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 […]

The Orchard’s Nikoo Sadr talks music-marketing challenges

It would be a marvellous world indeed if every music-marketing campaign went to plan with spiffing results. But in an imperfect world, how can a label or management team get a challenging campaign back on track? Nikoo Sadr from The Orchard (and formerly of Music Ally) offered her tips, in a speech today at the […]

Striking the right notes with artist-focused advertising

Forget big-budget TV ads, billboard campaigns and radio promos. How can labels and other music marketers capitalise on new technologies to run the most effective advertising campaigns for their artists? And how will these techs evolve in the future? That was the topic for a panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today. Speakers included […]

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 […]

Spotify tells label story with Warp Records ‘history lesson’

To the list of ‘surprising things we’ve seen on Facebook in 2018’ we can now add ‘Nightmares on Wax talking about the early days of Warp Records’. Not that this is surprising in itself, but the source of the video is interesting: Spotify. The streaming service has created the minute-long promo featuring musician George Evelyn […]

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 […]

Spotify tests new feature using video loops as song artwork

Spotify is testing a new feature that replaces static artwork for songs on its service with GIF-like looping videos uploaded by their artists or labels. In place of the full-screen artwork (accessed by tapping the now-playing bar at the bottom of the screen) there was a looping video featuring cats, prawns and the band’s singer. […]

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 […]

Taylor Swift’s new app will sell virtual ‘picks’ for real cash

Taylor Swift caused a bit of a stir with her recent gamification of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan scheme, sparking complaints about whether fans would feel forced to buy merchandise and physical albums to boost their chances of getting concert tickets. We wonder if Swift’s new mobile app could fall prey to similar sentiments. The app, created […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

VP Digital Marketing – Kobalt Music Recordings – London

We’re looking for a VP Digital Marketing, UK & International to join the Kobalt Music Recordings team and work with our growing roster of emerging and established artists from all over the world. Based in our London office and reporting to the General Manager, you will lead on all areas of digital marketing strategy, working […]

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 […]

K-Pop band BTS team up with Line for characters and merch

Japanese messaging app Line has always made a big thing of its animated characters, which are used as ‘stickers’ in its users’ conversations, as well as appearing in mobile games, merchandise and cartoons. Now the company is working with one of the biggest K-Pop bands, BTS, on their own range of characters. BT21 are eight […]

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 […]

Demi Lovato YouTube documentary gets 3.5m views in three days

Demi Lovato’s exclusive documentary for YouTube has been watched 3.5m times in the first three days after it launched. The documentary, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, is a 78-minute long film about her current life, and is one of the first original-video music projects commissioned by YouTube to be made available for free supported by ads, […]

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 […]

Spotify launches iOS app for musicians

Spotify has launched a new mobile app, but this one has a very specific group of users in mind: musicians. The Spotify for Artists app goes live today for iOS, with the music-streaming service promising that an Android version will follow “really soon”. The company is describing it as “a one-stop shop to track your […]

Digital Marketing Manager – Deviate Digital – London

This is a fantastic opportunity to be a key part of a successful and expanding marketing department within in a leading digital agency. You will work across a variety of campaigns from various sectors in the entertainment industry Company: Deviate Digital Role: Digital Marketing Manager Salary : Dependant on experience Apply via : jobs@deviate.digital YOU HAVE […]

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 […]

Music data and analytics: digging below the surface trends

Every music company in 2017 is facing the challenge of making sense of a torrent of data from streaming services and social networks, among other sources. How to make the most of it? A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today heard from some experts including Lucy Blair, director of international sales […]

Going live: how livestreaming video can be used for music marketing

From Facebook Live and Twitch to apps like YouNow and Live.ly, livestreaming video is a burgeoning medium for individual creators and media brands alike. And music? A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today explored some of the potential that live video has for music marketing. The panel included Stef Pascual, head […]

Meet the centennials: SuperAwesome boss talks kids in 2017

The opening session at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today was a keynote by Dylan Collins, the CEO of children’s network SuperAwesome. His focus was on the new generation of consumers (mainly those under the age of 13) and why we need to scrap most – if not all – of our preconceptions […]

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 […]

VR startup MelodyVR signs licensing deals with Roc Nation

British music/VR startup MelodyVR has announced its latest licensing deals, with Roc Nation and Roc Nation Publishing. The global, multi-year deals will “license the creation and distribution of virtual reality content featuring Roc Nation artists, covering both record label and publishing rights” according to MelodyVR’s announcement for investors this morning. “As part of the relationship, […]

Video publishers say Facebook mid-roll ads off to slow start

There are high expectations for Facebook’s plans to license music and share advertising revenues from streams of videos including it. But it’s important not to forget the question about how lucrative those revenues will be. Or won’t be, if you read Digiday’s feature offering early feedback from video publishers who’ve been testing Facebook’s ‘mid-roll’ ads […]

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 […]

Aller à la barre d’outils