Tools: Fanaplay. Digital Collectibles For The World’s Biggest Fans

The coronavirus pandemic has forced artists and their teams to focus even more on the digital space, where fans are spending the majority of their time. Fanaply – a company that creates digital collectibles and fan engagement tools for artists – suggests that it’s now crucial to think about products that allow fans to express […]

Tools: Zebr. Send Music to Influencers

Zebr originally started out as a new music discovery channel on Instagram and TikTok – and is now making an interesting move into influencer marketing. Zebr’s new app allows artists and their representatives to submit music to influencers and content creators, using a streamlined and affordable pricing structure, and ensuring each song is credited in […]

Marvel goes K-Pop with SM Entertainment / SuperM collab

Korean music company SM Entertainment has announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment, with K-Pop group SuperM first to benefit – just in time for the release last Friday of their debut album ‘Super One’. There’s a range of dual-branded merchandise available from the SuperM online store: t-shirts, hats, luggage stickers, and special packages with the album and various […]

J-Lo and Maluma’s #PatiChallenge races to 1.2bn TikTok views (but…)

Well, it sort of has, and sort of hasn’t. We’ll explain. Last week we reported on the marketing campaign around Jennifer Lopez and Maluma’s new singles ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, including a #PatiChallenge on TikTok launched with influencer Charli D’Amelio. Her video has been watched 24.4m times so far, but videos using the challenge’s hashtag have racked […]

Apple Music adds Defected and Glitterbox DJ mixes and live sets

The latest external playlist curator getting some love from Apple Music is independent dance label Defected Records, including its Glitterbox brand. It’s providing Apple Music with some exclusive DJ mixes and live sets, kicking off with a selection including sets from Ibiza in 2019 (Roger Sanchez, Gorgon City, Sam Divine) and from the recent Glitterbox Virtual […]

300k listeners voted on the songs for Tencent Music’s new compilation

In China, Tencent Music has plenty of history as a direct distribution channel for independent musicians, which is now concentrated in its Tencent Musician arm. Its latest project is interesting. ‘Root Music’ is a collection of Chinese folk tracks in local dialects, with its lineup chosen by listeners rather than by Tencent Music’s own curators. […]

Judge blocks Trump administration’s TikTok app stores ban

Wake up, take a look at the US app stores (if you can) and see that… TikTok remains available to download. That’s because a US District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction last night to prevent the Trump administration’s proposed ban on new downloads of the app from taking effect. The judge’s written explanation of the ruling […]

The evolution of podcasts: ‘I hope that the industry diversifies’

“I remember looking for podcasts hosted by Black people. I think I found four in the UK!” Renay Richardson is the CEO of podcast production company Broccoli Content, and also a prime mover behind the ‘Equality in Audio Pact’, an initiative encouraging the industry to tackle “the lack of opportunities for minority talent both in […]

Music marketing tips: the pros share their best advice at Sandbox Summit

The final day of Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference had a practical focus on music marketing, with two panels of experts offering their advice. First was a ‘tips from the top’ session picking the brains of Sarah Ismail (regional marketing director, Greater China and South East Asia, Warner Music Group), Negla Abdela (head […]

Making the most of Twitch: tips for artists from its music team

Amazon’s livestreaming video platform Twitch was already looking to do more with music before Covid-19 struck, but the pandemic has fuelled a moment where lots of musicians are also suddenly keen to do more with Twitch – and livestreaming more generally. At Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference this week, Twitch’s VP of music […]

M to the B, Bella Poarch, and a tale of TikTok virality

“If you don’t know me I’m M to the B / Coming in hard, you better watch it Sophie…” If those lyrics mean nothing to you, then you clearly aren’t an aficionado of the mid-2010s Blackpool grime scene, nor do you have a tweenage TikTok fan in your household. The lyrics are from a 2016 […]

Japanese artist Reol made $130k from a YouTube livestream

Can you make money from livestreamed music performances on YouTube? Japanese artist Reol certainly did: to the tune of $130k. YouTube’s director of Black music and culture Tuma Basa revealed the figure in his appearance at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference yesterday alongside colleague T. Jay Fowler, director of product management. Reol’s livestream […]

Apple has acquired podcast curation startup Scout·fm

Back in June 2018, Music Ally wrote about a startup called Scout·fm, which was launching a ‘voice-first podcast curation service’. It had an Alexa skill that would ask people questions to understand their interests, then provide a radio-style stream of podcast episodes. The next we heard of it was early this year, when Scout·fm joined a […]

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 […]

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma held a YouTube premiere ‘afterparty’

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma have just released a pair of singles together: ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, and like a growing number of artists, they unveiled the music videos in a YouTube premiere, yesterday. However, they also held an afterparty (a #PaTiAfterParty in hashtag form) which saw J-Lo and Maluma chatting about the collaborations, promoting their upcoming movie […]

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 […]

Big Bang Reads: A strong wave of pandemic-era Indian indie music

This is the first in a new series of guest columns for Music Ally from Big Bang Music in India, on the latest trends there. On July 15, singer Armaan Malik became part of a new initiative by chart-maker Billboard and social video platform Triller called the Top Triller US and Top Triller Global charts. […]

SignalFire report explores the growing ‘creator economy’

Is everyone an influencer in 2020? Well, not everyone, but according to investment firm SignalFire “more than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, despite the creator economy only being born a decade ago”. That’s the introduction for its new report, ‘Creator Economy Market Map‘, which catalogues more than 100 of the startups […]

BPI and Music Ally event on music, wellbeing and technology

There are a lot of exciting things happening around music, wellbeing and fitness in 2020: from artists working with meditation services like Calm and Headspace, to the growth of Peloton and other fitness startups who make licensed music a key part of their offerings. The BPI and Music Ally are holding an online event on […]

AI music startup Endel raises $5m Series A funding round

Endel has been one of the higher-profile startups exploring AI-generated music: in its case, focusing on its application as music to help people concentrate, relax and sleep. Now it has raised a Series A funding round of $5m to further its ambitions. The round was led by True Ventures and its partner Kevin Rose – […]

Musician bodies team up to attack Epidemic Sound again

Production library Epidemic Sound is taking flak from musician bodies again, in what’s becoming a regular, one-sided war of words. European bodies Aepo-Artis, Ecsa and FIM, who represent composers, songwriters and performers, are lambasting the company over issues including 100% buyout contracts; replacing composers’ names with the company name in TV credits; and its recent […]

Amuse financials reveal $9.5m revenues but $10.9m net loss

Swedish distribution startup Amuse is one of the more disruptive music/tech companies to have emerged in recent years, but is it a profitable one? Not yet. The company’s financial results for 2019 show that it generated revenues of SEK 85.1m (around $9.5m), which was impressive 209% growth year-on-year. However, the company’s net losses nearly doubled […]

Kanye West on contracts campaign: ‘I will help set precedents’

The music industry may still be picking its way through Kanye West’s self-leaked Universal Music Group deals, but West is making it clear that his campaign around artist contracts is more than just a moment on Twitter. “The desired effect will only be achieved when every artist owns their masters. I’m Team ‘Free Artists.’ I’m […]

Streaming panel calls for more innovation from DSPs and labels

Are the big music streaming services too similar to one another? And if so, how can they break out of that box to innovate and differentiate themselves? A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference yesterday, had some ideas. Angel Gambino, partner at venture development firm Prehype and until recently chief commercial officer […]

Lorem, Pollen and Oyster: how Spotify’s genreless playlists are ‘driven by culture’

Playlists have become a hugely important part of the music streaming world, and many of them have a tightly-curated theme, be it a musical genre or a specific mood or activity. Not all, though. Some of Spotify’s most interesting emerging playlists – Lorem, Pollen and Oyster for example – are designed to be ‘genreless’. Today at […]

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 […]

YouTube deploys AI to tighten up age restrictions on videos

YouTube is keen to ensure that underage viewers aren’t watching videos that are inappropriate. It’s announced plans to “build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions”. In other words, YouTube’s AI will be rating videos, although uploaders will be able […]

TuneCore encourages artists to upload music to TikTok for free

The latest distributor to announce a partnership with TikTok is TuneCore, which hopes its latest promotion will tempt more artists into putting their music on the social app. Between 22 and 29 September, TuneCore artists can upload a track to TikTok for free. This follows the deal signed with TikTok by TuneCore’s parent company Believe in July, […]

Featured Artists Coalition appoints new artist ambassadors

UK artist trade body the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has announced its latest crop of artist ambassadors. There are 19 of them, including some famous names: Bob Geldof, Aluna, Ghostpoet, Roni Size, Shaun Ryder, Roger Sanchez and Maxi Jazz out of Faithless. However, there are also some newer artists in the group: Dream Wife, Bishi, Porridge Radio […]

Echelon’s Peloton-like ‘Prime Bike’ is not an Amazon product

Some headlines overnight suggested that Amazon was launching its own exercise bike to take on Peloton, in partnership with a company called Echelon. You can see the press release that sparked those reports here: claiming that “Echelon’s new EX-Prime Smart Connect Bike – also known as the Prime Bike –officially hit the online market as Amazon’s […]

Shesaid·so launches Patreon to ‘stay alive and independent’

We’ve written regularly about the activities of Shesaid·so, the community for women and gender minorities in the music industry, which was founded nearly six years ago. Now it has announced plans to launch a new community ‘hub’ for its members, and also a Patreon campaign to raise ongoing funding to support that – including from non-members. “With your […]

Spotify launches ‘Your Daily Drive’ playlist in the UK

After a few weeks of badgering people to go back to work in company offices, the British government yesterday executed its latest u-turn of the Covid-19 crisis, telling them to work from home if they could again. The timing was certainly unfortunate for Spotify, which had chosen yesterday as the day to launch its ‘Your […]

China blast for TikTok deal as ‘dirty and underhanded trick’

President Trump may have tentatively approved TikTok’s deal to avoid a ban in the US, but what will the Chinese government make of it? Judging by state-media outlet China Daily’s blistering editorial column this morning – title: ‘No disguising proposed TikTok deal is a dirty and underhanded trick’ – the omens aren’t good. “What the United States has done […]

Bandcamp’s monthly sales are up by 122% year-on-year

There’s a thriving trade in ‘Bandcamp as the anti-Spotify’ articles this year: the latest, from the Los Angeles Times, puts the ‘anti-Spotify’ phrase right in the headline. However, lower down there are some interesting figures showing Bandcamp’s current momentum. In the past year, fans have bought 5m digital albums, 2m tracks, 1m vinyl albums, 600k CDs, […]

Denzyl Feigelson and Troy Carter talk artists, labels and music industry evolution

Q&A and Platoon are two of the most interesting new artist-focused music companies to emerge in recent years, and we had their founders Troy Carter and Denzyl Feigelson in conversation at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global conference today, interviewed by Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley. From working with top artists at early stages of their […]

K Camp and Genius talk artist entrepreneurs: ‘Ain’t nobody gonna babysit you!’

If you don’t know Atlanta artist K Camp, it’s highly likely you know his track ‘Lottery (Renegade)’, or at least the 15-second clip of it that blew up on TikTok early in 2020, in turn sending the track zooming back up the charts. There’s far more to K Camp than one viral track, however. With […]

Facebook warns that it could pull out of Europe altogether

American TikTokers have been grappling with the existential (in app terms) question of what they’d do if the app was banned. Now imagine the rumpus if Facebook and Instagram were suddenly unavailable across the whole of Europe. It could happen. Well, Facebook is claiming that it could happen, as part of its fightback against a […]

Amanda Palmer launches The Art of Asking Everything podcast

Artist Amanda Palmer has always been eager to explore new ways of connecting with her fans. The latest example is a weekly podcast, The Art of Asking Everything. It launches on 29 September with 10 episodes already lined up, and like some of the most popular artist podcasts (Jessie Ware, George Ezra etc) it will […]

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 […]

AiR Show app wants to bring artists to fans’ homes using AR

Artists turning up in your living room to play a concert is awkward at the best of times – what if you run out of teabags or biscuits? – but impossible under current social distancing rules in many parts of the world. Cue a startup that wants to do it virtually. A company called Trick 3D has launched an […]

UK’s Musicians’ Union delivers new warning over Covid-19

With the UK bracing itself for a ‘second spike’ of Covid-19 cases in the autumn and winter, things aren’t looking good for the return of physical live concerts. Now the Musicians’ Union has published the results of its latest survey, warning about the potential consequences. “A third (34%) of musicians are considering abandoning the industry completely, […]

Hi-res streaming service Qobuz raises €10m funding round

Qobuz is the hi-res music streaming service founded in France, which has expanded to 12 countries so far. Now it has a new funding round to fuel further growth. The company has raised €10m ($11.7m) from existing investors Nabuboto (the holding company of CEO Denis Thébaud’s company The Thébaud Group) and Canadian telco and media […]

The future of streaming and music marketing post Covid-19

After an introductory session offering views on Covid-19’s music impact around the world, Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global conference turned its attention to what happens next. The online event’s ‘Future of Streaming Post-Covid’ strand began with some views from Chaz Jenkins, chief commercial officer at Chartmetric. “If we’re to use one word to describe what […]

Saving independent venues: ‘It is a challenge for the entire industry’

The whole music industry should be throwing its weight behind independent venues’ struggle to survive, according to Ana Rodriguez, co-chair of international managers body the IMMF. Speaking at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference today, she called on fans and industry entities alike to support local venues. “The most important thing about them is […]

Covid-19 could encourage global thinking for Japan’s music industry

The Covid-19 pandemic may be encouraging the Japanese music industry to look outwards more, according to Tatsuya Nomura, president of the Federation of Music Producers Japan (FMPJ). Speaking at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference today, he described how the pandemic came at a sensitive moment in Japan’s transition from a recorded music market […]

Covid-19’s music impact: views from Latin America, China and Nigeria

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference began today with some quickfire talks on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the music industry in Latin America, China and Nigeria. Noemí Planas, network development director at global independent body WIN began with a blunt assessment of the challenges in Latin America. “In recent months we have […]

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 […]

WMG’s Arts Music signs YouTube kids brand Super Simple Songs

Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division has been steadily growing its catalogue of kids and family music, with partners including Sesame Workshop, Mattel and Build-a-Bear Workshop. Its latest deal is with a popular YouTube children’s music brand, Super Simple Songs. Well, with its parent company Skyship Entertainment anyway, which will be making the Super Simple Songs […]

Kanye West offers guidelines for recording and publishing deals

Fresh (well, maybe that’s not the best word) from expressing his views on the music industry by tweeting a video of a Grammy award being urinated on, Kanye West offered some more constructive suggestions for how he’d like to see the industry change. In a series of tweets yesterday, West outlined some “new recording and […]

Amazon Music gets Latin music hub and exclusive Neil Young EP

Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to make a concerted push around music from Latin America, with its new ‘Amazon Music Lat!n’ hub. It will offer a mix of Latin playlists, original/exclusive tracks, interview and mini-documentary videos with artists, and podcasts. There’s also a program called ‘Rompe’ to promote emerging artists in the US, […]

TikTok US ban postponed as Trump approves Oracle/Walmart deal

It’s been another topsy-turvy weekend in the US for TikTok. On Friday, the Department of Commerce announced that as of 20 September (Sunday) US app stores would be banned from making the app available to download, or for it to be updated for existing users. Yet on Saturday, the department announced that “in the light of recent positive developments” […]

Tonal is the latest connected fitness startup raising big money

From watching Peloton we know how interesting the connected fitness world is, with exercise devices for the home accompanied by live and on-demand workout videos and other digital features. And we also know that music is often an important part of these services, often with licensing opportunities (and the odd argument) for rightsholders. Anyway, it’s […]

BPI inks three-year deal with hi-fi brand Bowers & Wilkins

British music industry body the BPI has a new partner: hi-fi maker Bowers & Wilkins, with a three-year deal for the latter to be involved in events and other campaigns. B&W will be a key backer for the Hyundai Mercury Prize award, as well as the UK’s annual National Album Day, and also fortnightly online […]

U2’s YouTube channel relaunches with remastered music videos

U2 are the latest heritage artist to be getting their archive of music videos spiffed up for modern-day viewers online. The band’s YouTube channel is relaunching as part of a collaboration between UMG’s Island Records, Interscope, UMe and UMC divisions and YouTube, with plans to spend the next year releasing remastered HD versions of U2’s music […]

Startup Synaesthetic seeks artists for ‘immersive music’

We spotted Synaesthetic in October last year, as a startup promising to develop “a new musical medium, that is more engaging and practical; through classical music theory, cutting-edge AI, and neuroscience”. Nearly a year later, the company is showing off more of its plans for a product called ‘Lava’, and an artist-testing scheme called ‘Leap’ that goes […]

The latest player in the lo-fi hip-hop YouTube game is… Pepsi

Sure, you may like round-the-clock streams of lo-fi hip-hop on YouTube from channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music, but wouldn’t it be nice if their animated backgrounds were more branded? And in fact, wouldn’t the music be nicer if it had a few more lyrics about fizzy drinks? Fear not: Pepsi has you covered. It […]

Chartmetric launches new charts tracking music on Twitch

Twitch has been doing more with music and musicians, and analytics firm Chartmetric has been tracking that. The result is four new charts for music on Amazon’s live-video platform, presenting the top users by viewer hours both weekly and monthly, as well as the top users by followers both weekly and all-time. Chartmetric says it’s […]

Spotify’s ‘Radar’ picks were streamed 2bn times since March

Spotify is putting some oomph behind its ‘Radar’ initiative to promote emerging artists. Originally launched in March, it now has a dedicated hub on Spotify, highlighting new releases from the artists as well as country-specific ‘Radar: First Listen’ playlists gathering some of their tracks. The idea is that listeners don’t just discover the artists from their […]

Rufus Wainwright launches catalogue-spanning livestream series

As the physical live-music lockdown stretches on, artists are finding new spins on livestreaming. The latest example is Rufus Wainwright, who’s kicking off his ‘Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective!’ series of streams in October. He’s going to perform each of his nine studio albums in chronological order, splitting each into two broadcasts (corresponding to ‘sides’ in a vinyl stylee). […]

Facebook unveils Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and Tidal deal

Facebook’s Oculus Quest has been the most successful virtual reality headset yet, finally delivering on some of the early hype around what VR was capable of. Now it’s getting a sequel. The Oculus Quest 2 costs $299 – $100 less than its predecessor – and is lighter and more powerful. It comes out in October, and gaming […]

Spotify faces internal unrest over Joe Rogan’s old podcasts

Signing podcaster Joe Rogan to an exclusive deal certainly gave Spotify’s share price a boost, but it’s also created some internal headaches for the company. Vice has a story about some recent internal meetings with staff at Spotify to discuss concerns about the back catalogue of The Joe Rogan Experience. And no, this time it’s not […]

Composer Wojtek launches a carbon-emissions tracker website

Classical musician Wojtek released his album ‘Atmosphere’ in July, with fans made aware that it was produced and written ‘carbon neutrally’. Now he’s launched a website explaining how, with infographics showing how carbon emissions were neutralised during the making of the album, as well as some of the other ways Wojtek is trying to balance his environmental […]

Keith Urban premieres new album with Apple Music livestream

Apple has a history of music-related livestreams: for example the broadcasts of its London iTunes-branded concerts back in the day. There’s something interesting happening this year around livestreams and artists though. We wrote about Apple Music’s virtual listening party for Victoria Monét in August, and now it’s repeating the trick for country star Keith Urban. 1,000 of […]

Beatleap video-editing app includes Epidemic Sound music

Lightricks is the developer behind popular photo and video editing apps like Facetune and Videoleap, with more than 350m downloads so far. Now it’s launching a new creativity app with a music twist. It’s called Beatleap, and it’s a partnership with production music firm Epidemic Sound. The app helps people to edit their videos to fit […]

Apple One bundles range from $14.95 to $29.95 a month

Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ press launch last night focused on Apple Watch and iPad but not iPhones, as predicted. However, there were also some big services announcements, including the long-anticipated Apple One bundle. Well, bundles: there are three of them, which will launch this autumn. The ‘Individual’ tier includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and […]

The Chainsmokers launch their own VC fund with $35m to invest

Concerts with disputed social-distancing safety measures didn’t work out so well for EDM duo The Chainsmokers. Perhaps venture capital will go better. Alex Pall and Drew Taggart are launching an early-stage VC firm called Mantis, with backing from some Silicon Valley luminaries including Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois and Ron Conway. TechCrunch reported that Mantis’s debut […]

Google enlists musicians as guides for virtual artworks

Lots of musicians have artistic interests well beyond music. Now Google is capitalising on that through its Google Arts & Culture initiative, enlisting some popular musicians to act as virtual tour guides for works of art. It’s part of a series called ‘Art Zoom’, which is in its second season. J Balvin, Ellie Goulding, fka […]

Next BTS livestream comes with month-long virtual exhibition

K-Pop stars BTS are already one of the big success stories of lockdown livestreams: their ‘Bang Bang Con’ concert in June pulled in 756,000 paying customers. Now they’re following it up with an even more ambitious event. ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ will take place on the weekend of 10-11 October, with two broadcasts. However, […]

Twitch gets global deal with rap-battle league King of the Dot

Rap battles are a perfect match for livestreaming services: not only are they fun to watch and chat about, but musically speaking, they’re original content with far fewer copyright headaches for the platform. Twitch knows all about those headaches, so its latest deal is interesting: with rap league King of the Dot. The exclusive agreement […]

TuneCore expands into Brazil and Russia with new offices

One of the music distribution trends of recent years has been aggressive geographic expansion, as distributors look to gain footholds in burgeoning new markets for music streaming – or those anticipated to grow rapidly in the years ahead. TuneCore is one of those firms: it signed a deal with Tencent in China in October 2019, […]

Spotify adds livestreams to its in-app concert listings

Spotify has been showing artists’ upcoming tour dates on their profiles for years, although data on how effective those listings are at selling tickets is scarce. With the live industry still shut down in many parts of the world due to Covid-19, the streaming service is taking the logical step of adding listings for livestream […]

The latest TikTok twist: plans for a standalone company?

The deadline is approaching for TikTok to be sold, shut down, or find an alternative solution that satisfies President Trump’s administration. After tech firm Oracle said it was part of a proposal submitted to the administration as a “trusted technology provider”, more details have emerged of the plan. “ByteDance will place TikTok’s global business in […]

Tim Westergren talks Sessions: ‘Artists need to recover their audience’

In the Covid-19-era music industry, the old income dichotomy of recorded music and live performances is not dead so much as it is becoming fleshed out. A variety of different fan experiences, earning money for artists on different platforms, is emerging as a common approach. Livestreaming is at the heart of many of them. It […]

Beabadoobee talks Fake It Flowers, Spotify and lockdown creativity

“It’s so hard to stay positive in a time like this, but it’s about finding the little things. Once this is all over, there’s going to be the Summer of Love, and festivals, and touch. I can’t wait!” Beatrice Kristi Laus – aka Beabadoobee – is looking for the silver linings in the Covid-19 pandemic, […]

Spotify’s Anchor says it’s cracking down on copycat podcasts

There have been growing complaints about copycat podcasts uploaded through Spotify’s Anchor app. That means taking other people’s podcasts and re-uploading them – often with the same artwork – as your own, in the hope of snagging some advertising revenues before you get caught. Now Anchor is cracking down on it. “This is definitely a new type […]

JioSaavn’s Amplify offers direct distribution to emerging artists

Indian streaming service JioSaavn is launching a new scheme offering direct distribution to emerging, unsigned artists. It’s part of its existing ‘Artist Originals’ initiative, and is called ‘Amplify’. It’ll encourage musicians to submit their demos to JioSaavn’s A&R team, based in Mumbai and New York. Artists chosen by the team will get upfront payments, marketing support […]

Applications are open for the MMF’s next manager accelerator

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is teaming up with YouTube Music once again for its Accelerator Programme for Music Managers in the UK. Applications open today for the scheme’s 2021 cohort, which will be its third year. It’ll offer 12-month grants of up to £15k as well as training and other support. The MMF has […]

Voisey star Olivia Knight (aka poutyface) signs major deals

When we profiled social music app Voisey early this year, its co-founder Olly Barnes talked about its ambitions to discover new talent. “We have users in remote parts of the world, who have never made a song before, and have low self-confidence, but Voisey allows them to make the step to songwriting,” as he put it, […]

WMG’s ADA Worldwide follows LatAm expansion with Asia launch

Warner Music Group’s distribution arm ADA Worldwide is on an expansion drive. In July, it launched ADA Latin to oversee Latin America and Latin music in the US as well as Spain and Portugal. Now it’s turning its attention to Asia. ADA Asia will be headquartered in Singapore, with a remit to sign up artists and independent […]

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; […]

Facebook and Xiaomi join Amazon’s Voice Interoperability Initiative

A year ago we reported on a new ‘Voice Interoperability Initiative’ from Amazon, which was created to ensure that different voice assistants could work on the same devices. Spotify, Sonos, Microsoft, Baidu and Tencent were among the first companies to join Amazon in the initiative. Now it has announced some more: Dolby, Facebook, Garmin and Xiaomi, taking […]

Super Hi-Fi and Rotor Videos bulk up with new experts

It seems to be the time of year for startups to be beefing up their wise-old-heads quota with advisors and board members. The two latest examples are Super Hi-Fi and Rotor Videos. US startup Super Hi-Fi (which we profiled last year: its tech helps streaming services with the gaps between songs, whether that’s making transitions smoother, or automatically […]

Why the Covid-19 struggles of small venues are a big problem

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been writing about campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic to save independent music venues. These spaces may seem a world away from the big concert halls, arenas and stadiums of the live music industry, but Midia Research has published one of the better explanations of why they matter. “Without this […]

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 […]

Podcasts proving popular for classical streaming service Primephonic

Primephonic is one of the streaming services focusing on classical music, with a comprehensive collection of albums and playlists. However, neither of those are its most popular format with listeners. It’s podcasts. The company has been producing its own shows blending interviews with classical music artists, composers and conductors with their music. “These podcasts are […]

US recorded music revenues grew by 5.6% in first half of 2020

US music industry body the RIAA has published its annual mid-year stats for the recorded music market there. They show that revenues grew by 5.6% year-on-year to $5.7bn in the first half of 2020. The story here, as in other countries, is that Covid-19 had a significant impact in the second quarter of this year, […]

Charlamagne tha God launches Black Effect Podcast Network

Veteran radio host Charlamagne Tha God is launching a new podcast network, in partnership with radio/streaming firm iHeartMedia in the US. It’s called The Black Effect Podcast Network, and is promising to create shows in genres including social justice, pop culture, sports, mental health, news, comedy, focusing on Black listeners. It’ll launch its roster of 18 […]

PlaylistSupply helps managers and artists research playlists

A new tool to help managers and artists research Spotify playlists appears to be picking up some steam. PlaylistSupply was launched by a manager, Noah Motion, as a way for his peers to search for Spotify playlists relevant to their artist’s genre (or other search keywords), see their public data, and find contacts – email addresses included – for […]

Electronic Labor Day livestream to support rebuilding in Beirut

The explosion in Beirut on 4 August was devastating, killing nearly 200 people and injuring thousands more, while destroying buildings across a large swathe of the city. One of the latest relief efforts comes from the music industry: a livestreaming event called ‘For Beirut’ that has been organised by the Electronic Labor Day initiative and Beatport. It […]

YouTube Music rolls out more features for its playlists

As it prepares for a migration of users from Google Play Music, YouTube Music’s team have been talking about some of their recent improvements to playlists on the service. That includes assistive playlists, with YouTube suggesting songs to add to a playlist based on its title, the songs already in the playlist, and the user’s listening history. […]

Hipgnosis buys independent publisher Big Deal Music

We know that Hipgnosis Songs Fund likes buying publishing catalogues, and sometimes recordings rights too. But now it’s also buying publishing companies. Well, one publishing company this morning: Big Deal Music, which owns rights in songs that have been recorded by Shawn Mendes, One Direction and Panic at the Disco among other artists. This isn’t […]

Global Citizen and Spotify enlist artists for US vote campaigns

With less than two months to go to the US presidential election, efforts to encourage people to vote are heating up. Musicians – and now even music streaming services – are playing a prominent role. Global Citizen, which was at the forefront of music-related Covid-19 relief efforts earlier this year, has turned its attention to the US […]

BMI sets new revenue and distribution records despite Covid-19

We’re in a peculiar time right now, where despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on individual musicians’ incomes, we’re also seeing announcements by industry bodies, major music companies and collecting societies of positive (and even still record-breaking) figures for their businesses. The latest is US society BMI for its last financial year, which ended […]

Sony Music steps up its podcasting with nearly 40 new shows

Sony Music has been signalling its podcasting ambitions with a series of partnerships over the past year. Now it has revealed nearly 40 new shows resulting from those deals – and they’re all launching this year. The unveiling happened at the major label’s first IAB Podcast Upfront presentation, with shows in categories including true crime, politics, […]

1% of artists account for 90% of streams says Alpha Data

The question of how long the ‘long tail’ of streaming is – and also how miserable it might be – has long been a subject for debate in the music industry. US analytics firm Alpha Data has some new figures to contribute, but they may not make reassuring reading for musicians lower down that tail. Rolling […]

Apple and Deezer reveal their latest books and audiobooks expansion

Music and podcasts are increasingly intertwined on various streaming services, but books – and specifically audiobooks – may also be joining the party. We recently reported on Spotify’s ambitions on that front, but Apple already has an ebooks store with audiobooks options. Now it’s announced its latest related partnership, with Oprah Winfrey and her famous ‘Book Club’. Her latest […]

Indian short-video app MX TakaTak is doing 1bn+ daily views

We’ve been writing about the jockeying for position in the Indian short-video apps market in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Now another of the contenders has been talking (to the Economic Times) about its growth. MX TakaTak says it has more than 10 million daily active users and 45 million monthly active users, with […]

Music livestreams are getting their own awards ceremony

A music industry trend isn’t a proper trend until it gets its own awards ceremony, right? If so, livestreams are graduating to the Big Trends league, because LiveXLive has announced plans for ‘The Lockdown Awards’ this October to “honour artists and entertainers who create content for fans amidst the pandemic”. Categories include Best Virtual Festival; Best Show […]

Spotify’s Dissect podcast returns with Childish Gambino season

The last time we wrote about Spotify’s album-deep-dives podcast Dissect was in April, when its sixth season launched with a focus on Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album. Now it’s season seven time, and Childish Gambino is the artist under the spotlight. Specifically his 2013 concept album ‘Because the Internet’ – “a nobly expansive attempt at plumbing the catacombs of […]

Apex Rides hopes to take on Peloton, and it’s licensing music

Where there’s a startup that’s gone public in a big IPO, there’ll be fledgling rivals hoping to follow the same path and compete with it. Such is the case with fitness firm Peloton. One of its latest rivals is called Apex Rides, with its own combination of a physical exercise bike, and digital workout classes available […]

Music opportunities in China: ‘Artists really need to move fast…’

In China, the music industry works differently. Music fans quickly – and in the tens of millions – adopt new technologies, new methods of supporting artists or ways of consuming music. The audience seeks a different experience from artists, who are often hybrid stars – equally at home as actors, TV personalities or models. What […]

TikTok battles to remove a graphic video showing a death

The latest TikTok controversy doesn’t involve music, or even Donald Trump. Instead, it’s about a video of a man shooting himself, which has been shared by a number of popular meme accounts on the app (that’s a link to a news article about this: we’re not going to link to any of the clips) even as TikTok’s […]

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. […]

YouTube contest involves making a music video for Hans Zimmer

For any aspiring filmmaker, the chance to have their work soundtracked by composer Hans Zimmer would be a dream come true. Now it will come true for five people. Zimmer has teamed up with Sony Music and YouTube for a contest challenging people to create original music videos for five of his compositions. A winner will be […]

8tracks is planning a relaunch with licensed music catalogue

8tracks was one of the early music streaming services, launching just before Spotify in August 2008. However, it shut down at the end of 2019 after struggling with its profitability. Earlier this year, we reported on a comeback for 8tracks, after its assets were acquired by a company called BackBeat, Inc. Now its new CEO Jeffrey Treichel has […]

Roxi streaming and karaoke service reveals deal with Sky

Roxi is the UK-based music streaming and karaoke service formerly known as Electric Jukebox, which until now has found its way into people’s living rooms via its own set-top box hardware. That’s changing: the company has just announced a deal with UK satellite broadcaster Sky to make its service available through the latter’s Sky Q set-top […]

Record Union and Equilibrium to hold wellness workshop online

Even before Covid-19 and its lockdowns around the world, there was a growing amount of talk about wellbeing in and around the music industry. The pandemic has only sharpened the sense that as an industry, we could be doing more to protect our mental health. One example of action being taken comes from distributor Record […]

Facebook Watch now has more than 1.25bn monthly visitors

Facebook Watch is the dedicated video hub on Facebook, and it’s one of the main places that official music videos live on the social network, since that content was added in late July in the US. Now Facebook has provided an update on how popular Facebook Watch is. “Today, more than 1.25 billion people visit […]

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 […]

Lo-Fi Player is the latest Google Magenta AI-music project

Magenta is a research project within Google exploring the intersection of AI and creativity, including a range of music demos. The latest of those is called Lo-Fi Player, and it launched this month. It’s riffing off the increasingly popular trend for listening to lo-fi hip-hop as a study aid or relaxation tool. In this case, […]

B2B music firm 7digital raises £6m in new funding

It’s not that long since B2B digital music company 7digital was having serious financial troubles, but it’s been working hard to survive. By January 2020 the company said it had “stabilised itself”, before borrowing £500k in March to use as working capital over the following year. It’s also been announcing new business, including deals with […]

Loup Ventures claims Apple Music will make $8.6bn in 2020

Investment firm Loup Ventures keeps a close eye on Apple’s business, including its music activity. Now it has put out some estimates for Apple Music’s progress. “Apple Music has room to grow with 82m subs out of 980m active iPhone users (8%) paying for the service,” wrote managing partner Gene Munster in a blog post. […]

Twitch is shutting down its Twitch Sings karaoke game

Amazon’s Twitch live-video service may be doing more with music artists, but it’s also shutting down one of its existing music projects: karaoke game Twitch Sings. “As we look to the future, we have decided to invest in broader tools and services that will help support and grow the entire music community on Twitch. Because […]

TikTok gets five-day premiere of David Guetta and Sia’s Let’s Love

A moment of relief for TikTok executives: a music story making headlines, rather than the latest revelation about the company’s potential sale or ban in the US. TikTok is getting a “five-day premiere” of the new single from David Guetta and Sia, and it’s a useful pointer to how the app is developing as a […]

Tom Walker is quizzing his fans in his new Alexa skill

The latest artist to get their own Alexa skill for Amazon’s smart speakers is Tom Walker, for whom Sony Music UK has launched ‘No. 1 Fan Music Quiz’. It’s a daily quiz where Walker sets the questions (about his own “songs, musical training and celebrity friends”) and fans test their knowledge by answering them. The […]

Declan McKenna teaches fans how to play his songs on Yousician

Another day, another artist reaching a carefully-targeted audience via an app that isn’t a social network or DSP. Gen Z favourite Declan McKenna collaborated with music teaching app Yousician to connect with his fans via a private livestream and, perhaps more interestingly, via some lessons from the man himself. The thinking is simple: if you use Yousician to […]

MTN Nigeria and Tidal announce partnership

African telco MTN Nigeria and Tidal have announced a partnership which allows MTN users to access Tidal’s streaming service via their phones in a wide variety of short and long-term subscriptions. In December 2018, MTN launched its own streaming service, MusicTime, in South Africa, which is sold on a per-minute basis: customers buy as many minutes of mobile music streaming as […]

FUGA hire new senior staff from Ditto Music, 7digital, and AWAL

Music distribution company FUGA has announced the appointment of new senior hires, six months after being acquired by Downtown Music Holdings. The Netherlands-based company has now signalled their ambition by bringing in a trio of new faces, all with strong digital music experience. Former Ditto Head of Artist & Labels Services Craig May is joining FUGA as Global […]

Artist Rights Alliance challenges Amazon Music-Twitch integration

The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), an industry body representing songwriters and musicians, has been vocal in its criticism of Amazon, sending Jeff Bezos a letter demanding a better answer than, “I don’t know” when he was asked by the US Congress about music licensing on the Amazon-owned Twitch platform. After yesterday’s announcement of Twitch’s music livestreams being […]

Patent filing: Spotify experimenting with TikTok-like user-generated videos

Spotify has filed a patent for a feature that would allow users to create “video moments” with accompanying music within the Spotify app, Digital Music News reports. The short videos, with high-quality embedded music, would be sharable outside of the app and would be discoverable alongside the song itself: so searching for a song could also […]

Facebook says it might stop users from sharing news items in Australia

Facebook has warned that it will stop users of Instagram and Facebook from sharing local and international news if a draft law drawn up by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is passed. The ACCC’s planned code is designed to protect media companies, and would require Facebook (and Google) to negotiate with them for use of […]

Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast episodes missing on Spotify

Spotify paid over $100 million to exclusively license the Joe Rogan Experience, a move that caused the platform’s market cap to almost instantly spike by $1bn. Rogan’s podcast has now appeared on the platform – with “dozens” of the more controversial shows absent. At the time of the deal, Rogan was pleased by Spotify’s hands-off approach, […]

TikTok adds creator merchandise sales integration with Teespring

Apps are fond of keeping users within the app, and creators like to ping fans all over the internet to where they can get them to pay for things. To strike a balance, TikTok has followed Youtube and Twitch in partnering with Teespring to allow TikTok’s creators to sell merch they’ve created on Teespring within TikTok, […]

Indian streaming service Gaana raises $50 million in debt

The largest Indian streaming platform, Gaana, has raised the equivalent of just over $50 million in debt from Tencent Cloud Europe and Time Internet, reports Indian startup news site Inc42. Tencent’s involvement accounts for nearly $41 million of the deal in a new allocation of shares, with Times Internet, the majority owner, making up the rest. Gaana […]

Radio station SWR uses AI to let users to “Shuffle” live songs

Music radio persists in an era of hyper-personalised playlists, possibly because it offers a contrasting linear, set-and-forget experience. One of Germany’s most popular radio stations, Südwestrundfunk (SWR), has launched a new radio app with the usual live-rewind and listen again functions, but is also trying something slightly different: AI-powered, in-show song personalisation. (Article in German) If the user doesn’t […]

Amazon Music integrates Twitch livestreaming into app

It’s almost a surprise that this hasn’t happened sooner, but Amazon Music has now integrated Twitch, the live streaming service owned by Amazon, into its Amazon Music mobile apps. Artists can now livestream via Twitch, with the streams appearing on their profile page in the Amazon Music mobile app, and followers will be alerted when they […]

Artist ownership is the way to fix Spotify’s broken streaming model (guest column)

Collective artist ownership is the only way to fix Spotify. If artists can collectively own platforms like Spotify, we can address the underlying problem that drives their incentives and decision making. As a for-profit, publicly traded corporation, Spotify has no responsibility to artists. Their only binding fiduciary responsibility is to seek profit and to increase […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Mime takes the music business hyper-local

Made In Memphis Entertainment (Mime), launched in 2015, has a quietly radical idea at its core: ‘disruptive decentralisation’. It’s about creating a root-and-branch alternative to the traditional music business structure. And the company is starting local, in Memphis, Tennessee. At present, Mime’s family of companies includes Beatroot Music, the only Black-owned music distributor in the […]

DiMA report hails music streaming’s impact in the US

The US-based Digital Media Association (DiMA) is the lobbying body for music streaming services from companies including Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. Its new ‘Streaming Forward’ report – produced with consultancy firm Midia Research – thus focuses on the positive aspects of streaming’s impact on the US music industry. Its data from 2019 notes that […]

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 […]

Machine Gun Kelly’s new podcast is a Halloween-themed musical

Sure, music podcasts with artists talking about their music can be interesting, but wouldn’t it be more fun to make, say, a four-part Halloween-themed musical podcast instead? Hey presto! Machine Gun Kelly has done just that. He’s working with production company Audio Up Media on ‘Halloween in Hell’, a four-part series which kicks off on […]

UK study explores class imbalances in the creative industries

A report published by the UK’s Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre yesterday suggests that more needs to be done to open up these industries – music included – to people from working-class backgrounds. “Echoing wider research, we find widespread and persistent class imbalances. Those from privileged backgrounds are more than twice as likely to […]

Pro artists are making $5k-$20k per livestream on Sessions

Sessions is the startup launched earlier this year by former Pandora boss Tim Westergren: a livestreaming platform for musicians to broadcast “with just a laptop and a microphone”. Now Westergren has been talking to Pollstar about how things are going. “In the first 6-9 months when we were in beta, we recruited about 150 artists […]

TikTok sale announcement could come as soon as next week

Strap in: the TikTok sale process may be even speedier than President Trump expected. CNBC reported today that TikTok is “nearing an agreement” to sell its operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – as soon as next week. Its sources claimed that the deal could be worth between $20bn and $30bn, but […]

Amazon Halo sees tech giant get into the digital fitness game

Apple has quietly been becoming a digital health and fitness company for a while now, with wellbeing becoming a key selling point for its Apple Watch smartwatch. Now Amazon wants in on the fitness-wearables game. It has unveiled a device called Halo, which is a fitness band (sadly not one that hovers above your head) […]

Restream raises $50m to power multi-platform livestreams

Do you want to stream to YouTube, Twitch or Facebook? How about these and a couple of dozen more platforms simultaneously? That’s what the technology of a startup called Restream does, and investors are excited to the tune of a $50m Series A funding round for the company. Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners led the […]

Spotify expands Discover Weekly sponsorship to EMEA countries

In early 2019 Spotify opened up its flagship algo-personalised playlist, Discover Weekly, to brand sponsorships. However, so far the option for advertisers to sponsor the playlist has only been tested in North America and Latin America, as well as the UK. Now it’s crossing the seas to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nine countries, […]

Algoriddim launches tool to extract stems from music tracks

In June, we wrote about a pair of DJ apps getting ‘real-time stem separation’ features, so that DJs could mix with the individual elements of tracks (like vocals or basslines). One of those apps was djay from Algoriddim, where the feature was called ‘Neural Mix’. Now it’s being spun off into its own software for […]

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 […]

Joe Budden says he’s taking his podcast away from Spotify

For Spotify, as one ‘Joe’ podcasting era begins, another appears to be drawing to an ill-tempered close. The streaming service will soon be the exclusive platform for The Joe Rogan Experience, but what about the deal it signed back in August 2018 for hip-hop show The Joe Budden Podcast? It’s not ending well. “September 23rd, […]

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 […]

eMusic gets into livestreaming with eMusicLive launch

The last time we checked in on eMusic, it had just launched its eMU token as part of a blockchain drive, while its boss had joined the board of B2B firm 7digital. A few months on, the two companies are hopping aboard the livestreaming bandwagon. eMusic is launching a platform called eMusicLive, which it says […]

BPI and UK Music join UK’s creative industries trade advisory group

What kind of trade deal will the UK have with the European Union after the end of its Brexit transition period this year? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ is the best description, in the absence of an emoticon denoting ‘throwing hands in the air and running around screaming’. There is some positive news though: the British government has created […]

Tidal makes social VR move with $7m investment in Sensorium

It seems to be the week for music streaming to meet virtual reality startups. VR firm MelodyVR announced plans to acquire Napster, and now Tidal is making an investment in VR company Sensorium Corporation. It’s not a traditional deal though: Tidal has bought $7m in tokens issued by Sensorium – yes, that’s Music Ally’s blockchain […]

Music distribution and services firm Stem raises $10m

Stem is the US-based company that combines tools helping musicians to track their royalties with distribution to digital music services. It has just raised a funding round of $10m from investors including Coach K, the COO of label Quality Control Music; Mark Gillespie, founder of management company Three Six Zero; a number of managers working […]

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns three months into the job

We promised you twists in this tale. TikTok is taking to the courts to battle the Trump administration’s executive order forcing its sale or shutdown in the US, but it will be doing so without its recently appointed CEO. Former Disney executive Kevin Mayer has resigned barely three months after taking the reins at TikTok […]

How do social media camera filters work, how much do they cost to make, and are they worth the investment?

In 2020 you’re nothing in the music industry without your own custom AR filter, layering brightly covered digital swirls over camera displays. Legendary artists such as Prince, Pink Floyd and The Beatles have all launched their own filters on social networks – the Prince estate offering a Purple Rain filter on TikTok and WMG’s Firepit […]

Skrachy launches livestreaming app for DJs – royalties included

News of a livestreaming app for DJs can’t help but spark questions about royalties for the musicians whose work those DJs are using in their sets. Skrachy is a US startup which claims to have an answer for that: it will charge DJs membership fees, and pay royalties out from that. “A Skrachy membership equips DJs […]

Good Splits is a streaming royalty calculator for musicians

A new site called Good Splits is promising to help musicians “quickly and easily calculate royalties from aggregator services”. The idea being that they can not just see how much they’re earning, but also split the revenues between their collaborators with the minimum of spreadsheet-wrangling. “This app hides complicated accounting math inside a simple UI that lets […]

Vevo explores demographic differences in digital video habits

Music videos firm Vevo has published a report called ‘The Anatomy of a Video Experience: a Multicultural Story’. It analyses how people are watching video on various devices – TV, mobile and PC – as well as exploring whether there are differences in behaviour between demographics including Asian, Black / African-American, Hispanic / Latino and White […]

Dua Lipa launches #DuaVideo fan challenge with TikTok

Dua Lipa is the latest major artist to launch a TikTok challenge, but in her case, she’s looking for fans to appear in her next proper music video. The challenge is #DuaVideo and runs for a week, having been launched yesterday with a video by Dua herself. Fans are being challenged to submit clips showing their creative skills […]

The latest BTS product is a Korean language-learning kit

In March, BTS launched a new video series online called ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ – 30 three-minute lessons teaching their global fanbase how to speak the band’s native language. Now this has evolved into a physical package developed by the educational arm of Big Hit Entertainment, the band’s management company. The new product includes four textbooks and a […]

Techstars Music goes virtual and promises founder diversity

The Techstars Music accelerator has announced its plans for 2021, including the addition of Amazon Music as a new ‘member’ partner. The program will also run entirely virtually for the first time when it kicks off on 16 February 2021, including its selection process, which is underway now. Its managing director Bob Moczydlowsky is also […]

MelodyVR raises $15.3m to help fund Napster acquisition

Yesterday we reported on MelodyVR’s planned acquisition of streaming service Napster for $26.3m in cash and stock, and wondered why the company was describing it as a $70m deal. A separate announcement from Napster’s majority owner RealNetworks cleared that up: the deal also saw MelodyVR assuming “approximately $44m in payment obligations, primarily to various music industry entities”. The cash […]

Music Ally Startup Files: SoundStorming opens up the creative process

SoundStorming could be a lot of things, and at a glance the platform appears to begin a trek up that unassailable summit of music-tech: A Social Network For Music. But co-founders Alícia Rius and Arnau Bosch are keen to explain that their aim is simple. “We want to get the fans on board earlier than […]

Survey: 30% of musicians are planning weekly livestreams

Bandsintown has been one of the companies around live music that has pivoted during Covid-19 – in its case, turning its site and app into places for fans to discover livestreams by artists, as well as launching its own live channel on Twitch. Now the company has published a report based on a survey of […]

IFPI takes aim at more ‘music streaming manipulation’ sites

Global music body the IFPI is continuing its battle against ‘streaming manipulation’ services. Together with German body BVMI, it has secured court injunctions against the operators of five websites promising to inflate artists’ streaming counts artificially. The sites are Socialnow·de, Socialgeiz·de, Likergeiz·de, Netlikes and Likesandmore, with a sixth site (Fanexplosion·de) having already removed the relevant service in […]

The mystery of Tasmin Little’s missing Spotify royalties

Pitchfork’s article about ‘how musicians are fighting for streaming pay during the pandemic’ isn’t new: it was originally published in June. However, after the site re-shared it on Twitter yesterday with some stats on classical violinist Tasmin Little’s earnings, it’s sparking debate. There’s definitely something puzzling afoot. The article references a tweet from Little in May revealing […]

TikTok’s Trump lawsuit reveals it has 689m users worldwide

TikTok has followed through on its promise to sue President Trump’s administration over its recent executive order setting a deadline for the app’s US operations to be sold or shut down. The lawsuit includes some important new figures on TikTok’s business globally, as well as in the US.  Globally, TikTok grew from 54.8 million monthly active […]

Music VR startup MelodyVR announces plan to merge with Napster

Music-focused virtual reality startup MelodyVR has announced plans to merge with streaming service Napster. To be clear: MelodyVR is the buyer, although the Napster brand will live on. “Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company will be merged with and into Napster (with Napster being the surviving entity),” explained […]

‘Apple has become the navy, and different rules apply’

The row between Apple and Epic Games rumbles on, with plenty of commentary from external observers – some of it useful, much of it not. File in the ‘useful’ category this blog post by tech analyst Benedict Evans, which suggests that some of the criticisms of Apple carry weight. “When Apple launched the app store it had […]

Oracle gets support for its TikTok bid… from President Trump

We do try to choose our words carefully when writing about the world of politics, but it seems increasingly uncontroversial to suggest that the process around the potential sale of TikTok’s US operations… well, it stinks. First President Trump suggested that the US Treasury should get a piece of the transaction that’s been enforced by […]

YouTube’s latest originals include a GRM Daily documentary

YouTube has revealed its latest slate of ‘originals’ – documentaries commissioned by the video service – for the UK this autumn. They include a four-part series about GRM Daily, the Black British music channel. ‘Together We Rise: The Uncompromised Story of GRM Daily’ will debut on 28 September, with interviewees including Skepta, Giggs, Stormzy, Julie […]

The Rolling Stones to open shop on London’s Carnaby Street

Soho’s swinging Carnaby Street (copyright: the 1960s) is getting a new boutique retailer from 9 September: RS No. 9 Carnaby. Otherwise known as a ‘world-first flagship store’ for The Rolling Stones. As part of their wide-ranging new deal signed with Universal Music Group in 2018, the band have worked with UMG’s Bravado subsidiary on the new […]

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion give away $1m on Twitter

Generally, if we see a celebrity giving away money on Twitter, we assume they’ve been hacked and it’s a scam (and pro tip: if Elon Musk is giving away bitcoin, it’s NEVER the real Elon Musk…) But here’s the exception that proves the rule: Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion really have been giving away $1m […]

Apple Music Radio adds live country and hits stations

Spotify’s ‘audio first’ strategy involves an aggressive move into spoken-word content with podcasts (and soon audiobooks?) to compete with live radio. Apple Music has followed a different path, with the Beats 1 live radio station part of its service since launch. Yesterday it got a rebrand – to Apple Music 1 – and two new sister stations: Apple […]

NME Asia goes live from Singapore after BandLab acquisition

The print edition of NME shut down in 2018, 66 years after its launch as New Musical Express. However, the NME brand has continued online, and in 2019 it was acquired by Singapore-based music/tech company BandLab Technologies. Now BandLab is launching a dedicated NME Asia site, promising daily music and pop culture news with an initial focus on Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. […]

Report: Classical streams are booming for younger listeners

The Covid-19 lockdown has been very tough for classical musicians in the live sense, but if there’s a silver lining, it may be classical’s performance on streaming services. A new report co-published by Deezer, British industry body the BPI and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) aims to show the growth, using data from Deezer. Globally, […]

Save Our Stages Act aims to help independent US venues

Even as Covid-19 lockdowns ease and physical concerts tentatively start to return, independent music venues are still facing a battle to survive. The level of support they’ve been getting from governments varies widely around the world, but in the US there are new moves afoot to help those venues (plus promoters and festivals) to stay […]

Spotify launches ‘Alone With Me’ microsite for The Weeknd

“Hey there, it’s Abel. How are you? So glad you could join me. I’ve been waiting for you. There’s a lot I want you to know,” The Weeknd told us this morning. Sadly it’s not an exclusive interview, but rather a new “personalised generative experience” launched for the artist by Spotify. Its ‘Alone With Me‘ […]

Oculus VR headsets will require users to log in using Facebook

Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus VR in 2014, and since then users of its headsets have been able to log in with their Oculus accounts, or their Facebook accounts. Now Facebook is making some changes, from October this year. “Everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with […]

Indian short-video app Moj has 50m users a month after launch

TikTok’s ban in India has created a feeding frenzy among other short-video apps, from Roposo, Zili and Dubsmash to streaming service Gaana’s new HotShots. One app we hadn’t written about yet was Moj, which was launched in early July by social networking firm ShareChat. It was downloaded more than 1m times in its first week, but judging by figures shared […]

AWAL says ‘hundreds’ of its artists now earn $100k+ a year from streaming

Music distributor AWAL says that “hundreds” of its artists now earn more than $100k a year from streaming, and that this number (of artists) has grown by more than 40% in the last year. The company also said that “dozens” of its artists earn more than $1m from streaming every year. This is all a […]

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 survey explores music listening trends in India

In India, Spotify is in the atypical position of being the non-dominant player in a fairly over-crowded audio-streaming market. The service has yet to update its figure of over two million MAUs for the country, announced shortly after its launch in February 2019. Since then, local leaders Gaana and JioSaavn have both claimed listenership of […]

A tale of two synthetic reality startups: Hour One and Reface

We’re fascinated by the potential of ‘synthetic reality’, an area that brings together virtual reality, AI, ‘deepfakes’ and other technologies. Two more startups in the news this week offer some more sparks for thought on this score. Hour One is the first: a company that takes real people and turns them into virtual characters, with uses […]

Fortnite publisher’s battle with Apple steps up another notch

Things are getting even spicier in the battle between Fortnite’s publisher Epic Games and Apple over the latter’s App Store rules. Apple booted Fortnite out of the store last week after Epic added a new non-Apple payment option, but now Epic is claiming that Apple has threatened to “terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off […]

Spotify wants to ‘imagine new possibilities’ for audiobooks

When Spotify bagged an exclusive on a new J.K. Rowling audiobook – a celebrity re-reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – we wondered if it hinted at ambitions to do more with audiobooks. Now look: Spotify is recruiting a head of audio books for its Spotify Studios division, based in either New York or LA. “In this role, you […]

San Juan Symphony launches $99 ‘digital season’ passes

If you thought getting concerts up and running again with four-piece bands was tricky, imagine doing it with an orchestra. The classical music industry has been hit for six by Covid-19 lockdowns just like the rest of the music business, but there are also orchestras figuring out alternative, digital models to start their recovery. The San […]

Warner Music acquires viral content firm Imgn Media

Warner Music Group’s latest acquisition is an intriguing one: of Israeli company Imgn Media, which creates videos and memes designed to go viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. TechCrunch reported that WMG paid “just under $100m” for the company, which claims that its content generates more than 3bn views a month, with more than 40 million subscribers […]

Tencent’s WeSing is keeping China’s karaoke sector thriving

Karaoke is enormously popular with people of all ages in China, with millions flocking to ‘KTV venues’ [karaoke bars] to partake in singalongs. The Chinese government’s 2019 China Music Industry Development Report valued the karaoke sector at RMB 101.07bn (nearly $14.6bn) in 2019, up 12.3% year-on-year with that rise driven in part by online karaoke […]

NetEase Cloud Music saw ‘triple-digit revenue growth’ in Q2

Chinese technology firm NetEase published its latest financial results last week, with no new figures for its NetEase Cloud Music streaming service. However, the service was mentioned in the subsequent earnings call with analysts. “For NetEase Cloud Music, we continued to see triple-digit revenue growth in the second quarter year over year, with both membership and […]

Trump sets new deadline of 12 November for TikTok US sale

Earlier this month, President Trump set a 45-day deadline after which transactions by US companies with ByteDance or Tencent’s WeChat would be banned. That was seen as a deadline for a sale of TikTok’s US operations, but now a new executive order from the president has set a longer deadline for that. ByteDance has been ordered do divest all […]

Facebook launches paid livestreams (and takes a pop at Apple)

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, musicians offering livestreams have been exploring the different ways to make money from them. Paid ticketing has tended to be restricted to the smaller livestreaming companies, while on the bigger social/video platforms (Facebook/Instagram, YouTube and Twitch) it’s been more about free streams and revenue from virtual item sales and/or merchandise. So, […]

TikTok rival Likee now has 150m monthly active users

TikTok isn’t the only short-videos app from China to be making a big splash. Tech firm Joyy’s latest financial results reveal the growth of its app Likee, which has a similar community of people creating videos with special effects and music. The app, formerly known as ‘Like’, saw its average mobile monthly active users grow by 86.2% year-on-year […]

Glass Animals created a music video with fans’ head-scans

Back in May, we wrote about an inventive digital marketing campaign for the band Glass Animals, letting fans poke around a virtual computer desktop and create stuff with their assets. Now label Polydor’s ongoing campaign for their album ‘Dreamland’ has taken some new twists. Fans were asked to download an app called Trnio, which scans real-world objects and […]

Spotify launches a website for Billie Eilish’s ‘My Future’

Billie Eilish’s latest single ‘My Future’ has been streamed nearly 42m times on Spotify at the time of writing. That figure may be boosted by the latest marketing partnership between the artist and streaming service: a website called ‘A Letter to Your Future Self’. It encourages fans to “write a letter and send it to […]

Beggars Group financials reveal £63.1m revenues for 2019

Independent label Beggars Group has filed its latest annual financial results with Companies House in the UK. The company’s revenues fell from £74.2m in 2018 to £63.1m in 2019. The report notes that the 2018 figure was skewed by Beggars’ revenues from the sale of Spotify shares after the streaming service went public. “Like for like we […]

John Legend is meditation app Headspace’s new ‘chief music officer’

We’re big fans of famous artists being given spurious job titles as part of partnerships with tech companies, dating back to the glory days of Lady Gaga as Polaroid creative director and Will·I·Am as director of creative innovation at Intel. But perhaps meditation app Headspace really did need a ‘chief music officer’ and John Legend […]

Covid-19 sparked ‘boom’ in paid subscriptions in UK says ERA

‘How Britain entertained itself during lockdown’ is the title of the latest press release from UK body the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era). Surprisingly, the answer isn’t ‘doomscrolling Twitter in tears and making forts from panic-bought toilet rolls and flour’. Era is understandably more focused on music, TV and gaming habits, and a “boom in sales […]

Chinese music subscribers have doubled to 60m in two years

Music Ally has just published our latest country profile, of China, and it includes some new figures on the growth of the recorded music industry there. We already knew from the IFPI that in 2019 China’s market grew by 16% to $590.9m, becoming the seventh biggest recorded music market in the world. For the profile, […]

‘Apple One’ entertainment bundles could debut in October

Apple may be preparing to launch its long-awaited bundles of entertainment services, with music included. Bloomberg reported that the bundles – working title: Apple One – are “planned to launch as early as October alongside the next iPhone line”. It went on to suggest that the basic bundle will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, with more expensive […]

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’, […]

How to successfully livestream a music event

  *Learn more about Music and Livestreaming: reaching fans AND making money   Another day, another livestream. Well, probably another thousand of them. A year ago, livestreams were defined by their rarity, now they are defined by their ubiquity. So how to stand out in a market that has suddenly become very busy? We speak […]

Tools: Wavo. Marketing and Analytics for Music

With the huge number of platforms out there driving the success of modern marketing campaigns, it is increasingly challenging to get the full picture of how a campaign is performing and to then decide where to invest or what to amend. Wavo aims to solve this problem for those investing in artist development and marketing, […]

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 […]

Beck teams up with Nasa for an AI-powered visual album

Beck released his ‘Hyperspace’ album in November 2019, but now it’s getting reimagined in an interesting way: as a visual album called ‘Hyperspace: A.I. Exploration’. It’s a partnership with space agency Nasa, pulling in mission images, visualisations, animations and data, using several AI technologies (computer vision, machine learning and generative adversarial neural networks to be […]

Spotify launches ‘Day 1 Club’ for its RapCaviar playlist

“Have you been listening to your favorite rappers since Day 1?” asks Spotify’s latest spin-off website, complete with a big red button tagged ‘Prove It’. Proving it involves signing in to Spotify to be told which hip-hop stars you were listening to early. “An exclusive group of fans that have been riding with an artist the […]

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 […]

Muse to bring Simulation Theory show to virtual reality

Muse’s live shows are famously spectacular when it comes to the staging, so it’s no surprise that the band’s new concert film is out of the ordinary too. Drawn from their ‘Simulation Theory’ tour in 2019, it will be released to IMAX cinemas on 17 August in full wraparound vision – yes, there’ll be lots of social distancing […]

Neil Young Archives site ditches Facebook and Google logins

Neil Young’s official archives site is getting rid of the ability for fans to log in using their Facebook or Google accounts. Instead, they’ll be asked to register their email address and a password to access the site. In an article explaining the decision, Young – who’s been a prominent voice in the run-up to this year’s […]

NetEase Cloud Music says it’s tops for Japanese music in China

China has become an important market for Japanese artists and labels in recent years. Now streaming service NetEase Cloud Music is staking its claim to be the “platform of choice for fans of Japanese music” in China. It’s wielding a report published by research firm Small Antlers Think Tank as its proof: a survey of […]

Aloha by Elk wants to improve remote music collaboration

We’ve written about a blizzard of new livestreaming startups in recent months, but Aloha – which is the work of Swedish ‘audio operating system’ firm Elk – is a bit different. It’s described as “a virtual shared studio, rehearsal room, stage and or classroom with options to stream performances to audiences over social platforms” – so it’s a production […]

Judge sinks Genius’s lyrics-scraping lawsuit against Google

Last June, Genius accused Google of scraping its song lyrics without permission, and later in the year launched a $50m lawsuit against the tech giant and its partner LyricFind. It hasn’t gone well for Genius: a federal judge has now dismissed the lawsuit. The Hollywood Reporter has the full ruling, and the gist is… well, it’s complicated. The […]

NMPA hopeful of keeping songwriters’ top line rate increase

We reported yesterday on the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the appeal by Amazon, Google, Pandora and Spotify against new songwriter royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board. The decision was seen as backing the streaming services in ruling against the procedure used to set the new rates. Now […]

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 […]

Campaign aims to support Deaf and disabled people in UK music industry

British organisation Attitude is Everything focuses on accessibility in the live music sector. Now it’s launching a new campaign called ‘Beyond the Music’ which aims to create more opportunities for Deaf and disabled people in the music industry. The campaign will be “supporting Deaf and disabled people to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and […]

Metallica preps drive-in gig with $115 ‘per vehicle’ tickets

$115 to see Metallica? We know concerts are in short supply, but this is outrageo… Oh wait. Metallica’s upcoming concert does cost $115 for a ticket, but that ticket covers a vehicle with up to six people: potentially just over $19 per head, which is actually rather good value. The band are the latest artist to […]

Separating TikTok from ByteDance won’t be done in 45 days

Who’d have thought it: untangling a company from its parent corporation takes time. Reuters is reporting that if Microsoft wants to buy TikTok within President Trump’s 45-day deadline, it will surely have to negotiate more time to actually separate the social app from ByteDance. “A technically complex endeavor that could test the patience of President Donald Trump’s […]

Report claims Amazon is adding podcasts to its music service

When we interviewed Amazon’s music boss Steve Boom earlier this year, we asked him if Amazon Music might follow Spotify’s push into podcasts. “I can’t talk much about it… we’ve been noting with interest how much time they’re spending on podcasting, but I don’t really have much to say on it,” he said. That may change […]

UMG signs NetEase deal and launches label with Tencent Music

It was a busy day for Tencent Music, and for China’s digital music industry as a whole. Universal Music Group made two announcements about its latest deals there: one with NetEase Cloud Music, and the other with Tencent Music. The NetEase deal is significant: a multi-year direct licensing agreement (rather than UMG’s previous deal that […]

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 […]

Tools: Youtube Analytics for Artists

While each of the major DSPs has launched their own suite of analytics and data dashboards, the competition around who is providing the most actionable and unique set of insights is getting fiercer and fiercer, with each platform leveraging their own strengths and building on what they already offer. Hoping to raise the bar further […]

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 […]

Simon Fuller will launch his next pop group… with TikTok

Entertainment mogul and ‘Idol’ founder Simon Fuller has been busy with his multi-national pop band Now United in recent years, but now he’s got a new project on the go. It’s a partnership with TikTok to put a new group together. The press release doesn’t have many details other than the promise of an “in-app audition process on TikTok”, […]

Indian artist Badshah questioned by police over ‘fake views’

Remember the controversy last year when Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record with his new video ‘Paagal’? After it emerged that views from Google ads were included in the total, YouTube did not accept the claimed record – and later changed its charts and 24-hour-record calculations specifically to exclude paid advertising views. […]

Jazz Re:Fest to stream with MQA and Bluesound partnership

Another festival forced to switch from offline to online this year is Jazz Re:Fest in the UK. Its 2020 version will be held on 23 August, with four hours of performances streamed from a two-stage set in The Mill studios. That way, artists will be able to perform their 30-minute sets while the other stage […]

LiveXLive financials reveal revenues of $10.5m for Q2 2020

US music-streaming and livestreaming company LiveXLive has published its latest financial results, including a new record for quarterly revenues: $10.5m. That’s in the second quarter of 2020 (its fiscal Q1), with those revenues having grown by 11% year-on-year. The company reported a net loss of $7.5m though, although at least that was down from $11m this […]

Ride apologise after technical problems nix paid livestream

The music industry is increasingly excited about the potential for ticketed livestreams, but we can’t ignore some of the risks involved too. For example, British band Ride were forced to abandon their concert last night and apologise to fans who’d bought tickets to watch it online, after technical troubles at the venue. Ride: Live From […]

Julianna Barwick releases three tracks on meditation app Calm

Julianna Barwick is the latest artist to release music through meditation app Calm, following in the footsteps of Moby, Above & Beyond and Kygo. Barwick, who’s signed to Ninja Tune, is releasing three extended versions of tracks from her latest album ‘Healing Is A Miracle’, with Calm getting a 30-day exclusive on the new versions. […]

Spotify teams up with DJs for ‘track IDs’ dance playlists

“Do you ever dance to your favorite DJ and wonder what track they’re mixing?” begins Spotify’s latest blog post, seemingly blithely unaware that the Shazam app was ever invented. Sorry, we’ll stop snarking: Spotify is actually doing something interesting around this question. It’s a new range of playlists under the brand ‘track IDs’ which are […]

Google launches tools for audio ads on Spotify and Pandora

Is there more money to be squeezed out of the ad-supported music market? Google hopes so. But for once, we’re not talking about YouTube in this context. Google’s advertising business is also putting some more effort into ad-supported music, with the launch of some audio-focused tools in its Google Ad Manager service, and an audio […]

Latest Bandcamp Friday looks to build on $75m sales so far

Independent artists and labels have sold $75m of music and merchandise so far on the ‘Bandcamp Fridays’ series of sale days, during which the D2C platform waives its revenue share. Today’s the latest one, as part of Bandcamp’s decision to repeat the sale on the first Friday of every month – complete with an ‘Is […]

TikTok rivals continue to see spike in US downloads

Events around TikTok and its proposed ban in the US are moving so fast, any data on how consumers are responding risks being out of date as soon as it’s published. Still, Sensor Tower has some new numbers on how TikTok’s rivals are benefitting from the uncertainty. “As talk of a ban ramped up from […]

Executive order bans US transactions with ByteDance… and Tencent

As promised, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all transactions by US companies with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. However, a separate order extends the ban to messaging app WeChat AND its parent company Tencent – including “any subsidiary of that entity”. Strap yourselves in. Given Tencent’s web of investments in and from music industry […]

Midem and Nyege Nyege to shine a ‘Spotlight on East Africa’

One of the best steps forward for the Midem industry conference in recent years has been its expanded focus on Africa: not just booking a few speakers, but running events there and programming day-long strands at its flagship Cannes event. Now Midem is building on that with a partnership with Ugandan music festival Nyege Nyege. […]

Music Tectonics conference goes virtual in October

Last year’s Music Tectonics conference in Los Angeles was a welcome addition to the industry calendar, and it’s returning for its second year on 28-28 October. As with other conferences, the event will be online, with the promise of “highly interactive small-group and one-on-one networking” and exhibitor/demo rooms, along with panels and keynotes. Among the […]

Defected Records and Heineken get ready for a football party

The Covid-elongated European football season isn’t over just yet: the next three weeks will see the Champions League and Europa League tournaments play out their remaining rounds. Now one of football body UEFA’s key sponsorship partners Heineken has teamed up with dance label Defected Records to soundtrack the rejigged tournaments. They’ll be holding an eight-hour […]

Amazon Music goes deep on catalogue: starts with Bob Marley

Amazon Music has announced a new initiative called [Re]Discover, which it says will focus on digging into artists’ back catalogues. It’s kicking off with Bob Marley this month: there’s a [Re]Discover branded playlist drawn from his entire career, but also the launch of an ‘Official Bob Marley Store’ on Amazon’s main shopping service, bringing together music streams, […]

SoundGym launches ‘a gym for the ears’ of musicians

A startup called SoundGym has launched a service called ToneGym, which it describes as “a new ear-training web application that uses deep gamification and deliberate practice methods to help musicians train, learn, improve skills, and unleash their full potential”. Or, if you want the soundbite: “A gym for the ears”. The web-based service will offer daily […]

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 […]

NetEase Cloud Music ups moderation after ‘NetEmo’ meme

We’ve written before about one area where Chinese music streaming services like NetEase Cloud Music beat most of their western equivalents: they have a thriving comments ecosystem where listeners are giving their views on music. The flipside of that: those western streaming services don’t have to worry about comment / community moderation, which can be […]

Hipgnosis buys royalties for Blondie co-founders’ catalogue

This will soon be the Daily Hipgnosis Cash-Splashing News Site if the company continues at this rate of snapping up music catalogues. This morning’s announcement concerns Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, the co-founders of Blondie, who have sold 100% of their writer’s share and neighbouring rights royalties to Hipgnosis for an undisclosed amount. This is […]

Indian labels hit short-video apps with infringement notices

It’s not just the US where short-video apps are facing pressure from music rightsholders over their licensing deals (or lack of). It’s happening in India too, where a number of these apps have been spiking in popularity since TikTok was banned there in June.  Livemint reported that four music labels – including India’s biggest, T-Series – have […]

YouTube responds to Koda over Danish music takedowns

Earlier this week, we wrote about a controversy brewing Denmark with a dispute between collecting society Koda and YouTube. Koda announced that YouTube would be removing its members music from its platform, after the society declined a temporary extension to its licensing deal (while a new one is being negotiated by pan-Nordic hub Polaris) that […]

YouTube reveals Google Play Music will shut down in October

As long goodbyes go, Google Play Music’s has been LONG. It was July 2017 when YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen first revealed plans to merge Google’s music streaming (and cloud locker) service with YouTube’s equivalent – then called YouTube Red, but since rebranded as YouTube Music. Nearly three years later, in May 2020, YouTube […]

WMG boss: ‘We’re very happy that Spotify is investing in podcasting’

Having published its latest financial results this morning, Warner Music Group held its quarterly earnings call this afternoon, with CEO Steve Cooper and CFO Eric Levin fielding questions from analysis. One of those questions focused on Spotify’s podcasts expansion, and whether it’s causing tensions around the potential impact on royalties paid out to companies like […]

WMG revenues down 4.5% year-on-year but digital still growing

Warner Music Group has published its latest quarterly financial results, for its fiscal third quarter (calendar Q2). They reveal the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have on its business. WMG generated revenues of $1.01bn last quarter, down by 4.5% year-on-year. However, its digital revenues grew by 11% to $720m as part of that, […]

Clash Video short-video app signs up 200k users in its first week

It seems to be the season for TikTok alternatives to be staking their claims for young video creators. The latest example is a new app called Clash Video, which soft-launched last week for iPhones in the US. “We’re building the first Creator-Founded social network, empowering short form video creators through innovative monetization options, inclusive communities, and […]

Apple Music hosts virtual listening party for Victoria Monét

Apple Music is working with artist Victoria Monét on “an exclusive virtual listening party” taking place this Thursday (6 August) to celebrate the release of her new album ‘Jaguar’ the following day. The event will be presented by Apple Music’s ‘Today’s Hits’ playlist and hosted by Beats 1’s Nadeska Alexis. According to Broadway World, this is […]

WMG appoints head of global equity, diversity and inclusion

Warner Music Group’s push for diversity and inclusion across its company has a new boss. Dr Maurice Stinnett will be WMG’s new head of global equity, diversity and inclusion, having joined from a similar role at BSE Global, owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center venue. Stinnett certainly has seniority: he’ll […]

Motown’s latest artist accelerator will be run virtually

Storied label Motown Records is holding its second accelerator for artists this year, although thanks to Covid-19 the program will be virtual this time round. The 12-week program will see four artists from Detroit – Madelyn Grant, Curtis Roach, B Free and Sara Marie Barron – sharing $20k in grants and working with the label and […]

Publisher Round Hill Music sues TuneCore and Believe

It’s clearly the time of year for lawsuits and legal threats. Publisher Round Hill Music is suing distributor TuneCore and its parent company Believe. The lawsuit claims that the two companies “reproduced and distributed musical compositions owned or controlled by Round Hill… despite knowing that the Round Hill Compositions were never properly licensed. Moreover, beyond failing […]

Snap strikes deals for licensed music in Snapchat app

Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc has signed music licensing deals with Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell, Universal Music Publishing, Merlin and a number of members of US publishing body the NMPA. Bloomberg reported on the deals this morning, adding that Snap is testing a new feature in Australia and New Zealand that lets people add […]

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 […]

Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok in US and other countries

Events have moved fast since Friday for TikTok’s business in the US, it’s fair to say. We’ll start with the latest news: confirmation from Microsoft that it’s in talks about an acquisition of TikTok in the US and certain other countries, with a mid-September deadline to reach an agreement with the app’s parent company ByteDance […]

One Direction and Goldie get new anniversary websites

One Direction and Goldie? Now that’s a collaboration made in musical heaven, possibly. Sadly they’re not working together (yet!) but they have both just got new websites to celebrate significant anniversaries. It’s 10 years since One Direction were formed during TV show The X Factor, and their 10 Years of 1D website offers an interactive […]

Blockchain music service Audius raises $3.1m funding round

We first wrote about startup Audius when it raised a $5.5m funding round in August 2018 for a service that was described as ‘SoundCloud on the blockchain’. When it launched its public beta a year later, it was interesting, but its ‘censorship-resistant’ philosophy created some headaches in the potential for unauthorised uploads, and the difficulty […]

Wire protest after Bandcamp ‘scam page’ sells their album

Bandcamp has been getting a lot of love from artists in recent months, thanks to its Covid-19 relief and Black Lives Matter sales. One artist who’s not quite so keen, though, is British post-punk band Wire, who’ve been having some problems with their albums appearing on Bandcamp without their say-so. “You may have recently seen […]

Twitch to feature artists in its first ever ‘music month’

Twitch is building on its recent growth of music livestreams by launching its first ever ‘Music Month’. It’ll be spending August promoting some of the musicians who are operating on its platform, including featuring their streams on the service’s homepage and its own official channel. The latter will include a show every Friday called ‘Follow […]

Hipgnosis snaps up Barry Manilow’s global recording royalties

Another day, another big deal for UK-based Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which continues to enthusiastically splash its cash on music catalogues. The latest belongs (or rather, belonged) to Barry Manilow. “Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of Barry Manilow’s worldwide recording royalties (excluding Sound Exchange royalties) in his Catalogue comprising 917 songs,” announced the company this morning. We […]

ATC and Beggars Group team up for Driift online concerts firm

The founders of music management company ATC Management have launched a new firm called Driift, to produce and promote ticketed online concerts. The team has already worked on recent livestreams for Laura Marling (who sold 6,500 tickets for her recent Union Chapel concerts), Lianna La Havas and Dermot Kennedy (who Driift says sold more than […]

YouTube under fire over music licensing impasse in Denmark

Something is kicking off in the state of Denmark, and it’s the latest music licensing controversy around YouTube. Danish collecting society Koda issued a press release last week titled ‘Google removes all Danish music from YouTube’, although the first paragraph makes it clear that this removal hasn’t happened yet. The background is negotiations for a […]

It’s official: Facebook launches music videos (in the US)

As predicted, Facebook is officially launching music videos, courtesy of licensing deals with all three major labels plus indie licensing agency Merlin, as well as BMG, Kobalt, and other labels, publishers and collecting societies. It’s not a global launch. For now, it’s in the US, as well as in India and Thailand, where the new […]

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, […]

Spotify CEO talks Covid-19, artist incomes and podcasting (interview)

Spotify announced its latest financial results yesterday, with growth in listeners and subscribers at the top end of its forecasts, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. CEO Daniel Ek talked to Music Ally after the financials were announced, starting with his view on the growth. “It’s very encouraging. Already last earnings call we were seeing a lot […]

Spotify Q2 2020 financial results reveal Covid-19 impact

The early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic’s global spread didn’t hamper Spotify’s growth in the first quarter of this year. But how about Q2, the first full quarter (near enough) of lockdowns, furloughs and financial uncertainties across much of the world? Today we have our answer, with Spotify’s latest quarterly financial results. The post Spotify […]

Shodement app aims to help independent artists build fanbases

UK firm Shodement has been building its ‘talent network’ since 2012, working on music projects and developing artists – the latter including investment, signing brand deals, booking live shows, managing releases and building fanbases. It also has a creative agency division working with big brands of all stripes, and runs events and festivals. Now it’s also in the […]

Music recording app Audiobridge launches equity crowdfunder

Audiobridge is one of the startups trying to do clever things in the cloud with the music recording process. Its iOS app enables musicians to work remotely on multi-track projects, recording and uploading tracks from their smartphones to sync them across the devices of their collaborators. The company is also raising money through an equity crowdfunding campaign, hoping to […]

Taylor Swift Folklore made $1.2m in three days… from one Chinese DSP

Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Folklore’ may have been a surprise release, but its popularity is entirely unsurprising. According to Republic Records, the album sold more than 1.3m copies in its first 24 hours, and was streamed 80.6m times on Spotify and 35.5m times on Apple Music. Critical acclaim has been flooding in for the album, […]

Wiley’s antisemitic tweets spark 48-hour Twitter walkout

British artist Wiley had something of a meltdown on social media on Friday and Saturday, posting a series of antisemitic tweets and Instagram videos over a period of several hours. Eventually his account on Twitter was temporarily suspended and many of the tweets removed, although a number of his posts are still live on Instagram […]

Snoop Dogg / DMX Verzuz battle broke viewing records

Fresh from striking an exclusive deal with Apple Music, the Verzuz battles series garnered its highest viewing figures yet from its latest episode. That’s the one where Snoop Dogg and DMX went head to head in a ‘battle of the dogs’ last Wednesday (22 July). Verzuz posted the stats itself, noting that the battle had […]

Influencers firm TalentX gets into the record label business

Will Josh Richards be the next new music star to emerge on TikTok? TalentX certainly hopes so. It’s the digital talent management company behind influencer collective Sway LA, of which Richards is a member, and he’s the first signing to the company’s new label TalentX Records. It’s a partnership with Warner Records, which it claims […]

Former Echo Nest / Spotify exec invests in startup MyPart

MyPart is the Israeli startup that’s been working on technology for deep analysis of music, for A&R and other purposes. Part of the Abbey Road Red incubator, we profiled the startup earlier this year, and reported on its pitch at the NY:LON Connect conference in January. Anyway, you know another company that famously built tech […]

Beats marketplace BeatStars expands into distribution

BeatStars is the online music marketplace that famously sold Lil Nas X the $30 trap beat that he’d use for ‘Old Town Road’. By June 2019, the company had paid out more than $50m to its community of producers supplying beats for sale, and that had grown to $70m by April 2020, when BeatStars signed […]

India’s new livestreaming tariff plans are already changing

We reported earlier this month on plans by Indian collecting society IPRS to start charging licensing fees for music livestreams – and initial criticism that the plans could leave artists out of pocket. Now the plans are changing. Medianama reported that the introduction of the new tariffs appears to have been delayed until September, amid […]

Tencent Music reveals figures for indie artists initiative

‘Tencent Musician’ is Tencent Music’s program for independent artists in China, offering them distribution and promotion across its three streaming services. To celebrate the initiative’s third birthday, Tencent Music (TME) has published some figures. “The program has generated 590 million yuan in revenue for original music content creators since its inception,” it announced. That’s around […]

TV Girl shine spotlight on Spotify fake music problem

‘Fake music’ on streaming services is an ongoing challenge for labels and artist teams to tackle. That’s the case whether the music is really by a star but uploaded without their permission under a different artist name, or the flipside of that: music by an unknown artist uploaded in a way that makes it appear […]

MUdaL – Digital Transformation in Latin America – event summary

The first edition of MUdaL was a great success – fostering new thinking, initiatives and connections for the region during these difficult times. (Translated from Spanish: Spanish language version) MUdaL managed to bring together, in its first edition, 3,000 registered participants , including artists, bands, booking and management agencies, along with industry professionals across Latin America and beyond […]

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 […]

Twitter in ‘very early’ phase of exploring subscriptions

The key Covid-19 trends for social media seem clear: spikes in users and engagement (because lots more people are at home doomscrolling through their feeds) but big challenges to ad revenues, with brands holding back their budgets. Twitter’s latest financial results are the latest evidence for both. The company averaged 186 ‘monetisable daily active users’ (mDAUs) in the […]

Spotify answers some questions about playlisting policies

This should be received wisdom by now, but still isn’t: getting on streaming playlists isn’t a marketing strategy. It’s certainly part of a wider plan, but putting your faith entirely in getting a prominent slot on a playlist is a big eggs-in-one-basket mistake. And besides, in 2020, it’s all the other activity and your story […]

MMP app recommends music based on your facial expression

Facial recognition technology is currently a hot potato in all kinds of sectors, music included. So the idea of a music app that monitors the listener’s facial expression to provide recommendations may spook a fair few people. It’s interesting to see what’s possible though, and a new app called MMP is using machine learning technology to […]

Study explores how 90s music is being remembered (or not)

Research news of the day! “Millennials know ‘No Diggity.’ But Gen Z? Maybe half of them, at best.” This is one of the findings from an interesting study published by The Pudding on how well (or not) hit songs from the 1990s are being remembered. It’s based on more than 3m datapoints collected via a music quiz […]

TikTok launches a $200m ‘creator fund’ in the US

TikTok is paying a growing number of music creators through its licensing deals – see this week’s agreements with Believe and the NMPA for the latest on that. Now the social app is launching a $200m fund in the US for ‘creators’ more generally – as in people creating videos on its platform. “We’re launching the TikTok Creator Fund to encourage those […]

Pandora kicks off a new series of concert livestreams

Streaming service Pandora is getting into the livestreaming game with a series of performances branded Pandora Live. The first one takes place next week (28 July) with country star Kane Brown, with the promise of more “across country, Latin, R&B, pop, and rock” to follow this year. Besides streaming performances live, Pandora said that there’ll be […]

Bandcamp’s rev-share waiving Friday sales to continue

Bandcamp has held four of its special sales – Fridays where the platform waives its revenue share of all music and merch sales – since March, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. According to CEO Ethan Diamond, those four days generated more than $20m of sales for artists and […]

Taylor Swift drops surprise album… with eight deluxe editions

“Surprise,” wrote Taylor Swift in a social post yesterday. “Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.” The album – ‘Folklore’ – was written and recorded in Covid-19 isolation. “Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this […]

TikTok signs licensing deal with US publishing body NMPA

Another day, another licensing deal for TikTok, and this one’s a biggie. It’s signed a global, multi-year agreement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the US. That’s big because the NMPA has been rattling its sabre at TikTok for some time over licensing, with publishers angry at the lack of royalties coming their […]

Apple-commissioned study defends App Store commission rates

Apple is facing antitrust scrutiny over the way it runs its App Store, including the 30% cut of in-app purchases (which drops to 15% for subscriptions after a year of someone paying) that it takes. But look! Here’s a study that has found “Apple’s App Store commission rate is similar in magnitude to the commission rates charged […]

Actress gets a guess-to-unlock campaign for free track

Ninja Tune-signed artist Actress has launched what we can term a “guess-to-unlock” campaign for new (and free) track ’88’. The British electronic act started it all rolling by tweeting a very simple message on 14th July. “Album on bandcamp in 24hrs,” he wrote. There was some speculation among his fanbase that this was going to be the […]

BTS set a new world record for livestreamed music audience

We’ve already reported on BTS’s successful ‘Bang Bang Con’ livestreamed concert in June. Now it’s been awarded an official Guinness World Record for attracting the ‘most viewers for a music concert live stream’. The official figure is 756,000 fans from more than 100 countries – and what made that even more impressive was that this was a paid livestream, with […]

LyricFind expands into India and Africa with new teams

Lots of music companies see India and Africa as important areas for growth in the coming years, and that applies to companies focusing on lyrics too. LyricFind announced its expansion plans yesterday, with two new remote teams in India and South Africa. The Indian team will be focusing on providing lyrics in Hindi and Marathi, […]

Napster lets subscribers choose charities for subs donation

Napster has launched a new charitable giving programme in the US called Napster4Good. People taking out a new Napster subscription can nominate a charity to receive a portion of their $9.99 a month, for as long as their subscription lasts. What’s more, the entirety of their first month’s subscription will go to that charity. Napster has […]

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 […]

HBO Max and Peacock are already losing big movies

Imagine if, a few weeks after you started paying for Spotify or Apple Music, some of your favourite artists’ back catalogues disappeared from the service? There have been pullouts like this in the past (Taylor Swift, most famously) but in 2020, we take it for granted that the catalogues of music streaming services are both […]

Lianne La Havas campaign wants fans to grow virtual flowers

British artist Lianne La Havas has just released her latest, self-titled album, and one of the marketing elements for it wants to encourage fans to get planting… virtually. The ‘Flowerbed’ website is exactly that: a digital flowerbed where fans can plant a new flower every day. They make those flowers bloom by signing in to Spotify […]

Tim McGraw to host an ‘all-live album premiere’ livestream

The longer this lockdown goes on, the more artists are finding different ways to experiment with the format of livestreams – and also to charge for them. Country star Tim McGraw is the latest example. He’s going to be holding a “unique all-live album premiere” event on 22 August, broadcasting from Nashville to tie in with […]

Virtual re-Ellie-ty: Ellie Goulding makes XR music videos

British artist Ellie Goulding has a pair of new videos out for her new tracks ‘Brightest Blue’ and ‘New Heights’. They’re the result of a partnership between label Polydor and Vevo for the latter’s ‘Official Live Performance’ series, but what’s notable is their use of ‘XR’ technology, which blends camera footage with computer-generated content in […]

KKBox to launch OurBeat platform for aspiring beatmakers

“KKBOX Group and Bitmark’s Open Letter to Beatmakers” may be slightly over-egging the pudding of what’s basically the launch of a new licensing platform. The letter, from Taiwan-headquartered digital music firm KKBox’s group chief content officer and rights tech company Bitmark’s CEO, is announcing OurBeat, which in fairness is an interesting thing. “Anyone who registers […]

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. […]

TikTok star Addison Rae is launching a podcast on Spotify

Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian West, Michelle Obama… and now Addison Rae. Spotify’s lineup of podcast exclusives continues to swell, with Rae the latest to join its roster. She’s currently the second most popular star on TikTok with 51.4 million followers – behind only Charli D’Amelio’s 72.6 million – and now she has a deal with Spotify’s […]

Elon Musk wants to stream music straight to people’s brains

Who needs expensive Bluetooth headphones or fiddly earbuds that get lost somewhere between the sofa and the shops? Not Elon Musk, that’s for sure. His latest startup, Neuralink, is reportedly working on a brain/computer interface that can stream music straight to your grey matter. “If you’ve solved hard problems with phones / wearables (sealing, signal […]

Amplify London pilot to fund five grassroots music projects

In February this year we wrote about Amplify London, a new partnership between YouTube Music and UK charity London Music Fund to support grassroots projects for young musicians. Now the first five projects to benefit have been announced, which will reach up to 200 11-21 year-olds across London in the UK. The projects include: a […]

Facebook signs deal with Indian collecting society IPRS

The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) has signed a deal with Facebook for use of the repertoire it represents in videos, music stickers and stories on the platform. The deal also covers similar usage on Instagram, with IPRS saying it “will cover licensing and royalties whenever music represented by the IPRS is used on Facebook […]

Apple Music bags exclusive deal for Instagram Verzuz battles

One of the hits of the Covid-19 lockdown has been the Verzuz battles on Instagram, where high-profile artists go head-to-head for… well, they’re less battles and more mutual love-ins, exchanging their hits in an atmosphere of respect. Anyway, they’ve been hugely popular on Instagram Live: Jill Scott and Erykah Badu attracted more than 740,000 viewers […]

Spotify research explores dearth of UK podcast diversity

We reported recently on production company Broccoli Content’s launch of an ‘Equality in Audio’ pact to change the lack of diversity in the podcasting industry. Spotify was one of the companies signing up – admittedly after a bit of public nudging from Broccoli Content boss Renay Richardson – and now the streaming service has published some research that shows […]

Underoath launch three-part series of livestream concerts

Metalcore band Underoath are the latest artist to do something more involved with livestreaming. Underoath: Observatory is a series of three concerts, each of which will see the band playing one of their albums in full, from a venue in Florida. Tickets for each show cost $15, while a three-show ticket bundle is $45. However, each […]

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 […]

PRS for Music and Qatar Airways case to be heard in England

UK collecting society PRS for Music is suing airline Qatar Airways for copyright infringement, and the case will be heard in the English courts – an early boost for the society. “The airline, which operates over 200,000 flights per year, and offers music as an integral part of its in-flight service with up to 4,000 entertainment […]

Ultimate Fighting Championship launches music streaming app

We sometimes use ‘fight’ and ‘battle’ metaphors when talking about the music streaming market. Well, you wouldn’t want to get into a scrap with the latest entrant into that market. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the popular mixed martial arts organisation, and now it’s launched its own music streaming app: UFC Ultimate Sound. It’s the result […]

Google joins Facebook with stake in JioSaavn’s parent telco

Reliance Jio Platforms is the parent company of Jio, the largest telco in India and the owners of the JioSaavn music streaming service. The company has been on a spree of funding announcements in recent months – raising more than $20.2bn from various technology companies and investors. We reported on Facebook taking a $5.7bn stake in April, […]

Twitter hack by bitcoin scam compromised verified accounts

Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa and Apple’s official Twitter account all had a message for followers last night: to send them bitcoin, and because they were feeling generous, they’d send back double. Sit down and grab the smelling salts for this revelation: their accounts had been […]

Two more livestreaming startups: Gramrphone and LiveFrom

And still the new livestreaming startups keep coming: we have two more to tell you about today. Gramrphone was one of the six winners in the #NextStageChallenge hackathon earlier this year – Music Ally was a partner in that event. Its service helps artists to stream live from their digital audio workstation (DAW) via Gramrphone’s software, creating their […]

Amazon IVS could help music companies build their own Twitch

Amazon already owns one of the key livestreaming video platforms, in Twitch. Now its Amazon Web Services division is launching something that could help brands (perhaps including labels) to create their own-brand versions of Twitch. It’s called Amazon Interactive Video Services (IVS) and is described as “a managed live streaming solution that is quick and easy to […]

Will Smith has joined the lo-fi hip-hop YouTube bandwagon

In the Q1 2020 edition of our Music Ally Report (which you can read here if you missed it) we looked at ‘the hi-power growth of lo-fi hip-hop playlists’ on YouTube and Spotify alike. Round-the-clock streams of chilled-out hip hop have attracted millions of subscribers to YouTube channels run by curators like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music, […]

Liteboxer launches, already hailed as the ‘Peloton of boxing’

Liteboxer is the latest fitness startup that’s making music a key part of its service. It launched yesterday, with both TechCrunch and Engadget running with the ‘Peloton of boxing’ shorthand to describe the company’s offering. That means a combination of hardware and software: a free-standing machine with lights to guide your punches, which connects to a smartphone or tablet app […]

Hipgnosis buys catalogue of songwriter and producer RedOne

Another day, another catalogue acquisition for deep-pocketed investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund. This time it belongs to Grammy-winning songwriter and producer RedOne, whose credits include collaborations with Lady Gaga (‘Poker Face’, ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Just Dance’ included); Nicki Minaj, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez. Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of RedOne’s songs and recorded music interests: […]

Amazon Music gets its own program for emerging artists

Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to launch a programme to push emerging artists. It is called Breakthrough and echoes the initiatives of Spotify (Radar), Apple Music (Up Next), Deezer (Next) and other rivals. The initial crop of acts is drawn from the US, UK and Germany – Arlo Parks, Jay1, Kiana Ledé, Gabby Barrett, Provinz […]

Apple News updates show how Apple and Spotify’s audio strategies differ

Spotify’s ‘audio-first’ strategy – as originally outlined here – is about one audio app to rule them all, currently focused on music and podcasts, with an eye to other kinds of content in the future. All delivered through the same app. Apple’s strategy is markedly different: its audio is split between three different apps. Music in Apple […]

Live concerts are opening up again in Japan and Germany

It’s important that the industry (us included) starts to move away from talking about the ‘live concerts shutdown’ as a global trend, now that a growing number of countries are tentatively opening up their live industries again. In Japan, for example, the government has further relaxed its restrictions on mass gatherings. Having previously capped indoor events […]

Watch for YouTube impact of Facebook’s music videos move

Let us take you back on a short tour of Facebook music-video speculation. Start in 2012 when reports claimed Vevo – then the key aggregator of music videos – was in talks to ditch YouTube in favour of a partnership with Facebook. Then move to 2015, when video was one of the topics in the social network’s tentative talks […]

IAB report quantifies Covid-19 hit to US podcast ad revenues

Advertising industry body the IAB has published its latest figures on the podcast ads market in the US. “With an expected growth rate of 14.7%, US podcast advertising revenues are nearing the $1bn mark,” it claimed. Are they really, though? The report doesn’t actually give a figure for its 2020 revenue prediction, but it does […]

Feature·fm adds conversion data from Anghami, Qobuz and more

We’ve reported on Linkfire’s various partnerships to get conversion (or ‘attribution’) data from streaming services, so that music marketers can tell not just that fans tapped or clicked on smart links, but whether they streamed, followed etc afterwards. But this isn’t an idea confined to one smart-links company. Feature·fm has just announced the addition of […]

Pitbull signs LiveXLive deal for paid livestreams and vodcast

Pitbull is the latest artist looking to do more with livestreaming and video content, and he’s found a partner to help. He’s working with US firm LiveXLive in a “multi-year revenue-share content partnership” that will see Pitbull play a series of pay-per-view livestream concerts, while also launching a video podcast (or ‘vodcast’). The latter will […]

Twitch set for multi-week run of Amazon Music Sessions

Slowly but surely, the crossover between Amazon Music and its parent company’s Twitch subsidiary is growing. Amazon Music’s channel on the livestreaming platform has been ramping up during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the streaming service has also been throwing some promotional weight behind artists’ own streams on Twitch. Now it’s launching a series of ‘Amazon […]

FanTracks and Bulldog DM are the latest livestream startups

To adapt the old cliché about buses: you wait ages for a music livestream startup to arrive, then two come at once! Except actually, the two are arriving just after what feels like another couple of dozen. Can FanTracks and Bulldog DM stand out from the crowd? FanTracks is launching with a prominent artist at […]

SoundCloud moves into instant audio mastering services

SoundCloud’s evolution from a streaming service to a suite of distribution and related tools for artists continues. The company now has a ‘Mastering on SoundCloud’ service, powered by Dolby. “As the last step of your upload flow, you can make any track release-ready in minutes for one low cost per master,” promises SoundCloud. “Pick from […]

Indian TikTok rival Roposo is adding 500k new users an hour

TikTok remains banned in India, and some of the rival short-form video services there are enjoying their moment in the sun as a result. One of them, Roposo, has given some startling figures to Bloomberg on its growth in the wake of the ban. “It’s peaking at 500,000 new users an hour and expects to […]

PRS for Music warns of royalties hit to come from Covid-19

British collecting society PRS for Music has offered another warning that the Covid-19 pandemic will be delivering its biggest hit to songwriter royalties later this year. PRS has just paid out its July 2020 distribution, £132.4m, which was up by 3% year-on-year. However, CEO Andrea Martin warned the society’s members that there are tough times […]

Spotify Russia launch is part of eastern Europe expansion

Last week’s reports of an imminent Spotify launch in Russia were correct, but it’s part of a wider expansion in eastern Europe for the streaming service. Yesterday, it launched in 13 new countries in the region: Russia plus Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The […]

Live Nation to double Black US leadership representation by 2025

The latest music company making promises about how it plans to make its senior management more diverse is Live Nation. “We commit to increasing diversity at every level of our company. This will start at the very top with our Board of Directors, where we plan to nominate more Black, indigenous and people of color […]

Jason DeRulo makes ‘far more’ than $75k per TikTok post

Apparently rumours on Twitter have suggested that music artist Jason DeRulo earns around $75k for every TikTok video that he posts. Complex went to the horse’s mouth to establish whether it’s true, asking DeRulo about it in an interview. “I think it’s tacky to say what I do make from them, but it’s far more than […]

‘Before the MP3 the music industry thought it sold music…’

“The MP3 file has become the URL,” said Spotify boss Daniel Ek 10 years ago, in 2010. Yet the MP3 lives on: it’s actually celebrating its silver (25th) anniversary today, with the file extension name .mp3 having been minted on 14 July 1995 by the Fraunhofer Society. Within five years, the MP3 would be turning the record […]

Music Tectonics launches community app for the music biz

You might know Music Tectonics for its music industry podcast, or for its conferences in the US. Created by PR company Rock Paper Scissors, it’s now pulling its content and community together in a mobile app. Released for Android and for iPhone yesterday, it’s aimed at anyone working in / interested in the intersection of music and technology. It offers […]

Canada music consumption up 5.7% this year despite Covid-19

Nielsen Music / MRC Data has published its mid-year report on the Canadian music market, revealing that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, total audio consumption rose by 5.7% in Canada in the first half of 2020. That’s based on the research firm’s formula blending album and track sales with on-demand audio streams. Breaking that down, Canadians […]

How has the DNA of a music hit changed since the year 2000?

Midia Research’s latest blog post digs in to how the structure of music hits has changed over the past 20 years, albeit with a limited dataset: the Billboard top 10 in July 2000 and July 2020. It offers four main conclusions. First, songs are shorter overall: a 16% decrease from an average length of four minutes […]

Spotify launches top and trending podcasts charts in 26 countries

More than 15 million people follow Spotify’s ‘Global Top 50’ music chart, making it an important discovery channel on the service. Now it’s looking to do the same thing for podcasts, albeit locally. This afternoon, Spotify is launching podcast charts in 26 countries, including the US and UK. The format mirrors its music rankings: the […]

Zoë Keating and David Lowery talk streaming, fans and music artists

Besides being musicians, Zoë Keating and David Lowery have been two of the most prominent voices for artists’ rights in the streaming era. Solo artist Keating has regularly published her streaming income data to further transparency around payouts for artists. She was an early adopter of Bandcamp, went public with her concerns about YouTube’s artist […]

What can the global music industry learn from K-Pop and South Korea?

K-pop is the genre that ate the world whole. Acts like BTS, Blackpink, Twice and TVXQ are not just some of the biggest acts within the genre – they are some of the biggest acts in the world. There is a lot that other artists can learn from how K-pop markets itself, how its acts […]

Tools: MUSIXMATCH. The world’s largest catalog of song lyrics and translations.

Musixmatch provides licensed lyric features to the likes of Google, Apple Music, Amazon and Instagram, having deals in place with over 10,000 publishers globally. It also has direct relationships with over 1m artists who are verified on the platform through their labels, their publishers or even directly.  Hot on the heels of the announcement that […]

Report analyses every single YouTube ‘trending’ video of 2019

More than 70k videos appeared in YouTube’s ‘trending’ section last year. That’s the tab that spotlights videos that YouTube’s algorithm thinks are currently taking off, and it can drive significant traffic to them. So how does it work? Data scientist Ammar Alyousfi has been doing the hard work, analysing the data from those 70k videos […]

Mike Singer single promoted with stream-to-unlock campaign

Warner Music Central Europe has created a stream-to-unlock initiative to push ‘100Tausend’ (‘100 Thousand’), the new single from German artist Mike Singer which is released on 17 July. Users going to a page on his website pick their streaming service of choice and then they have to play ‘Paranoid’ (the first single from the new […]

The Streets set for August pay-per-view livestream concert

The Streets are the latest artist to explore ticketed livestreams, with plans for a pay-per-view concert on 6 August filmed at the Earth venue in London. It’s part of the band’s series of drive-in concerts across the UK, planned to replace the string of festival dates which were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The […]

Apple Music launches At Home With Sessions with Arlo Parks

Spotify Singles has been combining artists’ re-recordings of their own songs with covers of other musicians’ tracks for some time. Now Apple Music is getting in on the idea with its new ‘At Home With Sessions’. Emerging British artist Arlo Parks is the first to feature, reworking three of her own tracks. As the name […]

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 […]

Facebook SDK, not Juice Wrld album, crashed Spotify

Music Ally is long enough in the tooth to remember the days when big music stars really could cause traffic spikes that might crash big digital services. That’s rarely the case nowadays, which is why we were extremely sceptical on Friday when we saw the headline ‘Juice Wrld’s fans crash Spotify as posthumous third album […]

MLC says it will launch its user portal ‘later this quarter’

The US’s new Mechanical Licensing Collective body (MLC) has provided an update on its plans to launch a portal for independent songwriters to register their works. At the NY:LON Connect conference in January, MLC chair Alisa Coleman said the aim was to have the portal live early in the second quarter of 2020. Then the […]

Bandcamp generated $20m of sales for artists in last month

The Financial Times is the latest publication with an approving profile of Bandcamp. It’s part of a wave of admiration for the platform after its recent Covid-19 and Juneteenth / Black Lives Matter rev-share waiving sales, as well as the wider issue of artists’ income from streaming. There’s a new figure too. “Over a 30-day […]

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 […]

Penguin Random House reveals its ‘accelerated inclusion plan’

As the guests on the recent #TheShowMustBePaused edition of the Music Ally TV Show made clear, music companies promising to address a lack of diversity in their businesses is good, but the proof will be in what they actually do to make that happen. With that in mind, see what book-publishing giant Penguin Random House UK […]

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 […]

Ashnikko’s new track has a Beats by Dre and TikTok partnership

Artist Ashnikko’s breakthrough last year was fuelled by TikTok, when her track ‘Stupid’ went viral. Now, for her new track ‘Daisy’ she is prioritising the platform – this time with Apple’s music hardware brand Beats by Dre on board as a marketing partner. That means a music video with prominent placement for the new PowerbeatsPro headphones, […]

‘Contextual intelligence’ startup NumberEight raises $2.3m

We’ve written about UK-based startup NumberEight a few times in the past: for example its Midemlab contest pitch in 2018, and its first funding round later that year. The company has been working on “contextual intelligence” technology, using various sensors on smartphones to understand what their owners are doing, and then (after anonymising them) to help digital services serve […]

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 […]

Recording Academy stresses diversity of its new members

US industry body the Recording Academy has faced a lot of criticism about the diversity of its membership in recent years. It’s hoping to win some praise for its 2020 intake though. More than 2,300 new people have been invited to join, and while the big names include John Legend, Ozuna and Yolanda Adams, it’s the demographics […]

UnitedMasters Select gives artists 100% of their royalties

Music distributor UnitedMasters has launched a new tier for the artists who use its service. it’s called UnitedMasters Select, and it’ll cost them $5 a month – but will enable artists to keep 100% of the royalties for their music. The alternative is a free tier where the royalty split between artists and UnitedMasters is 90/10. […]

Spotify’s Discover Weekly has driven 2.3bn hours of listening

Spotify’s algorithm tried to make us stream R3HAB and we said… yes, yes, yes! The streaming service is celebrating the fifth birthday of its algo-personalised ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist by revealing that Moroccan-Dutch DJ R3HAB is the ‘most discovered’ artist from the playlist in the most countries – 16 – since its launch in 2015. There’s also a big […]

Court grants motion to dismiss Wixen / Pandora complaint

In June 2019, Wixen Music Publishing sued streaming service Pandora, alleging ‘unauthorized commercial exploitation’ of lyrics from songs in its catalogue. The case focused on Pandora’s feature showing lyrics from partners including LyricFind, which was mentioned in the lawsuit. How’s the case going? Well, there’s been a development this week. The latest filing reveals that Pandora moved to […]

175m music fans are tracking artists in WMG’s Songkick app

Warner Music Group bought the Songkick app and website in July 2017, and has continued to run it since as a way for people to find out when artists they like are playing concerts near them. WMG is also continuing to invest in Songkick: today, for example, it announced the appointment of a VP of technology […]

Report: Amazon Music subscriptions grew by 104% in last year

Research firm Counterpoint Research has published its latest estimates for the size of the music streaming market globally. It claims that by the end of March there were 394m music subscriptions globally, representing year-on-year growth of 35%. Counterpoint also offered its estimates for some of the biggest players, suggesting that Spotify accounted for 33% of […]

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 […]

Mrs. Green Apple celebrated fifth birthday in Animal Crossing

If you’re a regular reader of Music Ally, you may have spotted that we have some Animal Crossing fans on the team. We’ve seen a couple of music marketing campaigns make use of the latest version of the game, Nintendo Switch title Animal Crossing: New Horizons – pop artist Alice Chater turning her music video […]

Spotify’s new site creates personalised workout playlists

Spotify’s latest campaign to create personalised playlists for listeners is called Soundtrack Your Workout, aimed at people who are exercising. On the new website, they choose a workout length (from 15 minutes to two hours); choose to include only music, only podcasts, or a mix of the two; explain what exercise they’re doing (yoga, running, […]

Liam Payne set to launch ticketed livestreams on Veeps

Veeps! Another new livestreaming startup for artists? Actually, no, this one’s been around since 2017, and was founded by Benji and Joel Madden from rock band Good Charlotte. It’s a platform for ticketed livestreams, and the latest artist to sign up is a biggie: former One Direction star Liam Payne. He’s going to be launching […]

Livestreaming startup Yoop to open more ‘eSpace’ venues

We wrote about startup Yoop in May, as the latest entrant to 2020’s livestreaming-platform scramble. Its concept was an ‘eSpace’ virtual venue, which artists would be able to play ticketed live performances in. Now Yoop is expanding its activities: it’s creating eSpace venues in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and the UK, to complement its […]

Spotify snags $20m podcast advertising deal with Omnicom

Podcasts have sent Spotify’s valuation soaring in recent weeks, but they’re also starting to generate income for the company. Yesterday, it announced a ‘strategic podcast advertising partnership’ with advertising giant Omnicom Media Group, which sees the latter committing a $20m spend for the remainder of 2020. Note, this is a drop in the ocean of […]

Audiomack partners with ACRCloud on content-filtering system

In November 2018, YouTube said it had spent $100m developing its Content ID system for detecting copyrighted music in uploads and giving rightsholders options to remove, leave or monetise those videos. That level of investment is beyond many music startups, but there are partnerships to be done. The latest example is with US streaming service […]

Spotify sees more labels and distributors crediting songwriters

Spotify’s head of songwriter and publishing relations Jules Parker says that the streaming service’s addition of songwriter credits had a knock-on effect for labels and distributors. “Since we began publicly displaying song credits on Spotify in 2018, we’ve seen a 60% increase in how often labels and distributors credit songwriters on their new releases, allowing […]

TikTok was world’s most downloaded non-gaming app in June

Analytics firm Sensor Tower has published its latest rankings for mobile apps, reporting that TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app globally in June 2020, ahead of Zoom and Facebook. The company claims that TikTok was downloaded more than 87m times across Apple and Google’s app stores, up 52.7% year-on-year. However, its top two markets […]

After India ban, TikTok could face further sanctions in US

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been hit by a ban in India as part of a wider crackdown on apps of Chinese origin. But there may be trouble brewing for the companies in the US, too, due both to the political jockeying around hardball trade negotiations between the US and China, and specific […]

International Indie Music Season conference set for China

Happy International Indie Music Season! Well, it’s not quite started yet: the three-month project (IIMS for short) starts on 17 July with a three-day conference and performances series, which has been designed as “a platform for the global music industry and China to meet”. Music Ally China is an official partner of the event: our […]

China now has 904m internet users – 75m more than last year

A report published by the research division of the South China Morning Post puts some new figures on the growth of internet access in China – a key driver for the streaming music market there. The report claims that there are now 904 million internet users in China – 63% of the population – with […]

MelodyVR and Live Nation set for Brixton Academy livestreams

We reported last week on VR music startup MelodyVR’s financial performance in 2019 – £195k of revenues but a net loss of nearly £15m. The company is continuing to explore new partnerships to grow its business, though, with the latest being a deal with Live Nation in the UK. The pair will launch a series of […]

Wiz Khalifa to play Genius Live interactive livestream

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about livestreamed concerts during the Covid-19 lockdown, it’s that fans relish interactivity: at its simplest level seeing an artist read and respond to comments in between songs. Genius is going further though: it’s launching a new “performance-oriented livestreaming and experiential platform” called Genius Live, with lots of interactivity. Wiz […]

Recording Academy teams with racial justice org Color of Change

US industry body the Recording Academy has announced a partnership with racial justice organisation Color of Change, including making a $1m donation to it. The pair will be working together on initiatives including creating a Black music advisory group for the Academy; a membership campaign to sign up more Black voting members; and an industry-wide […]

Covid-19: US music industry ‘missed out on nearly 900m streams’

Research firm Nielsen Music/MRC Data has published the ‘fifth wave’ of its ongoing study of Covid-19’s impact on the music and entertainment industries, based on surveys in the US up to the week of 10-14 June. Among the findings: audio and video music streams have recovered from their initial decline in the early weeks of […]

UK musician bodies criticise Epidemic Sound / Adobe deal

In June, creative-software company Adobe announced the launch of a library of royalty-free music and audio with partners Epidemic Sound and Jamendo. Now two bodies representing musicians in the UK have attacked one of those deals. The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union aren’t happy about Epidemic Sound’s business model of paying composers upfront in […]

UMG strikes distribution deal with Indian label Desi Melodies

Universal Music Group has big ambitions in India, having launched local hip-hop label Mass Appeal India last August; building its VRYL Originals roster of artists; and expanding its leadership team early this year. Now UMG has announced a distribution deal with Indian label Desi Melodies, which focuses on Punjabi music – at a time when […]

YouTube launches new analytics features for music artists

YouTube had analytics that musicians were using long before Spotify for Artists, Apple Music for Artists, Amazon Music for Artists and the rest. Along with SoundCloud, it was an early tool for artists to see (for example) where their fan hotspots were around the world, and plan tours accordingly. YouTube’s analytics weren’t specifically for musicians though: […]

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 […]

BTS Army (and Cape Verde) help K-Pop stars break iTunes record

Is there any country in the world where BTS aren’t big? They’re certainly big in Cape Verde: their ‘Black Swan’ track has gone to number one in the country’s iTunes chart. Why are we writing about this? Well, this was the 103rd country where the track had topped the iTunes rankings, breaking Adele’s record of […]

Harry Styles reads a ‘sleep story’ for meditation app Calm

“Hello. I’m Harry Styles…” Those four words have set off some social-media excitement overnight, spoken by Styles himself in a promo video for meditation app Calm. He’s going to be reading one of the ‘sleep stories’ that have been so popular in the app, with the idea being that Harry’s voice will send fans off to […]

Anti-piracy project The Music Mission reports first findings

In March, anti-piracy firm AudioLock and distributor Label Worx launched a campaign called The Music Mission, to try to shut down paid piracy websites, with backing from dance labels like Defected. Now the initiative appears to be releasing some findings from its investigations, according to filesharing-focused news site TorrentFreak. Some of those findings are eye-opening. “One particular […]

Youth Music launches £2m Incubator Fund for 18-25 year-olds

British charity Youth Music is launching a £2m ‘Incubator Fund’ that aims to help 18-25 year-olds – particularly those from under-represented groups – get into the music business. The fund itself is for music companies, offering grants of between £5k and £30k to spend on wages and support for these young people. Youth Music is especially […]

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, […]

Tech firms want ‘strong copyright safe harbours’ in US/UK deal

With the UK ‘Brexiting’ the European Union, it’ll need a new trade deal with the US. Unsurprisingly, the big American internet companies have views on what that trade deal should require from the UK in terms of copyright and safe harbour rules. And no, sticking to the spirit of the recent European Copyright Directive isn’t […]

Apple Music launches Africa Rising artist discovery initiative

Apple Music really is going big on music from Africa. The service’s latest move is a bi-monthly ‘artist program and companion playlist‘ which it says will focus on emerging talent from across Africa. Every two months, a new artist will be chosen to focus on – Nigerian-born Omah Lay is the first – with plans to “use […]

Musician Maria Schneider files class action YouTube lawsuit

Artist and composer Maria Schneider has criticised YouTube publicly several times in the past. For example this open letter in 2016 calling the service “a resounding disaster” for musicians; and this piece in 2017 about the net neutrality issue which included the claim that “they deny musicians like me access to their Content ID blocking program”. Three years on, […]

ByteDance warns of $6bn lost revenue from India apps ban

There’s a big, startling figure in the latest story about the Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese-origin apps, including TikTok. “An insider at TikTok parent ByteDance is telling Caixin the ban could come with a heavy price tag, costing the company more than $6 billion in lost revenue — a sum greater than all […]

Hipgnosis Songs Fund seeks £200m of new equity financing

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has been snapping up a series of publishing catalogues in big-money acquisitions, and it has no plans to stop – but it needs another injection of funding to fuel its ambition. “With over £1 billion of acquisitions in the pipeline covering some of the most important songs and artists of all time, much […]

Drake’s rap-battle partner Caffeine raises $113m funding round

Microsoft may have closed its Mixer livestreaming service and thrown its lot in with Facebook, but another of Twitch’s live-video rivals has just raised a big funding round. Caffeine is the company, and the round is $113m, with VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners joining media group Fox Corp in the investment. Bloomberg reported that it values Caffeine […]

British music industry unites for #LetTheMusicPlay campaign

For every social-media hashtag campaign that takes off, many more wither and die without anyone noticing. So hats off to the British music industry for avoiding the latter fate with its #LetTheMusicPlay campaign this week across Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. Artists, industry folk and fans alike were sharing their memories of live music, and the campaign undoubtedly […]

Survey: Covid-19 is sparking music streaming growth in Japan

More Japanese people are willing to engage with music via streaming during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey of Japan’s music industry conducted by Music Ally. Music Ally Japan surveyed labels, managers, producers and other industry figures in the months of April and May, asking them about the impact that Covid-19 has had […]

Deezer claims $1.4bn valuation with TV Azteca partnership in Mexico

Deezer is doubling down on Latin America courtesy of a partnership with Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca that it says values the music streaming service at €1.3bn ($1.4bn). That’s based on a $40m investment in Deezer by TV Azteca over “a multi-year period”, and would mean that Deezer has not just maintained its ‘unicorn’ status – the […]

Israel’s music expansion opportunities, from wellness to AR

Digital music revenue in Israel will reach $40m in 2020, according to Statista, which also predicts an annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2020 to 2024, with streaming revenue to expand by 15.6% in 2020 to $36m. This result would put Israel – the subject of our latest country profile – roughly on a par […]

The Royalty Network debuts Black Empowerment Thru Music scheme

Music publishing company The Royalty Network has launched an initiative to help emerging Black musicians, producers and songwriters build contacts and careers in the music industry. Called Black Empowerment Thru Music, the scheme will include offering free studio time at the company’s Los Angeles facility; financial support for organisations; grant matching; mentoring; webinars; donating instruments to […]

More than 400 brands are boycotting Facebook ads this month

We wrote last month about the launch of a ‘Stop Hate for Profit‘ campaign encouraging brands to pause their advertising on Facebook and Instagram, in protest at Facebook’s policies around hate speech and groups. The boycott kicked off yesterday (1 July) with Reuters reporting that more than 400 brands are taking part, despite “last-ditch” meetings with Facebook executives who […]

Facebook is shutting down its TikTok-inspired app Lasso

“Can Facebook ‘Lasso’ teenagers with its new music app?” was the question in a Music Ally headline back in November 2018, as the social network launched a new app heavily inspired by TikTok – complete with a big (and licensed) library of music clips. Now we have the answer to our question: no it could not. […]

YouTube lands exclusive on archive Elton John concerts

His mammoth Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour might be on hold for now, but Elton John is making a series of archive shows available exclusively on his official YouTube channel. The series premieres on Friday (3 July) with the stated aim of raising $500k in donations for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund. Each […]

Apple Music’s new ‘INDIY’ playlist focuses on DIY artists

Our first response to Apple Music’s new playlist ‘INDIY‘ is wondering how to pronounce it: is it ‘indie’ or ‘indie-why’ or ‘in-D-I-Y’? Whatever: its focus is on independent artists who, for the most part, are self-producing and self-releasing their music. It’s also mining a particular musical landscape: “the dissolution of borders between indie and R&B” […]

Spotify Premium Duo couples’ subscription expands globally

Spotify started testing its Premium Duo subscription plan in March 2019 in five countries: it was a $12.99-a-month Spotify subscription for couples, complete with a ‘Duo Mix’ playlist blending their tastes. It expanded to 14 more countries in Latin America in September last year, but now it’s going more global, launching in 55 markets. The idea is to tempt […]

Twitch was watched for more than 5bn hours in Q2 2020

Twitch is one of the platforms seeing a big spike in usage during the Covid-19 pandemic. A new report claims that in the second quarter of this year, Amazon’s live video service was watched for 5.07bn hours. That’s up from 3.11bn in the first quarter of this year – a 62.7% quarter-on-quarter increase. The report comes […]

Tools: Smart links roundup

Using smart links is now standard practice for artists of all sizes and, as a result, competition among smart link companies has increased exponentially. Because of this, they are all trying to develop and innovate in ways that make them unique and that help them stand above their competitors.  Here we overview the latest updates […]

Spotify pulled into debate over ownership of ‘The Nod’ podcast

In the music industry, arguments over creators and ownership tend to focus on master recordings and publishing rights: how musicians can retain them from the start, or get them back later in their careers. Interestingly, there’s a similar debate starting in the podcasting industry.  As The Verge explains, it’s not just about the rights, but […]

BandLab debuts a new ‘Albums’ tool for self-releasing artists

BandLab is one of the most popular and longest-established online tools for creating music and collaborating with other musicians, although its parent company has diversified into physical instruments and music media – including buying magazines like NME and Uncut. Now it’s getting into digital distribution for independent artists, with a tool called ‘BandLab Albums’ and […]

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda created his new album on Twitch

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of musicians have been thinking about doing more with live-video platform Twitch. But what should they do? Live performances, DJ sets (even though there are issues here), fan Q&As, playing games… All these have been tried. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park has been using Twitch to broadcast his actual creation […]

Who cares about the charts nowadays? Well, 3.2m Brits do…

There’s a notion you’ll see voiced quite often in 2020, which is that ‘people don’t care about the charts any more’ – referring to the official music industry charts, rather than the rankings on streaming services (which are perceived to still carry a certain degree of clout). The UK’s Official Charts Company is offering a […]

Weav Music adds voice coaching to adaptive music running app

We’ve been writing about startup Weav Music since 2017, when the company co-founded by Google Maps co-creator Lars Rasmussen signed its first major label deals. Its first app, Weav Run, was an app for runners with ‘adaptive’ music that changed according to their pace, but not just through speeding it up and time-stretching the tracks. Now […]

Delic launches music collaboration / rights management platform

We’ve written about Delic before: it’s a service for musicians and rightsholders to manage, share and collaborate on music, which launched in beta last year, then raised £250k of funding early this year to prepare for launch. That launch happened yesterday. Musicians can sign up; collaborate with one another and manage those projects, including sharing the files; and also use […]

Downtown Music Holdings to host a ’summer school’ this July

The music industry has been talking and thinking about internships a lot recently: specifically how to use them to make sure a diverse group of people are entering the industry, rather than (for example with unpaid internships) catering to a narrow demographic. One new challenge, however: internships are tough during a global pandemic when many […]

Landr’s latest expansion is ‘Pro Network’ digital marketplace

Landr began life as a startup with an AI-powered tool to automate the mastering of recordings, before expanding into distribution and promotion. It also raised a $26m funding round in July 2019 for more expansion. Part of that growth involves the launch of ‘Landr Pro Network’, which the company describes as a “digital marketplace that enables professionals […]

MelodyVR’s 2019: £195k of revenues and a £15m net loss

Virtual reality music startup MelodyVR has published its financial results for 2019. The company’s revenues were £195k ($242k) last year, down from £1.2m in 2018. MelodyVR’s content sales – people paying to watch VR music performances in its catalogue – nearly doubled from £19k to £36.7k, but its revenue from content licensing dropped from just under £1.2m […]

Covid-19 tipped to spark €4.5bn loss for French music industry

In June, we reported on a claim by French industry body SNEP that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic could deliver a €235m blow to recorded music revenues in France this year. But that’s just a fraction of the anticipated losses, it turns out. Another industry body, TPLM (Tous Pour La Musique) which represents all aspects of the French […]

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 […]

Music Ally Startup Files: SyncFloor aims to shake up the sync market

Kirt Debique met his SyncFloor co-founder Cestjon McFarland during a 20-year stint at Microsoft. Immersed in the Seattle music scene, he left the tech giant to start a label (Brick Lane records, named after his favourite part of London) when the music industry was struggling. “I spotted the bottom of the trough of the last […]

The Midnight create a prom playlist generator for all ages

Ninja Tune/Counter Records act The Midnight have a new single out called ‘Prom Night’ and have created a special prom-themed playlist generator for it. On a dedicated website, users input their name as well as the date (month and year) of when their prom would have been – for non-US readers, this usually happens when you […]

Hipster Bait turns music discovery into an AR scavenger hunt

“Unreleased rock songs are hiding all around North America. That’s right. You could be sitting on a song right now,” is the blurb from new app Hipster Bait’s website. Launched for Android and iOS devices, it’s an “interactive rock’n’roll music discovery game” that uses augmented reality (AR) technology. The idea: every week the company will ‘release’ […]

Production music firm Artlist raises $48m funding round

Israeli firm Artlist is one of the companies offering a royalty-free catalogue of licensed music (plus video clips and sound effects in its case) to filmmakers, YouTubers and games developers. Launched in 2016, it now has more than one million customers, with YouTube creators having swelled those ranks in recent years – making it a competitor to Epidemic […]

K-Pop stars Blackpink break YouTube 24-hour views record

This one is going to get the K-Pop stans roused up. In April 2019, BTS broke the record for one-day video views on YouTube, with the 78m views of their ‘Boy With Luv’ video trumping the previous record-holder, ‘Kill This Love’ by fellow K-Pop group Blackpink. Now the record has been broken again… by Blackpink! […]

First speakers and agenda details for Sandbox Summit Global

Today we’re announcing the first confirmed speakers and outline agenda for our Sandbox Summit Global conference, which takes place online in September. The event will include Platoon’s Denzyl Feigelson in conversation with Q&A’s Troy Carter, as well as interviews with K Camp (the artist behind the viral hit ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ and business partner Genius. The […]

Outdustry launches China music publishing arm Outdustry Songs

Outdustry has long been one of the most respected companies helping western music firms and artists do business in China (and more recently, India too). Its services have mainly focused on marketing and rights management / licensing, but now Outdustry is launching a music publishing arm focused on China called Outdustry Songs. It has non-exclusive direct […]

UMG expands partnership with USC Annenberg diversity initiative

“Black artists consistently top the popular music charts, but African-Americans and other people of colour are not adequately represented in decision-making roles in the music business,” is the first line of a press release from… the biggest label group in the music business. So what is Universal Music doing about this disparity? Having already pledged a $25m ‘change […]

TikTok strikes licensing deal for Prince back catalogue

There has been a lot of debate about which music licences TikTok has already, which ones it doesn’t (publishers have been particularly sharp on this one) and what it needs to do next to ensure performers and songwriters are getting paid for usage of their work in its app. So it’s interesting to see TikTok press-releasing […]

YouTube tests TikTok-style segmented 15-second videos feature

YouTube is testing a new feature for people to upload videos that are 15 seconds in length. We can’t think where it got that idea from… Okay, this isn’t a pure TikTok clone: there are some interesting aspects to it. “We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in […]

Finnish artist Artem launches an ‘8D’ music video

Imagine if 2D was four times better, or if 3D was, ahem, 2.67 times better. That’ll be 8D! And it’s 8D that Finnish artist Artem, who’s signed to Warner Music, is exploring with his new music video. We should stress, 8D isn’t about extra dimensions, but rather about a recently-developed way of recording and editing […]

Spotify releases Marquee stats including 20% conversion rate

‘Marquee’ is Spotify’s tool that pops up in its mobile app suggesting that people listen to a new release by an artist that they like. In the US and Canada, it’s currently being beta-tested as a paid advertising slot. Now Spotify has launched a new web page promoting the feature itself, including some stats on those […]

Deezer gets promotional push on Huawei’s AppGallery

Chinese technology firm Huawei is a controversial company in the west, but it is still hugely successful globally, having shipped 240m smartphones in 2019 alone. A trade ban with the US has meant the company can’t preload Google’s Android apps on those handsets however, so Huawei has developed its own ‘AppGallery’ app store as an alternative to […]

UMG signs former Rocket Girls 101 star Sunnee to global deal

Earlier this week we reported on UMG’s latest success story in China: strong figures for the new album by artist Linong Chen. Now it’s talking about a new signing in the country: Sunnee (杨芸晴) from girl group Rocket Girls 101 (火箭少女101) who split up earlier this week. UMG is releasing Sunnee’s new single ‘By Your Side’ […]

Report claims Apple could face an antitrust probe in the US

The debate about how Apple runs its App Store continues to rumble, and politics website Politico suggests that there could be a significant development in the US soon. “The Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general are taking the first steps toward launching an antitrust probe of Apple,” it claimed, adding that the probe may […]

Lady Gaga launches creative Chromatica contest with Adobe

In May we reported on Marshmello teaming up with creative-software firm Adobe on a ‘Be Kind’ campaign, getting fans to create a short video based on his new single. Now the company is launching a new contest with Lady Gaga based around her latest album ‘Chromatica’. Gaga is providing her own assets for the competition: photos, illustrations, logos, icons […]

Suicide Silence and Bandsintown launch geofenced virtual tour

Livestream music concerts can air globally, but that doesn’t mean they have to. We’re seeing a growing number of artists experiment with geofenced online concerts, which can only be viewed by fans in a particular part of the world – sometimes as part of virtual ‘tours’ with a string of performances. Now deathcore band Suicide Silence […]

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 […]

RightsHub reveals data deals with music recognition firms

RightsHub is one of the companies developing technology for managing music rights data and assets. It’s just announced five partnerships with music recognition technology (MRT) companies to help its customers get their music registered with those services. The five are: Gracenote, DJ Monitor, Soundmouse, BMAT, Yacast. The company says that getting music registered with MRT companies […]

Sonos to lay off 12% of staff due to Covid-19 pandemic

Connected audio firm Sonos is the latest company to announced plans for layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The Company initiated a plan on June 23, 2020 to eliminate approximately 12% of its global headcount. In addition, the Company is closing its New York retail store and six satellite offices,” revealed Sonos in a regulatory […]

Fair Trade Of Music campaign aims to support US musicians

A coalition of US music industry organisations has launched a campaign called Fair Trade of Music, banging the drum for American musicians to be paid what it sees as their rightful royalties for usage of their music abroad. “Many countries deny some non-native music creators royalties for the use of their work even though royalties are […]

Rostr report claims music managers’ rosters are still male-dominated

Last December, Music Ally wrote about a report from startup Rostr analysing its database of music management companies and their artists. Now it has repeated the trick for 2020. Its report, which is free, is based on more than 3,000 management firms’ data, and ranks them by roster size, Spotify audience and YouTube subscribers. It also looks at […]

Controversy grows over Live Nation artist terms for 2021

Attempts by Live Nation to change its agreements with artists for concerts and festivals in 2021 have sparked a big row in the US which shows little sign of abating, even as the company began to row back from some of the controversial changes. A memo sent to talent agencies had suggested that “unprecedented times” required […]

Instagram expands eligibility for in-app shops to musicians

Instagram has updated its ‘commerce eligibility requirements’ dictating who’s allowed to use its Instagram Shopping feature to sell products directly from their profiles. Good news: musicians are now included. And candle-makers will be waxing lyrical about the change too… “Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merch or […]

Grid app aims to help events return with social distancing

Concerts are returning in some countries as Covid-19 lockdown measures ease, but with a variety of social distancing measures. Grid is a new app that’s positioning itself as helping: not just music concerts, but other kinds of hospitality and events businesses too. The app can be used for mobile ticketing and checking in to events; to […]

Pandora launches Qmunity music station for Pride 2020

June is the annual Pride month celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, although due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations will by necessity be much more digital. Music streaming services are joining the party with playlists and other activations, as usual. In the case of Pandora, that includes launching a new radio station called Qmunity. Sponsored […]

Move the Record event to raise money for independent stores

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a grim period for independent music venues and record stores alike, as they ponder not just when they’ll be able to reopen, but whether. It’s been heartening, at least, to see the success of several campaigns to support these businesses with artists and fans chipping in. The latest initiative sounds […]

Universal Music launches Spinnup distribution arm in Japan

Spinnup is one of Universal Music Group’s distribution services for independent artists, which originally launched in Sweden in 2013 before expanding to other countries. Artists can use it to upload their music to digital services, with the additional hope of being spotted by UMG’s A&R teams – more than 80 Spinnup-distributed artists have been signed by […]

UK’s Labour Party throws weight behind user-centric payouts

The debate about streaming royalties and ‘user-centric’ payments – primer here if needed – has largely been confined to the music industry so far. Could politicians get involved? Jo Stevens of the UK’s Labour Party, who’s the shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, got involved during a radio discussion last night. Asked by presenter […]

Spotify to promote Artist Fundraising Picks with emails

Spotify launched its ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ feature in mid-April, enabling artists to raise money from their Spotify profiles either for themselves and their teams, or for one of the charitable funds and organisations taking part in the streaming service’s Covid-19 Music Relief project. By the end of that month, around 50,000 artists were using the new feature. […]

Report: there were 400m music subscribers globally at end of Q1 2020

There were 341 million people using paid music subscriptions at the end of 2019, according to global music industry body the IFPI. Now we’ve got an update on that figure, albeit from a different source. Consultancy firm Midia Research has published its music subscriber market share figures for Q1 2020, claiming that by the end of March […]

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 […]

Spotify steps up podcast monetisation with in-app offers

Spotify is trying something new around podcast advertising: ‘in-app offers’. It means that when someone’s listening to a podcast and hears an ad from a sponsor with a particular offer, they’ll also be able to tap on a link to redeem that offer from within the podcast’s episode page in Spotify’s mobile app. “Most podcast […]

Twenty One Pilots launch a never-ending music video

Last week, we covered Twenty One Pilots’ scavenger hunt to promote their new single, ‘Level Of Concern’, which got fans to track down codes hidden online to unlock content. Which they did much faster than expected. “We didn’t think you would tear through the codes so easily,” the band tweeted. “Should have taken a week but you did […]

BTS take over Uno! mobile game and donate to Crew Nation

Music Ally knows card game ‘Uno!’ best for being second only to Monopoly in the chart of ‘games most likely to cause almighty family rows at Christmas’. What we don’t know it for, until now, are digital marketing campaigns with world-famous K-Pop groups. But yes: BTS are taking over the mobile game version of ‘Uno!’ […]

Hamburg’s Music WorX accelerator seeks four music/tech startups

We’ve written regularly about music/tech accelerators and incubators like Techstars Music, Abbey Road Red and Marathon Artists Labs. Another one that’s well regarded is Music WorX in Hamburg, run by the publicly-funded Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft body. It’s kicking off a new cohort for 2020, with a three-month program for “teams who have not yet or […]

Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV opens up to students for free

Legendary producer Quincy Jones is opening up his Qwest TV educational platform to school pupils and music-college / university students around the world. They’ll have free access to more than 1,000 concerts, documentaries and pieces of archive footage covering the full gamut of genres. P eople wanting access can pre-register now, with the content to be accessible […]

ASCAP launches paid internship program for Black students

US collecting society ASCAP has launched a new paid internship program for students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Five students will work for ASCAP (remotely) during July and August, with plans to repeat the scheme every summer in future years. “We have a responsibility to seek to nurture talent and empower the next […]

djay and VirtualDJ apps get real-time stem separation features

We’ve reported recently on one trend in DJ apps, which is Spotify shutting down their access to its API, forcing those that use streaming services as a source to turn to other DSPs, or even license directly. Still, those DJ app companies are also pressing on with new features, with two of them – Algoriddim and VirtualDJ […]

PPL’s 2019 ‘most played’ chart hogged by collaboration tracks

British collecting society PPL has announced its annual charts of the most played tracks and artists in the UK, based on data from radio, TV and public performance locations (pubs, bars, shops etc). No surprises for guessing who tops the artists chart: Ed Sheeran, the fourth time in five years he’s headed that list. There’s […]

LiveXLive reports record revenues – but also increased losses

LiveXLive is the US-based company that’s been increasingly active around music livestreaming, as well as owning audio-streaming service Slacker. The firm has announced its financial results for its fiscal year 2020, which ended on 31 March. The company’s annual revenues grew by 15% to $38.7m, while its number of paying subscribers grew by 25% to 849,000. […]

Universal Music hails China sales success for Linong Chen

The major western music companies are, it’s fair to say, very keen to expand their foothold in the Chinese music industry. From beefing up their offices in China to taking investment from its digital industry’s giant Tencent, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are all making the country a growth priority. Some new numbers […]

Pressure mounts on Apple over App Store fees and policies

With the European Commission’s formal investigations of Apple getting underway, Spotify has seen some people and companies rallying to its antitrust cause this week. For example, the chairman of the US House’s antitrust subcommittee has been (perhaps surprisingly, given that role?) outspoken on the topic, in an interview with The Verge. “Because of the market power that Apple […]

DanceFight gets people to challenge friends to dance battles

The search for ‘the next TikTok’ is – spoiler alert – going to turn up a LOT of apps that are not, in fact, the next TikTok. Which is to say, there’s an explosion in experimentation around short-form social video, often with music too, but many of these apps will struggle to cut through the noise […]

Vibe app promises personalised music to help your wellbeing

Canadian startup Lucid has launched its first music app, called Vibe. The app “draws upon cognitive science, music theory, and artificial intelligence to develop a personalised profile for each user” before offering them playlists “to help you reach a mental goal”. Said goals including calm, focus, sleep, energise and ambience – the latter is a mixture […]

Björk joins Bandcamp – and Black Lives Matter will benefit

Björk is adding her entire back catalogue to D2C platform Bandcamp, with a launch offer that will see proceeds from all sales donated to Black Lives Matter UK until the end of today’s Juneteenth fundraiser on the site. Her studio albums will be sold in digital, vinyl, CD and cassette formats on Bandcamp, making her one […]

Mixcloud now has 20m monthly users says outgoing CEO

There’s a new statistic on the audience for streaming service Mixcloud to be found in the latest blog post from its CEO Nikhil Shah. “We’ve had 10s of millions of people download our apps, and 20m people tune into Mixcloud every month across all the different platforms,” he wrote. That means its audience has doubled over […]

Alex Braga’s ‘Spleen Machine’ album used AI instrument A-Mint

The latest project representing a creative blend of artistry and AI is called ‘Spleen Machine’. It’s the work of Alex Braga, who’s both a composer and an inventor. For this EP, he invented his own AI music-making instrument called A-Mint. According to the album announcement, A-Mint creates “augmented music” after learning a musician’s style. “When A-Mint […]

Classical streaming service Idagio to launch in Japan

Classical music streaming service Idagio is launching in Japan later this month, tying in with its live video stream of a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra on 21 June. The Japan launch will include Idagio’s catalogue of more than 2m tracks, and its ‘Global Concert Hall’ series of livestreams. There’s certainly an audience to […]

Pacemaker DJ app secures extension to Spotify API shutdown

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Spotify was ending its support for DJ apps, meaning that they’d be unable to use its API to provide music for their users. One of the main DJ app makers, Algoriddim, is switching to Tidal and SoundCloud, while another, Pacemaker, recently told Music Ally that it would be striking its own […]

Artists chip in for The Circle’s Covid-19 relief auction

Charity The Circle, which was founded by artist and activist Annie Lennox, has launched a global music auction to raise money for its Covid-19 Emergency Appeal. The charity is raising funds for women and girls who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus crisis this year. The auction is taking place on the Charity Stars platform, […]

Afropop star Rema is Apple Music’s new ‘Up Next’ artist

Apple Music is placing a big strategic focus on Africa this year, and the latest emerging artist to join its ‘Up Next’ programme is the latest example. Nigerian Afropop star Rema will be getting some promotional welly from Apple’s streaming service this month, building on the success that has seen him already become the 18th […]

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 […]

ByteDance and TikTok revenues under the microscope again

The rise of TikTok, and the assorted controversies around it, have meant there’s a lot more scrutiny of the economics of the app and its parent company ByteDance. Which is welcome for the music industry, as rightsholders go into licensing negotiations keen to strike as advantageous deals as possible. There are two new bouts of […]

Smart links market heats up with Linkfire, Beatchain, ToneDen

You wait for a news story about ‘smart links’ for music marketing to come along, then three turn up at once… Linkfire has announced its latest conversion-data deal with a streaming service: Deezer. Artists and marketers sending fans to Deezer via Linkfire smart links will now get data like streams, follows and playlist adds to understand how […]

Adobe adds production music from Epidemic Sound and Jamendo

Adobe is the tech company behind creative software like Photoshop and video-editing tool Adobe Premiere. It also has a library of royalty-free images and other visual assets called Adobe Stock. As of yesterday, that library also includes music and audio. Adobe has partnered with two companies to fill that catalogue: Epidemic Sound and Jamendo. The non-watermarked […]

Spotify reveals its playlist plans for Black Music Month 2020

June is Black Music Month in the US (or African-American Music Appreciation Month if you prefer: it was renamed by President Barack Obama in 2009, but its previous name is still often used). Spotify has revealed its plans for the month, including its previously-announced plan to devote its entire ‘New Music Friday’ playlist to Black artists for […]

Report: 12.7m Australians are using music streaming services

Research firm Roy Morgan has published a report on music streaming usage in Australia. It claims that more than 12.7 million Australians – 61% of the population – now stream music on a monthly basis. That’s 3.7 million more than did so three years ago. The report also has some figures for the market shares of the various […]

Spotify talks Apple complaint as Hey email app sparks row

We reported yesterday on the news that the European Commission is launching two formal investigations of Apple, including one sparked by anticompetition complaints from Spotify and an e-books / audiobooks firm (not Amazon, but Rakuten subsidiary Kobo). Yesterday afternoon, Spotify held a Zoom call with journalists to offer its views on the news. You can read our […]

Laura Marling sold 6,500 tickets for Union Chapel livestreams

Livestreamed concerts can be great for reach as free events, but can they be money-spinners for artists as paid events? There’s a lot of experimentation going on around this, and Laura Marling’s recent concerts broadcast from London’s Union Chappel venue were being watched as a key case study: the £12 tickets were sold through the […]

Notes from Spotify’s Zoom call to discuss Apple antitrust investigation

Earlier today, the European Commission launched two formal antitrust investigations of Apple, including one spurred in part by Spotify’s complaint to the EC last year. This afternoon, Spotify held a Zoom call for journalists where its head of global affairs and chief legal officer Horacio Gutierrez discussed the investigation, with added comments from external counsel […]

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 […]

Cameo now helps fans buy a Zoom call with celebrities

Cameo is the app that lets people pay for celebrities to record personalised video messages for them (or friends and family as a gift). We wrote about it last June when the company raised a $50m funding round, noting that Snoop Dogg and Ice T were among the musicians available on Cameo. Now it has launched […]

EC launches formal antitrust investigations of Apple – one sparked by Spotify complaint

In March 2019, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it managed its App Store and in-app purchases. 15 months on, the EC has now launched a formal antitrust investigation of Apple. In fact, it has launched two, although they’re not just […]

Sony invests $4.5m in sample clearance site Tracklib

Tracklib has been around since 2016, helping artists and producers to find and clear music for sampling. The company has just announced a $4.5m funding round from Sony Innovation Fund – the early-stage investment arm of Sony Music’s parent corporation – and Eelko van Kooten, founder of dance label Spinnin’ Records. Sony Innovation Fund had already […]

Covid-19 tipped to spur 21% drop for French recorded music biz

Earlier this year, Spanish industry body Promusicae predicted a €100m hit to recorded music revenues in Spain this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now French body SNEP has come out with a comparable prediction for its own market, suggesting that recorded music revenues will fall by €235m this year due to Covid-19 – a drop of […]

Linkfire’s latest streaming data partnership is with Deezer

Music marketing firm Linkfire has announced a deal with Deezer to access data on what music listeners do after following one of its ‘smart links’ to the streaming service. Artists, labels and marketers using Linkfire will now be able to see, for example, whether fans have gone on to play a song, add it to […]

#TheShowMustBePaused next steps: ‘Potentially a moment for real change’

Friday’s Music Ally TV Show focused on the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign, and the next steps that the music industry needs to take as a result. Our panelists were Mulika Sannie, Keith Harris and Estée Blu. Sannie is VP of business affairs at Kobalt, and also founded the UK Black Music Lawyers Network in 2018. Harris is […]

Broccoli Content CEO challenges Spotify to sign Equality in Audio pact

We wrote about the Equality in Audio Pact earlier this month. Launched by podcast producer Broccoli Content, it was a list of five pledges that audio production companies could make, including paying interns; hiring LGBTQIA+, black people, people of colour and other minorities for projects that aren’t just related to their identity; releasing race pay gap data; […]

Pre-release promo tool Byta raises $1.9m seed funding round

Pre-release music promo and sharing service Byta has announced a new seed funding of $1.9m. The round was led by the Canadian Media Fund as well as private investors, such as Scott Kannberg (of indie band Pavement). The platform lets artists and labels securely share music with others in the industry ahead of release in a […]

Twenty One Pilots launch online scavenger hunt for fans

The latest artist sending fans to different corners of the internet to unlock content around a new album is Twenty One Pilots. It kicked off with a livestream (although fans who missed that can check out the ‘START HERE’ YouTube video that the band posted on Saturday). It prominently features a US phone number – 1-877-LVL-CNRN – note: […]

Verifi Media launches blockchain music-metadata service

Music Ally has done its time in the blockchain trenches: our reports on the technology’s potential for music from 2016, 2017 and 2018 are evidence of that. One of the conclusions we’ve drawn: the ‘sweep away the middlemen’ startups that only work for artists who control 100% of their rights without even a collecting society in sight are not, in […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (15 June)

Independent musicians, especially the ones who made the majority of their income, are having a very tough 2020. In the US, there’s a new body aiming to protect their interests, though. It’s called the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) and it’s been formed by a group of talent agencies to create a “broader coalition of the live […]

Tencent has bought $200m stakes in Warner Music Group

On Friday it emerged that Chinese tech giant Tencent had bought a chunk of shares in Warner Music Group… but confusion reigned over exactly how much it had invested. The Wall Street Journal claimed it was $200m, while MBW said it was around $100m. As it turned out, both were right. Tencent Music Entertainment, the music streaming […]

New Snapchat features include music lenses and mini apps

Yesterday, Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc announced a swathe of new features for the social app, including some that are directly relevant to music. One of those features is dedicated music lenses, explained yesterday – this link takes you to the relevant part of the YouTube video of the event – as “our new category of music lenses, […]

UK regulator raises fresh concerns over Viagogo/StubHub merger

British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the merger of secondary ticketing firms Viagogo and StubHub. Its latest update on the investigation isn’t good news for those companies. The CMA says it is “concerned that the loss of competition brought about by the merger could result in customers who buy and resell tickets […]

#TheShowMustBePaused: next steps, Stormzy, YouTube and more

One of the key points about the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign last week was that it was not a single day of action, but rather the springboard for much, much more. Today, there’s a lot to report on in that regard, within both the music and tech worlds. Start by reading Billboard’s interview with Brianna Agyemang and Jamila […]

Linkfire adds ‘Artist Bio Link’ feature for musicians

Music marketing platform Linkfire has a new feature that could be very useful for artists. It’s called ‘Artist Bio Links’. According to Linkfire, it “brings together all your promotions in one personalised microsite. Drive fans to your releases, merch, SoMe profiles, tours, and more, all with one shareable link”. The idea is that this will […]

Swedish collecting society STIM’s revenues grew 15% in 2019

STIM is the main collecting society in Sweden, and like many of its counterparts around the world, it enjoyed healthy growth in its royalty collections last year. According to its annual report, STIM’s revenues grew by 15% in 2019, to SEK 2.4bn (around $259m), with SEK 1.8bn paid out to songwriters and rightsholders. 38% of […]

The Best Music Marketing Campaigns During Lockdown

*Check some of the best music marketing campaigns of 2019 here *Take inspiration from the best music marketing campaigns in recent history   The initial response within music marketing to lockdown was to charge into livestreaming – seeing it as a way to plug at least part of the hole created by mass concert cancellations. […]

Tools: Jaxsta. The music industry’s official list of who did what.

Noting how the music industry lacked an equivalent to what the film industry had with IMDb – and also how it was missing a verified source of data from across the music supply chain – Jacqui Louez Schoorl, with a background in both film and music, began working on what was to become Jaxsta in […]

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 […]

Facebook criticised for removing anti-racist skinhead artists

Some racists are skinheads. Many skinheads aren’t racists – in fact, many are among the most committed anti-racists. This is hardly a secret, but Facebook got a blunt reminder this week, after mistakenly removing the accounts of hundreds of anti-racist skinheads, as well as pages devoted to ska and reggae music, and the organisation Skinheads Against […]

Startup Show4Me expands into ticketed online concerts

Back in January, we wrote about Show4Me, which described itself as a “music interaction network”. It had raised $13.5m in funding and was offering acts a variety of tools such as music and concert crowdfunding campaigns, sales of music, D2F interaction and even a $1-per-year fan membership model. The company launched an online ticketing option in […]

Artist Tom Walker plans a 12-hour world tour on Zoom

Rock band Def Leppard hold the record for playing the most gigs in different continents in one day (three: Africa, Europe and North America). Meanwhile, Jeff Aug holds the record for most gigs in different countries in a day (nine: Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria). Now artist Tom Walker is making his own globetrotting move, albeit […]

Tuned Global ramps up B2B competition with 7digital in Europe

Tuned Global is one of the companies focusing on business-to-business (B2B) digital music: helping brands and other companies launch music services without having to build them and license them from scratch. Headquartered in Australia, it’s now making a push in Europe by poaching from one of its main rivals, British firm 7digital. Tuned Global has appointed […]

NMPA reveals US publishing revenues grew by 11.6% in 2019

US publishing body the NMPA held its annual meeting yesterday – the first time it’s been online. It included some new stats from president and CEO David Israelite. He revealed that US publishing industry revenues grew by 11.6% in 2019 to $3.72bn, making last year the fifth consecutive year of growth for the sector. However, the […]

Vivendi survey examines post-lockdown entertainment plans

Vivendi’s Brand Marketing division has been talking about its latest study: a survey of more than 7,200 people about their entertainment habits during the Covid-19 lockdown – and their plans once it eases. There’s another encouraging data point about digital subscription services (including, but not exclusively, music): according to Pollstar, 60% said they used more paid […]

Virtual reality concerts startup Wave raises $30m funding

It’s been a difficult couple of years for many virtual reality startups, with VR headset sales slower than expected, and in some cases funding drying up as investors lost their appetite for immersive content. There have been success stories though: musical VR game Beat Saber has sold more than 2m copies, with Facebook acquiring its developer last […]

Spotify now lets people share Canvas videos to social media

Canvas is the feature on Spotify where artists can upload eight-second looping videos to accompany their tracks when played in the streaming service’s mobile app. It’s been growing steadily in popularity, and earlier this year Spotify started letting artists share their Canvas videos out to Instagram stories. Now that ability is being extended to listeners as well. […]

How can classical music return after Covid-19?

We’ve been writing a lot about live venues in the context of the contemporary music scene, but classical music certainly isn’t immune from the impact of Covid-19. The Guardian has a feature on the challenges facing the classical scene as it tries to bring back concerts post-pandemic. The headline suggests an existential threat: ‘We could go […]

Tomorrowland goes virtual with Around The World festival

Yesterday, we covered the news that the team behind Shangri-La at Glastonbury are running Lost Horizon, a ticketed VR event, next month. We can add Belgian dance festival Tomorrowland’s Around The World event to this growing list of virtual replacements for the hole blown in this year’s summer festival season. It takes place on 25-26 July, although […]

90% of independent US venues fear they’ll shut permanently

We’ve been reporting recently on the #saveourvenues campaign in the UK, which identified 556 venues that were in danger of permanent closure as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Last we heard, its fundraising had enabled 140 of them to be taken off its ‘critical’ list, which was a positive step. There’s a similar campaign underway […]

Fan-funding startup Corite closes its seed funding round

Music Ally wrote about Swedish startup Corite when it launched last year as the latest way for artists to make money by selling off stakes in their songs to fans. In its first month of operation, it raised $24k in fan-funding for its first crop of artists. Now the company has been raising some funding of its own: a […]

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