity HD

It’s been a while since anyone thought mobile games would be the next big revenue stream for the music industry. But experiments continue, with dance star Avicii the latest to test the app-store waters. He’s fronting a game called Avicii Gravity HD, developed by Swedish mobile games firm Hello There. “In fast-paced Avicii Gravity HD, […]

Kieron Donoghue talks ‘streaming-only’ label Humble Angel Records

In late January, former Playlists.net and Warner Music Group executive Kieron Donoghue launched his new venture, a ‘streaming-first’ independent label called Humble Angel Records. He promised royalty payout rates for artists ‘at least double’ the average of those offered by major labels – paid on a monthly basis, using startup Stem’s platform – as well […]

Elton John: ‘I’ve never downloaded anything in my life. Not even porn!’

Elton John held a press event with YouTube yesterday (24 January) to announce his farewell tour – a 300-date, multi-continent extravaganza that will start in September and run into 2021. While that news dominated the headlines, he also used the event to unveil a potted history of his career in music in VR as well […]

Finnish band Phantom launch VR video using Notch technology

Finnish electronic duo Phantom have become the first artist to use new technology from Notch, which is best known for its software providing live visuals for a host of big acts. Its new tool aims to help artists create virtual-reality videos based on the music itself. “The interactive music video visualises sound in VR. It […]

Digital Marketing Manager – Kobalt Music Recordings – London

JOB SUMMARY: We’re looking for a Digital Marketing Manager to join the Kobalt Music Recordings team and work with our growing roster of emerging and established talent from all over the world. Based out of our London office and reporting to the General Manager you will be working within the UK & International marketing teams […]

Read our Sandbox Best Music Marketing Campaigns of 2017 report

Here it is – Sandbox’s massive run down of the best, most innovative and most exciting music marketing campaigns of the past 12 months. Download the report HERE. As usual, all campaigns are listed in non-partisan alphabetical order. But this year there is a twist. We have given campaigns that have impressed us special commendations […]

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 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 […]

Spotify correcting data glitch that saw label playlists’ follower counts fall

A technical error has led to a sharp drop in the follower counts for a number of Spotify playlists, but the streaming service says it is working to correct the problem. Several labels have contacted Music Ally this week saying that follower counts on some of their playlists had dropped suddenly, in some cases by […]

Director, International Sales and Marketing – The Orchard – London

Position:  Director, International Sales and Marketing Location: London, UK (other European locations would be considered) We’re looking for a smart, organized, motivated and forward-thinking music and video marketing, sales and distribution professional to drive and manage our retail marketing and sales function across all formats in the UK and Europe.  The ideal candidate will oversee […]

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 […]

Björk hits the blockchain with cryptocurrency fan rewards

Fans will be able to buy Björk’s new album ‘Utopia’ using cryptocurrencies, and pre-ordering it directly from the star or her label will earn them crypto rewards too. The musician has teamed up with British blockchain startup Blockpool, which is working with label One Little Indian on the online store to process ‘Utopia’ pre-orders using […]

Bandcamp launches new app for its artists and labels

Bandcamp has launched a new Android and iOS app, but this one isn’t for its customers, it’s for the artists and labels using the platform to sell their music. “It gives you a real-time mobile view into your stats, helps you manage and fulfil your merch, and lets you directly message your fans, even targeting […]

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 […]

Intel AI tech helps create video for Chinese star Chris Lee

Here’s more evidence of music as a guinea pig for cutting-edge artificial-intelligence technology. Just as Google is training some of its AI tech by getting it to create music, so Intel is testing some of its AI out on music videos. Specifically a video for Chinese pop star Chris Lee’s single ‘Rainy Day, But We […]

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 […]

Sam Smith swaps Spotify for Apple Music in new video project

With every music-streaming service now keen on making original video projects with artists, should the latter pick one partner or find different creative treatments with several? Sam Smith is taking the latter path. Having worked with Spotify on a vertical video for his comeback single ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ which was embedded in a swathe […]

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 […]

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