Tools. Crowdtangle: Follow, analyze, and report on what’s happening with public content on social media

CrowdTangle, which was bought by Facebook in 2017, is a tool for media publishers and content creators to track how content spreads online, and to see what content their target audience engages with. CrowdTangle is free to use and can be used – to a certain extent – by anyone, but the platform’s full analytics […]

Vimeo’s latest funding round values the company at $5bn

We last wrote about video streaming service Vimeo in November 2020, when it raised $150m in a new funding round, as parent company IAC mulled a spin-off for the service. Now the company is turning to investors again, raising another round of $300m which IAC said values Vimeo at more than $5bn. In fact, it quantified the ‘more’ […]

Label Big Dada relaunches with new focus on minority communities

Independent label Ninja Tune’s Big Dada subsidiary already has a strong reputation for its hip-hop releases, but now it is relaunching with a new mission statement. Big Dada will now be “run by Black, POC & Minority Ethnic people for Black, POC & Minority Ethnic artists” – the company provided a “for lack of a better […]

African music accounts for 70% of streams on Boomplay service

Streaming service Boomplay’s MD East Africa Martha Huro was one of the speakers at the NY:LON Connect conference yesterday, in an MQA-hosted session on opportunities for regional DSPs. She offered insight into trends on the pan-African streaming service. “70% of our total streams come from African content,” she said, adding that this guides Boomplay’s strategy […]

Spotify and Apple show narrative ambition with new audio stories

There is more to non-music audio than podcasts, as we’ve been pointing out recently. The latest proof comes from Spotify and Apple, with their latest content experiments. Spotify has released nine new audiobooks on its service. Well, we say ‘new’ – they are all classic, public-domain books – ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Frankenstein’ etc – but brand new recordings […]

PRS Foundation launches ‘Power Up’ anti-racism initiative

PRS Foundation is hoping to follow the success of its Keychange initiative, which supports underrepresented genders in the music industry, with a new movement tackling anti-Black racism. It’s called ‘Power Up’, and is launching as a partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition, with the backing of a number of industry […]

UTA’s David Zedeck: livestreaming will be a ‘virtual balcony’

The NY:LON Connect conference that we co-run with Music Biz kicked off its first online edition yesterday with a track on the future of live and livestreaming, including a keynote interview with UTA partner and global head of music David Zedeck, conducted by Billboard’s Taylor Mims. He talked about how he sees livestreaming’s future once […]

WMG teams up with FMG for Adaptr startups licensing platform

Warner Music Group has teamed up with Feed Media Group – the company behind B2B music firm Feed.fm – to launch an initiative that aims to make it easier for startups to license music. It’s called Adaptr, and its core is a pre-licensed library of music for developers to use in their apps, for which they’ll pay […]

Clubhouse has 2m users, new funding and plans for ‘creators’

In our world, chatter about ‘audio’ tends to focus on podcasts, and music streaming services’ drive into that form of content. However, there’s a wider audio trend getting Silicon Valley excited, and Clubhouse is one of the main reasons. It’s the service once described as “a mashup of Spotify, Zoom and even the X Factor“, […]

TikTok’s new creator portal has tips for TikTokers old and new

There’s a long history of video and social media platforms building detailed ‘playbooks’ – resources teaching the people using their services how to build audiences and make good stuff. TikTok is no different: it has just revamped its educational materials with the launch of the TikTok Creator Portal. Aimed at creators old and new, it promises best-practice […]

Nigerian musicians await resolution in battle of the PROs

In January 2019 during a panel on Africa’s music industries at NY:LON Connect, Chocolate City group’s Aibee Abidoye talked about one of the challenges in Nigeria: competing collecting societies causing confusion in the market – including giving broadcasters an excuse for avoiding paying royalties for music usage. Are things looking any more settled two years on? This […]

Indian music company Saregama reports latest financials

Saregama is one of the Indian media firms focusing on both music and films – and, indeed, music for/from films. Its latest financial results reveal that the business is holding up despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on India’s movie industries. Saregama’s quarterly revenues were up by 7% year-on-year to 134.6 crore rupees (around $18.5m) even though its […]

Sea shanties singer Nathan Evans gets a major label deal

As we write this story, Scottish artist Nathan Evans is on course for a top 10 hit in the UK with ‘Wellerman’ – his sea-shanty cover that took TikTok by storm. There’s an obligatory heartwarming story about him giving up his job as a postman for a career in music. But behind this, there’s an industry move: Evans […]

Buying catalogues is a sprint, but managing them is a marathon

It’s easy to buy a catalogue of songs – well, it is if you have the money, obviously – but the challenge of managing them well to grow revenues is an important challenge. “Marketing is absolutely at the core of future success for song catalogues, even if lucky random breaks will continue to happen thanks to […]

Native Instruments sells majority stake to Francisco Partners

By the end of 2020, Native Instruments had more than 1.5 million monthly active users of its products for making music and DJing. This, plus the wider buzz around music creation technology, has been making investors’ ears prick up. Native Instruments’ majority owner is an investment company called EMH Partners, which bought in to NI […]

Bob Dylan’s catalogue sale sparks lawsuit over co-writes

Where there’s money, there are invariably lawsuits. There’s certainly money in musicians selling their catalogues and royalty interests to investment companies, and lo and behold, there are lawsuits popping up as a result. Bob Dylan is facing one, after selling his song catalogue to Universal Music Group in December. Billboard reported on the lawsuit from the […]

British artists criticise UK government over Brexit mess

Musicians in the UK are still angry about the lack of a deal to help them avoid increased costs and red tape when touring Europe, after Brexit. A number of them have written an open letter to the British government lambasting its failure to reach an agreement with the EU on this point. “British musicians, dancers, actors […]

UK’s music streaming economics inquiry publishes written evidence

If you had the metaphorical (or, indeed, literal) popcorn out on Tuesday for the latest sessions in the UK parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming… well, perhaps grab a few more bags now and settle in for the day. The committee behind the inquiry has just published all the written evidence submitted by […]

Netflix shares soar as video services passes 200m subscribers

Netflix ended 2020 with 203.7 million paying subscribers, according to its latest financial results. The company added 8.5 million net paid members in the final quarter of the year, and 37 million in 2020 as a whole – a record for Netflix. The video streaming service generated $6.64bn of revenues in Q4, and a net profit […]

Spotify users created more than 12k new sea shanty playlists

Why are sea shanties so popular on TikTok and streaming services right now? Wait for it… Because they arrrrrrrrr! With #ShantyTok establishing itself as 2021’s first unexpected social/streaming music trend, Spotify has revealed some stats on how sea shanties are catching on with its listeners. The company says that its users have created more than […]

BBTV says its music video content gets 391m monthly viewers

BBTV is one of the companies that works with music artists and channels to boost their YouTube performance: clients include mtheory (Major Lazer included); Future Classic (Flume included) and 21 Savage. Now the company has published its latest stats on how its roster of channels and videos is doing on YouTube. It claims that in […]

Smart speakers startup Syng hires Rio Caraeff ahead of launch

We wrote about Syng in May 2020: it was a startup founded by former Apple design team member Christopher Stringer, which was planning to launch its own smart speaker and subscription service. The company is still working on those first products, but as launch nears, it has made a significant hire: former Vevo and Magic Leap […]

Call for entries: Midemlab 2021 music startups contest

Music tech startups! It’s that time of year again: when industry conference Midem opens the applications process for its Midemlab startups contest. It’s the competition’s 14th year, and as ever Music Ally is delighted to be one of the selecting partners (alongside Panache Ventures and The Lynk) who’ll be rummaging through the applicants to pick […]

Wave is shutting down its VR app to focus ‘outside headsets’

Wave started life as a virtual reality music startup, with an app hosting VR raves. In recent times, it has pivoted to become more of a production tool: artists like The Weeknd have used it to turn their livestreams into hybrid video/animation events, to be broadcast on bigger social and video platforms. Now Wave is […]

Live Nation makes its livestreaming move with Veeps deal

If you needed a sign that livestreaming is likely to sit side-by-side with physical concerts even once the latter return at scale, how about Live Nation buying a majority stake in a livestreaming startup? That happened yesterday, as the live giant bought in to Veeps, the company founded by musicians Joel and Benji Madden of Good […]

Major labels gave evidence to the UK’s music streaming economics inquiry… so what did we learn?

It’s actually pretty rare to get genuine smoking-gun ‘gotchas’ from political inquiries in the moment. When they work well, it’s more about patient, forensic questioning that elicits genuinely enlightening answers – and sometimes quotes that later come back to haunt the speaker. Did we get that from this morning’s sessions at the UK parliamentary inquiry into […]

Laura Marling livestream to be rebroadcast as ticketed event

Last summer, Laura Marling sold 6,500 tickets for her two livestreamed shows from the Union Chapel venue in London: one of the first examples of a ticketed livestream utilising that kind of performance space during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now her team is experimenting again: exploring how much replay value there is in those original concerts. On 31 […]

WMG strikes deal with Punjabi music firm Sky Digital India

As India’s music streaming market grows, so the western major labels continue to seek out partners to grow their foothold there. The latest example is Warner Music Group’s new distribution agreement with Sky Digital India, an aggregator of Punjabi music from more than 42 Indian labels, as well as running a collection of Punjabi music […]

Scruff of the Neck launches live music shows on Twitch

British live music promoter Scruff of the Neck is trying out a new business model on livestreaming service Twitch. It’s launching a channel called Scruff of the Neck TV, which will be airing three-hour shows with live music performances, with 10 planned this month before settling into a schedule of performances, podcasts and artist interviews from […]

Feat guide offers anti-touting tips for agents and promoters

Ticket touting has dropped out of the music industry headlines over the last nine months – unsurprisingly, given that in many countries there aren’t many tickets to tout due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But as the live industry continues its preparations for a return at scale (hopefully) later this year, so the murkier side of secondary […]

Publishers and PROs ‘disappointed’ as US consent decrees are unchanged

The US Justice Department has decided to leave the ‘consent decrees’ governing public performances of music unchanged, sparking an unimpressed response from publishers and collecting societies there. This is the legislation that means Ascap and BMI have to license their entire catalogue of music for public performance by any company that requests it. Both PROs […]

Bicep turn their ‘Isles’ artwork into an Instagram filter

The latest artist to turn their artwork into a whizzy Instagram filter is Bicep. Signed to Ninja Tune, their new album ‘Isles’ comes out on 22 January, with the filter launching ahead of it – tap on this link from your phone to try it. It’s not just a fun effect though: fans creating videos with it […]

UK and European Comission disagree over who’s to blame for Brexit music woes

While musicians in the UK and Europe fret about the Brexit deal’s impact on touring, the British government and European Commission are arguing about who’s fault it is. “We sought a mutually beneficial agreement that would have allowed performers to continue working and perform across the continent without the need for work permits. Musicians, artists, […]

Report: global startups funding grew by 4% in 2020 to $300bn

We’ve written a lot about what the Covid-19 pandemic meant for the music industry, but what about the wider tech world – and funding for startups in particular? CrunchBase has published its annual review of the figures. It claims that global venture funding grew by 4% year-on-year to $300bn in 2020, and then breaks this […]

UMG signs music licensing deal with fitness service Variis

Variis isn’t a fitness startup as such: it’s a fitness app launched last March by Equinox Media, owner of a chain of gyms in the US. The app works with a Peloton-style connected exercise bike, which costs $2,500, and provides video lessons from instructors. Now, like Peloton, Variis is signing licensing deals with major music labels. […]

Tencent Music could raise $3.5bn from secondary offering

Chinese digital music giant Tencent Music went public in 2018 with an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Now, however, the company may be preparing a secondary offering in Hong Kong that could raise up to $3.5bn. That’s according to Nikkei Asia, which suggested that TME’s plans are part of a trend for Chinese companies that are […]

Sonos Radio is the third most-streamed service on its devices

The latest musicians to curate channels on Sonos Radio were announced yesterday: D’Angelo, FKA Twigs, Björk and the Chemical Brothers are the latest artists to turn DJ for the hardware firm’s streaming service. But another detail in the announcement caught our eye: the fact that Sonos Radio is now “the third most streamed service on Sonos”. That’s […]

Report claims Twitch viewing hours grew by 83% in 2020

Video streaming industry firm StreamElements has published its latest report on the state of the livestreaming market, using data from analytics firm Arsenal·gg. Among the claims: that Twitch saw its viewing hours grow by 83%, from 9bn hours in 2019 to 17bn in 2020. The report also suggests that in December 2020 alone, people watched Twitch […]

Expect more rows in 2021 over platform moderation of podcasts

Hot Pod News founder Nicholas Quah is one of the sharpest analysts of the podcasting industry, so his ‘2021 Year in Preview‘ post is well worth a read. Among its predictions: more moderation rows ahead over the content of podcasts made available through big platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. “I have a strong feeling […]

The latest unexpected TikTok trend is… sea shanties?

“Soon may the Wellerman come, to bring us sugar and tea and rum…” In a day of news with plenty of worries for our industry – Brexit, concert cancellations etc – here’s some light relief: the latest music craze on TikTok is sea shanties. A growing number of TikTokers are singing traditional sailors’ songs, often […]

Aim calls for UK / EU cooperation to resolve Brexit mess

Anger is still reverberating around the British music industry about the costs and red tape musicians will face touring in Europe following Brexit. News that Brits running training seminars on the continent wouldn’t need a permit spurred artist Tim Burgess to note that “setting up The Charlatans Business Consultancy Inc – where people buy tickets and I sing […]

The 1975 cancel all their scheduled concerts for 2021

Remember the days, in March last year, when concerts and festivals were being postponed to the autumn? Those were optimistic times. Live music is coming back in a number of countries that have Covid-19 under control, but in many major music markets it’s still unclear whether autumn *this* year will be possible for concerts at […]

Shakira and KT Tunstall sell stakes in their music catalogues

Two more musicians are selling their rights – or at least part of them – to investment companies. Shakira is the latest to throw in her lot with Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which has acquired 100% of her music publishing rights for her entire catalogue of 145 songs. “One of the most serious and successful songwriters […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Bitfury Surround – After the initial hype disappointed, can blockchain tech have a second coming for music?

Bitfury Surround says it is about to provide a platform that can take all your data, attach it to the blockchain, and standardise it. Then, you can look at this vast, interconnected set of data and figure out, for instance, the money you’ve not recovered, and who you need to get it from. Or figure out who to market to […]

Social app Parler faces app store removals and partner pullouts

“Ban him @discogs, just in case,” from musician Damon Krukowski was one of the tweets that raised a smile after Twitter and a host of other social and video platforms banned or suspended US president Donald Trump’s accounts. The crackdown en masse by mainstream platforms also sparked debate about where Trump and his supporters will move, online-wise. […]

Sony unveils its first 360 Reality Audio smart speakers

Sony’s consumer electronics arm has been showing off its new smart speakers, which are its first to use the company’s 360 Reality Audio format. They do stick to some Sony traditions though: numberwangtastic product names: the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 will be launching in the next couple of months. Both devices will offer a choice of voice […]

Primavera-funded study explores Covid-safe concert measures

A study commissioned by Spanish festival Primavera Sound has offered some pointers to the kind of safety measures that could be used at concerts when they start to return later this year. A gig at an indoors venue for 463 people who’d been tested (negative!) on the same day for Covid-19 took place on 12 […]

UK recorded music market grew by 6.8% to £1.55bn in 2020

We reported last week on industry body the BPI’s report that music consumption grew by 8.2% in the UK last year. Now we have some revenue figures to set alongside that, courtesy of the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era). It claims that Brits spent £1.55bn on music across physical sales, download sales and streaming subscriptions in 2020, up by […]

SiriusXM writes down Pandora value by $1bn citing royalties

US satellite radio firm SiriusXM has revealed that it is writing down the value of Pandora, its music streaming subsidiary, by around $1bn. The news came in SiriusXM’s announcement to investors of its expectations for 2021 under newly-installed CEO Jennifer Witz. “In connection with its annual impairment assessment of goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets, the company […]

UK music industry enraged by post-Brexit touring revelation

“Immigration arrangements for members of the armed forces, musicians and other performers are completely unchanged, and those routes will operate as they do now,” said the UK’s home secretary Priti Patel in February 2020, during a parliamentary debate on plans for a new points-based immigration system after the UK Brexited from the European Union. 11 months […]

Report: games and interactive media made $139.9bn in 2020

It isn’t news that the games industry is now much bigger than the recorded music industry, and rather than that getting us down, it should fuel our excitement about the potential collaborations between the two industries. Some new figures on exactly how big the games market is are out this week from research firm SuperData. Its […]

Facebook redesigns pages with focus on followers over likes

How many likes does your top artist’s or company’s Facebook page have? Who cares?! At least, that’s one of the messages coming from Facebook’s latest redesign of how its pages look and work. “We are removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite Pages,” explained Facebook in a blog […]

Apple hails Apple Music’s ‘record year’ (without user figure)

It’s our strong suspicion that Apple Music will soon have more than 100 million paying users, and that Apple is waiting for that milestone before updating its official stat from the 60 million figure it revealed in June 2019. If so, that’s why a new users stat is missing from Apple’s announcement reviewing its services’ performance in […]

Hunter Walk’s ‘creator wellness’ ideas apply to music too

Former YouTube executive Hunter Walk, who’s now an investor, has published an interesting article with some suggestions for dealing with ‘creator burnout’ on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. We think it may have some useful ideas for the music industry too, where many artists feel like they’re on a similar algorithm-driven treadmill of content creation. “What’s […]

Roblox raises $520m funding round from investors including WMG

Gaming platform Roblox was all set to go public in late 2020, before putting off its IPO until this year to give more time to decide how to price it. Now the company has sprung a surprise with a new funding round of $520m – its Series H round – valuing Roblox at $29.5bn. The round was led by VC […]

Cameo sold 1.3m videos in 2020, with revenues of $100m

Another Covid-19 pandemic trend has been a flood of celebrities joining Cameo, the service set up for fans to pay their favourite (or comically obscure) stars to record video messages for their friends, family or colleagues. Now Cameo has revealed some stats on what this meant for its business in 2020. According to Axios, Cameo sold […]

Swedish startup Staccs preps music concerts streaming service

A lot has been written about the growth of livestreamed music performances during the Covid-19 pandemic – including some shows that were pre-recorded. Meanwhile, some artists and labels with archives of past concerts have been exploring YouTube as a way to keep fans entertained, including using its premieres feature to turn them into social events. Now […]

Neil Young sells 50% of his song catalogue to Hipgnosis

The first few working days of 2021 have been a powerful statement of intent for Hipgnosis Songs Fund, albeit a pretty blistering one for its corporate wallet. Hot on the heels of its deals with Jimmy Iovine and Lindsey Buckingham, today the company has announced a swoop for Neil Young’s songs catalogue. Well, 50% of […]

UK Music sets its sights on summer for live music’s return

We’ll be avoiding generalisations about Covid-19 and live music this year: in countries whose governments have dealt with the epidemic decisively and effectively, concerts are already coming back. In others… that’s not the case. Talking of which: UK Music has published a report targeting this summer for the restarting of the UK’s live music industry. Accompanied […]

Investment firm Shuaa Capital buys stake in Anghami

Early last year, there were rumours that Middle Eastern streaming service Anghami might be up for sale, fresh from generating more than 10bn streams in 2019. A year on, and Anghami remains independent, but it is raising money. Dubai-based investment firm Shuaa Capital has taken a stake in Anghami, although the terms of the transaction have yet […]

Charli D’Amelio is first TikTok star to reach 100m followers

TikTok has its first nine-figure star this morning, with Charli D’Amelio becoming the first TikToker to reach more than 100 million followers on the platform. What’s even more startling is the fact that she only joined TikTok in the spring of 2019, so that audience has been built in just over a year and a half. D’Amelio […]

Apple’s AR team hints at ‘devices that may exist tomorrow’

Apple has been doing a lot of work around augmented reality technology with its iPhone and iPad software and ARKit developer tools, but rumours that the company might be working on a full-blown AR headset persist. An interview with the company’s AR team by CNET offers a little more fuel for that fire. “AR has enormous […]

BPI launches a new Membership Inclusion Programme

British industry body the BPI is trying to expand its membership, particularly from labels and music companies owned by people from “underrepresented” communities in the current industry. That means “women, people from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, people with disabilities, or those who identify as LGBTQIA+” according to the body, which is offering […]

Audoo raises £5.2m from investors including Björn Ulvaeus

British startup Audoo has raised a Series A funding round of £5.2m (around $6.9m) to continue developing and rollout out its technology to track public performance usage of music. The round was raised in 10 weeks from investors including Edinv, Björn Ulvaeus and Tileyard London. The funding follows Audoo’s win at the Midemlab startups contest earlier this […]

MMF chair sees ‘dangerous disconnect’ in streaming royalties

Tomorrow sees the first session in the UK Parliament’s inquiry into music streaming economics. Ahead of that, the chair of managers body the MMF, Paul Craig, has outlined his hopes for the inquiry, as well as his concerns about the current streaming environment. He warned of a “dangerous disconnect” between the streaming-fuelled growth of the recorded […]

Snap acquires music-focused short-video app Voisey

Snapchat’s music ambitions just took another significant step forward, with parent company Snap seemingly having acquired startup Voisey, whose app is used to create and share original music videos. We say ‘seemingly’ because neither company has yet commented, but the news – broken by Business Insider then followed up by TechCrunch – isn’t in doubt. Voisey’s four co-founders resigned as directors last […]

First speakers and sponsors announced for NY:LON Connect

We’re delighted to announce some initial keynote speakers and sponsors for NY:LON Connect 2021 which takes place from 25-28 January. Confirmed keynote speakers include Warner Music Group chief digital officer Oana Ruxandra in the ‘Global Streaming Strategies’ track sponsored by MQA, while Wendy Ong, president of TaP Music, will keynote the ‘Live and Livestreaming’ track. […]

Apple halves its App Store commission for small developers

Apple’s latest salvo to fend off anticompetition accusations is a reduction in its App Store Commission. Its 30% cut will now be reduced to 15% for any developer or small business with annual revenues of less than $1m. The new scheme will launch on 1 January, with Apple pitching it as meaning “small developers and aspiring entrepreneurs […]

Spotify launches collection of original Christmas tracks

It’s Christmas season, and heaven knows we all need it after the year that 2020 has been. It’s no surprise to see Mariah Carey’s annual climb up various charts starting early: ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ is currently 73rd in YouTube’s global chart. Pandora has kicked off its Christmas 2020 ‘digital celebration’ and Amazon Music already launched […]

Artist Lil Yachty is launching his own cryptocurrency

Remember the heyday of the early blockchain+music hype, and visions of a future where successful artists would ‘tokenise’ themselves, with their own cryptocurrencies, with oodles of riches for everyone? Well, we’re still waiting for those oodles. Maybe Lil Yachty can provide them. He’s working with ‘social money platform’ Fyooz, which specialises in getting influencers and celebrities […]

Noisy is a Discord bot that generates AI music for groups

This feels like a very modern story: there’s now a bot for chat app Discord that will serve up AI-generated music in the style of Chopin, Lady Gaga or Frank Sinatra. People running a Discord channel can invite the bot – Noisy – to join to provide them with a soundtrack, using the MuseNet technology launched by tech firm […]

LiveXLive financials show a $10.2m loss for Q3 2020

US livestreaming and podcasts firm LiveXLive is a public company, so it’s one of the few companies in that space whose numbers we get quarterly insights into. The numbers for Q3 follow its historical pattern: growing revenues, but also net losses. LiveXLive saw its revenues grow by 51.9% year-on-year to $14.6m last quarter, but it recorded […]

UK’s streaming inquiry reveals first oral-evidence sessions

We reported last month on plans for a parliamentary inquiry in the UK into the economics of music streaming. Industry bodies, artists, DSPs and other interested parties have been submitting their evidence, and now we know who’s going to be offering their views at the first oral evidence hearing next Tuesday (24 November). The session will kick off with […]

Apple Music Awards return with big gong for Lil Baby

It’s nearly a year since Apple Music held its first awards, anointing Billie Eilish as its inaugural ‘global artist of the year’ with additional prizes for Lizzo and Lil Nas X. Now the awards have returned for a second year, with an announcement today to be followed by a week of performances and online content across Apple’s services […]

Instrumental launches a £10m fund for independent artists

Last month, data-driven A&R startup Instrumental announced that Tencent Music and Tencent Holdings had acquired a minority stake in the British company. Now it’s launching a new initiative in its homeland called the ‘Instrumental Music Fund’, with £10m to invest in independent artists that have been talent-spotted using its technology. “For some time, we have known […]

Wixen Music Publishing sues Triller in $50m lawsuit

The latest copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing promises to be a biggie: it’s suing Triller for $50m, alleging that it has infringed more than 1,000 songs from the company’s catalogue. Billboard has the details, including some pointed criticism of how Triller has been spending its money in recent months. “Instead of paying Wixen […]

Tencent Music invests in Wave and re-airs Billie Eilish livestream

These are two separate stories, but they both show Tencent Music’s growing focus on livestreaming. This morning TME announced a strategic partnership and minority equity investment in startup Wave, whose tech has been used for virtual concerts by the likes of The Weeknd, John Legend and Lindsey Stirling. The deal will enable TME to air […]

SoundCloud adds profile verification and Rotor Videos deal

Bad news for anyone whose hobbies include masquerading as popular musicians on SoundCloud: the service is finally introducing proper blue-tick profile verification. Billie Eilish, Wiz Khalifa and Trippie Redd are among the first to get the checkmark, although SoundCloud turned the revealing of others into a day-long social marketing campaign with posts on its Instagram, Facebook […]

Vargas & Lagola team up with Spotify for livestream concert

Vargas & Lagola is the artist name of Swedish duo Vincent Pontare and Salem al Fakir, who recently released their second album ‘Mount Alda’. To promote it, they’re doing a livestreamed concert on 25 November, promising “a holistic experience, a visual journey, where we trigger all senses”. Which is nice, but what’s really interesting about it […]

TicketSwap and GoFundMe aim to raise £2m for European venues

We’ve written about the fundraising campaigns for independent venues run in the US (by NIVA) and the UK (by the Music Venue Trust). Now there’s a new pan-European campaign launched by ticketing firm TicketSwap, crowdfunding site GoFundMe and investment firm Cosimo. The trio are attempting to raise £2m (around $2.6m) across 14 countries to help out at […]

BandLab adds ‘Sounds’ library of royalty-free music samples

There’s a decent business in selling beats, loops and samples to musicians – and growing appeal to artists and producers capable of producing that content. Splice paid out $11m in royalties to sound creators in the first nine months of 2020, while BeatStars reached $70m of lifetime payouts in April, then $85m in July. Now BandLab is […]

Artist tools startup Tully expands its app with premium tiers

In April we wrote about Sony Music investing in a startup called Tully, founded by US artist Joyner Lucas, which had an app that was part distribution service, and part suite of tools for artists to manage both music creation and their business. Now Tully is expanding its offering with something called ‘Tully Platform’, including several tiers of […]

Spotify CFO says UMG is ‘willing to lean in more aggressively’ than rivals

Look away, non-Universal major labels: you may feel a little testy about the latest interview with Spotify CFO Paul Vogel, at a conference organised by RBC Capital Markets. He was asked about Spotify’s latest licensing deal with UMG, which includes access to tests of new marketing tools. “There’s nothing preventing the other labels from doing it, […]

Shazam reveals that it now has 200m monthly active users

The last time we had a figure for how many users Apple’s music-identification app Shazam had, it was 478 million annual active users in 2018. It’s not the most satisfying of metrics for gauging an app’s popularity, but thankfully there’s now an update. According to Apple, Shazam now has 200 million monthly active users. The company completed […]

New features for Twitter and Instagram: Fleets and Guides

Has it really taken this long for Twitter to copy the ‘stories’ format from, well, every other social app? It has. The company’s test of ‘fleets’, which was announced earlier this year, is now becoming a rolled-out feature. Fleets only last for 24 hours before auto-deleting, with profile bubbles at the top of the feed showing people […]

YouTube now has more than 2bn monthly music users

In mid-2018, YouTube said that more than one billion people visited it every month to consume music. Two and a half years later, that total has doubled to more than two billion. The new milestone has been announced this afternoon in a blog post by YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen, as YouTube launched […]

GitHub reinstates YouTube-DL project after RIAA takedown

GitHub is one of the most popular sites for developers in the world, hosting open source code and helping people manage their projects. It’s also on a collision course with music rightsholders in the US, over a takedown notice sent to GitHub in October by industry body the RIAA focusing on a project called YouTube-DL […]

Ticketing firm Eventbrite buys marketing platform ToneDen

We’ve written about ToneDen a few times in recent memory: for a profile of its social and streaming marketing tools in November 2019, for example, and then a story in June this year about its ‘StreamLinks’ feature offering smart links for livestreaming events. Now the startup has been acquired by a company very much rooted in the live events […]

Unilad Sound is now an official Apple Music playlist curator

Earlier this month, we wrote about how online brand LadBible had put Craig David and KSI on people’s desks via an augmented reality music video. Now another part of the LadBible empire, music community Unilad Sound, has announced a big partnership. It’s joining Apple Music as an official curator, initially with four flagship playlists. ‘Certified’ will feature guest […]

Queen join TikTok and make 10 tracks available to its users

We’ve had George Michael, Prince and John Lennon. Now TikTok’s collection of heritage artists has another entry: Queen. The British rock band now have an official TikTok profile, set up by their management with Universal Music Group/Hollywood Records. What’s more, 10 Queen tracks have been made available for TikTokers to use in their own videos. Sensibly, it’s […]

BAPAM bursary scheme aims to support BAME musicians in UK

BAPAM is the British organisation that provides ‘performing arts medicine’ in the UK, supporting musicians and other performers in their physical and mental health. Its latest initiative focuses on the latter for a specific group: Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) musicians. It’s a bursary scheme jointly funded by charity Help Musicians and collecting society […]

China stiffens its copyright laws including music aspects

China’s copyright laws are getting an update, including more careful definitions of copyrighted works, and much bigger punitive damages for infringement. Music is included: with the industry having lobbied hard for the creation of public performance rights and broadcasting rights in China, both have now been implemented in law. There are some big implications for short-video […]

Scooter Braun sells Taylor Swift catalogue to Shamrock Holdings

When Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group for around $300m in 2019, the deal included Taylor Swift’s back catalogue of recordings – something that made Swift furious given her ongoing disputes with Braun. Nearly a year and a half on, Ithaca has sold those master rights to Swift’s first six albums on, in a […]

IFPI report breaks down music’s €81.9bn annual value for EU

As the music business scraps it out with every other industry for Covid-19 relief, a key part of its argument has been the economic value created by the industry. An aspect that’s at least well-rehearsed, since it is also deployed whenever the music industry is lobbying for changes to copyright legislation. The latest report commissioned […]

Travis Scott and Lil Nas X hop on the PlayStation 5 bandwagon

Sony’s new PlayStation 5 console went on sale in some countries last week, with a wider rollout this week. Right from the earliest model, PlayStation marketing has often had strong ties with music, and the PS5 is no exception. Already this month we’ve seen Travis Scott and Lil Nas X promoting the new console. Scott […]

Nominations open for SheSaid·so 2020 Alternative Power list

Every year, SheSaid·so publishes its Alternative Power list of people in the music business, as a more diverse version of the traditional industry power lists. 2020’s Alt List is open for nominations now, with a deadline of 22 November and a theme of ‘resilience and adaptability’. According to the organisation, this is “an opportunity to […]

More than 21m players have used AI music app Splash on Roblox

AI music startup Popgun launched its Splash music-making app on gaming platform Roblox in May, and saw it used by more than one million players in its first 20 days. How’s it going now? Still strong. “Wow, over 21M players have now made music with Splash!” tweeted Popgun boss Stephen Phillips this weekend. “55K kids performed on stage for the first […]

Ticketmaster fined in the UK over 2018 customer data breach

A £1.25m fine for Ticketmaster is very small beans compared to the money that its parent company Live Nation has lost this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the fine, levied by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is still a serious matter. It’s for failing to keep customers’ personal data secure, leading to a data […]

Damon Krukowski explains penny-per-stream US artists campaign

We reported last month on the launch of the Justice at Spotify campaign by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) in the US. Now one of its prime movers, artist and author Damon Krukowski, has been talking to Vice about the campaign’s goals – including its demand that Spotify pay a minimum of a penny (one cent) per […]

Instagram redesigns its homescreen with Reels to the fore

Instagram started testing its TikTok-style ‘Reels’ feature in late 2019, before rolling it out globally in August this year. Now the feature is getting a big boost in Instagram’s latest redesign of its homescreen, with a dedicated tab rather than simply showing Reels content in the app’s ‘Explore’ screen. For artists who are using Reels, this should help their short videos […]

Hatsune Miku online concert zooms past its Kickstarter goal

Long before Riot Games started creating virtual artists like K/DA and Seraphine, Japanese avatar star Hatsune Miku was playing stadium gigs. Now her creators are working on a big virtual concert based on her ‘Miku Expo’ tours. It’s called Hatsune Miku Expo 2021 Online, and will be a free show with at least 10 songs. […]

Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige and more get festive with Amazon Music

Alright, it’s officially Christmas season now – don’t @ us, the John Lewis ad is out – and Amazon Music is going in strong with its now-annual lineup of original tracks. This year it’s got Justin Bieber doing ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’; Mary J. Blige doing ‘Last Christmas’; and Carrie Underwood doing a brand new song called ‘Favorite […]

Artist Tom Vek is crowdfunding a Sleevenote music player

In 2016, we interviewed artist Tom Vek about his work on a mobile app called Sleevenote, which offered “interactive sleeve artwork for your digital music”. He’d clearly been thinking hard about the listening experience on streaming services, and that has continued. Vek has just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a new iteration of Sleevenote, and it’s hardware instead […]

Tidal adds millions of WMG hi-res tracks using MQA technology

Tidal is swelling its catalogue of hi-res music, announcing yesterday that “millions” of Warner Music tracks in the MQA format have been added to its HiFi tier. Tidal also announced that “since 2019, MQA users have doubled on Tidal, and Tidal HiFi users now stream 40% more tracks in Master Quality than last year” – […]

Ticketmaster won’t set entry policies for post-vaccine concerts

Yesterday we reported on Ticketmaster’s work on concerts safety for 2021, including fans proving that they’ve either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or have tested negative within the 72 hours before an event. Now the company has been clarifying those plans, stressing that it won’t be setting the entry policies for concerts, but just providing options for […]

Spotify to host ‘Tokyo Super Hits Live 2020’ livestream concert

With Apple Music hosting livestream events with artists and Amazon Music forging ever-closer links with sister company Twitch, the integration of livestreaming and audio streaming is a trend we’re keeping an eye on. Now look to Japan, where Spotify is hosting a livestreamed concert on 26 November based on its ‘Tokyo Super Hits’ playlist. The […]

Believe reportedly eyeing a 2021 IPO at $2.4bn valuation

It’s nearly two and a half years since distributor Believe was being tipped for an acquisition by Sony Music to the tune of $355m-$444m. The deal never came to pass, and that’s looking like a good decision for Believe now. Reuters reported yesterday that the company is preparing to go public in 2021, with an IPO that could […]

Sonos goes HD with subscription-based radio service

Sonos is kicking its streaming ambitions up a notch, with the launch of a subscription-based radio service called Sonos Radio HD. Available in the US and UK, it costs $7.99 / £7.99 a month, and promises ‘high-fidelity audio’ of the Sonos Sound System radio station. There will also be exclusive artist-curated stations (Dolly Parton being the […]

Tools: With The Band. Revolutionizing fan engagement by putting community first

In 2017, Sarah Beth Perry developed the idea for the “fan engagement” platform With The Band while she was studying Entrepreneurship and Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville. The app and website, launching in January 2021, “enables artists to create their own ‘fan crew’ – our modern-day version of a fan club”, says CEO […]

ByteDance tipped to make $27bn of ad revenue in China this year

ByteDance may be waiting to find out what’s happening with its proposed divestment of TikTok in the US, but business is going pretty well back home in China. Reuters reported that the company is “on track to generate at least 180 billion yuan ($27.2 billion) in advertising revenue in China this year”, making it the second biggest […]

Apple Music makes Beabadoobee its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Keeping all the music streaming services happy as an artist can be tough: Katy Perry was one of the most famous examples of a musician being penalised on one service for giving a rival an exclusive. So we doff our cap to Beabadoobee and her team at Dirty Hit for juggling the partners without tension. In 2020 […]

Concerns mount about Euro tours for UK artists as Brexit looms

British artists haven’t been thinking about touring Europe this year, with Covid-19 having put paid to live music across the continent. But as hopes rise that a vaccine could bring concerts back in 2021, the British industry is being reminded that the UK is due to complete its exit (‘Brexit’) from the European Union at […]

Afem launches sexual harassment and discrimination code of conduct

The recent death of DJ Erick Morillo, and multiple accusations against him of sexual assault, have shone a light on issues of sexual harassment and discrimination in the electronic music world. Industry body the Association for Electronic Music (Afem) has now drawn up a code of conduct to tackle this behaviour. You can find it here, with […]

Blockchain music service Audius has 30k-50k daily users

We’ve been following the progress of blockchain music streaming service Audius with interest: from early debates about whether its ‘censorship-resistant’ nature would be a copyright-takedowns nightmare, to its funding rounds in August and October this year. Now the company has given news site Coindesk a new figure on its scale: it’s attracting between 30,000 and 50,000 unique users a day. Note, the monthly […]

Viagogo could sell StubHub’s business outside North America

It’s not been smooth sailing for secondary ticketing firm Viagogo’s $4bn takeover of rival StubHub since it was announced in November 2019, thanks to regulatory investigations and Covid-19. Now Viagogo is proposing a solution that it hopes will fend off the regulators: selling StubHub’s business outside North America, while hanging on to the US and Canada […]

Shutterstock acquires assets of AI music startup Amper Music

Amper Music has been one of the more prominent AI music startups since emerging in 2017 as one of the first startups to take part in the Techstars Music accelerator. It launched with a tool for people to make music with its AI to use in their own creative projects, and along the way has collaborated with artist […]

Ticketmaster lays plans for post-vaccine concerts in 2021

This week’s encouraging news about pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s work on a Covid-19 vaccine has renewed talk about how and when the live music industry will be able to come back at scale in the west. Billboard has an interesting piece on Ticketmaster’s plans, which will involve fans proving either that they have been vaccinated, or […]

European Commission steps up its investigations of Amazon

The European Commission has been training its sights on Amazon for a while now, with an investigation into its impact on the online retail market. Yesterday, the EC told Amazon that it has reached a preliminary view that “it has breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in online retail markets”. It has also opened […]

Lil Nas X set to play a concert in games platform Roblox

Games platform Roblox’s music ambitions press on: it’s working with Columbia Music and Lil Nas X on a concert this weekend. Well, it’s a bit more than a concert. There’ll be a pre-show event on Friday evening involving a Q&A with the artist, as well as the debut of a new video for his upcoming […]

Google’s Area 120 shuts Demand analytics for live music

In February this year, Google’s experimental division Area 120 launched something called Demand, in partnership with Pollstar. It was a live-music analytics tool promising “actionable, real-time analytics facilitating better planning, pricing, marketing and sponsorship of live events through data in four key areas: trends, pricing, announcements and insights”. Which sounded good, right up until the live […]

Artist Russ reveals his weekly streaming royalties

“In the entire existence [of Spotify] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single artist saying ‘I’m happy with all the money I’m getting from streaming,” Daniel Ek told us in July, in an interview that sparked a rumpus royale on social media. He might be pleased to see this tweet from American rapper Russ, then. “Some […]

Music Venue Trust launches new ‘Traffic Light’ campaign

UK body the Music Venue Trust had great success recently in helping grassroots venues secure £41.4m in government funding to secure their futures. Now it’s kicking off a new phase of its campaign to protect hundreds of venues in the UK as the Covid-19 live-music lockdown continues there. This phase is focusing on 30 venues who *didn’t* […]

Audiomack’s new WMG licensing deal includes Africa

Streaming service Audiomack has a new deal with Warner Music Group, which for the first time includes Africa, Canada and Jamaica. It’s the first of those that’s most interesting, coming just a week after Audiomack announced a partnership with smartphone maker Transsion Holdings in that region. “Under the new deal, not only will our teams benefit from […]

TikTok tipped to reach 1.2bn monthly active users in 2021

Mobile analytics firm App Annie is predicting that TikTok will have more than 1.2 billion monthly active users by the end of 2021, after crossing the one billion mark this year. That would be some growth: figures published recently as part of TikTok’s legal battle in the US showed that it had 689.2 million monthly active users worldwide in […]

Report claims mental wellness is a $120.8bn market

We’ve been writing a fair amount about music’s intersection with the ‘wellness’ industry, from mindfulness apps like Calm and Headspace to fitness startups like Peloton. Now there’s a new report that’s trying to quantify the global ‘mental wellness’ market. The topline: it could be worth $120.8bn, which breaks down into four categories: senses, spaces and […]

Amazon Music to host Dolly Parton Christmas livestream

If you’re the kind of person who shouts at people who put their Christmas decorations too early, look away now. Dolly Parton is doing a Christmas-themed livestream for Amazon Music… on 13 November. ‘Dolly Parton’s Comin’ Home for Christmas’ will be streamed live on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel and within its app, with a performance and […]

Def Jam to launch fictional podcast featuring real artists

UMG’s Def Jam Recordings is teaming up with iHeartMedia and podcasting firm Double Elvis Productions for a new show that will feature emerging artists from the label. ‘Here Comes the Break’ is more interesting than just a showcase though: it’s a “serialised hip-hip music breaking podcast… that fuses a fictional scripted narrative with real artist […]

One Media prepares to expand TCAT anti-piracy service

TCAT? That would be the Technical Copyright Analysis Tool developed by One Media IP to scan legal digital music services for music that shouldn’t be on there (e.g. unauthorised or duplicated releases, or incorrect public domain uploads) and take it down. According to One Media, two major labels are already using it, as well as industry bodies […]

ShareChat taps Audible Magic for copyright-spotting tech

Indian social media company ShareChat has become the latest customer for Audible Magic’s rights management and content recognition tech. It will be used to “proactively address both licensed and misuses of copyright media” on ShareChat’s app, which has more than 160 million monthly active users. Besides that app, the deal also includes ShareChat’s separate TikTok […]

Spotify survey hints at plans for podcasts subscription

Amid all the music industry speculation about whether podcast listening might in the future cannibalise not just streams of music, but royalties for it too, the assumptions were of a continuing single subscription covering both forms of content. But what if Spotify were to launch a standalone podcast subscription? That’s a question the streaming service […]

Vimeo raises $150m as parent company mulls spin-off

Video streaming service Vimeo may be spinning off as an independent company within parent group IAC. The news was revealed as IAC also announced that Vimeo had raised $150m in a new funding round, from Thrive Capital and GIC. A letter to shareholders from IAC boss Joey Levin outlined Vimeo’s journey from being a (smaller) YouTube rival, […]

Fangage relaunches after €300k crowdfunding campaign

Fangage is the startup founded by Dutch DJ and producer Sam Feldt: a fan platform for musicians and influencers to promote their music and content; communicate with fans; sell merchandise; and build audiences. Founded in 2016, it’s been used by clients in the dance world including Oliver Heldans, Laidback Luke and Armada Music, attracting hundreds of […]

Apple Music gets more exclusive Ministry of Sound mixes

Apple Music and Ministry of Sound have a well-established partnership now, and it’s yielding some new mixes for listeners on the streaming service. There’s a mix version of Ministry’s new ‘The Annual 2021’ compilation, but also some mixes harking back to past glories for the dance brand. Pete Tong and Boy George have remixed the first […]

Irving Azoff talks Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok licensing

Ahead of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, Irving Azoff has been talking to the Los Angeles Times for a profile. It includes some entertainingly spiky views on the state of music licensing in 2020. “These people, when they start out — whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, whatever — they resist […]

Driift takes its livestreams to Australia and New Zealand

Management company ATC Management launched its Driift online-concerts spin-off earlier this year after successful events for Laura Marling and Dermot Kennedy. Ahead of tomorrow’s Kylie Minogue ‘Infinite Disco’ broadcast, Driift is expanding to her homeland. In fact, it’s opening an office to produce and promote shows in Australia AND New Zealand. “We believe this is a format with […]

NetEase Cloud Music now has 200k independent Chinese artists

Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music has published a report hailing the fact that the number of Chinese independent musicians on its platform has doubled in the last year. There are now more than 200,000 of them, up from 100,000 in 2019, and just 20 million back in 2016. “Compared with 2017, over 40% of […]

Live Nation publishes financials, sees ‘signs of promise’

There are few surprises in the latest quarterly financial results for Live Nation. Revenues were down 95% year-on-year – slashed from $3.77bn in Q3 2019 to just $184m a year later. The live giant reported an operating loss of $504.4m, compared to an operating profit of 260m a year ago. For the first nine months of 2020, […]

TikTok generated $115m of user spending in October 2020

The latest estimates for the monthly smartphone apps are out from research firm Sensor Tower, and there’s no change at the top of the top-grossing non-game apps list for October. TikTok generated $115m of user spending that month, according to the rankings. That’s more than six times the figure from October 2019, with 86% of it coming […]

Youth Music reveals recipients of its £2m incubator fund

In July, British charity Youth Music announced a £2m incubator fund aimed at 18-25 year-olds in the UK, particularly from under-represented groups, with their music industry ambitions. Now it has revealed the 31 businesses that will be receiving grants of between £5k and £30k from the first round of the fund. The companies are all focused on […]

Could podcast growth mean higher per-stream Spotify rates?

Midia Research has published a blog post about ‘understanding how Spotify thinks‘, spurred by its recent announcement of its new Discovery Mode feature – and the subsequent criticism from artists. It turns Spotify’s three interest groups – investors, audience, and rightsholders and creators – into a neat Venn diagram, but a sentence further down it jumped out […]

Socan reveals 2019 financials and plans to sell Dataclef assets

Canadian collecting society Socan has published its financial results for 2019. Its collections grew by 8.2% to $405.6m, including a 37.6% increase for its digital collections to $86m. However, distributions to its members fell by 6% to $296m, which Socan said was due to “the steep learning curve required for the company’s newly deployed technology to […]

European music managers call for changes to streaming economy

The latest salvo in the debate about music streaming’s economics – and particularly royalties for artists – comes from the European Music Managers Alliance (Emma). In a statement issued this morning, it has praised streaming for returning the recorded music industry to growth, but claimed that “the fact that streaming services are still licensed on […]

Tools: Viberate. The all-in-one platform for growing your music career

With so much analytic data for artists and their teams to chew over, their challenge is digesting this data in a way that delivers insight and helps grow an artist’s career. Viberate provides a comprehensive and versatile ecosystem of analytics for artists, labels and promoters alike, with a blend of features similar to those offered […]

Collecting society Apra reveals Covid-19 impact on royalties

Australian collecting society Apra is the latest PRO to quantify the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on its collections, and thus on its payouts to songwriters and publishers. “The November APRA royalty payment overall will be down 11% compared to the same quarter last year,” it explained. November’s payment is for royalties from the […]

Audiomack inks Africas smartphone deal with Transsion Holdings

Outside the US, streaming service Audiomack has been a little under the radar thus far. That’s something it’s hoping to change in one of the regions the music industry sees huge potential in: Africa. It has signed a deal with smartphone firm Transsion Holdings, whose handset brands include Tecno, Infinix and Itel. The details aren’t clear […]

Apple opens up: Pandora on HomePod and Spotify on Apple Watch

Well, it’s not as sudden as the headline sounds: Apple has been opening up its device ecosystem in new ways recently – it’s just we’re starting to see the apps and integrations now as a result. Pandora now works on the HomePod smart speaker, meaning people will be able to ask Siri to play music from […]

Arguments over US songwriter streaming royalties kick off again

The good news for Spotify is that something other than its Discovery Mode is causing a stink today. The bad news for Spotify is that the something is the ongoing battle over new streaming royalties for songwriters set in the US by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) – which Spotify along with Amazon, Google and Pandora […]

RJ Thompson launches augmented reality app for latest album

There’s a mini-flurry of augmented reality experimentation going on in music at the moment, outside the big platforms (Instagram, Snapchat) and not always by artists on major labels. RJ Thompson, for example, released his new album ‘Lifeline’ last week, complete with what’s being described as “the world’s first ever-evolving AR designed album artwork”. The idea: […]

KSI and Craig David turn into holograms for LadBible video

Craig David all over your… desk? The British star’s latest collaboration, with KSI, has been turned into an augmented reality video for online brand LadBible. Fans can visit the microsite on their smartphones (here’s the link) and then point their camera at a space around them to pop up virtual versions of the pair performing […]

Linkfire’s latest attribution data deal is with YouTube Music

Music marketing platform Linkfire has announced its latest data deal, with YouTube Music. “In addition to seeing how many of your link visitors click through to YouTube and YouTube Music, you’ll be able to see how those clicks translate into streams on the platforms,” promised the company. It makes YouTube the latest service to sign on […]

Taylor Swift fans celebrate as block on re-recordings ends

Remember in August 2019, when Taylor Swift talked about when the block on her re-recording her back catalogue would elapse? “My contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again,” said Swift at the time. “I’m very excited about it. I just think that artists […]

European cultural bodies launch Covid-19 recovery campaign

A group of 110 bodies representing the creative and cultural industries are keeping up the pressure on governments and European policymakers over their post-Covid recovery plans. Impala, the IFPI, ICMP and ECSA are among the bodies who have written to national governments and to the European Commission pressing for at least 2% of each country’s ‘national recovery […]

Spotify’s new artist tool could boost streams (with a discounted royalty rate)

Spotify is testing a new feature that will enable artists and labels to boost specific tracks in the recommendation algorithms for its radio and autoplay features – if they agree to a “promotional” (i.e. lower) royalty rate for those streams. Autoplay is the feature that automatically plays other songs when you reach the end of an […]

League of Legends World Championship kicks off with KDA in AR

Surprisingly, a whizzy augmented reality performance including a virtual star zooming onto the stage on a motorbike *wasn’t* the strangest sight for western viewers of the League of Legends World Championship opening ceremony this weekend. For those of us in countries where the live industry is still shut down, an event with more than 6,000 […]

Trump administration’s TikTok ban faces another barrier

We suspect that Donald Trump’s mind isn’t really on the proposed ban of TikTok in the US right now: he has bigger priorities this week. But remember: even if he loses the US presidential election (not to mention accepting the result) the handover won’t come until mid-January, so TikTok’s US status could well become a […]

Capitol and Gener8tor’s gBeta Musictech accelerator set for pitches

gBeta Musictech is the startup accelerator launched by Capitol Music Group and a company called Gener8tor, and it’s holding its latest pitch night on 11 November as part of Capitol’s involvement in the Infinity Festival. Six startups took part in this year’s accelerator, which started at the end of July and lasted for seven weeks. We’ve […]

African streaming service Mdundo now has 6.4m listeners

It’s barely a month since we were reporting that African streaming service Mdundo had five million monthly active users. Now the official total has risen to 6.4 million. That’s according to the company’s new quarterly update. Thanks to growth in the east, west and south of Africa, the company’s user total is up 144% year-on-year. Mdundo also says […]

Hipgnosis ups the ante with $322.9m Kobalt Capital deal

Like a child scrambling to spend their birthday money on V-Bucks or Robux within seconds of being given it, Hipgnosis Songs Fund isn’t wasting any time spending its latest injection of cash from investors. This morning saw the company’s biggest deal yet, paying $322.9m for a catalogue of more than 33k songs (or shares in […]

Industry equality: rethinking funnels and creating opportunities

YouTube’s music chief Lyor Cohen convened a panel to discuss racial justice and the ‘race to equality’ in the music industry. Published on Friday, it included contributions from Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas (who founded #TheShowMustBePaused); Binta Brown (co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition); Public Enemy’s Chuck D; UMG’s EVP of business and legal affairs […]

Experts panel: how can the music industry diversify its income streams?

Music Ally’s Global Experts panel is an international group of industry leaders, and each month we put a single, vital question to them about the state of the music industry, and what we should be doing to change it. We hope that these Experts panels can help zero-in on the really meaningful issues, and describe […]

YouTube now has 30m music and premium subscribers globally

YouTube’s parent company Alphabet reported another big quarter yesterday. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the advertising market, Alphabet’s Q3 revenues were up by 14% year-on-year to $46.17bn, helping the company to an $11.25bn net profit in the third quarter. Within that, there were figures for YouTube advertising revenues, which grew by 32.4% year-on-year to $5.04bn […]

Grimes teams up with Endel to create an ‘AI Lullaby’

Startup Endel made its name with technology generating AI music to suit people’s moods and activities. Now it has announced a partnership with a high-profile human artist: Grimes. They’ve worked together on an ‘AI Lullaby’ that will be featured in Endel’s iOS and Mac apps until 23 December. Later this year it will also be […]

BPI / Brit Awards donate £54k to Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund

As Covid-19’s second wave sweeps Europe (and the first wave seemingly never ran out of steam in much of the US) we may soon have to revive our regular ‘positive industry stories’ slot, just to keep our heads up. In advance of that, here’s some positive news from the UK, where the BPI and Brit […]

Primephonic launches a ‘digital crash course’ in classical music

Classical music streaming service Primephonic’s new initiative, Ludwig, is more than just a marketing wheeze. It’s a 10-week “digital crash course” in classical music, with a weekly podcast; bi-daily email lessons; playlists on key composers and genres; and access to Primephonic’s app and catalogue of music. The latter point hints at the interesting aspect: Ludwig is […]

TikTok strikes back at Triller with patent counter-suit

Remember when Triller sued TikTok for patent infringement in July? Whatever happened to that case? What happened this week is that TikTok struck back with a counter lawsuit. At issue is a June 2017 patent awarded to a children’s apps firm called Mibblio, whose co-founders David Lieberman and Sammy Rubin also co-founded Triller – which says it now owns the […]

New K-Pop group Aespa includes both human and virtual members

K-Pop firm SM Entertainment has unveiled its latest group, and Aespa promises to be a fascinating project. The group will include both human and virtual (avatar) singers, who’ve been introduced to fans one by one to build anticipation. Yesterday saw a teaser interview posted with human member Karina and her virtual version ‘æ-Karina’. SM Entertainment’s founder […]

Former WME exec Marc Geiger to invest in independent venues

Marc Geiger was the music boss at talent agency WME, before leaving earlier this year. Now he’s setting up to invest in a network of independent music venues across the US. Geiger has founded a company called SaveLive and raised $75m to invest in venues and small clubs, taking 51% ownership of them in the […]

Sony Music’s recorded music revenues grew 11% year-on-year

Sony Corporation’s latest quarterly financials came out yesterday, and they revealed a strong quarter for Sony Music. Its Q3 recorded music revenues grew by 11% year-on-year to $1.16bn, including 19% growth in streaming revenues – which reached $742.3m. This, despite the fact that Sony Music’s release schedule is still under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic. “The release of […]

UK Music publishes its latest industry diversity study

The UK’s umbrella industry body, UK Music, has published its latest report on music industry diversity. Its findings highlight a mixture of progress made, and work still to do, as you’d expect. There have been rises in the proportion of women in the industry (from 45.3% in 2016 to 49.6% in 2020) as well as […]

Spotify can’t just shrug off the latest Joe Rogan controversy

“A few people tweeting that they’re cancelling their Spotify subscriptions does not a firestorm make,” we wrote in our news bulletin yesterday, about the initial responses to Alex Jones guesting on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Well, later that day the flames began to spread, as major media outlets picked up on Jones’s appearance despite his own […]

Spotify Q3 financials reveal it now has 320m users and 144m subscribers

Music streaming service Spotify has announced its latest quarterly financial results. The company ended Q3 with 320 million monthly active users, having added 21 million during the quarter. Meanwhile, Spotify’s subscriber total is now 144 million, up from 113 million a year ago, and 138 million at the end of Q2. Spotify’s Q3 revenues grew […]

UMG’s Bravado inks merch deal with Alibaba’s Tmall platform

2020 has been a really interesting year for Universal Music Group’s various arms in China. From local signings like Linong Chen and Sunnee to a joint label with Tencent Music, via gaming songwriting camps and the small matter of $1.2m of Taylor Swift album sales in a few days on NetEase Cloud Music. Weaving these strands into the overall story of UMG’s China strategy […]

FIFA 21 adds music-disabling option to help game streamers

The knock-on effects from rightsholders’ pressure on Twitch over music licensing are starting. Games publisher Electronic Arts has added a new menu option to its FIFA 21 game: ‘Disable All Music For Streaming Purposes’. That means people streaming their gameplay on platforms like Twitch will now be able to do it without any background music that […]

Keychange movement expands in Poland with events this week

The Keychange initiative pressing for gender equality in the music industry – including on its live stages – has a new frontier this week. Poland has become an official partner for the movement, and tomorrow will see an event co-hosted by Key Change and festival organiser Spring Break to introduce its first two ambassadors in Poland: Avtomat and Karolina […]

It’s 2020 so of course there are now fake artist livestreams

There was good news for fans of musician Zoe Keating in late August: one of her cancelled gigs was being replaced by a ticketed livestream. The only downside: Keating knew nothing about it. It had been created as an event on Facebook, with the people behind it taking fans money in the full knowledge that […]

Amuse expands its Fast Forward royalty advances service

Distributor Amuse launched its Fast Forward scheme in February 2019 as a way to pay artists up to six months of royalties in advance, based on its estimates of their future earnings. The company now says that hundreds of artists have benefited from the feature, with advances between $250 and $300k. Now Fast Forward is relaunching and […]

Dutch dance industry warns of Covid-19’s earnings impact

Electronic music is suffering considerably from the Covid-19 pandemic, given the difficulties of safely opening clubs and putting on live events at any scale. The Netherlands may be in the most precarious position of all according to a new report presented at the ADE conference last week, and authored by Music Ally. Figures from DJ […]

Tomorrowland says its virtual festival ‘about broke even’

Dance festival Tomorrowland sold nearly 140k tickets to its virtual festival earlier this year. Now the organisers have been talking to Billboard about how those sales translated into profit. The answer: not quite, but not far off. Co-founder Michiel Beers said that the festival “about broke even” after Tomorrowland spent around $6m putting it together, with additional […]

Capitol Royale returns with Infinity Festival Hollywood

Capitol Music Group is bringing back its Capitol Royale tech event, although in a different form to last year’s two-day conference. The label has partnered with an online event called Infinity Festival Hollywood, which runs from this week (28 October) until early January 2021. “Capitol Royale will bring a unique slate of music-related programming to the table including […]

Deep Word is the latest startup creating synthetic video

The word ‘deepfake’ already has negative connotations: of people manipulating photos, audio and/or video for nefarious purposes. That’s why you’re going to hear the word ‘synthetic’ a lot in the coming months: the same technology, but being put to more positive work than misinformation or the really worrying stuff. Deep Word is an interesting example of synthetic […]

Justin Bieber’s ‘Next Chapter’ is another YouTube documentary

If 10 episodes of YouTube documentary about Justin Bieber weren’t enough for you earlier this year, we have some good news. The video service is following up its ‘Justin Bieber: Seasons’ series with a one-off 30-minute doc called ‘Justin Bieber: Next Chapter’. Fans can expect “an exclusive look at his life today – everything from […]

Deezer encourages pirate app users to switch to official version

It may seem strange that people try to use music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer through unofficial apps, when there’s not even a subscription barrier to entry for the official ones. Getting premium features without paying is one reason some people gravitate towards the unofficial (or ‘modded’) apps, and understandably the streaming services regularly […]

iHeartMedia is buying podcasting tech firm Voxnest

It’s open season for acquisitions of podcasting startups whose technology and/or shows seem appealing to a bigger fish. The latest example is Voxnest, a company that makes advertising tech for podcasting, and which is now being bought by iHeartMedia. Cue adspeak! “iHeartMedia, through Voxnest, will now be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory […]

Decentralised streaming service Audius raises another $1.25m

We first wrote about Audius in August 2018, when it raised $5.5m for what one report described as “SoundCloud on the blockchain”. It launched just over a year later, with a “censorship-resistant, community-controlled” audio streaming service where “anyone who joins Audius can effectively become an artist, just by uploading tracks”. Its decentralised model – music hosted on local […]

Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Netflix among PS5 media partners

November this year is New Consoles Month, with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S plus Sony’s PlayStation 5 making their debuts. While games are the focus, music and video streaming will also be part of the packages. Sony revealed some of its plans yesterday: at launch the PS5 will have apps for Apple TV, Disney+, […]

Sam Smith set for AR Spotify video and TikTok interview

Sam Smith’s new album ‘Love Goes’ is out later this month, and they’re pulling out plenty of promotional stops around its release, including new single ‘Diamonds’. The latter is getting a web-based augmented reality music video in partnership with Spotify. Dreamed up by agency Powster, it gets fans to scan an image to pop up […]

Quincy Jones invests in music/tech startup Musimap

Quincy Jones is no stranger to the world of music/tech startups: he founded music video-on-demand service Qwest TV, which launched three years ago. Now he’s also investing in another startup, Musimap, which describes itself as an “emotional artificial intelligence” company, with a lead product called MusiMe which is a “psycho-emotional profiling engine”. Essentially it analyses people’s […]

Music-making tech company Output raises $45m funding round

Output is one of the music/tech companies making digital instruments, effects and even furniture for musicians to use in the studio. A valuable business? It certainly is according to investment firm Summit Partners, which has just funded Output to the tune of $45m in its Series A round. It’ll help the company to add “playable instruments and mobile […]

YouTube Music’s next online festival is the #FoundryFest

YouTube Music’s #SOSFest last weekend has so far raised more than $1.8m to support NIVA’s campaign to support independent music venues in the US. The company is already planning its next online festival though: it’s called #FoundryFest, and will be an “on-demand video series” rather than a full-on livestreamed event. It’s focusing on artists who […]

Pandora now has 58.6m monthly active listeners

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM published its latest financials yesterday, revealing that it now has nearly 30.5 million ‘self-pay’ subscribers to its service, having added 169,000 in the third quarter of this year. Its revenue grew by 1% year-on-year to $1.6bn. Its music streaming subsidiary Pandora is still battling to turn around its listener decline though. Pandora […]

Report: independents are 27% of music publishing market

Independent publishers body IMPF has published a new ‘Global Market View 2020′ report offering figures for its members’ share of the global publishing sector. The key stats: an estimate that the global publishing market was worth €5bn (around $5.9bn) in 2019 – up from €4.63bn in 2018 – and that independent publishers accounted for 27% of […]

Calvin Harris sells publishing catalogue for $90m-plus

Shock news! The latest big-money deal for a publishing catalogue doesn’t involve Hipgnosis Songs Fund. Dance star Calvin Harris has sold his catalogue of more than 150 songs to financial firm Vine Alternative Investments, although Sony/ATV will continue administering it. The price wasn’t officially announced, although Variety claimed it was “around $100m” while Billboard offered a wider “between $90m […]

Spotify launches its own radio-style ‘daily morning show’

Breakfast shows are a staple of the traditional radio landscape. Now Spotify has one too. ‘The Get Up’ is a weekday-mornings show, launching in the US only, delivered as a playlist. That means personalised music picks for each listener, sandwiched between talk segments from the show’s three hosts: Kat Lazo, Speedy Morman, and Xavier Jernigan. […]

Canalys thinks 163m smart speakers will be shipped in 2021

It’s been a while since we’ve had some big-figure predictions for the smart speakers market, but here’s research firm Canalys hoving into view with its latest forecasts. It reckons that 163m smart speakers will be shipped in 2021, which would be year-on-year growth (from its estimates for 2020) of 21%.  Speakers using Amazon’s Alexa and Google […]

TikTok expands its policies for tackling hateful content

Removing hateful content from a social media or streaming service is a constantly moving target as new movements and forms of hate emerge, and new tricks to avoid moderation. TikTok is the latest platform to announce how its policies are adapting. “While our Trust & Safety teams already work to remove hate speech and hateful ideologies, […]

Mobile video-streaming service Quibi is shutting down

Barely six months after it launched, video streaming service Quibi is shutting down. “We are winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets,” announced co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman in a blog post overnight. “Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of […]

The Kid Laroi and Mulatto get Spotify and YouTube approval

Pretty much every major streaming service now has some kind of program to identify and promote emerging artists: Spotify’s Radar, Apple Music’s Up Next, Amazon Music’s Breakthrough, Deezer’s Next, YouTube Music’s Artist on the Rise… Two of them have announced their latest picks this week. Spotify has made teenage rapper The Kid Laroi its third Radar […]

Spotify signs podcast development deal with Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun is a man with his finger in many pies, and now he’s added podcasts to his pastry portfolio. In fact, his Ithaca Holdings company has signed a podcast development deal with Spotify (described as a ‘first look’ agreement by Variety, which means Spotify will get first dibs on new shows from Ithaca Holdings). The […]

BMG to buy majority stake in German live firm Undercover

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic grows in many countries, now’s a very difficult time to be involved in live music. However, it may also be seen as an opportunity by companies looking to make acquisitions in live. BMG, for example, is getting into live music for the first time, with an agreement […]

Snapchat now has 249m daily active users and booming AR usage

In our latest Music Ally report, we examined how Snapchat had bounced back from a worrying-looking flattening of its user growth in 2018. That bounceback is continuing, judging by parent company Snap’s financial results for Q3 2020. Snap said that Snapchat ended the quarter with 249 million daily active users (DAUs), up by 18% year-on-year. It also […]

Netflix growth slows but 200m subscribers milestone is in sight

Netflix warned investors that its subscriber growth was going to slow in the second half of this year, and it has. The video streaming service added 2.2 million net new paid subscribers in the third quarter, taking it to just under 195.2 million overall. Netflix also said that it expects to pass 200 million subscribers (201.2 […]

US Justice Department files antitrust charges against Google

The US Department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing it of “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets”. It’s the latest (and biggest) move in the US antitrust debate over big tech companies, following the recent high-profile hearing involving Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. […]

George Michael joins Prince and John Lennon on TikTok

It sounds like a supergroup for the ages, doesn’t it? But what George Michael, Prince and John Lennon have in common is that their estates and labels have been working with TikTok to bring their legacies into the world of short video clips. A licensing deal for Prince’s music plus an official TikTok profile came in […]

Amazon launches Breakthrough Live weekly livestreams series

The timing may be awkward given the renewed DMCA takedown notices currently battering Twitch, but Amazon Music is stepping up its livestreaming activity, including with its sister platform. It’s launched a new weekly show called Breakthrough Live, which will air live performances from artists in a different genre every Tuesday. The show will be broadcast live […]

Report claims Spotify has overtaken Apple in key markets for podcast listeners

Reputable figures breaking down the global podcasts market are hard to come by, but there’s been a general consensus that Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) has been the biggest platform by far; that the rest of the market is very fragmented; and that Spotify’s aggressive move into podcasts meant it was growing fast to finally become […]

Spotify takes down four QAnon podcasts after media coverage

We don’t have space here to go into the full lunacy of the QAnon conspiracists movement, and the unwillingness of the actual US president to disavow it. Suffice to say that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are among the big online platforms cracking down on QAnon content, but that crackdown has seen its adherents try to shift to other […]

Push Live Unlimited helps artists with simul-livestreaming

As the number of artists exploring livestreams at scale grows, so there’s going to be a need for decent infrastructure around that. One example is being announced today, by live-tech firm Push. It’s a tool called Push Live Unlimited, which helps artists who want to broadcast on a number of platforms at once – for example, […]

Kylie Minogue set for Driift-run ‘Infinite Disco’ stream

More evidence for the growing ambition of online concerts for bigger artists comes with Kylie Minogue’s ‘Infinite Disco’ event on 7 November. It’s the latest event from Driift, the company launched earlier this year by ATC Management, with investment from Beggars Group. The 50-minute show will blend tracks from Kylie’s new album ‘Disco’ with older hits, […]

Billie Eilish merch store will be integrated into livestream

We reported earlier this month on plans for Billie Eilish’s first livestream, the $30 ‘Where Do We Go? The Livestream’ concert on 24 October. Startup Maestro is the technical partner, and it’s been talking about a new partnership with ecommerce firm Shopify that will see merch sold during the event. Open to all artists using the platform, it […]

Apple Music goes Boss-eyed with its Bruce Springsteen Week

Apple Music is pushing all the boats out for the release of Bruce Springsteen’s 20th studio album ‘Letter to You’. There’ll be a week of radio shows on its new Apple Music Hits station, plus an album listening party and live Q&A, and a documentary on the Apple TV+ service, which drops on Friday alongside […]

Believe was the buyer of playlisting platform Soundsgood

In April we reported on the shutdown of French startup Soundsgood. It had launched in 2015 as a way to curate playlists and manage them across multiple streaming services, before moving more towards B2B services for labels. “These B2B activities have eventually led to our recent acquisition,” announced Soundsgood as it closed down, but the company […]

Apple Music TV channels classic MTV with music videos

Live radio is already one of Apple Music’s big differences to its streaming rivals. Now it’s trying out MTV-style music television, although for the most part without the VJs. Instead, Apple Music TV is a 24-hour channel broadcasting music videos via the Apple Music and Apple TV apps, as well as on the web. For now, it’s […]

WMG set for $338m acquisitions (and possibly revenue decline)

It was a busy day for Warner Music Group yesterday, with several interrelated announcements. First, there was news of the company raising $250m of new funding through a ‘senior secured notes offering’ to be spend to “fund a portion of the aggregate cash consideration for certain acquisitions”. Later that day, a US regulatory filing offered more information on those […]

The US music market isn’t yet at ‘peak streaming subscriptions’

Is the biggest recorded-music market in the world nearing ‘peak streaming subscriptions’ for music? In an article for Billboard, former Spotify chief economist Will Page offers some reasons for optimism, even though there are now 110 million music subscribers in a country with 110m households. For example, he notes that there were worries that Sweden and […]

PearPop helps fans to pay for screen time with TikTok stars

There’s a price on everything in the influencer world, and with a startup called PearPop, that includes collaborating with your favourite TikTok stars. The company has announced a marketplace for TikTokers to charge fans for collab posts, and according to TechCrunch it already has more than 25,000 fans signed up. The fees are public: a duet, stitch or […]

Instagram promises crackdown on ‘hidden advertising’ in the UK

Since 2018, UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been running an investigation into whether influencers on social media are disclosing their endorsements properly. In January 2019, that included eliciting ‘formal commitments’ from 16 British celebrities to be fully transparent, including musicians Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding. This week, the investigation has put Instagram in the […]

Defected to hold three-part ‘We Dance As One’ livestream

Dance label Defected Records did a great job earlier this year with its ‘Virtual Festival’ series of livestreams, raising $1.2m for the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 relief fund over 10 weeks. Now it’s coming back with a new event called ‘We Dance As One’ spread over three dates: 30 October, 27 November and a finale […]

Reshape Music report outlines challenges for disabled musicians

UK charity Youth Music has published a new report, Reshape Music, which explores the challenges facing disabled musicians ‘in education and beyond’. It’s the result of interviews with hundreds of musicians, music educators and retailers. “Disabled people make up over a fifth of the population and yet they are hugely under-represented in the music industry […]

British parliament launches inquiry into economics of music streaming

For several months, the #BrokenRecord campaign in the UK has been calling for the government to step in to the debate about musicians’ streaming royalties. Today, there’s been a significant announcement on that front. No, not legislation (yet). The British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee has launched an inquiry into the economics […]

Spotify’s new format puts music in podcasts – and pays royalties

Podcasters regularly complain about the difficulty and/or cost of licensing commercial music for their shows. With hundreds of millions of people now listening to podcasts globally, there’s a big opportunity for the music industry, if good licensing models can be worked out to put music in podcasts, while ensuring that rightsholders and musicians get paid. […]

Livestreaming startup Moment House raises $1.5m from starry seed investors

Scooter Braun, Troy Carter, Patreon CEO Jack Conte, actor Jared Leto and artist Kygo’s Palm Crew Investments are among the investors in the latest ticketed livestreams startup, Moment House, which announced its $1.5m seed funding round today. The round was led by Forerunner Ventures, with Sequoia Capital partner Jess Lee also among the angel investors, […]

Motive Unknown launches sister company Positive Subversion

Digital marketing agency Motive Unknown is spinning off a new company called Positive Subversion, which it describes as a “project and label management consultancy for independently-minded artists, managers and record labels”. It’s a partnership with former !K7 exec Siofra McComb, and has already signed up Run The Jewels (already a Motive Unknown client) and label Innovative […]

Monstercat goes ‘hyper-casual’ with Amanotes mobile games deal

Electronic music label Monstercat has always been keen to get its music into games, with a series of inventive licensing deals and partnerships. Its latest is with Amanotes, the Vietnamese developer of ‘hyper-casual’ mobile games. The deal has already made some of Monstercat’s catalogue available within Amanotes’ biggest mobile game, Tiles Hop (350m downloads and counting) […]

Feeling Good: free report on music, fitness, wellbeing and technology

Earlier this month, Music Ally teamed up with British industry body the BPI for an online event called ‘Feeling Good’ about the intersection of music, fitness/wellbeing and technology. Now we’ve published a tie-in report, which you can download for free here. In it, we’ve explored some of the companies who’ve been innovating in these areas, from […]

Report: Triller could go public with shell-company merger

Remember those July reports that short-video app Triller was raising a funding round of up to $300m? Whatever happened to that? Reuters has an update, claiming that the company has “so far secured around $100 million in that round at a $1.25 billion valuation” according to unnamed sources “familiar with the matter”. However, the report claims that […]

Soundtrack Your Brand renews WMG deal, launches on-demand tier

B2B streaming service Soundtrack Your Brand has renewed its licensing deal with Warner Music Group, a couple of months after striking an agreement with Universal Music Group. In WMG’s case, it’s a renewal of the deal signed two years ago with Soundtrack Your Brand, which provides music to businesses including retailers, restaurants and hotels. The news […]

US gets new #SaveLiveEventsNow campaign to support live music

We’ve written about the #SaveOurStages campaign in the US to support independent music venues, launched by their representative body NIVA. Now there’s another campaign, #SaveLiveEventsNow, which expands the remit to larger venues and the people who work on concerts and festivals using them. It’s backed by a who’s who of the industry: the RIAA, Recording Academy, Live Nation, […]

Round Hill Music confirms plans for $375m Royalty Fund IPO

The rumours were right: music publisher Round Hill Music is planning to take its songs fund public. The Round Hill Music Royalty Fund has announced plans to raise $375m through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. You can read its announcement here. The company says it has already identified more than 40 catalogues containing more than 120k […]

SongShift says Spotify won’t let it transfer people’s playlists

Almost as long as there have been a number of popular music streaming services, there have been apps and websites designed to help people transfer their playlists between them (for example when leaving one service to join another) or to maintain playlists across several of them (aimed at curators more than regular users). Nobody’s found a […]

Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the price of musical ambition (book extract)

‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ is a new book by Sally Anne Gross and Dr George Musgrave, with its roots in a study of the same name commissioned by charity Help Musicians UK in 2017, about mental health in the music industry. Gross and Musgrave have shared an excerpt from the book with Music Ally, […]

Report: TikTok now more popular than Instagram with US teens

Investment bank Piper Sandler publishes a semi-annual study of US teenagers – 9,800 of them for its latest drop. It covers all kinds of topics, from social and political issues to favoured brands, but digital habits are also included. The big news from the latest study is the claim that TikTok has just overtaken Instagram to become the […]

Spotify adds ‘promo cards’ feature for artists and podcasters

Spotify’s now traditional end-of-year Wrapped promotion sees artists and listeners alike flooding social media with branded graphics on their stats. Now the streaming service is extending that idea for artists (and podcasters) with a feature called ‘Promo Cards’. It’s an online tool that they can use to create promotional graphics for songs, albums and artist […]

Major labels target Apple in Russia over iOS piracy apps

It’s been a while since we’ve seen public tensions in the west between music rightsholders and Apple over piracy apps – Apple’s involvement being as the owner of the store through which those apps are distributed. According to TorrentFreak, it’s all kicking off in Russia over this issue though, following a new law cracking down on piracy […]

Livestreaming startup Mandolin raises $5m in seed funding

Six months ago, livestreaming was in many quarters seen as a temporary sticking plaster for the shutdown of physical concerts, likely to return to a niche once the latter returned. A lot of people have changed their tune since then: physical concerts aren’t returning anywhere near as soon as we had hoped, and successful livestreaming […]

US Latin music revenues grew by 18.6% in first half of 2020

US trade body the RIAA has published its mid-year figures for Latin music in the US, and once again it has outperformed the overall market. The body recently reported that the US recorded music market grew by 5.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, but revenues from Latin music grew by 18.6%. At $296.1m, it accounted for […]

Radio Tools tracks music plays on radio and TV stations

The ‘will streaming kill radio’ debate rumbles on, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet: radio airplay remains important for many artists, and tracking it globally remains a challenge. We’ve written about startups like World Airplay Radio Monitor (Warm) in the past, and now there’s a new contender: Maltese startup Radio Tools. It’s analysing the music played on more […]

BPI launches its equality and justice advisory group

British music industry body the BPI has launched an equality and justice advisory group, which it says will “advise and challenge the BPI on matters initially focused on race and gender in order to further support and promote equality and inclusion in music alongside other industry initiatives”. It’s an expansion of the existing Brits Diversity Advisory […]

Ascap Lab Seed Project reveals first projects from its teams

The more music industry entities working hands-on with startups and developers the better, as far as we’re concerned. The latest example is US collecting society Ascap, whose innovation arm Ascap Lab has been running an 11-week ‘Seed Project’ challenge for graduate students in New York. Five teams were involved, exploring new ways to interact with […]

Oda connected speakers have their own season of concerts

Oda is a startup making a pair of speakers (also called Oda) that look very nice indeed – “made of wood, glass, cotton, and steel: materials that are humble and human, not technological” as the blurb puts it – with as much attention to detail paid to their audio innards. However, what interests us about the $299 […]

Deezer commissioned covers for its new ‘InVersions’ album

Like its streaming rivals, Deezer is experimenting with commissioning original music that won’t put labels’ noses out of joint. The latest example is a compilation album called ‘InVersions’, which is a collection of cover versions by 10 independent artists. Fontaines DC, Arlo Parks, Dream Wife, Alfie Templeman and Chloe Moriondo are among the artists chosen […]

Spotify for Artists has a new boss, joining from Patreon

Camille Hearst was the head of product, creator and general manager, merch at crowdfunding platform Patreon, until now. As of today, she’s joining Spotify as its first head of Spotify for Artists. Hearst announced the news in a series of tweets this afternoon. “In this new role, I’ll lead a cross-functional team including product, tech, design, […]

How should artists use Twitch to connect with fans?

Live video streaming service Twitch has been one of the (unwitting) beneficiaries of the global pandemic, as musicians scramble to find a way to compensate for the near-total shutdown of live music. In their recent “State of the Stream” report, StreamElements and Arsenal.gg claimed that Twitch’s Q2 2020 chart bars “look like skyscrapers compared to […]

Tools: IsItAGoodPlaylist.com. Analyze Spotify playlists to know if they’ll increase your stream count

According to Chartmetric, Spotify boasts over 270k+ curators, 1.1m+ playlists and 8.6k+ self-curated playlists, providing a fertile ground for playlist pitching. While editorial playlist placements on Spotify are notoriously competitive and dealt with exclusively via Spotify for Artists, figuring out how to get an artist’s independent playlist strategy right (e.g. by brands, labels, curators or […]

Lyte tests ticket reservation tool for return of physical gigs

A lot of physical concerts have been cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s been heartening how many fans have held onto their tickets for the ones that have been postponed – even those delayed for a year or more. Now ticketing firm Lyte has developed a tool that capitalises on this loyalty in a different […]

Nearly 1.2m people attended Ava Max’s party in Roblox

Last month we wrote about the plans to hold an album launch party for artist Ava Max in gaming platform Roblox. So how did that go? Well, according to the public stats, the ‘Ava Max Heaven & Hell Launch Party’ has generated more than 2.4m visits from Roblox players, with nearly 49,000 people marking it as a favourite. […]

Smule adds Snapchat lenses to its AutoRap music app

Music apps firm Smule is the latest company to use the Snap Camera Kit launched by Snapchat’s parent company. Smule has integrated it into its AutoRap app, which lets people choose beats, rap over the top and share the results. Now they can add Snapchat’s augmented-reality lenses (filters) to their videos in AutoRap’s iOS app, with Android […]

African streaming service Mdundo has 5m monthly active users

Mdundo is one of the established music streaming services in Africa, and its CEO Martin Nielsen has been talking to Nigerian news site Pulse·ng about its latest figures, and the wider African music market. According to the piece, Mdundo currently has more than five million monthly active users across Africa, including 3.5 million in its key markets […]

Ascap thanks Spotify for accelerated payments during Covid-19

Spotify has taken plenty of flak from songwriters over its history, and with its appeal against new royalty rates in the US still not settled, there’ll be more to come we’re sure. However, the streaming service will at least have enjoyed the latest letter to members of US collecting society Ascap from its president and chairman Paul […]

Mixcloud adds ticketing for audio and video livestreams

Audio streaming service Mixcloud launched a livestreaming feature in April this year, enabling people to stream live audio or video on its platform. Today, it’s announcing an expansion of ‘Mixcloud Live’ to add ticketing. Several artists will be testing the new feature out, including Flying Lotus, Róisín Murphy and Nas (who recently invested in Mixcloud, which […]

Spotify and YouTube double down on their music charts

The charts of digital music services having clout with consumers and the industry alike isn’t a new trend for anyone who remembers the heyday of Apple’s iTunes rankings around the world. We’re interested in the current burst of activity around streaming services’ charts though. Both Spotify and YouTube Music had announcements this week shedding more […]

Scooter Braun on the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic

Manager and investor Scooter Braun appeared at the Fast Company Innovation Festival this week, and had plenty to say on the music industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “With all this time, we are creating new lanes that didn’t exist before. When you talk about your work life, I always tell people . . . build time […]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek outlines his leadership style

The Observer Effect has published a long interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, focusing on his management style and processes. So, there aren’t many news lines for the likes of us to pick out on Spotify’s business, but lots of food for thought for anyone wondering what they can learn from the way its CEO runs […]

Dua Lipa launches TikTok-assisted ‘Levitating’ music video

In August, Dua Lipa launched her #DuaVideo challenge on TikTok, inviting fans to submit videos based on makeup, animation or dance using her ‘Levitating’ single. The promise was that the best creators would make it into a music video for the track. TikTok says that the contest generated more than 150k videos which were watched more […]

AiR Show augmented-reality concerts app acquired for $300k

This might just be a record for the shortest gap between a startup being first covered by Music Ally, and being acquired. We wrote about Trick 3D and its ‘AiR Show’ app a couple of weeks ago: it promised to beam artists into fans’ living rooms using augmented reality technology, for performances. It had a partnership with […]

Charli XCX to kick off Oculus and Tidal’s VR concerts series

We knew that Tidal and Facebook’s Oculus were working together on plans for some virtual reality concerts. Now we know who’s playing the first one: Charli XCX, who’ll be performing within the Oculus Venues app this Friday (9 October). It’s the first of a series of six concerts organised by the companies, each of which will see […]

Fender Play nears 1m subscribers thanks to free lessons

Instrument maker Fender is extending a promotion offering three months of free access to its Fender Play digital guitar-lessons service. The promo launched in April, shortly after Covid-19 lockdowns began in many countries. Fender says that the Fender Play user base has grown from 150,000 to 930,000 subscribers since then. With the promo extended until the end […]

Gema warns of ‘even more difficult’ 2021 for many musicians

Germany collecting society Gema held its annual general meeting last week – online, of course, with around 1,000 of its songwriter, composer and publisher members taking part. The event included some blunt words from CEO Dr Harald Heker on why Covid-19 relief measures taken by the society this year can only go so far. “We are […]

Triller denies new allegations of inflated user numbers

Short video app Triller has found itself at the centre of another controversy around its public user numbers. A report by Business Insider citing ‘six former Triller employees’ claimed that when Triller said in October 2019 that it had 13 million monthly active users, the true figure was “closer to two million”. The details are important here: […]

Roli boss talks Lumi keyboard and music education’s evolution

Music Ally first came across Roli in 2013, when it was named as a finalist in the SXSW Music Accelerator startups contest, before we reported on its $12.8m funding round the following year from investors including Universal Music Group. The company was focused on music instruments, with its first being the Seaboard Grand, a keyboard […]

Amazon Music HD adds ‘thousands’ of tracks from UMG and WMG

We should clarify this headline quickly: Amazon Music HD already has many more tracks from Universal Music and Warner Music. The news is that Amazon is working with the two labels to remaster thousands of tracks in ‘Ultra High Definition’ for its hi-res streaming service. Amazon’s definition of Ultra HD is tracks with a bit […]

TikTok creator fund reportedly paying 2-4 cents per 1,000 views

TikTok’s Creator Fund started as a $200m commitment in July to be distributed among US-based TikTokers trying to build careers on the platform. It quickly expanded to a promised $1bn over three years, with a European fund following in September aiming for $300m over three years. Beyond those big headline numbers, though, details of how […]

ShareChat’s Times Music deal includes short-video app Moj

Moj is one of the short-video apps making hay in India in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Launched in July, it grew to 50 million users within a month, then 80 million by late September, when its parent company ShareChat raised $40m of funding to continue the momentum. ShareChat said then that partnerships with music labels would […]

Triller gets a licensing deal with pan-Euro licensing hub Ice

Triller has been making the most of TikTok’s recent troubles, poaching creators, trumpeting its user growth and even pitching itself in the US as “a form of patriotic capitalism”. But with that higher profile has come scrutiny of Triller’s licensing status, not least from US publishing body the NMPA. On the other side of the Atlantic, […]

WMG’s latest partnerships: Tips Music in India and SOSV in Asia

Post-IPO, there’s a flurry of dealmaking and senior appointments happening at Warner Music Group, as the company gears up for its next stage of growth. Today alone it has announced new partnerships with Indian company Tips Music and investment firm SOSV. The former deal will see Warner Music India distributing the film-music label’s music in […]

Rewind and remix radio with Teenage Engineering’s new OB-4

Teenage Engineering’s pocket-sized synthesizers are marvellous, but now the Swedish company is applying its innovation skills to radio. Its latest device, the OB-4, is pitched as a “magic radio” – a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also receive FM radio broadcasts. The twists being that, well, owners will be able to twist the audio itself. “OB–4 continuously […]

Baidu’s smart devices and voice assistants arm is worth $2.9bn

Smart speakers and voice assistants are increasingly popular, but what’s their value in corporate terms? It’s hard to tell given that many of the companies making them – Apple, Google and Amazon included – don’t split out their revenues from this technology, and the companies’ market caps are based on their entire businesses. But here’s […]

Spotify adds video for ‘Written by’ songwriter playlists

In February this year, Spotify launched a beta ‘Songwriter Pages’ feature offering more visibility for songwriters on its service, including their own profile pages and playlists of recordings of their works. Today, it’s expanding that with video on some of those pages. Songwriters Mike Dean, Raye and Cautious Clay are the first to get the treatment, with videos in their ‘Written By’ […]

Rockifi streaming service will focus on hard rock and metal

Scottish startup Rockifi isn’t brand new: back in 2018 it was being hailed as ‘Tinder for rock fans’ with an app that helped rock and metal fans find likeminded fans to go to concerts with. However, it’s relaunching this month with a bigger ambition: to be a fully fledged streaming service for hard rock and heavy metal. […]

Boomy expands free tier and adds vocals to its AI music

Boomy is the startup that lets anyone sign up and create music using its AI tool – and then release it to streaming services. We’ve covered the company regularly (this profile for example), and now the company has launched a major update to its platform. That includes an expansion of its free tier: “Starting today, […]

Deezer still pushing for user-centric payouts: ‘We will continue fighting…’

Just over a year ago, music streaming service Deezer announced its desire to launch a pilot of a ‘user-centric payment system’ (UCPS) by early 2020. You can read our primer on the user-centric model here, but in a nutshell, it ensures that the money from your streaming subscription only goes to the music you listen […]

Soundtrack by Twitch offers licensed music to streamers

Livestreaming platform Twitch is launching a new feature, Soundtrack by Twitch, with a catalogue of licensed music for its community of creators to use in their streams. The Amazon-owned company has licensed more than 1m tracks from more than 30 independent labels and distributors for the beta launch, in what’s its second attempt at an […]

Amuse / Midia report explores Covid-19 lockdown trends for musicians

Distributor Amuse and consultancy Midia Research have teamed up for their second report on the independent music community. One of the headline figures from Independent Artists: Pathfinding Through a Pandemic – that the ‘artists direct’ sector grew by 32% to $873m in 2019 – isn’t a new stat, having originally been published by Midia in March this […]

Four Tet gets his own looping chillout stream on YouTube

Channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music can do it. Hollywood star Will Smith can do it. Even Pepsi can do it. So why can’t Four Tet? He can! The ‘it’ in question being ‘looping lo-fi chillout music streams on YouTube’ of course. Electronic artist Four Tet has what appears to be a 12-hour loop that began streaming on his YouTube channel […]

YouTube Music tests Spotify Daily Mix-style ‘My Mix’ playlists

Spotify launched its Daily Mix playlists in 2016 as a collection of personalised playlists based on different ‘clusters’ of a listener’s musical tastes. Now it looks like YouTube Music is launching a similar feature. Tech blog Android Police reported on some users seeing up to seven new ‘My Mix’ playlists, each seemingly based on a different genre or […]

Michelle Obama Spotify podcast spreads to other platforms

‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ is perhaps the most high-profile show that’s exclusive to Spotify. Well, it was until today. Spotify has announced that the show, co-produced with the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground, will now be available on “a number of additional platforms”. It didn’t say which platforms, but there’s already a listing for the show on Apple […]

As Trump stews, TikTok launches an in-app US elections guide

We’re still waiting to find out what the Trump administration will do in response to a judge blocking its ban of TikTok in the US. We suspect the president won’t be too keen on its latest feature though: an in-app guide to the 2020 elections. It will provide TikTok users with information about candidates; explain how […]

YouTube singalong to celebrate Oasis album’s 25th anniversary

It’s about to turn 25 years since the release of Oasis’s second album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’, which several members of our editorial team are in firm age-related denial about. The band remains on hiatus thanks to ongoing tensions between its founding brothers, but celebrations are afoot on YouTube. This Friday (2 October) there’s […]

Spotify could face an Apple-style payments fight with Google

With recent app store controversies involving Spotify and Epic Games, the focus has been squarely on Apple and its App Store, even though the Fortnite publisher also has issues with Google and its Google Play store. Spotify’s relationship with Google has been much friendlier: the companies have teamed up on smart-speaker giveaways, and Spotify has […]

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

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

Tools: Zebr. Send Music to Influencers

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

Marvel goes K-Pop with SM Entertainment / SuperM collab

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

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

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

Apple Music adds Defected and Glitterbox DJ mixes and live sets

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

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

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

Judge blocks Trump administration’s TikTok app stores ban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Japanese artist Reol made $130k from a YouTube livestream

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

Apple has acquired podcast curation startup Scout·fm

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

Blackpink trail new album with Spotify and PubG Mobile

One of the K-Pop groups that have been smashing down global barriers recently is Blackpink, who you can expect to see splashed over many digital platforms in the coming week ahead of their new album’s release on 2 October. Two examples today: Blackpink have launched an ‘enhanced album’ playlist on Spotify, complete with some videos of Jisoo, […]

BTS Universe Story mobile game launches for Android and iOS

The new mobile game for K-Pop stars BTS has gone live. Netmarble’s BTS Universe Story was made available for Android and for iOS overnight, and is the band’s second foray into mobile gaming following last year’s BTS World. As we recently reported, BTS Universe Story is about tapping the BTS Army’s creativity: creating their own animated stories set in […]

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma held a YouTube premiere ‘afterparty’

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

Ava Max is holding an album launch party inside Roblox

Gaming platform Roblox has more than 150 million monthly active users, and its head of music recently told Music Ally how keen the company is to work with artists and labels. Now we’ve got one of the first examples: pop artist Ava Max is holding an album launch party in Roblox later today (25 September). Atlantic Records […]

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

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

SignalFire report explores the growing ‘creator economy’

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

BPI and Music Ally event on music, wellbeing and technology

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

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

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

Musician bodies team up to attack Epidemic Sound again

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

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

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

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

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

Streaming panel calls for more innovation from DSPs and labels

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

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

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

Epic Games invests in Roblox-like startup Manticore Games

We’ve been writing about popular children’s gaming platform Roblox for some time, including its desire to work with the music industry. It’s not the only platform of its type. Manticore Games is the company behind Core, which is a similar “digital playground and community designed to unleash imagination and explore new play experiences”. It came onto […]

YouTube deploys AI to tighten up age restrictions on videos

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

TuneCore encourages artists to upload music to TikTok for free

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

Featured Artists Coalition appoints new artist ambassadors

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

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

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

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

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

Spotify launches ‘Your Daily Drive’ playlist in the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook warns that it could pull out of Europe altogether

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

Amanda Palmer launches The Art of Asking Everything podcast

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

Fortnite is the next frontier for K-Pop stars BTS

BTS are no strangers to the gaming world, having starred in their first mobile game BTS World last year, with a follow-up (BTS Universe Story) about to launch. Now the K-Pop stars are heading to one of the biggest, buzziest games of all: Fortnite. This Friday (25 September) they’ll be premiering a new “choreography version” music […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future of streaming and music marketing post Covid-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logic blames UMG for not letting game-streamers use his music

Having officially retired from music earlier this year, before signing what was reportedly a seven-figure exclusive deal to stream on Twitch, artist Logic is a prominent figure at the intersection of music and livestreaming. A tweet on Friday is thus making a few waves. “Too many of my gaming homies @Ninja included have wanted to play my […]

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

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

Kanye West offers guidelines for recording and publishing deals

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

Amazon Music gets Latin music hub and exclusive Neil Young EP

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

TikTok US ban postponed as Trump approves Oracle/Walmart deal

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

Tonal is the latest connected fitness startup raising big money

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

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

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

U2’s YouTube channel relaunches with remastered music videos

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

Startup Synaesthetic seeks artists for ‘immersive music’

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

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

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

Chartmetric launches new charts tracking music on Twitch

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

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

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

Rufus Wainwright launches catalogue-spanning livestream series

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

Facebook unveils Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and Tidal deal

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

Spotify faces internal unrest over Joe Rogan’s old podcasts

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

Composer Wojtek launches a carbon-emissions tracker website

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

Keith Urban premieres new album with Apple Music livestream

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

Beatleap video-editing app includes Epidemic Sound music

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

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

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

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

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

Google enlists musicians as guides for virtual artworks

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

Next BTS livestream comes with month-long virtual exhibition

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

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

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

TuneCore expands into Brazil and Russia with new offices

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

Spotify adds livestreams to its in-app concert listings

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

The latest TikTok twist: plans for a standalone company?

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

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

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

Beabadoobee talks Fake It Flowers, Spotify and lockdown creativity

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

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

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

JioSaavn’s Amplify offers direct distribution to emerging artists

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

Applications are open for the MMF’s next manager accelerator

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

Voisey star Olivia Knight (aka poutyface) signs major deals

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

WMG’s ADA Worldwide follows LatAm expansion with Asia launch

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

Gaming star Ninja returns to Twitch with exclusive deal

Twitch may be doing more with music, but gaming remains its bread-and-butter content. Now one of the platform’s first and biggest stars is returning to it. Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is well known to Music Ally readers: he broke livestreaming records when playing Fortnite with Drake; competed in pro-amateur tournaments of the same game with Marshmello; […]

Facebook and Xiaomi join Amazon’s Voice Interoperability Initiative

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

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

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

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

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

As Twitch Sings shuts down, Snapchat gets a karaoke game

Twitch recently announced that it was shutting down its karaoke game Twitch Sings, including removing all the archived broadcasts and clips using it. But where one karaoke game closes, another one pops up backed by a different digital platform. That game is called SingHeads, and the platform is Snapchat, which is an official partner. Released initially for […]

Podcasts proving popular for classical streaming service Primephonic

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

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

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

Charlamagne tha God launches Black Effect Podcast Network

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

PlaylistSupply helps managers and artists research playlists

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

Electronic Labor Day livestream to support rebuilding in Beirut

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

YouTube Music rolls out more features for its playlists

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

Hipgnosis buys independent publisher Big Deal Music

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

Global Citizen and Spotify enlist artists for US vote campaigns

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

BMI sets new revenue and distribution records despite Covid-19

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

Sony Music steps up its podcasting with nearly 40 new shows

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

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

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

Apple and Deezer reveal their latest books and audiobooks expansion

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

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

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

Music livestreams are getting their own awards ceremony

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

Spotify’s Dissect podcast returns with Childish Gambino season

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok battles to remove a graphic video showing a death

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

Warner Music Latina launches a mobile game for Kidd Keo

Kidd Keo is a Spanish hip-hop artist signed to Warner Music Latina, and now the label has launched an official mobile game for his new album ‘Back To Rockport’. Released for iOS and Android, Back To Rockport – The Game is an endless-runner game in the same vein as app hits Temple Run and Subway Surfers. […]

YouTube contest involves making a music video for Hans Zimmer

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

8tracks is planning a relaunch with licensed music catalogue

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

Roxi streaming and karaoke service reveals deal with Sky

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

Record Union and Equilibrium to hold wellness workshop online

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

Facebook Watch now has more than 1.25bn monthly visitors

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

Riot Games created a new virtual influencer called Seraphine

Last month we reported on Riot Games, the publisher of esports game League of Legends, launching a new track for its virtual pop group K/DA. What we hadn’t spotted, then, was a cover of the group’s past hit ‘Pop/Stars’ by an influencer called Seraphine, which was released a couple of weeks ago. The post Riot […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitch is shutting down its Twitch Sings karaoke game

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

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

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

Tom Walker is quizzing his fans in his new Alexa skill

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

Declan McKenna teaches fans how to play his songs on Yousician

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

MTN Nigeria and Tidal announce partnership

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

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

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

Artist Rights Alliance challenges Amazon Music-Twitch integration

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast episodes missing on Spotify

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

TikTok adds creator merchandise sales integration with Teespring

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

Indian streaming service Gaana raises $50 million in debt

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

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

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

Amazon Music integrates Twitch livestreaming into app

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

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

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

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

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

DiMA report hails music streaming’s impact in the US

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

League Of Legends K-Pop group K/DA return with new track

Hot on the heels of announcing a big partnership with Spotify, the publisher of esports hit League of Legends is bringing its virtual K-Pop group K/DA back with new music. Riot Games launched K/DA two years ago as a group of avatar characters – each voiced by a real singer. Their debut live performance at the […]

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

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

UK study explores class imbalances in the creative industries

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

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

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

TikTok sale announcement could come as soon as next week

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

Amazon Halo sees tech giant get into the digital fitness game

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

Restream raises $50m to power multi-platform livestreams

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

Spotify expands Discover Weekly sponsorship to EMEA countries

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

Algoriddim launches tool to extract stems from music tracks

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

Fortnite’s new season is live… but not for Apple devices

The new season of Fortnite goes live today: Chapter 2 – Season 4 is a big tie-up with Marvel, with a bunch of its superheroes and supervillains added to the game, complete with their most famous locations – and an in-game comic explaining how they got there. But one section of Fortnite’s player community won’t be […]

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

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

Katy Perry’s ‘Smile’ album comes with its own video game

The new Katy Perry album comes out tomorrow (28 August) and ‘Smile’ will be accompanied by its own promotional game. It’s a partnership with computing brand Dell – or rather, with its high-end gaming sub-brand Alienware. The game is called Katy Quest, and from the clip shared by Perry on her socials, it appears to be […]

eMusic gets into livestreaming with eMusicLive launch

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

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

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

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

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

Music distribution and services firm Stem raises $10m

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

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns three months into the job

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

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

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

Skrachy launches livestreaming app for DJs – royalties included

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

Good Splits is a streaming royalty calculator for musicians

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

Vevo explores demographic differences in digital video habits

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

Dua Lipa launches #DuaVideo fan challenge with TikTok

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

The latest BTS product is a Korean language-learning kit

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

Techstars Music goes virtual and promises founder diversity

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

MelodyVR raises $15.3m to help fund Napster acquisition

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

Music Ally Startup Files: SoundStorming opens up the creative process

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

Survey: 30% of musicians are planning weekly livestreams

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

IFPI takes aim at more ‘music streaming manipulation’ sites

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

The mystery of Tasmin Little’s missing Spotify royalties

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

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

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

Music VR startup MelodyVR announces plan to merge with Napster

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

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

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

Oracle gets support for its TikTok bid… from President Trump

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

YouTube’s latest originals include a GRM Daily documentary

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

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

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

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

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

Apple Music Radio adds live country and hits stations

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

NME Asia goes live from Singapore after BandLab acquisition

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

Report: Classical streams are booming for younger listeners

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

Save Our Stages Act aims to help independent US venues

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

Spotify launches ‘Alone With Me’ microsite for The Weeknd

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

Oculus VR headsets will require users to log in using Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

BTS fanfic meets mobile games as Netmarble preps BTS Universe Story

Netmarble is the South Korean company that launched the BTS World mobile game in June 2019, offering the BTS Army the chance to play manager to the K-Pop stars – complete with an original soundtrack album. The game topped app store charts in 25 countries immediately after its release, and by the first quarter of this year Netmarble’s financials revealed […]

Spotify survey explores music listening trends in India

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

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

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

Fortnite publisher’s battle with Apple steps up another notch

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

Spotify wants to ‘imagine new possibilities’ for audiobooks

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

San Juan Symphony launches $99 ‘digital season’ passes

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

Warner Music acquires viral content firm Imgn Media

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

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

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

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

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

Trump sets new deadline of 12 November for TikTok US sale

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

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

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

TikTok rival Likee now has 150m monthly active users

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

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

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

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

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

Beggars Group financials reveal £63.1m revenues for 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese music subscribers have doubled to 60m in two years

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

‘Apple One’ entertainment bundles could debut in October

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

Spotify has company as Fortnite maker sues Apple (and Google)

Spotify seemed well prepared when its EC antitrust complaint against Apple last March came with its own spin-off website detailing its issues. Now Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has taken that up several levels. Yesterday it sued Apple alleging “use of a series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices”, and that lawsuit came with its own launch trailer: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’, […]

How to successfully livestream a music event

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

Tools: Wavo. Marketing and Analytics for Music

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

China’s Twitch equivalent DouYu has 165.3m monthly users

We haven’t written about DouYu before, because the Chinese livestreaming video platform is focused on games rather than music. The numbers are startling though: according to its latest financial results, DouYu averaged 165.3 million monthly active users in the second quarter of this year, including 58.4 million people on mobile devices. Meanwhile, DouYu generated RMB 2.51bn […]

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

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

Spotify launches ‘Day 1 Club’ for its RapCaviar playlist

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

PubG Mobile, the world’s top mobile game, made $208.8m in July

The amount of money sloshing around in the mobile games industry continues to startle. According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the top mobile game in July 2020 was PubG Mobile, published by Tencent. It generated $208.8m in user spending via in-app purchases on Google and Apple’s app stores that month. Comparison time: Tencent Music generated less […]

Muse to bring Simulation Theory show to virtual reality

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

Neil Young Archives site ditches Facebook and Google logins

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

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

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

Aloha by Elk wants to improve remote music collaboration

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

Judge sinks Genius’s lyrics-scraping lawsuit against Google

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

NMPA hopeful of keeping songwriters’ top line rate increase

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

10 talking points around kids, music and technology in 2020

Last month, Music Ally took part in the BPI and ERA’s New Kids on the Block online event, looking at children’s digital habits and what they mean for music. Research company Kids Insights produced a report for the event too, which has been published today. We contributed a section on some of the interesting stories […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report claims Amazon is adding podcasts to its music service

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

UMG signs NetEase deal and launches label with Tencent Music

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

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

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

Tools: Youtube Analytics for Artists

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

The next Fortnite? Fall Guys is already a livestreaming hit

When people think about what ‘the next Fortnite’ might be, they often fall into the trap of expecting it to look and play a lot like Fortnite. However, what if it’s less about guns, and more about a bunch of bouncy Minions-y characters bundling around neon-splashed obstacle courses like a cartoonish Takeshi’s Castle / It’s […]

Simon Fuller will launch his next pop group… with TikTok

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

Indian artist Badshah questioned by police over ‘fake views’

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

Jazz Re:Fest to stream with MQA and Bluesound partnership

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

LiveXLive financials reveal revenues of $10.5m for Q2 2020

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

Ride apologise after technical problems nix paid livestream

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

Julianna Barwick releases three tracks on meditation app Calm

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

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

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