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 […]

UK groups call for anti-racist training and ‘urban’ removal

A group of Black executives working within the British music industry have published an open letter, through the Black Music Coalition and The Show Must Be Paused UK groups, with five “immediate calls to action” for the industry. They include mandatory anti-racism / unconscious bias training for non-Black staff at music companies; a specified annual budget […]

Is Sweden a saturated music streaming market? Not just yet…

The question of when the Swedish music industry will plateau is a crucial one for the global industry, which looks to Spotify’s homeland for an indication as too how far streaming-led growth can go. Before Covid-19, at least, the signs were promising for Sweden’s continued growth: in 2019 recorded music income in Sweden grew 3.5% […]

Twitch users get retrospective claims for past music use

In yesterday’s bulletin, we covered the news that livestreaming platform Twitch has reminded users that DJ sets are among the “types of music content you may not use in Twitch streams or VODs”. We suggested that the new guidelines may have been in response to an uptick in copyright takedowns filed by music rightsholders, and… […]

Music livestreaming firm Livit Media acquired by eResonate

Livestreaming has never been more prominent than it is now as artists and venues try and plug that massive hole left by the cancellation of shows, tours, festivals and clubs. Now there’s some consolidation afoot in this area: a company called eResonate Media is buying another livestreaming startup called Livit Media. The companies have been working together since […]

Team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La launches virtual festival

If you’ve ever lost yourself in the Glastonbury Festival’s Shangri-La zone, you’ll understand why for many people this year, the festival’s cancellation is carrying an extra tinge of sadness. However, the team behind Shangri-La is hoping to plug the gap with a virtual-reality event called Lost Horizon on 3-4 July. They’re working with VR startups Sansar and […]

Debating Cory Doctorow’s internet blanket music licensing plan

This story begins with an article by author and activist Cory Doctorow on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation: ‘A Plan to Pay Artists, Encourage Competition, and Promote Free Speech’. It proposed extending the kind of blanket licensing that allow clubs, restaurants and radio stations to play music to the internet as a whole, […]

YouTube reveals stats for its creator tipping economy

It hasn’t been available to musicians in the past, but YouTube’s tips economy – where viewers can buy ‘Super Chats’, ‘Super Stickers’ and channel memberships for the creators they love – has been something Music Ally has been keeping an eye on as it has grown. Now YouTube has revealed a new figure for the growth in the number […]

#TheShowMustBePaused latest: Sony Music, #ArtistsForBlackLives and more

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

Twitch music guidelines rule out DJ sets without licences

The esports community has been chattering about Twitch’s latest guidelines on using recorded music in live broadcasts and video-on-demand uploads to its platform. Dot Esports’ top angle was the fact that using music from streaming services like Spotify is not allowed, but after looking at the guidelines, we think that there are also other points for musicians […]

Australia and Germany’s plans to rebuild live music business

The easing of lockdown restrictions on music concerts has begun in some countries, but others are still looking ahead and making plans for what’s needed when this happens in the future. Australian live-industry body Live Performance Australia published its AU$345m plan to rebuild the ‘restart’ of the live performances industry – not just music, but theatres, arts […]

BBC Sounds app expands its wellbeing and workout mixes section

Spotify and other streaming services have been luring talent away from radio for a long time now, with British public-service broadcaster the BBC suffering particularly from the brain drain. However, it’s also making its own moves that encroach onto what streaming services do. Witness last week’s announcement that it is expanding the ‘Mindful’ and ‘Pace Setter’ […]

Midemlab startups contest announces its 2020 winners

Solfeg·io, Super Hi-Fi, Audoo and Uptune have been named as the winners of this year’s Midemlab startups contest, held as part of the Midem music industry conference. Like the conference, Midemlab was an entirely-online affair, with the pitches of all 20 finalists broadcast this afternoon, followed by the announcement of the winners. Music Ally is […]

New study breaks down kids’ YouTube and TikTok habits

Sit down for this shocker: children spend quite a lot of time on YouTube and TikTok! Who knew? Next thing, someone will be telling us that they quite like Fortnite too. But no snark: a company called Qustodio, whose product is a parental control app, has been digging into its data to quantify exactly how […]

#LolaDay created for 50th anniversary of Kinks classic

12 June is the 50th anniversary of ‘Lola’ by British band The Kinks, and there’s a digital campaign up and running to celebrate the anniversary. A dedicated microsite to celebrate #LolaDay (as it’s being dubbed) will have digital stickers available for fans to ‘Lolafy’ their own photos and share them on social apps. Meanwhile, on the […]

Mass a-peel: ‘Banana’ track gets a bunch of TikTok plays

There have been some excellent bananas in music: Andy Warhol’s artwork for the Velvet Underground & Nico; Bananarama; Melt-Banana… Can Conkarah feat. Shaggy’s single ‘Banana’ follow in their footsteps? It’s already a bona-fide TikTok sensation. The track is based around Harry Belafonte’s 1956 hit ‘Banana Boat (Day-O)’, and comes with a #BananaDrop challenge based around […]

Music apps firm Gismart adds artist partnerships scheme

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

MMF GM: ‘We need to train people to value online content’

Jayne Stynes, general manager at management body the MMF, hopes that some of the innovation around livestreams during the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to lasting change. “At my most optimistic, I would love to believe that what is happening right now will open up a huge cultural shift towards consumers valuing online content beyond its […]

‘Nobody’ does it better: DJ Neptune goes viral on Triller

TikTok tends to get the headlines when a music track goes viral through short-form videos. However, rival app Triller has also fuelled its fair share of hits by artists including Lil Tecca, Calboy, K$upreme, Rich The Kid, Darkoo and Chantel Jeffries. Now you can add Nigerian musician DJ Neptune to that list. His track ‘Nobody’, […]

London set to get ‘first socially distanced immersive event’

Livestreams are plugging some of the gap left by the shutdown of live concerts, but people are already looking ahead to what those physical gigs might be like as the lockdown eases. One Night Records is the latest idea. Opening in October at “a secret London Bridge location” in London, it’ll be a musical installation “designed as […]

Music app Endlesss hits Kickstarter target for desktop app

We’ve reported regularly on British music-making app startup Endlesss: from our interview with its CEO last year to its recent launches of an iOS app and its own record label. Now Endlesss is turning to crowdfunding to take its next step: the development of a desktop (Mac and Windows) application and a network for musicians to collaborate. It’s called Endlesss […]

Amber Grimes and Nicole Wyskoarko talk leadership, support and diversity

Nicole Wyskoarko is EVP of urban operations at Interscope Records, and Amber Grimes is SVP of global creative at Capitol Music Group. Their joint keynote for the Midem conference, a video interview conducted by Billboard’s Gail Mitchell, was published this morning. It addresses topics including the current Black Lives Matters protests following the killing of […]

MePlaylist wants to ‘change the perception’ of African music

Streaming service MePlaylist, whose president of global marketing is Mathew Knowles (aka Beyoncé’s father), is aiming to challenge the traditional way African music is pigeonholed in the west. “There’s a tendency to always put African music and African artists in a bucket, and that bucket is called ‘World Music’. We want to change that perception,” said […]

Midia warns recorded music recovery depends on wider economy

Last month, we reported on research published by Goldman Sachs predicting that global music industry revenues would drop by 25% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those figures included a 75% plummet for live music revenues, and a slowdown in growth for recorded music (to 3%) and music publishing (3.5%). Yesterday, we reported on Kobalt CEO […]

‘Equality in Audio Pact’ challenges companies to change

Last October, we reported on the latest podcasting joint venture by Sony Music: British company Broccoli Content, led by producer Renay Richardson. Its shows include ‘Anthems’, ‘Money 101’ and ‘Your Broccoli Weekly’, with a mission to tackle “the lack of opportunities for minority talent both in front and behind the mic”. Now the company has launched an […]

WMG share price leaps on first day of public trading

Warner Music Group had a good first day of trading following its IPO this week. The company priced its shares at $25, valuing the major label group at $12.75bn. By the end of the day, WMG’s share price had risen to $30.86, sending its valuation to around $15.36bn. The IPO is being watched closely by […]

Warner Music Group delayed IPO share-pricing until today

Last week, Warner Music Group filed to go public in its IPO: you can read our analysis of the filing’s juicier bits here. According to the Financial Times, WMG was planning to announce the pricing for its shares in the IPO yesterday – which would in turn reveal the valuation of the company – but decided to […]

Spotify ‘Sound Up’ podcast program returns for third year

Spotify’s ‘Sound Up’ program aims to help people from underrepresented backgrounds take their first steps into the podcasting world. 60 people have so far gone through its program in the US, UK, Germany and Australia, with more than 20,000 having applied over the first two years of the scheme. Now Spotify is launching the third […]

Streaming’s latest challenge is ‘fake features’ on tracks

Spotify’s management team must quiver every time they see the word ‘fake’ deployed in a headline, given past controversies around ‘fake artists‘, ‘fake albums‘ and ‘fake streams‘ on the service. But here we are with another one for the list: fake features. OneZero has a story about how “scammers are gaming Spotify by faking collaborations […]

Kobalt chairman thinks publishing revenues will dip in 2020

Recently, Goldman Sachs published a report with new predictions for music industry revenues in 2020, Covid-19 impact included. It forecast a 75% drop for live music revenues, but growth of 3% for recorded music and 3.5% for music publishing in 2020. Kobalt founder and chairman Willard Ahdritz isn’t so sure. “Overall I do believe that […]

African streaming service Boomplay now has 75m users

As one of the main pan-African music streaming services, Boomplay has grown rapidly in the past couple of years. In July 2018 it had 17 million monthly users, but grew this to 53 million by August 2019, and then 62 million by the end of that year. The latest figure for Boomplay is 75 million users, with 86% […]

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

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

New TikTok rival Zynn pays its users for watching videos

A new social-video app called Zynn has been making waves by springing from nowhere to top Apple’s App Store chart in the US. It looks a LOT like TikTok: you can create and watch 15-second videos (“with massive music library”). But as it turns out, the app didn’t just spring from nowhere: Turner Novak of investment firm […]

Spotify and Kobalt fall out over Eminem copyright lawsuit

In August last year, we reported on a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Spotify by Eminem’s publisher Eight Mile Style, based on around 250 songs from the company’s catalogue. The latest development in that case is a surprise: Spotify is dragging Kobalt Music Publishing into the lawsuit, claiming that the latter company is at fault. Spotify’s legal […]

Stitcher report examines podcast trends in 2020

Stitcher is one of the longer-established podcast services, and now it has published a report exploring some of the podcasting trends of 2020 (and the last decade) based on its data. Among the points: nearly 7m podcast episodes were published to Stitcher in 2019 alone; the top genre that year was true crime; the average […]

#TheShowMustBePaused as industry supports Black Out Tuesday

Like many people around the world, we’ve been watching the events of the past week in the US with shock and concern: the death of George Floyd on 25 May; the subsequent protests; clashes with police across the country; the (un)presidential tweets; and powerful video testimonies like Killer Mike’s speech at an Atlanta press conference. He’s […]

Prospa held a livestreamed rave in a 3D virtual warehouse

Last week, we wrote about a livestreamed set by Dutch DJs W&W, for which they had a virtual stadium full of dancing fans created. Now British duo Prospa have put a different kind of virtual environment through its paces: a warehouse for an old-school rave. It was the result of a partnership between Polydor, Prospa’s label […]

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

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

Dice boss on ‘20 things we’ve learned about livestreaming’

British mobile-ticketing firm Dice is one of the startups most affected by the Covid-19 impact, but the company has been pivoting during the pandemic to focus on livestreams. Now its CEO Phil Hutcheon has published an article about 20 things Dice has learned about music livestreaming, which we think has some practical, helpful advice for artists […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (29 May)

We’ve been running a series of stories (you can find the archive link below) about some of the positive news in our industry relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as relief efforts for and from the music community, and tools to help artists adapt to the situation. Start today with a new campaign from Global […]

StubHub president to leave as company announces more layoffs

Secondary ticketing company StubHub isn’t having a good 2020, by any stretch of the imagination. Not only has the live industry shut down in many countries, but the eBay subsidiary’s planned $4bn acquisition by Viagogo has yet to see the two companies actually merge, amid regulatory investigation. Given past controversies around Viagogo and secondary ticketing more […]

Canadian PRO SOCAN launches livestreams licensing scheme

Lots of artists and especially DJs are livestreaming on Facebook and Instagram, but as the latter platform recently made clear, there are some licensing restrictions on what music can be played. Canadian collecting society SOCAN has done something interesting though: a new program called ‘Encore!’ that will pay songwriters and publishers when their work is used in livestreams […]

Report claims Americans are spending more time with Spotify

Spotify was ‘the audio platform with the highest daily engagement’ in the US last year, according to a new study by research firm Insider Intelligence. How is that measured? By daily minutes spent listening. The study claims that this metric jumped from just under eight minutes in 2018 for Spotify to just over 10 minutes in […]

Apple Music adds Africa Now Radio and producer playlists

Apple Music’s growing focus on African music and artists continues, with a new show on its Beats 1 radio station called ‘Africa Now Radio‘. Hosted by Nigerian DJ Cuppy, it’s a spin-off from Apple Music’s ‘Africa Now‘ playlist, and will be playing new African music across genres including Afrobeats, highlife, alté, amapiano and kuduro. The […]

Meet CISAC’s new president, ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus: ‘I’ll be outspoken!’

CISAC is the global body representing collecting societies. Its last president was Jean-Michel Jarre, and before him it was Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. Big shoes to fill for its next president, right? Step forward… Björn Ulvaeus. The co-founder of ABBA will serve a three-year term as president of CISAC, having been elected by […]

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

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

Tools. Lockdown Livestreaming

When lockdown started, artists around the world swiftly jumped onto platforms like Instagram and Twitch, in order to livestream from their homes. But, with social distancing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, and no real sense of when live music could return, the idea that livestreams could help to partially offset the enormous losses […]

EFF’s Cory Doctorow sets out blanket music licensing plan

Author and activist Cory Doctorow elicits some strong opinions within the music industry, it’s fair to say: he was a key figure in the opposition to the European Copyright Directive (including encouraging “targeting and destroying the political careers of any politician stupid enough to vote in favour of this idiocy”) for example. So, news that he has […]

Instagram to share revenue with creators with badges and ads

In April this year, we reported on the acknowledgment by a couple of Instagram executives that they had plans afoot to help creators (musicians included) to make money from their livestreams on the platform. Yesterday, Instagram made its first announcement on that score. “To give fans another way to participate and show their love, we’re introducing badges that […]

Marshmello and Halsey offer up a Thought Of The Day on Alexa

We are seeing more artists embrace the possibilities of voice assistants, led by Amazon’s Alexa music + Alexa. Witness The 1975’s recent use of an Alexa skill to nudge fans towards their latest website. Amazon, too, is encouraging artists and labels to experiment with voice technology more, including through partnerships on its own content features. This week, […]

Clubify launches subscription-based livestreaming service

The latest startup hoping to make a livestreaming splash is called Clubify, and its pitch to fans is “your favourite DJs, clubs and festivals live at home”. The UK-based startup’s focus is on electronic music, then, but also on charging for access rather than free streams. Its subscription membership will cost £14.90 a month or £149.90 […]

Kenya Copyright Board takes aim at unlicensed DJ livestreams

Instagram has music licensing deals for user-generated content through parent company Facebook, but even it recently had to clarify its guidelines for people broadcasting music on the platform. The wider question of licensing for online livestreams is provoking debate across the world, including this week in Kenya. The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has delivered a warning […]

Former HTC CEO unveils 5G VR headset with its own virtual world

Peter Chou used to be the CEO of technology firm HTC. Now he’s launched a startup called XRSpace, and unveiled its first virtual reality headset, the XRSpace Mova. It’s lighter than many rivals, and is a ‘standalone’ headset like the Oculus Quest – which means it doesn’t need to be connected to a PC to run its […]

James Arthur gets Super Mario-style Instagram stories game

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

Eminem taps Community platform for messaging with fans

“Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner, but I just been busy,” wrote Eminem on Instagram yesterday. “text me, ill hit you back” – with an accompanying phone number. And no, of course Eminem isn’t giving out his cellphone number to 30.1 million people on Instagram: it’s part of a marketing campaign involving one of […]

Chartmetric says livestreams boosted artists’ social followings

Music analytics firm Chartmetric has published the third and final part of its analysis on Covid-19’s impact on music consumption. The study focuses on livestreams, and the extent to which they boosted artists’ social media followings. The conclusion: yes they did. Chartmetric says that “live streams scheduled by artists from their own channels generated significant […]

AiMi app uses AI to provide adaptive electronic music

Aimed at electronic music fans, a new app called AiMi is using AI technology to turn existing tracks from artists into adaptive experiences for listeners. The idea: listeners set the ‘energy’ rate they want, based on a scale of 1 to 10, and the app delivers a flow of continuous music to suit their requirements. AiMi uses […]

shesaid·so and YouTube Music team up for mentorship schemes

shesaid.so – the organisation pushing for gender equality in the music industry – is launching new virtual mentoring schemes for women and gender minorities in Italy and France.  The schemes will be supported by YouTube Music, and will recruit 12 mentees in each country who will them be paired with either a local or international […]

JioSaavn adds ‘Pro Rewards’ feature for paying subscribers

We reported yesterday on concerns that India’s growth in paid music subscriptions has slowed down. Now one of the main Indian streaming services, JioSaavn, has a new initiative that it hopes will make its JioSaavn Pro subscription tier more attractive to listeners. The new feature is called JioSaavn Pro Rewards, and it’ll offer a range […]

Facebook launches Collab, an experimental music-making app

Facebook’s experimental apps team, NPE, is launching a new app – and it’s focused on music. The app is called Collab, and it’s launching today for iOS as an invitation-only beta that, in the team’s words, “brings together creators and fans to create, watch, and mix and match original videos, starting with music”. The app […]

Intro: BPI and Music Ally’s Music & Tech Springboard Programme

There’s been a radical shift in the way we make, deliver and experience music over the last decade, driven by innovation and partnerships between the music and technology industries. Innovation isn’t just about the biggest tech companies though: the music industry has its arms open wide to talented music-tech startups of all kinds. That’s why […]

Startups explain the lessons they learned working with the music industry

In the Music & Tech Springboard series of videos we’ve produced with the BPI, we’ve heard from collecting societies, lawyers, advisors, accelerators and incubators, and labels about their advice for music/tech startups. But what about hearing from some startups themselves? That’s what this video does. A group of British startups who’ve all signed licensing deals […]

Music and technology industry advisors offer their tips for tech startups

Technology and music may be two separate industries, but there are a number of people whose jobs revolve around bridging the gap between the two: helping startups to understand the strategies and priorities of rights holders, and helping rightsholders to grasp the needs of startups. It’s not uncommon to find these advisors working with one […]

Music licensing: the basics that tech startups need to know

If a music-tech startup’s product or service involves making the actual music available, that company will need licences for the music. Understanding how licensing works is one of the first and most important things that these startups need to understand. At its simplest level, that also means understanding whether you need to be talking to […]

How can you get press coverage for your music/tech startup?

Like any industry, music has its own set of trade publications and websites that are pored over by executives and staff in the labels, publishers and collecting societies. Meanwhile, there’s also a thriving technology industry media covering startups of all kinds, music/tech included. Getting featured by key media, from news stories and founder profiles to […]

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share. “The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. […]

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share. “The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. […]

Imagine if Fortnite had a music streaming partnership…

We’ve been thinking a lot about Fortnite and music recently. Travis Scott attracted 27.7 million people to his recent ‘Astronomical’ concerts within the popular game, while its new Party Royale mode has already hosted DJ sets from Diplo, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5. There are quite a few unanswered (as yet) questions around this: for example, […]

Netflix is encouraging inactive users to cancel subscriptions

Customers paying their subscription even though they’re not using your service? The stuff of dreams, so you’d think (well, you would if you owned a gym, for example). In a world where streaming services have to keep a close eye on their ‘churn’ rate (cancellations) it might not seem in their interests to boot off […]

Andy and the Odd Socks launch new album with kids’ parties

Andy Day is a popular children’s TV presenter in the UK on TV channel CBeebies, but he’s also been building a music career as the frontman of Andy and the Odd Socks. The band’s new album comes out today (22 May) through Sony Music’s children’s entertainment label Magic Star, and there’s an inventive marketing campaign around […]

Chantel Jeffries gives Triller exclusive for new video

TikTok is not the only short-form video game in town and Triller has been snapping at its heels for some time, making a strong splash in the US and drawing in hip-hop acts in particular. Triller has now landed the exclusive on the video for ‘Come Back To Me’ by US singer/producer/model/YouTube personality Chantel Jeffries. The video is […]

Get set for Wireless Connect and Electric Blockaloo virtual festivals

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

ICMP boss warns of Covid-19 financial hit to come in Q1 2021

When people in the music industry talk about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re often thinking about the immediate hit that artists have taken to their live revenues. It’s worth remembering that there’s another sucker-punch lying ahead for musicians and rightsholders alike though. “The particular challenge for the music industry is surmounting the delayed […]

Why is the US share of global recorded music revenue growing?

In 2011, the US accounted for 26% of global recorded music revenues. In 2019, that share had grown to 36% according to industry body the IFPI’s figures, despite that period covering considerable global expansion for music streaming services. Why is the world’s biggest music market taking an even bigger share of the revenue? Former Spotify […]

US Copyright Office report concludes tech safe harbours are ‘unbalanced’

Just finished a book and looking for a new, gripping read for the weekend ahead? Here’s a recommendation for you: ‘Section 512 of Title 17’. Admittedly, it’s got no wizards, romance, clutter-clearing tips or Henry VIII lopping people’s heads off. But in terms of music industry politics, it’s got the makings of a thriller. The […]

The future of music releases. Albums vs EP’s vs Playlists vs Mixtapes

The album isn’t completely dead and the playlist isn’t yet the be-all and end-all – which means that artists are somewhat creatively discombobulated in what is really a curious transition period. But with that comes the scope to experiment and push the boundaries. Justin Bieber could be the one firing the starting pistol for the […]

Music Biz 2020 conference moves online due to Covid-19

We’re sorry to report that another physical music industry conference has bitten the dust in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Music Biz 2020 was due to be held in August in Nashville, but has now been cancelled by organiser the Music Business Association. Well, the physical event has. “We plan to follow up the success […]

The 1975 reopen Mindshower site with stems, mags and more

In February this year, we wrote about The 1975’s ‘Mindshower’ campaign, which saw the band create a fictitious ‘digital detox’ retreat called Mindshower, complete with its own website and a spoof video ad on YouTube. Now, days ahead of the release of the band’s new album ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’, the website has reopened to the […]

Colombian industry hopeful of growth despite Covid-19

The number one question for anyone in the music industry now – recorded or live – is what shape the business will be in when we finally emerge from the lockdown. Anything close to certainty is, of course, impossible but it some countries will inevitably emerge stronger than others. Colombia – the subject of our latest […]

Pex study suggests 17% of podcast episodes include music

Licensing music for podcasts is a bit of a tangle. We know that. But how many podcasts are using music, be it licensed or unlicensed? That’s data that analytics firm Pex has been ferreting out for its latest study, announced in a series of tweets yesterday. “To date we indexed 32,402,790 unique podcast episodes. 5,447,823 of those contained […]

Instagram publishes guidelines on use of copyrighted music

Verzuz battles, Robbie Williams’ kitchen karaoke, KT Tunstall solo raving… There have been some joyful musical broadcasts on Instagram Live during the Covid-19 pandemic. But as a blog post from Instagram noted yesterday, the recent boom in livestreams has “highlighted some confusion across the community — especially around the use of recorded music in Live on […]

ERA boss Kim Bayley joins the #BrokenRecord streaming debate

The #BrokenRecord campaign has been gathering momentum in recent weeks – and was even the subject of our own Music Ally TV Show last week. Now ERA, the body that represents retailers and digital music services in the UK, has weighed into the debate. ERA CEO Kim Bayley has published a blog post with her […]

Tools: Tradable Bits. Know your Fans, Market Smarter

Growing an artist’s listenership in specific markets or their social following is one part of the equation of nurturing fan bases and driving revenue. But what is often missing, is actually knowing who the fans are and getting a complete picture of how they’re behaving and presenting themselves online, which provides a more strategic approach […]

YouTube Select aims to boost YouTube’s advertising revenue

A blunt truth underpinning the ‘value gap’ debate: if YouTube is going to pay music rightsholders more royalties, one of the best ways will be by increasing its advertising revenues. Which, as we reported earlier this year when parent company Alphabet started disclosing them, have grown from $8.15bn in 2017 to $11.16bn in 2018, then $15.15bn […]

Facebook goes big on ecommerce with Facebook Shops feature

Shopping on Facebook is already A Thing thanks to the social network’s ‘Marketplace’ feature, an eBay-like service connecting private buyers and sellers. Now Facebook is pushing on with its own ecommerce strategy, announcing Facebook Shops yesterday. “Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both […]

Artist Gracey used Instagram to tease ‘Empty Love’ track

Polydor-signed act Gracey is promoting her ‘Empty Love’ single with an AR filter for Instagram that plays an instrumental passage from the song which can then be played around with by the user. It works by opening the selfie camera in Instagram so that anyone using it can use an on-screen slider to lower or increase the […]

SendMusic launches app for professional music-files sharing

We first wrote about startup SendMusic in late 2018, when it emerged as a way to help musicians, producers and music industry colleagues to send big files to one another, including for promotional purposes. Now there’s an update: SendMusic has launched its official iOS app. “You can now send, receive, listen and reply all in one place… […]

YouTube reveals the latest artists for its Foundry program

YouTube set up its Foundry initiative back in 2016 as a way to offer emerging artists marketing, promotional and technology support. The 12 acts shortlisted for the class of 2020 have just been announced and include: Jaykae (from the UK); Joesef (UK); TESSÆ (France); Tems (Nigeria); Adam Melchor (US); Eladio Carrion (Puerto Rico); Gabriel Garzon-Montano (US); Natanael […]

Sample library Tracklib switches to subscription model

We first wrote about stem licensing service Tracklib back in June 2016 when it pitched at MidemLab. It is aimed at the DJ and remixer worlds, allowing users to buy and license track stems in one location. In October it signed a deal with the estate of Isaac Hayes to make a number of his unreleased tracks available for […]

Spotify pays $100m+ for Joe Rogan podcast, adds $1bn+ to market cap

People often ask how the economics of podcasting work. Well, here’s how they worked for Spotify yesterday. The streaming service announced an exclusive licensing deal with one of the biggest podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience. The Wall Street Journal claimed the deal was worth “more than $100 million”, but the ensuing spike in Spotify’s share price added […]

Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset has sold $100m of content

Virtual reality has yet to become a wildfire success, but within the sector, Facebook’s Oculus Quest headset has been a bright spot. Now the company has offered some stats to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its launch. Owners of the $399/$499 (depending on storage) headset have spent more than $100m on games and applications in the […]

Bytedance appoints Disney+ boss Kevin Mayer as TikTok CEO

TikTok has a new boss, and he’s a media-industry heavyweight. Kevin Mayer is joining TikTok’s parent company Bytedance from Disney, where he was most recently chairman of direct-to-consumer and international – a key role overseeing the launch of the Disney+ video streaming service. Mayer will be chief operating officer of Bytedance, leading “music, gaming, Helo, […]

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

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

Music Ally Startup Files: Radiant’s Spotify-powered DJ is an AI

Squeezing new uses from existing technology sparks creative revolutions. Dancing to recorded music was weird until someone who understood the crowd started to link the right songs together in the right place, and created the nightclub. (It’s probably best not to dwell on one of the main claimants of that innovation, mind…) Fast forward to […]

#BrokenRecord: ‘It’s about saying we all recognise this is problematic’

The #BrokenRecord campaign started by musician Tom Gray in the UK is gathering steam. Next Sunday (24 May) will see an online Tim’s Twitter Listening Party Festival allied to the campaign, which is calling for changes to the music streaming ecosystem that will benefit artists and songwriters. Last Friday (15 May) Gray was one of […]

Facebook buys Giphy, sparking debate about data access

Facebook has acquired Giphy, the popular library of animated GIFs, and plans to “further integrate” it into Instagram and other Facebook apps, while still making it available to non-Facebook apps too. “We’re looking forward to investing further in its technology and relationships with content and API partners. People will still be able to upload GIFs; […]

Khruangbin’s AirKhruang gets remixed as ‘Shelter in Space’

One of 2018’s cleverest music marketing campaigns was the one for US group Khruangbin. It included the AirKhruang website, which asked fans to input details of their upcoming flights, then created Spotify playlists to match their length, drawing on tracks that the group would use in their DJ sets, as well as artists from the countries under […]

Social video editing app Trash adds features for musicians

We reported on the launch of Trash last June: an AI-powered video editing app launched by Hannah Donovan, formerly of Vine and This Is My Jam. Then, in January this year, her pitch won the startup showcase section of the NY:LON Connect conference in New York, with Donovan explaining that Trash had been licensing music for use in […]

Spotify for Artists is now for their labels too

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

Merlin CEO promises ‘long view’ around tech partnerships

Earlier this year, indie licensing agency Merlin appointed Facebook music exec Jeremy Sirota as its new CEO. On Friday (15 May) he gave his first public speech in the role at AIM’s online ‘AIM House’ conference. It included some colour about Merlin’s plans, and its recent growth. “I see a lot of value in taking […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (18 May)

Industry body Songwriters of North America (SONA) has launched a new hardship fund for songwriters, which will distribute emergency grants of $1k to creators hit by the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact. The new fund was set up thanks to a donation from publisher Sony/ATV last month, reported Billboard. Also in the US, collecting society BMI partnered […]

Bad Bunny’s ‘Safaera’ returns to Spotify after sample dispute

Fans of Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny had been raging last week after his ‘Safaera’ song was removed from Spotify. Now it’s back, along with an explanation from the streaming service about why it had been rendered unplayable for a few days. “We are happy to report to Bad Bunny fans that Safaera is once […]

Goldman Sachs: ‘Global music revenue will drop by 25% in 2020’

Nobody can know exactly what the overall financial impact of Covid-19 will be on the music industry in 2020, but that isn’t stopping analysts from guessing. Goldman Sachs made its prediction last week, and it’s a sobering one. “Global music revenue will drop by 25% in 2020 on our estimates, largely due to the widespread […]

What can we learn from Covid-19’s impact on China’s music industry?

The Chinese music industry saw 16% growth in its recorded music revenues in 2019 according to the IFPI, but it was also the first country to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Does that make it a canary in the coalmine for the global music industry, in terms of learning lessons from the coronavirus impact, […]

TikTok under fire again from US child-privacy campaigners

In February 2019, TikTok paid $5.7m as part of a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission following a child-privacy investigation dating back to the Musical·ly app (not us!) that TikTok merged with in 2018. Besides paying the $5.7m, TikTok promised to make changes that would ensure children’s personal information was not being shared, alongside other protections […]

Music-VR startup ViRvii signs content deal with Oculus

We have not covered ViRvii before but it describes itself as “a technology firm that develops proprietary user experiences merging music, art and virtual reality” and was founded last year. Why we are writing about it now is that it has just signed a deal with Facebook-owned Oculus to develop VR content for the platform starting next […]

Houseparty app launches ‘In The House’ events for co-viewing

Video-chatting app Houseparty has been one of the big hits of the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside Zoom, with people using it to chat to friends and family, and sometimes to play its embedded games. Now Houseparty is exploring music and livestreams through a three-day event called ‘In The House‘, which launches tomorrow (15 May). It’ll be […]

Sofar Sounds launches ‘Keep Listening’ playlist on Spotify

Unsurprisingly, Sofar Sounds isn’t hosting any physical gigs at the current time. It has, however, launched an online ‘Listening Room’ for livestream performances by artists, which it says is earning them an average of $500 in donations from fans, as well as a performance fee from the company itself. Now Sofar has launched a Spotify playlist based […]

Uncanny Valley wins the AI Song Contest, helped by… koalas

In January we reported on plans to hold an ‘AI Song Contest’ for “European teams of musicians, artists, scientists and developers” working with music-generating AI systems. It turns out they weren’t just Europeans: an Australian team called Uncanny Valley was announced as the winner of the contest this week with a track called ‘Beautiful The World’. “The team trained […]

Blank-et coverage: Sony launches album-art colouring site

Adult colouring books are a significant part of the book publishing world, with plenty of apps offering this too – usually in the name of mindfulness. Now Sony Music UK is getting in on the colouring action with a new site called The Colouring Sessions. It’s based around album artwork from artists including Elvis Presley’s debut […]

Lil Baby album gets digital ‘deluxe’ treatment with music videos

In the streaming age, what is a ‘deluxe’ album anyway? It’s more than just extra tracks and alternative versions. A number of artists have explored Spotify’s ‘enhanced’ playlists format, which inserts videos between the music tracks, for example. And video is also at the core of the strategy for the deluxe version of Lil Baby’s […]

OMG! OMD sell £75k in merchandise from their virtual gig

We’re fairly sure Travis Scott made a killing from virtual items around his recent Fortnite concert, although a figure hasn’t yet been announced. One artist that is announcing some numbers from an online performance, though, is veteran British act OMD. Last Saturday (9 May) they streamed a recording of a November 2019 concert on YouTube […]

Ambassador updates: FAC and Love Record Stores Day

When it comes to music ambassadors, the UK is really spoiling us this week. British artist trade body the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has announced 15 new ‘artist ambassadors’ to join its efforts. Skin from Skunk Anansie; duo Nova Twins; house music legend Larry Heard; Stiff Little Fingers frontman Jake Burns; and The Anchoress are […]

Reveel launches music project-management platform in beta

Last October we reported on a startup called Reveel that was promising to help musicians to ensure they were credited correctly on all the songs they work on, through a ‘creator ID’ linked to each song or recording. Now Reveel has launched its actual platform (as opposed to just registrations for creator IDs) in beta. “Reveel is a collaborative […]

Eventbrite thinks that smaller concerts will return sooner

Ticketing firm Eventbrite has published its quarterly shareholder letter accompanying its financial results. Unsurprisingly it focuses heavily on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the live industry. In Q1, its revenues fell by 40% year-on-year to $49.1m, leading to a net loss of $146.5m compared to $10m a year ago. “First quarter net loss […]

What are user-centric music streaming payouts? Start here…

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Music Ally’s Q1 2020 report. In the light of the current #BrokenRecord campaign around music industry economics – see our piece last week for more on that – we wanted to also share it in front of our paywall. The topic of user-centric music […]

Epidemic Sound lays off 19% of staff in ‘realignment’ of business

Production music firm Epidemic Sound is making 79 of its 419 staff redundant, although the company says that this is not the result of a drop in revenues. The majority of the layoffs have come from its sales department, with the other redundancies coming from support roles including finance and training. Staff were told about […]

Former Crowdstar execs launch Top Mix music app

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

Zhu teams up with esports community Enthusiast Gaming

Zhu is the latest dance artist doing something interesting on Twitch – a livestreamed concert this Thursday (14 May) that will be used to premiere new single ‘Only’. However, it’s part of a wider deal for Zhu with a company called Enthusiast Gaming, which focuses on games and esports – the latter through its Luminosity Gaming […]

The power of smaller playlists. Why big is not always best.

*This topic was discussed in-depth on Music Ally TV. Watch the show in full here   In a world where the playlist is king, it is hardly surprising that getting on New Music Friday (NMF) has become the be-all and end-all of music streaming marketing, an opportunity to get your track in front of 8m people worldwide, […]

Katy Perry launches a ‘virtual flower delivery service’

“Our goal is to provide the best virtual flower delivery service that can help you tell someone you care, you love them, you miss them, or simply thank them for believing in you. Select a bouquet you wish to share and write your personal message to go along with it.” No, not the latest Silicon […]

Instagram Live soared for Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu, 6ix9ine

It’s fair to say that the Verzuz battle between Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu was hotly anticipated – and thankfully (given the technical difficulties we’ve seen in previous battles) lived up to expectations. It did pretty well in figures too: Scott posted a follow-up Instagram pic celebrating “1+ Billion Impressions” for the event, which saw both stars spinning […]

US Copyright Office posts transcript of AI music debate

“Country music is going to be the biggest sort of paradox for AI because the underlying melodies and so on are very formulaic. But the lyrics are based on human experience. I’d be very interested how long it would take an AI to come up with this… Tammy Wynette song, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Unless that AI spent […]

Napster needs outside funding within the next 12 months

Tech firm RealNetworks has published its quarterly financial results, including as usual figures for music-streaming firm Napster, in which it holds an 84% stake. Napster’s subscription revenues grew from $24.3m in the first quarter of 2019 to $26.3m in the first quarter of 2020: an 8.2% rise, albeit one that reflects the small scale of the […]

Keep Music Alive campaign aims to ‘fix streaming now’

The UK’s Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy have teamed up for a campaign called ‘Keep Music Alive’ which the two organisations say “aims to ‘fix streaming’ and calls for industry stakeholders to come together to agree an equitable, sustainable and transparent model for royalty distribution in the streaming era”. It kicks off this morning […]

Gracenote launches a new dataset of 35m podcast episodes

Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and other music services are thinking hard about how to make it easier for listeners to discover podcasts that they might like. Now tech firm Gracenote is launching something that could help: “a standardised and enriched dataset enabling powerful navigation, search and discovery of more than 35 million podcast episodes across all […]

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

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

Finalists named for Midemlab 2020 startups contest

There will be no physical Midem conference this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the event will live on digitally – including its annual Midemlab startups contest. Yesterday, the 20 finalists for this year’s competition (disclosure: Music Ally is one of the selecting partners) were announced, narrowed down from 226 entrants this year. The Music […]

Polaris survey reveals latest Nordics streaming stats

The Nordic region is one of the most mature territories for music streaming in the world. Now the Polaris Hub – the licensing hub formed by collecting societies in Denmark, Norway and Finland – has published its annual report on digital music in the region. “The number of inhabitants subscribing to a music streaming service has gone […]

WMG approved for Nasdaq IPO listing as financials announced

Warner Music Group announced its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, but in the earnings call, CEO Steve Cooper kept his cards close to his chest regarding the label’s upcoming IPO. “The current market conditions are obvious, so our board and management will continue to monitor the situation,” Cooper told analysts. However, there was some news later: “We have […]

Fortnite now has more than 350m registered players

Epic Games has put put a couple of new figures for its flagship game Fortnite, and they’re big. “Fortnite now has over 350 million registered players! In April, players spent over 3.2 billion hours in game,” tweeted the official Fortnite account yesterday. Note, the 350m figure isn’t active players – we don’t know how many of the registered […]

Finnish artist JVG’s virtual gig drew 700k viewers

Last year in Sandbox, we covered the campaign for Finnish hip-hop duo JVG’s RATA/ RAITTI album where they used their links to the world of ice hockey (absolutely massive in Finland) and also Warner Music Live to get to arena level. Now they’ve done something else inventive. On Vappu Eve (the night before May Day […]

Gallery view: Rita Ora gets an immersive online exhibition

We are seeing lots of campaigns having to quickly adapt their planned real-world elements to work as purely online initiatives – and the immersive video for Rita Ora’s ‘How To Be Lonely’ single is a very good case in point. The video was directed by Dave Myers and was made in partnership with Wonderland Agency. […]

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

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

T-Mobile US launches three-month Tidal trial for customers

Telco bundles can help drive up subscriber numbers when certain networks buddy up with particular DSPs. It is no surprise that T-Mobile US users are being offered three months of Tidal for free given that Tidal has a long-standing relationship with Sprint (notably a $200m investment for a 33% stake in the music service), with Sprint and T-Mobile merging […]

Twitch tipped to launch original shows – music included

Twitch may be preparing a slate of original, live TV shows, according to a report by Bloomberg. It claims that Amazon’s video service will be commissioning and funding “a slate of original, unscripted series that would be live and interactive, airing two to three times a week”. What’s more, the genres in play are expected to […]

Spotify tests video podcasts with YouTubers Zane and Heath

Spotify’s next move in podcasts will be letting people watch as well as listen. The Verge reports that Spotify is running tests with YouTube stars Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar for their ‘Zane and Heath: Unfiltered’ show. “The global test, which allows the creators to upload their recorded video footage to the app, will show up for […]

Why Nigeria has ‘massive’ potential for music streaming

Recorded music revenue in Nigeria will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% over the next five years to reach $40m in 2023, according to PwC, which is tipping the country to be the world’s fastest-growing Entertainment and Media market over the next five years, albeit in percentage terms. In PwC’s Entertainment and […]

Peloton recently added music from ‘thousands’ of publishers

Fitness firm Peloton is one of the businesses for whom the Covid-19 pandemic has a silver lining, with many people unable to visit gyms and thus working out at home. The company’s latest quarterly financial results reveal that its number of ‘connected fitness subscribers’ (people paying for a Peloton subscription) grew by 94% year-on-year to more than […]

Music Tectonics to hold ‘Isolate or Innovate’ online event

Music Tectonics is one of our favourite music industry podcasts (and not just because they’ve had us on), and it’s also held well-regarded conferences. Like everyone else in the conference industry, it’s being forced to go virtual this year. On 19-20 May, it’ll hold Isolate or Innovate, a Zoom form that will “bring together prominent industry […]

Is Harry Potter exclusive a sign of Spotify audiobook plans?

Spotify doesn’t think exclusives are good… for music. Spoken-word content? That’s a different story: the streaming service has been eagerly striking exclusive deals with podcasters and investing heavily in its own original shows. Now audiobooks are joining the party. Well, a new all-star reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone isn’t strictly exclusive to […]

Yoop joins the ticketed-livestreaming platforms scramble

Forget Fortnite: 2020’s most intense battle royale might just be between all the livestreaming-video services promising to help musicians make back at least some of the revenues they’re losing from the concerts shutdown. The latest to join the fray is US startup Yoop, which has created an ‘eSpace’ that it describes as “a new immersive virtual venue designed […]

Wicksteed Works launches ‘Getting Started with Fan Clubs’ guide

At the recent superfans event we held with the BPI and ERA, Wicksteed Works’ Jessie Scoullar was one of our experts, explaining how artists can make better use of mailing lists. Now she has launched a separate guide offering musicians and their teams an introduction to setting up a fan club or membership scheme for […]

Over-55s are fastest growing group of UK music streamers

UK body ERA has published some new research showing that Brits aged 55 and over are the fastest-growing segment of music streamers. From its panel survey, ERA estimates that 2.3 million over-55s were using subscription music streaming services in February 2020 in the UK, almost double the 1.2 million figure a year before. That 90.2% […]

Travis McCready and Marc Rebillet set for socially-distanced gigs

There’s plenty of uncertainty around when live concerts will resume in different parts of the world, but don’t forget the related question of what they’ll be like. Specifically: how will music concerts comply with whatever social distancing rules remain, as the lockdown eases. We’re getting some early hints in the US. Artist Travis McCready will […]

Sandbox Summit Global online event set for September

Music Ally is delighted to announce that we are taking our successful Sandbox Summit events online with a new global edition taking place from 21st September to 25th September across two hours each day. The event is supported by Linkfire and Chartmetric and is entirely free to access thanks to this support. The event will […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (6 May)

It’s back! Some days we’re not running a ‘positive news’ roundup, which doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s bleak and terrible: it might be that we’ve broken out a bigger positive story on its own, or just that there’s a lull in announcements. Good things to tell you about today, however, include Bandcamp’s announcement that last Friday’s revenue-share-waiving sale […]

Spotify CEO: ‘Long term, we do expect Apple to open up’

It’s all gone a bit quiet on the antitrust complaint front regarding Spotify versus Apple. Spotify filed a complaint in Europe against Apple more than a year ago, sparking a sharp rebuttal from the tech giant. We’re still waiting to see what action, if any, the European Commission takes over the complaint. However, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek […]

Techstars Music 2020 startups make their pitches (online)

The demo days of music/tech accelerator Techstars Music are usually a big draw in the physical world, with music industry execs and tech investors convening in Los Angeles to watch its startups pitch. By necessity, its 2020 demo day was different: streamed online with pre-recorded pitches. It was an impressive and varied selection of companies […]

Spotify should pay musicians more? Let’s talk more about how

Earlier this week, we covered the IFPI’s latest figures for global recorded music revenues, which grew by 8.2% in 2019. Artist rights group the Future of Music Coalition made an important point when it shared our story on Twitter. It’s true. In 2019 the recorded music industry enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of growth, taking […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Fanaply’s limited-edition digital collectibles

In November 2019, WMG’s head of innovation, recorded music, Scott Cohen told Music Ally that he was interested in the ways that blockchain technology could create new value for the industry. One example: digitally-scarce collectibles that fans would buy and show off. Fast-forward six months, and one of the startups in the latest cohort for […]

#NextStageChallenge attracts applicants from 39 countries

We reported on the #NextStageChallenge last month: it’s an initiative that’s trying to round up developers for a hackathon and accelerator to tackle some of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has created for musicians. Music Ally is one of the companies collaborating on the challenge. We’ve now got an update on participation: 425 applicants from […]

Were independents the big winners from 2019 streaming growth?

We covered the launch of the IFPI’s latest Global Music Report yesterday, and the official figures showing that global recorded music revenues grew by 8.2% to $20.2bn in 2019 – the biggest total since 2004. Now the analysis is continuing of what the figures tell us about trends in the market. Midia Research, which put out its own […]

Ministry of Sound makes a game out of Instagram stories

Ministry of Sound has found an inventive use for Instagram stories: it’s turned them into a game to promote the single, ‘Mightnight (The Hanging Tree)’ by Hosh & 1979 ft. Jalja. The Sony-owned label worked with digital agency F-That to create the game, which involves driving a motorbike through a snowstorm while tapping to avoid obstacles […]

Rolling Stones and Foals launch weekly YouTube shows

Two more artists have revealed plans for weekly YouTube formats during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rolling Stones have launched something called ‘Extra Licks’, which will stream past live performances on their YouTube channel every Sunday, using YouTube’s ‘premieres’ feature. The first, focusing on the band’s 2016 ‘Ole!’ tour of Latin America, can be watched here and has […]

Cope-ing mechanism: 90s indie singer returns as kids’ star

Nick Cope was lead singer in British indie band The Candyskins, who were Oxford contemporaries of (if not as big as) Supergrass back in the 1990s. They broke up in 1998, and although they’ve reunited for a few one-off concerts since, there’s also an interesting postscript to their story in the new career of frontman […]

Now That’s What I Call Windowing: Now 105 goes app-first

In the middle of April, music compilations brand Now That’s What I Call Music added a free ad-supported tier to its previously subscription-only app. Now it has made its latest album, Now 105, available exclusively through the app for its first week of release. The album went live on Friday (1 May) ahead of its physical and […]

Apple Music adds artists’ audiobooks for streaming

We’ve written a fair amount about the differing strategies of Spotify and Apple Music when it comes to spoken-word content. Spotify is piling in to podcasts and giving them equal billing to music on its ‘audio-first’ platform, while Apple is keeping Apple Music and Apple Podcasts as separate entities and apps. But wait: Apple Music […]

Pandora founder: ‘Subscription businesses are destroying music’

We tend to focus on startups’ tech and business models rather than their founders’ psychology, but new livestreaming startup Sessions is fascinating on both counts – in the latter case, seemingly as a response to CEO Tim Westergren’s experiences at Pandora. “The big piece of unfinished business for me at Pandora was, ironically, the artists,” he told […]

Latin music revenues in US growing faster than overall market

The RIAA has published its annual year-end report on Latin (recorded) music revenues in the US, revealing that they grew by 28% to $554m in 2019. That’s more than double the rate of growth of the overall US market, which was 13% that year. $529m of those Latin revenues (i.e. 95%) came from streaming, helping the category […]

Global recorded music industry grew by 8.2% in 2019 says IFPI

Music industry body the IFPI was due to publish its annual Global Music Report in March, with data on worldwide recorded music revenues in 2019. The launch was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the report has now been published today. The headline figure: global recorded music revenues grew by 8.2% to $20.2bn in […]

Fortnite’s new ‘main stage’ venue hosted a Diplo DJ set

Quick work, Fortnite. Last week we reported on the addition of a ‘Main Stage’ music venue to the game in its new Party Royale mode, and speculated that it could be used for live performances and DJ sets. On Friday night, Diplo rocked up to play a Major Lazer set, giving us the first glimpse […]

MusiCares forced to pause new applications for Covid-19 relief

We’ve been looking for the positive news around the Covid-19 pandemic in our industry, but we can’t avoid the challenges. That includes the news that one of those positive developments, the rapid raising of nearly $14m for the US-focused MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund, is rapidly being depleted. “It is the largest amount of money raised, […]

New Smart Audio Report explores Covid-19 smart speaker habits

US radio group NPR and research firm Edison Research have published their latest Smart Audio Report, which usually has plenty of interesting data on digital listening habits in the US. The new edition, for spring 2020, has added interest because it’s been asking people how Covid-19 and its accompanying lockdown has changed those habits. 26% of […]

Pandora founder Tim Westergren launches livestreaming service Sessions

Streaming service Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren stepped down as CEO and from its board of directors in June 2017. Since then, he’s been a venture partner at VC firm Khosla Ventures; joined the board of AI music startup Popgun; and founded a new company called Next Music. What’s that? Well, it’s the firm behind a new […]

Apple Music paid subscriptions are ‘up strong double-digits’

Apple published its latest quarterly financials yesterday, for the first quarter of 2020 (the company’s fiscal Q2). Services were once again a standout category for the company, setting another quarterly record of $13.3bn in revenues. There was also an announcement (of sorts) about Apple Music’s growth within that segment. “Apple Music and cloud services, both set […]

Canadian firm VoxTonePro files lawsuit over Spotify Ad Studio

Spotify is facing another lawsuit, although this one isn’t focusing on licensing or royalties. Instead, a Canadian company called VoxTonePro is accusing the streaming service of stealing its trade secrets, and using them to build its Spotify Ad Studio – that’s the tool that brands and businesses can use to create their own audio ads to […]

OpenAI reveals its latest music-generating AI: Jukebox

OpenAI is the non-profit artificial intelligence company backed by (among others) tech mogul Elon Musk. Just under a year ago it showed off Musenet: “a deep neural network that can generate 4-minute musical compositions with 10 different instruments, and can combine styles from country to Mozart to the Beatles”. Now it’s following up with a new system […]

Amazon Music’s Steve Boom talks growth, Alexa, playlists and more

This is the second part of our Amazon Music piece, based on a face-to-face interview in February that was being held for our Q1 2020 report in early April. Given the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic since February, we had a follow-up conversation with Amazon Music VP Steve Boom. Part one is based on […]

Amazon Music’s Steve Boom talks Covid-19, MusiCares and lockdown listening trends

“It’s been very gratifying to see the music community pull together… It’s gone really well: we’ve raised over $10m now. Unfortunately, the need is enormous. We’ve had over 10,000 applications for aid already, and we’re only six weeks into this thing. The crisis is going to be long lasting…” Steve Boom is VP of Amazon […]

Tools: Amazon Music for Artists. Navigating to success on Amazon

On many levels, Amazon has already proven its worth in shaking up the music streaming business – not least because it offers the most diversified selection of subscription tiers to consumers. It also made headlines last year by propelling Ellie Goulding’s Amazon-exclusive (a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’) to the top of the UK charts, […]

Facebook financials reveal ‘significant’ Covid-19 impact

You’d be forgiven for the tart reply ‘Well of course they do’ – even the world’s largest social network can’t be immune from the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks […]

Source3 founder raises $1.5m for Bonsai career-mentoring startup

Music Ally readers may be familiar with Patrick Sullivan, who co-founded video copyright protection company Source3 and sold it to Facebook in 2017. (That team had previously set up RightsFlow and sold it to YouTube in 2011.) Sullivan’s new venture is Bonsai which is designed to give individuals seeking career advice access to one-to-one video meetings online with […]

Holy £*@!: Deezer uses AI to filter out song profanities

Spotify launched its Spotify Kids app partly to reassure parents that their children would not encounter ripe phraseology when streaming music. Now Deezer is also looking into the challenge of ensuring family listening doesn’t accidentally turn the air a distinct shade of blue. The team behind its Spleeter stem-isolating tool have added in a ‘Keyword Spotting System’ […]

SiriusXM to launch artist channels for Bowie, Eagles and more

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM is launching a bunch of authorised artist channels on its service on 1 May. It’s a raft of big catalogue artists: David Bowie, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait, Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Prince and The Rolling Stones. Produced with the artists’ teams / estates, the channels will broadcast a mixture of […]

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

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

Serving the Superfans: takeaways from today’s BPI / ERA / Music Ally online insight session

Today was going to be the day for an insight session put on in London by British industry bodies the BPI and ERA in partnership with Music Ally about ‘Serving the Superfans’. Covid-19 put paid to the in-person plans, so the event was taken online via Zoom. Here’s our report of some of the key […]

Spotify’s mantra for radio vs on-demand streaming: ‘Everything linear dies’

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and CFO Paul Vogel have been fielding questions from analysts following the company’s publication of its Q1 2020 financial results earlier today, and their interview with Music Ally shortly afterwards. There were not many surprises, but Ek’s desire to (as he described it several times) “uplevel” the conversation around Spotify and […]

Two new reports on smart speakers and voice assistants

More research firms have been putting out numbers on the market for smart speakers and voice assistants. Juniper Research claims that by 2024 the number of devices with voice assistants in use will “overtake the world’s population” with more than 8.4bn devices – up from a predicted 4.2bn at the end of 2020. It sees big growth […]

Red Light Management’s Hot Command signs esports partnership

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

Instagram Live is getting a donations feature – for charities

Instagram is opening up its Live feature to allow users to create a fundraiser initiative where 100% of the money raised will go to a nominated cause. There are a number of caveats – notably that fundraisers can only be undertaken for nonprofits and Instagram has its own list of approved nonprofits that any money raised can […]

Ampled fan-funding platform waives artist fees for 2020

Earlier this month, we profiled Ampled, a new platform for artists to raise money directly from fans. At the time we noted that Ampled’s original business plan initially involved taking 15% of each transaction on its platform, with the aim of lowering that cut in the future. Now there’s been a change. “As a response to […]

Children’s music booms on platforms from YouTube to JioSaavn

One of the factors in YouTube’s viewing increase (see story higher up this bulletin) is the fact that schools are closed in many countries, and children are getting (even) more time on screens. At the younger end of the age range, that’s having a notable impact on the figures for children’s music channels. Witness the latest […]

Report: TikTok app added 5.6m US users in March alone

It won’t come as a big surprise to learn that TikTok is one of the digital services benefitting from the Covid-19 lockdown – in usage, if not necessarily in revenues. According to eMarketer, in March TikTok added more than 12 million unique visitors in the US alone. Wait: ‘visitors’? These are based on figures from comScore, […]

Impala publishes 10-step ‘recovery roadmap’ for music in Europe

European indie body Impala has published its latest thoughts on the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the music industry. It’s a ten-step ‘recovery roadmap’ that sets out what it would like to see governments across the European Union doing in the coming months. Immediate steps that Impala would like to see include EU states recognising music and culture […]

Alphabet’s Q1 included ‘significant slowdown in ad revenues’

It should come as no surprise that Covid-19 is figuring prominently in the Q1 financial results of every public company. Alphabet announced its figures yesterday, and warned that although its revenues were up 13% to $41.2bn in the first quarter of 2020, in March it saw a “significant slowdown in ad revenues”. YouTube is part of […]

Pandora ad revenues up but monthly listeners are still falling

US satellite radio firm SiriusXM published its Q1 financial results yesterday, including updated figures for its Pandora subsidiary. The good news for Pandora: its ad revenues were up 4% year-on-year to $241m. The not-so-good news: its monthly active users are still falling: down from just over 66 million a year ago to 60.9 million now. Ad-supported […]

Spotify’s Daniel Ek talks churn, fan funding and why Covid-19 ‘might be a much better time to release music’

The Covid-19 pandemic is leading some labels to postpone big album releases, especially those for which tours were a big part of the marketing plans. Some big artists, like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd, have put out their albums as planned. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek thinks they may offer encouragement to other artists and labels […]

Despite Covid-19 Spotify grew its subscribers to 130m in Q1 2020

With recent reports that audio music streams had fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been waiting for Spotify’s Q1 2020 financial results with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Would they reveal a decline in listening, but more importantly, about an impact on paid subscriptions? The figures are out, and it’s good news – for now […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (28 April)

TikTok is launching a new feature, ‘Donation Stickers’, that will enable creators on the app to encourage their followers to donate to charities. This isn’t only about music, but music industry charities MusiCares and Help Musicians are two of the first to be supported through the feature. The stickers can be added to videos, and […]

Spotify launches ‘Daily Wellness’ music and podcasts playlist

Spotify unveiled its latest personalised playlist yesterday, although for now ‘Daily Wellness’ is only available in the US and UK. Like ‘Your Daily Drive’ which launched in June 2019, the new playlist blends music and podcasts, except the focus now is on helping listeners find “positivity, mindfulness, or peace” throughout the day. Also new: ‘Daily Wellness’ […]

Saudi Arabian fund acquires 5.7% stake in Live Nation

The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia has acquired a 5.7% stake in Live Nation, for a price estimated at nearly $500m. Live Nation is a public company, so this was a transaction on the open market, revealed in a filing by the ‘Public Investment Fund’ with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to Billboard, this […]

Report: subscriptions growth ‘relatively unaffected’ by Covid-19

We’ll put the big caveat up front: predicting the impact that the Covid-19 coronavirus will have on any industry or sector this year rests on the supremely shaky notion that anyone can predict what will happen with the pandemic itself over the next eight months. Some countries are getting back to work and easing social […]

Lion Babe used Instagram for ‘Around The World At Home’ tour

We wrote earlier this month about L Devine’s inventive ‘URL Tour’ in which she held livestreams on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube, as if each platform was a stop on a tour. Now US duo Lion Babe have put their own spin on a digital tour with ‘Around The World At Home‘. It’s based on only […]

Carlos Vives launches #NoTeVayasDeTuCasa video-call campaign

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we’re seeing a growing number of artist marketing campaigns – and even the music that’s at the centre of them – address the crisis. The latest marketing example is from Colombian artist Carlos Vives, whose latest single is called ‘No Te Vayas’ (translation: ‘Don’t Go’). That theme has been adapted for […]

Maestro is the startup partner for Erykah Badu’s livestreams

Earlier this month, we wrote about Erykah Badu building her own livestreaming destination rather than using the big social platforms to reach her fans during the Covid-19 lockdown. Now we’ve got some more information about the technology she used to do it. Badu’s partner was a startup called Maestro, which helps artists to create and stream shows from […]

Zedd launched his Twitch channel by playing hot game Valorant

Dance artist Zedd has launched an official Twitch channel. It went live on Saturday with a stream of a 90-minute concert video from his Orbit World Tour. “I’m so excited to relive this show with everyone this weekend, and while so many of us are staying at home right now, I hope that this show will […]

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

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

Today’s positive music industry-related coronavirus news (27 April)

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) is launching a campaign called #saveourvenues, which aims to drum up support for 556 ‘grassroots music venues’ that it says are in danger of permanent closure in the UK. “The situation is dire, government support has been exhausted, and it now falls to artists, music fans, local communities and the […]

Lego and Universal Music team up for kids’ products in 2021

Universal Music Group’s latest partnership is with Lego. Announced this morning, it’ll see the pair teaming up for “the development of a new suite of Lego products launching in 2021, created to encourage and inspire the next generation of musicians, creatives and fans”. Details of what those products will be have not been announced yet: […]

Report: UK physical music sales halved during Covid-19 crisis

It’s hardly a surprise that physical music sales have taken a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, through a mixture of physical stores being closed, and Amazon prioritising other products for its online store. Now the Financial Times has been talking to some companies in the UK to quantify the decline, suggesting that “sales of vinyl records […]

Facebook will soon let page owners charge for livestreams

In terms of reach, Facebook is a hugely powerful platform for livestreams, which is why many artists have been using it during the Covid-19 lockdown period for performances, fan Q&As and other live broadcasts. Making money directly from those broadcasts (as opposed to indirectly through promoting streams, merchandise etc) hasn’t thus far been the goal. […]

UMG’s Michael Nash thinks music subscriptions will be resilient to Covid-19 impact

A flurry of recent reports have noted that in the initial weeks of the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown, music streams declined. Should the industry be worried? Universal Music Group’s EVP of digital strategy Michael Nash has dampened down those fears. “The subscription business, which is the big driver for revenue, is relatively stable based on its […]

Startup Gotickety talks Example tie-up and streaming plans

We last covered Gotickety when it launched in September 2018, calling itself the “Candy Crush for the Music Industry” where users of the app play games in order to win meet and greets with musicians, personal video messages from stars as well as tickets/merchandise. The company has now revealed the results of a recent partnership with […]

Trojan Records taps fans for Young, Gifted and Black campaign

It’s the 50th anniversary of the release of ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, and label Trojan Records is gearing up to celebrate it in style. It has launched a campaign of the same name, with an emphasis on fans. “Join in the celebrations by uploading a photo/video of yourself along with […]

Spotify’s music podcast Dissect returns with Beyoncé focus

Remember the days when you couldn’t stream Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album anywhere except on Tidal? The album eventually made it to other streaming services (including Spotify) in April 2019, three years after its initial release. More evidence of times having changed: ‘Lemonade’ is the subject for the latest season of Spotify’s music podcast ‘Dissect’, with two episodes […]

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

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

Fortnite reveals items and challenges for Travis Scott Astronomical event

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

AR firm Magic Leap lays off staff and refocuses on enterprises

Is more than $2.6bn of funding enough to insulate a tech startup from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? Not in the case of augmented-reality firm Magic Leap. “The recent changes to the economic environment have decreased availability of capital and the appetite for longer term investments. While our leadership team, board, and investors still […]

Artist Plastician builds a Twitch audience… with pub quizzes

How’s your dubstep and UK garage knowledge? If you’re clued in, you might want to tune in for artist Plastician on his Twitch channel, where he’s been holding regular pub quizzes on the genres. He’s one of the DJs profiled in a new Pitchfork article about livestreaming, which notes that Plastician has gone more down the interaction route […]

YouTube set for sing-along version of Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

This Saturday (25 April) a sing-along edition of The Beatles’ 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine will be screened on the band’s official YouTube channel. The film – which was remastered and restored for theatrical and DVD release in 2018 – has never been available on YouTube before. Well, not in an official capacity. This screening is […]

Pharrell Williams and SoundCloud launch talent compilation

Pharrell Williams and his I Am Other creative company are working with SoundCloud to create a compilation for new artists. Artists hoping to take part must upload a track to SoundCloud with the #SCxiamOTHER hashtag, then the best 10 (or possibly more) will be picked by Williams and his team. The resulting ‘SoundCloud Presents: i am OTHER, […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (23 April)

Start today with YouTube’s announcement of a slate of Covid-19 related original shows, with several involving music. Stay Home With: Yungblud will explore the UK artist’s quarantine life, with viewers encouraged to donate to the No Kid Hungry charity, for example. Also positive is Abbey Road Studios’ new Topline Songwriting Competition, with songwriters, artists and producers invited to […]

Hipgnosis acquires a 70% stake in Mark Ronson’s publishing

Hipgnosis Songs Fund is at it again. The thirsty-for-catalogue publishing company has acquired 70% of Mark Ronson’s publishing/catalogue. “Mark has been amongst the most exciting creators in the world over the last 20 years co-writing and producing records for the most important artists of their time including Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Dua […]

Spanish body Promusicae breaks down potential Covid-19 impact

Spain was once seen as one of the toughest markets for recorded music thanks to the popularity of piracy. The country’s turnaround, fuelled by streaming, has been a big positive story for the music industry in the past decade. Recent figures published by industry body Promusicae revealed that the Spanish market grew by 22.5% in […]

Spotify ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ tool is going live today

Last month, we reported on Spotify’s announcement that artists would soon be able to “link out to a verified funding page for themselves, for another artist in need, or for a separate initiative of their choice” from their profiles on the streaming service. The new feature – named ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ – goes live today, […]

Snapchat now has 229m daily users (but still big net losses)

Snapchat’s parent company Snap published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, revealing another jump in its daily active users total. At the end of March, Snapchat had 229 million daily active users, up by 20% year-on-year, having added 11 million in the first three months of this year. “On average, more than 4 billion snaps were […]

Facebook confirms $5.7bn investment in JioSaavn’s parent telco

In March, we reported on speculation that Facebook was in negotiations to buy a 10% stake in Indian telco Reliance Jio, the parent company of music streaming service JioSaavn. Now Facebook has confirmed that it has made a $5.7bn investment in the company, which will make the social network its largest minority shareholder. Music wasn’t mentioned in the press […]

Netflix added 15.8m paying subscribers in first quarter of 2020

We’re still waiting to find out what effect the Covid-19 pandemic is having on music streaming subscriptions. All eyes on Spotify’s Q1 financials next week for that. But Netflix’s first-quarter figures were published yesterday, giving us a glimpse at the impact on video subscriptions. Netflix added 15.8 million net new paid subscribers in Q1, benefiting from […]

Warner Music Group opens its live vaults for PlayOn Fest

This weekend (24-26 April), Warner Music Group is hosting the virtual PlayOn Fest where listeners can “relive epic performances one time only”. Over the three days, past shows from a huge range of acts, among them Coldplay, Green Day and Janelle Monáe (we only picked these three as they rhyme, but there are MANY more) will be […]

Belle & Sebastian launch new fan-centric collaboration project

British band Belle & Sebastian are turning to their fans to crowdsource their thoughts and feelings about self-isolation and life under lockdown. ‘Protecting The Hive’ is a two-part project where fans will be asked to submit lyrics and song themes and the band will then turn them into music. The first fruits of this is a […]

There’s now an AI to ‘generate deepfake dances’ for TikTok

Do you want to upload amazing dancing videos to TikTok like The Young People do, but are hamstrung by a lack of dancing skills? Fear not: AI is coming to your rescue. Possibly. Check out a new startup called Boogie, whose teaser website claims its technology will “generate deepfake dances with a single image” and thus […]

Spotify rolls its podcast ad-insertion tech out in Germany

In January, we reported on Spotify’s announcement in the US of its ‘Streaming Ad Insertion’ [SAI] technology: a system to boost advertising within its original and exclusive shows by giving brands and podcast makers alike more data on listeners and ad performance. Now SAI is rolling out elsewhere in the world, starting in Germany. The location is no […]

Patreon lays off 13% of staff amid Covid-19 uncertainties

Fan-funding firm Patreon is laying off 13% of its staff, which according to TechCrunch is 30 employees. The company cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the cause. “It is unclear how long this economic uncertainty will last and therefore, to prepare accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with 13% of Patreon’s workforce,” said a […]

Sonos launches its own ad-supported radio service

Connected-audio firm Sonos has always taken a Switzerland approach to supporting the various music streaming services, but it’s easy to forget that radio has been a big use case for its devices too, thanks to integrations with the likes of TuneIn and iHeartRadio as well as individual radio groups’ apps. “Today, nearly half of all […]

Spotify launches its own set of curated podcast playlists

Spotify has a new plan to get people listening to podcasts, and it follows the blueprint of its music service in its focus on human curation. The company has launched three podcast playlists initially in six countries: the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Mexico and Brazil. ‘Brain Snacks’ will focus on the educational side of things […]

Mixcloud launches a livestreaming feature for its creators

Streaming service Mixcloud has always been focused on uploads: DJ sets and radio-style shows uploaded for people to stream on-demand. Now, in a timely move, it’s adding a livestreaming feature. That’s audio (not video) livestreaming, as befits the platform. The company says the new Mixcloud Live feature will enable creators to stream live, archive the […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (21 April)

Spotify has added more partners to its Covid-19 Music Relief project. Having started with donations to MusiCares, PRS Foundation and Help Musicians, it is now also donating to funds and charities in France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Meanwhile, David Guetta’s livestreamed concert at the weekend generated 9m views on Facebook and nearly […]

Warner Music Group invests in African distributor Africori

Warner Music Group is increasing its footprint in Africa with an investment in Africori, a distribution, rights management and artist development company. The deal will give Warner’s ADA distribution division access to a range of African artists through Africori’s roster of 6,500 artists and 700 labels, taking on their distribution and marketing globally. Warner will […]

Apple Music adds 52 new countries taking its total to 167

Apple Music is expanding again, with its footprint now taking in an additional 52 countries. That means the service is now available in 167 countries, with Africa and Latin America prominent in the list of new additions – the former in particular, where the rollouts include 25 countries. MBW reported that the expansion includes the launch of Apple’s […]

Travis Scott to premiere new track during Fortnite ‘tour’

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

Facebook is taking on Twitch with an app to watch gaming

Facebook is launching a new app today: Facebook Gaming. It’s training its sights squarely on the territory occupied by Twitch: people playing games and streaming the footage online for others to watch. According to the New York Times, the launch has been brought forward from June. “Investing in gaming in general has become a priority […]

TikTok spikes persuade more labels to change track titles

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

Beatstream Box Office adds tech for ticketed live-audio streams

Startups and services based on live music are having to pivot quickly (if, hopefully, temporarily) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We wrote about ticketing app Dice’s launch of a livestreaming-focused Dice TV feature last week, and now fellow British startup Beatstream Box Office is making its own changes. The company’s main business is giving fans paid access to […]

BPI yearbook highlights growth for British rap artists

British music body the BPI releases its annual All About the Music yearbook today, and to promote the launch it’s talking about some of the findings around rap / hip-hop in the UK. The genre accounted for 21.5% of all consumption last year in terms of singles, which is a new high since the BPI began […]

One World: Together At Home raises $127.9m for Covid-19 relief

This weekend, a parade of stars teamed up for the One World: Together At Home livestream, organised and curated by Global Citizen and Lady Gaga to benefit the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. How did the event do? By yesterday it had already raised a total of $127.9m, of which $55.1m will go […]

Taylor Swift cancels all her live performances in 2020

There are some tough conversations going on behind the scenes at the moment about when the live music scene might get back to any semblance of normality. If you’re still hoping for this autumn, Taylor Swift’s announcement that she’s cancelling all remaining concerts for 2020 isn’t good news. “Health organizations and governments around the world […]

Tommy Boy president: ‘YouTube could become our number one DSP’

Friday saw the first ever Music Ally TV weekly show, broadcast using video-conferencing platform Zoom. Our guests included Rosie Lopez, president of Tommy Boy, and the topic at hand was YouTube. “We’re feeling very optimistic about YouTube. We’re projecting that YouTube could potentially become our number one DSP in the future,” said Lopez. “It’s a […]

Amazon to begin testing its staff for Covid-19 infection

Amazon has announced that it will begin testing some of its ‘frontline’ workers for Covid-19, even if they are not showing any symptoms. “Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running,” wrote CEO Jeff Bezos in his annual letter to […]

More data emerges on Covid-19 impact on YouTube ad rates

In terms of traffic, YouTube is getting an almighty battering at the moment, with people working from home (and just as importantly, children’s schools closed). But we’ve reported already on talk of the advertising rates on YouTube falling, as brands pause or pull their advertising budgets as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now there’s some more […]

Apple tipped to launch over-ear wireless headphones this year

Apple’s wireless AirPods earphones have been a big hit, but if you don’t like sticking things in your ears, they may not appeal. Never fear: Apple may well be working on some ‘over-ear’ wireless headphones, according to a report from Bloomberg. It claimed that Apple is “working on at least two variations, including a premium version […]

Dice ticketing app adds livestreams with new Dice TV feature

We’ve already seen the biggest companies in the live music world, from Live Nation to Eventbrite, reveal some of their plans for cost reductions to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. What about smaller startups whose businesses are based on live music though? Ticketing app Dice is one of them, and this morning it has revealed part […]

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

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

Now That’s What I Call Music app adds free, ad-supported tier

The Now That’s What I Call Music (‘Now’ for short) compilation series has been running since 1983, evolving in the streaming era with playlists on the big DSPs, but also its own subscription-based mobile app. It costs £4.99 a month and has a tightly-focused catalogue of chart hits. Now the app has added a free tier, […]

Tools. HypeAuditor: Analytical Platform for transparent & fraud-free influencer marketing

HypeAuditor has become a key tool in identifying fraudulent influencer accounts; now it has added a new influencer discovery tool, enabling those frequently working with influencers to promote artists/releases and to more easily find the right fit.  The platform says it has a database of 11m+ influencers across Instagram and YouTube, scraping information from publicly […]

What can the music industry learn from the biggest YouTube channels?

For all that the music industry likes to complain about YouTube, the two are irreversibly entwined. Indian music company T-Series has had the most popular YouTube channel for years now, recently crossing 100bn lifetime views on the platform, while music videos make up the lion’s share of YouTube’s top 10 clips. But that certainly doesn’t […]

Study: privacy worries DO put people off products and services

This is one of those things that may seem obvious, but it’s useful to have some hard data for. The Pew Research Center in the US has been surveying Americans about whether privacy concerns would stop them from using a product or service. 52% of respondents said that they had recently decided not to use something […]

Houseparty video-chat app signed up 50m new users in last month

50 million people have signed up to video-chatting app Houseparty in the last month alone, according to its CEO Sima Sistani, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg. The app is riding the same stay-at-home wave as Zoom (which has grown from 10 million daily active users at the end of 2019 to more than 200 million […]

Drake’s ‘Toosie Slide’ heads towards 3bn views on TikTok

Drake released his new track ‘Toosie Slide’ on 2nd April, and as we reported before, TikTok and other social platforms were part of its marketing strategy right from the start, thanks to the recruitment of some prominent dancer influencers. How’s that campaign going? Well, there have been more than 2.8bn views of TikTok videos using the #toosieslide […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (16 April)

There’s more news from the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund in the US, which has now secured contributions from collecting societies ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The fund is now past the $10m mark on the back of support from all quarters of the music industry. Meanwhile, in the UK another collecting society, PPL, is donating £700k to […]

Opposition filed to Liberty Media plans to increase iHeartMedia stake

In December 2019, it was reported that media group Liberty Media was seeking to increase its stake in radio and streaming group iHeartMedia – possibly to a level that would give it control of the latter company. Now a range of artist rights and consumer groups have written to the US Department of Justice outlining their opposition to […]

Scott Cohen: Covid-19 could be live industry’s ‘Napster moment’

Warner Music Group’s chief innovation officer for recorded music, Scott Cohen, thinks that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic could be a ‘Napster moment’ for the live music industry. Cohen was speaking in a ‘From Holograms to the Holodeck’ online panel last night convened by the Social Broadcasting Company. “With this Covid-19 disruption, is this doing to […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Ampled’s artist-owned ‘relationship platform’

As the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic drapes the world in uneasiness, many of our established economic systems are blinking under the cold light of community-centric scrutiny – including the music industry. The impact on streaming is still being debated, but the abrupt shutdown of the live music industry – and the disappearance of the income associated with it […]

#NextStageChallenge seeks tech solutions for music industry’s Covid-19 challenges

A group of European music companies and organisations are launching a two-week hackathon called #NextStageChallenge, which aims to find inventive solutions to some of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has created for musicians and the music industry. There’s a open call for submissions until 24 April, with the hackathon kicking off on 27 April […]

Socan CEO Eric Baptiste resigns and steps down immediately

There’s a change at the top for Canadian collecting society Socan, as its CEO Eric Baptiste has resigned and stepped down with immediate effect. Why so abrupt? “With the end of the current CEO contract approaching, Eric thought it was time to move on and a mutual decision was reached with the Board to end […]

Startup Dirac raises $6m and adds Spotify veteran to board

We’ve covered a number of startups in the ‘audio tech’ sector in recent times: among them Accusonus (which raised $3.3m in November 2019); Sonarworks (which showed off a personalised audio app called SoundID in January); and Tunefork (whose app for people with hearing loss impressed at Midemlab 2019). Now there’s another one for the list: Swedish startup Dirac, which describes […]

Soundsgood closes its playlisting platform after being acquired

We first wrote about French startup Soundsgood back in 2015 when it launched after signing up a range of tastemakers to curate bespoke playlists across all the major DSPs of the time. Two years later, it was among the winners in the Midemlab contest for startups, triumphing in the marketing and data/analytics category. Over time, Soundsgood focused more on […]

Sony/ATV teams up with music production marketplace BeatStars

Music Ally first wrote about production marketplace BeatStars back in June 2012, when we noted that it had already been dubbed ‘the iTunes of beats’. Eight years on, it’s now famous as the website where Lil Nas X bought a trap beat for $30 and used it to make a track called ‘Old Town Road’. In June last year, BeatStars […]

COVID-19: Time to turn disruption into innovation (guest column)

This is a guest column from Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA: “All around the world we are facing an unprecedented crisis, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale since before most of us were born. Like most industries, this also has also had implications for the music business, some parts more […]

Covid-19 advertising slump is hitting YouTube channels

In terms of viewing, YouTube is thought to be having a big moment amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But are its advertising revenues also climbing? A story on Medium’s OneZero suggests that there may be something to worry about on that front. “YouTubers say that the rates companies pay to advertise on their videos are dropping significantly. That […]

Jimmy Iovine invests in esports franchise FaZe Clan

Formerly of Apple Music (and, of course, before that a long and storied career as a producer, label executive and headphonepreneur) Jimmy Iovine is getting into esports. No, he’s not in training for the next Fortnite World Cup (although we’d absolutely pay to watch that) – Iovine has invested in one of the biggest esports franchises, […]

Dolly Parton and Laura Marling release surprise albums

Well, in the case of Dolly Parton it’s ‘re-release’ since her “93 Song Surprise” is the digital relaunch of six of her albums from earlier this century. ‘Little Sparrow’ (2001), ‘Halos & Horns’ (2002), ‘For God & Country’ (2003), ‘Live & Well’ (2004), ‘Those Were the Days’ (2005) and ‘Better Day’ (2011) are the six, […]

AIMS API uses AI to mine catalogues of recorded music

The latest startup using artificial intelligence technology to make sense of large music catalogues is AIMS API, from the Czech Republic. The company describes itself as “an API service that searches and recommends music within your catalogue based on reference audio tracks”. The startup’s background is in the production music world: co-founder Martin Nedvěd ran production […]

SoundExchange has distributed more than $7bn since 2003

US royalties-collecting organisation SoundExchange has hit a new milestone: $7bn of distributions since it was created in 2003. The company passed $5bn of distributions in late 2017, and was thought to have reached $6bn in early 2019. The news came as SoundExchange announced that its distributions during the first quarter of 2020 were $224m, up 1.5% year-on-year. The firm […]

Disney+ video service signs up 50m subscribers in five months

It took Spotify eight and a half years to sign up 50 million subscribers; it has taken Disney+ five months. And yes, that’s an unfair, apples to oranges comparison in terms of different kinds of services at different times. It’s just to show the startling scale of the initial growth of Disney’s video-streaming service. Launched in the […]

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down made a music video on Zoom

As video-conferencing app Zoom continues to grow massively for business and personal use alike, it was only a matter of time before artists started using it to make music videos. Take a bow, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, for being one of the first. The band’s new ‘Phenom‘ video was made using Zoom, […]

Instagram has plans to help artists monetise livestreams

Instagram is one of the best platforms for quickly drawing an audience for an artist’s livestream, if they have a healthy following on the app. However, when it comes to those artists making money from their broadcasts, Instagram Live is still at a very early stage. This thread of tweets makes for very interesting reading on […]

BPI study reveals strength in streaming of catalogue tracks

British music industry body the BPI has been analysing its data on music streams in 2019. It includes the finding that tracks from that year accounted for 21.1% of all streams, with tracks released in 2018 accounting for 18.6%. That means the lion’s share of streams in 2019 in the UK came from tracks released […]

TikTok launches ‘Live Sessions’ with popular UK artists

The live sessions and the livestreaming just keeps coming. TikTok has created a new Live Sessions series in the UK based around British artists. The first acts signed up to appear are Ashnikko (10th April), Mabel (14th April), Tinie Tempah (21st April), Jax Jones and Ellie Goulding (dates TBC). The aim is that each artist […]

CNN buys ‘private discovery’ app Canopy to focus it on news

CNN has acquired the assets of startup Canopy and hired the company’s development team to work on NewsCo, the codename for the broadcaster’s planned news and information platform. We’ve written about Canopy several times: it was co-founded in 2018 by former Spotify executives Brian Whitman (previously co-founder of The Echo Nest) and Annika Goldman. The idea was […]

Trolls World Tour film’s marketing includes Spotify and Pandora

“Is Trolls World Tour the most important film of 2020?” wondered a piece in the Guardian earlier this week. That may sound like hyperbole, but the main point was that it’s the first big movie of the year that’s going straight to streaming (due to cinemas being closed). If parents aren’t willing to shell out up to […]

Safe In Our World launches mental health hub for Covid-19

We haven’t written about Safe In Our World before, but it’s essentially the British games industry’s equivalent of Help Musicians: a charity focusing on mental health and wellbeing for people in that industry. Like that organisation, Safe In Our World has launched a ‘hub’ focused on Covid-19 / coronavirus, and while it’s aimed at games-industry people, […]

Tracking the trends of the ‘self-isolation entertainment boom’

Midia Research has published a report on the entertainment categories benefiting from what it is terming ‘The Self-Isolation Entertainment Boom’. Traditional media, notably TV and especially radio, is growing, with the report noting that in Italy 72% of respondents say they are currently watching more TV. Given radio has been slipping in importance in recent years, Midia […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry stories (8 April)

We’ve broken the big positive story out as our lead today, but there are other good things to report on too. Variety has a report on how ticketed-livestreams platform StageIt is growing during the pandemic: it made $884k in the last two weeks alone, compared to $500k in the whole of 2019. That translates into revenues […]

Mobile video service Quibi launches to mixed reviews

Music Ally has been covering the build-up to the launch of mobile video subscription service Quibi for a while now, including the $1.75bn of pre-launch funding that it has raised, and its plans for a music-focused show. Now Quibi has launched, to reviews that are the classic mixed bag. Engadget nailed its colours to the mast with the headline ‘Quit […]

Songstats is the latest startup providing music analytics

After past acquisitions of music analytics startups Next Big Sound (by Pandora), Semetric and Asaii (both by Apple) the industry once again has a clutch of independent dashboards competing to help artists, managers and labels make sense of their streaming and social stats. We’ve written regularly about the likes of Soundcharts and Chartmetric, but the […]

The Roots ramp up original content for their YouTube channel

Usually the house band on The Tonight Show, excellent hip-hop collective The Roots are using this period of social distancing to work on their YouTube channel. They already have 267,000 subscribers to the channel and 165.3m lifetime views, but the coming weeks will see the group ramp up their original content. There’ll be DJ sets from Questlove, […]

How closed venues can help the vulnerable during the pandemic

So many concert and cultural venues are closed at the moment, with their owners wondering whether they’ll be able to ride out the period until lockdowns end and punters can return. Here’s something that could be interesting to think about in the meantime though: a guide for cultural venues on how they can support homeless and […]

Vinyl sales ‘expected to drop heavily’ says Vinyl Alliance

Industry body the Vinyl Alliance has been surveying its members about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their businesses. Spoiler: it’s not good. Its findings note that “even though many brick and mortar stores divert to online sales, sales are expected to drop heavily” – not least because Amazon has “temporarily moved its focus […]

StubHub faces class action lawsuit over coronavirus refunds

With a huge number of festivals and concerts postponed or cancelled entirely amid the coronavirus pandemic, event organisers and ticketing companies have been mulling their options. One solution is to offer customers ticket vouchers (for when events are rescheduled) rather than cash refunds, as a way to stay financially afloat during the current period of […]

How Does Music Marketing Personalisation look like in 2020?

Marketing used to be based around demographic categories or social archetypes, but the more marketers and digital platforms know about you, the more personalised they can become in terms of both messaging and products. There are enormous opportunities here but also a growing need to tread carefully around just how deep and tailored marketing can […]

Tools. Zaiko: Ticketing in times of Coronavirus

For the music industry, it was live that got hit first and hit hardest by COVID-19; but technology is helping to plug some of those gaps caused by the mass cancellation of shows and festivals.    Tokyo-based platform Zaiko is known as a white-label ticketing platform but quickly built a ticketed concert live stream solution […]

FanBytes ByteHouse is a Big Brother-style house with UK TikTok stars

Imagine trying to launch a project at this specific point in time that involved a group of TikTok stars living together in a Big Brother-style house. Impossible. Luckily for agency Fanbytes, said TikTokers moved into its new ‘ByteHouse’ before the current social-distancing lockdown in the UK, so its project can proceed as planned. That project […]

Report suggests Apple might buy live-VR startup NextVR

Music Ally has been writing about virtual-reality startup NextVR since 2015, when it raised a $30.5m funding round from investors including the Madison Square Garden Company for technology that would enable music concerts and sports events to be broadcast live to VR headsets. T he company had already streamed a concert by Coldplay. It then signed a deal with […]

Dolby On could help musicians sound better on Twitch livestreams

Audio company Dolby has just launched its Dolby On app for Android, following its earlier release for iOS. It allows users to record high-quality audio and video on their smartphone. More interestingly, however, the company has also announced that the iOS version of Dolby On now works with live-video platform Twitch, enabling users to livestream […]

Drake tapped dancing influencers for ‘Toosie Slide’ release

If you’ve been spotting Drake’s new track ‘Toosie Slide’ all over your socials in recent days, it’s no accident. Rolling Stone has a piece explaining how the artist enlisted some popular dancing influencers to promote the single. Toosie, Hiii Key, Ayo & Teo (the latter are a duo) are the influencers in question, popular on TikTok, Instagram […]

The Rattle goes non-profit while Tileyard goes north

Two of London’s physical music-tech communities have announced plans for their future. The Rattle, which now has bases in London and Los Angeles to bring musicians, producers, music professionals and startups into the same community space, has announced that it is diverting 100% of its profits to help artists struggling with the financial impact of […]

Tencent plans Africa expansion for Joox music streaming service

In its last set of financial results, Tencent Music revealed that it had 644 million mobile monthly active users of its online music services, including 39.9 million who were paying. That represents the scale of its business in its homeland, China, but now its parent company Tencent Holdings is planning some music-streaming expansion in another part […]

Pollstar says 2020 global live revenues would have been $12.2bn

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bullseye was a popular darts-based British TV game show, complete with a ‘look at what you could have won’ element where losing contestants were shown the grand prize they’d just failed to win. It’s hard not to be reminded of that by Pollstar’s announcement on Friday of its estimate for what global live-music […]

TikTok has label licences, but publishers are threatening to sue

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

Report: there were 358m music subscribers by the end of 2019

The IFPI has delayed the publication of its Global Music Report, with no new date yet set for its analysis of recorded music figures for 2019. A new report from Counterpoint Research is plugging one of the knowledge gaps: the number of people subscribing to music services globally. It claims this figure grew by 32% in 2019 […]

Twitch will get games for streamers and viewers to play together

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

Zoom has 200m daily users, but CEO promises to fix its problems

A month ago, most of us had never even heard of video-conferencing app Zoom. Now it feels like we’re all on it having work meetings and catching up with friends and family. The company behind it has revealed that Zoom was being used by 200 million daily users in March – up from an average of […]

YouTube Kids may be the top video streaming app of 2020 so far

Apptopia is one of a cluster of app analytics firms (see also: App Annie, Sensor Tower) mining the app stores for data on the size and growth of the apps market. Its latest report is co-published with a customer engagement firm called Braze, and focuses on the video streaming world. The part that caught our […]

Startup SupaPass is now a ‘website and app creation’ platform

Back in July 2016, we profiled a British startup called SupaPass, which had just launched an app for musicians to run their own subscription services: starting at £1 a month for access to their music, videos, social posts and other exclusive content. Imogen Heap would be one of its most high-profile artists. We hadn’t checked in […]

L Devine’s digital ‘URL Tour’ helped her sell out of merch

One of the most inventive approaches to livestreaming so far this year came from British artist L Devine, who went on an online-only ‘URL Tour’ when a planned physical tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of towns or cities, the URL Tour was structured around platforms: Instagram Live on 16 March; Twitter on 20 […]

Encore launches ‘music messages’ including NHS donations

Personalised video messages from celebrities are officially A Startup Thing, thanks to companies like Cameo and Taki, where people can pay for celebs to record them (or their friends / family) a unique video clip. Now music/tech startup Encore has launched a spin on the idea for musicians. Its core business is providing a website for events organisers […]

Side Door expands to include ticketing for livestream concerts

There are plenty of ways for artists to perform concerts at home and livestream them during the current period of social distancing and self-isolation, but not quite so many ways to charge fans to watch. One recently-launched option is a startup called Side Door. Its core business is (or rather: will be, once the lockdown […]

Spotify app now works with Siri voice assistant on Apple Watch

We haven’t heard that much about Spotify’s European anti-competition complaint against Apple for a while, despite rumblings last year about a potential investigation. However, there have been some moves by Apple to open up its ecosystem in ways that address some of the complaints that Spotify had. One concerns access to its Siri voice assistant, […]

European music orgs call for more pandemic-tackling investment

A collective of 40 European music bodies are calling for the European Union and also national governments to deliver more support to the music industry and its creators, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “In light of this dire situation, we call for emergency as well as sustainable public support and structural policies at EU, […]

SoundCloud makes its pitch to artists as a music distributor

SoundCloud made several announcements yesterday, and alongside its financial support for creators, there was also the launch of a new ‘marketing and distribution engine’ called Repost by SoundCloud. It’s a very interesting move for the streaming service: “professional marketing and monetization services and industry-leading distribution features, with priority chat support”. In essence, it’s a pitch for […]

Calm and Headspace lead list of top meditation apps in the US

Meditation apps is a space that we’ve been following for a while now, as more of those apps license music and form partnerships with the music industry in other ways. Given the current global situation, it should come as no surprise that mindfulness apps of all kinds are seeing a spike in downloads. Analytics firm […]

Startups battered by a coronavirus-driven ‘great unwinding’

The New York Times has published an interesting (if also bleak) article exploring the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic is presenting for tech startups in particular. It’s a good read, especially for people within the music industry who work with music-tech startups. One Silicon Valley exec who specialises in restructuring failed startups describes the current period as […]

What music can learn from YouTube’s biggest channels

The latest edition of Sandbox went out to subscribers last night and the cover feature runs through the biggest YouTube channels outside of music (although we do add in T-Series for good measure) to look at what they do, how they do it and what music can learn from them all. There is comedy (in […]

Grimes and WeTransfer want creatives to rework her new video

Artist Grimes has just released the video for her new track ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’, which sees her performing the song against a green-screen background. That design decision was actually part of a partnership with internet firm WeTransfer, with the goal being to encourage creatives (and fans) to take the raw footage from the […]

EMI Archive Trust creates Sound Of The Hound podcast series

The EMI Archive Trust has created a new podcast series that looks at the history of recorded sound. It is called ‘The Sound Of The Hound’ (in tribute to Nipper, the canine made famous in the His Master’s Voice painting that gave the label and the HMV retail stores their names) and is presented by […]

Some iHeartMedia staff furloughed as CEO foregoes his salary

Last week, we reported on US radio, live and streaming group iHeartMedia withdrawing its financial guidance for 2020 and drawing on $350m of a pre-agreed credit facility to tide it through the coronavirus pandemic. However, yesterday there were some more developments. Radio industry site RAMP got its hands on an internal memo revealing a range of cost-cutting measures to […]

BPI & ERA Insight Session: Serving The Superfans – 29 April

Music Ally is partnering with ERA and the BPI to create a special report and livestreamed event looking at superfans and how to best market to them. The report will be published to coincide with the virtual conference which takes place on 29th April from 4pm to 6.30pm (GMT). The sessions during the afternoon include: […]

Despite 2019 growth, Spanish industry braces for slump in 2020

There’s good news from Spain about the growth of its recorded music market in 2019, but very bad news expected for the rest of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Industry body Promusicae announced both yesterday. Recorded music revenues grew by 22.5% to €296.4m (around $324.5m) in 2019 in a market that is now three quarters […]

Spotify and WMG seal their deal – including ‘additional markets’

The coronavirus pandemic appeared to have put the long-running soap opera of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels on hiatus. Now it’s returning: with concrete progress. “Warner Music Group and Spotify are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets,” […]

SuperAwesome report: ‘Everyone is a kids and family brand now’

Just as many parents are teachers now, so when it comes to the world of technology and digital services “everyone is a kids and family brand now”. That’s the tagline for a report by kid-tech firm SuperAwesome, which explores what the coronavirus pandemic (and the stay-at-home measures being deployed to battle it) mean for businesses. […]

‘Listen In’ with new artist-curated playlists on Pandora

Pandora has created a series of new playlists, all curated by different artists and exclusive to the platform, under the umbrella brand of Listen In. “Each artist-curated playlist will feature songs that are soundtracking their lives during this unusual time, with commentary about their connection to the music, what’s inspiring them, keeping them busy, or […]

Huawei Music claims 160m monthly users, as it launches in Europe

Back in November 2018, we wrote about Chinese technology firm Huawei’s claim that its Huawei Music streaming service had 100 million monthly active users – a surprise to many people in the west who hadn’t been following its growth. Since then, Huawei has become one of the more controversial tech companies in the world thanks to scrutiny in […]

Spotify Kids expands again, as country playlist Indigo launches

With parents across the world still getting to grips with home-schooling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and associated social-distancing measures, digital services aimed at children are having a big moment in the spotlight. Spotify had already launched its Spotify Kids app in a range of countries, but yesterday it expanded to the world’s biggest music […]

Tencent finally seals the deal for 10% stake in Universal Music

On the very last day of 2019, Tencent Holdings (heading up a consortium of investors) signed an agreement to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group. Now, in a neat bit of quarterly timing, that deal went through on the very last day of the first quarter of 2020. As previously announced, the deal valued Universal Music Group […]

Management firm ie:music launches ie:ventures to invest in startups

Yesterday, we reported on the launch of music-making app Endlesss. One of the British startup’s investors is music management company ie:music, through a new arm called ie:ventures. Director Stephen O’Reilly told us more about the new division, and why the company – whose artists include Robbie Williams, Passenger and Ladyhawke – is getting into startup […]

Record Union launches music-focused ‘Wellness Starter Pack’

Last year, we reported on a study by distributor Record Union into mental health and wellbeing for independent musicians. The results made for concerning reading. Now the company is launching something new as a result: a ‘wellness starter pack’ which it describes as a “toolbox for wellbeing” aimed at musicians. It’s a collection of videos focusing on […]

Hips my Life: Hipgnosis buys catalogue of Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora is best known as the guitarist in Bon Jovi and co-writer of some of their biggest hits (such as ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ and ‘It’s My Life’) which, three decades on from their release, still do decent business on streaming services. Those three songs along have combined […]

StubHub is offering credit, not refunds, for cancelled events

The next big controversy around secondary ticketing has arrived, and it concerns whether buyers will get refunds for events that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. If they bought through StubHub, the answer is now ‘no’ in the US and Canada – unless they were bought in areas where such refunds are legally required. […]

Midem 2020 conference cancelled, replaced by ‘digital edition’

Conference organiser Reed Midem has confirmed that its Midem event, which was due to take place on 2-5 June, has been cancelled – in its physical form, at least. The next Midem will be in June 2021. “The situation related to the coronavirus is changing daily, as are government announcements and restrictions… Given the uncertainty surrounding the virus […]

Music-making app Endlesss officially launches its iOS app

We wrote about music-making app startup (and extra-sibilant scourge of auto-correct systems) Endlesss several times in 2019: for example when the company pitched at and co-won the Midemlab startups contest last June, then when we interviewed CEO Tim Exile the following month. The company’s app has been available on an invitation-only basis since then, but today sees its official commercial launch […]

Internet Archive’s ‘National Emergency Library’ sparks row

There’s a copyright row breaking out in the US after the launch last week by the Internet Archive of something called the ‘National Emergency Library’. It’s not actually a brand new thing: it’s a change of policy for its existing ‘lending library’ for ebooks. The change is that people don’t have to join a waitlist […]

Podcast listening may be falling amid coronavirus pandemic

There’s been a certain amount of debate in the last fortnite about whether music streaming isn’t, in fact, getting a spike in usage as more people work from home. Here’s some more possible context for that: perhaps non-radio audio is what’s getting a bit of a hit. Podcast analytics firm Podtrac has been looking at […]

AudioLock and Label Worx launch The Music Mission to battle piracy

Anti-piracy firm AudioLock and distributor Label Worx have teamed up for a campaign called The Music Mission, which they say will target ‘pay for access’ piracy download sites. The companies want other music firms to help them shut down around 200 piracy sites by squeezing their ‘payment gateways’, and turn their visitors back towards legal music […]

Report explores potential subs growth for Indian music services

Indian management consultancy firm RedSeer has published a report about the ‘audio OTT’ (i.e. music streaming) market there, including exploring the potential for growth in paid subscriptions. Some of the figures are familiar: for example its claim that only around 1% of current listeners are paying for subscriptions, but that the average revenue per subscriber is ’80 […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (30 March)

There’s something of a domino effect happening as collecting societies sign off their plans for hardship funds and other measures designed to support songwriters and composers during the current pandemic. French society Sacem has announced a €6m ‘rescue fund’ for hard-hit musicians, with grants of €1.5k, €3k and €5k available depending on the situation. Sacem has also […]

MMF and FAC call for ‘recoupment holidays’ for artists

UK industry bodies the MMF and FAC have published some results from a survey of more than 150 managers and artists about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their incomes. They have extrapolated the data to suggest that “over £50m has already been lost to the wider music economy” with live cancellations the main reason. […]

Facebook expands its ‘stars’ monetisation to musicians

We haven’t written about this much, because musicians couldn’t use it, but Facebook has had its own livestream monetisation system of ‘stars’ running for a while now. It’s akin to Twitch’s bits and cheers and YouTube’s Super Chat, in that viewers can spend money on virtual items, with the streamer who they’re watching getting a […]

View-Tang Clan: Amazon Music makes Ol’ Dirty Bastard documentary

Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard released his debut solo album ‘Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version’ on 28th March 1995. To mark its quarter-century anniversary Amazon has created the Unique: Return To The 36 Chambers 25 Years Later mini-documentary. It features previously unseen footage of the late rapper as well as interviews […]

Space is the place for new Big Beat Records campaign

Warner Music Group’s Big Beat Records label is preparing to release a new album called ‘Big Beat Ignition: Space’ on 3 April. The 10-track compilation has an intergalactic theme – “anyone else down for a space rave right now?” – and a creative marketing campaign drawing on data from NASA and the European Space Agency, as […]

Russian anti-piracy boss hails efforts to tackle infringement

The head of Russian anti-piracy body the Internet Video Association has claimed that voluntary piracy measures in the country imposed two years ago have been having the desired impact. Back in 2018, a number of Russian content companies, platforms and distributors – bowing to years of pressure, lobbying and litigation – signed up to a […]

Indian video service MX Player expands to six new markets

MX Player is an on-demand video streaming service owned by Times Internet (the digital arm of Indian media conglomerate Times Media) and has over 175m active users in India. It has now expanded to six new countries – the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Nepal. This comes after a significant investment round last […]

iHeartMedia withdraws its financial guidance for 2020

It’s not so long since US radio firm iHeartMedia was in deep financial troubles, and while it pulled itself out of those last year, it’s understandably one of the companies being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Now the company has followed Twitter in withdrawing its guidance for analysts (financial predictions) for 2020. “Given the ongoing uncertainty […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (27 March)

Let’s start today with Germany, at a time when bodies representing musicians and the music industry are pressing governments around the world for relief and support. The post Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (27 March) appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

TikTok’s top creator Charli D’Amelio now has 41.8m followers

With many parents exhausted already by homeschooling, and relaxing their device-usage rules once lessons are done, we suspect TikTok’s servers are getting a mighty battering. That’s going to be good news for the top creators on the social app though, whose audiences may see a spike. Tubefilter notes that this includes a change at the top of […]

Analyst predicts big hit to Facebook and Google ad revenues

We’re trying to report on all the positive news amid the coronavirus pandemic, but we can’t ignore the bad news. For example, the likely impact on digital advertising spending, with the giants of that space – Google and Facebook – likely to take the biggest hits. “The two internet giants together could see more than $44 billion […]

AIM Sync conference to go virtual for its 30 March event

UK indie body AIM was due to hold its annual AIM Sync conference on 30 March, but for understandable reasons, it’s not going ahead as a physical event. However, it will still happen digitally: “a live and interactive virtual conference” thanks to a partnership with digital agency level8. People who’d bought tickets to the planned conference are […]

Video service Quibi to launch a show focusing on music

We’ve written about Quibi a few times: the company formerly known as NewTV was founded by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and tech veteran Meg Whitman, and is launching a subscription-based app with original TV shows split into bitesize episodes. It’s also raised a ton of money – $1.75bn so far, with its service about to launch. Now there’s […]

Apple Music Browse page is tuned for self-isolating listeners

We’ve been writing about what streaming services are doing to support music-industry relief efforts and artists, but the coronavirus pandemic is also having an impact in how they’re recommending music (and other content) to their listeners. We wrote about Deezer’s new ‘Stay at Home’ hub earlier this week, but Apple Music is also adapting to the time […]

StubHub furloughs staff due to coronavirus impact

StubHub has become one of the first ticketing firms to confirm plans to ‘furlough’ staff (the term means to put staff on mandatory leave, often unpaid – it’s not clear whether that applies here – as a temporary measure). “Given the impact of the coronavirus on the live-events industry, we have made the difficult but responsible decision […]

SoundCloud Go+ subscription service launches in the Nordics

SoundCloud Go+, the streaming service’s subscription tier for listeners, has expanded into four new markets – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. They’ll now get access to its full catalogue of more than 200m tracks and DJ sets, with features including no ads, offline play and better audio quality. It’ll cost 99 kr a month in Denmark, €9.99 […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (26 March)

We’re keeping this going, not least because positive news is keeping us going, personally… British collecting society PRS for Music has launched an Emergency Relief Fund for its members, created with the PRS Members’ Fund and PRS Foundation. To qualify, applicants have to have been members of PRS for at least two years and earned over £500 […]

Spotify coronavirus response includes letting artists add fundraising links to their profiles

Spotify has just announced some of the things it’s doing in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. They include launching a music relief project where the streaming service will match donations up to a total Spotify contribution of $10m, and a feature enabling artists to fundraise from fans via their Spotify profiles. The Spotify COVID-19 […]

Justin Bieber to release bi-weekly mini-compilations

News that Justin Bieber is going to be releasing a couple of albums a week during the coronavirus pandemic may raise your eyebrows, but there’s a caveat: these are compilations rather than all brand new material. “Gonna be putting up some compilations for you guys. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here is the first one,” tweeted Bieber yesterday, […]

YouTube’s Stay Home #WithMe hub gathers music livestreams

YouTube’s latest initiative to encourage people to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic’s current phase is a hub called StayHome #WithMe that gathers videos that it thinks will keep people entertained, active and informed while staying home. The top shelf on the page is called ‘Jam With Me’ and spotlights the latest livestreams from artists – at the time […]

SoundCloud creates artist shortcuts alerting fans to new uploads

SoundCloud has added a new feature to its iOS app that will alert users to new uploads (or reposts) from favourite acts as soon as they open the app itself. The company claims that in early testing of the feature it saw engagement with an act’s music increase by over 25%. In a blog post about […]

Publishers awarded $189k in damages in Wolfgang’s case

A long-running legal action against Wolfgang’s Vaults over its streaming of archive concerts has resulted in music publishers being awarded $189,500 in damages. There were 197 separate songs listed in the suit, with 167 of them were deemed to have been wilfully infringed. That means that the per-song infringement worked out at $1,000 each, far below […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (25 March)

Start today with the group of streaming services and tech companies announcing contributions to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund in the US. Amazon Music, Facebook, SiriusXM and Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music are the services, and while no amount has been given for their contributions, MusiCares said that in less than a week it has raised “millions […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (24 March)

Music Ally is trying to write a story every working day, rounding up the good, practical things happening in and around our industry: focusing on relief efforts and other initiatives from the music industry and music / tech communities. Start today with Bandcamp’s update on how last Friday’s big music sale went. “On a typical Friday, […]

Twitter users up but revenues hit due to coronavirus

Earlier this year, Twitter provided analysts with its financial guidance for the first quarter of 2020, predicting revenue of between $825m and $885m, and operating income between $0m and $30m. Yesterday, though, Twitter withdrew that guidance, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “While the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on […]

New York Times buys startup that turns articles into audio

It’s not just music streaming services who are excited about podcasts and long-form audio more generally. The New York Times just acquired a startup called Audm, which runs a “subscription-based audio app that offers listeners the world’s best longform journalism, read aloud word-for-word by celebrated audiobook narrators”. It launched in 2016, and aggregates articles from the NYT but […]

BTS로 한국어 배우기 (that’s ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ in Korean)

We really hope that means ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ – blame Google Translate if not! We wrote about Weverse earlier this year as part of our report on K-Pop giant Big Hit Entertainment’s latest financial results: it’s a fan community platform focusing on artists including BTS, TXT, Seventeen and Gfriend, launched by Big Hit subsidiary beNX. Now it […]

South Korean DSP changes chart to battle ‘distorted’ streams

Flo, owned by SK Telecom, is one of the main music streaming services in South Korea. It used to run a near-real-time chart (updated hourly) showing what the most popular songs were on the platform. That has now been replaced by a new Flo Chart that updates every 24 hours that allows it to use […]

Spotify is testing photo-based music recommendations

Have you ever been using a music streaming service and thought: ‘Yes playlists and suchlike are good, but what I really need is the ability to take a photo and have that used to recommend music to me’? Nope, us neither. Still, Spotify clearly sees some potential in the idea: it appears to be testing […]

Apple Music’s new personalised playlist is Get Up! Mix

Although Apple Music has made human curation a big part of its brand (especially when execs are throwing shade at Spotify in interviews) that hasn’t stopped it from developing its own series of algo-personalised playlists. Now Favourites Mix, Chill Mix and Friends Mix have a new team member: ‘Get Up! Mix‘. Like the others it’ll […]

Music Ally to hold free webinar: ‘Bringing Live Online’

As you’ll have noticed, livestreams are all the rage right now, as artists look for a way to perform for and chat to fans (and perhaps to find a new income stream) in lieu of cancelled tours and festivals. This Thursday, Music Ally is holding a free webinar called ‘Bringing Live Online’ – kindly supported by […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Pex sees big music potential in UGC

For the last few years, LA-based startup Pex has been quietly scanning, fingerprinting and indexing every single piece of audio and video uploaded to open, public-facing platforms. It has accrued a whopping database of 20 billion data points, and – perhaps – know what’s happening on certain platforms better than the platform itself. Music Ally […]

Survey suggests Disney+ has been a huge hit in the US

In its last financial earnings call, Disney said that it ended 2019 with 26.5 million paid subscribers for its Disney+ video streaming service, representing a very strong start in the US. Now, ahead of its rollout in Europe, Variety has some new stats that point even more towards Disney+ being a huge hit back home. “Approximately 50% of American […]

Struggling with isolation? An astronaut might be able to help

Some people have been working from home regularly for years, and others take to it like ducks to water. But others may struggle, especially if they’re cooped up alone (or with housemates / family) for what’s looking like an indeterminate period of time. In the knowledge that many of our readers will be thinking hard […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news

Stuff we’re heartened by today includes Resident Advisor’s ‘Save Our Scene‘ campaign, which is mustering collecting action from the electronic music community. There’s an open letter that fans, musicians and other people in the industry can sign – more than 3,000 people so far have – with encouragement for people who want to do their […]

Soundplate launches cover-art generator for music playlists

We haven’t written about Soundplate before, but it’s one of the companies creating marketing tools for artists and labels: its best-known product is Soundplate Clicks, a smart-links tool competing with the likes of Linkfire and SmartURL, but it also has a tool for creating music-vizualiser videos for YouTube and social platforms, and a tool for […]

MelodyVR is raising $12m by selling more shares

We reported last week on virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR’s postponement of its planned expansion to Latin America and Asia Pacific, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company’s growth hopes continue: this morning the company – which is public – announced plans to raise $12m of new funding by selling shares to existing and new investors. After expenses, it’ll mean […]

Spotify launches a new podcast API for developers

Spotify may be booting DJ apps off its music API, but the company is also launching a new API for another part of its business: podcasts. “Today, we launched a new podcast API for developers. This will allow developers to explore and build unique experiences to help your shows reach new listeners in new ways,” explained Spotify […]

It’s too early to tell what coronavirus means for streaming

It’s not great for your work/life balance to spend the weekend feeling grumpy every time you spot that ‘people are streaming music less due to coronavirus’ story doing the rounds – based on a limited comparison of stream counts from the Spotify charts. It’s true that other forms of media may be more appealing to […]

Mixtape site Spinrilla sues RIAA over takedown notices

Usually when US industry body the RIAA is involved in a court copyright dust-up with a website, it’s the industry body doing the suing (or rather, working with labels who are doing the suing). The boot will be on the other foot in an upcoming case, however. TorrentFreak reports that mixtapes site Spinrilla is suing the RIAA […]

Instagram and TikTok ‘sidekick apps’ were hot in 2019

A new report from research firm Sensor Tower has found that a third of the biggest new apps in 2019 were “sidekick apps” for the likes of Instagram and TikTok. What are sidekick apps? They are apps that work in conjunction with ‘mother’ apps, adding new features or enhancements that the original app is lacking. According to […]

Behind The Campaign: Indian hip-hop star Naezy

In India, Naezy is one of the driving forces behind the country’s emerging hip-hop scene. Given the centrality of Bollywood, the Indian music industry was, for many years, a sub-division of the film industry and music marketing had to work around that structural fact. As digital opens the county up, new opportunities are bubbling up […]

Netflix reduces streaming quality in Europe to save bandwidth

Netflix is making some changes to the way its service runs in Europe, in response to a request from the European Union’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton. He asked the video streaming service what it could do to reduce its load on the continent’s internet networks, with populations working at home en masse. “Streaming platforms, telecom operators […]

There really is a robot releasing music on Spotify

Wait! Drop the pitchforks! Shimon isn’t one of these fake artists you’ve been hearing about (we’re still trying to get to the bottom of who Jan Thiel is, by the way). No, Shimon is proudly, unashamedly an actual robot, and he plays the marimba. He’s one of the robotics projects at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music […]

Music companies share their lessons on remote working

Many of us (Music Ally included) are now figuring out how to run our companies as entirely remote-working businesses. A couple of music companies with more experience of this have been sharing their lessons, which may be useful. Merch firm Push Entertainment’s Simon Scott has published a post of “real world things that work for highly functioning […]

Spotify’s dance playlist Mint spawns its own ‘singles’

We’re well used now to ‘Spotify Singles’, the streaming service’s series of original live recordings from artists, where they re-record one of their own songs plus a cover version – with their label retaining all the rights. Well, now one of Spotify’s big playlists is spawning its own line of similar releases. The playlist is dance-focused […]

The Weeknd sets Apple Music record, holds Spotify listening session

It’s fair to say that The Weeknd’s new album ‘After Hours’ is expected to have a big debut this weekend. The streaming services are certainly throwing their weight behind it. Apple announced yesterday that the album has broken its record for Apple Music pre-adds (people pre-saving it to their libraries). MBW reported that by yesterday, […]

Tencent Music talks album sales and independent artists

Earlier this week we reported on Tencent Music’s latest financial results, including the news that it now has 39.9 million paying users for online music. Note, that’s not just ‘subscribers’, because Tencent Music also sells music – digital albums – through its streaming services. In the company’s earnings call with analysts, it talked about some of the recent […]

Is Triller music’s next big launchpad?

It’s not quite a case of: “Come in, TikTok – your time is up.” However, Triller has been growing sharply in recent months and is starting to break tracks and acts in its own way. For now, the audience skews towards both the US and hip-hop, but the app has global ambitions and wants to […]

Tools. Audience Republic: Sell more tickets for your event

Audience Republic was established in 2016, three years after founder and CEO Jared Kristensen had lost $20k at a low-selling event he had put on. After three more years of organising various events, he realised that he was missing an effective solution that would help sell tickets.  The company now has offices in London, Los […]

TikTok appoints US external advisors for content moderation

TikTok has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent months, in the US particularly, over how its content moderation policies work. Now the app has appointed what US general manager Vanessa Pappas described as “an external council of leading experts to advise TikTok on content moderation policies covering a wide range of topics… thought leaders who […]

Charli XCX kicks off ‘self-isolating’ livestreams series on Instagram

Everyone and their artist auntie is livestreaming now, it seems – our RSS feed was overwhelmed by a blizzard of media articles commenting on the trend this morning too. Some of the more notable examples from the past 24 hours include: Charli XCX kicking off a series of Instagram livestreams, patching in fellow artists like Christine and […]

Startup Landmrk launches ‘Virtual Tours’ feature for artists

We’ve written about British startup Landmrk regularly over the past couple of years: its platform enables artists (and other kinds of brands too) to create virtual ‘treasure hunts’ that encourage fans to explore the real world to find digital content. Obviously, there are some issues with the ‘explore the real world’ aspect right now, what […]

Glastonbury Festival and Eurovision both cancelled for 2020

Spring and summer music events getting cancelled is now expected, rather than a surprise, but for Europeans yesterday still managed to deliver something of a hammer blow with the cancellation of the 2020 editions of both the Glastonbury Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest. By now, neither is news, so the aspect we’ll pull out […]

MusicWatch report notes growth in US ‘music buyers’ to 116m

Research company MusicWatch has revealed some of the findings from its Annual Music Study, which surveys 5,000 Americans on their music habits. Among those findings: there are now 116 million ‘music buyers’ in the US, the highest total since 2007. That’s a metric covering people who pay for subscriptions and/or CDs, downloads and vinyl. Meanwhile, […]

Bootleg podcasts hint at how Spotify could shake up audio shows

What to call them. Podboots? Notcasts? Vice has run a fascinating piece on the Trojan horse world of podcasts on Spotify that are smuggling unlicensed music onto the platform. Vice has trawled Spotify’s music podcasts category and found a range of shows, with names like idk im high, boyband nostalgia and the less i know the circle […]

MelodyVR postpones expansion to Latin America and Asia Pacific

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR is seeing a silver lining in the coronavirus outbreak – its content sales are up – but it’s also forcing a pause in the company’s global expansion plans. On the first of those: “We have not sought to actively capitalise on the events of the last few weeks, yet having experienced […]

New Sonos app and operating system coming in June

Sonos is launching a new app in June, alongside new software for its speakers. Well, some of its speakers. The app and software is called ‘Sonos S2’, and it will be compatible with many existing Sonos devices and all its new ones. However, some of the company’s older hardware will not support it – what […]

Anti-LGBTQ+ song removed from music streaming services

Malaysian rock band Bunkface have a song called ‘Akhir Zaman’ [‘The End of Times’] which included homophobic lyrics like the line “LGBT can go to hell” (or “LGBT can go die”). The band had released a statement denying that this was hate speech, suggesting instead that they were protesting against the movement for LGBTQ+ rights in […]

‘TikTok for musicians’ Jamiphy joins Y Combinator accelerator

We wrote about startup Jamiphy in August 2019 after we spotted its profile pop up on an investment website. It was billing itself as ‘TikTok for Musicians’ – an app where artists could “create short musical videos with others, and with AI musicians using any instrument or style”. The company has since launched its app in Indonesia, and now […]

UK music industry concerned for venues closing for coronavirus

The COVID-19 situation is certainly fast-moving. Yesterday afternoon, various UK music bodies criticised the British government heavily for advising people not to go to public venues including pubs, clubs and concert venues without actually ordering those places to close – the concern being that this would not enable them to claim on their insurance policies. “The […]

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