About that Lyor Cohen YouTube blog: “The same old talking points dressed up”?

Lyor Cohen’s blog for YouTube (which we ran a news alert on yesterday evening) was always going to ruffle feathers. But then again Cohen has never been one to not ruffle feathers. Just under a year into the job as head of music at the video-sharing platform, this blog offered his most detailed overview of […]

YouTube’s Lyor Cohen: ‘The focus on copyright safe harbours is a distraction’

YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen has admitted that “there’s still a disconnect between YouTube and the rest of the industry” but maintains that the company is keen to continue building bridges with music rightsholders. “I get why some in the music industry would be skeptical of their relationship with YouTube. They were late to […]

Tomplay reaches 50k musicians with interactive sheet music

Sheet music is perhaps the oldest element of the modern music ‘industry’ as we know it, but it’s no surprise to find a number of startups exploring how it can evolve in the digital world. Swiss firm Tomplay is one of them, and it’s trying to do more than simply digitise sheet music. Like a […]

Electric Jukebox debuts Roxi, raises $14m and plans 2018 IPO

British digital-music firm Electric Jukebox has sprung a surprise this morning, claiming that it is in the process of closing a $14m funding round that will prepare the way for an IPO in the first half of 2018. The claim came as the company unveiled its second hardware/software product, Roxi, which blends music-streaming with karaoke […]

Loudr boss: Spotify songwriter settlement is just a ‘speeding ticket’

When Spotify agreed a $43.4m deal in May this year to settle a class-action suit brought against it over mechanical royalty payments – in a case combining lawsuits filed by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick – it was no doubt hoping that would end negative coverage of its songwriter-royalties issues. For Chris Crawford, co-founder and […]

Fender on its music-learning move: ‘We’re not Guitar Hero’

“This fundamentally changes the nature of how we talk to beginner guitar players. We’ve always sold them guitars and amps, but we’ve never been part of the learning process other than ‘here’s the instrument’. Now we’re saying come back: we’ll teach you how to use it…” Chances are you know Fender makes guitars and amps, […]

Jellynote talks edtech, music publishers and AI potential

At first glance, Jellynote may look like the latest, polished app to help people learn to play guitar, piano and other instruments. Yet there is more to the company than meets the eye, from its use of machine-learning technology to its plans to evolve into a fully-fledged social platform for musicians. Its CEO Martijn Tjho […]

Solfegio aims to get digital natives playing music together

There are now quite a few apps that help people to learn instruments like the piano and guitar alone. Startup Solfegio is trying to widen out this kind of experience to also include groups and even entire classrooms of students. Formerly known as SongBand, the company was founded by Toms Rusovs, Lauma Kazaka and Guntis […]

Startup Dodeka rethinks the keyboard… and music notation

Swiss firm Dodeka is one of the startups exploring music edtech with a mixture of hardware and software. And in this case, with a new form of music notation too. Founded by father-and-son team Jacques-Daniel Rochat and Josua Rochat, the company started with the idea of making it easier to learn music through notation that […]

SoundCloud secures new investment – and gets a new CEO

SoundCloud has secured new investment from merchant bank The Raine Group and investment firm Temasek, with former Vimeo boss Kerry Trainor taking over as CEO as part of the deal. SoundCloud’s existing CEO, co-founder Alexander Ljung, will be staying at the company as chairman of the board. Trainor is bringing his former Vimeo colleague Michael […]

Snap shares fall as net losses continue to grow

Snapchat’s parent company Snap reported its latest quarterly financial results overnight, and the sight of its share-price plummeting tells you what the markets thought of the figures. The company’s revenues were up 153% year-on-year to $181.7m, but its net losses increased even more sharply: from $115.9m in Q2 last year to $443.1m last quarter. The […]

Why ‘A a a a a Very Good Song’ is becoming an iTunes hit

A track called ‘Why ‘A a a a a Very Good Song’ is 10 minutes of silence. Not in a John Cage conceptual way, but for purely practical purposes. Samir Rezhami created the track in response to a bug (or feature!) that sees iPhones start playing a user’s music library in alphabetical order when the […]

Google launches Hip-Hop Doodle with Fab 5 Freddy and Cey Adams

If you find yourself on Google’s homepage today, be warned, you may not be getting back to work quickly. The company’s latest ‘doodle’ is devoted to hip-hop: a pair of decks to mix with, and a virtual crate of tracks with some of the genre’s most-recognisable samples from its history. Hip-hop veterans Fab 5 Freddy […]

Amazon prepares to expand ticketing ambitions to the US

Amazon’s ambition to do more around concert ticketing is hardly a secret: Amazon Tickets has been operating in the UK for some time now, and is increasingly prominent there through partnerships with venues. In January, the company hired former WMG exec Lawrence Peryer as its director of tickets, while previous job ads revealed an intent […]

Neil Finn talks livestreams, tech and social media’s evolution

As a founding member of both Split Enz and Crowded House, Neil Finn is New Zealand’s most successful musical export, and a multi-award-winning songwriter. As well as being hugely prolific, he was an early convert to the power of live streaming, regularly broadcasting performances since 2001. His latest project is a series of Friday-evening (NZ […]

ICO fundraising continues despite US regulatory warning

We’ve been writing a bit more about initial coin offerings (ICOs) recently. In the blockchain world, they’re a way for a startup to raise money by creating and selling their own cryptocurrencies, without having to run the gamut of regulations that a traditional IPO would have to. Or at least, that was the theory: a […]

Disney pulling out of Netflix to launch own video service

The differences between the video and music-streaming worlds have been highlighted again, with the news that Disney is pulling its content from Netflix at the end of 2018. Why? Because the company is planning to launch its own video-streaming service in the 2019, starting in the US. Disney is buying a majority stake in tech […]

First projects from Kickstarter ‘Make Vinyl’ initiative go live

When we interviewed Kickstarter head of music Molly Neuman last September, she made it clear that partnerships were high on her agenda. One of the first was with vinyl-crowdfunding startup Qrates for an initiative called ‘Make Vinyl’ which is exactly what it sounds like: encouraging artists to crowdfund vinyl releases on Kickstarter, which are then […]

Instagram expands live-video feature to two people at once

Instagram is adding something to its live-video broadcasting feature: an extra person. The app is testing allowing people to add another Instagram user to their broadcast in split-screen, which could be used for one-to-one video-chats (think FaceTime) or for collaborative broadcasts. “After we launched the first version of Live [last November], we noticed that a […]

Latest Heard Well album tops iTunes charts in south-east Asia

Compilations label Heard Well is topping the charts in south-east Asia with its latest release ‘Litunes’. As with its other albums, this one is curated by an online influencer. Or rather, a pair of them: brother-and-sister duo Ranz Kyle and Nian Guerrero, who make dance videos on YouTube under the name Ranz and Niana. ‘Litunes’ […]

Adele has reportedly invested in VR startup MelodyVR

British virtual-reality startup MelodyVR, which focuses on music, is reportedly (ahem) rolling in the deep funding-wise, after Adele became its latest investor. At least, this is according to the Evening Standard newspaper, which reported that the musician invested in MelodyVR’s parent company EVR Holdings “through a nominee account so her name does not show up […]

Tidal hires former Kobalt president Richard Sanders as CEO

Tidal has a new CEO. An evergreen sentence that we get to use at least one or two times a year, it seems, for a role that’s become the music-streaming industry’s equivalent of Spinal Tap’s drummers. The latest incumbent is Richard Sanders, who was president of Kobalt Music Group until earlier this year, with a […]

AI Music reveals its plans for ‘shape-changing songs’

In January this year, Music Ally spotted a new artificial-intelligence music startup pop up on investment site Angellist. Called AI Music, the London-based firm said it was “evolving music from a static, one-directional interaction to one of dynamic co-creation”, with its CEO Siavash Mahdavi having a background in 3D printing and an engineering doctorate in […]

Patreon set to process $150m of payouts in 2017

Crowdfunding platform Patreon has been talking about its growth for a profile on The Verge, with some new stats to digest. “Half its patrons and creators joined in the past year, and it’s set to process $150 million in 2017, compared to $100 million total over the past three years,” reported the site. It’s also […]

LiveXLive signs up online influencer Amanda Cerny

LiveXLive describes itself as a ‘premium live-music streaming network’ but it’s also making a name for itself working with online influencers. We reported in June about its deal with former Vine star Andrew ‘King Bach’ Bachelor to make an original show for the network, but now it’s expanding its relationship with fellow social star Amanda […]

Startup Keezy’s Jammer app has a built-in music store

Keezy is the developer behind the excellent Keezy Drummer and Keezy Classic apps, which are among the most accessible music-making apps available on iOS. Now it’s working on something with more interest for the music industry: an app called Jammer that will have its own built-in store. It popped up on our App Shopper RSS […]

‘See You Again’ share up for grabs on Royalty Exchange

Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’ was a monster hit on streaming services, including unseating ‘Gangnam Style’ as the most-viewed YouTube video – at least until ‘Despacito’ turned up. Now the track has become one of the most high-profile songs to appear on Royalty Exchange, where a share of its digital-performance royalties is being auctioned off […]

200+ artists and labels join Bandcamp’s donations day

Earlier this week we reported on D2C platform Bandcamp’s plans to protest against US president Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. The company is donating 100% of its share of sales today (Friday 4 August) to the Transgender Law Center (TLC) to show its disgust for Trump’s new policy, […]

Ujo Music on blockchain: ‘It’s such an uphill battle with existing companies’

Last month, dance artist RAC – aka André Anjos – released his new album EGO through the usual channels. But he also launched his own webstore selling the album using the Ether cryptocurrency. This was billed as the first full-length album to be distributed using the Ethereum blockchain platform. RAC worked with startup Ujo Music, […]

Blokur talks blockchain music: ‘The technology on its own is not the whole picture’

A reminder that the Venn diagram of ‘music people’ and ‘blockchain startup people’ is not a pair of separate circles. Phil Barry, founder of British startup Blokur, was a professional artist making electronic music as Mr Fogg before setting up his own independent label. Barry went on to lead the team of consultants working on […]

Snapchat may be losing the attention of advertising agencies

There has been plenty of discussion this week about Snap, Inc’s share price, which has reached a record low following the Snapchat parent company’s IPO earlier this year. Now CNBC has published an article based on interviews with ad-agency executives, which flags some warning signs for the company’s business model. The post Snapchat may be […]

A year after launch, Instagram publishes new Stories stats

It’s now a year since Instagram added its (by which we mean Snapchat’s) ‘Stories’ feature, for people to share quicker, rawer photos and videos for a short period of time. 12 months on, and the feature now has 250 million daily active users, and has been one of the factors in the lustre-loss of Snapchat […]

Facebook recruiting music publishing biz-dev manager for EMEA

Facebook’s music-licensing ambitions continue, with news that the social network is recruiting a music publishing business development manager for the EMEA region. The London-based role requires someone who is “passionate about the changing music ecosystem, technology and supporting our goal of connecting people through social media, the mobile eco-system and business strategy”, and will lead […]

Brazilian artist Anitta signs with Shots Studios in video deal

Anitta and her team are doing a pretty good job already of building her audience through online videos: The Brazilian singer’s YouTube channel has 5.1 million subscribers and just under 1.7bn views so far. Now she has signed a deal with digital-video agency Shots Studios, which will be managing her and developing more video content. […]

RIAA: mixtapes site Spinrilla ‘ineligible’ for safe harbour

US industry body the RIAA is continuing its action against digital-mixtapes site Spinrilla, claiming that the site should not be eligible for DMCA safe-harbour protection. In a new court filing, the body claims that Spinrilla has not registered a ‘designated agent’ with the US Copyright Office, in order to field infringement notifications from rightsholders. Nor […]

Gracenote brings Global Music Data to Europe and Latin America

Now safely berthed within Nielsen, Gracenote has announced that it is launching its Global Music Data product in Europe and Latin America, following its debut in the US in February. The company is pitching it as “the global database of record for the music industry” with data on genres, artists, albums, recordings, artist associations and […]

Bandcamp supports trans rights with day of donations

Artist-stores platform Bandcamp has announced that it will be donating 100% of its share of sales this Friday (4 August) to the Transgender Law Center (TLC). It’s the company’s protest against US president Donald Trump’s announcement last week that transgender troops would no longer be able to serve in the armed forces. “We support our […]

Spotify now at 60m subscribers as it prepares new podcasts push

Spotify reached its latest milestone yesterday: 60 million paying subscribers. Reported in the Financial Times and confirmed to Music Ally by Spotify, the figure means Spotify has added 12 million paying subscribers in 2017 to date, with its last financial results revealing that it ended 2016 with 48 million. Having reached 50 million subscribers in […]

Could blockchain power an industry-wide music startup sandbox?

One of the potential benefits of blockchain technology could be its ability to power an industry-wide ‘sandbox’ of pre-cleared music for startups to experiment with. That’s according to several interviewees for Music Ally’s blockchain report, which was published this week for our subscribers. The post Could blockchain power an industry-wide music startup sandbox? appeared first […]

Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler is stepping down

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is looking for a new CEO, after its current boss Yancey Strickler revealed he is stepping down from the role. Strickler was one of Kickstarter’s three co-founders in 2009, and became CEO in 2014 before guiding the company into its current incarnation as a public benefit corporation (PBC). Strickler stressed the positives […]

Twitter user growth stalls while revenues decline

It looks like the much-discussed Trump bump is over for Twitter, with the company’s latest quarterly financial results flashing a number of warning lights. Twitter now has 328 million monthly active users (MAUs), which is up 5% year-on-year, but there was no growth between the first and second quarters of this year. And in fact, […]

Facebook Messenger gets natural-language and payments features

Facebook has launched the latest update to its Messenger Platform for developers creating apps and bots for its messaging app. Version 2.1’s new features include built-in natural language processing (NLP) to automatically detect certain phrases and information in messages from users: hello, bye, thanks, date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, email and […]

Esperanza Spalding to record new album on Facebook Live

From in-studio snaps to live performances and webchats, artists have been digitally giving fans insights into their recording process for some time. Jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is going a few steps further though: she’s planning to write and record her next album in the studio over a 77-hour period, while broadcasting the entire experience on […]

French market slips 2.3% with digital now 55% of music revenues

New figures published by French industry body SNEP show that digital is now the biggest part of the French recorded music market. In the first six months of 2017, it accounted for 55% of recorded music revenues in the country. Unlike in other major territories, streaming is not yet managing to counter the physical and […]

YouTube Red and Google Play Music to merge says Lyor Cohen

Why does Google need to have two music-subscription services? It’s a question that’s been discussed by a fair few music-industry people in recent years. Now it seems that YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen has been asking the same question. And, indeed, answering it with a new plan. “The important thing is combining YouTube […]

Facebook tipped to launch its own smart speaker in 2018

Amazon and Google have their own smart speakers with Apple’s HomePod set to join them by the end of 2017, as well as devices for China from the various tech giants there. It was only a matter of time before rumours about Facebook joining the voice-activated party started buzzing. Taiwanese news site DigiTimes claims that […]

Jay-Z to release a cassette version of ‘4.44’ album

Get your spooling-pencils ready! Jay-Z’s latest album ‘4.44’ may still be missing from Spotify, but it’s getting a new physical release as a cassette. Virgin EMI Records promoted the format in a tweet yesterday, with fans who pre-order the £7 version before 4 August to be entered into a draw to win tickets to watch […]

Facebook buys copyright-protection startup Source3

Facebook is stepping up its efforts to tackle the issue of copyrighted videos being uploaded to the social network without permission from their rightsholders. The company has acquired a startup called Source3, co-founded by Patrick Sullivan, Ben Cockerham and Scott Sellwood, who sold their previous startup music-licensing firm RightsFlow to YouTube in 2011. What is […]

Mobile-video ad-spending tipped to overtake desktop in 2018

The amount of money spent globally on mobile video ads is expected to overtake that spent on desktop video ads next year. The forecast comes from research firm Zenith, which claims that mobile video ad-spending will grow by 49% to just under $18bn in 2018, compared to a 1.5% decline in desktop video ad-spending. The […]

Blockchain startup Voise prepares for alpha-client launch

We wrote about blockchain/music startup Voise in June when we spotted its profile on an investment site: the Spanish-headquartered firm is working on a decentralised music streaming and downloading platform for independent artists. Now the company has published the latest version of its roadmap, laying out plans to launch an alpha version of its web […]

Pitchfork launches a virtual-reality channel with Inception

Pitchfork is the latest music brand exploring the potential for virtual reality. It is launching its own channel within the VR app of startup Inception. “Music videos have been a driver in the digital video space for a decade, and we see huge potential in expanding the art form into this much more immersive format,” […]

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