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 […]

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 […]

Snap to launch its third-generation Spectacles this autumn

Snapchat parent company Snap launched its first set of ‘Spectacles’ in late 2016, with a second generation of the product debuting in April 2018. Now Snap has shown off version three, which will go on sale this autumn. The big news is that the specs now have two HD cameras, capable of shooting snaps in 3D […]

Spotify brings its podcast analytics out of beta

In early October 2018, Spotify launched a version of its analytics for podcasters, offering data on their listeners, ‘starts’ and streams – in beta. Now the tool is coming out of beta, and is thus available to anyone distributing their podcast through Spotify. More than 100k podcasts are already accessing the data through its beta, Spotify […]

SoundCloud launches new video series for artists and creators

SoundCloud is the latest music-streaming service using videos to teach artists how to use its platform. The company has launched a nine-part video series called SC101, which will also spawn some live events. It’s describing the series as “an easy, frictionless entry point into SoundCloud’s creator education ecosystem, the SoundCloud Creator Guide, through more accessible video and live […]

IFPI responds to Plácido Domingo sexual-harassment allegations

Opera star and IFPI chairman Plácido Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment by nine women, with dozens of others telling Associated Press that they witnessed such behaviour from him. Its report was published yesterday, with immediate results: the Philadelphia Orchestra has cancelled an invitation to Domingo to perform, while the LA Opera is launching an investigation. As […]

Spotify reportedly in talks with Apple over Siri support

The Siri voice assistant is one of the points of contention in Spotify’s anticompetition complaint against Apple: “‘Siri, can you play that awesome Spotify playlist?’ Siri says no,” as Spotify’s ‘Time to Play Fair’ website put it. Yet Apple’s soon-to-launch iOS 13 software *will* allow non-Apple music-streaming services to properly work with Siri, and thus […]

Tencent Music now has 31m paying online-music users

Tencent Music published its latest financial results yesterday, and they revealed sluggish growth for active users of the company’s three online-music services in China, but a much more-sprightly rise in the number of paid subscribers for those services. The company ended Q2 with 652 million mobile monthly active users across QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, […]

Reports claim Verizon is selling Tumblr for ‘well below $10m’

In May 2013, tech firm Yahoo agreed to buy blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1bn, with the former company’s then-CEO Marissa Meyer promising “not to screw it up”. How did that go? Well, in 2017 Yahoo was bought by US telco Verizon, and now in 2019 Verizon is selling Tumblr again… for reportedly less than $10m. […]

BBC pulls its live-radio stations from TuneIn in the UK

British broadcaster the BBC is removing its live stations from radio-streaming service TuneIn. Well, on most of its platforms, anyway. “This change is driven primarily by the BBC’s efforts to standardise how listeners in the UK access BBC stations, which unfortunately, is something we are unable to accommodate at this time,” is how TuneIn explained the […]

Troy Carter adds more senior hires to team at Q&A

We’ve written several times this year about Troy Carter’s new firm Q&A, a hybrid company offering a blend of management, artist services and distribution to its roster of artists. Now the scale of Carter’s ambition is becoming clear. MBW reports that he has hired Clarissa Reformina (formerly of talent agencies CAA and Paradigm) as Q&A’s VP of […]

Swedish startup Corite launches fan-funding platform for artists

PledgeMusic may have collapsed, but there are other fan-funding startups emerging in its wake. The latest is from Sweden and is called Corite, and it’s one of the growing number of platforms that aim to get fans to invest in songs, and get a share of royalties back in return. “A record label ruled by fans,” […]

DiMA and RLMC warn DoJ off hasty removal of US consent decrees

Just the latest potential shakeup to the US system of music-licensing is the Department of Justice’s antitrust division’s review of the ‘consent decrees’ which govern collecting societies ASCAP and BMI. Now the body that represents streaming services, the Digital Media Association (DiMA) has teamed up with radio-industry body the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) to […]

Feed.fm talks music in fitness apps: ‘It’s about ROI’

Music is proving its value to fitness apps and other health-focused startups, according to Lauren Pufpaf, co-founder and COO of B2B music firm Feed·fm. Health and fitness is a key vertical for her company, which handles licensing and playlist curation through to the APIs / SDKs and analytics required to offer music within such apps. ClassPass, […]

Podcasting app Himalaya spins off HiStudios production firm

Himalaya is one of the independent podcast apps battling to sign up listeners, and like rival Luminary it launched earlier this year with a very-big funding number: $100m of backing, with its lead investor being Chinese podcasts giant Ximalaya. Now the company is ramping up its original production, spinning out an entity called HiStudios that will focus […]

Music Business Association appoints Dr Portia Sabin as new boss

US music-industry trade body the Music Business Association (or Music Biz, as it is often known) will have a new leader from early next month. Dr Portia Sabin will be the organisation’s president from 3 September, taking over from current president James Donio, who will remain in an advisory role after she takes over. Dr Sabin […]

African streaming service Playfre wants to raise $500k-$1m

Nigerian music-streaming service Playfre launched earlier this year, although rather than licensing music directly, it was more of a curatorial/social layer on top of YouTube, from which its music is sourced. CEO Chika Nwaogu has been talking to VentureBurn about the startup’s plans, which include the goal of raising between $500k and $1m of funding. “It will be mainly […]

YouTube and Amazon push for US students’ music subscriptions

The summer holidays are just a couple of weeks in here in the UK where Music Ally is written from, so seeing ‘back to school’ headlines from the US already is a strange experience. Part of that, though, is the upcoming start of another academic year for older students, and music-streaming services are joining the […]

Deezer expands its podcasts pipeline with Blubrry / Libsyn deals

Spotify may suck up much of the media attention around music streaming’s intersection with podcasts, but the company’s rivals are all making their own moves too. Witness two deals announced last week that involve Deezer, which will significantly beef up that service’s catalogue of spoken-word shows. The first is with Libsyn, a company that distributes […]

Apple Music brings its artist analytics out of beta

We’ve heard regular praise for Apple Music’s analytics tools since they launched in 2018 as a beta version. Now the dashboard is coming out of beta and is open to all artists. Also new: there’s an iPhone app for the service alongside its website, matching the strategy adopted by Spotify for its own analytics. That rivalry […]

Earbuds is a startup for sharing celebrities’ music playlists

Once upon a time, there were some interesting startups whose business was based mainly on curated playlists. One of them, Tunigo, was bought by Spotify, and was an important driver for that company’s move into playlisting. Another of them, Songza, was bought by Google, and had an impact within that company’s music services too. But […]

LiveXLive revenues grew in Q2 but its losses widened slightly

US digital music company LiveXLive has published its latest financial results, which show that its revenues grew by 25.1% year-on-year to $9.5m in the second quarter of 2019. However, the company’s net losses also widened slightly, from $10.8m a year ago to just under $11m last quarter. LiveXLive’s cost of sales, at $9m, accounts for nearly […]

9128 is a streaming service focused on ambient/electronic music

One of the interesting industry questions in 2019 concerns the outlook for niche music-streaming services: for example those focused on specific categories like classical, jazz or metal, which are often seen as being under-served by the big global streaming services. Now add ambient/electronic music to the list. There’s a new service called 9128, which is the […]

Sonos revenues grew by 25% last quarter as losses narrowed

Sonos is feeling chipper about its latest financial results: the speaker-maker’s revenues grew by 25% year-on-year to $260m in the second quarter of 2019, including a 61% bump for sales (in dollar terms) of its Sonos One speaker. Sonos sold just under 1.1m products in the last quarter (its fiscal Q3) across its wireless speakers, home […]

M2V: music video finds its new future

Debate surrounds what the first music video actually was, but by the 1970s these “pop promos” had become the playthings of the biggest acts in the world while by the 1980s, after the arrival of MTV, they were the biggest weapons in the promotional arms race for everyone. All the arrival of YouTube in 2005 […]

While She Sleeps launch t-shirt based on Spotify royalties

British rock band While She Sleeps aren’t just a dab hand at this metalcore business: they also have a new sideline as open-source merchandise activists. The band have created a new t-shirt design displaying this message: “One t-shirt is the equivalent to 5000 streams on Spotify. 76% of all music in 2019 is streamed and […]

MelodyVR signs licensing deals with Beggars Group and Domino

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR has added another two labels to its roster of licensing partners: independents Beggars Group and Domino. The deals were announced this morning by MelodyVR’s parent company EVR Holdings, which is a public company in the UK. MelodyVR has also renewed its licensing deal with Aresa, a company representing catalogues from music companies including […]

Indian singer Guru Randhawa teams up with Pitbull… in Spanish

One of the trends Music Ally is keeping an eye on in the streaming era is collaborations that don’t involve Anglo-American artists. Latin America (or at least Spanish-language music, if made in the US) could be the hub for this: think K-Pop or African artists collaborating with Latin stars. Or, indeed, Indian artists. Punjabi singer […]

Executive moves: Adam Block and Per Sundin take new roles

The revolving door between major labels and streaming services continues to spin – and it IS a revolving door: UMG’s recent hiring of Spotify’s Mike Biggane as its EVP of music strategies and tactics shows the flow isn’t one-way. Amazon Music announced yesterday that Adam Block is its new global head of music catalogue. It’s […]

The ‘unintended consequences’ of user-centric streaming payouts

Here’s the thing about the ‘user-centric’ model of music-streaming payouts: it’s nowhere near as simple as a lot of people think it is, on several levels. The idea of each streaming subscriber’s monthly payment (well, the portion of it that is paid out in royalties) being divided only between the artists they have listened to […]

SM Entertainment and Capitol to launch ‘the Avengers of K-Pop’

Well, it’s actually SM Entertainment, Capitol Records AND Caroline who are working together on a new K-Pop supergroup. It’s called SuperM, and will feature members drawn from existing Korean bands SHINee, EXO and NCT 127, as well as Chinese band WayV. And, following the recent Stateside success of BTS and Blackpink, SuperM is very much aimed […]

Gismart tackles drums and DJing in latest ‘music edutainment’ apps

Gismart is one of the companies exploring the potential of music-creation apps, claiming more than 400m downloads so far for apps like Beat Maker Go, Hello Piano and Guitar Play. Its latest two apps launched this week. Go Drums promises to teach people the rudiments of drumming through a collection of mini-games and educational lessons, while DJ […]

Deezer adds more Spanish ‘Deezer Originals’ to its Latin channel

Spotify and YouTube have both staked their claims to be driving the boom in global listening to Latin American music, but other music-streaming services are making plenty of efforts to promote Latin artists too. Deezer’s latest move is the launch of a ‘Deezer Originals’ channel in Spanish, offering exclusive content and artist commentaries. For example, […]

Ticketing service TickPick raises $40m funding round

TickPick started life in 2011 as a secondary ticketing website, but has since expanded into primary ticketing too, working directly with festivals, sporting bodies and other entertainment events in the US. Now the company has raised its first ever round of institutional funding, and it’s a biggish one: $40m from investment firm PWP Growth Equity. […]

WMG boss: streaming isn’t the only reason for industry growth

Warner Music Group published its latest quarterly financials yesterday, with its revenues up 10.4% year-on-year to $1.06bn, including 12.5% growth in its digital revenue to $648m – 61.2% of the total. Within that, WMG’s recorded-music revenue grew by 13.8% to $913m, but its publishing revenue actually fell by 7.5% to $147m – “lower market share and loss […]

Bandzoogle launches fan-subscriptions feature for artists

Artists using the Bandzoogle platform to create their own websites can now offer premium subscriptions to their fans. The new feature launched this week, and enables artists to put content including blog posts, music, videos, photos and merchandise behind their new paywall, with tools to email subscribers included. Bandzoogle also says it will provide analytics on each […]

BBC’s Instagramification is a ‘personalised, data-driven documentary’

Unfortunately only people within the UK can watch Instagramification, a new pilot documentary by British public-service broadcaster the BBC about “the good, the bad and the ugly of the world’s fastest growing social network” (yep, Instagram). But even if you can’t watch it, the concept is interesting: the Beeb is pitching this as a ‘personalised, data-driven […]

Sony CSL is using AI to generate kick-drum tracks

Sony’s Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) in Paris was responsible for one of the first high-profile projects in the modern wave of AI-generated music – Flow Machines, which in 2016 was responsible for the Beatles-esque ‘Daddy’s Car’ and the Great American Songbook-influenced ‘Mr Shadow’. The following year, Spotify hired the leader of the Flow Machines team, François […]

Slipknot’s Corey Taylor criticises music-streaming payouts

Slipknot are back with a new album, a big tour and some nifty Facebook camera effects (as we reported yesterday). But the band’s Corey Taylor has also been having his say on the topic of music-streaming royalties, in a series of tweets. He was responding to a tweet from fellow musician Nils Lofgren criticising Spotify over […]

Spotify’s latest telco-bundle partnership is with AT&T

Spotify has announced its latest partnership with a telco, and it’s a big one: AT&T in the US. Subscribers to the network’s ‘AT&T Unlimited & More Premium’ contract can choose to include Spotify Premium in their bundle for no extra cost. Spotify is one of seven ‘premium entertainment’ options in the bundle alongside Pandora, HBO, […]

Spotify filing reveals it paid €49m for podcasting firm Parcast

Music Ally reported on Spotify’s latest financial results last week, but the official filing has revealed a bit more information on the company’s recent acquisition of podcasts producer Parcast. Spotify paid €36m in cash and €13m ‘related to the estimated fair value of contingent consideration’ – €49m (around $55m) in total. However, Spotify also said that “the […]

Primephonic-commissioned study explores streaming attitudes

Classical music-streaming service Primephonic has commissioned a survey of nearly 1,300 American adults to find out what they think about streaming. No surprises for guessing that some of the results back up the company’s own business model: for example, 9% of respondents “would pay for a streaming service specifically dedicated to their favourite genre, suggesting […]

Popular-with-kids game Roblox now has 100m players

Readers with children of a certain age will know all about Roblox: it’s a giant online sandbox where kids can play games and hang out together, but also create their own games if they want to. Along with Fortnite, it’s been attracting millions of children away from their former gaming haunt Minecraft. The company behind […]

Slipknot fans can wear the band’s masks (virtually on Facebook)

Given the sweat Slipknot must work up during a performance, you wouldn’t catch us putting our nose anywhere near one of the band’s famous masks. Virtually, however… The latter is what fans can do now, courtesy of a set of Facebook Camera effects. There are 10 masks to try: nine based on the latest ones […]

New podcasts on the way for Gregory Porter and Dolly Parton

In Spotify’s earnings call with analysts last week, CEO Daniel Ek said that listening to music-focused podcasts has been growing fast on the platform: “If you look historically at podcasting that’s not been a big category, but it’s becoming a bigger one,” he said. It’s no surprise, then, to see the steady flow of new music-podcast announcements […]

Flagship country streaming playlists outdo radio for diversity

Does country radio in the US have a diversity problem? The debate has already been rumbling for a while, but a new research study puts some numbers to the lack of women on mainstream country radio – as reflected by Billboard’s official Country Airplay Chart between January 2018 and July 2019. “This study’s findings are not surprising: […]

Stats revealed for the TikTok campaign for UMG’s ‘Money Dance’

There’s a healthy debate about the extent to which labels can make a track ‘go viral’ on TikTok, versus simply piling in to capitalise on the effect when this happens organically. Agency The Influencer Marketing Factory has published an interesting case study that falls in to the former category, however. It was hired by Universal […]

Gaming star Ninja ditches Twitch for exclusive Mixer deal

By now, Music Ally readers should know Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins well: he’s the gaming star who broke Twitch viewing records when playing Fortnite with Drake and Marshmello, and who subsequently signed a deal with UMG to curate a compilation album. Yesterday, he had some big news for fans: he’s leaving Twitch, the platform he’s most associated […]

MediaNet catalogue now has more than 80m music tracks

Music-distribution platform MediaNet, which these days is owned by collecting society SOCAN (via its Dataclef services arm), has announced a new milestone. MediaNet now has more than 80m tracks in its catalogue from more than 400k labels and distributors. General manager Jeff Wallace described the figure as “a huge landmark for our company”, adding that […]

Spotify beefs up its advertising-targeting features

Spotify’s advertising revenues grew by 34% to €165m in the second quarter of this year, and while that’s less than 10% of the company’s overall turnover, ads and the free tier ‘funnel’ continue to be of high strategic importance for Spotify. Hence its continued investment in new features, including the launch yesterday of ‘Interest Targeting […]

UnitedMasters CEO: ‘Artists have been getting robbed…’

As a company trying to persuade emerging artists that they don’t need a label, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see UnitedMasters’ execs taking potshots at the traditional label system. The latest, from CEO Steve Stoute, focuses on the issue of artists owning their masters. “I know we’re doing something right. I know we’re […]

Sony Music makes India non-film music push with Big Bang Music JV

One of the most interesting things about music-streaming’s impact in India is whether it will fuel an even-bigger surge in the popularity of non-film music – with tracks from movies having dominated India’s music scene to this point. Sony Music has been exploring the potential for non-film music already, but now it’s making a new […]

Apple Music’s A-List rebranding continues with ALT CTRL

Apple Music appears to be moving through its flagship ‘A-List’ genre playlists one by one, rebranding them Spotify-style with their own identities. The company recently revamped its ‘The A-List: Hip Hop’ playlist as ‘Rap Life’, and now it’s the turn of its indie-focused sister playlist ‘The A-List: Alternative’. It’s now called ‘ALT CTRL’, according to Billboard, […]

Aussie fans can create videos with Ed Sheeran’s official app

The launch of a smartphone app for fans to create and share their own videos with Ed Sheeran’s music (legally!) forming the soundtrack should be big news. But it seems that the Ed No. 6 app is only available in Australia for now. It’s been launched by Warner Music Australia for Android and iOS smartphones, with […]

Podcasts set to overtake music-downloads listening in UK

It won’t be long before more Brits are listening to podcasts than are listening to music downloads, judging by the latest figures published by UK radio-industry body Rajar. Its latest survey suggests that 16% of Brits aged 15+ now listen to podcasts, compared to 18% who listen to digital music tracks. The tipping point has already been […]

UK Music wants government to step in over PledgeMusic collapse

Yesterday saw PledgeMusic’s winding-up hearing in London, which had only been reported on (and thus made known to artists owed money by the stricken crowdfunding company) the day before. No surprise, then, that industry body UK Music is unhappy with the turn of events. Its deputy CEO Tom Kiehl wants the British government to step […]

Podcasting app Castbox adds live-streaming feature with tips

Castbox is one of the independent podcasting apps that people can use to find, follow and listen to shows on their smartphones and smart speakers. Now it’s launching an interesting new feature for podcasters: the ability to stream live, and solicit donations from their listeners. The feature is called Livecast, and will help podcasters to […]

Amid TikTok dispute, Bytedance hired ICE’s head of rights & repertoire

TikTok has referred licensing hub ICE and its three founders – PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM – to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over licensing terms. The social app will have some expert help in its corner, it turns out. “Exciting times ahead in a truly inspiring company! Thank you TikTok / […]

Badshah far from the only artist buying YouTube views with ads

There is still no official word from YouTube on whether Indian artist Badshah has set a new record for first-day views of a music video, beating BTS’ previous milestone. If YouTube is hoping its silence will make the controversy around Sony Music’s claims of 75m 24-hour views for Badshah’s video ‘Paagal’ go away, however, it […]

Sony/ATV promises ‘major’ upgrades to royalty-processing system

Faster payments and more-transparent reporting has been the clarion call for a number of companies hoping to disrupt the world of publishing. The implicit (and sometimes explicit) criticism contained within their promises is that traditional music publishers are slow to pay and somewhat opaque in some aspects of royalty reporting. However, the picture isn’t as […]

Notes of interest from Spotify’s Q2 2019 earnings call

It’s no secret: Spotify’s earnings calls aren’t meant to be interesting. They’re an exercise in repeating key corporate messages; parrying tricky questions; and striving not to say anything that will spook the Wall Street or music-industry horses. CEO Daniel Ek isn’t the kind of executive who lurches off-piste with controversial, off-the-cuff opinions, and CFO Barry […]

Spotify’s Q2 2019: 108m subscribers, €1.67bn revenues, and a €76m net loss

Spotify has published its financial results for the second quarter of 2019, revealing that the streaming service added 15 million new listeners including eight million paid subscribers during Q2. Spotify ended June 2019 with 232 million listeners, up 29% year-on-year from the 180 million it had a year ago, and up 7% quarter-on-quarter from the […]

Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna and J Balvin team up for ‘China’

Want a recipe to make a big splash with a music video on YouTube in 2019? Well, you could be BTS or Taylor Swift; you could buy a shedload of Google Ads; or you could round up a bunch of the biggest Latin American artists of the moment for a mega-collaboration. The latest example of Option […]

VRJam launches crowdfunding campaign for its AR/VR music tech

Music Ally wrote about startup VRJam in April, when it was trying to raise $500k of seed funding for a technology offering live ‘XR’ streams of music performances in virtual AND augmented reality. Now the company has officially launched its equity-crowdfunding campaign. Now the target is £250k (around $304k) which the company plans to use “to […]

Love Island was a big hit for music with more than 1m Shazams

A big chunk of the UK’s telly viewers have been engrossed by the daily ins and outs (literally) of ITV show Love Island. Apple’s Shazam has put out some stats this morning showing the impact on music discovery. Songs featured in Love Island’s latest series, which ended this week, have generated more than 1m tags […]

TrackDrip launches its music-streaming service in Suriname

With a population of fewer than 600,000 people, Suriname might not be a priority for the big music-streaming services, but that leaves an opportunity for local competitors. TrackDrip being a brand new example. It’s an on-demand music-streaming service that launched in Suriname (which is off the coast of South America, if you were about to Google it) […]

Mixcloud launches ‘Premium’ subscription and limits free listening

Audio-streaming platform Mixcloud is introducing a new service-wide ‘Premium’ subscription, which will cost $7.99 a month and enable listeners to “access all public shows across the platform without limits”. Wait, what limits? Ah, that’s the other part of the company’s announcement this morning… Mixcloud grew as a platform for DJ mixes, podcasts and other radio-style […]

Boomy talks AI music: ‘We want to make music that’s meaningful’

“Our goal was never to make music that was good! Maybe someday we will, and people will say it’s good. But our goal is to make music that’s meaningful. That’s a different kind of thing…” Alex Mitchell is the CEO of Boomy, one of the youngest startups exploring the idea of… well, I would say […]

The next TikTok? 10 more short-video apps taking China by storm

TikTok is currently one of the most popular social apps globally, and it’s making plenty of waves in the music industry, from playing an early role in making ‘Old Town Road’ a hit and becoming an exciting platform for music marketing campaigns, to sparking copyright arguments with collecting societies and speculation about its licensing talks […]

Ed Sheeran #BeautifulPeople TikTok challenge races to 335m views

Ed Sheeran is big for streams, sales, socials, concert audiences… and now he’s big on TikTok too. To be specific, Sheeran has launched a challenge on that social app for his latest track, the Khalid-featuring ‘Beautiful People’. Fans are being invited to upload videos celebrating the beautiful people in their lives, using the hashtag #BeautifulPeople […]

Google Ads product lead founds FAAM·ai to spark AI creativity

FAAM·ai is so new, it doesn’t have a website up and running yet: just a profile on investment site AngelList. That got Music Ally’s attention though. “FAAM·ai partners with the brightest artists who turn disruptive artificial intelligence into world-changing film, architecture, art and music,” explains its product description. “The firm helps pioneering artists and invests in […]

Can startup Endlesss become the TikTok of music-making?

“I wonder whether we’re experiencing the death of content. Or rather, the fall of content and the rise of relationships. The value of content as a leanback experience that’s measured in ‘attention’ diminishes, and what increases is the measure of response: replies, interaction, engagement…” Don’t worry: Tim Exile, the CEO of British music-making-app startup Endlesss, […]

JioSaavn’s owner is now the largest telco in India

Indian telco Reliance Jio appears to have overtaken rival Vodafone Idea to become the biggest mobile operator in India, with 331.3 million subscribers. TheNextWeb reports that this compares to 320 million people using Vodafone Idea, and the most recent figure of 320.6 million for the other big telco in India, Airtel. What’s the Music Ally relevance for […]

Twitter revenues and daily users are both up year-on-year

It’s clearly the month for better-than-expected financial results for social apps previously thought to be on the slide. First we had Snapchat’s impressive figures for the second quarter of 2019, revealing that it now has 203 million daily active users. Now it’s Twitter revealing that its ‘monetisable daily active users’ (mDAUs) grew by 14% year-on-year to 139 million […]

Feist is the latest artist to launch her own podcast

Canadian artist Leslie Feist (or rather: Feist) is the latest musician to launch her own podcast. It’s called ‘Feist’s Pleasure Studies’, and is a partnership with media company Talkhouse and women’s podcast network Earios. The show is described as a “spiritual companion” to Feist’s 2017 album ‘Pleasure’. Here’s the pitch: “Indie icon, Feist, knows a […]

Magic Leap adds background-music feature to spark new apps

Augmented-reality startup Magic Leap started shipping its Magic Leap One Creator Edition AR headset in August 2018, and music has been part of it from the start, thanks to the Tónandi music-manipulation app that the company developed with Sigur Rós. Now Magic Leap is keen for other kinds of music experiences to be available for its […]

Report: All Def Digital has filed for insolvency in the US

A recent report that digital-studio All Def Digital was shutting down was denied by the company, which said it was “reorganising in advance of a strategic deal”. Now there’s some more news on the company originally founded as a multi-channel network by music-industry veteran Russell Simmons. It’s not good news, mind: Billboard reports that All Def Digital […]

Streaming fuels interest in jazz from younger UK music fans

This will come as little surprise if you’ve watched a jazz artist at a recent festival in the UK and taken a look at the audience around you, but young listeners are flocking to the genre. The Guardian has an article on the trend, with some figures from music-streaming services as backup. “Spotify told the Guardian […]

Beggars Group financials show profits were up 51.5% in 2018

The financial results of the major labels get plenty of media coverage, but are independent labels enjoying similar growth in the streaming era? The latest figures from one of the largest independents, Beggars Group, offer some useful data. Filed in the UK, the figures are for the calendar year 2018. Key stats: Beggars Group’s total revenues […]

Above & Beyond release album through meditation app Calm

Calm is becoming quite the place for artists to release their music. The meditation app got an exclusive on Moby’s new album ‘Long Ambients 2’ in March this year, then earlier this month Sigur Rós launched a ‘Liminal Sleep’ playlist within the Calm app, also as an exclusive. Three makes a trend: electronic trio Above & Beyond are […]

Drake inks a ‘creative partnership’ with SiriusXM and Pandora

Drake famously took to the stage at the launch of Apple Music in 2015 to give his endorsement of the company’s new streaming service. But you don’t get to be one of the biggest stars in the streaming era without sharing the love around: yesterday US satellite-radio service SiriuxXM announced a wide-ranging “creative partnership” with Drake, which […]

Nearly a third of US households *don’t* have broadband internet

Research firm NPD has published its latest ‘Rural America and Technology’ study, which has a surprising finding: 31% of US households still don’t have a broadband internet connection. “The number works out to roughly 100 million,” reported TechCrunch (we think that’s people, not households), adding that in rural areas, less than one fifth of the population has […]

Study explores patterns of ‘high-subscriber’ YouTube channels

If you’re thinking about YouTube and music, you should definitely read the latest report by research company the Pew Research Center, which came out yesterday. Titled ‘A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels’, it’s based on an analysis of the videos posted by channels with more than 250,000 subscribers in the first week of […]

How Charly Bliss built a rolling video channel for new album

Our Behind The Campaign feature in the latest issue of Music Ally’s Sandbox report covers the campaign for Brooklyn-based indie rock band Charly Bliss’s new album, Young Enough, which came out in May. The central component of the campaign was the launch of CBTV, a round-the-clock MTV-style “station” that created multiple pieces of content that […]

Streaming still paying off for UMG with 18.6% revenue growth

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: streaming is paying off rather well for the world’s largest music company. Universal Music’s revenues grew by 18.6% year-on-year for the first half of 2019, according to yesterday’s financial results from its parent company Vivendi. The company’s revenues were €3.26bn (around $3.68bn), with UMG’s recorded-music revenues growing […]

BandLab launches ‘Tracklanta’ global hip-hop contest

BandLab is one of the best-known online music-making platforms: it has more than eight million people using it. Now the company is launching a contest for budding hip-hop musicians called ‘Tracklanta’, inviting them to submit their work in the hope of winning studio time with five top-tier producers: Bryan-Michael Cox, Drumma Boy, Young Chop, Tasha […]

Amazon invites brands to test audio ads in free music service

Amazon launched its ad-supported music-streaming tier in April, initially in the US, but details of its plans for that advertising haven’t been talked about much. Now Advertising Age has bagged a copy of Amazon’s pitch deck to brands, and says that the likes of Colgate, L’Oréal and Lululemon are among those invited to test ‘audio ads’ […]

Analysts frustrated at lack of hard numbers on YouTube

How much money does YouTube make? The New York Times offers a carefully-vague suggestion in its latest article about Alphabet’s video service: “YouTube probably generates $16 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue, making the video service big enough to crack the top half of the Fortune 500.” The ‘probably’ actually illustrates the main thrust of the […]

Facebook reveals latest financials… and an FTC antitrust probe

“We had a strong quarter and our business and community continue to grow,” was the lead statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last night, as his company revealed its latest impressive financial results. Revenues were up 28% year-on-year to $16.62bn in the second quarter of 2019, with the social network reporting a $2.62bn profit for the […]

Spotify India marketing tweet sparks online game of Antakshari

If you’re not Indian, there’s a strong chance you haven’t played Antakshari. It’s a game played at parties where someone sings the first verse of a song. Whatever the last syllable is, the next person has to sing the first verse of another song beginning with that syllable. And so on. Anyway, the reason we’re […]

After brief social-media deactivation, The 1975 return with new track

“The 1975 are being their cryptic selves and have deactivated all of their social media accounts as of Wednesday,” reported Billboard yesterday. Yet as of Thursday morning when Music Ally is writing this bulletin, the band’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles are all up and running again. If you’re thinking this is part of a campaign for some new music from […]

YouTube and Mr Eazi team up to help emerging Nigerian artists

YouTube is already the most significant digital platform for Afrobeats artists looking to build their global audiences. Now the service has teamed up with Nigerian artist Mr Eazi and his emPawa Africa incubator to provide direct support for 10 emerging artists from Nigeria. The scheme will see those artists supported in recording music, making videos and getting […]

Boomy will help people upload AI-made music to streaming services

Boomy is one of the startups exploring AI-generated music, and launched in beta earlier this year. Now it’s emerging from that beta period, with test users having already created more than 100k songs using its technology. The general public is now being invited to sign in at Boomy’s website and start creating songs. “Our data shows […]

PledgeMusic and Dot Blockchain founder reveals NewsHero venture

Benji Rogers was co-founder of crowdfunding website PledgeMusic, although he left (to set up startup Dot Blockchain) before things went downhill with the company’s finances. After returning in an advisory capacity earlier this year to try to help PledgeMusic out of its hole, Rogers has now unveiled his own new venture – NewsHero – and […]

Fortnite players can stream its World Cup… from within the game

Here in the UK, the school summer holidays have started just in time for the first ever Fortnite World Cup – a big bet on esports by the game’s publisher Epic Games. And here’s some even better news for all those demob-happy children: they’ll be able to watch the Fortnite World Cup from within Fortnite […]

Pandora rolls its voice assistant out to all mobile users

Pandora unveiled its own Alexa-style voice assistant in January this year, working with tech partner SoundHound to launch a ‘Hey Pandora’ voice-control feature in its mobile app. Six months later, the feature is now rolling out to all of Pandora’s mobile users on iOS and Android, whether they’re on the free or subscription tiers of the service. The feature […]

Snap financials reveal Snapchat now has 203m daily active users

Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc published its latest quarterly financial results last night, and they contained plenty of figures to silence (if temporarily) the company’s doubters. What’s that? Because it made a healthy profit? Erm, no. Snap reported a net loss of $255.2m for the second quarter of 2019, although that was an improvement on the […]

Apple Music produces exclusive video for artist Peggy Gou

The latest musician getting some love – and indeed, some video budget – from Apple Music is Berlin-based artist and DJ Peggy Gou. Her latest music video, for her track ‘Starry Night’, was “produced in partnership with Apple Music” and is currently exclusive to the service. Its release will be accompanied by Gou’s second interview on […]

Spotify’s next chief economist will be based in New York

Last week, it was reported that Spotify’s chief economist Will Page is leaving the company this summer. “A contributing factor in Page’s exit from Spotify is that he has been offered a book deal. He will be writing a consumer-facing title which explains and examines disruption in various industries,” reported MBW. Page joined Spotify from collecting […]

Mubert pitches AI generative music for B2B background usage

Music Ally first wrote about Mubert in February: it was one of the latest clutch of startups working on technology to create generative/adaptive music using AI. It already has a consumer app that people can use to generate a stream of AI music, which over time promises to get tuned to their preferences. Mubert is also exploring another line of business, […]

Concert-sound startup Mixhalo raises $10.7m funding round

Mixhalo is one of the music/tech startups that was actually founded by professional musicians: violinist Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger and Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger. The startup claims to be “democratising audio at live events” by streaming top-notch audio to people’s smartphones. “Build onstage VIP seating or offer an audio upgrade in the nosebleeds,” as its pitch puts […]

Apple denies App Store search results favour its own apps

Apple is under scrutiny once more for the way it runs its App Store – and the sensitive question of whether its own apps and services are prioritised above those of other companies. This time it’s the Wall Street Journal with an investigation into the results of searches on the App Store. “Searches for ‘music,’ ‘audiobooks’ and […]

Collywobbles for British music bodies as Boris Johnson named PM

Later today, the UK will get a new Prime Minister: Conservative politician Boris Johnson, whose past roles include Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary. Johnson was also one of the leaders of the ‘Leave’ campaign in the UK’s referendum over whether to ‘Brexit’ from the European Union. The buck will now stop with him as […]

TikTok issues statement on its UK Copyright Tribunal music-licensing referral

Yesterday, Music Ally broke the news that social app TikTok has referred three collecting societies – PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA – and their joint-venture licensing hub ICE to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over music-licensing terms. ICE issued a statement yesterday on the case, but this morning TikTok has also sent […]

Kid Cudi to get ‘Entergalactic’ animated Netflix series

In June this year, Netflix got the exclusive on a short film called ‘Anima’, a collaboration between director Paul Thomas Anderson and musician Thom Yorke, released alongside the latter’s new album of the same name. Now there’s another musical project to report on from the video-streaming service: ‘Entergalactic’. This time, the collaboration is between musician […]

Queen launch UGC contest as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reaches 1bn views

Fuelled by the recent biopic, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has become the first pre-1990s video to pass 1bn views on YouTube. The achievement has been marked by a new, remastered ‘HD’ version of the video on Queen’s YouTube channel, complete with the lyrics in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Polish, German, Indonesian Bahasa, Korean, Czech, Russian and Turkish […]

BeatDapp and Renaissance part of 500 Startups’ latest batch

500 Startups is one of the most famous startup accelerators, based in San Francisco and now into its 25th program. This time round, there are two music/tech startups in the mix: BeatDapp and Renaissance. BeatDapp is one of the new clutch of startups (see also: Midemlab-winner Legitary) trying to help labels keep better track of their streaming […]

TikTok takes on collecting societies at UK Copyright Tribunal

Social app TikTok is set for a battle with three European collecting societies and their joint venture, via the medium of the UK’s Copyright Tribunal. That’s the body that resolves copyright-related commercial-licensing disputes in the UK. Copyright Tribunal Ref 132/19 will be of intense interest to the music industry, then. “Notice is hereby given of a reference […]

AI-music startup Jukedeck’s CEO now runs the AI Lab of TikTok owner Bytedance

Ed Newton-Rex was the founder and CEO of Jukedeck, one of the first startups to develop a product for AI-generated music. We say ‘was’ because since April 2019, he has been working for TikTok’s parent company Bytedance as director of its AI Lab, according to his recently-updated LinkedIn profile. That would explain recent rumours that […]

Report pitches ‘voice’ as the next big interface shift

If you’re looking for some new reading material around smart speakers and voice interfaces, try investment firm Mangrove Capital Partners’ new report ‘Voice: Welcoming the Next Generation of Disruptors’. “Importantly, this shift will go far beyond checking the weather forecast, requesting music or setting a timer,” is how the report summarises the impact of voice […]

Independent artist Aaron Smith gets push from Spotify and Apple

Congratulations are due to independent artist Aaron Smith, whose debut track ‘Unspoken’ has (as MBW noticed on Friday) gone in with a bang at the top of Spotify and Apple Music’s flagship new-music playlists in the UK. ‘Unspoken’ was the very first track in New Music Friday UK on Spotify and Best Of The Week on […]

Startup Popgun shows how it’s taught an AI to sing

Australian AI-music startup Popgun has made a habit of showing its progress by publishing YouTube videos showing how its AI has learned to compose and play music. And now to sing it too. “For the past year we have been teaching an AI to sing. Using text and midi as input, we generate vocal tracks […]

Motown boss praises streaming (in interview for Spotify blog)

Adding that qualifier to the headline isn’t meant to be snarky: it’s just that Motown Records head Ethiopia Habtemariam was hardly likely to open up about any headaches she sees with streaming in an interview with Spotify’s own blog. Still, the interview – to mark the 60th anniversary this year of Motown – is worth a […]

Apple rebrands its flagship hip-hop playlist as Rap Life

However deliberate it was when they were originally created, Spotify’s playlists have got one thing very right in the current streaming age: RapCaviar, Viva Latino and others have become strong brands in their own right. Apple Music has been doing interesting things with its playlists too – for example commissioning artists to create original, varied […]

FIMI boss urges Spotify to ‘do more’ to persuade Italians to subscribe

Something you won’t hear very much at a music-industry conference in 2019: people talking about piracy. Something you will hear a fair bit: people talking about how streaming has successfully seen off piracy as an existential worry for the industry. No wonder the ‘value gap’ has been a much more prominent debate among rightsholders and […]

UMG and WMG execs talk startups and innovation at Sonar+D

Behind the music industry’s fiercely competitive public face hides a wider spirit of digital collaboration, according to Tuhin Roy, the executive who leads Universal Music’s efforts to support early-stage digital music companies. Roy was speaking at the Sónar+D conference in Barcelona alongside Warner Music’s Tiago Teixeira Correia, on a panel that gave a rare glimpse into the […]

FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US

YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations. The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now […]

YouTube Music adds feature to switch between audio and video

YouTube’s latest improvement to its YouTube Music app focuses on the boundary between audio and video. Since launch, people have been able to choose to listen to audio-only versions of songs in YouTube Music, or watch their music videos. What’s new this week is the ability to flick between those two modes while listening/watching. “No […]

Mexican music industry optimistic for more growth ahead

We’ve all heard of the smartphone as a driver of digital music consumption. Well how about music as a driver of smartphone adoption? That, according to Tomás Rodriguez, managing director of Warner Music Mexico, is what we are seeing in Mexico, as the country continues a hot digital streak that has seen recorded music revenue […]

Sónar+D debates AI and music: ‘We are almost at the alchemist level…’

The question of AI and machine creativity has been creeping into mainstream music industry thinking over the past few years, with the increasing use of AI to make music posing questions about copyright, originality and even playlist placing. The Sónar festival, which is taking place in Barcelona this week, is one of the first big […]

Music’n’meditation app Wave raises $5.7m for its launch

We’ve been writing about the monster funding rounds and music activities (e.g. an exclusive Moby album) for mindfulness startup Calm recently, while rival Headspace was one of the first companies to partner with Spotify on bundled subscriptions. Now there’s another player in the music+meditation sector: Wave. It has raised just under $5.7m in seed funding to […]

7digital’s CEO and CFO step down in new effort to cut costs

B2B digital-music firm 7digital is still trying to dig itself out of a financial hole, with the latest news being that its CEO and CFO are stepping down. John Aalbers and Julia Hubbard will be sticking around for a few months to assist their successors though: current COO Paul Langworthy will be the new CEO, while […]

Spotify launches a dedicated Disney hub in certain countries

A whole new world! You’ve got a friend in me! Under the sea! Can you feel the love tonight?! LET IT GOOOOOOO….. Okay, having dealt with your earworms for the rest of the week, we’ll get to the actual news here: Spotify has launched a dedicated Disney hub on its service in certain countries. It’ll feature playlists […]

Badshah’s ‘record-breaking’ track missing from YouTube chart

We reported last week on Sony Music India’s claim that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-views record, with 75m views of his ‘Paagal’ music video in its first 24 hours. Music Ally contacted YouTube at the time to get verification, and is still waiting for an official response. One thing’s for sure though: the video […]

TV mogul Haim Saban launches new Latin label… with $500m budget

It’s a little unfair reducing Haim Saban to ‘TV mogul’ just for the purposes of a short headline: the 74 year-old’s career has also included stints as a musician, music promoter and soundtrack composer (true fact: he co-wrote the Inspector Gadget theme tune). However, it’s TV firm Saban Entertainment that made him a billionaire, with […]

800+ playlist-adds took Ed Sheeran to 69m listeners (and 46.5m first-day streams) on Spotify

Spotify is putting out some stats around the latest Ed Sheeran album. According to its announcement this morning, Sheeran has set a new record for monthly listeners on Spotify: he’s on 69.1 million at the time of writing, with the 70 million milestone in his sights. That means nearly 32% of Spotify’s active users (based […]

Drake and Scooter Braun’s esports startup raises $35m

There’s plenty of money swishing around the esports market, with investors and celebrities alike keen to get involved in professional gaming. Drake and Scooter Braun are among them: both are co-owners of esports company 100 Thieves, which operates teams in various pro leagues; has a thriving line of merchandise; and runs channels on Twitch for […]

Report claims Apple will soon be funding original podcasts too

Hands up if you saw this coming: Apple is preparing to get into the original-podcasts game, challenging Spotify with “plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service”. That’s according to Bloomberg, which reports that Apple has “reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts”. […]

Warner Classics launches new website with streaming built in

Warner Music Group has a revamped website for its Warner Classics & Erato arm, which it hopes will capitalise on the potential of streaming for the classical-music audience. So much so, that Warner has built streaming directly in to the new website. Visitors will be able to stream 30-second clips from the Warner Classics & Erato […]

eMusic boss joins 7digital board and reiterates blockchain ambitions

As expected, B2B digital-music firm 7digital has appointed eMusic boss Tamir Koch to its board of directors, alongside entrepreneur David Lazarus. The move comes as the company tries to raise funding to stave off the threat of administration at the end of July. Koch will be the non-executive chair of 7digital’s board, and has reiterated his ambitions […]

Tech body predicts 33% growth for US music subscriptions in 2019

The US recorded-music market enjoyed healthy growth in 2018, with retail revenues up by 12% to $9.8bn, while on the industry-revenues side, music subscription income grew by 32% to $5.4bn. It was the third straight year of double-digit growth overall for the world’s biggest music market, as the US averaged 50.2m paid subscriptions for the year. […]

Chinese streaming service Xiami Music adds MQA hi-res audio

Chinese technology company Alibaba’s music-streaming service, Xiami Music, is hoping to steal a march on rivals by boosting its sound quality – via a partnership with hi-res audio firm MQA. Xiami will be using MQA’s technology for the ‘SVIP’ tier of its service, initially within its Android and iOS apps. It will also be giving all […]

Music-streaming service Roxi plans to go public later this year

In June, Music Ally reported on the ambitions of British music-streaming firm Roxi (formerly Electric Jukebox) to go public. Now the company has confirmed how it plans to do that. Roxi announced this morning that it has appointed advisers for an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange in the final quarter of 2019. The […]

Japanese music industry asks Apple to crack down on pirate app

Apple under fire for the way it runs its App Store? But this time, it’s nothing to do with Spotify. A group of Japanese music-industry bodies representing labels, publishers and producers have written to Apple expressing concerns about ‘unauthorised’ (i.e. unlicensed) music-streaming apps that are available through its App Store in Japan. “The recent torrent […]

Google AdWords promotion was key to Badshah YouTube success

On Friday, we reported on Indian artist Badshah’s success with his new music video ‘Paagal’, and Sony Music India’s claim that it had broken BTS’ YouTube 24-hour-debut record with 75m views in its first day on the platform. We’re still waiting for YouTube to officially confirm the record, but in India there has been criticism […]

SyncPower sees a bright future for synced lyrics and music recognition

SyncPower is the Japanese company whose business includes providing ‘synced lyrics’ content, as well as (through its status as status as the agent in Japan for ACRCloud) music-recognition technology. The first part of that business is growing well. “Currently, we have about 2.7m lyrics content, which we provide to 30 services which are run by […]

Report: Facebook to be fined $5bn in FTC privacy settlement

There is no shortage of snark around claims – originally published in the Wall Street Journal – that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a $5bn settlement with Facebook over the social network’s “privacy missteps”. The snark concerns just how much of a punishment a $5bn fine represents for a company that in the first […]

Amazon planning ‘high-end Echo’? But it already has one…

There was a slightly puzzling report on Bloomberg last Friday claiming that Amazon “is developing a higher quality version of the Echo Speaker” that will be released by next year. “Prototypes of the cylindrical speaker are wider than the current Echo to squeeze in additional components including at least four tweeters,” reported Bloomberg. “Amazon has previously […]

Badshah breaks YouTube 24-hour views record… with a little help from Ad Words

YouTube has yet to confirm this officially, but Sony Music India claims that one of its artists has broken the platform’s 24-hour viewing record. The artist is Badshah, with new track ‘Paagal’ and a video that raced to 75m views in its first 24 hours on YouTube. In a press release, Sony hailed the video for “dethroning […]

UK music industry declares a ‘climate and ecological emergency’

What can the three major labels; Beggars Group, Domino, Warp and other indie labels; SJM Concerts and Festival Republic; and artists including Radiohead, Wolf Alice and Suede agree on? Well: that “governments and media institutions to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency” of course. A group of music companies, industry bodies and […]

TikTok videos turned Absofacto’s ‘Dissolve’ into a chart hit

We’re all familiar with the tale of how TikTok helped ‘Old Town Road’ become a big hit in its initial version. Now there’s a new case study from the buzzy social app. Billboard has the story of how a 2015 track called ‘Dissolve’ by artist Absofacto (aka Jonathan Visger) blew up on TikTok early in 2019, […]

‘Old Town Road’ and ‘Bad Guy’ get new remix versions

Once upon a time, remixes were usually an easy way to provide B-sides for singles and/or cuts more suited for club DJs. In the post-Despacito era, they’re becoming a strong tactic to give already-big tracks a new lease of chart / streaming life. Justin Bieber was famously part of the ‘Despacito’ remix, and now he’s […]

ROCCR aims to restore crowdfunding’s reputation after PledgeMusic troubles

The well-documented troubles of crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic have left a number of artists out of pocket and waiting to find out if the company will be rescued by a buyer. One of those affected was British band Jesus Jones, who’d been using the platform for pre-orders for their latest album ‘Voyages’. Now one of the […]

Could Spotify make the next Dirty John-style podcast-to-TV hit?

‘Are you ready for Spotify: The Game Show?’ asked a report on MBW earlier this week. Insert your own jokes based on ‘Jeopardy’, ‘The Price Is Right’ and/or ‘Deal Or No Deal’ here, obviously. The story is based on a job ad for a ‘Reality Formats Lead’ at Spotify, working on reality podcast development for […]

Snapchat unveils new ‘Creator Shows’ format for celebrities

Snapchat is debuting a new short-form video show format, and is working with traditional celebrities and newer digital influencers alike. It’s called ‘Creator Shows’, which will be series of 8-10 episodes of 3-5 minutes in length each. Serena Williams, Kevin Hart and Arnold Schwarzenegger are among the traditional celebs on board already, with influencers like […]

YouTube may be blocking stream-ripping sites from ripping vids

Up to this point, much of the music industry’s action against ‘stream-ripping’ websites has been taken by industry bodies taking those sites to court and getting them shut down. Now it seems the main site from which streams are being ripped, YouTube, is joining the battle in earnest. “Several stream-ripping sites have been unable to […]

Internet Creators Guild shuts down, hits out at music labels

In 2016, online-video star Hank Green – who also co-founded the VidCon conference – launched the Internet Creators Guild (ICG). It was a body to advise and represent creators – the equivalent for influencers of what bodies like the Featured Artists Coalition do for musicians. Three years on, the ICG is shutting down, and some of its […]

East African streaming service Smubu has 200k active users

As the big global music-streaming services continue to mull their strategies for sub-Saharan Africa, local players are springing up to stake their claim to a piece of the nascent streaming market. The latest is Smubu, a music-streaming startup headquartered in Kenya, but focusing on a group of countries including Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. It has […]

Amuse-commissioned study explores independent-artist revenues

Midia Research’s latest report explores the burgeoning independent-artists sector, commissioned by one of the companies – Amuse – that’s trying to help those independent artists break through. Some of its findings build on past Midia research. For example: “Artists without record labels generated $643.1 million in 2018, up 35% from 2017. These independent artists represent […]

Key execs exit Bytedance’s China music-business team

There appear to be changes afoot in the music team at Chinese technology firm Bytedance, with reports in China that one of its key executives, Zhu Jie, has quietly left the company. She was responsible for the music activities of Bytedance’s Douyin and Volcanic Video properties, although not for TikTok globally. Music Ally understands that Song Yubin, […]

Report: Amazon had 32m music subscribers by April 2019

Amazon is famously cagey when it comes to releasing meaningful numbers for its music services, but a well-briefed report by the Financial Times this morning offers some new numbers. “The number of people subscribing to Amazon Music Unlimited has grown by about 70 per cent in the past year, according to people briefed on its performance,” it […]

Lickd says Ed Sheeran is most-longed-for licence for YouTubers

Ed Sheeran is big on YouTube: as Music Ally recently reported, his channel has just passed the milestone of 40 million subscribers, while it’s now also past the 17bn views mark. However, Sheeran is also the top artist cited by YouTubers when asked whose music they most want to license for use in their videos. […]

Spotify criticised for ‘Dance Like Nobody’s Paying’ advert

Spotify’s latest ad campaign, highlighting the 30-day free trial  of its premium tier, is generating some heat on Twitter. “Dance like nobody’s paying,” is the main slogan. Musician and artist-rights campaigner Blake Morgan was quick to voice his unhappiness with the concept. “Here’s @Spotify’s new tone-deaf ad campaign. Keep in mind that it takes 380,000 […]

The latest new music label is… Build-A-Bear Records?

We don’t get to report on stuffed-animal announcements very often in Music Ally’s bulletin, but today we bring you news that retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop is launching its own record label. Build-A-Bear Records is the result of a partnership with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division and its Warner Chappell publishing arm. The plan is to […]

Report: Big Hit Entertainment may launch own streaming platform

Music Ally has been reporting recently on BTS World, the mobile game launched as a partnership between BTS’ management company Big Hit Entertainment and gaming firm Netmarble. Now a report claims the companies may be looking to do something even more ambitious together: “to launch a brand-new music-streaming platform”. That’s according to the Korea Herald, citing […]

Facebook to launch more money-making features for creators

Facebook has announced a range of new ways for ‘creators’ to make money from their activity on the social network. While aimed mainly at YouTubers and other social stars, some of them may well be useful for musicians too. They include the expansion of a feature called ‘stars’ from gaming streams, which are akin to […]

YouTube adds new requirement for manual Content ID claims

YouTube’s Content ID copyright-protection system has long been a target of criticism not from music rightsholders, but from ‘creators’ on the platform. Now YouTube is making a change that it hopes will tackle the issues raised by some of those critics. “We’ve heard from creators that the recent uptick of manual claims, especially for short […]

Instagram flags up its efforts to crack down on bullying

With 153 million followers, Selena Gomez is one of the most popular stars on Instagram – only Ariana Grande and Cristiano Ronaldo are ahead of her, plus Instagram’s own official account.  Yet in June 2019, Gomez revealed that she’d deleted the app from her own phone, because “it would make me feel not good about myself, and look […]

Contrary to report, All Def Digital says it’s not shutting down

What’s happening with All Def Digital, the digital studio founded by Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons? A report last week by online-video industry site Tubefilter claimed that the company was shutting down, yet its current president and CEO Chris Blackwell has now denied those claims. “We’re reorganising in advance of a strategic deal,” Blackwell told Billboard yesterday, although without […]

Spotify officially launches its ‘Lite’ app in 36 countries

‘Introducing Spotify Lite’ is the title of the streaming service’s latest announcement, although its new app won’t need much introduction to anyone who’s been following Spotify’s business in the last year. The company began testing its data-saving app in Brazil in July 2018; it launched in Malaysia in April 2019; and then in India in May, still described by […]

7digital financials shed more light on company’s position

B2B digital-music firm 7digital has published its financial results for 2018, although it’s events since the end of last year that have put the company in its current worrying position. So, 7digital’s group revenues grew by 19% in 2018 to £19.9m (around $24.8m) but its net losses grew from £4.8m to £11.9m. However, the financials also […]

Baidu says its DuerOS voice assistant now has 400m users

Chinese technology firm Baidu has announced a new milestone for its DuerOS voice assistant – the company’s equivalent of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. DuerOS now has 400 million users, which suggests that its user-base has doubled since January this year, when DuerOS was being used on 200m devices. (We say ‘suggests’ because the milestone was reported as […]

LGBTQ brand Gay Times is the latest Apple Music curator

The latest guest curator on Apple Music is Gay Times, the European LGBTQ media brand. It’s making a series of exclusive playlists for the streaming service, while the companies are also collaborating on a joint advertising campaign in the UK featuring artists including Kim Petras, Girli, Vincint and Alma, which ties in with this month’s […]

Spotify’s ‘Are & Be’ R&B playlist hits 5m followers milestone

The R&B-focused ‘Are & Be’ has become the latest Spotify-owned playlist to reach a notable milestone: five million followers. Spotify is celebrating by taking over a six-floor building in New Orleans for the Essence Fest music festival, and designating it ‘The House of Are & Be’ as a “multi-storied tribute to Black women in R&B and podcasts […]

Line Music service set to launch in Taiwan this week

We’re used to referring to Line Music as a Japanese music-streaming service, but this week it’s set to expand to Taiwan, according to the Taiwan News. “According to Central News Agency, Line Music will provide a free, 30-day trial to first-time users,” it reported, noting that Hong Kong-born Mandopop singer Coco Lee will be the ‘brand […]

NMPA-backed consortium wins race to be the US’ new MLC

The keenly (and very publicly) fought race to oversee the US’ new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has been won by the consortium led by publishing bodies the NMPA, NSAI and SONA. The group prevailed over the rival American Mechanical Licensing Collective, with the pair competing to run the new body set up as part of […]

Students’ Apple Music web player has attracted nearly 200k users

Apple Music doesn’t (yet) have a web-player version of its service: for now it’s native apps for the various Apple devices, plus PCs and Android. Now four students from the University of Kent in the UK are trying to plug the gap with an open-source web player for Apple Music called Musish. “Since its release only […]

South African music-streaming app My Muze reaches 1m downloads

South African telco Vodacom’s My Muze music-streaming app has been downloaded more than 1m times since its launch in April this year. Those downloads have come on Android alone, although the service is available in a web-browser version for Apple devices, according to the Financial Mail. It also reported on how Vodacom has been pricing the […]

Because Music boss backs ‘user-centric’ music-streaming model

The latest industry figure to come out batting for the ‘user-centric’ model of streaming royalties is Emmanuel De Buretel, in an interview with French newspaper Les Échos, subsequently spotted by MBW. De Buretel warned that the current system of dividing up royalties risks “a drying up of income for many artists outside urban and electro music, and the […]

MelodyVR reveals content-licensing deal with Facebook

It’s a busy time for music-VR startup MelodyVR, with its smartphone app having just launched. Now it has announced an intriguing content-licensing deal… with Facebook. “The agreement will see MelodyVR’s content utilised by Facebook/Oculus for advertising purposes and licenses its exploitation across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and via the Oculus Website, for a period of 9 […]

UK regulator pursues Viagogo for contempt of court

Secondary ticketing firm Viagogo has been under fire in the UK for some time from politicians, regulators and anti-touting campaigners alike. The latest development sees the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcing plans to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against Viagogo, claiming that the company has failed to comply with a court […]

Amazon reveals details on how it keeps Alexa data

In an exchange with US senator Chris Coons, Amazon has been explaining more about how it stores data on people’s interactions with its Alexa voice assistant. Coons had written to the company asking how long it stores recordings and transcripts, and got an answer from Amazon’s VP of public policy Brian Huseman. And the answer? […]

Monstercat to hold weekly virtual-reality music events

Independent dance label Monstercat has been one of the more forward-thinking when it comes to gaming: witness its partnership with Psyonix, the developer of popular cars-play-football game Rocket League. Now Monstercat is trying a new partnership involving virtual reality, working with Linden Lab – the company that Music Ally readers of a certain age may remember […]

LyricFind gets government funding to spread Canadian lyrics

Lyrics firm LyricFind has found a new source of funding: money from the Department of Canadian Heritage Creative Export Canada program. It’ll be used in a two-year project to support “the licensing, transcription and translation of Canadian artists and songwriters’ lyrics”, as well as generating royalties for those lyrics across the world. And this isn’t […]

Report: TikTok was installed 344m times in first half of 2019

Thanks to Apple’s official response to Spotify’s complaint to the European Commission, we know that around 680,000 of the latter company’s subscribers are paying their monthly fees through the iOS in-app purchases system. But what about the wider apps economy? Analytics firm SensorTower has put out its latest figures on how that’s growing, and which apps are benefitting from […]

New YouTube milestones for Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes

Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes are no stranger to big digital numbers. Their latest achievements come from YouTube. Sheeran’s official artist channel has just reached 40 million subscribers, which YouTube says makes him only the second artist to hit that milestone. The first? Justin Bieber: he’s on 45.6 million YouTube subscribers. Eminem (38.1 million), Ariana Grande […]

Cyanite aims to use AI to analyse songs’ emotional qualities

German music/tech startup Groovecat has launched a new product called Cyanite, whose pitch is “making emotions within songs visible with artificial intelligence”. It’s a tool based partly on data from the company’s existing Music Moments app, with CEO Markus Schwarzer explaining that the aim is to “offer the music and advertising industry the possibility to find […]

Tidal adds ‘interactive credit pages’ for listeners to explore

The latest streaming service upping its efforts to credit more people who worked on recorded music is Tidal. It has launched a new feature that it’s describing as “interactive credit pages” which it promises will help listeners “explore everyone, from the unheralded background singers and lyricists, to the producers, and mixing engineers’ who are instrumental […]

Marshmello launches his own mobile game to debut new album

EDM star Marshmello’s association with gaming is already well known: he’s teamed up with online star ‘Ninja’ to win pro-am Fortnite tournaments, and attracted more than 10 million people to his virtual concert within that game earlier this year. Now he’s testing the waters in mobile gaming too, with his own game. It’s called Marshmello […]

Shesaid·so reveals plans for ‘female-first’ music conference

Music industry women’s network Shesaid·so is celebrating its fifth anniversary by announcing a new conference called MEETSSS. The organisation is describing it as “the first female-first, music-forward conference” created for its community, with the event to be held in Portugal on 3-6 October this year. “The event will embody shesaid·so’s core brand values: collaboration, diversity and […]

Meditation app Calm raises $27m more funding at $1bn valuation

We’ve written about meditation startup Calm several times this year: for example when it raised an $88m funding round in February (an announcement that made us wonder whether Spotify would be doing more with meditation), and when it was the exclusive distribution partner for a new album by artist Moby the following month. Now there’s some more news – […]

Elevate Music Podcast to focus on wellbeing for musicians

There’s a new music-focused podcast in town, and it wants to help musicians safeguard their wellbeing and health. The podcast is called Elevate Music Podcast, and it’s the result of a partnership between production firm Wisebuddah; health and wellbeing service Elevate Music; and charity Help Musicians. The first season is due to tun to 15 […]

Genius hires a head of TV and film for music-related projects

We traditionally refer to Genius as a ‘lyric-focused’ company, but its ambitions clearly stretch some way beyond that. Witness its hiring this month of Joshua Asen, formerly an exec at Discovery Science Channel, as the company’s first head of TV and film. It’s part of Genius’ push into developing longer-form content. “We’re building on the […]

Line Music to add freemium tier and music videos this year

Japanese music-streaming service Line Music has just celebrated its fourth anniversary, and it’s promising some significant new features over the coming months. The service, run by social-media firm Line, now has 11 million monthly active users, with more than 32 million downloads of its app so far. Anyway, those new features include the introduction of a freemium […]

Apple to hold ‘Up Next’ performances at stores in US and Europe

We’ve been reporting regularly on emerging artists given Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’ seal of approval. Now the company is expanding the program with plans for a series of live performances in Apple Stores in the US and Europe. Up Next Live will see Bad Bunny, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Ashley McBryde, King Princess, Lewis Capaldi and Jessie […]

Startup Popgun is launching an AI-mastering tool called Gloss

We know Australian startup Popgun best for its demos showing how the company’s AI learned to compose and play music (watch the video here if you need a catchup). However, it’s also been working on something else: a new service called Gloss, which is firmly in Landr’s territory of AI-powered music mastering. “Gloss uses AI to make […]

Chinese government to ‘curb industry chaos’ with audio apps

The Chinese government has launched a crackdown on audio apps, with one prominent music-streaming service included. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that 26 audio platforms that spread “historical nihilism and obscene pornography” are the first batch of services it has taken action against. The announcement promises a “comprehensive centralised rectification of the audio industry” that […]

Spotify closes its direct-upload test for artists

In September 2018, Spotify started testing a new tool for artists to upload their music to its platform directly, without needing a distributor, let alone a label. At the time, the test was with “a few hundred” US-based artists, with plans to expand it in the future. Or not. Today, Spotify has announced that it’s […]

Former Songkick boss co-writes 2019 State of AI report

Ian Hogarth was the co-founder and CEO of concert-discovery app Songkick, before stepping down in early 2016. Nowadays, he’s a prominent figure in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) startups, including as an angel investor. His ‘AI Nationalism’ article from last year is well worth a read, on that front. But so is the latest version […]

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