Publishing and rights: ‘Everybody needs to play ball in order for this tech to work’

“You can choose to grow one copyright at a time. That’s going to take a really, really long time. We went to look for solutions that would help us scale more quickly. And what drove that was really find likeminded people, find people with whom you have shared values… with whom you have a vision […]

Global music streaming: ‘We are just on the tip of the iceberg of what this will become’

“I think it’s good that we have a lot of players in the market, because it means we all get better… The streaming landscape, and particularly for us the audio landscape, will continue to grow. We are just on the tip of the iceberg of what this will become.” Cecilia Qvist is global head of […]

The evolution of labels: ‘What’s your value proposition?’

“Labels who call themselves labels? That’s like dinosaur shit to me! It’s what’s your value proposition? What’s my value proposition? Can one plus one equal 10? As long as I can say to somebody that you and I together will be better… 300 is not a label, we’re a platform. We’re an opportunity for people […]

Latin America gets electronic-music conference Cancun Music Week

Mexico will be the location for Latin America’s latest new music conference, Cancun Music Week. It will take place in Cancun from 3-9 August, and will focus on electronic music with a mixture of DJ sets, branded parties, conference keynotes, panels and workshops, and even early-morning wellness sessions. XKYY Entertainment is the company behind the event, […]

Orville Peck is Apple Music’s first Up Next artist of 2020

There’s joy to be found in the fact that on the day Spotify launches a playlist for pets, Apple Music is making Orville Peck the latest emerging artist to be chosen for its Up Next initiative? Orville being the famously non-flying duck-puppet British TV star of the 1980s. You won’t catch Orville Peck singing saccharine songs […]

‘Grab your iguana’ – Spotify launches a playlist for pets

Good news for cats, dogs, hamsters, birds and iguanas this morning, but less so for stick insects, micro pigs and goats. Spotify’s latest algorithmically-generated playlist is aimed at pets, but only those in the first list above. And while this may sound like an April Fool’s story, it’s not: Spotify says it surveyed 5,000 pet owners […]

TikTok was the second most-downloaded mobile app of 2019

App analytics firm Sensor Tower has published its year-end report on the apps market in 2019. Among its conclusions: TikTok was the second most-downloaded app across Apple and Google’s app stores in 2019, behind only WhatsApp, with nearly 750m downloads over the year. That put TikTok ahead of Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, with the caveat […]

Twitch steps up with a new music partnerships manager

Twitch has a new music partnerships manager: Athena Koumis, formerly of Spotify and Xcite Networks. She announced her new job in social posts yesterday, making it clear that Amazon’s live-video platform wants to get more musicians streaming. “One thing I’ve yearned for working in streaming over the years is a sense of community & meaningful interaction w/ […]

Tools: RoadNation Empowers Creators and Fans to Build Tours Together

When it comes to touring, independent artists and their teams often face significant revenue risks. RoadNation aims to help mitigate this risk and drive more fan engagement through a direct artist-to-fan platform that sees artists funding their tours upfront through exclusive products while the fans get input into where their favourite artists will play.  Artists […]

Music discovery app Lüm adds virtual gifting feature

US startup Lüm launched a music discovery app in July 2019: the latest attempt at a smartphone app to help music fans find new artists to listen to. The company has since closed a $1.4m seed funding round, and says that it has “grown to over 15,000 fans, 22,000 artists and has over 60,000 tracks […]

Joué bags an NWA co-founder and sets sights on US expansion

We last wrote about French startup Joué in June 2019, when the company was one of the finalists in the Midemlab startups contest. It’s a hardware company that makes instruments, with its first (also called Joué) being a board-shaped device made out of wood and metal, with “magic modules” made of silicon slotting in to turn it into a […]

Deezer signs deal to offer direct telco billing in MENA region

Deezer’s ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continue. The streaming service has announced a partnership with mobile technology firm Mondia which will help people pay for Deezer in the region. The deal involves ‘direct carrier billing’ so that people can pay for a Deezer subscription through their mobile bills. “One of the main […]

Fan campaign makes Welsh-language song ‘Yma O Hyd’ an iTunes hit

Fancy starting the day with a sing-song? Come on then: “Ry’n ni yma o hyd / Ry’n ni yma o hyd / Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth…” Those are the words of ‘Yma O Hyd’, a track by Welsh folk artist Dafydd Iwan that was originally released in 1983. Why, you may wonder, is Music […]

T-Series is the most-watched YouTube channel by weekly views

Indian firm T-Series’ flagship channel has the most subscribers on YouTube: 124 million at the time of writing. It will come as no surprise to learn that it’s also the most popular in terms of weekly views, then. That’s according to a chart published by online-video industry site Tubefilter, using data from analytics firm GospelStats. It claims […]

People spent $115bn using WeChat ‘mini programs’ in 2019

Tencent’s messaging app WeChat is already a huge moneymaker in terms of the way people in China use it to pay for all manner of goods and services. One of the keys to this are the ‘Mini Programs’ launched by developers and brands for WeChat: essentially apps within the app. How much money is being […]

TikTok may launch ‘curated feed’ to boost ad revenues

One of many mysteries of this algorithm-driven age is how TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed works, in terms of the videos it recommends to users of its app. However, a report in the Financial Times this morning suggests that TikTok may be considering adding something a bit more… curated to its offering. The newspaper describes it as “a […]

Dolly Parton plans posthumous career with click-track recordings

Many artists have posthumous careers, thanks to their archives of unreleased tracks and demos. Dolly Parton, however, appears to be taking a more strategic approach for remaining successful after she dies. “I am a lucky person, cos I’ve got hundreds, hundreds, even thousands of songs. And a big part of ‘em have never even been […]

Oprah Winfrey pulls sexual-misconduct documentary from Apple TV+

In December, it was announced that Apple TV+ had bagged the rights to a documentary about sexual misconduct in the music industry, focusing on a then-unnamed executive (since confirmed as Russell Simmons) and presented by Oprah Winfrey. The documentary was being produced by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. Now the deal has hit the rocks […]

Justin Bieber sparks controversy by reposting fan-made slideshow

“Create a playlist with Yummy on repeat and stream it. Don’t mute it! Play it at a low volume. Let it play while you sleep.” “Buy the song on iTunes. Buy the song multiple times on Justin’s website.” These quotes are from a slideshow, complete with artwork reminiscent of a MySpace page in 2007, posted […]

LiveXLive says that it now has 820k paying subscribers

Live music-streaming firm LiveXLive has published some end-of-year figures showing its growth. The company, which also owns streaming service Slacker Radio, says it ended the year with 820,000 paid subscribers, having added 140,000 in the last year, while its total average monthly active users were 1.2 million at the end of 2019. The company livestreamed 28 music […]

Midem rebrands Artist Accelerator program as Talent Exporter

Midem’s Artist Accelerator has been a popular addition to the music-industry conference over the last five years: choosing a group of emerging artists each year for a programme of mentorship and networking, as well as live performances during the June event. Now it’s being rebranded as Midem Talent Exporter, which organiser Reed Midem says will […]

Composer Kerry Muzzey tweets tangled tale of Chinese licensing problems

If you want an insight into some of the challenges for composers in 2020, grab a large cup of tea and settle down to read this Twitter thread from Kerry Muzzey, whose music has been used by a number of high-profile TV shows. In it, he details his discovery that his music had been used, without […]

$500m-funded Saban Music Group inks Universal partnership

In July 2019, we reported on the latest new label with grand ambitions for the music industry. In the case of Saban Music Group, those ambitions were backed by $500m of capital, thanks to founder Haim Saban, whose TV firm Saban Entertainment (and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) made him a billionaire. The new label would focus […]

Video-streaming service Quibi raises $400m of new funding

In August 2018, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and tech exec-turned-politician Meg Whitman made waves by raising $1bn of seed funding for their startup NewTV, with plans to stream high-quality TV shows and films broken up into bitesize 10-minute episodes. Since then, NewTV has been renamed Quibi, and at this week’s CES show in Las Vegas it was […]

Indian artist Sukhbir Singh invests in music startup Flutin

Music Ally last wrote about Indian startup Flutin in October 2019, when the music-discovery app announced that it had been downloaded more than 9.7m times, and had built an audience of 370,000 daily active users streaming around 3m tracks a day. Now Flutin has announced that it’s teaming up with Indian artist Sukhbir Singh, who is investing […]

D-AR-k Side Of The Moon: Pink Floyd’s new augmented reality filters

As part of the promotion for their The Later Years album and box-set, Pink Floyd have just launched a number of augmented reality filters for social media. Rhino UK commissioned WMG’s Firepit Technology to create Instagram and Facebook AR filters based on artwork for releases including ‘The Division Bell’, ‘Endless River’ and ‘P.U.L.S.E’. Fans can thus have […]

TikTok clarifies its community guidelines after censorship row

TikTok has been subject to intense scrutiny recently over its censorship and moderation policies, and specifically the extent to which its global approach is guided by views on what is or isn’t acceptable in China. Now the company has published a revised and expanded set of its community guidelines, promising “greater transparency” and a clearer structure of 10 […]

Spotify criticised over Nazi-glorifying playlist titles

Spotify made a well-documented misstep with its attempt to introduce a policy on ‘hateful conduct’ of artists, but the streaming service has won more praise for its uncompromising approach to keeping hateful content – neo-Nazi music etc – off its platform. Now, however, Spotify is facing criticism after extremists found a way to promote their views on its […]

Hot Pod News makes its podcast-industry predictions for 2020

Hot Pod News is one of the most respected sites covering the podcasting industry, so its predictions for the market in 2020 are worth perusing. Among the trends it expects to make headlines this year: competition between Apple and Spotify. “At the end of the day, the competition is about getting users, audiences, and listeners into respective […]

Messaging platform Sendmate gets acquired by Community

Facebook messaging and fan engagement service Sendmate has been acquired by text-messaging firm Community. Sendmate’s co-founder Andreas Mahringer will become head of business operations at Community, with plans to contact Sendmate’s customers in the coming weeks to explain how the transition will work. Sendmate was a spinoff from Record Bird, a music discovery startup that closed in […]

Mastercard is releasing its first single: Merry Go Round

Fans of brandspeak will find much to enjoy in financial firm Mastercard’s latest press release. In a nutshell, the company has commissioned and released its first music single, a track called ‘Merry Go Round’ by Swedish artist Nadine Randle. But as the company prefers to put it: “Mastercard is redefining how people interact and recall the […]

Emotional baggage: scientists pinpoint music’s 13 key feelings

Based on a survey of 2,500 people in the US and China listening to a variety of musical genres, research scientists at Berkeley have identified at least 13 emotions triggered by music across cultures. They are: amusing; annoying; anxious/tense; beautiful; calm/relaxing/serene; dreamy; energising/pumped up; erotic/desirous; indignant/defiant; joyful/cheerful; sad/depressing; scary/fearful; and triumphant/heroic. “We have rigorously documented the largest […]

Dan Chalmers named as director of YouTube Music EMEA

As a story it has been circulating in the industry for many months, but YouTube has now confirmed that Dan Chalmers has been appointed as director of YouTube Music for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He joins from Warner Music where he was president of ADA as well as heading up both East West and […]

Hipgnosis and Concord make latest publishing investments

Two of the most active music firms involved in buying up publishing catalogues have started 2020 with a bang. UK-based Hipgnosis has acquired a catalogue of 157 songs from Blink-182 co-founder Tom DeLonge, hopeful of a resurgence for his main band’s music. “The influence of Blink-182 on today’s artists is massive. If you’re under 27 years old […]

WWE averaged 510 YouTube video uploads a month during 2019

One of the challenges that YouTube presents for the music industry is the way music videos compete against other kinds of content and creators on the service. Many of whom are churning out videos much more regularly than artists are able to, with a firm sense of what will grab the attention of YouTube’s recommendation […]

UK government promises £80m for ‘music hubs’ in schools

Underfunding of the arts in general, and the arts in education in particular, have long been a concern for those in the UK who know there is a direct line between such schemes and the export power of the country’s music business. The Department For Education, however, has announced that it is earmarking £80m for music hubs […]

Sonarworks promises personalised sound with SoundID app

Audio-tech firm Sonarworks is hoping to make a splash at CES this week with a new product called SoundID. It’s an app for Android and iOS that promises “personalised audio perfected for each listener”, with its beta version available now. It’ll work by running users through a one-time ‘hearing test’ including their age, musical preferences and […]

YouTube to release a documentary about Coachella festival

YouTube already goes back a long way with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: it has been streaming sets live from the annual event for a decade. Now it’s going back even further. YouTube is launching a documentary about Coachella, which will explore the festival’s 20-year history. The feature-length original will go live on 31 March […]

Nettwerk Music Group buys back shares from HBC Investments

Nettwerk Music Group has announced a recapitalisation of its business, which means a process of restructuring its debt and equity ownership. In this case, that process includes buying out the stake held in Nettwerk by HBC Investments: “part of a broader financing plan that recognizes the success of the Company’s strategy over the past seven years and […]

19 TikTok stars get together for #hyephouse ‘collab house’ in LA

You don’t have to be a boomer to think that the idea of sharing a house with 19 TikTok stars has the makings of a living hell. But in the case of the Hype House in Los Angeles, it’s part of a burgeoning social-media trend. The New York Times has explained what’s going on: actually, only a […]

French Montana track’s Spotify revival sparks controversy

To use the standard industry language, there’s been an almighty hoo-ha around the reappearance of a track by artist French Montana on Spotify’s US chart. ‘Writing on the Wall’ features Post Malone, Cardi B and Rvssian, but wasn’t a smash hit when it was originally released last September. Now a dramatic rise up Spotify’s chart, […]

KKBox’s new Microsoft deal includes plans for AI music

Taiwanese streaming service KKBox announced a partnership with Microsoft at the end of 2019, and while on the surface it was a fairly dry B2B story about cloud infrastructure, there’s more to it. So yes, KKBox will be migrating its service to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, but the press release for the deal outlined another […]

Rolling Stones rarities seen as copyright-extension tactic

Rolling Stones fans – at least, those camping out on YouTube in the final hours of 2019 – got an unexpected treat on 31 December. More than 75 rare tracks popped up on Google’s video service on the Stones’ and catalogue administrator Abkco, before disappearing again a few hours later. The live recordings and studio out-takes […]

Bytedance hires former Tencent Music exec for Douyin role

Bytedance’s latest music hire will be focusing on its Douyin short-video app in China – the Chinese version of TikTok. The company has recruited Deng Linhai to lead Douyin’s music business, according to news site Technode. The former operations director at Tencent Music Entertainment is taking over from Douyin’s former music boss Zhu Jie, who left the […]

Ripple exec Craig DeWitt reveals plans for xSongs platform

Ripple Labs is one of the bigger companies in the crypto / blockchain space, with its payment protocol and XRP cryptocurrency. Now its director of product Craig DeWitt has revealed plans for a personal project focusing on music, called xSongs. It’s a familiar (and thus far, unsuccessful) idea in blockchain music: a platform for artists to […]

Analysis: the music industry enters 2020 on a wave of growth – and optimism

Barring a major surprise, 2019 will have been the fifth straight year of growth for the global recorded music industry. Over those five years, its annual revenues have grown from $14.2bn to $19.1bn, taking it almost back to its 2004 level. If 2019 matched 2018’s 9.7% growth, we could be talking about $21bn last year. […]

In 2019, UK music-streaming spending passed £1bn for the first time

Consumer spending on music streaming in the UK passed the symbolic £1bn mark for the first time last year, according to figures published by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) today. Brits spent just over £1bn on streaming subscriptions in 2019, up by 23.5% from the £812m spent in 2018 – and 31 times the spend […]

Concord COO is launching a new music-rights business

Music firm Concord’s COO Glen Barros left the company at the end of 2019, in order to launch what Billboard is describing as “a new music rights business venture”. He’d spent the last 25 years working at Concord, ever since buying the original Concord Jazz label. The new business is called Exceleration Music, and it has already […]

Canalys predicts big year for wireless headphones and earphones

Research firm Canalys expects wireless earphones and wireless headphones – ‘the smart personal audio device market’ – to have a very big 2020. “In Q3 2019, the worldwide smart personal audio device market grew 53% to reach 96.7 million units. And the segment is expected to break the 100 million unit mark in the final quarter, with potential to […]

Indie artists have doubled their share of Napster’s top 100

Napster is the latest music-streaming service putting out some end-of-year statistics. However, it has chosen a different topic to the usual ‘most popular artists / tracks’ DSP data dumps. Napster has been looking at its data for independent artists, and says that in 2019, 33% of its top 100 most-streamed artists were independent. That’s up […]

Keaton Henson releases album through meditation app Music Zen

The latest artist experimenting with releasing music through meditation apps is Keaton Henson, the British folk-rock musician and composer. His new album ‘Louise’ Piano’ is coming out through Music Zen, the mindfulness app developed by music-apps firm Gismart. It’s the first time an artist has written exclusive music for the app, although the model has been […]

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band gets immersive with Dolby

Bad news if you want to hear the all-new remixed version of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the flesh: tickets to the “immersive experience” in the band’s native Liverpool are already sold out. The good news, however, is that the remix – in the Dolby Atmos format – is also being made available […]

Gaana now has 125m monthly active users – and a new voice-ads partnership

Gaana is the latest music-streaming service exploring the potential of interactive voice ads, following announcements earlier this year from Spotify and Pandora. The Indian service is working with the same partner as the latter: Instreamatic, which has tech for ads that people can talk back to. “With this partnership, Gaana listeners will engage with voice ads that […]

Sofar Sounds explains its business model after criticism

Live-music firm Sofar Sounds has been facing some criticism in recent months around how it pays artists and its volunteers alike. Now the company is responding in some depth, with a blog post explaining “how money works at a Sofar show”. Its publication comes ahead of some changes to the company’s model set for February, including to artist compensation […]

Facebook tipped to sign music-video licensing deals for Watch

Up to this point, Facebook’s music-licensing deals have focused squarely on user-generated content. But for several years now – for example in the days when Vevo’s relationship with YouTube was thought to be on the rocks – there has been speculation about whether Facebook might fancy licensing music videos for its service. Now, according to Bloomberg, it may […]

Facebook tipped to sign music-video licensing deals for Watch

Up to this point, Facebook’s music-licensing deals have focused squarely on user-generated content. But for several years now – for example in the days when Vevo’s relationship with YouTube was thought to be on the rocks – there has been speculation about whether Facebook might fancy licensing music videos for its service. Now, according to Bloomberg, it may […]

We’ve tested Bytedance’s Resso app: here are our first impressions

Earlier this month, we reported on Resso, the new music-streaming app that TikTok’s parent company Bytedance is testing in India and Indonesia. We asked journalist Amit Gurbaxani, who has written regularly for Music Ally about the music industry in India, to try the app and offer his first impressions. “The most distinct thing about Resso, […]

Billboard parent company buys Nielsen Music as battle of charts heats up

Valence Media, the owner of Billboard, is buying the Nielsen Music “insights and product suite’ that it uses for its charts in the US.  The two companies were previously under the same roof between 1999 and 2009 when they were part of Dutch media group Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen (VNU). That was until VNU sold Billboard […]

Alexa in-skill purchases off to a sluggish start for Amazon

Music Ally has written about ‘in-skill purchases’ before: they’re the equivalent of in-app purchases for the third-party skills created for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. A way for developers to make money from their Alexa skills, in other words, by charging users for extra content or features. Tech-news site The Information claims that the feature is off to […]

Post Malone gets a ‘dual-phone’ music video on Spotify

As Drake never sang: you used to call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my… cell phone too, to watch the new video from Post Malone. Yes, fans will need two phones to watch the latter artist’s new video, which is exclusive to Spotify. Essentially it’s the story of a couple breaking […]

Midemlab startups competition seeks entrants for 2020

Will the number 13 be lucky for some music/tech startups? The annual Midemlab competition will be in its 13th year in 2020, and has just opened its call for entries. SoundCloud, Kickstarter, Songkick, The Echo Nest, Next Big Sound and Soundcharts are among the past participants in the contest, which is part of the Midem conference. […]

Tracklib launches its ‘State of Sampling 2019’ report

Sample-licensing service Tracklib has published its latest ‘State of Sampling’ report, offering some stats and insight into how samples are being used in 2019’s music industry. “This year, 15% of the songs on Billboard Hot 100 contained samples. A total of 17 samples in 15 of the songs, with some containing more than one,” being […]

Amazon Music is official digital partner for 2020 Brit Awards

The UK’s Brit Awards have a new partner from the world of streaming services. Amazon Music will be the ‘digital music partner’ for the event in February. That means Amazon’s music services will get to stream the performances from the awards after the event; host the official Brit Awards 2020 playlist as well as other […]

Spotify plans Tekashi 6ix9ine podcast for new year

Another day, another new music-podcast announcement. Spotify in particular has been throwing a lot of money, time and marketing effort at original podcasts this year. The latest example is a show focusing on the rise (and recent fall) of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. It has been created in partnership with Complex. Infamous: The Tekashi 6ix9ine Story […]

Sound Royalties backs Wyclef Jean’s Carnival World Music Group

Fugees and solo star Wyclef Jean has founded a music publisher and distributor that will focus initially on working with songwriters and artists in Africa. It’s called Carnival World Music Group, and now it has some financial backing from music-investment firm Sound Royalties. That company is better known for its business offering royalty advances to […]

New DJ mixes on Deezer promise ‘fair artist revenues’

Deezer is adding a selection of DJ mixes to its streaming service, with Michael Mayer, Modeselektor, Mark Knight, Wil Saul, Sultan + Shepard and Makoto among the DJs taking part, with the first mixes launching on 30 December. Mix sets have long been a tricky area for music-streaming services, in terms of rights clearances and […]

YouTube Music unveils three more personalised playlists

A decent suite of personalised playlists is now table stakes for anyone who wants to be a competitive music-streaming service. YouTube Music’s latest move to ensure it’s up to speed is the launch of three new ‘playlists mixed for you’ which follow the template laid down by other services. Discover Mix is a playlist of […]

Clio Music awards winners offer music-marketing inspiration

2019 has been a good year for creative music-marketing campaigns, as you’ll know if you read our end-of-year Sandbox report earlier this month. If you haven’t, you can find it here: it’s our pick of the best campaigns of the year. Anyone looking for more inspiration for their music marketing in 2020 would do well […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Musiio talks AI-tagging

AI-music analysis startup Musiio has had a good 2019: it recently raised $1M in seed funding, is already working with a slew of clients, and is looking to raise money again in 2020. Musiio’s technology is a mixture of the advanced (AI that can listen to music) and the pragmatic (efficiently labelling catalogue). Right now, […]

Amazon’s Alexa can now play podcasts from Apple and Spotify

Podcasts are already one of the uses for smart speakers, but that activity could be boosted in the US by the latest announcements from Amazon. From last Friday (13 December) it became possible for American Alexa customers to ask for podcasts as well as music. Interestingly, Amazon’s announcement only included Apple, with more than 800k podcasts […]

WWE strikes TikTok deal including wrestler entrance-themes

The latest brand working with TikTok is sports-entertainment organisation WWE, which has created an official account on the social app. However, music is also a key part of the deal, with WWE licensing the entrance themes for more than 30 of its past and present wrestlers for use on TikTok. That means users of the app will […]

BTS show off Spotify stats, but YouTube still bigger for them

The latest act to get into the Spotify Wrapped co-promotion mood are BTS, with the headline stat being that their music has been streamed over 3bn times on Spotify in 2019. Those streams come from 60 million people across 79 countries – resulting in 178.4m listening hours. Reminder: Spotify’s ‘Wrapped’ data covers the period of January […]

Qube co-create music space to open in January in London

A variety of tools and platforms have allowed artists and industry professionals to collaborate remotely, but real-world meetings are also important, especially the serendipity that can arise from them. That’s part of the logic behind Qube, a new co-create space that will open in West London in January. The membership-based complex has been set up by […]

Billboard will soon count YouTube data towards US albums chart

YouTube has contributed to the US ‘Hot 100’ singles chart since early 2013, but now Billboard has announced that the video service’s data will also count towards its ‘Billboard 200’ albums chart. Importantly, this data will only come from “official licensed video content uploaded by or on behalf of a rights holder” – no user-generated […]

Report claims YouTube has 800k paying subscribers in India

It’s not there yet, but YouTube could soon be the biggest paid music-subscription service in India. That’s the hook for a report by Bloomberg claiming that YouTube has more than 800,000 paying subscribers in India across its YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium tiers – the latter of which includes the former. The report claims that YouTube’s subscriptions […]

Sony Music invests in US podcast production firm Neon Hum

Sony Music really is serious about this podcasts business. The label has already launched two joint-ventures with podcast producers this year, as well as building internal teams to develop (and commercialise) spoken-word shows. Now it has announced a strategic investment in an existing podcast production firm, Los Angeles-based Neon Hum. Its hits include ‘Bag Man’, ‘The […]

Startup Qjam aims to popularise ‘digital signings’ from artists

With the decline of high-street record stores, not to mention the rise of smartphones, are artist-signing events dying out? Scribbled signatures may pale compared to selfies, but a startup called Qjam is aiming to give signings a new, digital spin. It’s launched an Android and iOS app that fans can use to stream live video of an […]

Stormzy and Wham get AR camera-effects on Instagram

The latest two artists to get their own augmented-reality camera ‘effects’ on Instagram are Stormzy and Wham. The Stormzy effect has been created by the Firepit Technology team at Warner Music in the UK, and puts a rotating crown of ‘H.I.T.H’ (the initials from Stormzy’s new album Heavy Is The Head) on the user’s head […]

Pandora launches its test of interactive voice adverts

Earlier this year, Pandora announced a deal to test ‘interactive voice advertising’ through a partnership with a company called Instreamatic. At the time, the tests were slated to begin later in 2019. Well, now they’ve begun. TechCrunch has the details of the ads, which will ask listeners if they want more information about whatever product or service is […]

Twitter wants to make a ‘decentralised standard for social media’

If you’ve read any of the long-form articles (or the book) about Twitter’s history, you might have formed the opinion that CEO Jack Dorsey is good at Big Ideas, but not always quite as good at the details. With that in mind, here’s a new Big Idea from Jack Dorsey! “Twitter is funding a small independent […]

Sony Music UK appoints VP of podcasting and creative strategy

Streaming services are going in all guns blazing with podcasts and the major labels are following suit. In April, Universal Music Group announced a partnership with podcast publisher Wondery to develop original podcasts based on the label’s catalogue, artists and labels. Sony Music has launched two podcast-focused joint ventures, and recently unveiled its US leadership team for podcasts. […]

Label Dirty Hit signs global distro deal with Ingrooves

British label Dirty Hit has made its name with The 1975 and Wolf Alice (not to mention Beabadoobee, one of the hot tips for 2020 in numerous year-end lists). Now the independent company has signed an exclusive, global distribution deal with UMG subsidiary Ingrooves – a “deepening” of an existing relationship, rather than a brand […]

RoadNation is latest platform to help acts de-risk tours

Touting (scalping) is an ongoing problem for mega-acts, where demand far outstrips supply. The inverse, of course, is the case for smaller acts – where tours can lose them money and small venues are often sparsely attended. RoadNation is the latest platform aiming to help, by developing what it is terming a “direct to fan” touring […]

Netflix to distribute TV series based on ‘Spotify Untold’ book

Earlier this year, we reported on the publication of a book, ‘Spotify Inifrån’ (‘Spotify Untold‘), which claimed to tell the inside story of Spotify’s rise. Then, in August we reported on the news that TV production company Yellow Bird UK, part of the much-bigger Banijay Group, had optioned the screen rights to the book and was developing […]

Napster reveals a new partnership with startup Super Hi-Fi

We profiled startup Super Hi-Fi earlier this year. The US firm has developed technology that uses AI to make streaming services sound much more radio-like, with branded stings, artist name and track title announcements, interview clips and ads – all personalised to each individual listener. Now the company has a new partnership with a streaming-music firm: Napster. […]

Warner Music Group appoints its first senior privacy counsel

Here’s an interesting job title for a major label: senior privacy counsel. Warner Music Group has just created the role, and appointed Clare McConnell to it, reporting in to WMG’s general counsel, international, Kate Logan. “Clare is an online privacy expert and specialist in compliance with data privacy legislation in the US, Europe and beyond,” […]

Hype Machine connects Spotify Wrapped playlists with Bandcamp

Streaming music doesn’t mean you don’t also want to buy it sometimes. Music Ally has always argued that there could be more links between streaming services like Spotify and D2C platforms like Bandcamp, beyond a few items of merch on artist profiles. Now music website Hype Machine has stepped in to create a new link […]

Taylor Swift: ‘We’re working off of an antiquated contractual system’

Taylor Swift’s latest interview (with Billboard) sees her talking about the music industry’s approach to rights ownership. It won’t surprise you, given recent events, to find out she thinks change is needed. “We have a long way to go. I think that we’re working off of an antiquated contractual system. We’re galloping toward a new industry […]

What do YouTube’s new harassment policies mean for music?

Spend any amount of time digging in to the comments on any public figure’s social-media accounts, and you’ll quickly realise it’s not all wonderful #engagement with fans. In fact, it can often be a cesspit. This is a challenge all the social networks (and streaming services with comments enabled) are trying to tackle. Yesterday, YouTube announced […]

AI-music startup Popgun launches consumer music-making app Splash

Our recent interview with Stephen Phillips, CEO of AI-music startup Popgun, outlined his belief that an app for teenagers to make AI-powered music might be the ultimate ‘end-game’ for this technology. Now his company has launched… a music-making app for teenagers! Well, any-age people really: the key is that they don’t need prior musical knowledge to […]

1,200+ Indian YouTube channels have more than 1m subscribers

Amid all the interest in the audio music-streaming market in India, where Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn and others are all scrapping it out, the biggest hitter is undeniably a video-streaming service: YouTube. We already knew that it has 265 million monthly users in India; that it may account for as much as 40% of Indian labels’ digital revenue; […]

Artist Danny Brown to host a Grand Theft Auto V radio station

The game Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013, but six years on it’s still going strong, having sold more than 115m copies across various consoles, and with a popular online mode extending its lifespan. It’s also still making musical waves, with the latest example being a new station for the game’s in-car […]

UMG, EMI Trust and The eXceL Project back Secret Studio

As part of a collaboration between UMG, the EMI Trust and youth-community charity The eXceL Project, the three-day education programme Secret Studio has resulted in the release of two new original tracks. The eXceL Project’s (XLP) community leaders picked six individuals, aged between 16 and 20, from different backgrounds across London to harness their creativity […]

Corite raises $24k in fan-funding for artists in first month

Music Ally wrote about the beta launch of Swedish fan-funding startup Corite in October, with five artists raising money from fans in exchange for a share of their royalties. Now the company has provided an update on how it all went. “One month after the official launch, Corite has gathered thousands of registered users and closed ten […]

Bytedance tests music-streaming app Resso in India and Indonesia

Bytedance has begun testing its new music-streaming service Resso in India and Indonesia. Music Ally received a tip-off yesterday about the app’s availability, and began researching it, but since then Bloomberg has published a report claiming that the new app has been downloaded 27k times since its stealthy launch, but also suggesting that Resso has […]

Deezer signs its first telco deal in the MENA region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the regions – like Latin America – where Deezer sees an opportunity to compete strongly against its larger global rivals. A $185m funding round in August 2018 included Saudi Arabian investment fund Kingdom Holding Company and media firm Rotana Group, and was quickly followed by Deezer’s launch across the MENA […]

BTS Army’s latest battle was with… the World Record Egg

Yesterday, Twitter announced that the most-retweeted tweet of 2019 was January’s ‘World Record Egg’ – an attempt to break the previous retweets record with a photo of an egg. According to Twitter, the egg beat a tweet by K-Pop stars BTS featuring band-member Jungkook dancing to Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ into second place. We’ll let you guess what happened once […]

Shesaid·so and InChorus reveal first bias-reporting data

In September, InChorus Group and Shesaid·so teamed up to launch a global survey of bias and harassment within the music industry. Now they’ve published some of the first results, based on the first 172 respondents. The survey focused on incidents of bias, harassment and microaggressions experienced at work in the music industry. According to InChorus and Shesaid·so, […]

After 500m app downloads, Gismart kicks off external investment with Jambl

British music-apps developer Gismart has quietly become one of the bigger firms in the apps world, with more than 500m downloads of its products – which include Beat Maker Go, Piano Crush and DJ It. Now the company is starting to invest in external firms, starting with one of the winning music/tech startups from this summer’s Midemlab contest: Jambl. […]

Harry Styles had 2019’s most cryptic music-marketing campaign

The treasure hunt, scattering of Easter eggs and a good dash of the cryptic is a failsafe in music marketing. It is all a nice way to get the fanbase excited about a new album, an opportunity to test out a new platform and hopefully get some virality and/or wider media coverage in the process. […]

Colors moves into the headphones market with first hardware

Regular readers of our Sandbox report will be very familiar with music brand Colors and the minimalist videos it records for artists which are often a key part of their marketing campaigns. The visual aesthetic is based around getting acts to perform in a room that is in a single block colour, the intention being […]

Former WMG exec Ole Obermann confirms new role at TikTok

Ole Obermann was Warner Music Group’s chief digital officer until June 2019, when he left the company after reportedly declining to renew his contract. Recent gossip had suggested that Obermann was joining TikTok and/or its parent company Bytedance in a key music role. And lo: Obermann has now confirmed that he has joined the companies as global […]

Taylor Swift tops Amazon Music’s most-streamed chart of 2019

Amazon is the latest streaming service to publish some year-end charts, including a new name as its most popular artist of 2019. Taylor Swift takes that honour for Amazon Music, joining Post Malone (Spotify) and J Balvin (Deezer), while Billie Eilish was Apple’s editor-chosen ‘Global Artist of the Year’, and Daddy Yankee / Snow had […]

Music Ally’s Music/Tech Startup Files #1: Five Vectors

Gamer music fans want music that fits the exact gaming moment they’re experiencing, and they want to show off their fandom. Five Vectors’ tech scans and funnels music programmatically to those audiences, and helps fans pay for it in ways that make interaction meaningful and status-based, like being skins in Fortnite. The post Music Ally’s […]

Famous Media wants to create ‘TikTok with Tinder-style voting’

Take two trends: swipe-voting and short-videos. Mash them up, and what do you get? US startup Famous Media hopes you get a recipe for success. It’s working on an app called Famous for which its high-concept pitch is “TikTok with Tinder-style voting”. Its profile on investment site AngelList explains more. “Famous merges the youthful appeal of Instagram and TikTok […]

What’s the real end-game for AI music? Popgun’s CEO has some ideas…

“What’s the end-game for this? There isn’t this place in the world where teenagers come together to make music for each other. That place does not exist, and that’s nuts! That thing needs to exist, and it will exist. And getting the AI working is the price of admission to build that thing…” Stephen Phillips, […]

TikTok settles children’s privacy lawsuit in the US

Yesterday, we reported on a lawsuit filed against TikTok in the US over its predecessor app Musical·ly’s handling of children’s data. There’s a speedy update on the case: it’s been settled. “TikTok is firmly committed to safeguarding the data of its users, especially our younger users,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Although we disagree with much […]

Twin Atlantic use new Google Earth features for campaign

In mid-November, Music Ally wrote about a new feature on Google Earth where people could create their own stories by attaching text, images and videos to locations on the planet. “We think there is some interesting scope here for artists to tell stories using the new features: who’ll be the first to give it a try?” we […]

Spotify Wrapped 2019 sparks new discussion about artist income

As Spotify launched the artist-focused element of its Wrapped 2019 promotion yesterday, the streaming service also offered some new statistics. More than 1.2 million artists were listened to for more than 100 hours on Spotify this year during the period covered by Wrapped (January to the end of October, which isn’t a widely-known fact – Mariah Carey must […]

Jamie Cullum teams with Clos19 for personal song tributes

Anyone who has been to an improv comedy show will know that making up songs on the spot based on audience suggestions is often more admirable than enjoyable. But that’s, in a way, what Jamie Cullum is doing with the release of 19 songs, as part of a partnership with lifestyle retail brand Clos19. Each of […]

AIM Connected conference ditches the panel format for 2020

Every so often, we end up in a conversation about how to make conference panel-sessions more interesting. British indie body AIM has an idea: get rid of them entirely. Its AIM Connected conference will take place on 4 February in London, and it will be panel-less. Instead, the event will focus on “a series of […]

U2 to launch their own radio channel on SiriusXM and Pandora

U2 are the latest artist to ink a partnership with both SiriusXM and its Pandora subsidiary. The band are launching something called U2X Radio, which will include their own station on SiriusXM’s satellite-radio service playing recorded and live music, interviews and other content. There’ll also be exclusive stuff available for Pandora listeners. The news follows SiriusXM’s creative […]

Portes aims to connect artists and fans while respecting privacy

Artists connecting with fans and rewarding superfans has been a trend in our industry for years. Doing that while respecting their digital privacy is… a somewhat-newer trend. Something that’s trying to walk this line is Portes, a new platform and app launched by startup OCL. The app is available on iOS, with Android to come. “Use […]

Beatport launches a new editorial website called Beatportal

Running a music website as a profitable business in 2019 is hard. Running it as an extension of other kinds of music brands, however, is an increasingly-common strategy. The latest example is a site called Beatportal, launched by dance brand Beatport for its community of DJs. “A monthly cover story featuring a diverse range of artists […]

Streaming-led recorded-music revival in Italy is lasting

Recorded music revenue in Italy increased 6.7% in the first nine months of the year, according to recorded music body FIMI, with streaming up 28%, a result that suggests the streaming-led revival is having a lasting impact in one of Europe’s most stubbornly analogue markets. Italy, the subject of our latest Country Profile, ranks 24th out […]

Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature for fans and artists goes live

Expect to see a LOT of Spotify-branded social posts from artists and fans alike today, due to the launch of the streaming service’s annual ‘Wrapped’ promotion. Fans can log in to see data on their listening not just from 2019, but also from the last decade. It’s the first time Wrapped has been available within Spotify’s […]

Genius sues Google and LyricFind over lyrics allegedly lifted from its site

The dispute between music-lyrics site Genius and Google may yet end up in court: the former is suing the latter plus its partner LyricFind for $50m. This all relates to Genius’ accusation in June that Google was serving up some lyrics in its ‘OneBox’ search results that had been lifted from Genius – detected by the latter using alternating straight […]

TikTok backs the Giggs economy in month-long partnership

TikTok currently finds itself in a position that YouTube knows only too well, being simultaneously hailed as a kingmaker for breaking new artists, and a hot potato when it comes to the question of licensing and royalties for music on its platform. Part of TikTok’s charm offensive is partnerships with artists, and the latest example […]

Collecting society GEMA buys stake in distributor Zebralution

Who said major labels were the only established music entities buying into the digital distribution market? German collecting society GEMA is joining the fun. It has taken a majority stake in Berlin-based distributor Zebralution, which it says makes it one of the first collecting societies in the world to ‘secure commercial participation’ in that market. Zebralution […]

Jukedeck founder responds to Amazon’s DeepComposer launch

We reported yesterday on Amazon’s announcement of DeepComposer, a musical keyboard designed to help developers explore generative AI. Now Ed Newton-Rex, founder of one of the first AI-music startups, Jukedeck, has been giving his views on what Amazon’s announcement means. That includes the fact that it’s the fourth of the ‘big five’ tech companies to publicly […]

Aaliyah’s catalogue to finally make it onto streaming services?

The catalogue of late R&B star Aaliyah has long been held back from streaming services – with the exception of her 1994 debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number and a handful of early singles and EPs. Now it is rumoured her full catalogue, including 1996’s One In A Million and her self-titled third […]

Sony Music reveals its leadership team for podcasts

Details have emerged about the team Sony Music is putting together in its New York office to produce and make money from podcasts. An internal memo from execs Dennis Kooker and Tom Mackay outlined the four key executives working on what they describe as a “key area of creative and business development”. They are: SVP […]

TikTok criticised for limiting reach of people with disabilities

After all the recent controversies around data privacy and censorship, TikTok’s leadership won’t have enjoyed seeing this intro to a story on news site Netzpolitik. “Leaked documents reveal how TikTok hid videos of people with disabilities. Queer and fat users were also pushed out of view.” The story concerns a list of ‘special users’ whose posts’ […]

Tech firms call for US to stay in climate-focused Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is the 2016 deal on measures to tackle the climate emergency signed by 195 nations and states. However, US president Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to withdraw from the agreement, and the earliest date at which he could do that would be November 2020. Now a group of […]

Ministry of Sound playlists back on Apple Music rivals

Cast your minds back to October 2018, and a story we wrote about a playlists partnership between Apple Music and Ministry of Sound. The gist being, as Ministry’s profile on that streaming service explained it: “All Ministry of Sound playlists and the monthly Ministry Mix – only on Apple Music.” At the time, we noted that Ministry […]

Spotify advises $5k minimum spend for its new ‘marquee’ ads

In October, Spotify announced that it would be testing sponsorship of its full-screen ‘marquee’ album recommendations, allowing artist teams in the US to buy these spots – but only for people who’d already listened to their artist. What Spotify didn’t say at the time was how much this would cost. Enter Rolling Stone, which has got its hands […]

TicketSwap hires FastForward founder Chris Carey

Dutch secondary-ticketing firm TicketSwap has hired former EMI/Universal Music insight director Chris Carey as its new head of international marketing. The company aims to make secondary ticketing “fairer, safer and more transparent” at a time when the biggest firm in the secondary world, Viagogo, is under sustained attack from the music industry and regulators alike. […]

Billie Eilish wins big in Apple awards and Spotify 2019 stats

What we need, said almost nobody in the music industry, are a few more awards ceremonies. But now we have two, from the world’s biggest subscription music-streaming services. Spotify’s first awards will take place in Mexico City next March, driven entirely by its data, but Apple Music’s first event took place overnight, chosen purely by the company’s […]

The Weeknd becomes face and sound of luxury electric car ad

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?” sang Janis Joplin in 1970. “My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.” Half a century on, instead of wishing for luxury automative brands to fall out of the sky, pop stars now become creative directors for them. Which is the long way round to […]

Anghami offers music-streaming for travellers at Dubai airport

Travellers to Dubai’s international airport (DXB) will now be getting some free music playlists, courtesy of the facility’s partnership with streaming service Anghami. “Customers of DXB will now have uninterrupted free access to specially curated, travel-themed playlists featuring a variety of different global artists and some exciting new local talent from Anghami’s vast music catalogue, […]

Deezer launches its own Christmas originals album

Deezer has pulled together its 18-track Big Christmas album where acts including Ella Henderson, Aurora, Circa Waves, Thalía and Gabrielle Aplin record covers of Christmas classics that are exclusive to the streaming service. The album pulls in artists from a range of countries including Australia, France, Norway, Mexico the UK and the Philippines, and working across a […]

Spotify offers half-price annual subscription in India

Spotify’s annual subscription promotions are of and running in the western world, but the streaming service also has a discount for one of its newest markets: India. The company has halved the price of its annual subscription there from 1,189 rupees (around $16.57) to 699 rupees. The Hindustan Times reported that the offer lasts until 31 December, […]

Mixcloud apologises to users affected by hacking attack

In 2019, every digital service with a significant profile is a target for hackers. The latest music service dealing with the after-effects of a security breach is Mixcloud. According to both Motherboard and TechCrunch, a data reseller is asking for around $4k (paid in bitcoin) for details of 21m user accounts from the audio-streaming service. Mixcloud has issued […]

Music Declares Emergency campaign gets an Impala award

Too often, still, the climate emergency is seen by even-senior politicians as an opportunity for puerile stunts of political point-scoring – and this at a time when researchers are warning that the planet may already have crossed a series of climate ‘tipping points’, where certain impacts of global heating take on a momentum of their own. In Music […]

Tools. Toneden: Automated Social Marketing

With a multitude of music marketing tools available to artist teams, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which ones to prioritise, especially when most of them are eating into your monthly budget.  It’s therefore great to see how ToneDen has been further developing its offering since we last covered the platform in 2017, adding […]

Monokrome Music launches rightsAUDIT catalogue review service

Founded in 2017, Monokrome Music offers artists digital marketing and social media support. It expanded its offering in September with the launch of rightsHUB as a centralised point to store contractual information as well as release metadata, publishing and neighbouring rights data. It has now launched rightsAUDIT, a service aimed at rightholders (artists, labels, managers, songwriters) […]

Holly Herndon: ‘Cool AI tools will augment the producer’s palette’

In Music Ally’s recent report on AI music (which you can read here if you missed it earlier this week) we cited Holly Herndon as one of the best examples of an artist leaning in to this technology for creative purposes. Now she’s published some thoughts on what AI means for musicians, in a tweet responding to […]

Music publishers mull challenges of India’s evolving market

Music-publishing body ICMP has just held its latest board meeting, in Mumbai, as part of a week-long delegation to India to hold talks with the government, music-industry entities and media in the country. “We came to India because it’s a promising market – currently the 15th largest in the world. However, we also need to […]

J Balvin enjoys second year as Deezer’s most-streamed artist

It’s year-end lists season and no mistake. Deezer is the latest music-streaming service to put out its annual figures, and for the second year running, Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin is the most-streamed act on the service – indicating not just the foothold of Deezer in Latin American countries but also the growing global crossover […]

Wynk Music says it has overtaken rivals for daily active users

Indian telco Airtel says its Wynk Music service is now India’s top music-streaming app when measured by daily active users (DAUs). What it hasn’t said, however, is a specific figure for that. Instead, Wynk’s press release cited October 2019 data from research firm App Annie, without quantifying how many DAUs that is, or how they’ve grown over […]

YouTube Music extends free trial and expands ticketing to UK

Christmas is coming, and Music Ally’s list of cheap music-streaming subscription promotions is getting fat. YouTube is the latest in to the festive fray, with a ‘Cyber Week’ offer in the US of an extended three-month free trial of its YouTube Premium tier, rather than the usual one month of free access. That includes YouTube […]

Teenager tests TikTok policies with video criticising China

TikTok has been under fire recently over accusations that its global moderation policies are too in thrall to the government of its parent company’s homeland, China. The line coming out of TikTok executives in the US this month has been that censorship decisions on the platform in the west are NOT driven by Beijing. That’s […]

Billboard reveals new chart rules for album/merch bundles

As part of a chart battle last year in the US between Travis Scott and Nicki Minaj, all hell broke loose. The latter used her Queen Radio show on Beats 1 to attack the former for using merchandise bundles to drive his album to number one ahead of hers. “Travis Scott is out here selling f***ing […]

PPL teams up with Sound Credit to improve recording metadata

Across the world, there are lots of different initiatives afoot to tackle the music industry’s metadata problems – including accurately filling out the credits for songs and recordings. The latest example comes from the UK, where collecting society PPL has announced a new partnership with startup Sound Credit. The latter company’s product is a plug-in and […]

Tidal launches personalised video-mix playlists feature

Tidal has launched a new feature called ‘My Video Mix’ which, as you will have guessed from the name, offers a series of video playlists to users. Blending human editors’ recommendations with machine-driven picks based on users’ listening habits, My Video Mix will serve up to eight different playlists grouped by artist and ‘music clusters’. […]

Capitol Gains: Capitol Records talks innovation, startups and music

In September, Music Ally spoke to three of Warner Music Group’s senior innovation and business-development execs, about how they work with startups and innovative technologies. That month, we also interviewed some music/tech startups, who gave some blunt, honest feedback on the challenges they have faced working with major labels in general. It’s a conversation that’s […]

We need to talk more about legal issues around training musical AIs

When most people think about the potential legal issues around AI-created music, they tend to think about the output – the music itself, and questions like whether an AI-generated track can attract copyright protection. Sophie Goossens, counsel at law firm Reed Smith, thinks that just as much attention should be paid to the input. “AI is […]

Impala to oppose Tencent investment in Universal Music Group

Independent-music body Impala has come out against plans for Chinese technology company Tencent to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to buy a further 10%. “Even at a low level of shareholding, we believe the risk of harm for consumers and competitors from such a transaction would be a concern […]

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee unveils ‘Contract for the Web’

“If we leave the web as it is, there’s a very large number of things that will go wrong. We could end up with a digital dystopia if we don’t turn things around. It’s not that we need a 10-year plan for the web, we need to turn the web around now.” Some sobering comments […]

Spotify faces another digital royalties-related lawsuit

Will Spotify’s lawyers ever be able to enjoy their Christmas dinners without a looming royalties lawsuit? The latest comes from independent music company Sosa Entertainment and its sister firm Pro Music Rights. MBW reports that Sosa claims that it has not been paid the full royalties for more than 550m streams of its catalogue on Spotify. There […]

Former PledgeMusic CEO threatens legal action over allegations

There’s a new row involving collapsed crowdfunding service PledgeMusic, and specifically its former CEO Dominic Pandiscia. After a musician – Ken Andrews of the band Failure – made a series of allegations about Pandiscia in a Facebook post, they were picked up by music blog Brooklyn Vegan, in an article that has since been removed from […]

eMarketer: France/Germany Facebook flight is ‘faster than expected’

Journalists, analysts and research companies have been warning about a ‘Facebook flight’ – people migrating away from the social network – for years now, yet overall, the company’s user base has continued to grow. eMarketer has some new predictions out this morning though, focused on two markets – France and Germany – where it says the migration is real, and “even […]

Americans not entirely sold on smart-speaker personalisation

There are many studies on adoption of smart speakers and which companies are dominating the market – with research firm Canalys forecasting that more than 200m devices will be sold this year globally. However, other studies have picked up on potential privacy issues around speakers ‘listening’ (and recording) within people’s homes. Now the Pew Research Center has published a […]

Spotify commissions its latest crop of Christmas cover songs

It’s that time of year again, when artists eye Mariah Carey’s annual Christmas royalties-boom with envy, and hope to follow suit with their own original festive songs – and cover versions of classics. But music-streaming services are also on the Christmas bandwagon: Amazon’s program for commissioning new Christmas songs is well known, but Spotify has also […]

Neil Young (deliberately) falls off the Facebook of the Earth

Neil Young’s debut solo single in 1968 wasn’t called ‘The Loner’ by accident. He has defiantly ploughed his own furrow for over half a century – and that relates as much to his attitude to the industry around him as it does to the music he creates. He has now announced, in a brief posting on […]

Scooter Braun reveals death threats over Taylor Swift dispute

For most Taylor Swift fans letting Scooter Braun know their thoughts on the dispute over Taylor Swift’s AMAs medley and Netflix documentary, a few rat emojis sufficed. Some, however, went a lot further, leading Braun to speak out on Friday in a social post addressed directly at Swift. “Since your public statement last week there have […]

Apple tipped to double its AirPods shipments to 60m this year

Thanks to its music-driven adverts, Apple’s original iPod earphones became one of the most recognisable tech products back in the day. Its modern equivalents, the wireless AirPods, are increasingly common on the streets today. Bloomberg has put some numbers to that, quoting “people familiar with the Cupertino-based company’s production plans” as claiming that Apple is doubling […]

Tic Tac and Spotify team up for minty-fresh concerts series

We have several favourite sentences from the announcement of Spotify’s latest brand partnership, with Tic Tac. “The unique event series employs Spotify’s streaming intelligence to target consumers who exemplify the fun and refreshing Tic Tac brand personality,” is one of them. “The interactive concert will intertwine music with the spirit of the Tic Tac brand […]

JioSaavn brings U2 and A.R. Rahman together for new track

Indian streaming service JioSaavn has been commissioning original tracks and remixes for a while now, but its latest example takes things up several notches in terms of the participating artists. U2 have teamed up with Indian legend A.R. Rahman for a new track called ‘Ahimsa’, which launches today ahead of U2’s first ever concert in India, […]

Mariah Carey launches enhanced Christmas album with Spotify

At the time of writing, Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is the 41st most-streamed Spotify track in the UK, which tells you something about we Brits’ eagerness to embrace Christmas rather than think about Brexit and/or our upcoming general election. The rest of the world will be catching up (on Mariah, […]

Universal Music launches streaming/social data app for artists

Universal Music Artists (UMA) is a new Android and iOS app for artists signed to Universal Music Group (and their managers) where they can access data and insights on their music plays on the major international DSPs – Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube are named in the announcement. However, it will also pull in data […]

Edison Research is now tracking podcasts’ popularity

Research firm Edison Research has won plenty of friends with the reports that it publishes with NPR: ‘Smart Audio Report’ tracking US usage of smart speakers, and more recently the ‘Spoken Word Audio Report’ exploring consumption of podcasts and other non-music content. Now it’s launching something new: a ‘Podcast Consumer Quarterly Tracker’ that will survey […]

Artist Miink premieres new video on a site we can’t mention

The reason we can’t mention the website where the latest video from UK-based artist Miink has nothing to do with prudishness, and everything to do with not wanting to get this bulletin blocked by music-company email filters across the world. Let’s just say the website’s name starts with ‘You’ joined to a four-letter word that […]

Lyor Cohen warns industry not to get ‘drunk off the data’

YouTube Music boss Lyor Cohen sat down with colleague Tuma Basa, director of urban music, for a hip-hop focused event earlier this week – and delivered a warning to labels about their A&R strategies. “I think the industry is so focused on the data that it’s a problem. You guys are very lucky that you […]

TikTok moves into ticketing – in Thailand for now

TikTok is testing a new music-related feature in Thailand: selling tickets. The company is partnering with several local companies, including BEC Tero (which promotes concerts, owns a record label and produces films and TV shows); Neon Festivals; ticketing firm Ticketmelon; and cinema chain Major Cineplex. For now, TikTok will be selling tickets for 500 films […]

Spotify launches its own awards and talks up podcast ambitions

The Grammy nominations and Taylor Swift’s AMAs row aren’t the only awards stories making headlines this week. This morning, Spotify announced plans for its first ever ‘Spotify Awards’, which will be held in Mexico City on 5 March 2020. Turner Latin America is on board as the broadcast partner, and Spotify says that the awards will […]

There’s storytelling potential in Google Earth’s new feature

Some of the most creative music-marketing campaigns we’ve reported on over the last decade or so have involved maps and location. So an announcement of a new feature in the Google Earth service piqued our attention this morning. “With new creation tools now in Google Earth, you can turn our digital globe into your own […]

Spotify launches its first original podcasts for India

Spotify India has announced its first batch of platform-exclusive podcasts: cricket-themed 22 Yards hosted by popular television anchor Gaurav Kapur, dating and relationship advice-focused Love Aaj Kal (Love Today and Tomorrow) from journalists Aastha and Ankit and fictional detective series Bhaskar Bose narrated by radio host and actor Mantra. Each of the podcasts, which are […]

Mixmstr mobile game wants to generate revenues for artists

“Play gigs! Buy records! Fill the dance floor & become a Superstar DJ.” But enough about Music Ally’s ambitions for December. No, this is the introductory blurb for a new mobile game called Mixmstr, launched by developer Youth Control Games. It’s the latest music-rhythm game for smartphones (“tap to beat to mix records like a mixmaster”) […]

ODD Ball set to help people make music: by bouncing it

Bobby Vee’s ‘Rubber Ball’ has been on our internal jukebox all morning so far – and now on yours, no need to thank us, it’s all part of the service – since spotting a new music/tech startup called ODD Studios. The London-based company is working on “products that allow everybody to experience the thrill and […]

Sony Music is latest major label to license Boomplay in Africa

African music-streaming service Boomplay now has a full set of deals with the global major labels, with Sony Music the third and final major to strike an agreement. Sony’s catalogue of both African and international artists will now be available to stream on Boomplay, alongside material from Universal Music (which signed its deal with the […]

Shutterstock launches a subscription for its music library

Back in July 2014, we reported on photo and video library Shutterstock’s move into music, with a catalogue of 60k licensed clips from partner Rumblefish, which it was selling to online video and advertisement creators starting at $49 per track. Five and a half years on, the company is trying something new: an all-you-can-eat subscription. It’s still aimed […]

Secretly Noord aims to shake up Nordic distribution market

There’s a new independent music distributor set to make waves in the Nordic region, and it includes some familiar faces for that part of the world. Secretly Noord is the result of a partnership between existing distributor Secretly Distribution and local group NoordRights. The new venture plans to offer distribution, marketing and technology tools to labels […]

Tencent may seek partners for Universal Music investment

It’s been known for some time that Chinese tech firm Tencent is in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to acquire another 10% for up to a year afterwards. The deal is thought to value UMG at around €30bn, but now there’s been a development: Tencent may not […]

Big Machine settles Taylor Swift dispute for AMAs medley

The enmity between Taylor Swift and her former label Big Machine Label Group (not to mention its new co-owner Scooter Braun) isn’t going away any time soon, we sense. But one element of their latest dispute appears to have been settled: Swift’s ability to perform a medley drawn from her back catalogue at this weekend’s […]

Amazon’s free-streaming ambitions expand to more devices

When Amazon launched a free, ad-supported music-streaming service in April, it was only available in the US, for Echo smart speakers. That careful rollout is now expanding considerably: Amazon’s ad-supported music tier is now available in the UK and Germany too, through the Amazon Music smartphone app and FireTV devices as well as Echos. Limitations remain: this is […]

Spotify and Netflix team up for Christmas-music playlists

The notion of ‘exclusive Christmas playlists’ may seem a bit strange: with a relatively-small pool of tracks to choose from in the grand scheme of things, unless you’re commissioning original tracks Amazon-style, differentiation is hard. But Spotify has a new spin on the idea: it has partnered with Netflix to launch eight playlists from the cast members […]

Capitol Royale roundup: empowerment, hacks and A&R’s evolution

On Saturday and Sunday (November 16-17), Capitol Music Group held its 2nd annual music and tech festival, Capitol Royale, at its Los Angeles headquarters. The theme for this year was ‘Music on the Move’, with workshops, hackathons, panels, and social events revolving around the ever-changing landscape of music and innovation. Kicking off on Friday was […]

New survey reveals Americans’ pessimism over privacy issues

After a string of revelations and controversies around digital privacy in recent years, how are Americans feeling about this issue? Not so good, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. Roughly six in ten US adults don’t think it’s possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies […]

Bytedance streaming service could launch ‘as soon as next month’

Could the music industry be in for an early Christmas present of a new streaming service this year? The Financial Times has reported that Bytedance’s long-rumoured music-streaming service “aims to launch as soon as next month, initially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, before a future opening in the US”. There have been regular […]

TikTok reaches 1.5bn downloads and tests shopping features

As parent company Bytedance prepares to launch its dedicated music-streaming service, TikTok has reached a new milestone. Well, it has according to research firm SensorTower, anyway. It claims that TikTok has now been downloaded more than 1.5bn times from Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play, including 614m downloads in 2019 alone. “It’s currently the third most […]

Taylor Swift and Big Machine go toe-to-toe in licensing dispute

Taylor Swift’s latest dispute with Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun continues to blow up: a woman who millions of people think would make an excellent president of the United States weighed in with her views this weekend. In fact, two did: besides Cher, senator Elizabeth Warren also had her say, following the latest salvos from […]

Motive Unknown boss expands on concerns over Apple/Linkfire deal

Last week, we reported on Linkfire’s data-attribution deal with Apple Music, as well as the strings attached which included the stipulation that to get the data, people had to put Apple Music in top spot on their smart-link landing pages. When we wrote our story, criticism of these requirements had been led by Darren Hemmings, founder of […]

David Lowery calls for songwriter input to MLC/DLC settlement

Artist and musician-rights advocate David Lowery has criticised last week’s announcement of an agreed budget for the new US Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). Agreed with the body that represents the digital music services, the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC), the agreement secured $33.5m for the MLC’s startup costs, and $28.5m for its 2021 ‘initial annual assessment’. […]

Linkfire gets Apple Music attribution data – with strings attached

Music-marketing firm Linkfire had a big announcement yesterday: it has a deal with Apple Music to provide more attribution data on what fans are doing on the streaming service after clicking or tapping through from artists’ smart-links. “No more guessing about streaming performance and fan engagement,” as Linkfire explained it in an email to its […]

MLC and digital music services reach deal over budget

We reported before on the (sadly inevitable) squabbling over the budget for the new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) in the US, with the bill to be footed by digital music services. However, the latter’s representative in the negotiations, the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) has reached an agreement with the MLC to bring the argument to […]

Taylor Swift hits out over blocked plans for AMAs performance

After a period of calm, the dispute between Taylor Swift, Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun has exploded into life again. This time, the cause is Swift’s planned performance at the American Music Awards, where she was planning to celebrate her ‘artist of the decade’ award by performing a medley of her past and current hits. […]

Music may be losing out due to the growth of spoken-word audio

It would be wrong to generalise that ‘labels’ are unhappy with Spotify’s push into podcasts. It’s true that some executives do view the strategy with suspicion, as a development that will cannibalise both music-listening and royalties paid to rightsholders. But others accept Spotify’s argument that expanding the range of audio on its service will boost […]

Tools: Fangage. Activate your Superfans

Building engaged audiences on a social platform is one thing; but keeping them there when you are at the mercy of each platform’s algorithms is another thing entirely. What can you do with thousands of fans on, for example, Facebook or Instagram if a simple change in the algorithm pulls the brakes on you effectively […]

A day after its launch, Disney+ had more than 10m signups

What qualifies as a successful launch for a new video-streaming service? How about 10m signups by your second day? That’s the number being touted by Disney yesterday for its Disney+ service, which launched on Tuesday. The announcement helped Disney’s stock shoot up by nearly 7.4%, adding more than $13bn to its market cap, according to CNBC. […]

Take cover! Viberate claims Blackpink are bigger than BTS

It takes a brave person to get involved in arguments between the world’s keenest superfans over whether one artist is better or bigger than another. So doff your caps but retreat a safe distance from music-database Viberate, which has sent out some figures claiming that Blackpink are ‘the biggest K-Pop group’ ahead of BTS. Blackpink […]

Amazon to launch new series of ‘Amazon Original’ Christmas songs

Mince pies are in the shops, Mariah Carey is lurking in the lower reaches of the charts, and Amazon is joining the early-Christmas fun with its latest crop of brand-new festive tracks. They’re part of its Amazon Originals program, and this year the company is promising to release ‘many’ Christmas songs over the coming weeks, exclusively […]

Former Beats by Dre CEO launches DropLabs vibrating-trainers

Vibrating Trainers may sound like a hot new artist rocketing up Spotify’s Viral 50 chart, but no. At least not yet. We’re talking about the trainers/sneakers (delete according to geographic preference) that you wear on your feet. A startup called DropLabs, led by former Beats by Dre boss Susan Paley, has revealed a product called the EP […]

Spotify launches a new app for AR platform Magic Leap

Magic Leap has linked up with Spotify to make the latter the first music service available for its One Creator Edition augmented-reality headset. And it certainly has some AR bells and whistles. “The app is spatially aware, so you can pin recently played artists, albums or tracks to specific locations in your home. And because content builds […]

SoundCloud Promote tool lets artists pay to boost their tracks

SoundCloud has launched Promote for users of the platform to help them better push tracks to listeners. The self-service tool is part of SoundCloud’s Premier tier for users to assist them in getting their music in front of more people on not only SoundCloud but also other digital platforms. “With Promote on SoundCloud, creators can […]

Report: Facebook held serious acquisition talks with Musical.ly

Chinese technology firm Bytedance bought social-video app Musical·ly for reportedly north-of-$800m in November 2017. Then, in August 2018, it folded Musical·ly into TikTok (obligatory reminder: Musical·ly had nothing to do with us, Music Ally, and thus we’re still open to nine-digit acquisition offers…) But in a parallel reality, Musical·ly is now owned by… Facebook! Well, Buzzfeed News […]

Apple Music reveals new ‘Up Next’ artist and launches country radio show

Apple Music has anointed its latest ‘Up Next’ artist, who’ll be getting a boost across the company’s music platforms. It’s Canadian artist Jessie Reyez, who’s actually been doing pretty well on Apple Music for some time now – the company says it’s been playlisting her since 2016, and that she has more than 325m streams […]

‘Filter bubbles’ man suggests new architecture for social media

From data-harvesting and ideological echo-chambers to hate speech and trolling, the big social-media platforms are facing more criticism than ever before. Less tech utopias, and more saloon brawls in 1940s western movies where everyone gets beaten up (except the owners, who get rich from the ruckus). Which makes the latest pronouncements from entrepreneur and web-activist […]

Idagio classical-music streaming service launches free tier

Classical-music streaming service Idagio is launching a free tier, which will make a catalogue of 2m tracks available to listeners without the need for a subscription. The company clearly hopes that the new tier will provide an accessible entry-point to classical music for people who may be less knowledgeable about classical – with a canny […]

AIM launches report exploring modern music distribution

British independent-music body AIM is launching its latest report today: ‘Distribution Revolution’. It promises a “comprehensive analysis of the modern distribution landscape”, including the trend for distributors to add more artist and label services to their offerings. AIM worked with CMU Insights on the report, which is being published for free (people can sign up […]

Amazon set to add music videos to Amazon Music Unlimited

Fresh from adding an ‘HD’ tier to its Music Unlimited streaming service, Amazon appears to be preparing to add another element in to the mix: music videos. At least, that’s the gist of a ‘direct license amendment’ sent to licensors on behalf of Amazon by rights-management firm Music Reports. The email, which Music Ally has […]

Instagram’s in-test ‘Reels’ feature takes aim at TikTok

‘Killer’ is one of the most overused words in the field of tech journalism, when it’s appended to the name of digital services thought to be under threat from a rival or copycat launched by a much-bigger technology company. Was Apple Music a ‘Spotify-killer’? Nope. Was Google+ a ‘Facebook-killer’? Absolutely not. Vine’s killer turned out […]

Dan Le Sac on what he learned from broadcasting on Twitch

Amazon’s live-video platform Twitch is best known for its gaming communities, from creators streaming their play-sessions live to professional esports tournaments. But musicians have also used Twitch. One of them is British artist and producer Dan Le Sac, who joined Music Ally at our recent Sandbox Summit conference to share some of the lessons he […]

Qobuz ditches its MP3-quality tier and lowers hi-res price

Hi-res music-streaming service Qobuz is (in the US, at least) getting rid of its cheapest MP3-quality tier, and lowering the cost of its higher-resolution offering. “MP3 is really bad for music, artists, and listeners – so Qobuz is saying ‘no’ to MP3 and now offers only real studio quality in one accessible plan,” said its US managing […]

Interactive AR music-player wins Abbey Road Red’s 2019 hackathon

17 teams of developers are getting well-earned rests today after taking part in the Abbey Road Red hackathon at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios over the weekend. The focus was ‘The Power of Immersion’ with augmented-reality technology to the fore, courtesy of strategic partner Facebook – with its Spark AR tools. Top prize in the […]

Facebook’s experimental-apps team launches Aux music app

Facebook has launched a dedicated music app! But hold your horses: Aux is the work of the social network’s ‘NPE Team’ division, which was created in July this year to work on experimental new apps. “A way for Facebook to develop new types of experiences for people and to try different ideas by creating small, focused apps in order […]

Disney+ arrives in UK and other European countries in March

Last week we noted the announcement of a March 2020 launch date for Disney’s new video-streaming service Disney+ in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, but there’s more to say about this. Particularly relating to the service’s launch date in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand this month. That means a four-and-a-half months […]

Gaana financials include growth in subscriptions revenue

We’ve seen lots of big numbers this year for the amount of people streaming music in India, but what is that growth in listeners meaning for the underlying financials of the platforms providing those streams? One of the biggest ones, Gaana, has just published some figures that offer an insight into its business, at least. […]

Universal Music India’s VRYL project launches ‘Intezaar’ vide

Last week, Music Ally published a feature about the challenge that ‘non-film’ music is providing for Bollywood music in India – you can read it here if you missed it at the time. One of the projects exploring the potential for non-film music in India is Universal Music’s VYRL, which includes YouTube videos, streaming playlists and radio […]

Could OpenAI’s text-generating AI system replace Music Ally?

AI firm OpenAI made headlines earlier this year for its GPT-2 text-generating AI system, capable of being given a few sentences and then generating more text based on it. OpenAI declined to release the full system, for fear that it might be used for nefarious purposes (fake news, for example). However, after months of tests, […]

Can AI-produced works qualify as ‘works of authorship?

Can an AI (or a non-human) be the ‘author’ of a piece of music –or other art / content – that it has created? It’s a question that has been bubbling for a while now, from selfie-snapping monkeys to the output from the growing number of AI-generated music startups. And often, certainly from the entities […]

Musiio reveals AI-tagging deal with production-music firm

Startup Musiio has revealed its latest partnership for its AI-powered catalogue-tagging technology. It’s working with production-music firm Overcoast – its eleventh music-industry customer – to help the company analyse its catalogue of music and tag it correctly. “Catalogue management becomes increasingly hard as companies grow their libraries, and we are no exception. Manually tagging tracks becomes tedious […]

Most Wanted: Music report – Scott Cohen, diversity, Africa and more

In Berlin, talk around music usually takes two paths: techno or the blockchain, and both involve a lot of earnest nodding. At the Most Wanted: Music 2019 conference, conversation was nudged towards the creation of new value streams, pushing for meaningful diversity, and embracing change in an age that demands it. The post Most Wanted: […]

Jean-Michel Jarre launches EōN – an ‘infinite music app’

Musician Jean-Michel Jarre is launching an “infinite music app” called EōN, which uses an algorithm to turn beats, melodies and chords he recorded into an endless stream of music. The app is being released for Apple’s iOS devices as a paid download: it costs $8.99 and is available now on the App Store, having been unveiled […]

MelodyVR doubles down on Good Morning America partnership

British virtual reality startup MelodyVR latest move is using music to push itself deeper into the world of mainstream TV. It has extended its deal with the ABC network in the US and its ‘Good Morning America’ show to offer TV performances from a number of country acts – including Trisha Yearwood, Trace Adkins, Luke Combs and […]

LyricFind inks eBay deal for its lyrics-based merchandise

Lyrics-licensing company LyricFind announced its LyricMerch product back in November 2017: a site where people could order physical merchandise emblazoned with lyrics from its catalogue – with publishers (and thus songwriters) earning royalties. Now LyricMerch is getting an interesting distribution partner: eBay, which will be a new shop-window for LyricMerch, as well as a place for “targeted […]

Top apps in Q3 included TikTok, Spotify and YouTube Music

App-analytics firm SensorTower has been releasing some of its data tracking Android and iOS apps globally in the third quarter of 2019. That includes quantifying the top 20 apps by overall downloads, with TikTok in second place – behind only WhatsApp – with 176m new installs in Q3. SensorTower noted that this was 13% growth quarter-on-quarter, although […]

Podcast industry lets loose with its current frustrations

Hot Pod News is an excellent news site for anyone trying to get under the skin of the fast-evolving podcasting industry, and its latest feature shows why. The site has been surveying its readers on their current frustrations with the way the podcasts world works, all anonymously. It’s a collecting steam-venting that will make useful reading […]

Twitter launches feature for people to follow ‘topics’

Early next week, there’ll be a new way for Twitter users to keep up with the subjects they’re interested in. It’s a new feature called ‘topics’ which launches on 13 July, and it involves following topics – more than 300 at launch covering entertainment, sports and gaming – rather than just following people/profiles. Following a […]

Startup Venu is launching a new D2C fan-loyalty platform

The latest startup hoping to apply the idea of loyalty schemes to music artists is Boston-based Venu. Its Android and iOS apps are billed as ‘coming soon’ on the company’s website, which sets out how it’ll work for artists and for fans. In the former case, artists will be able to post their news to […]

It’s Mariah Carey’s Christmas; we just live in it

‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ is Mariah Carey’s biggest streaming hit by a distance: it has 511.9m Spotify streams and 555m YouTube views, for example. The ‘Merry Christmas’ album the track originally featured on is getting the ‘deluxe anniversary edition’ treatment for its 25th anniversary this year, too, while in the UK Carey […]

CISAC report reveals growth in global music collections

CISAC, the global collecting-societies body, has published its annual ‘Global Collections Report’ setting out the collections of its 239 members in more than 120 countries. As ever, it’s a useful counterpart to the IFPI’s annual Global Music Report: while that publication focuses on recorded-music royalties, the music section of CISAC’s report quantifies collections for songwriters […]

Washington Post explores TikTok-censorship ‘culture clash’

TikTok’s difficult end-of-2019 in the US continues: now the Washington Post has been digging around in the company’s internal policies. ‘Inside TikTok: A culture clash where US views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses‘ is the Post’s headline, which is exactly the issue that’s been sparking calls by US politicians for a […]

Sony Music to make a daily satirical podcast with The Onion

Sony Music Entertainment is partnering with satirical website The Onion to launch a new daily podcast in 2020. ‘The Topical’ will go live in January and will deliver daily sideswipes at the news and current affairs. It’s part of a wider trend towards shorter, daily podcasts that fit neatly into people’s work and home routines. […]

FTC launches new guide to influencer-marketing disclosures

A number of social-media influencers have been reprimanded by regulators about not offering clear-enough disclosures about their commercial relationships. Now the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a guide – ‘Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers‘ – which aims to keep them on the right side of advertising regulations there. It’s a plain-language summary […]

Localify aims to put more local music in Spotify users’ playlists

Teams of researchers and students at Ithaca College and Cornell University have been working on a tool to inject more local music into people’s Spotify playlists. It’s called Localify, and works by getting people to choose their location and a selection of their favourite artists. “We’ll create playlists that mix your favorites with local artists while […]

Sofar Sounds criticised as ‘just another creation of tech middlemen’

We’ve linked to the work of journalist Liz Pelly before: she’s been one of the most eloquent critics of Spotify specifically and streaming generally, with articles like ‘Discover Weakly‘, ‘Streambait Pop‘ and ‘Big Mood Machine‘. Now she’s turned her attention to live-music startup Sofar Sounds, and is just as unimpressed with the company’s impact on […]

Peloton plans to launch more ‘Artist Series’ exercise classes

Fitness firm Peloton published its latest quarterly financials this week, and it includes some information on the company’s music plans. “In order to amplify our commitment to music, we plan to increase the number of ‘Artist Series’ offerings,” announced the company. That means classes based on specific artists’ music for its exercise bike-owning subscribers. “We recently produced […]

US digital-audio listening tipped to overtake radio in 2020

Research firm eMarketer has published some new estimates and predictions for the size of the US digital-audio market – music-streaming, podcasts, online and satellite radio. The big claim is that by 2020, American adults will be spending more time listening to that than to traditional radio for the first time – averages of 83.9 daily minutes and […]

Napster Q3 revenues fell by 21.6% year-on-year to $27.3m

Technology firm RealNetworks has published its latest quarterly financial results, and as usual, they include figures for Napster, its music-streaming subsidiary. The key figure: $27.3m. That’s Napster’s revenues for the third quarter of 2019, which represents a 21.6% drop year-on-year from its $34.8m revenues in Q3 2018 (which in turn were down 18.7% on the $42.8m of revenues […]

Stems the breaks: Deezer creates stem-isolating tool Spleeter

Artists have been making ‘stems’ from their tracks available since the early 2000s for fans to remix, often as part of contests. The recent deal between Tracklib and the estate of Isaac Hayes shows that trend continues. Now Deezer has released an open-source tool that could have an interesting impact. Spleeter focuses on ‘source separation’, using machine-learning […]

MOBO Help Musicians fund for talent diversity enters third year

The UK-based MOBO Help Musicians fund is now in its third year and has seen the available funding behind it grow from £40k to £60k. It is a partnership between the MOBO Trust and Help Musicians UK and is designed to support musicians from diverse backgrounds – underwriting all areas of creativity – from vocal […]

Audio-tech startup Accusonus raises $3.3m funding round

Greek startup Accusonus has raised a Series A funding round of $3.3m, which the five year-old company will use to continue developing its “human-friendly audio software”. That means tools that use machine-learning technology to process audio, within software used by musicians, podcasters and video creators alike. For example, its most-recent product is Rhythmiq, “an instantly playable virtual instrument” […]

AI-music startup Amadeus Code launches royalty-free music library

There are more people now talking about music-generating AIs as tools for musicians to use, rather than existential threats to their livelihoods. But if there’s one obvious area where AI could replace humans (sometimes, at least) it’s production music. Now startup Amadeus Code, which came to our attention with its AI-powered app for songwriters, is […]

Is Bollywood losing its dominance of the Indian music industry?

It’s a debatable opinion but one that warrants consideration in the Indian music industry in 2019: is Bollywood slowly but surely losing its dominance? Major Indian labels such as international heavyweights Sony and Universal and local biggie T-Series are increasingly releasing what they term “non-film music”, a loose if somewhat nebulous term used to classify […]

Vevo on how to get more YouTube views (and avoid an ‘algorithmic death-spiral’)

Ed Walker, VP of original content & production at Vevo, used his presentation at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit to explain how to ensure videos on YouTube benefit from – rather than rub against – the platform’s recommendation algorithms. Walker used Vevo’s catalogue of music videos and original content – more than 400k videos in total […]

SuperData predicts $1.1bn of VR software revenues in 2019

Whether you’re still excited about virtual reality’s potential for music, or think it’s a busted flush as a mainstream consumer technology, the latest predictions from research firm SuperData are worth a read. It reckons that globally, people will spend $3.2bn on VR hardware in 2019 – plus another $1bn on mixed-reality headsets which combine virtual and augmented […]

Apple TV+ launches with eight TV shows and one movie

The latest element in Apple’s multi-media subscription strategy is here: video-streaming service Apple TV+ went live on Friday in more than 100 countries and regions. As announced earlier this year, the service costs $4.99 a month, and is accessed through Apple’s TV app – with a one-year free sub bundled in with new iPhones, iPads, […]

UK High Court offers mixed ruling on TuneIn copyright lawsuit

The UK’s High Court has delivered its ruling on Warner Music and Sony Music’s copyright-infringement case against online-radio firm TuneIn. As is often the way of these things, both sides have claimed victory. A press release from Sony Music was headlined ‘UK High Court rules in favour of music copyright holders in TuneIn Radio decision’, […]

Hungama launches loyalty program for music and video streamers

Indian digital-media firm Hungama has launched a new loyalty program that spans its music and video-streaming services. It’s called Hungama Rewards, and involves people earning virtual ‘coins’ (no, not in a cryptocurrency way) for the actions they take on both services. Those coins can then be exchanged for various rewards, including digital subscriptions and offers, but also […]

MMF report explores changing role and value of music managers

Managers are more at the heart of things in the music industry than they’ve ever been, including the digital aspects of their artists’ businesses. But what does that mean on a practical level, and how are management companies evolving and investing as a result? That’s the question a new report from the Music Managers Forum […]

Linkfire boss talks smarter attribution and the death of cookies

Lars Ettrup, CEO of smart-links firm Linkfire, delivered a talk at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London this week on “the joys of attribution”, and how music marketers can better track the journey music fans take from discovery through to consumption and purchase. “With all the channels and influencers who can drive streams, how […]

Privacy and music marketing: ‘Common sense should prevail’

The debate around digital privacy tends to focus on the biggest technology companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Yet as internet users become more aware of the privacy debates around those companies’ services and devices, they’ll also be thinking more about how their personal information is being used in other ways. Including music marketing: from […]

Music marketing on TikTok: ‘Give the audience the opportunity to be their own influencer’

As a platform, TikTok continues to generate strong opinions within the music industry regarding what kind of licensing deals it needs, and how much it could or should be paying rightsholders. But it’s also generating a lot of interest and activity from the marketing teams working with artists. It’s certainly not the first platform to […]

What ‘trigger cities’ really mean for music marketing

Music Ally has covered analytics firm Chartmetric’s concept of Trigger Cities before but at Sandbox Summit in London this week, we assembled a panel of marketing experts to talk about the idea in practice and how – or if – it is changing the architecture of their global campaigns. Chaired by Isabelle Ljungqvist, digital marketing […]

Domino wins Music Ally’s Campaign of the Year award for Hot Chip

Domino’s campaign for A Bath Full Of Ecstasy – the seventh studio album from Hot Chip – was named Campaign Of The Year at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit in London yesterday (30th October). It was one of five shortlisted campaigns that were put to an audience vote and it emerged as the clear winner. It […]

Jamie Oborne talks The 1975: ‘We still believe in albums!’

Jamie Oborne is the owner and CEO of Dirty Hit Records and All on Red Management, working with The 1975, Wolf Alice and Benjamin Francis Leftwich among other artists. He was also the opening speaker at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London this morning, interviewed by our very own Eamonn Forde. “Marketing is about […]

Spotify for Kids app launches in beta, starting in Ireland

Spotify now has 248 million monthly active users, but how many of them are children? We don’t know, and neither does Spotify: its minimum age varies across the world, but the lowest is 13 years old with parent or guardian consent. Anecdotally, though, plenty of parents have ignored this stipulation and added under-13s to their […]

Deezer launches dedicated app for 360 Reality Audio tracks

Deezer is one of the streaming services supporting Sony’s new 360 Reality Audio format. As it turns out, that support won’t just be playing out within Deezer’s existing mobile app. The company has launched a standalone app called 360 by Deezer for Android and iOS devices. It requires a paid subscription to work, and will play what […]

Spotify now has 248m listeners including 113m premium subscribers

Spotify has announced its latest financial results, for the third quarter of 2019. The streaming service now has 248 million monthly active users (MAUs), up 30% year-on-year, having added 16 million in Q3. 113 million of those users are premium subscribers: 31% growth in the last year, with five million having been added during last quarter. […]

Will·I·Am’s tech company may have run into financial trouble

Artist, investor, tech entrepreneur and TV-talent-show judge at large: Will·I·Am wears a lot of hats, but one of them may be slipping: his i·am+ technology company appears to have run into financial trouble. The Verge has the details for a company that raised more than $117m in funding by 2017. The report claims that a partnership […]

Nearly 1,000 musicians join protest against Amazon’s ICE contracts

Amazon recently announced plans to host its own festival in Las Vegas this December, called Intersect. It’s billed as “the place where music, technology, and art converge”, but the event is rousing some strong protests from musicians due to the involvement of Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud-technology division. Why? This article will fill you in on […]

Recording Academy launches ‘Behind The Record’ credits campaign

We referred to it in our story about Pandora adding full credits for songs last week, but now US music body the Recording Academy has officially launched its ‘Behind the Record’ campaign. It’s an initiative encouraging artists to credit all of the collaborators on their music. “Credits have been a casualty of the digital age, […]

Indian music-discovery app Flutin says it has 370k daily users

We’ve written a lot about the big music-streaming services in India like Gaana and JioSaavn, but this week brought news of an interesting-sounding music-discovery startup there. It’s called Flutin, and its schtick is building algorithmic playlists for users based on their musical preferences, activities, location and other data. The company says its app has been downloaded […]

Startup Pex can now scan Apple Podcasts for music clips

Pex isn’t a startup we’ve written much about for Music Ally thus far, but it’s one of the more interesting companies in the current music ecosystem – not just because of what it’s doing now, but for how its technology might be used in the future. The company’s business is “independent video and music analytics and […]

Spotify tests sponsorship of full-screen album recommendations

For some time now, Spotify has been showing its mobile listeners full-screen recommendations of new albums from the artists that they like – ‘Brand new music for you!’ pop-ups with a ‘Go to Album’ button to tap. Thus far, this has been a purely-editorial feature, but today Spotify is launching a test in the US to […]

Could user-centric payouts also be applied to book publishing?

Spotify’s former chief economist Will Page is now reportedly writing a book – but he’s certainly writing for The Bookseller, the publishing-industry trade mag. He’s just penned a column exploring whether the user-centric payouts debate that’s currently happening in the music industry might have relevance for authors and book publishing too. “Just as the music […]

Coldplay tease fans with digital Easter eggs for new album

There’s a new Coldplay double-album on the way next month, and it sounds like the band and their team are having fun with the announcement process. So far, the teaser campaign has included a typewritten letter sent to fans (“For the last 100 years or thereabouts, we have been working on a thing called Everyday […]

Soundcharts launches new media-monitoring feature for artists

Music-analytics platform Soundcharts has a new feature: ‘Mentions’. It promises ‘global media and web monitoring’ for artists, tracking where they’re mentioned in three categories of media: ‘music media’, ‘verified media’ and ‘unverified sources’. Artists will be able to dig in to the data by country; traffic rankings; and sources like news sites, blogs and discussions. […]

Pandora hails strong growth for its Artist Marketing Platform

It’s five years since Pandora launched its Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) tools for artists to market to listeners on the streaming service. The company is celebrating the anniversary with some new stats. “In the last 12 months alone, we’ve seen a 688% increase of monthly active creators on AMP,” announced Pandora in a blog post. There’s […]

Sony Music’s Mora Qualitas hi-res streaming service launches in Japan

Sony Music Entertainment Japan has launched its Mora Qualitas hi-res streaming service, working with Rhapsody International (through its ‘Powered by Napster’ B2B business). Plans for the service were actually announced in December 2018, but it’s taken 10 months for the ‘formal’ launch of the service to happen. Mora Qualitas is offering FLAC-quality streaming, with Sony Music’s hi-res […]

Rajar study claims UK has 17m premium on-demand music listeners

UK radio-measurement body Rajar has just published its data for the third quarter of 2019, and also its ‘Midas’ audio survey of British consumers. There are some useful stats on the music-streaming world. According to the latest Midas research, 17 million Brits now use ‘a premium on-demand music service’. However, according to Rajar, on-demand music still only […]

Neil Young Archives website now has 25,000 subscribers

There have been several interviews with artist Neil Young recently, to promote his new book ‘To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio’. The latest piece, from Wired, has some stats on how Young’s own subscription service is doing. Young is charging $1.99 a month for access to his Neil Young Archives website, […]

Marshmello now has 40m subscribers to his YouTube channel

Dance star Marshmello has hit a new milestone on YouTube: his channel now has more than 40 million subscribers. YouTube says that makes him the third most-subscribed-to musician on YouTube, behind Justin Bieber (47 million) and Ed Sheeran (42.5 million). At the time of writing, Marshmello is also 34th in YouTube’s global artists chart, with 73.2m weekly views […]

Liz Longley smashes Kickstarter total to buy album back from label

When crowdfunding platform Kickstarter first started making waves in the music industry in the early 2010s, the pitch from artists was often ‘help me to make my new album independently’. In 2019, in the case of artist Liz Longley, the pitch is ‘help me to buy my new album back from my label so I […]

Tegan and Sara battle touts with ‘rush seating’ at their gigs

Tegan and Sara are excellent, so news of them playing to a half-empty venue is disheartening. But doubly so because it wasn’t the result of poor ticket sales: according to Billboard, the sparsely-attended gig on 30 September in San Diego was because touts had snaffled most of the tickets. The duo have fought back, however, by […]

Spotify expands US Google Home Mini giveaway to Premium subs

Last year, Spotify debuted its Google Home Mini smart-speaker giveaway, offering the device to its Spotify Premium for Family subscribers. Now the deal has returned in the US, but considerably expanded: now it’s any Spotify Premium Individual subscriber who can bag a free speaker. It’s the latest salvo in the now-traditional scramble for end-of-year signups among […]

Viral post exposes fake-data problem in China’s KOL advertising

On 17 October, a Chinese tech-startup owner posted an article on his WeChat account about a controversial aspect of China’s KOL (Key Opinion Leaders – known as influencers in the west) advertising scene. The article now has more than 100k views, as well as countless reposts by other notable accounts and individuals. It concerned a […]

Security fears raised around Amazon and Google smart speakers

We’ve written about this before: the music industry may be excited about the growth in sales of smart speakers, but privacy campaigners have their concerns about this device category. Those concerns are relevant to our industry too: so here’s news of a new experiment conducted by Security Research Labs that’s making headlines. It developed skills for Amazon’s […]

Synaesthetic to blend classical music, AI and AR technologies

Fans of music/tech startups that sound a little… out-there will enjoy Synaesthetic’s ambitions. “While listening to music is great, we have evolved to look for things we hear and want visually-enhanced musical experiences, like concerts and music videos,” is how the Boston-based company’s website explains its plans. “We are developing a new musical medium, that is […]

Five music/tech startups to pitch in Web Summit contest

Startup pitch contests at conferences around the world have become a useful window into new music/tech firms. The latest contest will take place at the Web Summit in Lisbon on 7 November. In a session dubbed the ‘Music Innovation Prize 2019’, five startups will be pitching to a jury of “industry heavyweights, influential investors, and big-name artists”. […]

US digital audio advertising grew by 30% in first half of 2019

Advertising-industry body the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has published its mid-year report on digital ad revenues in the US. The big figure is $57.9bn: that’s how much money was spent on digital advertising in the US in the first half of 2019. That’s 17% growth year-on-year, and the highest ever first-half total for this category. Trebles all […]

Pandora and TikTok ads found on video-piracy service TeaTV

There is no suggestion that Pandora or TikTok are knowingly funding a TV-piracy service called TeaTV. But ads for these and other legitimate digital services have been found within that website, in an investigation published by CNBC. “The online service offers a wide swath of pirated movies from major networks such as HBO and streaming services […]

Secret Chord Laboratories raises $315k for music-analysis tool

Algorithmic A&R continues to be a touchy subject in some quarters of the music industry, where there is distrust (and/or existential fears) of the prospect of big data encroaching onto the traditional territory of humans’ ears and guts. That’s even more the case when the algorithms are tracking not the momentum of an artist in […]

The Chainsmokers co-found blockchain-ticketing startup Yellowheart

If you ever want to feel sympathy for the challenges that music/tech journalists face, read our 2018 report that included an ‘A to Z of Blockchain Music Startups’ and see our valiant efforts to find different ways of writing ‘X is a blockchain ticketing startup promising to beat touting and enable tickets to be transferred legally’. There […]

Internet firm Cloudflare hits back over piracy accusations

Cloudflare is one of the biggest content delivery networks (CDNs) in the world: CDNs being companies providing services to websites and digital services to help their content be delivered faster and more reliably, while reducing bandwidth costs. It’s also a controversial company in the eyes of music and film rightsholders, because some of the websites […]

Apple Music’s ‘Rap Life’ playlist spawns a Beats 1 radio show

Earlier this month, we reported on suggestions from Apple that there will be more Beats 1 radio shows based on Apple Music’s flagship playlists. Lo and behold, one launched on Friday. ‘Rap Life With Ebro Darden’ is based on the recently-rebranded ‘Rap Life’ hip-hop playlist, and is hosted by Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and […]

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg sets out stall on ‘free expression’

He may not have mentioned music, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University yesterday is essential reading for anyone who’s interested in how the social network’s upper echelons view the world. Titled ‘Standing For Voice and Free Expression’, it focuses on some of the many controversies around what kind of free speech Facebook […]

UMG expands its college-marketing program into °1824 team

Universal Music Group is shaking up its ‘college lifestyle marketing program’ in the US, with a new team, and brand, called °1824. The label describes it as “a new marketing, content and experiences team powered by university students and young creatives from around the world”. It’s partly about finding new creative talent to place in […]

WMG pushes back at reports that Stormzy triggered Ben Cook resignation

You’ve likely read the news earlier this week that Atlantic Records UK president Ben Cook was stepping down, as the result of an incident seven years ago when he went to a party dressed as a member of Run DMC. Cook was disciplined for the incident last year, but has only now stepped down, which […]

Lyor Cohen keen to avoid algorithmic echo chambers on YouTube

The headline for newspaper The Times’ interview with YouTube Music boss Lyor Cohen may be over-egging the pudding a bit. ‘Whip Spotify’s ass? The answer is emphatically yes’, it turns out, refers to a section of the interview where the startling wording appears to come from the journalist in a question: Cohen agrees (“The answer is emphatically […]

The Economist takes aim at ‘the meaningless of music charts’

The Economist has published an article criticising the proliferation of music charts in the streaming era, and questioning whether when considered together, they are confusing. “It used to be easy to know who the champions of pop were: it was whoever was number one in the singles chart and number one in the albums chart. But pop […]

Tencent Music’s Andy Ng talks AI recommendations and karaoke expansion

In a keynote interview at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) conference in Amsterdam, Tencent Music’s Andy Ng outlined his role in combatting piracy in China, building a legal streaming market there and why he and his employers are betting heavy on the EDM boom. Ng stepped back from his role as group VP at Tencent […]

Introducing The Music Ally Learning Hub

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our brand new Learning Hub for the global music industry! What is this special place? The Music Ally Learning Hub is a new dedicated e-learning platform for the modern music business. Our team has been hard at work behind the scenes to build a resource that will become the new […]

Netflix sees ‘modest headwind’ created by new streaming rivals

Shares in video-streaming service Netflix rose last night, after the company announced its latest financial results. This, despite actually missing one of its key targets for the third quarter of 2019. “In Q3, we grew to $5.2 billion in revenue, up 31% over the prior year, and operating income doubled to $1.0 billion. Paid net […]

Industry-connecting startup Rostr launches its service in beta

In February, Music Ally spotted plans by former Spotify global head of artist and industry partnerships Mark Williamson to launch a new startup called Rostr. It was tagged as “AngelList for the music industry” – a reference to the popular website cataloguing startups for investors. This week, Rostr has launched in beta. “The industry is really exciting […]

Primavera Sound goes ticketless as Dice expands to Spain

Spanish live firm Primavera Sound is going to take its events ticketless, including its flagship festival in Barcelona. The company is doing it via an exclusive multi-year partnership with ticketing startup Dice, which will be powering mobile tickets for the company’s events. Dice reckons this will make Primavera Sound in Barcelona the world’s ‘biggest mobile-only […]

MelodyVR strikes exclusive 5G deal with UK telco O2

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR has announced its latest partnership: telco Telefonica UK, and its O2 operator. It’s all relating to the launch of its faster 5G network. MelodyVR has been signed on as “the exclusive music partner of O2’s 5G UK launch”, with customers getting a 12-month subscription to MelodyVR bundled into their contracts. Note: […]

Spotify teams up with Snapchat for Diwali promotion in India

Snap and Spotify have teamed up in an interesting way for a promotion in India around the Diwali festive season. The Snapchat app has a new augmented-reality lens designed to be used in a specific location: the Gateway of India monument in Mumbai. “The Spotify lens adds some unique AR experiences with special 3D effects, […]

YouTube launches Merchbar partnership for artist merchandise

YouTube is rolling out another feature for musicians with ‘Official Artist Channels’ on its platform. The company has signed a deal with Merchbar which will see artists able to “surface their official merchandise and vinyl alongside their videos… Fans watching videos from their favorite artists on their YouTube Official Artist Channels can now see a shelf with […]

Spotify trumpets its role in global success of Tones and I

Australian artist Toni Watson – aka Tones and I – is riding high with her track ‘Dance Monkey’, which started as a viral buzz track but has flowered into a bona-fide global hit. In fact, at the time of writing it’s top of Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart, with 5.6m daily plays. Spotify is keen […]

Replica raises $2.5m funding for its ‘expressive voiceovers’

Music Ally wrote about Australian startup Replica earlier this year, following its participation in the Techstars Music accelerator. The company is using AI to create ‘Replica voice actors on demand” – taking recordings of someone talking, and creating a ‘replica’ voice capable of reading any text fed to it. For musicians, the company pitched the tech as providing “the […]

Stem promises to check label / distro deals for artists

Stem has been helping artists to release their music as a distributor for some time. Now it’s launching a new feature, ‘Stem Check’, which it clearly hopes will win some artists over to its platform. “Think you’ve just been offered an ‘artist-friendly’ deal? Let us run the numbers for you,” is how the company introduced it yesterday. […]

Sony 360 Reality Audio will launch with four streaming services

Technology firm Sony has revealed more of the plans for its 360 Reality Audio format, which was announced earlier this year. From late autumn, there will be around 1,000 songs available in the format through four streaming partners: Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Tidal and Nugs·net. All three major labels are working with Sony to provide content, although […]

Mixcloud posted revenues of £2.4m in 2018 – and a £3m loss

Audio-streaming service Mixcloud has published its financial results for 2018 through Companies House in the UK: and unlike in previous years, the accounts have been published without a small-company exemption, thus giving us an insight into the firm’s growth and profitability. The key figures: Mixcloud’s revenues in 2018 were £2.44m (around $3.1m), which was growth […]

Lessons from game streaming: the platform, not the gamer, rules all

The State Of The Stream report from Stream Elements covering Q3 2019 has been published and offers plenty of insights into the game-streaming world. Unsurprisingly, Twitch is the dominant platform here, accounting for 75.6% of hours watched in the period. What is perhaps most interesting is the fact that gaming giant Ninja recently defected from Twitch […]

Bring Me The Horizon create “Spotify-powered T-shirts”

Sony Music/RCA Records UK act Bring Me The Horizon are using their fans’ Spotify listening data to shape the T-shirt design that they can then buy – all as part of the promotion for their amo album from January. By going to a dedicated web page, they log in with their Spotify details and then […]

Everyone is getting sucked into the Fortnite black hole

If you are parents to children of a certain age, the pain of the last few days will have been immense. “Is it back yet? Is it working again? WHY?” Fortnite’s servers have been down since Sunday as it wrapped up its 10th season. Instead of the normal game play, users were presented with a swirling black […]

Dutch hip-hop sees streaming-powered domestic boom but export is still the nut to crack

Our latest country profile (available to Music Ally subscribers) is now online and looks at the Netherlands. The country was ranked number 11 globally in 2018 by IFPI and streaming now makes up 51% of the recorded music market there. Its biggest album of last year was Hella Cash by Josylvio, a local rapper, which outsold […]

Major payment companies back out of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency

Back in June, Facebook announced that it was going to launch its own cryptocurrency – Libra. The news resulted in the classic mixed results. Some focused on the fact that it would change the financial shape of markets where bank accounts and traditional payments systems are not the norm. Some, notably the FT, picked apart its […]

SuperM create UGC-powered Canvases on Spotify

On Friday, we covered Spotify starting to slowly open up its Canvas feature to more acts and posting a related blog that gives tips on how those using it can get the most out of its assorted features. One of the tips was “try creating a theme or narrative that crosses an entire album” such as […]

DJ Zedd faces China ban over liking South Park tweet

South Park has long been a critic of, well, just about everything. But the show has often aimed its satirical powers at China and now DJ Zedd claims he has been banned from China for liking a tweet on South Park’s Twitter account marking its 300th episode. “I just got permanently banned from China because […]

Zya’s Ditty music app is shutting down this week

Music Ally first wrote about Zya in November 2011: it was a “cloud-based music platform that empowers everyone – regardless of ability or musical preference – to make music in a revolutionary 3D environment”. It went on to make a splash at SXSW 2012 with the added spin of incorporating licensed tracks. In April 2013, the company behind Zya […]

Entertainment One’s pre-tax losses grow to £43.9m

Entertainment One (eOne), which owns Peppa Pig among other media properties, has reported that its pre-tax losses for the first fiscal quarter grew to £43.9m – significantly up from £6.8m a year earlier. Revenues dropped 7% to £173.1m and the company stated that this slip was due in part to “lower Film, Television and Music [unit […]

BTS are top-ups of the pop-ups

The idea of the pop-up tied into an album release is hardly new and often involves taking over a small and recently vacated shop (or the site of a different pop-up from the previous week) and selling a few T-shirts and posters from it, hoping the pop stars themselves show up to gain a bit […]

Billboard launches new live charts with Bandsintown

Who ordered a new chart? Anyone? Bueller? Hold up – this one is slightly different. After Rolling Stone put the Billboard charts in its crosshairs with the launch of a daily chart in July, some began to wonder if we’d hit Peak Charts for singles and albums. Thankfully the latest chart from Billboard is based around Bandsintown […]

UGC is the key success metric on TikTok says Fanbytes founder

MBW has an interview with Timothy Armoo, founder and CEO of Fanbytes, where he talks about the TikTok campaign for Decca-signed act Aurora based around her track ‘The River’ which was about sending out “a positive message promoting mental health awareness”. For the #youcancrychallenge, they focused on 13 well-known TikTok users to get things rolling by […]

TuneCore and CD Baby move into China with Tencent deal

Acts distributed by TuneCore and CD Baby will now be available to listeners in China – or, to be more precise, listeners who use Tencent’s music offerings. The deals cover QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo, who collectively reach 652m people in China according to Billboard. “We create partnerships, tools and services that bring the greatest possible […]

Spotify makes Canvas less blank

The Canvas feature on Spotify (where a short video loops on the mobile app instead of just having the single or album artwork) is opening up to more users via the Spotify for Artists tool. Music Ally first spotted the feature at the start of last year – back when it didn’t even have an official […]

Ticketing exchange Lyte announces a $15m funding round

Here’s a new buzzphrase for the live-music industry: ‘post-primary ticketing’. What’s that? According to ticketing firm Lyte, it’s “private label ticketing services offered to fans by the most iconic sports and entertainment brands… a platform that addresses the customer needs ignored by the traditional secondary market, and it does so in a way that is […]

Music-for-gaming startup Five Vectors raises $1m funding round

A startup hoping to forge more links between the music and esports industries has raised a $1m seed funding round. The company is Five Vectors, and its business is focused around working with artists to create original music tracks, which can then be licensed to esports teams and organisations. The company was co-founded by former Universal Music Central […]

Blockchain streaming service Audius under scrutiny already

Music Ally reported on the launch of decentralised streaming service Audius in September, and wondered whether its “censorship-resistant” features (or as one report put it, ‘anti-takedown) might cause problems if people started uploading copyrighted music. A few weeks on, and other journalists are asking the same question. The Verge goes in strong, describing Audius as “a […]

Sound Diplomacy publishes latest report on ‘future cities’ and music

Financial-services firm Legal & General isn’t a company we write about much for Music Ally, so why today? No, it’s not diversifying into AR-music livestreamed holograms on the blockchain. Not yet, anyway. Instead, Legal & General is the commissioner of the latest report from music consultancy Sound Diplomacy, which is arguing the case once again […]

Blizzard under fire over ban for esports player’s Hong Kong comments

Games firm Blizzard is attracting criticism for its decision to fine and ban an esports player who expressed support for the current pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during a post-match interview. Chung Ng Wai was a competitor in an esports tournament for Blizzard’s game Hearthstone, and the publisher (which also runs the event) quickly stripped him of […]

Troy Carter to deliver closing keynote for NY:LON Connect

The final keynote for NY:LON Connect, the conference that Music Ally co-runs with the Music Business Association (Music Biz), has been announced. Troy Carter, founder and CEO of Q&A, will be delivering the closing keynote at the event in New York next January. He joins Spotify’s Cecilia Qvist, YouTube Music’s Sun Lee and Warner Music […]

Foals microsite tasks fans with saving content ‘before it’s lost’

2019 is a busy year for British band Foals: they’re releasing two albums: ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’ came out in March, with ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2’ set to follow later this month. The new album has its own microsite now, with an interesting twist: new content will […]

Flighthouse now has 20m followers for its TikTok channel

Social brand Flighthouse has reached a new milestone with its TikTok channel: it now has more than 20 million followers. The company says that its recent growth has been fuelled by its decision to start producing its own original videos (rather than just reposting other people’s content), with the channel having added more than two million […]

Even after Siri integration, Spotify jabs at Apple again

This week, Spotify launched an Apple TV app as well as integrating with Apple’s Siri voice assistant on iPhone, which you might think represented a rapprochement of sorts between the two companies, following their longstanding anti-competition disputes. You’d be wrong. Spotify has updated its ‘Time to Play Fair’ lobbying website’s timeline of “Apple’s behaviour” down the years, […]

Spotify launches its ‘Daily Drive’ playlist in Germany

Spotify launched its ‘Daily Drive’ playlist in the US in June. Aimed at commuters, it was the company’s first algo-personalised playlist to combine music and ‘short-form podcast news updates’, with the aim of offering a more radio-like experience. Now Spotify has launched ‘Daily Drive’ in Germany too. As in the US, it offers a combination of “your favourite […]

Ashnikko has a TikTok-fuelled hit with her track ‘Stupid’

UK-based artist Ashnikko is having a moment in the spotlight with a track called ‘Stupid’. Featuring ‘Yung Baby Tate’, the song is currently perched in second spot in Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart, with 4.6m streams so far on that service. Its ‘official audio’ version on YouTube is about to cross 1m views, although an unofficial lyric-video uploaded […]

Britney Spears rarities appear on Spotify as podcast episodes

“It’s Britney Bitch!” is all the blurb you get in the ‘About’ section of a new podcast that launched on Spotify on 7 October – all 89 episodes of it. And each episode lasts for less than five minutes… because they’re songs: demos, remixes and other rarities from Spears’ career. Oh, and there’s been no official announcement, […]

Shazam financials reveal it added 78m users in 2018

Shazam reached 478 million annual active users in 2018, which is 78 million more than in the previous year. The company’s revenues fell by 23% to £31.4m last year, but it swung from a loss of £17.7m in 2017 to a profit of just under £124m in 2018.  That’s the benefit of being bought by […]

Tina Tchen appointed as new president and CEO of Time’s Up

US advocacy group Time’s Up, which was set up to tackle sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace, has a new boss. Tina Tchen, the organisation’s new president and CEO, is already known to the music industry, too: since last March she’s been working as chair of the US Recording Academy’s task force for inclusion, having […]

Mark Ronson gets a feature-length documentary from YouTube

Hands up if you predicted that one of 2019’s more intriguing areas of competition in the music industry would be Netflix versus YouTube – in the field of original music documentaries. YouTube’s latest salvo in this battle is ‘How to Be: Mark Ronson’, a feature-length documentary set to drop on 12 October. It’s a blend […]

Sonos is testing a subscription plan for its speakers

Fancy a Sonos speaker but aren’t sure about buying one? If you’re Dutch, you may be in luck. Well, if you’re one of 500 Dutch households chosen for the test of a new subscription plan called ‘Sonos Flex‘, you may be in luck. The Verge reports that the plan has several tiers: €15 a month […]

Spotify finally gets an Apple TV app and Siri integration

Big news from Spotify’s drive to be on as many devices as possible: it’s now available on… Armani smartwatches! Okay, that’s not *the* big news from Spotify’s drive. Yesterday saw the company finally integrate with Apple’s Siri voice assistant, meaning that Spotify listeners can now use ‘Hey Siri…’ commands to use the app – if their iPhone […]

Entertainment bundles are coming: the question is the terms

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Apple wants to launch a new model of paying for music, and major labels are ‘wary’ of the implications. No, you haven’t time-travelled back to the early 2000s and the negotiations ahead of the launch of the iTunes Store, album-unbundling included. What’s causing the wariness in 2019 […]

Entries now open for Sandbox’s Campaigns of the Year 2019

It’s that time again: Music Ally is starting work on our end-of-year ‘Sandbox Campaigns of the Year’ report, showcasing the best digital music-marketing campaigns of 2019. We’re inviting labels, management companies, marketing agencies and artists to submit details of the campaigns they’ve been most proud of this year, on a creative and/or commercial level. Here’s […]

Spotify says ‘global cultures’ initiative is growing, not stagnating

Spotify has been facing some questions about what’s happening with the ‘global cultures initiative’ that it announced in September 2018, promising that it “promotes and advances culturally diverse music, surfacing hits from different countries around the world and spotlighting popular songs that cross cultures”. Head of global cultures Rocio Guerrero, who launched the initiative, has since left […]

US congress quizzes Spotify over Apple antitrust complaints

Things had gone a bit quiet in Spotify’s anti-competition battle with Apple: we’re still waiting for official word from the European Commission on any plans for a formal investigation into Apple’s stewardship of its App Store and devices, following Spotify’s complaint in March and Apple’s response in June. Now attention is quickly shifting across the Atlantic, to the […]

Google tipped to buy TikTok-ish social app Firework

Another story for the soon-to-be-bulging file of ‘TikTok killers’ – most of which will turn out to be anything but. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google “has held discussions” about acquiring a startup called Firework, whose smartphone app is like TikTok, but with a 30-second limit (rather than 15) for videos, and an older demographic. […]

Michael Stipe skips big music platforms for debut solo single

REM’s Michael Stipe released his debut solo single this weekend, but you won’t find ‘Your Capricious Soul’ on any of the major streaming or download services yet. For now, the track is exclusively available from Stipe’s own website as a $0.77 download, although fans can choose to set their own price as a donation, not to Stipe, […]

Cardioid app offers context for Spotify’s algo-personalised playlists

In March this year, Music Ally wrote about a new music app called Crush, which aimed to bring together Spotify with artists’ own social-media feeds, to help listeners find out more about the musicians they were listening to – while listening. Seven months on, Crush is relaunching today with a new name, Cardioid, and a revamped iPhone app. […]

TikTok explains why it won’t allow political advertising

Next year’s US presidential election promises to be a bumper pay-day for ad-supported digital services of all kinds, music included. Certainly Pandora and Spotify will be angling for the audio budgets of the candidates and the activist groups supporting them in the US. TikTok? Not so much. Well, not at all, in fact. “We have […]

Instagram’s Threads is a new ‘camera-first messaging app’

The history of Facebook going into battle against Snapchat using its Instagram subsidiary is well established now: for example the moment when Instagram nabbed Snapchat’s ‘stories’ feature in 2016. Now a new front in the battle has been opened up, with a standalone app launched by Facebook called Threads from Instagram, which rolled out globally yesterday. […]

Nick Cave uses YouTube Premieres to debut entire album

What were you doing last night? Music Ally was listening to the premiere of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ new album ‘Ghosteen’ with more than 19,300 other people… on YouTube. The band made use of YouTube’s ‘Premieres’ feature, but instead of using it to debut a single track/video, they premiered their entire album – using lyric […]

UK music industry issues touring warning over ‘no deal’ Brexit

We try not to get too political here at Music Ally, given our broad church of readers, but at the time of writing the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit with the UK crashing out of the European Union at the end of October looks more likely than ever. That prospect is seriously worrying the British […]

JioSaavn says regional-language music is on the rise

In keeping with a trend playing out across audio-streaming services in India, regional language music has emerged one of the biggest drivers of growth for JioSaavn, the platform announced in a press release this week. With over two billion streams between January and September 2019, Punjabi is now the second-most played language on JioSaavn, ahead […]

Amazon launches Echo smart-speakers and Alexa in Brazil

In September, Amazon launched its Prime membership program in Brazil, including its music-streaming services. Less than a month later, that launch has been followed by the debut of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers in Brazil, along with the Alexa voice-assistant’s new ability to speak and understand Brazilian Portugese language. “Customers across Brazil will be able to ask for […]

Music metadata expands with DDEX’s new MEAD standard

Music-metadata standards organisation DDEX is launching its latest standard: Media Enrichment and Description (or MEAD for short). It’s a significant expansion of the metadata that labels and distributors provide to digital services with their music, based on brainstorming sessions back in 2017 with the likes of Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, major labels, collecting societies and other interested […]

AI-music startup Endel launches a sleep-music Twitch channel

Endel made headlines earlier this year by announcing a distribution partnership with Warner Music Group to release albums created by its AI. Its music is thus now on various streaming services, although its AI-generated soundscapes can also be accessed through its smartphone app and Alexa skill. And now, through Amazon’s live-video service Twitch too. Endel […]

Spotify-developed tool used for Skygge’s AI-powered ‘American Folk Songs’ EP

There’s plenty of new music out today: Camila Cabello, Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, Halsey, Travis Scott, K-Pop supergroup SuperM, Juice Wrld and Skygge are among the artists dropping new tracks. Wait, Skygge? Who’s that? An avatar blending AI-powered music with a cappella recordings by legendary US folk singers like Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger […]

Transgressive Records at 15: ‘Sometimes great things take time…’

On paper, 2004 was one of the worst years in living memory to set up a record label. The decade-and-a-half decline in recorded-music revenues was well underway, with CD sales falling off a cliff. And the main lifeline in sight, Apple’s iTunes Store, was unbundling the traditional album. Optimism was in short supply. And yet: […]

BPI to hold event exploring intersection of music and esports

The crossover between music and esports is something Music Ally has been interested in for some time now. British music-industry body the BPI is too: it’s holding an event to explore the topic on 24 October in London. Hosted with Media Insight Consulting’s Chris Carey, the event will explain how the esports industry makes its […]

What the ‘Paagal’ YouTube controversy means for music marketing

Back in July, Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken the record for most first-24-hour streams for a music video on YouTube. However, his 75m-views milestone was called into question when it emerged that the label had boosted those views with advertisements. YouTube has since changed its calculations for charts and 24-hour-debut […]

Facetune-maker Lightricks launches social apps for businesses

Facetune is a popular app among young people who want to digitally tweak their selfies before sharing them with the world. Its developer, a company called Lightricks, is now expanding into apps for businesses wanting to give their own social profiles a boost (albeit not quite in the same way as Facetune). The company has launched […]

RIAA targets Telegram in latest ‘notorious markets’ piracy list

US music-industry body the RIAA has submitted its latest list of sites and apps raising piracy concerns, for consideration for the next ‘notorious markets’ list produced by the US Trade Representative. Some familiar names are included from the stream-ripping and MP3-download areas, but there’s also a new villain in the RIAA’s view: messaging app Telegram. […]

YouTuber Shane Dawson sparks 800k streams for Catie Turner track

Singer/songwriter Catie Turner’s song ‘Prom Queen’ is finding an audience on Spotify. Since its release earlier this year, the track has been streamed nearly 1.3m times on Spotify, while a live acoustic video has been watched more than 700k times on YouTube. What’s interesting is that a lot of this buzz has come in the last week, […]

Spotify opens a studio in Brazil for female artists only

Spotify has opened a new recording studio in São Paulo, Brazil, with a very specific focus: women. It’s called Casa de Música – Escuta as Minas (translation: House of Music – Listen to Women) and has already been used by artists including Bibi Caetano, The Mönic, Souto MC, and Luana Marques. Here’s how Spotify described the new […]

Analysts have opinions on Spotify’s declining share price

Here’s a bracing headline for Spotify and its partners within the music industry, from financial-news website Barron’s: “Spotify Stock Has Dropped So Much, Two Analysts Ditched Their Sell Ratings”. The story is paywalled, but appears to focus on recent announcements by analyst firms Evercore and Credit Suisse. The former upgraded its rating of Spotify from […]

Now YouTube Music has some new algo-personalised playlists

More evidence of the commoditisation of certain types of music personalisation: YouTube Music has officially announced three new algo-personalised playlists. One we knew about: ‘Discover Mix’, which appeared in September and was quietly mentioned in YouTube’s launch publicity for YouTube Music’s launch in India. The other two are ‘New Release Mix’ and ‘Your Mix’. As the name […]

Spotify’s family plan launches in India for $2.50 a month

When Spotify launched in India earlier this year, its family plan wasn’t part of the offering. Now it is. The plan launched yesterday for INR 179 a month (around $2.50) covering up to six people in a household as in other markets. “Spotify’s Premium Family plan has been loved across markets, and we know that […]

Mark Zuckerberg on TikTok competition: ‘This is a real thing’

Leaked audio from an internal Facebook meeting where CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions from staff has been making headlines – mainly around his promise of a “fight” if politicians try to break his company up. But for Music Ally’s purposes, Zuckerberg’s comments on TikTok are also interesting. “TikTok… is really the first consumer internet product built […]

Hozier launches ‘Cry Power’ podcast with Global Citizen

Hozier is the latest artist to launch his own podcast, ‘Cry Power‘ although in this case he has some heavyweight backing: from activism platform Global Citizen. That’s a guide to the show’s content: “The podcast series will see Hozier speak with musicians, artists, writers, campaigners about how to take action and change the world,” according […]

Spotify’s ‘Dissect’ podcast returns with Kendrick Lamar focus

Spotify has launched the fifth season of its music-focused podcast ‘Dissect’, which focuses on a single album every series. It has previously covered albums by Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill and Tyler, the Creator (Lauryn Hill’s was a ‘special mini-series’, by the way, which is why the new season is the fifth […]

Kanye West ‘Yandhi’ ringtones quickly removed from iTunes

This time last year, Kanye West was working on a new album project called ‘Yandhi’, although it has since been renamed ‘Jesus is King’. This summer, some of the demos from the project leaked. Now, someone appears to have been putting those leaks to nefarious use, although not through the recently-seen tactic of uploading them to […]

Fan-funding startup Corite launches in beta with five artists

Music Ally reported on Swedish startup Corite in August. It was a new fan-funding platform founded by former UMG execs Mattias Tengblad and Emil Angervall, offering distribution to artists but also the option for fans to invest in their music, and take a share of royalties. Today, Corite is launching in ‘beta mode’ with five Swedish artists: Albin Johnsén, […]

Apple Music UK launches a Black History Month ‘superroom’

In the UK, October is ‘Black History Month’, a celebration of the contributions made by black Britons down the years. Apple is celebrating the month too with what it’s describing as a ‘superroom’ on Apple Music. It includes guest playlists from black British artists including Beverley Knight, Slick Rick, Jorja Smith, Craig David, Mabel and Wretch […]

Pandora ramps up personalisation features in its mobile app

It might sound strange to see a streaming service making a big announcement about ‘personalisation and discovery’, given how core (and, some argue, commoditised) these features are in the current music-streaming landscape. Well, perhaps not ‘commoditised’ as such, but every service now has its personalised playlists, its home-screen recommendations and so on. It’s what listeners […]

VR/AR startup Jaunt sells its software and tech to Verizon

Jaunt was one of the first virtual-reality content startups to make waves in the modern VR-headset era, including with music. We first wrote about the company in November 2014, for example, when Jaunt worked with Sir Paul McCartney on a VR video of a live performance of ‘Live and Let Die’, released through its own […]

Zen 8 app adds AI music to Instagram and Snapchat stories

As Music Ally has been covering the latest wave of AI-generated music startups, we’ve argued that one of the most interesting uses for this technology is social – a way to create background music for videos and other posts in apps like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. That’s one reason why the acquisition of AI-music startup Jukedeck by […]

30% of the Beatles’ Spotify streams are from 18-24 year-olds

Happy 50th birthday to the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album: we’ve been enjoying the ‘updated artwork’ meme from earlier this year getting plenty of re-shares. Streaming services have been celebrating the anniversary too, with Spotify putting out some stats on the Beatles more generally. The band’s music has been streamed nearly 1.7bn times on Spotify in 2019 alone, […]

YouTube Music app to be pre-installed on new Android devices

The transition continues from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. Google has announced that the latter app will now be pre-installed on all devices running the latest versions of its Android operating system. That’s Android 9 and Android 10, to be specific. For now, this is likely to to be something of a niche: as a guide, Google’s […]

‘Fan-made’ Taylor Swift tracks pulled down from Spotify

After a few months of quiet, there’s another ‘fake music’ farrago in the air. The Fader reported that “dozens” of Taylor Swift bootlegs had been uploaded to Spotify as individual ‘podcast’ files. “many of the songs themselves appear to be isolated vocals ripped from Swift’s Lover that have been placed over newly-made acoustic instrumentals,” it reported, describing […]

Report: North American music still tops for global playlists

Analytics firm Chartmetric has published its ‘Global Music Industry Data Report’ for the first half of 2019, digging in to data from platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Instagram and Shazam among others. The bit that’s making headlines so far (yes, including ours above) is the section analysing programmed playlists on the big services by […]

Auxuman launches AI-generated album with five virtual artists

Startup Auxuman’s claim to have released ‘the first-ever fully AI-generated music album’ isn’t quite right: Endel has released a string of them in 2019, while Boomy is enabling anyone to release albums created by its AI (I’ve tried that already). Even so, Auxuman’s project is interesting. The album is called ‘Auxuman Vol.1’ and it features 10 tracks by […]

Euro copyright directive sparks Google change in France… for news

This week, Music Ally got a notification from Google that from late October, text snippets, video previews and thumbnail images from our website will not be shown in search results in France. We haven’t done anything wrong (we promise!) – this is an alert that anyone designated a ‘European press publication’ is getting, and it’s […]

Facebook reveals new plans for social VR (oh, and AR too)

With Amazon’s blizzard of new-product announcements, not to mention the political ructions going on in the US, Facebook’s Oculus division’s OC6 developer conference might have struggled for attention. It’s well worth reading up on the announcements made at the show though: it’s an excellent snapshot of Facebook’s continued ambitions for virtual AND augmented reality technology. […]

Maroon 5 team up with Apple for iOS photos-app promotion

Apple’s new iOS software (iOS 13) launched earlier this month, and one of its features suddenly has an interesting music angle. The feature is called ‘Memories’ – it actually launched three years ago, but was updated within iOS 13 – and automatically edits together photos and videos for particular events in someone’s camera roll. Now […]

Midland and Vampire Weekend join the music-podcasts rush

More artist podcasts? You got ’em! Country trio Midland have launched their own spoken-word show called ‘Set It Straight with Midland‘. It sounds fun too: rather than promote the band’s music, each of the first season’s 10 episodes will investigate a famous, strange story from country-music history, starting with the theft of Gram Parsons’ corpse. […]

K-Pop stars BTS are the latest artist to join TikTok

At the time of writing, it’s 19 hours since Big Hit Entertainment’s official Twitter profile for BTS made this announcement: “#BTS TikTok Channel Open!”. 19 hours later, BTS’ TikTok account is being followed by 2.2 million people. Their two posts so far have 2.9m and 1.9m likes respectively. BTS are the latest prominent artist to join TikTok with […]

Ticketing startup Dice expands to Italy, with FKA twigs

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with ticketing startup Dice – in March, when the company launched in the US. Now it’s expanding again, this time to Italy. Dice’s app is now live there, complete with an exclusive deal to sell tickets for FKA Twigs’ next Milan concert in November. Dice also says […]

Sandbox Summit 2019 London, 30 October #ModernMusicMarketing

Music Ally is delighted to be hosting its flagship music marketing conference Sandbox Summit at the London Art House on Wednesday 30th October. A day packed with thought-leading discussions and presentations at the cutting edge of music marketing, the event has become an essential fixture on the music marketer’s calendar. Thank you as ever to our headline sponsors Linkfire and The Orchard for helping […]

Guard uses AI to analyse digital-service privacy policies

If the last few years of digital controversies has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably not be clicking our way through privacy-policy screens when signing up to new services without reading them. But reading privacy policies can be… a chore. Cue a startup promising that AI can help. The startup is called Guard, and […]

Chartmetric is making sense of DSPs’ playlist-ladder systems

Music-analytics firm Chartmetric has published a blog post outlining some of the findings from its ‘Pre-Playlist Analyzer’ and ‘Post-Playlist Analyzer’ tools, and it makes for interesting reading. The tools can be used to measure tracks’ progression from one programmed playlist to another on the key streaming services, in an effort to understand how the ‘ladder’ systems work, […]

YouTube adds 14 artists to its Foundry development program

YouTube developing music artists? It’s been at it for a while, with its Foundry ‘global artist development program’, which first launched in 2016 as a training scheme, of sorts, for artists including Dua Lipa, Rosalía, Dave and Mahalia. In April this year it was ‘refreshed‘ as an initiative offering marketing promotion as well as training […]

Audius takes on SoundCloud… but takedowns could get interesting

Music Ally first wrote about blockchain-music startup Audius just over a year ago, when the company raised a $5.5m funding round (a traditional one, not an ICO) for a platform described as ‘SoundCloud on the blockchain’. The following month, it revealed that its advisers included Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels; former Avicii manager Ash Pournouri; Pandora head of artist product Shamal Ranasinghe; […]

Report predicts live-music ticket sales will top $25bn in 2023

Research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has recently updated its Global Entertainment & Media Outlook report, which makes all manner of predictions for the next five years. Among them the growth in sales of tickets for live-music events. The prediction is that global ticket sales will grow from just over $22bn in 2019 to more than $25bn in 2023. […]

Amazon’s ‘voice interoperability initiative’ includes Spotify

“Voice services should work seamlessly alongside one another on a single device, and… voice-enabled products should be designed to support multiple simultaneous wake words.” That’s the key sentence in the announcement of the Voice Interoperability Initiative, which has been created by one of the prime movers in voice technology: Amazon. It has mustered more than 30 companies […]

Dead End Hip Hop talks platforms, Patreon and hip-hop in 2019

Founded in 2011, Dead End Hip Hop (DEHH) has built a strong community around its discussions of hip-hop’s music and culture, with more than 233,000 subscribers on YouTube, and nearly 3,300 fans funding the company’s work through Patreon. In an email interview with Music Ally, DEHH’s six-strong team – Kennith B. Inge, Roderic Wright (aka […]

More artists join campaign against facial-recognition at gigs

There have been two main stories about the intersection of facial-recognition technology and live music. One was Live Nation’s investment in and pilots-partnership with a startup called Blink Identity, with its technology for identifying concertgoers as they walk past its scanners, without the need for them to show tickets. The other was a controversy around the use of […]

Ivors Academy looks to next generation with new Youth Network

British songwriting body The Ivors Academy (formerly BASCA) is looking to the next generation, with a new ‘Youth Network’ initiative. The body says it will involve creating partnerships with universities, colleges and other organisations across the UK, as well as setting up a ‘Youth Council’ to give young songwriters a say in its campaigns, awards and […]

What losing faith in playlists could mean for music marketing

Our latest issue of Sandbox went out to subscribers last night. In the cover feature, we look at how playlists marketing has gone through upheaval in recent months as the two biggest players (Apple Music and Spotify) take very different approaches to what playlists are and how they work. Weekly playlists are now squaring up […]

Music listening in 2019: 10 takeaways from the IFPI’s new report

Global music-industry body the IFPI has published its latest ‘Music Listening’ report, for 2019, based on a survey of 34,000 people in 21 countries. Whereas the body’s annual Global Music Report focuses on revenues, this study is all about people’s music habits: how much they’re streaming and buying music; what devices they’re doing it on; […]

SingleServ app wants to help artists raise money for charities

Music Ally has seen a few music-streaming apps making promises like payouts “over 2x more than Spotify”, but there’s a twist in the case of SingleServ: the payouts are going to charities. Launched as an iPhone app, the company describes itself as a “cause-based streaming platform that allows musicians to directly fundraise for charities by using their […]

Reeperbahn Festival day two: Gender equality, secondary ticketing and more

With digital now firmly driving the music industry, the second day of the conference at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival saw a lot of chatter about the industry’s resolutely-analogue elements: human beings. From gender equality in terms even the least humane person can understand, to where bots meet humans, and how smaller, people-centric businesses can survive […]

TikTok trumpets its role in helping DJ Regard have a viral hit

TikTok and its parent company Bytedance’s licensing negotiations with music rightsholders continue, as does its dispute with licensing hub ICE in the UK, which has been taken to the country’s copyright tribunal. Yet alongside all this, TikTok continues to make its presence felt as a platform for music discovery and marketing campaigns. It’s no surprise […]

Reeperbahn Festival day one: Copyright, Brexit and more

Authenticity, Copyright law, and – oh yes – Brexit were all on the agenda during the first day of conference sessions at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. In an era where perceived authenticity counts for so much, songwriters composing for clients who want songs for adverts might be asked to create songs that fulfil two […]

MelodyVR to launch a music-VR subscription later this year

How is that brave new world of musical virtual-reality doing? The latest financial results from startup MelodyVR offer some clues, as well as news of the company’s plans to shift from a a-la-carte pricing to a subscription model later this year. Financials first: MelodyVR generated £128.4k of revenues ($160.1k) in the first six months of 2019, but […]

Amazon Music gets an HD tier, starting in the US, UK, Japan and Germany

Amazon Music has become the biggest music-streaming service yet to add a higher-quality tier. Amazon Music HD launches in the US, UK, Germany and Japan this week. It will cost $12.99 a month for Amazon Prime members and $14.99 a month for non-members. That’s $5 more than the cost of the existing Amazon Music service […]

Martina McBride criticises Spotify again over playlist algorithm (and Spotify agrees)

Earlier this month, we reported on country star Martina McBride’s anger at Spotify’s recommendation algorithm, after its first 135 suggestions of tracks for a ‘country music’ playlist she was making were all by men. Spotify’s head of artist and label marketing in Nashville, Brittany Schaffer, seemed to have smoothed over the waters with a coffee […]

Napster’s Angel Gambino talks tech, Ek and streaming’s evolution

Angel Gambino has been in the digital trenches since the late 1990s. Her career has seen her work in early social gaming (for Gameplay·com); test the digital waters for TV (at the BBC and Viacom); and forge content strategies for social networking (Bebo). In 2019, she’s putting the lessons learned to work in her current […]

YouTube excludes paid-ad views from its music charts and 24-hour records

YouTube is making a change to the way it calculates its YouTube Music charts, and its ’24-hour debut’ records. From now on, paid advertising views will not count towards either. The change follows a recent controversy when Sony Music India claimed that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-debut record, before it emerged that paid ads […]

US politician Tim Ryan reveals his policies… as a Spotify album

Democrat congressman Tim Ryan is one of the runners in the race to take on Donald Trump in the next US presidential election. Not one of the front-runners, or even a mid-runner in fairness: he didn’t clear the bar of fundraising and polling to qualify for this week’s televised debate between candidates. However, Ryan is […]

Fan project turns Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’ into a VR video

Hot on the heels of Björk releasing her new virtual-reality album, there’s a new VR experience for Daft Punk’s classic track ‘One More Time’. However, in this case, it isn’t an official release by the band. ‘Interstella VR’ has been produced as a fan project by Australian developer Jake Donaldson and a small team of collaborators […]

Lucy Dacus is spending 2019 releasing ‘slow music’ holiday songs

Artist Lucy Dacus is stepping out of the traditional album-release cycle in 2019, choosing instead to release a series of tracks tied to public holidays and other notable dates. She covered ‘La Vie En Rose’ for Valentine’s Day; released ‘My Mother & I’ for Mother’s Day; and then a track called ‘Forever Half Mast’ for […]

Apple HomePod set to get ‘Ambient Sounds’ mode this autumn

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker didn’t get much of a look-in at the company’s press event earlier this week, which focused more on iPhones, iPads, watches and the company’s new video-streaming and games subscription services. But Apple has quietly updated its HomePod product page to remind owners of a pair of new features coming to the device this […]

Spotify launches a podcast about musician mxmtoon

Oakland-based singer/songwriter mxmtoon has built an audience of 3.6 million listeners on Spotify – aided by slots on playlists including New Music Friday, Lorem and Alone Again. Now she’s getting a different kind of support from the streaming service: its Spotify Studios division is making an eight-episode podcast all about her. It’s called ’21 Days […]

Lil Nas X promises to release 25 remixes of ‘Panini’

If you thought that the succession of remixes of Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ were a *bit much* we’d advise you to look away from your screen now. “PANINI REMIX 1 OF 25 TONIGHT!” he tweeted yesterday. This was shortly before dropping said remix, which features rap star DaBaby. ‘Panini’ was originally released as a single in […]

Spotify takes flak for location-tracking family-plan move

Spotify knows where you live… but it would like to check that you’re still living there, every so often, if that’s okay? This is part of the new terms and conditions for the company’s much-discussed Premium Family plan. An August update to the t’s and c’s included this clause: “We may from time to time […]

The challenge with podcast music-licensing: annual renewals

If you read our report of the event we ran with the BPI in June, you’ll already be well aware that licensing music for podcasts is… challenging. Now Billboard has published an interesting feature outlining some of those problems in more detail. It explains some of the basics: for example that licensing a song for a podcast is […]

Vevo says its music videos generate more than 800m daily views

A birthday we almost forgot about: Vevo is 10 years old this year. The music-videos firm has published a few new stats to celebrate the performance of the 400k-plus videos in its catalogue. Vevo says that its catalogue is currently averaging more than 800m views a day, rising to near-1bn on the weekends. It also […]

Deezer steps up its efforts to introduce user-centric payments

Deezer is hoping to launch a pilot of a user-centric payment system (UCPS) by early 2020 in France, if it can persuade labels to back the idea. As part of its preparations, it has launched a website this morning explaining UCPS to music fans. As a quick reminder: user-centric payments divide the streaming royalties from […]

NY:LON Connect keynotes confirmed: Cecilia Qvist, Sun Lee, Scott Cohen

The first three keynote speakers have been announced for NY:LON Connect, the conference co-organised by The Music Business Association (Music Biz) and Music Ally. Spotify’s global head of markets Cecilia Qvist; YouTube Music’s head of music content partnerships and subscriptions for Korea and Greater China Sun Lee; and Warner Music Group’s chief innovation officer – recorded […]

Esthero interrupts her own track to protest streaming royalties

Canadian artist Esthero has found a novel way to make her views known about streaming royalties: within a track that she’s released on streaming services. One minute and 37 seconds in to ‘Gimme Some Time’, she interrupts the music. “Hello there, sweet listener. So, I really hope you’re enjoying my song. This is Esthero by […]

KPMG India predicts growing prominence for music subscriptions

Research firm KPMG’s India division has published its annual Media and Entertainment Report for 2019, which describes India’s digital future as a “mass of niches”. It’s very good for rooting what’s happening around music-streaming in the context of the wider digital-media ecosystem, as well as the Indian economy. There are some good music specifics though. “The […]

BBC reveals some of its experiments with augmented reality

British broadcaster the BBC has been experimenting with smartglasses – augmented-reality specs – to explore what potential these devices might have for television in the future. “The immersive nature of augmented reality, effectively projecting holograms into your eyes and enabling you to physically interact with those holograms, could offer exciting new ways to watch TV, […]

Musicians star in ‘Seize the Awkward’ mental-health campaign

Four musicians are taking part in a new mental-health campaign aimed at teenagers and young adults. Lindsey Stirling, Hayley Kiyoko, Aminé, and Christina Perri are the stars of the latest ‘Seize the Awkward’ campaign, which is being run by the Ad Council in the US. Each artist features in their own short video released through the […]

UMG’s schlager YouTube channel is doing 30m views a month

This story has been written to the soundtrack of gravelly-voiced German artist Ben Zucker, as well as the ‘Ultimatver Party Hitmix’ of his compatriot Sonia Liebing. It’s been quite the listen. Why? Because we’ve been investigating Universal Music’s ‘Ich Find Schlager Toll!’ YouTube channel (translation: ‘I think Schlager’s great!’). It’s one of the projects called […]

Sony unveils new Walkman complete with MQA hi-res support

Search for ‘Walkman’ on Google, and the ‘people also ask’ boxout reveals that common searches include ‘When was the Walkman discontinued?’ and ‘Do they still make Walkmans?’. The answer to the latter being ‘yes’ – a new one was unveiled yesterday by Sony. The Walkman NW-ZX507 (Sony’s consumer electronics division continues to have an… interesting […]

100,000 people watched MelodyVR’s GMA Summer Concerts stream

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR recently broadcast one of US TV show Good Morning America’s ‘Summer Concert Series’ gigs featuring Marshmello and Kane Brown. How did that go? MelodyVR says that the concert generated more than 100k live streams through its app alone. It’s now been archived for fans to watch in the app at their leisure. However, […]

UK’s CMA suspends plans for court action against Viagogo

British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been harrying secondary-ticketing firm Viagogo for some time now over how it presents tickets to its customers. In July, the CMA announced plans to move forward with legal proceedings against Viagogo for contempt of court, claiming that it had failed to comply with a court order mandating changes. […]

Apple Music launches its official web-app in beta

It’s taken a while, but Apple Music is finally available as a web app, rather than just through iTunes and its native apps for other devices. The new web client went live in beta yesterday, and lets subscribers search for and play music (including from their cloud libraries), and browse Apple Music’s collection of playlists and […]

Alibaba reportedly buying a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music

Big moves are afoot in China’s music-streaming world, with reports that tech giant Alibaba is acquiring a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music, as part of a wider $2bn investment in the latter’s parent company NetEase. MBW suggests that the deal may value NetEase Cloud Music as high as $9bn – less than half that of rival […]

US recorded-music business grew by 18% in first half of 2019

Pop the champagne corks! Well, if you’re one of Music Ally’s American readers reading this story at the start of your working day, perhaps leave that until… whatever time won’t get you sacked for too-early-in-the-day boozing. But yes: celebrations, because the latest mid-year figures for the US recorded-music market are out from the RIAA, and they look […]

Mabel teams up with Samsung for ‘world’s first vertical gig’

We like Mabel a lot. We’re excited about many of the ways that music fans are sharing their love for music using mobile phones and social apps. But we apologise for raising a weary eyebrow at news that Mabel played “the world’s first vertical gig” for Samsung at “London’s new destination to experience the latest […]

X Ambassadors launch video for blind and partially-sighted fans

What does a music video made for blind and partially-sighted people look like? Artist X Ambassadors have worked with Microsoft to find out. The ‘audio-only music video’ is for the band’s track ‘Boom’, and has been released as an application for computers, mobile devices and Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens headset. It uses a spatial-audio technology called ‘Windows […]

Jeffrey Epstein to be focus of Sony Music JV’s first podcast

Of all the possible topics for a major-label press release landing in Music Ally’s inbox, Jeffrey Epstein is definitely the most surprising. The late financier, who took his own life last month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, is the subject for the first show being made by Three Uncanny Four Productions, the podcast-production […]

Google and YouTube to pay $170m in child-privacy settlement

After months of speculation, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday announced details of its settlement with Google and YouTube over alleged violations of child-privacy law. The big number: $170m. That’s how much Google and YouTube are paying to settle the allegations that YouTube “illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent”. $136m of that […]

‘Juicing’ YouTube views with ads isn’t just an India thing

Sony Music artist Badshah came under the spotlight recently when his label claimed he’d broken YouTube’s first-day-views record; YouTube pointedly didn’t confirm it (and still hasn’t); and then debate ensued about the strategy of buying Google ads to boost a video’s view-count on YouTube. As Times Music COO Mandar Thakur crisply put it in a panel at […]

Sony Music UK buys merchandise firm Kontraband

Major labels buying merchandise companies is an established trend now, from Universal Music’s Bravado division acquiring rival Epic Rights in January, and Warner Music paying $180m for German merch firm EMP in October 2018. The latest example was announced this morning: Sony Music UK is acquiring merchandise firm Kontraband for an undisclosed amount. The deal […]

Startup studio Betaworks launches camp for ‘the future of audio’

Betaworks isn’t an ‘accelerator’ as such: it styles itself as a ’startup studio’ – meaning that besides running accelerators, it also builds new things in-house, and invests in external startups. GIF search-engine Giphy and mobile game Dots are two of its hits so far. Now it’s focusing on audio with its latest startup ‘camp’ program, […]

Musiio reveals its first commercial client: Audio Network

We’ve written a few times about music/tech startup Musiio this year: the company uses artificial-intelligence (AI) technology to analyse catalogues of music, for purposes including search, metadata-tagging and playlisting. Now the company has announced its first commercial client: Audio Network, the production-music firm acquired by Entertainment One earlier this year (with eOne now in the process of […]

Amanda Palmer says artists still fear crowdfunding criticism

Amanda Palmer was one of the first artists to make big headlines with a crowdfunding campaign, thanks to her 2012 Kickstarter campaign which raised nearly $1.2m for an album, art book and tour. Since then, she’s switched to ongoing fan-funding on Patreon, where she has more than 15,000 patrons paying from $1 per ‘thing’ that she produces. This week, […]

Y Viva España! Spanish music revenues up 27% in first half of 2019

Remember when Spain was one of the world’s recorded-music basket cases, thanks to piracy? No more. The years between 2014 and 2018 saw steady growth (5.4%, 10%, 6.7%, 6.1% and 5.9% respectively according to the IFPI) of total revenues, but things have stepped up a couple of notches in the first half of 2019. According […]

Tracking hit as Gmail iPhone app offers image-blocking option

Well, it’s not so much ‘blocking’ as it is an option for Gmail’s iPhone app not to automatically display external images when people are reading emails. But that in turn will have an impact on some of the technologies used by marketers to track (for example) emails being opened. Not that this is the main reason Google […]

Spotify subsidiaries launch new business and horoscopes podcasts

The production lines are rolling for Spotify’s recently-acquired podcast studios, Gimlet and Parcast. Yesterday each had a brand new podcast to announce. Gimlet’s is called ‘The Journal’, and is a partnership with the Wall Street Journal for a daily show about “money, business and power”. That daily cycle could be important: it’ll generate useful content that […]

Taylor Swift’s ‘Enhanced Album’ Spotify playlist has 1m followers

According to Republic Records, Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Lover’ has whizzed past the mark of 3m ‘album equivalent units’ worldwide since its release a week and a half ago. Interesting, since a third of that consumption came from China alone. But we’re also interested in the role played by Swift’s ‘Love Taylor, Lover Enhanced Album’ playlist on […]

Russian startup Fluent launches its adaptive-music app

The idea of adaptive-music apps, where music adapts in real-time to what you’re doing, has been around for a long time – from the heyday of British startup RjDj to 2019’s LifeScore. Now there’s another startup exploring the potential: Moscow-based Fluent, which has launched its “immersive music” app for iPhone. Its pitch: “Spotify plays static files. AI generates bland, soulless […]

Music/tech VC firm DBTH Capital raises a €35m fund

The latest company hoping to make a splash in the music/tech investment scene is DBTH Capital, whose founding partner is veteran music executive Virginie Berger. It’s got some money to make that splash too. “Happy to announce that my VC Fund, DBTH Capital has raised €35 million in a first close of its first fund. The […]

Warner Music Group talks startups, technology and investment

In Music Ally’s latest analysis report, we take a look at the three major labels’ strategies around music/tech startups and investment. The full report is for Music Ally subscribers only, but you can sign up for a free trial, which includes access to the latest report. An extract from it follows, focusing on Warner Music […]

Big Ear Games sees more potential for music-learning apps

The intersection of mobile gaming and music education is a category Music Ally has been tracking since 2011, when a Finnish startup called Ovelin started to get attention for a music-learning game called WildChords. It later rebranded as Yousician, and as of summer 2019 has generated more than 100m downloads of its apps. Now history might […]

Indian telco Airtel launches TV, video and music bundle

We’ve been talking about the prospect of music-streaming services being bundled with video and other services for some time now, often through the lens of what the big, global technology companies like Apple, Google and Amazon will be doing. However, in India there’s another angle to this debate: telcos. Witness Bharti Airtel (Airtel for short), […]

BMG boss suggests major-label valuations are overblown

BMG’s chief executive Hartwig Masuch has been taking his latest potshots at the three major labels, this time focusing on whether their cost structures will prove unwieldy as deals tip more in favour of artists, from frontline catalogue to renewals of existing deals. “The deals for big hits today are much more aggressive than people […]

Report claims that Facebook could start hiding ‘like’ counts

Social networks are trying to row back on some of the unintended consequences of their key mechanics, with ‘likes’ (or at least the public display of how many times posts have been liked) particularly under the microscope. Instagram has been testing hiding likes in some countries, and now it seems Facebook – which popularised the […]

YouTube tipped to be fined up to $200m in child-privacy case

There has been gossip about an imminent settlement between Google/YouTube and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some time now. The latest burst of reports suggests that YouTube will be paying between $150m and $200m in fines, as part of  settlement of charges relating to children’s privacy – and specifically to data collection and […]

Spotify commissioned an Instagram AR effect for artist Headie One

British artist Headie One is the latest musician to experiment with an augmented-reality (AR) camera effect in a social app – in his case, Instagram. It’s based on the artwork from his new mixtape ‘Music x Road’: a reflective mask and chest-tattoo that fans can superimpose on themselves for the purpose of Insta amusement. What’s […]

Startup Resonoo is putting AI to work on spotting hit songs

Back in May 2018, Music Ally spotted a new startup called OptimiseLab, which was building “AI technology to analyse, improve, and compose music”. Initially, it was focusing on the first of those: a tool that “accurately predicts music popularity scores and provides customised advice on song improvement”. 15 months on, and OptimiseLab has just rebranded to Resonoo, […]

Partisan co-founder talks music-licensing for podcasts

When Music Ally and British industry body the BPI held an event about music and podcasts earlier this year, one of the main talking points was about the difficulty of licensing music for podcasts. “Rights are a disaster,” being just the snappiest summary of the current situation. Now podcasting-industry site Hot Pod News has been talking […]

Spotify can now share 15-second music clips to Facebook stories

The ability to share songs to ‘stories’ posts on Instagram has become a regular announcement by the various streaming services. Now Spotify is improving its integration with Facebook’s stories feature, by adding the actual music. “Today, we’re rolling out a more powerful way to connect with fans on Facebook Stories — with 15-second song previews,” announced Spotify […]

Kilimanjaro Live responds to critics of Ed Sheeran resale policy

Within the music industry, Ed Sheeran and promotions firm Kilimanjaro Live have won plenty of praise for their stance against ticket touting. Not just for criticising the practice, but for taking action – helping fans with a genuine reason for reselling tickets to do it, while also clamping down on those sold through secondary platform […]

Vroom! Rick Ross gets his own racing game on Facebook

Is Facebook gaming still a thing? After a decade of ignoring Music Ally’s FarmVille farm, we don’t dare log back in to find out what became of our crops and animals. But yes, Facebook gaming IS still a thing: the social network’s catalogue of ‘instant games’ now sits within a dedicated gaming tab on the […]

Mabel and Marshmello flex their curation skills on Apple Music

Are streaming exclusives dead? Not quite, but they tend to veer towards the promotional side of things nowadays: an album will be available everywhere, but (for example) live EPs are fair game for single-service exclusives. Witness Mabel’s ‘Stripped Session’ acoustic EP, which is exclusive to Apple Music. She is also the latest artist to turn […]

African music-streaming service Boomplay now has 53m users

Boomplay has become one of the most prominent music-streaming services to have launched in Africa, and now it has announced a new figure for its growth. It now claims to have more than 53 million users, up from 42 million in April this year, when the company raised a $20m funding round. Boomplay also says that […]

Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ sets another new record… in China

It’s a week since the release of the new Taylor Swift album ‘Lover’, so we’ll be looking out for announcements about its sales and streams. The first official word today on the album’s performance has a very specific focus though: China. Universal Music has put out a press release celebrating the fact that ’Taylor Swift’s […]

Spotify and YouTube Music top latest music-apps downloads chart

App-analytics firm SensorTower has been casting its eye over the music world again: publishing its estimates for the most-downloaded music apps globally in July. Its stats come from analysis of Apple and Google’s app stores, although not other third-party Android app stores (notably in China, where those stores are extremely popular). Spotify tops the chart covering overall […]

New music revenues in India, from sync to digital merch

On the first day of the All About Music conference in Mumbai, IMI boss Blaise Fernandes cited an “underexploited” public performance market as one of the drivers of growth that will help steer India in its quest to become one of the world’s top ten biggest music markets by 2022. On the second day, at […]

Vevo strikes a new distribution deal for smart TVs

Have you heard of Vewd? It’s a new name to Music Ally too, but that’s perhaps unsurprising: we haven’t had much reason in the past to write about “the world’s largest smart TV OTT software provider”. So, Vewd provides the ‘smarts’ for TVs and set-top devices made by Sony, Philips, TiVo and other manufacturers, to the […]

Just like TikTok, Smule is bigger than you think in India

Yesterday was the second day of the All About Music conference in Mumbai, exploring various facets of the music industry’s development in India. Among the speakers was Jesse Gillette, SVP of business development at Smule, one of the longest-established social-music apps companies. The session yielded some interesting stats on its scale in India. Smule has 40 million users […]

Jamiphy says it’ll be ‘TikTok for musicians’ – including AIs

Startup Jamiphy’s website is currently deliberately enigmatic: simply showing a logo and a screenshot of a mobile app with a musician playing guitar, and a string of emojis that look like feedback from people watching a video livestream. The company’s profile on investment site AngelList fleshes that out a bit though: Jamiphy is based in San Francisco, and […]

Production-music startup Soundstripe raises $2m

It feels like a matter of months since we were writing about Nashville production-music startup Soundstripe raising a $4m funding round… mainly because it IS just a matter of months. That round in May 2019 is now being followed by another $2m of investment, from Craft Ventures. That’s a good score for Soundstripe: the VC firm is run […]

Vampr shoots past $100k in its equity-crowdfunding campaign

Startup Vampr has been around since 2016, as one of the startups hoping to create a ‘LinkedIn for musicians’ industry-focused social network. It has since raised $900k of funding from angel investors and industry executives, but in 2019 the company is turning to the crowd for more money. Vampr has launched an equity-crowdfunding campaign this week using […]

Report: TikTok is testing a native audience network for ads

If TikTok is going to pay sizeable royalties to music rightsholders at some point, it’s going to need sizeable revenues, with advertising likely to loom large. So, AdWeek’s report on the company’s plans should make interesting reading for the music industry. “A trove of newly discovered developer documents reveal the platform has rolled out a native audience […]

Startup Kena·ai is creating an AI ‘personal music teacher’

Music Ally has written a fair bit about artificial intelligence (AI) technology being used to generate music. What about teaching humans to play music? That’s the goal of a new San Francisco startup called Kena·ai. The company is developing what it describes as “an Artificial-Intelligence personal music teacher” capable of “giving real-time feedback on practice sessions, […]

Spotify surveys artists on how to expand its provider directory

Spotify’s ‘Provider Directory’ is its list of “preferred” and “recommended” artist and label distribution services: something we’ve reported on in the past as new companies have been added. Spotify appears to be mulling an expansion of that section of its website to include other kinds of services, however. A survey linked to from the directory asks people […]

Tencent Music under pressure over exclusive licensing deals

One of the quirks of China’s music-streaming market has been the system of exclusive licensing deals: where a label will license its catalogue exclusively to one streaming firm, which will then sub-license it to its rivals. There has been talk for several months of the system being done away with at the behest of regulators. […]

No, ‘Old Town Road’ may not have been THE summer smash of 2019

It seems silly to raise the question of what was the biggest hit of summer 2019, given the chart dominance of ‘Old Town Road’ in various parts of the world in recent months. Yet here’s the thing: it wasn’t the most-streamed song of the summer on Spotify or on YouTube. Both services have put out their global charts […]

Indian music industry debates potential for paid music subs

“I think we’re on course,” said Blaise Fernandes, the president and CEO of India’s official recorded music industry body the Indian Music Industry, when asked on a status update on the country’s plan to break into the top ten of the world’s biggest music markets by 2022, at this year’s edition of the annual All […]

Amuse CEO talks growth, Old Town Road and artist-friendly deals

“What have you done for me lately?” Diego Farias, CEO of music distributor and label Amuse, is on the other end of a video call to Music Ally, singing the chorus of Janet Jackson’s classic track with a smile on his face, but thankfully no wardrobe malfunctions with his clothing. It’s not (just) for the […]

Facebook reportedly working on new Instagram spin-off: Threads

It always sounds like big news when Facebook is ‘secretly’ working on a new standalone app, but experience has taught us that such apps often end up quietly shutting down – perhaps useful for experimental purposes, but not exactly making a dent in the mobile-social landscape. Slingshot, Riff, Rooms, Moments… Anyway, that’s useful context not […]

Billie Eilish to play a virtual-reality gig in Oculus Venues

Billie Eilish is the latest artist playing a concert that will be streamed in virtual reality. The gig will take place on 3 September in Madrid, and then later that evening will be broadcast in Facebook’s ‘Oculus Venues’ app for its Oculus Go and Oculus Quest headsets. The concert is the result of a partnership with startup […]

Major Lazer remix Fortnite music and launch in-game pack

After Marshmello and Weezer, the latest artist to launch a high-profile collaboration with video-game Fortnite is Major Lazer. The Diplo-led group have remixed two of the tracks that players hear in Fortnite’s ‘lobby’ – ‘Default Vibe’ and ‘Default Fire’. Meanwhile, the game’s publisher Epic Games has created a ‘Lazerism’ set of virtual items, including a […]

Smart speaker market may have declined in the US last quarter

If you’ve been following the smart-speakers market with interest, you’ll have seen this coming a few months ago: Chinese tech firm Baidu is now selling more of these devices than Google is. Well, that’s what research firm Canalys claims, anyway. But its latest report also points to a potentially-worrying decline in shipments in the US. […]

Taylor Swift drops ‘Lover’ video ahead of album release

What’s that? Taylor Swift has a new album out? You’d think someone in the media and/or streaming-service world would have told you, right? Just joking: ‘Lover’ is inescapable this week, with a full complement of DSP activations and media excitement for Swift’s first post-Big-Machine album. One of the key planks in the promotional strategy was […]

Startup Audoo adds more industry veterans to its advisory board

Audoo is one of the startups trying to ensure musicians get paid the royalties due to them – in its case, by developing tech to monitor music usage with a device placed in gyms, cafes and other public venues that feeds information back to collecting societies on what tracks have been played. Now the company is […]

Techstars Music 2020 kicks off: ‘We will look at everything!’

“We want to invest in a game where the playing of the game includes all the roles of the music business, and the output of the game is real music and real pop stars. I’ve been trying to make this investment for three years. I feel it’s inevitable…” If that startup exists, Bob Moczydlowsky, MD […]

Taylor Swift has pre-sold nearly 1m copies of ‘Lover’ album

Amid all the hubbub around the various streaming services’ activations around Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Lover’ it shouldn’t be forgotten that she’s one of the artists still capable of shifting a LOT of album sales. Variety has the scoop on how ‘Lover’ is doing, courtesy of a chat with Republic Records’ Monte Lipman. “The anticipation of […]

Mark Ronson is releasing an interactive Instagram music video

As Facebook has continued to sign music-licensing deals that include Instagram, so artists and labels have been thinking about what more they can do with music and videos on the popular social app. Mark Ronson is the latest example of an artist to benefit: his ‘Pieces of Us’ track with King Princess is getting an […]

Distributors on the move: The Orchard Japan plus Ditto X tour

Two prominent music distributors are announcing their latest globetrotting plans. For The Orchard, that means opening an office in Tokyo to fully establish The Orchard Japan. It’ll be led by former Amazon Music exec Yuuki Kaneko, who’s The Orchard’s VP, Japan. The new division will focus on offering its distribution and other services to Japanese […]

SiriusXM debuts $4-a-month streaming subscription for students

SiriusXM is the latest company trying to tempt students into paid subscriptions. In its case, the satellite-radio company is offering a new $4-a-month streaming package for students, which will offer a bundle of its music and talk stations to stream on smartphones, other in-home devices, and the SiriusXM web player. The pitch is this: “Today’s […]

BTS fuelled Big Hit Entertainment surge in first half of 2019

Korean music firm Big Hit Entertainment held its latest media briefing yesterday, and dropped some impressive numbers to show how its business is surging in 2019. The company’s revenues in the first half of 2019 were more than 200bn Won (around $166m) – already more than Big Hit’s revenues for the whole of 2018. And […]

Super Hi-Fi wants to revamp music-streaming with AI… inspired by radio

Of all the startup demos I’ve been given over the last decade working for Music Ally, Super Hi-Fi’s is the first that involves listening to Seal’s 1990s hit ‘Crazy’ being mixed into classic jazz cut ‘Monk’s Dream’ by Thelonious Monk. Oh, and it’s an AI doing the mixing, not a human. Super Hi-Fi isn’t an […]

Spotify creates its own daily-news podcast in Colombia

We reported yesterday on the launch of a new, daily true-crime podcast by Spotify’s recently-acquired Parcast studio. Now Spotify is launching another daily podcast – in Colombia. It’s called ‘El Primer Café‘, and the show is a collaboration with Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. Co-hosted by broadcast journalist María Beatriz Echandía and DJ / podcaster Félix […]

Korn will play a virtual concert in AdventureQuest games

When Marshmello played a concert in the game Fortnite earlier this year, he pulled a virtual crowd of 10.7 million people. Korn won’t have expected that scale of audience for their own virtual in-game shows yesterday, but the move shows that in the wake of the Marshmello success, other games and other artists are exploring the […]

Taylor Swift to reveal new lyrics through her Spotify playlist

When we wrote last week about YouTube’s plans to host a live online event with Taylor Swift for the release of her new album ‘Lover’, we pointed out that other streaming services would be doing their own activations around the release. Spotify revealed its plans yesterday: a playlist called ‘Love, Taylor: The Lover Enhanced Album’. It’s starting […]

Migos star Offset buys a stake in esports crew FaZe Clan

The list of musicians who’ve invested in esports teams is growing longer by the month. Drake, The Weeknd, Will Smith, Drake (again), Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons are among those who’ve acquired stakes in the esports business so far. Now you can add Offset, of hip-hop trio Migos. He’s investing in one of the most famous esports franchises, FaZe Clan, taking an undisclosed stake […]

Tidal adds social features (oh, and threatens to sue Norway)

Tidal is the latest music-streaming service to hop onto the ‘stories’ social-media bandwagon. Its mobile app can now share music (tracks, albums, artists and playlists) to Instagram and Facebook stories, while videos can also be shared to Instagram stories. The video aspect is what’s new, compared to similar integrations from rivals: Tidal users will be able to […]

Apple Music’s Shazam Discovery Top 50 chart focuses on emerging artists

Apple Music is getting a new weekly chart, driven by data from Shazam, the music-identification app that Apple acquired in September 2018. The chart is called Shazam Discovery Top 50, and is a global chart ranking 50 “up-and-coming songs from breaking artists”, based on what Shazam’s users have been tagging that week. The chart will […]

Spotify Untold book may become a TV show after screen rights optioned

Swedish authors Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud have made a splash with their book ‘Spotify Inifrån’ (‘Spotify Untold’), which promised to tell the inside story of Spotify’s rise to power. Now that book could be heading to the small screen. TV firm Yellow Bird UK, which is part of production giant Banijay Group, has optioned the […]

Spotify appears to be testing ‘stories’ for its playlists

Independent researcher Jane Manchun Wong has an excellent job: digging around in the code of smartphone apps to root out as-yet-unannounced new features. Her latest blog post is the result of a furtle within Spotify’s Android app. “Spotify is working on bringing Stories to Playlists, providing artists a way to connect with listeners through storytelling,” wrote Wong. […]

Spotify’s Parcast launches a daily true-crime podcast

Spotify paid around $56m to acquire podcast production firm Parcast earlier this year, so what is the streaming service getting for its money? This week, it’s getting a brand new podcast called ‘Today In True Crime’, which as the name implies, will be a daily show. “Crime never takes a day off, and neither do we,” as […]

Apple reportedly spending $6bn on content for Apple TV+

The Financial Times and Bloomberg have come out with a pair of well-briefed scoops on Apple’s plans for its video-streaming service Apple TV+. The FT reported that Apple has committed $6bn to make original TV shows and films for the service, which will launch later this year – still a long way behind Netflix’s estimated $15bn content […]

Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ finally hits number one in the US

After nine weeks hovering impatiently at number two in the US singles chart, Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ has finally toppled Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ from the summit, securing her a first number one in her home country. Billboard reported that 39.1m US streams and 20k download sales – up 10% and 11% week-on-week respectively – […]

Chance the Rapper reaches 1bn-streams milestone on SoundCloud

Eight years after uploading his first track to SoundCloud, Chance the Rapper has passed the milestone of 1bn streams on the service. It’s no surprise that SoundCloud is shouting about it: Chance is ‘the first independent SoundCloud Premier creator’ to reach that total on its platform. It’s a reminder of an artist that SoundCloud considers […]

The mysterious tale of disappearing viral hit ‘Omae Wa Mou’

It’s not entirely accurate to describe deadman死人’s track ‘Omae Wa Mou’ as having disappeared: you can still easily find it on YouTube. But Rolling Stone has published an excellent analysis of the track’s TikTok-fuelled surge to top spot on Spotify’s Viral 50 chart, before being abruptly removed from the streaming service after a copyright-infringement claim. It’s a […]

Google tests Fundo, a new take on fan-funding for YouTube stars

Fundo is a new project in beta from Google’s experimental division Area 120, although its bare-bones website doesn’t divulge much information about it. “If you’re a creator on YouTube or other platforms and you’re interested in new ways to engage your audience, please request an invitation,” it explains, with a link to a form that reveals […]

Telco Verizon creates a New York pop-up for Shawn Mendes

We’re used to companies like Spotify building pop-up installations for artists: Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Aya Nakamura have all got the pop-up treatment from the streaming service. Now US telco Verizon is getting in on the act. This weekend it will host ‘This is Shawn’ in New York, as part of its partnership with […]

African telco MTN has high hopes for MusicTime music service

MTN in Africa has been one of the telcos most engaged with music in recent times. It started offering Tidal to its customers in Uganda through a bundle partnership announced in August 2018, then in November it acquired streaming service Simfy, which although defunct in Europe since 2015 had continued to exist in Africa. In December, MTN used […]

eMarketer says voice-assistant use is reaching ‘critical mass’

Hey Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, DuerOS and other voice assistants: how popular ARE you in 2019? Research firm eMarketer has published some new numbers for use of this technology in the US. “We estimate that 111.8 million people in the US will use a voice assistant at least monthly this year, up 9.5% from 102.0 million in […]

Spotify upgrades family plan with new features (but same price… for now)

Last week, it was reported that Spotify will test a price increase for its family-plan subscription in Scandinavia. This morning, the company is announcing that it is launching an “upgraded” version of the plan globally, although the press release sent out by Spotify made it clear in the very first paragraph that this is “for […]

YouTube to host ‘Lover’s Lounge’ live event for Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Lover’ drops on 23 August, and she has teamed up with YouTube for a live-streamed event the day before called ‘Lover’s Lounge (Live)’. It’ll see Swift performing a new track from the album, taking part in a Q&A, and plugging her collaboration with Stella McCartney on a new clothing range. At […]

TikTok users try to figure out its recommendation algorithm

Since the earliest days of people becoming famous on YouTube, there’s been intent debate about how the platform’s recommendation algorithm works and, as a follow-on, how to game that algorithm to get more views. It’s the same for any big digital service, of course. And now TikTok is no different. Vice has a good feature […]

YouTube manual-claiming copyright tool gets more changes

The news that YouTube is making changes to the way its copyright-claims process works for music used in videos sounds like big news, but the caveat in this case is that the changes apply to ‘manual’ claims. That’s as opposed to automated claims using its Content ID system, which account for the “vast majority” of […]

DSPs and NMPA filings are in over new CRB royalty rates

Breaking news: there isn’t just one appeal against the new songwriter-royalty rates proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board in the US. The one from Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon we all know about – it was officially filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and if you’re keen you can read […]

Report: Spotify to test 13% rise in family-plan subscription

Spotify will launch another test of a subscription price-increase in Scandinavia, according to a Bloomberg report published yesterday. While the company hasn’t itself announced the plans, Bloomberg cited several ‘people familiar with the matter’ as suggesting that the test will see the cost of a family plan rising by around 13% – so from €14.99 a month […]

Report claims that adult-dating scammers are targeting TikTok

TikTok’s latest headache? It’s the latest platform to be targeted by scammers, attracted by its sharp growth in users. Cybersecurity firm Tenable has published a blog post outlining a scam involving ‘adult-dating’ services. “These profiles feature stolen videos from sources like Instagram and Snapchat, featuring women dancing, posing in bikinis, working out or just going about their […]

Hi-res streaming service Qobuz says it has 25k US listeners

Despite all the industry-conference panels predicting that high-resolution music is the next big leap for our industry, the idea has yet to really catch fire with mainstream listeners. For sure, artists and labels like the idea of music sounding like it did in the recording studio; companies like MQA have been working hard to put […]

eMarketer says teens are ditching Facebook in France and Germany

It feels like people have been predicting a ‘teen flight’ from Facebook for years now – probably because they have. eMarketer is the latest research firm trying to back up the theory with some actual data, this time based on France and Germany. It claims that this year, the total number of Facebook users in France […]

UK’s ‘Get It Right’ piracy campaign enlists influencers

In the recent lobbying around the European Union’s new copyright directive and its Article 13, the music industry and YouTubers were usually on opposite sides of the argument. YouTube actively encouraged its creators to protest against some of the planned changes, and a number took up cudgels in its defence. So here’s an interesting thing […]

Pandora boosts podcasts catalogue with open submission tool

Spotify just brought its podcast analytics out of beta, but now Pandora is making its latest move in spoken-word content: by inviting podcasters to submit their shows to its platform. The tool is available within Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) website, with podcasters able to submit their shows’ RSS-feed URLs, answer “a few easy questions” about their […]

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