Vevo’s Greg Duffy explains how artists can ‘growth hack the music video’

‘Growth hacking’ is very much a Silicon Valley phrase: a term used to cover a range of tactics used by startups when they’re trying to build a big audience very fast, in their early years.  Yesterday at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in New York, Vevo’s business operations and strategy manager Greg Duffy applied the […]

Flighthouse CEO Jacob Pace talks TikTok, music and virality

Bad news, record labels hoping to create the next ‘Old Town Road’ sized hit by making a song ‘go viral’ on social app TikTok. It’s easier said than done. “To really make stuff go on TikTok requires a lot of understanding. We tell labels all the time: you can’t just take a song and throw […]

Vizu.al pitches merits of embedding videos in email marketing

US firm Vizu.al has built a client list of more than 300 artists, labels, festivals and agencies with its technology that’s capable of embedding video within emails sent out to mailing lists. Founder Matt Highsmith spoke at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in New York today, showing examples of campaigns that the company has powered […]

Podcasts and music: the opportunities… and the annoyances

Around 62 million Americans are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, according to the latest edition of Edison Research and Triton Digital’s ‘The Infinite Dial’ report, which was published in March 2019. Another research firm, Ovum, predicts that there will be more than one billion podcast listeners globally by 2020. No wonder music-streaming services […]

Sony Music’s Jose Abreu talks superfans, artists and content

An artist’s keenest fans are their lifeblood in the modern music industry: the people who won’t just stream music casually, but will listen over and over again; share it with friends and the wider world via social networks; buy music, tickets and merchandise; and support the artists they love with a passion. At Music Ally’s […]

How can labels and musicians avoid the ‘dry streams paradox’ in 2019?

Music Ally wrote about the ‘dry streams paradox’ earlier this year in our Sandbox music-marketing report: it refers to the situation where millions of streams for a song driven by a popular playlist on Spotify or Apple Music doesn’t translate into engaged fans for the artist who recorded it. The topic was the subject for […]

Spotify / Hulu bundle signups end in the US for everyone except students

Spotify launched its first bundled subscription with video-streaming service Hulu in the US in September 2017, for $4.99 a month. The company later rolled it out as a $12.99-a-month option for all American customers in April 2018, then dropped the price to $9.99 a month in March this year. Now a surprise: Spotify has ended […]

Label Rehegoo Music Group launches background-music service

Record label Rehegoo Music is the latest company setting its sights on the background-music sector: providing curated music for businesses to play in their offices and public spaces. The label is offering a library of thousands of songs from “underground professional artists” with playlists based on various moods and genres – and the promise of new selections […]

HoloMe launches AR music video for Warner Music artist Amir

French-Israeli singer Amir is the latest artist exploring augmented-reality (AR) technology, with the help of his label Warner Music France and startup HoloMe. The latter company has created a smartphone app, called Amir & Moi, which is available as a free download for Android and for iOS. The app features a video for Amir’s single ‘5 Minutes Avec […]

Mixtapes website MixTape Monkey says it has 11m listeners

Hip-hop mixtapes website MixTape Monkey has an audience of 11 million listeners, according to its creator Mark Serrano. Interviewed by news site Startland, the Kansas City-based founder describes himself as an “enforcer” – by which he means he enforces a strict policy of quality on the mixtapes featured on his site. “If I donʼt believe you’re […]

Sofar Sounds raises ‘mind-blowing’ $25m funding round

Live-music startup Sofar Sounds has announced a funding round of $25m, led by VC firms Battery Ventures and Union Square Ventures. “It’s absolutely mind-blowing, and I’m excited for the opportunity this creates for Sofar to grow, creating new products for artists and tools for our global community to deliver on our collective mission to support […]

Old Town Road takes top spot in YouTube’s global songs chart

Remember when Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ was very much a US thing, with the controversy over whether it qualified for the country-music charts? Now it’s absolutely a global thing: last week, it dislodged K-Pop stars Blackpink from the top of YouTube’s global top-songs chart. ‘Old Town Road’ generated 73.6m views on YouTube in the […]

Delic rights-management startup prepares for autumn beta launch

Back in November 2016, Music Ally got wind of a new startup called SuperRational in the UK, which was aiming to launch a blockchain-powered crowdfunding platform for music. We were a little early to the party, but SuperRational has been in touch to alert us to its new brand – Delic – and its plans to launch in beta […]

Linkfire targets independent artists with new membership plans

Music-marketing platform Linkfire is launching new ‘tiered membership plans’ to expand its customer base, with independent artists now among its key targets. The new plans include ‘personal’ memberships with pricing ranging from free to $25 a month, and ‘business’ plans aimed at labels, distributors and marketing agencies, which start at $50 a month. The move will also […]

Twitch gamers can earn up to $50k an hour from games publishers

If you were a a popular gamer on video service Twitch, how much do you think game-publishers would pay you to promote their new titles? According to the Wall Street Journal it’s between $25k and $50k an hour, for those broadcasters capable of drawing audiences of more than 15,000 simultaneous viewers. The report suggests that big publishers […]

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

New details have emerged on TikTok’s parent company Bytedance’s plans to launch its own music-streaming service. Bloomberg reports that the new service will launch this autumn “in a handful of territories, mostly poorer countries where paid services have yet to garner large audiences”. The countries aren’t named, but one clue comes from the news that Bytedance has […]

Arctic Rights Management hits 2.5bn streams milestone

Since it was founded in 2018, Norwegian music firm Arctic Rights Management has built a roster of 30 songwriters and artists, while also representing various publishing catalogues. The company has just announced a milestone: more than 2.5bn streams of the top 100 songs that the company represents. There are some songs doing lots of the […]

China has now overtaken the US for smart-speaker shipments

More than 5m smart speakers were shipped in the US during the first quarter of 2019, which represents around 22% year-on-year growth, according to research firm Canalys. But wait: the US is no longer the biggest market for these devices in the world, having been overtaken by China. In fact, 10.6m smart speakers shipped in China […]

The ‘impermanent social internet’ may be our online future

Looking for a spicy hot-take of the day that doesn’t involve Game of Thrones? Try this one from journalist Mike Isaac. “The permanent social internet is dying. The impermanent social internet will need to replace it. And it will be even more difficult to make money on such an internet than it was before.” That’s the […]

Startup Oben is making ‘personal artificial intelligences’

Have you heard the acronym ‘PAI’ yet? It’s one to remember, standing for Personal Artificial Intelligences: digital avatars based on real people, with AI technology powering their interactions with humans. Gizmodo has an interesting profile of a startup called Oben which is working on this technology. “This startup, with its 100 plus employees, is betting that in the future, […]

TikTok parent Bytedance launches Feiliao messaging app

TikTok may be taking over the western world (in terms of downloads at least, as we reported last week) but its parent company Bytedance has just launched a new app in China. It’s called Feiliao, although TechCrunch reports the English-language version of the name is ‘Flipchat’. “Here are your familiar chat, audio and video calls. In […]

The Night League teams with Apple Music for ‘Sounds of Ibiza 2019’

Apple Music has enlisted its latest brand to be a playlist curator: dance-music company The Night League. It has created a series of playlists that will sit within Apple Music’s ‘Sounds of Ibiza 2019’ hub, including collections based on specific Ibiza club brands like Ushuaïa, Hï Ibiza and ANTS. Guest DJs and residents from the clubs are […]

China’s music industry discusses social music-promotion

This weekend saw the ‘WISE’ conference take place in Beijing, with a lineup of Chinese and international speakers from the music and media industries. Music Ally was there to report back on some of the discussions relating to our industry: particularly a debate over how or if platforms like TikTok (Douyin in China) plan to […]

BandLab buys British music-media brands NME and Uncut

TI Media (formerly magazine publisher Time, Inc’s UK subsidiary) is selling two of its key music properties to BandLab Technologies, the company behind the BandLab music-creation app. NME and Uncut are the brands in question: the former is the digital-only incarnation of the famous weekly music magazine – the print edition closed in 2018 – […]

Spotify Car Thing hardware streams music and podcasts to drivers

Spotify has unveiled its first hardware: a voice-controlled speaker for cars that will stream music and podcasts. However, ‘Car Thing’ isn’t a commercial product… yet. Instead, the speaker is being used for a test in the US with “a small group of invited Spotify Premium users” according to the streaming service. Those people will install […]

Spotify encourages artists to create their own podcasts

“Do You Need Your Own Podcast?” asks Spotify’s latest blog post aimed at artists. The tone of the article is clearly encouraging them to give it a go, ideally via Spotify’s own Anchor podcast-creation app, which it acquired earlier this year. “A podcast is a great way to establish your personality as an artist and expand […]

Amplify will be the next platform for fans to invest in artists

There are already a number of companies making it possible for fans and high-wealth individuals to invest in musicians, from the familiar crowdfunding platforms like Patreon to the likes of Royalty Exchange. The latest startup falling into the latter category is Amplify, which is planning to launch a private beta of its service this summer. “Amplify […]

Revelator launches its digital-wallet app for musicians

Music-rights firm Revelator has launched its ‘digital wallet’ app for musicians, called Artist Wallet. It’s the company’s app that uses smart contracts to process streams and pay out royalties faster. “When a song is streamed online or played on the radio, rights holders are notified directly on their mobile device, and can safely access and cash out […]

PRS for Music reveals its next CEO: Andrea C. Martin

British collecting society PRS for Music has a new incoming CEO. Andrea C. Martin will be taking up the position on 17 June, with a background as president and CEO of three international business units with Readers Digest Association; MD of data services for the UK’s Royal Mail; and president of security-tech firm ADT Canada. […]

Australian labels win blocks against stream-ripping websites

Given the growth in paid streaming, few people in the music industry are genuinely running around panicking about the existence of ‘stream-ripping’ websites. That said, industry bodies and anti-piracy execs within rightsholders *are* continuing to tackle sites that help people turn streams into free, unlicensed downloads. The latest evidence of this crackdown paying off comes […]

Ditto Music preps Bluebox platform to ‘streamline the supply chain’

A couple of weeks ago Lee Parsons, the CEO of distributor Ditto Music, posted on LinkedIn about his recent appearance at a blockchain event in Bangkok. “Could Ditto Music have an announcement coming up? Watch this space,” he wrote. A fortnight on, and the space to watch is investment site AngelList, and a listing for something called Bluebox, which […]

TikTok was the third most-downloaded app globally in Q1 2019

Social app TikTok may be at a point in its lifetime where big numbers around its growth are counter-productive – at least in one specific context: licensing negotiations with the music industry. The bigger TikTok gets, the keener rightsholders will be to point out how important music has been to its growth, and why any […]

YouTube unveils ‘Bumper Machine’ tool to create six-second ads

YouTube has launched a couple of new ways to advertise on its platform, which may be of use for artists or smaller labels who are lacking the time and resources for creating and editing video ads. One of them is called Bumper Machine, and it’s a tool for creating the six-second ‘bumper ads’ that YouTube says […]

UK society PPL saw its collections grow by 13% in 2018

British collecting society PPL has announced its figures for 2018, revealing that its collections grew by 13% to £246.8m on behalf of performers and rightsholders. That included 5% growth (to £83.6m) for its ‘broadcasting and online’ category, although the biggest spike came with a 43% rise in international collections to £70.9m. PPL also paid out […]

Gimme Radio launches its second music service: Gimme Country

Since its launch in 2017, we’ve known Gimme Radio as a metal brand: an app for streaming a round-the-clock radio station playing metal, with an array of DJs. By late January 2019 it had nearly 130,000 registered users, but was also making it clear that it had plans for other genres: starting with country, with dance, hip-hop, […]

Ticketmaster launches ‘SafeTix’ feature for digital tickets

Ticketmaster has unveiled a new feature for its digital-ticketing technology, called SafeTix. It’s about tying every ticket to the buyer’s smartphone via “an encrypted barcode that automatically refreshes every few seconds”, as well as NFC technology (if supported by their phone) that means they can ‘tap in’ when entering venues. “For fans, SafeTix will provide the […]

Composer John Zorn says he’s owed nearly $200k by PledgeMusic

Composer John Zorn is the latest musician to go public on his experience with troubled crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic. Zorn used the site in 2018 for the release of his 11-album box-set ‘The Book Beriah’, raising $197,559 in the process. Now Zorn has told NPR that the money is still owed to him, as PledgeMusic prepares to go […]

Spotify in India: ‘Our job is to grow the market’

It isn’t easy being Spotify. It’s harder being Spotify in India, a country where the launch of the world’s number one audio-streaming service has been the subject of much speculation and controversy. Now that’s it here, without most of the Warner Music Group catalogue and that of Saregama, India’s oldest record label that owns the […]

BBC promises to build ‘public-service’ recommendation algorithm

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC is hoping to jog people out of their algorithmic comfort-zones with recommendations in its BBC Sounds app. The broadcaster’s director of radio and education James Purnell announced the plans at the Radio Festival 2019 conference in London. “The BBC rests on three foundations: to entertain, yes, but also to inform and educate. […]

Beatport launches Beatport Link subscription service for DJs

Beatport is taking its latest shot at launching a subscription service for its DJ customers. It’s called Beatport Link, and launched in beta yesterday as a way for DJs to stream the Beatport catalogue directly to their performance software, during sets. The first software to support it is Pioneer DJ’s WeDJ, which is aimed at beginner […]

Spotify’s Soundtrap cloud-studio moves into podcast creation

Soundtrap is the cloud music-studio startup that Spotify acquired in November 2017. Since then, the tool has continued to develop, including partnerships with schools and collaborations between emerging artists. Now it’s also part of Spotify’s push into podcasts, with the launch of something called Soundtrap for Storytellers. Spotify is describing it as “a cloud-based one-stop shop […]

Facebook warns that its new privacy tool ‘may impact targeting’

From unintended consequences of its core features to deliberate abuses of the way it made users’ data available to developers, Facebook is firefighting on several fronts in 2019. It should come as no surprise that its attempts to pivot to what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls a “privacy-focused social platform” are going to have an effect […]

How Otis McDonald built a career… though royalty-free YouTube music

With the EU Copyright Directive passed but still to be implemented by the different member states, the issue of the ‘value gap’ certainly hasn’t gone away. At the heart of this debate is the argument that ‘user-uploaded content’ services, most notably YouTube, that use music as such a core part of their business should be […]

Anjunabeats clears 350 tracks for use in Twitch livestreams

Dance label Anjunabeats wants more of its music to be used by people streaming their gaming sessions on Amazon’s Twitch platform. “Starting today, we’ve made 350+ tracks available to soundtrack your @Twitch livestream!” tweeted the label earlier this week. “Throw down without fear of being muted with our playlist of Twitch-ready tracks here.” That’s a link to Spotify […]

Soundstripe raises $4m for video music-licensing business

Nashville-based startup Soundstripe is a production library that licenses its catalogue to video producers of all levels, from YouTubers to advertising firms and filmmakers. The company says it has issued more than 2m of its ‘micro-licences’ since it was founded in 2016. Now it has raised $4m of Series A funding to continue growing the business, adding […]

Spotify tests ‘Storyline’ feature for artists’ stories

There’s a flurry of headlines along the lines of ‘Spotify tests its own version of stories’ today, referring to the ephemeral posts that have become the driving force for apps like Instagram and Snapchat. That’s not quite the case: Spotify *is* testing a new feature called ‘Storyline’, but it’s not about the company’s 217 million […]

Tencent Music now has 28.4m paying users for online music

Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2019 overnight, and there are plenty of big numbers as you’d expect. Overall revenues grew by 39.4% year-on-year to RMB 5.74bn ($855m) as TME recorded an RMB 987m ($147m) net profit – as usual benefitting from the fact that a significant chunk of its […]

YouTube makes an artist spotlight story for Maren Morris

Country star Maren Morris is the latest artist to get an ‘Artist Spotlight Story’ from YouTube. It debuted on 10 May: a 15-minute mini-documentary that tracks Morris’ journey from “from her early days singing in honky-tonks, to becoming a songwriter in Nashville, to climbing the charts and breaking new ground in country music as a Grammy-winning performing […]

Spotify launches its stripped-down ‘Lite’ app in India

Having signed up more than two million users in India after its recent launch there, Spotify has now made its Spotify Lite app available in the country too. It’s a stripped-down version of Spotify’s smartphone app which is just 11MB in file-size, and is designed to be used in “slow network conditions”. The app has been […]

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber break Spotify daily-streams record

This is one of those figures we’re slightly cautious about, as it doesn’t come directly from the streaming service in question. But it does seem as if ‘I Don’t Care’, the new track from Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, has set a new record for single-day streams on Spotify. That’s based on a figure shown this […]

Rolling Stone delays public-beta launch of its daily charts

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone announced plans to launch its own US charts, tracking the top 100 tracks and top 200 albums on a daily basis – rather than the weekly update of the established Billboard rankings. Its partner in the launch is Alpha Data, the company formerly known as BuzzAngle Music. The launch was announced […]

NMPA boss fires new shot at Spotify by comparing it to Uber

Uber went public on Friday, and the event spurred David Israelite, the boss of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the US, to voice his latest criticism of Spotify. “Question: what are the differences between Uber and Spotify? Both are tech cos (not transportation/music cos). Both lose money. Both went public and enriched owners […]

Music marketing in 2019: content, playlists… and Twitter skeletons

Musicians who are breaking through should be aware of any skeletons lurking in the cupboard of their past social-media posts, according to Andy Varley from music company Insanity Group. “In a generation where more and more artists are growing up through social media, you might have used Twitter as a conversational playground discussion platform as […]

UK Music boss calls for investigation into PledgeMusic collapse

Crowdfunding firm PledgeMusic’s imminent administration looks set to get messy, with the inevitable scrutiny of how the company got into a financial hole – and crucially, what happened to the money raised by artists using the platform, who are still owed payouts. UK Music boss Michael Dugher wants the relevant watchdogs to get involved in […]

Facebook co-founder argues that the company should be broken up

There have been a few calls from prominent figures in recent months for Facebook (and other tech giants) to be broken up. The latest person suggesting this fate for the social network is its own co-founder though: Chris Hughes, who worked on Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg in its earliest days at Harvard. In an op-ed for […]

Will Article 17 have unintended consequences for musicians?

The new European Copyright Directive, complete with its Article 17 (formerly 13) on liability for user-uploaded-content platforms, is about to be passed into law, and then transposed into the legislation of the EU’s member countries. But will there be some effects on musicians beyond improving the bargaining power of their rightsholders when sitting down to […]

Spotify tests making podcasts more prominent in mobile app

Spotify is testing a design tweak to its mobile app that gives podcasts more prominence in the ‘library’ screen for its listeners. Bloomberg reported yesterday that the new layout involves two main tabs at the top of the screen to switch between ‘Music’ and ‘Podcasts’, with sections for new episodes of shows that you follow; shows that […]

User-centric streaming payouts: Apple, major labels, new artists…

Apple has internally modelled how a user-centric system of music-royalty payouts would work, in an effort to understand its potential impact on artists and labels, according to Crispin Hunt, chair of songwriting body The Ivors Academy. “They said ‘Be careful: we’ve modelled how this comes out’,” said Hunt, in a panel session about user-centric payouts […]

UK survey reveals ‘hidden barriers’ for disabled musicians

A new report aims to shed more light on the “hidden barriers” encountered by artists with ‘access requirements’ – a term covering a range of impairments and health conditions. The report is the work of British music-charity Attitude is Everything, which interviewed 96 musicians, songwriters, DJs and producers from the UK about their experiences. Half […]

Record label 777 Music launches its own esports offshoot

The latest label exploring the crossover between music and esports is 777 Music, which has launched its own esports division. The company says it’s keen to explore the potential for genres beyond electronic-music to reap the rewards of pro-gaming partnerships. It has launched an online community for music and gaming fans, and is setting up […]

Create Music Group’s new app will manage songwriting splits

Music firm Create Music Group has launched a new app aimed at songwriters. It’s called ‘Splits’ and it aims to help writers nail down the royalty-splits for their work as early as possible in the process. The promise is that it takes just a few taps to create a new agreement, add collaborators with their […]

Incoming Recording Academy boss promises ‘new perspective’

Deborah Dugan has been confirmed as the new president and CEO of the US Recording Academy, replacing outgoing boss Neil Portnow. Dugan has promised that she is keen for the organisation to use its platform “to affect positive change” – including around diversity in the music industry, an issue which saw Portnow cause controversy last […]

PledgeMusic co-founder confirms imminent administration

The co-founder of stricken crowdfunding service PledgeMusic has confirmed that it will shortly enter administration. Benji Rogers, who has been volunteering his services to help the company out of its financial hole, admitted defeat in a blog post yesterday. “I am sad to report that this effort has not met with success and that PledgeMusic […]

Report claims Google has 15m paying music subscribers

Google hasn’t revealed how many paying subscribers its YouTube Music subscription service has, and it’s been a long time since we saw any numbers for its existing Google Play Music. Now Bloomberg has tried to plug that gap with a report mooting a number for the combined figure of both services. “Google’s paid music services have eclipsed […]

Social media’s impact on the life satisfaction of teenagers is “tiny”

Every generation has its folk devil – the one thing that is apparently going to corrupt and destroy “the young people”. The hula hoop, radio, Hollywood, TV, rock ’n’ roll, Cabbage Patch Kids (maybe), acid house, computer games. On and on the list will roll. The current one (apart from Fortnite) is social media. But a […]

Facebook boosts original content in its rankings

For a number of years, in part to try and steal a march on YouTube, Facebook has been encouraging native uploads from creators (i.e. posting videos straight to Facebook rather than linking to external sites). Now it is courting filmmakers and saying that it will, over the coming months, add “a series of ranking updates” for videos. […]

Google will offer users greater privacy and restrict cookie usage

There are flashpoint moments like Cambridge Analytica or major data breaches, but privacy concerns remain a low rumbling noise in the background for most people using online platforms and connected devices. At Google’s I/O conference this week, the company took steps to address this. Well, a bit. It will apply stricter controls on tracking users. […]

How music companies are gaming streaming with “playlist stuffing”

Kieron Donoghue – founder of Humble Angel Records and former VP of global playlists strategy and curation at Warner Music – has been blogging about the trend of “playlist stuffing” that he has been spotting on streaming services. As songs qualify as a stream and, therefore, a payment after 30 seconds, he says a key tactic has […]

Rolling Stone creates new US chart

Hands up who ordered a new music chart. Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller? Bueller? Oh, Rolling Stone did. It is launching in the US and is intended to compete with Billboard’s own charts. The big difference here is that this is designed as a daily chart rather than a weekly one and will lean more heavily […]

WMG sees streaming push up recorded numbers but publishing slips

Warner Music Group has published its numbers for the fiscal second quarter (ending 31st March 2019) and the headlines are that total revenue across all parts of the business was up 13.2% and that it saw net income of $67m compared to a net loss of $1m in the same period last year. Digital was, […]

Music service Wynk loses statutory licensing case in India

A judge in the Bombay High Court in India has ruled against streaming and download service Wynk in its long-running licensing dispute with record company Tips Industries. It is a protracted story but, in brief, Tips and Wynk had failed to agree licensing terms back in 2017 and this saw Tips requesting that its catalogue of […]

BBC plans Alexa rival

“Auntie – what’s the weather going to be like today?” This is not some reference to Mary Poppins or Paddington but rather to the fact that the BBC is reportedly working on a voice assistant rival to Alexa and Siri. It is being dubbed “Auntie” internally but will probably not be the official name it launches […]

Live A Pray-AR: how Madonna is using AR, TikTok and more in her new album campaign

The new Madonna album, Madame X, is out next month but leads singles ‘Medellín’ and ‘I Rise’ have not exactly set the charts alight. Which will make the set up to the album that little bit trickier. Perhaps as part of an accelerated media campaign, Madonna’s team has been talking to Billboard about the use of new […]

Billie Eilish’s managers on the future of the album in the streaming age and why radio is far from dead

Danny Rukasin and Brandon Goodman co-manage Billie Eilish and they have been talking to MBW about the stealth development underpinning her career and how her debut album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – is having to work in the streaming and playlisting era. “While playlists drive single consumption, albums can be […]

Readin’ In The Free World: Neil Young announces book about HQ audio

First it was a device, then a streaming platform/archive and now it’s going to be a book. Neil Young, the audiophile’s audiophile, is making his mission to improve digital audio the centre of a new book that will be out in September. Young has co-written the self-explanatory To Feel The Music: A Songwriter’s Quest To Save […]

ERA boss defends streaming services against the “insidious rise in name-calling”

Any discussion of what streaming services do (or don’t) pay out is always going to get people’s blood pressure up. Are streaming services saving the business? Or are they part of a Big Tech turbo-conspiracy to exploit (and rip off) creators? Kim Bayley, CEO of ERA, has waded into the debate and argues that accusations […]

PledgeMusic goes into pre-administration: report

Hypebot is reporting that PledgeMusic has gone into pre-administration as its future now hangs in the balance. According to sources, a buyer for the troubled crowdfunding platform is still possibly in the wings seeking to acquire it – but is deliberating. “UK based corporate advisory FRP has been named to contact potential buyers and value the […]

EU to formally investigate Apple following Spotify’s anti-trust complaint

It is a dispute that has been brewing for a long time and which went public in recent months. Now, according to the FT, the European Union is preparing to formally investigate Spotify-led anti-trust complaints about Apple and its App Store. In brief, Spotify is arguing that Apple is “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors” […]

Dating app Tinder now has a ‘Festival Mode’ for music fans

Dating at festivals has come a long way since the days of drinking seven cans of mind-altering cider then finding a friendly face in the crowd. In 2019, inevitably, the culture of swipe-right dating apps is coming to music festivals too. Specifically, Tinder has added a ‘festival mode’ to its app, to help people hook […]

Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage signs global deal with UMG

Universal Music wants to build its business in Africa: that’s been clear for some time now. In July 2018 it announced an expansion in French-speaking Africa with a brief to sign up emerging artists there, as well as launching Universal Music Nigeria as a hub for its expansion in western Africa. There too, signings were a key part of […]

YouTube Coachella festival livestream generated 82m views

YouTube says that its livestream of the first weekend of the Coachella festival last month set a new record: 82m live views, up an impressive 90% on the figure for 2018’s event. “After nine years of success in the desert, we’re doubling down on music festivals, starting with a new two-year partnership to live stream […]

Spotify is testing voice-enabled ads in the US

When we think about smart speakers and voice control, we tend to think about people controlling music. But there’s also potential for them to be interacting with advertisements too. Spotify has announced that it is testing ‘voice-enabled’ ads in the US for some of its free listeners. For now, the ads are for content on […]

Midem reveals finalists for its 2019 Midemlab startups contest

The 20 startups that will be pitching as part of the Midemlab startups contest in Cannes this June have been revealed. The contest saw 177 startups apply, with the final 20 chosen by Music Ally and Bluenove. In the music creation and education category, the finalist are Big Ear Games, Endlesss, Jambl, Muzeek and Lonofi. For […]

Research project compares Spotify and radio for breaking hits

A few years ago, Spotify UK was urging labels to adopt an ‘on air, on stream’ policy with new tracks – meaning that as soon as they were played on the radio, they should be available on streaming services too. In 2019, the notion that this was ever even a debate may seem bizarre, but […]

Games consolidation as Fortnite publisher buys Rocket League developer

For once, here’s a story in the Music Ally bulletin that you can tell a passing 10 year-old, and watch their jaw drop. The publisher of craze-popular game Fortnite is buying the developer of also-hot game Rocket League. That means Epic Games is acquiring Psyonix, for an undisclosed amount, with the deal expected to close in […]

Hulu reveals latest milestone and ‘binge advertising experience’

Video-streaming service Hulu now has 28.1 million customers in the US, including 26.8 million paid subscribers and 1.3 million people on ‘promotional accounts’. The company revealed the new figures at its latest showcase in New York. The news means Hulu has added 3.1 million customers since the start of 2019 – it ended last year with 25 […]

Next Clio Music awards submission deadline is 17 May

Clio Music, the global advertising and marketing awards born of the original Clios, recently announced their 2019 juries for music marketing and the use of music in advertising. Currently, the program is open for entries with the next submission deadline scheduled for May 17th. Clio Music highlights top creative marketing and advertising in a broad […]

You’ll soon be able to build your own Instagram camera effects

There’s something we missed in Facebook’s raft of announcements at its f8 developer conference earlier this week. The company is “opening Instagram to the entire Spark AR creator and developer ecosystem”. What’s that? Spark AR Studio is Facebook’s tool for developers to build augmented-reality content, thus far mainly focused on its Facebook Camera feature. Now, that’s fully […]

Amazon launches Alexa in-skill purchasing internationally

It’s often assumed that you can’t make money from any ‘skills’ (the smart-speaker equivalent of apps) for voice assistants like Alexa. Actually, Amazon launched a feature called ‘in-skill purchasing’ in the US last year to enable exactly that. Now the feature is expanding globally, starting with the UK, Germany and Japan. “Soon, developers from around […]

RAC and Goldroom launch a blockchain record label

Dance artists RAC and Goldroom (aka André Anjos and Josh Legg) have launched a new label called Minerva Music. Its twist: it has put blockchain technology at the centre of its distribution strategy. The company is working with revenue-tracking startup Stem, as well as blockchain firm Ujo Music. RAC is no stranger to the latter, having […]

Could music-streaming services be free for people with dementia?

A new website has launched in the UK called Music for Dementia 2020, and it’s part of a campaign to make music “available for everyone living with dementia by 2020”. This is based on research suggesting that music therapy can “reduce the often-distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, apathy and anxiety”, but also the awareness […]

Report claims VR-headset install base was 14m at end of 2018

Research firm SuperData Research has put out some new numbers around ‘XR’ technology – an umbrella term that includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). It includes some new figures on the install base of VR headsets, which SuperData reckons reached 14m by the end of 2018, but will grow to 51m by […]

Facebook f8 event kicks off with more privacy promises

There will be plenty of sceptics scoffing at their keyboards today, when they catch sight of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in front of a big ‘The future is private.” slogan. The image is from his keynote at Facebook’s f8 developer conference yesterday, which saw the company doubling down on its new-found enthusiasm for privacy. “Over […]

Audzilla app will blend fans’ concert videos with HD audio

Here’s a startup so new, its website isn’t quite up and running yet. However, Los Angeles-based Audzilla does sound interesting from its just-added profile on investment site AngelList. “Audzilla is a music technology that allows fans to create one of a kind fan generated videos at live events by streaming the high definition audio from the soundboard […]

Artists will be part of Instagram’s new shopping feature

Instagram wants people to start buying the clothes and accessories that their favourite celebrities (‘influencers’ included) are showing off in their posts. It’s launching a new feature called ‘Shopping from Creators’ next week, with a small group of public figures on Instagram. “Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or […]

50 States of Music site highlights music’s US economic impact

We’re not sure how intentional the nod towards the ’50 Shades’ books is in the title of new website 50 States of Music. Perhaps it’s better not to ask. But the site is a good thing: launched by US music-industry bodies A2IM, ASCAP, BMI, the RIAA and SoundExchange to pull data together showing music’s economic value […]

Music Ally in 2019 :: What we do and where we’re going

Music Ally is many things to many people. Some know us only for the free articles we post on this website; others for our subscription-based bulletin and reports; and others for our training, events, consultancy and/or marketing work with artists. We thought now would be a good time to put those pieces together and explain […]

PRS for Music boss Robert Ashcroft talks growth, YouTube and Fortnite

“Maybe what I’ll say is this: I’ve done 10 years of this. I’m going to let someone else take on the internecine warfare that seems to be endemic to the music industry!” Even when he’s playing a straight bat to a sensitive question – in this case, one about whether songwriters deserve a bigger slice of […]

Japanese white-label ticketing startup Zaiko raises funding

There’s a new startup hoping to make an impact on the Japanese concert-ticketing market. Zaiko has just raised its first round of seed funding according to IQ, and is rolling out its white-label service, which will help promoters, venues and artists to sell tickets directly to fans. The funding came from investors including VC firm North Base Media […]

Gaana CEO targets 600m Indian music-streamers by 2022

Gaana’s chief executive Prashan Agarwal isn’t content with the impressive growth so far in the number of Indian people streaming music. “The penetration of music streaming is only 10% in the Indian market with around 150 million users. The market needs to grow to 600 million in the next 2-3 years,” he told the Business Standard this […]

TuneCore reaches $1.5bn payouts, cites YouTube and Africa growth

Music distributor TuneCore has hit its latest milestone: $1.5bn of distribution revenue for its independent artists. That’s after earnings of $83m in the first quarter of 2019, up 21% year-on-year. This follows a 28% increase (to $308m) for TuneCore’s distribution income in 2018 as a whole. The company noted that YouTube monetisation showed particularly encouraging […]

Artists need ‘meaningful patronage’ in 2019 beyond streams

Marketing agency Motive Unknown boss Darren Hemmings’ latest blog post goes in hard on the world of streaming right from its title: ‘Music Streaming Services Are Gaslighting Us’. His argument: “At every step of the way, streaming services are essentially gaslighting us that this ecosystem is an amazing new development. Just like Silicon Valley in […]

Taylor Swift ‘Me!’ video did 65.2m views in its first 24 hours

Her fans made a sterling effort, but Taylor Swift’s new video didn’t quite knock BTS off their perch holding YouTube’s record for a video’s most views in its first 24 hours. Their ‘Boy With Luv’ generated 74.6m in that period, while Swift’s ‘Me!’ video with Brendon Urie ended up getting 65.2m views in its first 24 hours. […]

Nao gets a Microsoft-powered interactive music video

British artist Nao has a new video, produced by Sony Music UK’s 4th Floor Creative division in partnership with Microsoft. The video is for Nao’s track ‘Orbit’, and gets fans to put in their birthday to generate a video driven by their astrological sign. There’s more interactivity as the video continues, with fans’ input adjusting the […]

Filing: Amazon spent $1.7bn on music and video content in Q1

We reported on Amazon’s latest financial results last week. In the official filing, the company revealed a music stat! Albeit one bundled in with video. “Total video and music expense was $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion in Q1 2018 and Q1 2019,” reported Amazon. “Total video and music expense includes licensing and production costs associated with […]

Could streaming services offer ‘creator support’ for artists?

The idea of ‘top-up’ crowdfunding-style payments within music-streaming subscription services is something Music Ally has floated in the past: the idea that (for example) Spotify’s billing relationship with its subscribers could be used to help them spend a dollar or two a month more on individual musicians, likely in exchange for exclusive content and other […]

PRS for Music boss puts Fortnite on notice after record collections

British collecting society PRS for Music saw its collections grow by 4.4% to £746m (around $965.4m) in 2018, setting a new record. £603.6m was distributed to members, down 0.2% year-on-year “caused by processing delays at our joint venture partners”. PRS said that its international collections were up by 9.1% to £280.6m, while income from digital […]

Wellbeing survey of independent musicians finds worrying results

Music distributor Record Union has joined the debate around mental health within the music industry, with a survey of nearly 1,500 independent musicians conducted in late March and early April this year. It’s the latest snapshot into a career that can take a toll on people’s wellbeing. One headline: 73% of musicians surveyed said they had ever […]

Spotify now has 100 million premium subscribers

Spotify has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2019, including a significant milestone: 100 million premium subscribers. That’s up from 96 million at the end of 2018. and 75 million a year ago. Spotify now has 217 million monthly active users overall, so its ‘conversion rate’ is now just over 46%, up […]

OpenAI launches MuseNet, the latest music-generating AI

Have you heard of OpenAI? It’s a non-profit artificial-intelligence company backed by Tesla founder Elon Musk and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman among others, with a claimed mission to “ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) – by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work – benefits all of humanity”. […]

The Dirt biopic fuelled surge in streams of Mötley Crüe music

There are plenty of opinions about Netflix’s Mötley Crüe biopic ‘The Dirt’, based on our social feeds. But what impact has the film had on demand for the band’s music? A press release for the band suggests that it’s paying off. “The age demo for fans streaming Mötley Crüe’s music includes a much younger demographic. […]

Help Musicians UK steps up fundraising after spending increase

Charity Help Musicians UK is planning a new fundraising drive, after increasing its spending to support individuals and organisations in the British music industry with wellbeing and mental-health issues. The charity spent £6.2m on its ‘Creative and Health & Welfare’ program in 2018, a rise of 23%, while its payments were made to 14,255 individuals […]

Tidal gets 14-day exclusive window for Prince ‘Originals’ album

There’s a new album by Prince coming out: hurrah! But it’s an album of cover versions: boo! But wait, it’s covers of songs that Prince himself wrote for other artists to record: hurrah again! ‘Originals’ will be released on 7 June through a partnership between the Prince Estate, Warner Bros Records and Tidal, with the streaming service […]

Facebook financials strong despite looming multi-billion fine

Facebook’s latest quarterly financials show the company’s business rolling on, with revenues up 26% year-on-year to $15.1bn in the first quarter of 2018, and a net profit of $2.43bn. The latter figure is down from $4.99bn a year ago, but consider this: Facebook’s latest net income factors in a $3bn legal expense – money set aside […]

Apple names Pink Sweat$ as its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Philadelphia-based R&B star Pink Sweat$ is the latest artist to get the Apple ‘Up Next’ treatment, following in the footsteps of the likes of Billie Eilish, Juice WRLD, Bad Bunny and H.E.R. The campaign will include a short film (shot on an iPhone XS for some double-branding sparkle) talking about his background and creative process […]

Childish Gambino gets his own Google-powered multiplayer AR app

“The experience begins with the opening of an AR portal. Walk through it to explore an augmented cave where you can find and interact with hidden glyphs while still being able to see out into the real world…” No, not the introduction to the latest Pokémon Go-style game. It’s Google’s blog post about its latest collaboration […]

MI.MU gestural-performance gloves to go on sale for £2,500

The MI.MU gloves were made famous by artist Imogen Heap, who developed them as a wearable controller for ‘gestural music performance’. A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2014 didn’t quite hit its target, but the gloves have since been used by a range of artists – including Ariana Grande in 2015 on her world tour – while the company set […]

Paramore star complains about Spotify / Genius lyrics feature

Spotify’s partnership with Genius to provide ‘Behind the Lyrics’ information for tracks is pretty cool, eh? Well, not so much if you’re an artist who disagrees with the information that’s being presented. Hayley Williams of Paramore is one example: she took to Twitter this week to complain about the notes for the band’s track ‘Hard Times’. @spotify […]

TikTok’s Indian app-store ban has now been overturned

Google and Apple removed social app TikTok from their app stores in India last week, but it will now be returning to the stores, after the state court in Tamil Nadu overturned its ban. This, in turn, has spurred India’s federal government to tell Google and Apple that they can make the app available again. […]

MLC debate continues in the US with calls for more information

If you’re keen to follow the debate about which entity should run the soon-to-be-created Mechanical Licensing Collective in the US, fill your boots on the official Copyright Office regulations site: it has published hundreds of submissions from industry bodies and individuals in support of one or other of the two groups (the MLC and AMLC) competing […]

Apple CEO renews his call for more regulation of big tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook has returned to the theme of stronger regulation of big technology companies, although it’s clear he’s thinking mainly of *other* big technology companies like Google and Facebook. “I think there are some serious issues with tech. I think that even though I’m deeply a free market person in mindset and believe […]

Twitter and Snapchat publish their latest financial results

Two social networks that have faced challenges around their user-growth published their latest quarterly financial results yesterday. So how are Twitter and Snapchat doing? Twitter’s financial numbers were good: revenues up 18% year-on-year to $787m and a net profit of $191m for the quarter. However, its number of monthly active users (MAUs) was down by six […]

Piracy-tracking firm Muso raises £3.5m more funding

UK-based Muso, which tracks online piracy and provides marketing tools for music companies to target that audience, has raised £3.5m (around $4.5m) more funding. It’s not a new round, but rather an extension of its existing Series A round, taking it to £6m ($7.8m) in total. Investor Harwell Capital was responsible for the additional injection […]

Napster wants to power more music-streaming services in Asia

Napster remains a consumer-brand streaming service, but the company’s energies are focusing ever-more keenly on its B2B business, and ‘powered by Napster’ services launched by brands and other partners. Now Napster’s parent company Rhapsody International is making a new push with that strategy in Asia, via a partnership with Vietnamese tech company GNT. The pair […]

Nielsen predicts growth in ‘core fans’ of Latin music in US

Music Ally reported recently on figures from US industry body the RIAA, which showed that the US Latin-music business grew by 18% in 2018, with streaming generating 93% of its revenues. Now research firm Nielsen has been talking about some more stats around the consumption of Latin music in the US, in its opening remarks at Billboard’s Latin […]

Blood on the Dance Floor music is removed from Spotify

Electro band Blood on the Dance Floor’s music has been removed from Spotify, after the streaming service decided that it flouted the company’s policies on hate content. That’s an important point, as the news comes as the band’s frontman Dahvie Vanity (real name: Jesus David Torres) is facing accusations of sexual assault from at least […]

Sylvia Rhone gets Epic promotion and Midem keynote slot

Industry veteran Sylvia Rhone has been promoted again: she’s now chairman and CEO of Sony Music label Epic Records, having joined it as president in 2014. She’ll report directly to Sony Music boss Rob Stringer, in a role leading the ‘overall creative direction and management’ of a label that includes Camila Cabello, Travis Scott and […]

Popgun boss thinks AI will create a ‘new pop industry’

Music Ally has interviewed Popgun CEO Stephen Phillips before a couple of times (here and here) – he’s a reliably-interesting thinker about the future for AI-generated music. Now he’s been talking to Soundcharts for the analytics company’s new series of video interviews. “We really love the idea that all of this is just playing on a broader trend of […]

Will Smith chips in to $46m funding for esports firm Gen.G

The latest esports startup tapping celebrities for investment is Gen.G, a company best known (to outsiders anyway) for its ownership of the Seoul Dynasty franchise – a team that plays in the official esports league for the game Overwatch. The company has raised a $46m funding round, with actor/musician Will Smith among the investors chipping […]

Amazon’s ad-supported music service launched in the US first

Some of its thunder may have been stolen by YouTube Music’s free, ad-supported launch on Google Home and other smart speakers, but Amazon has nevertheless launched its own free tier for Alexa-enabled devices. As reported prior to the launch, the tier is supported by advertising, and can be used by people without a Prime membership. […]

YouTube Music launches free, ad-supported tier for Google Home speakers

Reports earlier this week that Amazon was preparing to launch a free music-streaming tier for its Echo smart speakers sparked a drop in Spotify’s share price. So what effect will today’s news that YouTube Music is launching a ‘free, ad-supported experience’ for Google Home speakers have? In fact, YouTube Music’s free audio tier will work […]

Facebook is working on its own Alexa-style voice assistant

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal interest in AI voice-assistants is well known: in 2016 his personal mission for the year was building an AI ‘butler’ named Jarvis. Now the social network is working on a voice assistant to serve its 2.32bn users around the world. CNBC was first to report on the plans yesterday, claiming that a team […]

Bandcamp launches vinyl-pressing service for artists and labels

Bandcamp has launched a new vinyl-pressing service for independent artists and labels using its platform. Well, we say ‘launched’ – its official debut is later this year, but it was announced yesterday along with four pilot campaigns to show how it’ll work. It’s a Qrates-style service that combines vinyl with crowdfunding. “Our new vinyl pressing […]

Reminder: the perils of marketing singles to free streamers

If you’re directing fans to stream a new track by an artist, what happens if they’re tapping on that link on their smartphone, but are on the free tier of a service like Spotify? That’s one of the questions raised in our latest Sandbox music-marketing report – and answered by Cindy James, VP of streaming […]

Galas over gigs? The future for foreign bands playing in China

It’s getting more expensive for foreign artists to play live in China, thanks to new tax regulations on overseas performers and ticket sales. That’s bad news at a time when ever-more western artists are eyeing China with intent, thanks to the boom in legal music-streaming services owned by companies like Tencent and NetEase. Now Chinese […]

European Parliament backs continent-wide ticket-bot ban

Sorry, make that *three* pieces of new legislation in Europe that have implications for the music industry. Alongside the new copyright directive and new platform-to-business regulations, there’s also a crackdown afoot on ticket-buying bots. Yesterday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to outlaw the use of bots to get around maximum-limits on buying tickets, […]

Tumblr has launched a dedicated hub for K-Pop music

K-Pop! It’s big on YouTube, Spotify and all manner of other global digital platforms, thanks to the likes of BTS, Blackpink and other artists following in their footsteps. Now blogging platform Tumblr is getting in on the action by launching its own dedicated K-Pop hub. It’ll be curating posts from fans already publishing on Tumblr, as […]

Lawyers outline ‘messy questions’ around AI-created music

If you, like us, are curious about the implications of music generated by artificial-intelligence, then we can thoroughly recommend the latest article by The Verge journalist Dani Deahl. She’s been talking to lawyers about some of the “messy questions” around authorship of AI-generated music, particularly when the AIs have been trained on a body of copyrighted […]

European Parliament approves new ‘platform-to-business’ rules

The European Parliament has voted to approve its *other* big piece of new legislation that has significant implications for the music industry. That would be new regulations “to improve fairness and transparency of online platforms” – referred to as ‘platform-to-business’ legislation for short. The rules will apply to technology companies running online platforms of all kinds: search […]

Beyoncé drops surprise live-album to accompany Netflix special

In December 2013, Beyoncé managed to release her eponymous fifth solo album as a complete surprise to fans and the music industry alike, bar a small, trusted circle of insiders and digital partners. Nearly five and a half years on, she’s repeated the feat, albeit with a live album rather than a new set of studio […]

Universal Music to develop original shows with podcast firm Wondery

Spotify and Pandora are throwing their energies into podcasts… but now so is the largest major label, Universal Music Group, via a partnership with podcast publisher Wondery. The pair have signed a deal to develop original podcasts based on the label’s catalogue, artists and labels. No specific shows have been announced yet, but when they […]

Netflix added 9.6m subscribers in the first quarter of 2019

Netflix published its latest financial results yesterday, and there was a lot to shout about. The video-streaming service added 9.6 million paid memberships (i.e. subscribers) in the first quarter of 2019 – a record – taking it to just under 149 million in total. Of those net new adds, 1.7 million came from the US and […]

Report details Facebook’s last ’15 months of fresh hell’

Bring popcorn – and a cushion to hide behind for the worst details – for Wired magazine’s deep, deep dive into ’15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook’, which was published yesterday. “Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Here’s how that turned out,” is […]

Blueprint Radio launches podcast-plugging service for artists

In recent years, the traditional discipline of radio-plugging has been joined by playlist-plugging, with people who specialise in pitching tracks to streaming services’ playlist curators. Now get set for a new variant: podcast-plugging. British radio-promotions firm Blueprint Radio has launched a new division called Blueprint Pods, which it says will focus on matching artists “with podcasts […]

Fuga joins preferred-distributor lists of Spotify and Apple Music

Spotify and Apple Music have both updated their lists of ‘preferred’ music distributors in recent weeks, with Fuga the prominent new addition to both. The company is now listed alongside The Orchard as a “preferred label distributor” for Spotify, which (in the company’s words) “meet our highest standards for providing quality metadata and protecting against infringement”. Meanwhile, […]

CD Baby will use Audible Magic to spot infringing music

A number of prominent artists have suffered from ‘fake uploads’ to streaming services recently, including Beyoncé, Rihanna and SZA. Attention has focused on how these artists’ old recordings were uploaded to DSPs as ‘new’ albums under different artist names, with distributors under the microscope. Now CD Baby has signed a deal that could help it […]

German PRO Gema paid out €859.5m to its members in 2018

Germany’s collecting society Gema has reported its latest financials, revealing that it generated revenues of €1.02bn in 2018 (around $1.15bn) while paying out €859.5m to its 74,000 members that year. The revenues were actually €55m down on 2017’s total, although Gema was quick to point out that “considerable extraordinary income” in 2017 skewed its total […]

Blackpink soar to top of YouTube chart with 342m weekly views

We’ve reported a few times recently on the way Indian and Latin American artists are dominating the upper reaches of YouTube’s global artists chart. Last week, though, they were trumped by a pop band from South Korea. No, not that one. Blackpink were the top artist on YouTube for the week of 5-11 April with a mightily-impressive […]

TikTok downloads blocked in India after government request

Social app TikTok hasn’t been blocked in India: people who’ve downloaded the app there are still using it. But is *has* been removed from Apple and Google’s app stores, meaning that new downloads are currently barred from those official sources. The news is a setback for TikTok in what’s become one of its biggest markets. […]

$100m-funded Luminary podcasts app to launch on 23 April

Music Ally wrote about Luminary earlier this year: it’s a US-based podcasting startup that emerged from stealth mode brandishing pre-launch funding of $100m, plus plans to launch more than 40 podcasts with hosts like Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien. But the company was more than just a podcast production-studio: it had plans […]

Former Sony Music exec talks streaming: ‘Focus on the whales’

Thomas Hesse used to be the digital-business boss at Sony Music, but nowadays is an angel investor and startup founder (of still-stealthy Jamm Music) in his own right. He’s also written a column for Billboard that may hint at what the latter company is planning. His focus is on the music-streaming world’s equivalent of “whales” in casinos: […]

Lickd boss says Article 13 issue ‘is not going to go away’

Europe’s new copyright directive has passed its latest legislative hurdle, winning the approval of the European Union member states, after being voted through by the European Parliament last month. “With today’s agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age. Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong […]

Apple Arcade games service tipped to have $500m+ budget

Apple recently announced plans for a subscription-based games service, Apple Arcade, which will offer games across iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs for a single monthly fee – with no advertising or in-app purchases. Due to launch later in the year, the service appears to be getting a significant investment. “Several people involved in the […]

US speaker Nancy Pelosi warns tech firms could lose Section 230 protection

With the European Copyright Directive having made it through its approval vote in the European Parliament, could attention be about to switch to the US in the arguments over safe harbour? Maybe not straight away, but an interview with the US speaker Nancy Pelosi by tech site Recode is worth a read. In it, she’s asked about Section […]

Taylor Swift kicks off teaser campaign for 26 April 2019

As if the hoo-ha around the return of Game of Thrones on 14 April (in the US timezones) wasn’t exciting enough, it seems Taylor Swift may be preparing something for later this month. Swift’s website currently hosts a countdown – just over 10 days and 20 hours at the time of writing – while billboards have […]

Classic Spice Girls videos remastered for YouTube in 4K https://musically.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpquality

As an industry, we’re familiar with the idea of remasters in the audio world, where classic albums are revamped and released for modern listening kit / audio quality. We don’t think as much about videos getting the same treatment, but if you’ve ever been down one of those YouTube rabbit-holes with music videos from the […]

Instagram launches a photo-filter dedicated to Billie Eilish

By all accounts, Billie Eilish’s set at the Coachella festival was a big hit – levitating bed and all. And Instagram has gotten in on Billie Fever by launching a camera filter based on her. Tubefilter reported that it “gives users’ skin a plastic glean and also fully blacks out their eyes, while a strobe-light flashes in […]

BTS smash YouTube record with 78m first-day views of ‘Boy With Luv’

2019 is going to be a very big year for K-Pop stars BTS, spurred by their new mini-album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’. Milestones are already tumbling. The band’s ‘Boy With Luv’ video smashed YouTube’s single-day viewing record, notching up 78m views in its first 24 hours last week. That takes the record from another K-Pop band, […]

Apple under fire in US for Tiananmen Square song removal in China

When we wrote about songs by certain Hong Kong artists being removed from Chinese music-streaming services last week, we noted that it appeared to be local services as well as Apple Music, despite initial headlines focusing on the latter. However, back in the US it’s Apple’s involvement in this censorship that’s drawing criticism from politicians. “It’s […]

Curve Royalty Systems launches new music-accounting platform

British startup Curve Royalty Systems has launched a new ‘enterprise-level royalty processing’ service, which is already being used by independent labels Hospital Records and Cooking Vinyl, among other clients. The company was co-founded by Richard Leach, former digital sales and strategy director at distributor ADA; Tom Allen, former digital distribution manager at Essential; and Ray Bush, who […]

Twitch Sings karaoke game launches with ‘thousands’ of songs

Amazon’s live-video service Twitch announced plans to launch a karaoke-style game called ‘Twitch Sings’ in October 2018, providing its community of creators with a way to sing solo or duets, while getting viewers to suggest songs and challenges. In March this year, the game (still in beta) spawned an X Factor-style contest called Twitch Sings: Stream Star, […]

Disney+ video-streaming service will cost $6.99 a month

In the music industry, we’re now fairly comfortable with the fact that every major streaming service has pretty much all the recorded music: exclusives are increasingly rare. In the streaming-video world, of course, it’s a very different story: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other services have access to different portions of the catalogue of TV shows […]

Amazon under fire after report on teams listening to Alexa users

Props to Bloomberg for its punchy intro to a report about how Amazon is managing its Alexa voice-assistant platform. “Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out […]

Could podcast listening be more social? Castbox thinks so

Music Ally is thinking about podcasts a lot at the moment, given the interest in that world from Spotify, Pandora and other music-streaming services. These companies have the chance to innovate around content, technology AND business models for podcasts, so we’re keeping an eye on interesting stuff that independent companies are up to around those […]

YouTube has introduced new metrics to judge video success

Once upon a time, ‘views’ were the big metric that counted on YouTube. Then it moved on to ‘watch time’, but if you want to know what’s next, Bloomberg’s latest article is well worth a read. It claims that YouTube has “introduced two new internal metrics in the past two years for gauging how well videos […]

eMarketer sees Snapchat declining in popularity in the US too

We’ve already reported on claims by research firm eMarketer that Snapchat’s UK users are falling, under intense competition from Instagram’s growth. Now the company has put out its estimates for the US, and the trend is similar. “For the first time, Snapchat will lose monthly US users this year, with growth expected to flatten in 2020,” claimed […]

Project Wave app aims to blend private messaging with music

Music Ally cooled on the idea of ‘music messaging’ startups some time ago: there were a bunch of them, and sustainable business models/consumer interest was thin on the ground. But the intersection of music and messaging in other ways – streaming services integrating with Facebook Messenger, for example – is very interesting. Can Project Wave change our […]

Requestify is the latest spin on social, digital jukeboxes

The US in particular has seen several ‘digital jukebox’ startups in the last decade: often focused around people requesting songs from a smartphone app to play in the bar/space where they’re hanging out. Requestify, from Norway, is interesting because it’s doing more than just that. So yes, it’s a “fully app-driven social jukebox designed to […]

Instrumental signs data partnership with Coda for talent spotting and development

Instrumental – which describes itself as a “data science-driven talent discovery business” – has partnered with live agency Coda to offer data on and insights into the fastest-growing acts that are self-releasing as well those on major or indie labels. Instrumental will create bespoke tools for Coda that will track acts across a variety of […]

Julian Casablancas discards Spotify and Apple Music utterly, begrudgingly praises YouTube

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Cult Records has been speaking to Billboard about his various music projects, his record label and dealing with the creative process. But buried in the middle of the interview he talks about his dislike and distrust of most streaming services – and what their rise means for artists and labels. “In […]

YouTube programming gets interactive

Ben Relles has been named as the new head of innovation at YouTube, a role that will see the video platform move deeper into interactive programming and live specials. He was previously head of unscripted (i.e. reality/documentary etc.) content at YouTube. There was a huge buzz around interactive TV late last year when the Bandersnatch episode […]

“The music industry has always been excluding the vast majority of its potential”: Daniel Ek on Spotify’s past, present and future

Speaking on the Freakonomics Podcast (which handily also transcribed the interview), Daniel Ek, Spotify’s co-founder and CEO, spoke at length about the streaming service’s history, its future plans and its relationship with both musicians and music industry. He talked about his past and why growing up in Sweden in the 1990s – and the country’s […]

Lush Cosmetics switches off social media in UK

Cosmetics company Lush has announced that it is shutting down its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts in the UK. It will instead deal with customer queries on the phone, on its website or over email (how very 2002). Across a series of tweets (they were no doubt fully aware of the irony here), the company said […]

MicTurn takes the idea of open-mic concerts online

If you’ve ever been to an ‘open-mic’ concert, you’ll know how they work: musicians turn up with their instruments, sign up to take part and then wait their turn to play a few songs. Now there’s a startup trying to do that in the online world. It’s called MicTurn. “Choose from a list of online venues, […]

Jam Session app hopes to spark social co-listening

Music Ally has seen a few startups try to make ‘co-listening’ a thing in our history, from Turntable and the original incarnation of Soundrop a few years ago to the radio-like Stationhead now. Next to try is a US startup called Jam Session, which is currently in beta. It’ll be an app that “lets you listen […]

Former Facebook Portal designer working on Renaissance startup

Sometimes we spot a new music/tech startup on investment site AngelList with not much information on what it’s doing, but the people involved will make us prick our ears up. Renaissance is the latest example. The US startup has an interesting tagline – “What happened in 1300AD will happen again, soon” – and it’s listed in […]

Beat The Intro mobile game will push new releases and deep catalogue

A new music-based game has launched that claims it will create “new revenue and promotional opportunities for the music industry”. Beat The Intro says it has licensed “millions of tracks” already and, as its name suggests, tests how well users know music and how quickly they can identify a track. A short song intro is played […]

7digital must raise more equity to “continue as a going concern”

A business update posted on Polaris/Brighter IR, the investor relations site,  and dated 9th April says that the loss of MediaMarktSaturn as a customer has put the future of 7digital in serious doubt and that it will have to urgently raise new capital in order to keep going. “[T]he Board’s current view is that the […]

Spotify Ad Studio adds advanced streaming conversion metrics

A new post on the Spotify for Artists blog outlines updates to the Spotify Ad Studio feature where clients will get access to a new set of streaming conversion metrics that can show how users on the service’s free tier respond to their audio ads. “How many people who heard your ad checked out your music on […]

XITE launches new music video platform in US

Launching initially in the US, XITE (pron: “Excite”) is a new music video app that will be available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Comcast X1 Xfinity – and it will be coming soon to Roku. It has deals in place with all the majors as well as a number of indies and will offer […]

YouTube Music hits 3m downloads in one week in India

The top bosses at YouTube, including CEO Susan Wojcicki and global head of music Lyor Cohen, are in India to mark the launch of YouTube Music there, announcing the app has been downloaded 3m times in its first week. (In comparison, Spotify said 1m people had signed up for the service during the first week […]

UMG licenses to uduX, a new Nigerian music streaming service

Yesterday we reported on music streaming service Boomplay raising $20m to expand across the African continent having signed a licensing deal with Warner Music Group last month. Now uduX, a new streaming service based in Nigeria, has signed its first licensing deal with a major label – Universal Music Group. (UMG was also the first […]

TikTok and the new value gap as labels demand “hundreds of millions” – report

In yesterday’s bulletin, we covered the arrival of Spotlight, a new initiative on TikTok designed to help break new acts from South Korea and Japan on the short-form video platform. We wondered then if royalties were being paid on music used this way and what rightsholders would make of it all. We didn’t have to […]

The Chris Bevington Foundation aims to transform lives through music

Two years ago, Chris Bevington – Spotify’s director of global partnerships and business development – was one of four people tragically killed in a terrorist attack in Stockholm city centre. A further 15 people were injured in the incident. The Chris Bevington Foundation has been set up in memory of Chris with the aim of […]

Australia passes tougher social media laws in wake of NZ terrorist attacks

In the wake of the white supremacist terrorist atrocity in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month in which 50 people were killed and 50 more were injured, the Australian government has passed strict new laws around the type of content that can be streamed on social media channels. This was in response to the terrorist in […]

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo under investigation over online gaming subscriptions

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is investigating how three major companies – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo – are handling renewals for their online gaming services. The CMA will look at the T&Cs they offer users alongside how they process subscription cancellations and refunds. At the heart of this is the issue […]

Lizzo and Jameela Jamil talk body positivity on Instagram

Actor and activist Jameela Jamil has interviewed Lizzo – creator of some of the greatest singles of 2019 so far – about issues around body positivity on Instagram. Jamil has been using her social media presence to call out advertisers and creators of “quick diet” “remedies” who use body shaming to sell their dubious products. […]

TikTok wants to break new acts via Spotlight

TikTok, the short-form video app that has been downloaded over 1bn times to make it the new centre of gravity in the meme world, is looking to court new acts and help break them on the platform. Its new Spotlight feature allows artists to digitally audition for the company and the successful ones will be put in […]

Polyglot marketing: streaming’s many and varied global battle lines

The IFPI’s global sales figures for 2018 were, once again, all about streaming driving the industry’s recovery. The overall market was up 9.7% (both downloads and physical declined sharply), while streaming jumped 34% and now makes up 46.9% of revenues globally. The jostling for dominance in this booming market is something that will continue apace, […]

Legacy Entertainment Ventures wants to turn stars into VCs

We’ve become used to musicians investing in startups, and not just as individual angel investors either. Snoop Dogg, Nas and Linkin Park are among the artists who’ve set up proper venture capitalist vehicles. Now US VC firm Loud Capital wants to help more celebrities, from musicians to esports stars and influencers, turn investor. It has launched […]

Snapchat gets the Bitmoji Party party started

Talking of Snapchat… the social app has created its first multi-player game, Bitmoji Party. It is part of its Snap Games arm and will be one of six planned games – the other five being created by third-party developers and exclusive to the app. Players compete against friends across a series of mini games and […]

Instagram is pinching Snapchat’s users in the UK

OK, it’s only one country, but the numbers from eMarketer are still interesting and tap into the issue of just how sustainable multi-platforming is in social media. The research company is saying this year will be the first since its launch that Snapchat user numbers in the UK will decline, calling it an “exodus” and […]

2019 Midem Artist Accelerator finalists revealed

Midem’s Midem Artist Accelerator competition is now in its fifth year and it has revealed the names of this year’s finalists. They are: Acido Pantera (an EDM act from Colombia); Alexander Oscar (a pop act from Denmark); Anya (ditto); Blanche (a pop act from Belgium); Bo Bingen (a rock/alternative act from Japan/UK); Dalex (an urban […]

Strictly algo-rhythm: AI music is nothing to be scared of

Mood-music playlists have become a popular part of the streaming ecosystem. Check the growing audiences of Spotify’s ‘Peaceful Piano’ (5.2 million followers), ‘Sleep’ (3.2 million) and ‘Deep Focus’ (3.1 million) playlists, as examples.Artists whose tracks get on to these playlists can get impressive, long-lasting spikes in their stream-counts. But recent headlines about an artificial-intelligence startup […]

Deezer has a new VP of artist marketing: Nigel Harding

Deezer has announced that former Sony Music, Apple Music and BBC man Nigel Harding is its new VP of artist marketing. He’ll oversee the streaming service’s team that works with artists and labels on campaigns, including its Deezer Next program for emerging talent. He’s joining from Sony’s Nothing Else Matters Records, where he was co-director, […]

Google Assistant can now talk like musician John Legend

“Imagine hearing the silky smooth voice of John Legend answering your pressing questions everyday. Or narrating your local weather forecast. Or singing you happy birthday,” wrote Google’s Manuel Bronstein in a blog post yesterday. No, Legend isn’t back on the dating market. Instead, he’s lent his voice to Google’s voice assistant, Google Assistant – albeit only […]

Esperanza Spalding drove fans from Facebook / Instagram to Spotify

Facebook has published a case study of how artist Esperanza Spalding used the social network (and Instagram) to drum up excitement around her latest album ’12 Little Spells’ – including driving Spotify streams of it. “The roll-out included premiering each music video on Facebook and IGTV, talking to fans through comments and Facebook Live and converting the […]

Google steps up artist migration from Google Play Music

It’s no secret that streaming service Google Play Music will be shutting down, as its parent company concentrates its energy on YouTube Music. The process of phasing out the older service is stepping up, with the closure later this month of the Google Play Artist Hub. This was the way independent artists managed their profiles […]

Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio to shut down

Red Bull is shutting down its well-regarded Red Bull Music Academy program of lectures, workshops and concerts, as well as its Red Bull Radio website. The closure is the result of the company’s relationship with consultancy Yadastar coming to an end, with the latter firm having managed both projects for Red Bull. “After 20 years […]

YouTube names 11 independent artists for 2019 Foundry class

Working directly with independent artists is on the agenda of every major music-streaming service in 2019. But of course, it’s also intrinsic to YouTube as a platform, for creators of all stripes. YouTube Music has a specific initiative for musicians called Foundry, which has been running since 2016 as a way to choose a crop […]

iHeartMedia files for IPO and reveals figures for iHeartRadio

When Music Ally thinks about ideal preparations for going public, bankruptcy protection isn’t high on the list. But US radio group iHeartMedia is trumping our assumptions: this week, it filed to go public, in an IPO that could raise up to $100m. The news comes just a couple of months after the company won approval for […]

China to introduce ‘youth mode’ time limits for short-video apps

The challenge of levering children off their favourite app is one being grappled with by parents across the world, whether it’s YouTube, Fortnite, TikTok or Roblox. Now the Chinese government is introducing regulations that will crack down on one particular sector: ‘short-video’ apps including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin and rival Kuaishou. “From June, all such […]

Startup VRJam seeks $500k funding for VR/AR performance tech

British startup VRJam is seeking $500k of seed funding to continue developing its technology for live ‘XR’ streams of music and other entertainment performances in virtual and augmented reality. The company, which emerged from stealth mode at the London Music Conference last year, is offering 5% of equity in return for the desired seed funding, which it […]

Deezer launches dedicated K-Pop channel after 157% growth

Deezer is launching a new hub for Korean pop music on its streaming service. The new K-Pop channel will feature programmed playlists (including some from guest artists like iKON and Stray Kids). “K-Pop is one of the world’s fastest growing genres and is resonating with more and more fans. Deezer’s streams of the genre have already increased […]

iHeartMedia boss on streaming: ‘We keep it in perspective’

There’s a view being put about that on-demand music-streaming services will ultimately kill radio – admittedly, it’s being put about mainly by on-demand music-streaming services for now. What do radio moguls think about it all? Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, has been offering a counter-view. “Between 70 and 80 percent of Spotify users say the […]

Troy Carter co-founds new artist-focused company Q&A

From being Lady Gaga’s manager and an investor in startups to Spotify’s boss of creator services, Troy Carter has been a prominent figure in the music industry’s digital evolution in recent years. Now he’s returning with a new company called Q&A, co-founded with J. Erving and Suzy Ryoo (who previously worked with Carter at investment […]

Despite growth, music labels warn: ‘We should never be complacent’

Four consistent years of global growth is something to swell the record industry’s heart, and the 9.7% rise in 2018 means it is approaching double-digit growth – a big change from the double-digit decline that defined the first decade of this millennium. There’s an increasing focus on the role that emerging markets – or ‘high-potential […]

Streaming drove 9.7% rise in global recorded-music revenues in 2018

Global recorded-music revenues grew by 9.7% in 2018, according to industry body the IFPI. Its annual Global Music Report, which is published today, reveals that strong growth in streaming revenues more than made up for the continued decline in sales of CDs and music downloads. The headline figure is $19.1bn: that’s the total revenue for […]

Billie Eilish album on course for impressive first-week streams

Who knew? Billie Eilish is quite popular with music-streamers, as well as with the streaming services. Billboard reports that her album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is on course for more than 170m on-demand audio streams in the US alone in its first week. Although just as impressive is its predicted total of […]

Pandora will test interactive voice ads later this year

When we talk about what voice assistants and smart speakers mean for music, we tend to focus on interactions with the music itself: people asking Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri to play certain tracks and artists, or other kinds of requests eliciting personalised streams of music. We don’t talk so much about how those music […]

Mark Zuckerberg calls for more regulation of the internet

Governments and regulators should be doing more to make internet companies like Facebook accountable for their impact on free speech and society more generally… says Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, the social network’s CEO is trying to get in ahead of, well, the governments and regulators who want more oversight of his company, by stressing that he […]

Lang Lang deploys digital tactics for ‘Piano Book’ album

Pianist Lang Lang likes to have fun with technology: we remember him playing ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ on-stage using an iPad and the Magic Piano app back in 2010, for example. On Friday, he released his latest album ‘Piano Book’ through UMG subsidiary Deutsche Grammophon, and there’s some inventive digital shizzle going on around it. […]

Spotify’s Austin Daboh says playlists need more diversity

Should some of Spotify’s big playlists be more diverse in terms of the artists featured on them? Yes… says Spotify’s head of music, culture and editorial in the UK, Austin Daboh. He was talking at radio DJ Annie Mac’s London conference on Friday about diversity. “I think it starts from the team. On my team […]

IDC predicts 144.3m smart speaker shipments in 2019

Research firm IDC has published its latest predictions for shipments of ‘smart home devices’ – a category that includes smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, but also home-security, lighting, smart thermostats and video-streaming gadgets. Music Ally is most interested in smart speakers, obviously: IDC reckons that 144.3m of them will ship globally this year, and […]

Sony/ATV boss thinks labels ‘more vulnerable’ to DSP competition

Music publishers are currently engaged in verbal fisticuffs with a group of music-streaming services, and Spotify in particular, over the group’s plans to appeal against new songwriter royalty-rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). But in a valedictory interview with Variety on his last day as chairman and CEO of publisher Sony/ATV, Martin Bandier suggested […]

The Battle of Billie Eilish: Spotify, Apple and YouTube scrap it out

Original content is a big strategic focus for the major streaming services in 2019, as is ‘claiming’ as many rapidly-emerging artists as possible, in terms of creating said original-content for and with them. Billie Eilish, whose debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is out today, looks set to become one […]

Report claims mobile app spending will reach $156bn by 2023

Newsflash! People quite like apps, and spend a fair amount of money on them – and that’s probably going to continue for the foreseeable future. And on that bombshell, we return you to your regular music-industry bulletin… No, research firm SensorTower has at least put some numbers on this predicted growth for the apps market. “User spending […]

BBC hopes to compete with Apple and Spotify for UK podcast listening

British broadcaster the BBC has just published its ‘annual plan’ for the next year, outlining its strategic priorities. One of them is its BBC Sounds app, which the corporation says has now been downloaded more than 1.8m times in the UK, and attracts a weekly audience of more than one million listeners. “A major part of our […]

Drake invests in another esports startup, Players’ Lounge

We know Drake likes Fortnite: he’s one of the highest-profile musicians to play (and stream video of it) online, with gaming star Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. And we know Drake likes investing in the games world: in October 2018 he chipped in to a funding round for esports startup 100 Thieves, along with artist-manager Scooter Braun. Now Drake […]

Is Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ track country or not?

“Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road. I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more…” If you just read the lyrics, you might well think that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X was a country track, even if the couplet “My life is a movie, bull ridin’ and boobies” makes […]

Does Alexa need a ‘robot body’ to go to the next level?

We’re getting used to chatting to smart speakers, but what if Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri manifested themselves as actual robots? Strange though it may seem, Amazon is thinking about the idea. “The only way to make smart assistants really smart is to give it eyes and let it explore the world,” said Rohit Prasad, head […]

TikTok upgrades its ‘restricted mode’ for younger users

Social app TikTok is under a *lot* of scrutiny in 2019 over the younger end of its community. In February, the company agreed to pay $5.7m in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over violations of children’s privacy laws, before blocking access to its app for children aged under 13 in the US. Now the company is […]

Instagram’s head of music partnerships steps down

Lauren Wirtzer Seawood, Instagram’s head of music partnerships, is leaving the company. She joined in November 20015 after a previous role heading digital for Beyoncé’s company Parkwood Entertainment. In an Instagram post revealing her departure, Wirtzer Seawood said she was “off to new adventures” but did not give further details. She was a respected leader […]

LiveXLive gets livestreaming rights to iHeartRadio events

US firm LiveXLive has bagged the rights to live-stream 17 of US radio group iHeartMedia’s events this year, including various festivals, as well as licensing and streaming rights for some smaller events like album launches and live performances. The deal will also see iHeartRadio getting a channel on LiveXLive’s online-video service. The latter company says that it […]

Mixcloud adds more creators to its Select subscriptions

In December 2018, streaming service Mixcloud launched a new program called Mixcloud Select, to enable curators and channels on its platform to charge fans monthly subscription fees. Yesterday, the company announced a new group of musicians and curators who are going to be using the feature. They include The Pharcyde, Anja Scheiner, Worldwide FM, Dekmantel, J. […]

Warner Music leads funding round for hardware startup Artiphon

Artiphon is one of the startups exploring the potential to create new musical instruments with a digital twist. It raised $1.3m in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2015 to make its first device, the Instrument 1.The $399 device is a MIDI controller designed to work like a guitar, piano and/or drum machine. A few years on, […]

SoundCloud adds more ‘handcrafted’ playlists to its service

Good playlist curators are in demand in the modern streaming market. The latest service shouting about its tune-pickers is SoundCloud, which launched a selection of new “handcrafted” playlists yesterday. They include the rap-focused ’Noise and 808s’ and ‘Drippin’; electro playlist ‘Speed Bumps’; ‘DTFunk’ which promises to soundtrack “a freaky first date”; and ‘The Morning Mourning Playlist’ for […]

British politician Boris Johnson attacks new EU copyright law

For the benefit of readers mercifully unfamiliar with the current state of British politics, Boris Johnson is one of the prominent figures in the UK’s ruling Conservative Party – and one of the main contenders to replace current Prime Minister Theresa May when she steps down. So the music and tech industries alike will be […]

Report: Amazon Music will grow faster than rivals in the US

Earlier this week, we reported on figures published by research firm eMarketer, suggesting that Spotify might overtake Pandora for US listeners by 2021. Now the company has broken out some more of its predictions for the US market, this time focusing on Amazon’s music-streaming business. “Amazon Music will cross 35 million monthly listeners in the US this […]

Downtown Music snaps up CD Baby as part of AVL acquisition

Downtown Music Publishing’s parent firm is acquiring AVL Digital Group, the company that includes distributors CD Baby, DashGo and Soundrop, as well as video-monetisation outfit AdRev. In its announcement of the deal, Downtown noted that AVL’s companies work with more than 900k artists, labels and rightsholders, while distributing / making money for more than 10m tracks in […]

Indies and Amazon talk smart speakers and music: ‘It’s all about metadata’

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, shipments of smart speakers grew by 169% in 2018 to 86.2m units globally, driven by Amazon Echo, Google Home, and devices from Alibaba, Baidu, Xiaomi and Apple among other companies. At next week’s AIM Connected conference in London, the opening panel will be discussing “smart devices’ effect on streaming”. […]

Artist Mike Casey talks streams, playlists and jazz growth

When we think of the musical genres that are benefitting most from streaming, it tends to be hip-hop, R&B, dance and pop. And when we think about the genres that may be getting something of a raw deal, jazz and classical often spring to mind. And yet… in both genres, there are artists who are […]

Reuters warns of ‘frightening world’ of deepfake videos

If labels and managers in the music industry aren’t thinking about ‘deepfakes’ already, it’s an area that they should be looking into. Reuters defines deepfake videos as “video that has been stripped of context, mislabeled, edited, staged or even deeply modified through CGI – at times for political or commercial gain”. For example, what seems […]

BBC pulls its podcasts from Google Podcasts and Assistant

Amid all the excitement around new distribution platforms for podcasts, there are also some tensions. For example, British broadcaster the BBC has pulled its catalogue of shows from the Google Podcasts app, as well as Google Assistant. The Beeb explained why in a blog post. “Last year, Google launched its own podcast app for Android users […]

Nigerian artist Burna Boy gets a YouTube Artist Spotlight

Afrobeats artist Burna Boy is the latest musician to get a ‘YouTube Artist Spotlight Story’ produced by Google’s video service. He’s the first Nigerian artist to be chosen as an ‘artist on the rise’ by YouTube Music, to recognise the way he’s building an audience around the world with his videos. YouTube also provided some stats to […]

Spotify’s EMEA comms director Alison Bonny is leaving

The latest executive to depart Spotify is its comms director for EMEA, Alison Bonny, after nearly eight years at the streaming service. Bonny joined the company shortly before it launched in the US in 2011, and has since been a prominent figure on the communications and PR side of the business, as it launched in […]

SoundCloud hires Apple’s director of subscription marketing

SoundCloud wants to beef up its subscriptions business which, remember, isn’t just about music listeners paying for its ad-free tier. The company also has a thriving business in ‘creator’ subscriptions for pro features around uploading their music and audio content. Anyway, the next move in that upbeefage is a new executive, Anthony Gabriele, who is joining […]

Report claims Apple Music’s Android app has 40m installs

Apple Music will add 3.8 million new users in the first quarter of 2019… on Android devices. This, at least, is the claim by research firm SensorTower, in its latest report. It also reckons that Apple Music has now been installed 40m times from Android’s Google Play store since its launch in 2015 – and that […]

Publishers planning own ‘town hall’ event on CRB rates appeals

Spotify is rumoured (although not, as yet, confirmed) to be holding some ‘town-hall’ events to explain to songwriters why it’s appealing against new royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalties Board (CRB). Now publishing/songwriting bodies the NMPA and NSAI are planning their own event to tackle the topic from their perspective. It’ll take place […]

‘Organic growth’ helped BMG revenues grow by 7.5% in 2018

Music company BMG’s revenues grew by 7.5% in 2018 to €545m (around $615m) according to the latest financial results published by parent company Bertelsmann. CEO Thomas Rabe said that organic growth was key to the company’s overall progression. “BMG benefited in particular from the expansion of its recordings business, which grew strongly during the reporting year; […]

Some of Spotify’s programmed playlists will now be personalised

Until now, there’s been a clear split within Spotify’s own playlists: some are programmed by humans – the streaming service’s editorial team – and others by algorithms: its personalised playlists like Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Daily Mix. Now those boundaries are blurring: some of Spotify’s human-curated playlists will now be getting a dash of […]

MEPs approve European Copyright Directive (including Article 13) – 348 votes to 274

The European Copyright Directive has been approved by members of the European Parliament. In a vote this morning, MEPs approved the new legislation: 348 cast their votes in favour, while 274 voted against. The post MEPs approve European Copyright Directive (including Article 13) – 348 votes to 274 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Apple announcements: TV, news, games… and a credit card

Apple held its services-focused press launch last night, and as predicted there were announcements of new subscription-based video, news and games products. Apple TV+ will launch later in the year with original shows from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams, as well as the ability to subscribe to other providers (through […]

Endel has a distribution partnership with WMG, not a ‘deal’

The news that a series of albums generated by the technology of startup Endel are being released through Warner Music is spreading far and wide. There are some clarifications being made about how the relationship has been presented, though. It’s not a ‘record deal’, for example: it’s a distribution partnership. Journalist Cherie Hu has done some […]

Pinterest IPO filing reveals plenty of data

We’ve learned not to describe Pinterest as a social network: the company is more often described as a ‘visual search engine’ – although its chosen pitch is as a place “where more than 250 million people around the world go to get inspiration for their lives”. That pitch is from Pinterest’s S1 filing as it prepares to […]

Independent artist She Makes War launches ‘Supersub Club’

If independent artists are wary of crowdfunding platforms in the wake of PledgeMusic’s well-documented recent problems, can they go it alone? One is trying: British musician Laura Kidd, who records under the name of She Makes War. She was actually one of the artists affected by PledgeMusic’s payout problems, having used the site for her […]

Jax Jones and Martin Solveig spoof Fyre Festival with pre-save

“It’s just green mate”. “What is this???” Fans were initially confused about an Instagram post from artist Jax Jones late last week: it was just a green square. Which brought back memories of Tidal’s launch teasers for us, although the more-recent parallel is the infamous ‘orange square’ influencer campaign for the ill-fated Fyre Festival. This is entirely […]

Nav promoted his new album in Fortnite stream with Ninja

Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has become one of the go-to influencers in the gaming world in recent times: Electronic Arts reportedly paid him $1m to promote its new game Apex Legends earlier this year for example. Meanwhile, he’s also firmly on the music industry’s radar thanks to his compilation partnership with Universal Music, as well as his live-streamed Fortnite […]

Holly Herndon sees Endel AI label-deal as a ‘warning shot’

We reported last week on startup Endel’s announcement that its music-creating AI had signed a major-label deal with WMG. As the news spread, some artists have been having their day, including electronica artist Holly Herndon. “Well that escalated quickly, although it seems like this is simply a repackaging of procedural generation composition systems that have […]

Apple Music gets ‘Browse’ tweaks and live gigs in Milan

Apple Music’s iOS app appears to be getting a spring-clean ahead of tonight’s big services press-launch from its parent company. 9 to 5 Mac reported that the app’s ‘Browse’ screen has been freshened up. “Previously, the Browse tab was laid out with a single horizontally-scrolling carousel of featured content and then a list of navigation options, […]

Report predicts $45.3bn of global streaming revenue by 2026

The rate of growth in global streaming revenues (retail, not trade) is going to slow down every year between now and 2026. Boo! But wait: those revenues are going to more than double between 2018 and 2026. Hurray! This is all according to Midia Research’s latest report, which forecasts that global streaming spending will grow from […]

Groups still competing to run US Mechanical Licensing Collective

As part of the recently-passed Music Modernization Act (MMA) in the US, a new ‘Mechanical Licensing Collective’ (MLC) will be created to license and administer mechanical rights in that country. Two groups are competing to be awarded the contract, and details of their plans have now been published, as part of the process. Billboard has […]

Report: JioSaavn slashes annual subscription price by 75%

Will Spotify’s launch in India trigger a price war among competing music-subscription services? It’s possible: JioSaavn has just slashed the price of its annual JioSaavn Pro subscription by as much as 75%. That’s according to a report on the website NewsBytes. “Previously, the plan was available at Rs. 999/year, but now, you can get the same […]

eMarketer claims Spotify US will overtake Pandora by 2021

Last August, research firm eMarketer predicted that Spotify would overtake Pandora to become the most popular (audio) music-streaming service in the US by 2022. Now that company has revised its prediction, in Spotify’s favour. “According to our latest forecast on digital music listeners, Spotify will surpass Pandora in terms of users by 2021—one year sooner than we predicted […]

7digital gets a new CEO as Simon Cole steps down

B2B digital-music firm 7digital is to get a new leader, after CEO Simon Cole announced plans to step down. His replacement will be John Aalbers, the former boss of Arts Alliance Media. Aalbers will replace Cole on 1 April, and will also join 7digital’s board. Cole said that today’s news is a planned transition, albeit […]

AI-music startup Endel to release albums through Warner Music

Music Ally has for some time been covering the emerging wave of startups exploring AI music: algorithms trained on catalogues of existing music, with the aim of then being able to create their own new melodies – and even entire tracks. Thus far, the most prominent commercial model for all this has been that espoused […]

Apple Music hails Billie Eilish, throws more shade at Spotify

There’s a really interesting stat in the latest profile of Apple Music’s work with artists: more than 800,000 of its users have already pre-added Billie Eilish’s new album, which comes out next week. Pre-adds being Apple Music’s version of ‘pre-saves’ on other streaming services – and which unlike those rivals, is built in to its […]

Vevo’s JP Evangelista: ‘Music videos are competing against everything’

Last May, Vevo announced that it was going to phase out its owned-and-operated website and mobile apps, focusing instead on being a distributor for music videos and selling ads around that content. Vevo.com still exists but mainly as a glorified holding page, with users being pointed instead to youtube.com/vevo where the company has more than […]

Dealing with the ‘dry streams’ paradox in the playlists era

Have you heard about ‘dry streams’ yet? They’re streams that come without a great deal of interest in the artist themselves: for example, on mood or activity-driven playlists on streaming services where listeners aren’t necessarily noticing who made the tracks. We’ve been exploring the phenomenon in our latest Sandbox digital-marketing report. “Being featured in large […]

BTS success fuelled record year for Big Hit Entertainment

You may have noticed that K-Pop band BTS are just a little bit popular around the world. That’s now translating into financial success for the company behind them, Big Hit Entertainment. The firm reported a 132% growth in its annual revenues to 214bn won (around $190m) in 2018, with an operating profit of 64.1bn won […]

Google wants musicians to play with its new AI-music tool

Google has been exploring the potential for AI-created music for a while now. Today, it’s making its latest experiment public, and in a high-profile way: in one of the ‘Doodles’ promoted on the homepage of its search engine. It’s an AI-powered Doodle that celebrates composer Johann Sebastian Bach. “An interactive experience encouraging players to compose a […]

Music-making firm Splice raises a $57.5m funding round

Splice is one of the most popular online tools for creating music – and accessing samples – with more than 2.5 million users according to its latest figures. That growth, having added a million in the last year, is exciting investors too. Splice has just raised a $57.5m Series C funding round, with VC firms […]

Subscription streaming now more than half UK labels’ income

New figures from industry body the BPI show that streaming subscriptions accounted for 54% of British labels’ income in 2018, as the revenue from these subscriptions grew by 34.9% year-on-year to £467.6m (around $615m). That contributed to a 32.8% rise in all music-streaming revenues for labels to £516.4m, with ad-funded audio-streams generating £19.1m (up 25.8%) […]

Google takes the wrappers off game-streaming service Stadia

Google was rumoured to be launching its own games console at the GDC event this week. Actually, the big reveal was something slightly different: but still a big move in the games world. Google’s new thing is called Stadia: a new cloud-gaming service that will let people play games by streaming them on TVs, laptops, […]

Patreon shifts to tiered pricing for crowdfunding services

Ever since it was founded, crowdfunding platform Patreon has charged its creators 5% of the revenues they make from their fans (or ‘patrons’). Now the company is upping its share on some campaigns, with a new tiered system. A basic ‘Lite’ tier will still have a 5% revenue share for Patreon, but people who want […]

Instagram adds ‘Checkout’ feature for in-app shopping

Rumours that Instagram was going to do more with e-commerce have been bubbling for a while. Yesterday, the Facebook subsidiary revealed its latest moves. “Today, we’re introducing checkout on Instagram. When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app,” explained Instagram. For now, this is based around products […]

Tuner app will build on Spotify to offer ‘the new radio’

There’s a little bit of confusion around the name of this new app: its profile on investment site AngelList refers to it as Tuner, while its website refers to it as Brassroots. We’ll surmise that a rebranding is underway, although from what to what we’re still unsure about – it’s also possible that Tuner is the company name and […]

Blackpink are first K-Pop artist with 20m YouTube subscribers

Chances are, when asked who the first K-Pop artist with 20 million YouTube subscribers was, many people would guess BTS. But no: their BangtanTV channel currently has 16.2 million subscribers, while the first Korean star to break through on YouTube, Psy, has 12.7 million. So take a bow girl-band Blackpink, whose channel has just crossed the […]

Dean Lewis is the next Apple Music ‘Up Next’ artist

Australian singer/songwriter Dean Lewis is the latest artist to get Apple’s ‘Up Next’ seal of approval. The nod comes ahead of the release of his debut album ‘A Place We Knew’, although Lewis’ music has already notched up more than 1bn streams globally, of which 750m-plus were for his track ‘Be Alright’, and another 200m […]

Anghami adds more than 250 local podcasts to its catalogue

Soon, it’ll be quicker to list the music-streaming services that *aren’t* streaming into podcasts as an additional content format. Middle Eastern / North African service Anghami is the latest, having added more than 250 shows from more than 40 local podcast studios, as well as global shows from outside the MENA region. “The local podcasting community is […]

Report on UK live market has lessons for other countries too

The UK’s Commons Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published its report on the future for the UK’s live-music industry, suggesting that despite a “boom” in concert and festival attendance, there are “stark challenges” for the market. While the report is focused on this one particular country, we think there are plenty […]

Snapchat tipped to launch its own gaming platform in April

Google might be launching a games console this month, but it’s not the only tech company ramping up its gaming activities. Snapchat may be on the verge of launching its own games platform, albeit one within its app rather than on a physical piece of hardware. “The mobile game platform, internally codenamed ‘Project Cognac,’ will […]

T Bone Burnett takes on big-tech companies in SXSW speech

Musician and producer T Bone Burnett has spoken out before on the relationship between technology companies and artists. Last week at SXSW, he gave a speech outlining how he feels about all this in 2019. “It must be becoming obvious to most people by now: the fact that we are in a battle. A battle […]

AI-music startup Boomy is ‘the magic instant music robot’

We wrote about AI-music-creation startup Boomy in January, after spotting its profile on an investment website. The company then opened up its private beta-test earlier this month, enabling people to play with its system to “generate beautiful, creative songs in seconds with artificial intelligence”. Now founder Alex Mitchell has published a blog post explaining a bit more […]

Crush app wants to help superfans keep up with fave artists

There’s a long line of standalone apps that tried to help people discover music and artists, and/or offered social features around that. It’s hard to think of any that became sustainable businesses, but the better ideas *did* ultimately become part of music-streaming services’ core features. That’s why Music Ally is always keen to explore new […]

Pro-Article-13 bodies ask for access to YouTube promo tools

Creative-industries group Europe for Creators is raising a rumpus about the way YouTube has been promoting its campaign to change the proposed European copyright directive on its own platform. The body published an open letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki claiming that “YouTube has been actively using its own services to influence public opinion, often […]

New Moby album is exclusive on… meditation app Calm

Moby has a new album out, and it’s streaming exclusively on one service: but NOT a music-streaming service. Although we rather gave that away in the headline, didn’t we… Yes, ‘Long Ambients 2’ is being made available exclusively through meditation app Calm, with six tracks designed to help people relax and get to sleep. Calm has […]

Sound Diplomacy launches its Music Cities Manual

Sound Diplomacy has been working with a range of cities to improve their musical infrastructure. Now the company has published a manual setting out the principles of its process, boiling them down into 13 points. The topline pitch: “Cities can be made richer through enhancing education and supporting live venues, investing in music-tech and including music in […]

Warner Music signs licensing deal with Boomplay in Africa

Warner Music Group has become the second major label to sign a direct licensing deal with African digital-music service Boomplay, following Universal Music’s deal in November 2018. WMG’s deal covers a catalogue of 1m songs for 10 countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Boomplay will make the music […]

Germany has 9m music subscribers. BVMI boss: ‘Let’s double it’

We wrote about the latest figures from Germany earlier this month: recorded-music revenues fell slightly in 2018, according to industry body BVMI, but it described this as a “steady plateau” as the industry there transitions from physical sales to streaming. Now BVMI boss Dr Florian Drücke has been talking to Music Ally for our latest […]

France recorded-music market grew by 1.8% in 2018

The latest country to declare its recorded-music figures for 2018 is France, through industry body SNEP. It’s positive news too: a third consecutive year of growth, albeit a “modest” 1.8% rise in 2018. “For the first time, the revenue generated by digital has exceeded that of physical sales and now accounts for 57% of global sales,” […]

Apple hits back at ‘misleading rhetoric’ of Spotify anti-trust complaint

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple’s stewardship of its App Store earlier this week, but now Apple has hit back with a statement criticising Spotify’s “misleading rhetoric” – including jabs at the streaming service’s recent appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates in the US. “At its core, the App Store is a […]

Stormzy’s book imprint launches contest for emerging writers

Stormzy isn’t just an award-winning grime rapper: he’s also a book-publishing mogul. Well, he has his own books imprint anyway: #Merky Books, which is part of the Penguin Random House empire, and published his own ‘Rise Up’ book last year. Now the imprint is looking to highlight some emerging writers. It’s launching the #Merky Books New […]

UMG gets a new CIO while Deezer appoints a new COO

In today’s data-rich (some would say data-overloaded) music industry, the role of chief information officer – CIO – is increasingly important for large music companies. So Universal Music Group’s appointment of Dan Morales as its CIO is notable news. He joins from a similar role at eBay. “With Dan as CIO, we are adding an […]

Gimlet Media staff plan to unionise after Spotify acquisition

Fresh from being bought by Spotify, the staff of podcasting firm Gimlet Media have announced plans to unionise – which would make them the first US podcasting company to do so. “As Spotify’s reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first […]

UK’s Musicians Union launches mentoring scheme for women

The UK’s Musicians Union (MU) is the latest industry entity to launch a mentoring scheme for women. It’s working with SheSaid.so, the group which has already been active in this field. In the MU’s case, its scheme will see 20 women chosen: 10 mentors and 10 mentees, who’ll meet every month, while also attending bi-monthly […]

Japan goes back to square one with planned anti-piracy law

Japan was set to introduce a new law cracking down on illegal downloading of copyrighted content, but the government is now going back to the drawing board, after complaints from both sides of the debate around online piracy. “We have yet to eliminate the worries of both copyright holders and users. We should work on […]

Report claims label-free artists made $643m in 2018

The IFPI is due to publish its Global Music Report for 2018 next month, but as usual, consultancy firm Midia Research is getting in early with its own estimates – although perhaps in an effort to avoid any tensions with the music body, this year its figures aren’t coming out the same week as the […]

Analyst thinks Apple can sign up 100m video-streaming subs

Apple’s next press event is on 25 March, and it’s expected to focus on services – including the long-rumoured launch of a Netflix-style video-streaming service. Analyst Wedbush has published its thoughts on what this could mean. “If Apple executes with minimal speed bumps and aggressively acquires content given the company’s massive installed base and unmatched brand loyalty […]

Red Hot Chili Peppers to live-stream their pyramids concert

What I’ve got you’ve got to give it to your mummy… even if you have to break in to an ancient sarcophagus to do it. Yes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are heading to Egypt to play a concert at the Great Pyramids of Giza later this week, and it’s just been announced that the gig will […]

MelodyVR signs four more music-publishing licensing deals

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR has announced four new licensing agreements, focusing on the publishing world. The deals include UMPI (part of Universal Music Publishing Group); Sacem; Ascap and BMI. “As MelodyVR continues to expand, these four music licensing deals enhance our opportunities for content creation and distribution on a global basis. Following a successful 2018 and with […]

Should streaming services ban R. Kelly and Michael Jackson?

The controversy last year around de-playlisting R. Kelly and XXXTentacion has likely put Spotify off the idea of going further and removing artists’ music from its platform unless the content itself is hateful (e.g. neo-Nazi lyrics). But the recent documentaries about R. Kelly and Michael Jackson is spurring a debate about what role (if any) […]

UN human-rights expert delivers warning about Article 13

There’s some new criticism of the proposed European copyright directive from an unexpected source: the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression. David Kaye holds that post, and he’s published his concerns about the Article 13 section of the legislation, which relates to copyrighted material on user-uploaded-content platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud. “Article 13 of the […]

InChorus Group to measure bias and harassment in the music biz

Startup InChorus Group is launching a platform that it hopes will help to measure incidents of bias and harassment within the music industry. The company wants to help people report “microaggressions” within their workplaces, before providing those companies with anonymised feedback – the idea being that people can blow the whistle on such behaviour without fear of […]

Spotify files complaint with European Commission against Apple

Spotify is filing a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it manages its App Store, and thus gives its own Apple Music streaming service an advantage over rivals. “In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and […]

Almost Tangible wants to make audiobooks more immersive

Yesterday, Music Ally was at the Quantum conference in London. It’s a one-day event within the London Book Fair with a focus partly on new technologies and trends. One of the companies speaking was a startup called Almost Tangible which, in the light of Spotify’s push into non-music content, we found interesting. The company is trying to […]

Instagram co-founder isn’t sold on big-tech breakup plans

Of all the things Facebook could have done in response to Democrat politician Elizabeth Warren’s suggestion that it should be broken up for abuse of its power, temporarily blocking the Facebook ads that she’d booked to promote her plan was probably the most foolish. The social network claimed it was because “they violated our policies against use […]

Fan-messaging startup I Am Pop raises €2m in funding

I Am Pop is one of the startups trying to help musicians and music brands make better use of messaging apps in their marketing. It’s already working with artists signed to labels including Sony Music, Warner Music, AWAL and PIAS, and now the company has a new €2m funding round to help grow its business. I […]

YouTube stories get their own Snapchat-style AR features

Snapchat has its lenses, Instagram has its face-filters, and now YouTube has its own augmented-reality effects, which can be used in ‘stories’ posted to the video service. They’re a mixture of animated face-masks, hats and sunglasses that can be used in short videos posted by YouTube creators who have access to the ‘stories’ tool – which […]

Report claims Apple’s first AR headset could launch in 2020

It’s been a few months, so it’s time for another rumour about Apple making an augmented-reality headset or goggles or similar face-worn device. This time it’s KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s often quoted making predictions about future Apple products, with a decent record of accuracy (or at least: better than Music Ally’s record – […]

Apple is giving playlists the album-artwork treatment

We’re ashamed to confess that we haven’t given that much thought to the artwork for the programmed playlists on music-streaming services. That said, we suspect a fair few of those services haven’t really made it a priority either, beyond ensuring the right artist or mood-signalling image is present with the correct corporate branding. So it’s […]

Stage is the latest startup planning live concerts in VR

Things have gone a little quiet around music and virtual-reality technology in recent months, don’t you think? There are still startups developing the technology with apps and services up and running, but the hype around VR possibly being The Next Big Innovation for live music has certainly died down. Perhaps partly as the interest in […]

DotBlockchain founder Benji Rogers is leaving the company

Benji Rogers was one of the earliest people in the music industry talking about the potential of blockchain technology, and he founded a company – DotBlockchain – to try to deliver some of that potential. Now he’s moving on. “As of today, I will be departing the epic and amazing company that I co-founded, DotBlockchain […]

Albums in the streaming era: ‘Put the best six songs up front’

We’re well aware of the ‘don’t bore us – get to the chorus!’ maxim (cheers, Roxette!) for popular music in the modern streaming era. But that can now seemingly be extended to ‘don’t bore us – get to all the songs with good choruses quickly on the album please!’ At least, that’s the gist of an […]

Elizabeth Warren’s big-tech breakup could affect music-streaming

We’ll be honest: there are lots of reasons that US Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren thinks the biggest technology companies should be broken up: and none of them are directly about what the benefits might be for music listeners, artists and the music industry. But given the ongoing debate about ‘platform-to-business’ regulation – how the […]

Instagram may be working on a ‘co-watching’ video feature

The idea of ‘co-viewing’ online video is a good one: people watching simultaneously around the world while text-chatting with friends and/or strangers. It’s one reason YouTube’s new ‘Premieres’ feature is working well for artists and other creators, and it was also a good idea when Vevo invented it as ‘Watch Party’ a few years ago […]

Chemical Brothers create ‘fastest remix’ for Formula 1

The Chemical Brothers have a new track out today, called ‘We’ve Got To Try’, which is marvellous. But the veteran dance duo also released another track this week called ‘WGTT15000BPM F1 NEEEUM MIX’ that’s more curious. Not least because it’s only three seconds long (and thus won’t be earning any royalties on streaming services, which […]

Spotify sees label-relations and editorial teams working closer

Spotify wants its editorial and artist and label-relations teams to work “more in alignment” in the future, at least in the Nordic territories: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. That’s according to Johan Seidefors, head of content, Nordic, at Spotify. He was talking in the streaming service’s session at the by:Larm conference in Oslo last […]

Happy International Women’s Day 2019

It’s Friday 8 March, which means it’s the annual International Women’s Day. Expect plenty of activity from pretty much every digital music service, with curated playlists and other content galore. Which is great, albeit also may raise questions about how today’s celebration can be carried through to the playlist-curation and artist-partnership decisions taken by these […]

US publishers slam streaming services over CRB rates appeal

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the US has given Amazon and Spotify both barrels over their decision to appeal against the recent songwriter royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. Yet it seems other companies are also appealing. Spotify, Google and Pandora have confirmed that they have asked the US Court of […]

Report claims 2.4bn people will play mobile games in 2019

The phrase ‘attention economy’ has been on the lips of plenty of music-industry people for years now, as we recognise that music is competing for attention with games, video-streaming and other forms of digital entertainment. That’s one of the reasons Music Ally writes regularly about the mobile games market – another being that there are […]

Mark Zuckerberg says privacy is Facebook’s new watchword

Facebook’s relationship with privacy? It’s complicated, although critics of the company (like Tim Cook, who’s just been rebranded by Donald Trump as ‘Tim Apple’) might use a few other words. Yet after a bruising period of controversies surrounding privacy and user-data on its platform, Facebook appears to be pulling something of a pivot. “As I think […]

Twitter’s new video analytics tool helps marketers with timing

Twitter has launched a new analytics tool for people and companies posting video on its platform. It’s called Timing is Everything, and we think it could be quite useful for musicians. “Timing is Everything displays historical data showing when audiences are on Twitter watching and engaging with video,” explained Twitter in an announcement blogpost. That means whoever […]

Louis Tomlinson debuts Landmrk-powered scavenger hunt for fans

The latest artist to benefit from a partnership with location-based marketing startup Landmrk is former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. He’s promoting a new single called ‘Two Of Us’ with a digital scavenger hunt using the Landmrk for Music platform that the British startup unveiled in December 2018. “I’ve hidden some video clips in hotspots around the […]

AI-music startup Boomy opens up its private beta

In January, we discovered a new startup trying to use artificial intelligence to create music: Boomy. It was touting technology to “generate beautiful, creative songs in seconds with artificial intelligence – for your fans, your friends, your business, or just for you” with the promise of a web-based private beta, and mobile apps to follow. Yesterday, Boomy opened […]

UK broadcaster Fearne Cotton turns curator for Apple Music

We’re not sure how well-known Fearne Cotton is outside the UK: in Music Ally’s homeland she’s become a familiar face and voice through her TV and radio broadcasting. Now she’s become the latest curator on Apple Music. This is a proper partnership: Cotton is maintaining four different playlists on the streaming service, which is promoting […]

Scott Cohen confirmed as new ‘chief innovation officer’ for WMG

The news had already leaked that The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen had been poached by Warner Music Group, but there has been speculation about what, exactly, his role would entail. Yesterday, WMG dished the details: Cohen will be its new chief innovation officer, recorded music, reporting directly to the label group’s recorded-music boss Max Lousada. […]

Western artists prove popular in Spotify’s early days in India

Spotify had more than one million people using its service in India a week after launch, but what were they listening to? The company shed some light on that last night in a blog post. “What we found is that Indians are starting off strong by listening to musicians and tracks from around the globe, with […]

Report: TikTok’s parent company lost $1.2bn in 2018

The recent $5.7m settlement between TikTok and the US Federal Trade Commission was the biggest ever fine in a child-privacy case. But the amount pales next to the amount TikTok’s parent company Bytedance lost in 2018, according to a report by tech site The Information. It claims that Bytedance’s losses were $1.2bn last year, after making […]

IFPI’s 2018 singles chart is heavy on tracks from 2017

Global music body the IFPI has named the top 10 ‘best-selling digital singles’ of 2018. And in a sign of how streaming is changing the dynamics of the biggest hits, six of them were actually released in 2017. For example, the top track of 2018 was ‘Havana’ by Camila Cabello, which came out in September 2017. […]

Spotify talks pitching, artists and podcasts in the Nordics

Spotify wants its editorial and artist and label-relations teams to work “more in alignment” in the future, at least in the Nordic territories: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. That’s according to Johan Seidefors, head of content, Nordic, at Spotify. He was talking in the streaming service’s session at the by:Larm conference in Oslo last […]

SiriusXM creates a new ‘original content’ team at Pandora

Original content is all the rage at Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services, so why shouldn’t Pandora join the party? Its new parent company SiriusXM has created a dedicated ‘content team’ at Pandora to focus on music, sports, comedy, politics and entertainment. That said, this new team is made up of existing execs: Pandora’s VP of […]

German recorded-music revenues fell slightly in 2018

In lots of countries around the world, the recorded-music industry has bounced back to growth. Last week, for example, the RIAA announced that US revenues grew by 12% in 2018. In the UK, the growth last year was 8.9% according to the BPI and ERA. The story in these countries is that the growth in […]

Education, marketing and digital $$$ on The Great Escape agenda

This year’s The Great Escape festival and conference will take place in Brighton, UK, from 9-11 May. The conference part will include three dedicated strands run by CMU: focusing on music education, digital dollars and digital music-marketing. The latter will include a keynote with Cassandra Gracey, president of Sony Music’s 4th Floor Creative division. Speakers […]

Music Memory Box aims to help people with dementia

This isn’t really an industry story, it just seems like a marvellous project that we wanted to flag up. Music Memory Box is, according to its Kickstarter listing, “a simple kit that you can fill together with meaningful objects, music and photographs. All three combine together to help unlock and recall memories in a simple and […]

Blossoms get the pints in for their very own ‘pubcast’

If you’re reading this, Daniel Ek and team, we have another idea for what the existing podcasts ecosystem is missing: traditional British boozers! But UK band Blossoms are here to change that with the launch of their own ‘Blossoms Pubcast’, recorded in the pub in Stockport that inspired the band’s name. “In the first episode Tom, […]

Secondary-ticketing firm Viagogo faces more UK legal action

Earlier this year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) set a deadline for secondary-ticketing sites to improve the information they provided about tickets listed for resale. Most complied, but Viagogo has been under scrutiny on this point: on 24 January, the CMA raised concerns and told the company to “make any necessary changes without […]

Sound Diplomacy opens US office to help new ‘music cities’

Sound Diplomacy has been working for some time with a range of entities to help cities build better music strategies. Now it’s expanding its activities to the US, with a new office in New Orleans. “I believe Trump’s election has made people think more about how they want to express themselves separately from the federal […]

Spotify podcast plans: discovery, experiments and ‘superpowers’

We know Spotify is splashing up to $500m on podcast acquisitions this year, but the company’s wider strategy around spoken-word content is also coming together. The Verge has done a good job of bringing together the various strands of Spotify’s plans, including recent comments from various executives. It includes the company’s determination to bring its music-discovery algorithms […]

Publishing body ICMP backs WMG over Spotify India dispute

Spotify is live in India, but its dispute with Warner Music Group continues, over the way it sought a statutory licence for works owned (partially or wholly) by publisher Warner/Chappell. Now the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) has weighed in to the row, firmly on the side of Warner/Chappell. “Music publishers worldwide work in […]

Middle-Eastern streaming service Anghami has 1m+ subscribers

The Middle East is currently a big strategic focus for global streaming services like Spotify and Deezer, but they face competition from established local service Anghami. Now it has released some new figures on its business, in an interview with MBW. “A significant number over 1m are paying for Anghami, which is, as my memory serves, […]

MusicWatch puts out more figures for US streaming market

Last week, Music Ally reported on the latest figures from US industry body the RIAA, including the fact that the number of paid music subscriptions in the US grew by 42% to 50.2 million in 2018. That was an annual-average figure, rather than a year-end figure. Anyway, research firm MusicWatch has now published its own figures […]

What’s next for playlists? Perhaps more context for the music

Former BPI and Spotify research exec Keith Jopling is now working with Midia Research among other music companies, thinking about big-picture strategy. His latest blog post, published for Midia, explores what the next evolution might be for music-streaming playlists. “There is plenty of scope for further creative development of the format. We are far from ‘peak […]

K-Pop star Jung Chan-woo to get his own skin in Fortnite

The crossover between video-game Fortnite and music artists is beginning to pick up pace. We’ve seen Marshmello’s Fortnite concert and Weezer’s in-game island, but now K-Pop star Jung Chan-woo is getting the treatment. Chan-woo is a member of popular band iKON, and he’ll now be getting his own ‘skin’ (a playable character/outfit) plus ‘emote’ (dance […]

Indian streaming service Gaana to hold another US festival

We recently wrote about music-streaming service Gaana’s growth to 80 million active users, making it a leading service in its home country India. Yet Gaana is keen to build its brand around the world, including the US. This June, it’ll hold its second Gaana Music Festival Stateside, in Holmdel, New Jersey and Mountain View, California. RadioAndMusic reported that […]

eBay launches ‘strategic review’ that includes StubHub

Ticketmaster recently shut down its secondary-ticketing websites GetMeIn and Seatwave in Europe last year, shifting the option for fans to resell tickets to its own platform instead. Now could eBay be getting rid of its secondary-ticketing division StubHub? It’s possible, albeit with a sale an option rather than a shutdown. eBay has announced “a strategic review” […]

Ticketing app Dice launches in the US – in LA and New York

British ticketing app Dice has been expanding in Europe for some time, but now it’s targeting the biggest music market of all: the US. The app is now available in the US with a roster of concerts initially in Los Angeles and New York, including exclusive partnerships with a selection of venues. The launch isn’t […]

Rihanna is the latest artist hit by a ‘fake album’ release

SZA, Beyoncé and now Rihanna. Yes, the ‘fake album’ scam hasn’t been wiped out just yet: fans got overexcited this weekend at the surprise release of an album called ‘Angel’ released by an artist called ‘Fenty Fantasia’. Fenty, of course, being Rihanna’s own fashion and beauty brand. “While Rihanna was indeed the singer on the […]

Spotify has 1m users in India one week after launch

Spotify launched in India last week, amid a controversy surrounding its licensing – and a legal injunction filed by Warner Music Group. That row continues, but how is the Indian launch going otherwise? Spotify has confirmed to Music Ally that a week after launch, it now has more than one million users in India. That’s […]

Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding

Another day, another podcasts startup attracting significant investment, amid the wider excitement around the spoken-word format. This time it’s a Los Angeles-based startup called Luminary, which is launching a slate of more than 40 podcasts including the likes of Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien as hosts. What’s more, the New York Times reports that […]

Ludovico Einaudi to release seven albums in seven months

Classical-music composer Ludovico Einaudi clearly isn’t afeared of hard work: he’s just signed a new deal with UMG’s Decca Records to release seven albums in seven months. The project is called ‘Seven Days Walking’, and kicks off with the 15 March release of an album called ‘Seven Days Walking: Day One’. The other six albums […]

Amazon gets artist-curated International Women’s Day playlists

This Friday (8 March) is International Women’s Day, which has become something that pretty much every music-streaming service throws its weight behind in some way, particularly curated playlists. Amazon Music, for example, has roped in a bunch of ‘guest curators’ from the artist world this year, and it’s a super selection: *takes deep breath* Jess […]

7digital reaches €4m settlement over Juke music service

There has been some uncertainty around the relationship between B2B digital-music firm 7digital and retail group MediaMarktSaturn in recent months. In January it emerged that the companies were in talks over the future of MediaMarktSaturn’s Juke music service, which 7digital powers. Now that’s been settled. “Under the Agreement, 7digital has accepted settlement of, and release […]

Spotify publishes diversity stats for Norwegian popular music

As part of the by:Larm festival last week, Spotify published some stats on the gender diversity of the 50 most-streamed songs in Norway last year. Spoiler: the stats were pretty discouraging. “Of 203 songwriters behind the 50 most streamed songs of 2018, only 11,3% were women, and only one of the 83 producers behind the […]

YouTube disables comments on videos that feature children

YouTube has a big problem this week, and it’s nothing to do with European copyright reform. The video service has been under fire for its policies around protecting children who feature in videos on its platform. Why? Because of reports about child predators leaving suggestive (or worse) comments on such videos. Yesterday, YouTube outlined how it’s trying to […]

Weezer get a Fortnite island where their new album is streaming

If you’d asked us who the next music artist would be to work with Fortnite after Marshmello’s recent in-game concert, it’s fair to say Weezer wouldn’t have been our obvious choice. Yet Weezer it is: the band have their very own island in the latest season of the popular game, called Weezer World. Mashable reports that it’s […]

Another TV veteran joins Spotify to focus on original content

Spotify continues to look towards the television industry for executives capable of supercharging its push into podcasts and other non-music content. Having Dawn Ostroff from TV network Lifetime to be its chief content officer, Spotify has now returned to that company to recruit programming executive Liz Gately. Billboard reports that she’ll take a role as head of […]

BMI and ASCAP publish thoughts on replacing US consent decrees

We reported earlier this week on moves afoot in the US to modernise / replace the longstanding ‘consent decrees’ governing licensing in the US. Now collecting societies BMI and ASCAP have published an open letter setting out their views on what should happen. They are calling for an “orderly transition” with new decrees that would […]

Tommy Boy postpones digital release of De La Soul back catalogue

De La Soul’s classic albums were due to be released digitally for the first time this week, but the launch has now been postponed by label Tommy Boy after a succession of critical social-media posts from the rap trio. “Because Tommy Boy has not had the opportunity to sit down together with De La Soul […]

In India ‘the scale opportunity is telco bundles’

Reading a report about India earlier this week, we spotted a reference to the music-streaming market there needing to go beyond subscriptions and advertising for its revenues. How, though? Consultancy firm Midia Research has published its answer: telcos. “To unlock the scale opportunity, streaming has to look beyond subscriptions, and also beyond ad supported,” claimed founder […]

Podcasts app Pocket Casts is launching an Amazon Alexa skill

For people who aren’t using iTunes or Spotify to get their podcasts, Pocket Casts is one of the better independent podcast apps. Now it’s making an interesting leap from smartphones to smart speakers, courtesy of its new Alexa skill. “You can play any of your podcasts by name, ‘Alexa, ask Pocket Casts to play the latest […]

Midemlab startups contest opens call for entries in 2019

Music/tech startups are being invited to apply for this year’s Midemlab competition, which will see its final pitch sessions take place at the Midem conference in Cannes this June. Deezer and Japanese service Recochoku are the official partners for this year’s event, with jury members from companies including Google, Sony Music, The Orchard and Warner […]

Spotify cites Conner Youngblood as playlist-submission success

Spotify was recently under fire for the way playlist-pitching works for labels on its platform, but the company sees the playlists-submission tool it launched in July 2018 as a positive for artists. Its latest blog post outlines how the tool has worked for one artist, Nashville-based Conner Youngblood. After submitting his track ‘The Birds of Finland’ using Spotify’s tool, it […]

Hungama ‘Sound of Fame’ report explores Indian listening trends

Indian digital-music service Hungama has published a report – Sound of Fame – which outlines some of the trends on its platform in 2018. The company said that its user base grew by 48% last year, with a 22% increase in average listening-time per user. The number of streams on Hungama Music tripled in 2018, but the […]

Lost Girls open by:Larm with ‘Chill List’ critique of music-streaming culture

Lost Girls is the musical duo formed by artists Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden. They opened the by:Larm conference in Oslo today with an original commission, ‘Chill List’, which zeroed in on the impact streaming-playlist culture is having on artists and their music. The piece blended music with Hval’s (spoken) words, which were also shown […]

TikTok pays $5.7m in FTC settlement over children’s privacy

Early on in our coverage social-video app Musical.ly, we warned that its large audience of pre-teens represented a big risk for the company, in terms of staying on the right side of children’s privacy legislation like COPPA in the US. Yesterday, that particular hammer dropped – on TikTok, whose parent company Bytedance acquired Musical.ly before […]

Terms revealed for Facebook’s fan-subscriptions feature

Facebook is launching a ‘Fan Subscription’ feature where creators (including, potentially, musicians) will be able to charge fans for access to some of their content. Now the terms of the deals that creators will be expected to sign have been revealed, in a document leaked to TechCrunch. It shows that Facebook will take up to 30% […]

FTC to focus more attention on competition in tech industry

US regulator the Federal Trade Commission has created a new task force which it says will be “monitoring competition in US technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted”. This, after a succession of news stories about how the biggest US technology companies are running their businesses […]

Mahershala Ali launches Black History Month Apple Music playlist

Apple Music execs will have been cheering the Oscars ceremony on Sunday. Not because they all love Sophie from Peep Show (well, not just that) but because another winner on the night has just curated a playlist on the music-streaming service. Double Best-Supporting-Actor winner Mahershala Ali is behind the ‘Represent: Mahershala Ali’ playlist on Apple […]

Giggs gets his own augmented-reality experience in London

British rapper Giggs is the latest artist to experiment with augmented-reality (AR) technology. In this case, Island Records has created an AR experience with a rooted physical location: a mural on a wall in Shoreditch, London. The idea is that fans download an app called AR E2 (QR codes will be provided on the wall […]

WIN reveals its new leader is COO Charlie Phillips

In December, independent trade body WIN announced that its CEO Alison Wenham was stepping down, but no replacement was announced at the time. Now that gap has been filled, albeit without the same job title. WIN’s director of legal and business affairs Charlie Phillips is stepping up to a new role as chief operating officer, […]

Startup AI Music has launched its first app: Ossia

British startup AI Music has been talking since last year about its plans for ‘shapeshifting’ music – using AI to shift recordings between different genres and moods. Recently, the company released its first demonstration app, showing how music listeners can interact with its technology. The app is called Ossia, and for now it’s available as […]

UMG boss on smart speakers: ‘Have the title in the chorus’

We reported yesterday on UMG boss Sir Lucian Grainge’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. Now more details are emerging about what he talked about, including non-mobile devices like smart speakers. Grainge talked about the challenges for labels of a voice-driven world. “Our experience is people can’t ask for a song when […]

iHeartMedia buys Radiojar to power ‘pop-up’ broadcasting

US radio group iHeartMedia has announced its latest acquisition: a Greek company called Radiojar, which offers “a centralised, cloud-based audio playout platform”. According to iHeartMedia, the deal gives it “a platform to easily combine or parse individual audio elements such as DJ voice tracks, music and broadcast spots to create, manage, distribute and monetise streams, […]

Article 13’s final push will come at the end of March

Crunch time for Europe’s new copyright directive will come sometime between 25 March and 28 March, it was revealed yesterday. That’s because the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has approved the final text of the directive, as agreed by the ‘trilogue’ between the three key European political institutions. That means the draft legislation will now be put […]

Pandora launches ‘stories’ as a blend of podcasts and playlists

Pretty much every social-media service now has ‘stories’ as a format, so why shouldn’t music-streaming services? However, Pandora’s launch of a ‘stories’ feature isn’t what you might expect (i.e. short video clips that expire after 24 hours). Instead, it’s a format that blends podcasts with playlists. “Podcasts can tell stories about music, but generally don’t include full […]

US could overhaul its music-licensing rules for publishing

Even as the row over Spotify’s publishing licensing in India rages, so attention is switching back to the US, where the Department of Justice is mulling a shakeup of the long-established ‘consent decrees’. “The Justice Department in the coming weeks is expected to call for public input on whether it should modify or terminate two […]

Court ruling emerges as Warner Music calls Spotify’s comments ‘appalling’

An Indian court has made its ruling on Warner Music Group’s application for an injunction as part of its dispute with Spotify over publishing licensing in the country. Does the ruling settle the matter one way or the other? Unsurprisingly, it’s complicated. Here’s Spotify’s statement, sent out to journalists this morning: “We’re pleased with today’s […]

Fortnite is holding its first World Cup – with $30m of prizes

Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, has announced plans of its first ‘World Cup’ esports event for the popular game. It’s due to take place in New York this July, with the top 100 solo players as well as 50 ‘duo’ teams competing for a prize pool of $30m over the three-day tournament. “Each one […]

Around 91m Americans may be listening to podcasts every week

“We’re entering the Golden Age of Podcasts” claims a headline on a blog post by Chartable, a company that focuses on podcast analytics. This is based on an online survey conducted by the company recently, which aims to track some trends in the US podcasting market. Among them: 10.8% of respondents report listening to podcasts every […]

Artist Nils Frahm explains why he’s closing his Facebook page

German artist Nils Frahm made his name exploring a blend of classical and electronic music, but now he’s making headlines for another reason: shutting down his Facebook page – “the first of many social media accounts I am going to close,” according to his farewell post. “Facebook et. al. have become unwanted companions in my life, […]

Billie Eilish is first artist for YouTube mini-series format

The latest video on artist Billie Eilish’s YouTube channel sees her rifling through her notebook: “an audio visual journey into the thoughts of Billie Eilish, exploring the inspiration behind songs” from her new album, according to its blurb. This is actually the first of a new format on YouTube under the banner of ‘mini series’ – three-to-five […]

MyMusicTokens keeps tabs on blockchain-music startups

AudioCoin, Musicoin, Opus, Aventus, Musiconomi and more… Music Ally has written about a variety of startups exploring the crossover between blockchain technology and the music industry, with several of these companies having launched their own ‘tokens’. Now there’s a site for keeping track of AND trading those tokens. It’s called (sensibly enough) MyMusicTokens, and is billing […]

Report claims there are now 150m ‘audio OTT’ users in India

A figure that’s been bandied around about the Indian digital-music market is ‘100 million’ – that’s how many people were thought to be using music-streaming services in India last year. Now there’s an update in a report published by Deloitte and Indian music-industry body IMI about the ‘Audio OTT economy in India’ – Audio OTT being ‘over-the-top’ […]

Global smartphone sales ‘stalled’ in final quarter of 2018

Research firm Gartner has published its latest figures for smartphone sales, suggesting that they ‘stalled’ in the final quarter of 2018. And note, this really is sales – “sales to end users” – rather than shipments to retailers, which is the stat more-often seen in these kinds of reports. Gartner estimates that 408.4m smartphones were sold […]

K-Pop music sparked 5.3bn tweets on Twitter in 2018

Twitter is shouting proudly about the popularity of Korean pop music within its community: “With a new global record of 5.3 billion tweets last year” according to a blog post yesterday. Naturally, this is about K-Pop’s popularity outside South Korea continuing to grow, but Twitter is keen to stress the efforts it has been making […]

10.7m people showed up for Marshmello Fortnite concert

We knew that more than 10 million people watched Marshmello’s recent concert within video-game Fortnite. Now we’ve got a specific figure from the game’s publisher Epic Games. “On February 2nd, Fortnite had its best event day ever with 10.7 million players showing up for the Marshmello concert,” it told The Verge. It’s interesting to note how […]

Tidal launches $1m initiative aimed at emerging artists

Tidal’s latest initiative for emerging artists will see the streaming service distribute $1m in grants, supported by venture-capital veterans Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen. Starting in Detroit, artists will apply for ‘Tidal Unplugged’ grants by submitting their music to the streaming service, then working with its team. “All local artists are welcome to submit an […]

Soundcharts revamps its pricing to boost in-team data-sharing

Music-analytics platform Soundcharts is shaking up the way it charges for its service. Its subscription plans will now allow unlimited users, with the cost varying instead by how many artists are being tracked. “The music industry is a network of interconnected teams working on separate artist’s careers. Record labels, agents, promoters and managers constantly need to share […]

Spotify launches exclusive black-history merchandise line

Spotify is launching a line of merchandise around its Black History is Happening Now initiative. “Rooted in modern music merch culture, the line is made up of a hoodie, jogger, pin, messenger bag, and several t-shirts,” explained the announcement of the limited-edition collection. It’ll be shown off this weekend at a pop-up exhibition in New York, with […]

Apple Music makes Tierra Whack its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Interscope Records’ Tierra Whack is the latest artist to be given the ‘Up Next’ treatment by Apple Music. An interview with her aired on Apple’s Beats 1 radio station yesterday; she’ll perform on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on 4 March as part of its partnership with Apple Music; and there’s an Up Next film […]

Spotify’s ‘Word’ category highlights spoken-word content

Spotify has made it clear that podcasts are just its first push into non-music content, so what’s next? A blog post by the company highlighting its ‘Word’ category offers some hints. “A category home to recordings of everything from poetry to guided meditation, audiobooks, and short stories,” as the post puts it.  We floated the idea of […]

Tencent Music invests in music-streaming service Douban FM

Tencent already owns three of the main music-streaming services in China. Now it has invested in a fourth: Douban FM. However, the deal is being described (by TechNode) as a strategic investment that will see Tencent providing support in the form of ‘product design and copyright authorisation’ rather than cash. The report notes that Douban FM […]

YouTube simplifies its Community Guidelines strikes system

While the dust continues to settle from the Article 13 battle in Europe – at least temporarily – YouTube has announced a revamp of how its Community Guidelines strikes work. This is the system by which channels get three strikes before facing “more severe consequences” for breaking YouTube’s guidelines. In a blog post announcing the changes, YouTube […]

Dubsmash has relaunched as an app focused on dance challenges

The last time Music Ally wrote about social-music app Dubsmash was in December 2016, when it had just raised a $9.6m funding round in order to fight back against fast-rising rival Musical.ly, which was gaining more traction with a similar app for shooting and sharing lip-sync videos. We know how that story ended: Musical.ly’s user-base continued to […]

Classical-music accompaniment startup Antescofo raises $4.5m

Music Ally first encountered French startup Antescofo in 2016, when the company was a finalist in the Midemlab startups competition. It was touting technology that would let amateur musicians playing at home be accompanied by a full orchestra. The company went on to launch its app, called Metronaut, to do exactly that. Now Antescofo has announced a $4.5m […]

Songtradr buys music-licensing agency Big Sync Music

There is more consolidation afoot in the music-licensing world, with Songtradr announcing yesterday that it has acquired British firm Big Sync Music. The latter company focuses on sourcing music for brand campaigns, and counts Dove, Samsung, Amazon, Johnnie Walker and Axe among its clients. Songtradr intends to combine the agency’s contacts and knowledge with its […]

EMI.com: ‘It would have been the first real streaming platform…’

A new book by Music Ally’s Eamonn Forde digs deep into the demise of EMI as a standalone major-label, following its £4.2bn acquisition by private-equity company Terra Firma in 2007. This extract details the ambitious – but ultimately unfulfilled – plans to relaunch the EMI.com website as a digital-music service. Going into its acquisition, Terra […]

Gender gap in UK chart hits has grown over past decade

Ariana Grande may be setting the US charts alight, but there’s  a less-positive story about how women are faring in the UK charts, published by BBC News. “Three times as many male as female pop stars appeared on last year’s biggest hit singles… Ninety-one men or all-male groups were credited on the Official Chart Company’s top […]

SoundCloud will now distribute music to other streaming services

Musicians have always been able to upload their tracks directly to SoundCloud without needing a distributor or label. Now the company is adding a new feature: distribution of those tracks to rival music-streaming services. This is part of the SoundCloud Premier program, which has so far focused mainly on getting artists paid for usage of […]

Analyst questions impact of Apple’s rumoured video service

Apple may be announcing its long-rumoured video-streaming service next month, and analysts are chewing over the implications. One, Tim O’Shea of Jefferies, has published a report with some big numbers – but also some questions about the impact such a service would really have on Apple’s wider business. O’Shea suggested that Apple will charge $15 a month […]

Will the next big tech platform be a ’mirrorworld’ using AR?

Wired Magazine’s Kevin Kelly has form when it comes to big tech ideas: he came up with the ‘1,000 True Fans’ concept in 2008, for example, positing that for artists and creators to make a sustainable living online, the core fans who’d pay $100 a year to support them were the key. Anyway, now he’s […]

Would you trust a bot to handle your Twitter feed?

We’ve written a fair bit about the use of bots to automatically respond to fans on Facebook Messenger. But what about turning your tweets and (if you’re a company) LinkedIn posts over to a bot? That’s the gist of Swiss startup Twinybots. “Our service will post content on socials networks without your intervention. But you can […]

Little Simz to tease new tracks using Instagram music stickers

British artist Little Simz is preparing for the release of her third album ‘GREY Area’ through AWAL, and as part of its marketing campaign is using music stickers on Instagram. The album comes out on 1 March, but every day between now and its release, a new 10-second snippet of one of its tracks will […]

Chatty Penguin’s Cally Hocknell talks marketing, stories and Insta-famous eggs

“What’s the point of marketers like me, why would you commission research, when an egg knocks Kylie Jenner off the top spot on Instagram?!” There were jokes and sharp insight in equal measures in music marketer and Chatty Penguin founder Cally Hocknell’s presentation at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam on Friday. She was referring to the […]

Rhapsody to pay up to $10m in songwriter-lawsuit settlement

It wasn’t just Spotify facing the prospect of class-action lawsuits from songwriters over streaming royalties in recent years. Rhapsody (now operating as Napster) was also on the wrong end of a case brought by David Lowery, Victor Krummenacher and David Faragher. Now the company has released details of a settlement that will see it paying […]

Report claims indie US creators earned $6.8bn online in 2018

A year ago, Music Ally reported on a study calculating the value of the ‘independent creator economy’ in the US, from an organisation called the Re:Create Coalition. It claimed that musicians, filmmakers, artists and other creators earned nearly $6bn from online platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, eBay and Etsy in 2016. We also noted that the coalition […]

Esports economy tipped to pass $1bn for first time in 2019

When we wrote about the competitive-gaming (esports) market last year, we noted that many of the reports about that market’s size quoted from a February 2018 study by research firm Newzoo. Now it’s back again with some new predictions for 2019. “Revenues will reach an impressive $1.1 billion in 2019, a year-on-year growth of +26.7%,” claimed the company. […]

Apple Music lets subscribers give a free month to a friend

Here’s an interesting new tactic for music-streaming marketing: Apple Music is encouraging subscribers to get their mates onto the service too. “Give Apple Music to your friends,” explained a promotion that was push-notified to subscribers, according to news site AppleInsider. “Apple Music is better with friends. So give one of yours a free month.” The deal […]

Mumford & Sons launch ‘reimagined’ songs for Amazon Music

British band Mumford & Sons have become the latest artist to produce some exclusive music for Amazon Music. Although in this case, the songs are already well-known: what’s exclusive are new ‘reimagined’ versions of ‘White Blank Page’ and ‘Forever’. Amazon is suggesting that fans say ‘Alexa, play the Amazon Original by Mumford and Sons’ to […]

Classical streaming app Idagio has passed 1m downloads

Idagio is one of the companies (see also: Primephonic) trying to build a business out of a music-streaming service focused purely on classical music. It has a new milestone to report: more than 1m app downloads globally, with an admittedly-less-useful stat that it now has subscribers in 180 countries. It’s taken four years to reach the […]

Spotify paid €300m for Gimlet Media and Anchor acquisitions

When Spotify announced that it was buying podcast companies Gimlet Media and Anchor, it declined to say how much it was paying, other than that they were part of a wider $400m-$500m earmarked for podcast acquisitions. “We’re not commenting on that today, because we have other transactions in the works, and I don’t want transactions […]

Vinyl in 2019: ‘We’re coming back to the joy, the addiction…’

The vinyl revival continues, and is still warmly welcomed by artists, labels and record stores alike. A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week explored some of the trends around the format. The panel included Giancarlo Sciama, former EMI/Universal exec turned catalogue marketing consultant; Karen Emanuel, founder and CEO at Key Production; Claire […]

Interscope EVP: streaming spurs creative exploration in hip-hop / R&B signings

The current popularity of hip-hop and R&B on music-streaming services is enabling labels to sign more artists, and thus take more creative risks, according to Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP of urban operations at Interscope Geffen A&M. “This is an amazing time to be in urban music. We’re able to really monetise urban music on a scale […]

AI fake-text generator may be ‘too dangerous’ to release

We’ve been writing and thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) creativity in the context of music for a while now. There’s a fascinating story at the moment about another facet though: AI’s ability to write news stories and fiction. Nonprofit research company OpenAI has created a new AI model called GPT2, which is (according to the […]

Report: Snap will pay up to $50k per episode for Snapchat shows

Snap is one of the companies commissioning original short-form video ‘shows’ for its platform. News site Digiday has some good gossip about the numbers involved in Snapchat commissions. “Snap is offering to pay companies $40,000 to $50,000 per episode for original series to premiere on Snapchat, according to four entertainment execs with knowledge of the matter,” it […]

Brit Awards reveal plans for digital activations next week

Next Wednesday is the Brit Awards, the flagship annual awards show for the British music industry. It’s fair to say the organisers are leaving no stops un-pulled out when it comes to the digital activity around the event. There’ll be a live stream on YouTube of the show to viewers outside the UK, fronted by […]

Pitch imperfect: ‘This process of trying to get on playlists is becoming borderline farcical’

Playlists continue to grow in prominence (within the music-streaming world) and importance (for artists looking for their breakout moment). So what are the latest trends that artists, managers and labels should be thinking about and responding to? A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today explored them. The panelists included Aditi Arora, director of […]

Kiss are launching their own brand of emoji

Never slow to spot a new branding opportunity, Kiss have teamed up with The Emoji Company to create their own line of emoji, which will be splashed across *consults press release* “Apparel, Accessories, Footwear, Electronics, Figures and Collectibles, Drinkware, Fan Merch, Home Goods, Stationery, and more”. The deal for ‘KISS x emoji®’ was brokered by […]

Loop Media to launch short-form video-streaming service

A new US startup called Loop Media plans to launch a video-streaming service focusing on short-form content, including music videos. The company will also focus on film trailers, game trailers and TV clips, with plans to make all this content available in public spaces, as well as on people’s smartphones. “Loop plans to link in-home […]

Former Echo Nest CEO Lucchese takes the reins at Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds is the startup that’s behind a global network of music concerts held in people’s homes and other interesting locations – according to Billboard it now has shows running in 428 cities around the world. It also has a new CEO: Jim Lucchese, the former CEO of The Echo Nest, and (after that company was […]

Study: Spotify is now installed on 33% of Dutch smartphones

Mobile-industry research site Telecompaper has published some new figures on the popularity of music-streaming apps in the Netherlands. It pegs Spotify as the leader, with its app now installed on 33% of Dutch smartphones, according to the company’s latest Dutch Apps Market report. It suggests that Apple Music, on 5%, is some way behind. Telecompaper also […]

Hi-res streaming service Qobuz launches in the US today

Music-streaming service Qobuz will go live in the US today: a launch that the company has been teasing for several months. The company will be offering its established blend of hi-res streams AND downloads to American users for the first time. “Nobody else is offering high-res music like this,” its US managing director Dan Mackta […]

Supercell’s two ‘Clash’ mobile games have grossed $10bn so far

Supercell is the Finnish mobile-games publisher behind monster hits like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale – so popular that Tencent acquired an 84.3% stake in the company in 2016 for $8.6bn. The company’s CEO Ilkka Paananen has just published some figures for Supercell’s 2018, as well as milestones for its biggest games. The bad news: […]

Apple’s news-subscription service nears – but publishers grumbling

Apple will reportedly hold its next big press event on 25 March at its Steve Jobs Theater venue. BuzzFeed described the event as “subscription-services focused”, which is thought to point towards the launch of a news-subscription service – although perhaps also an announcement about Apple’s video strategy. The news-subscription plans are making headlines though, and not entirely […]

Deezer chooses Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi for ‘Next’ promo

Deezer has announced the next swathe of artists who’ll benefit from its ‘Deezer Next’ promotion in 2019. British artists Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi will be global priorities for the streaming service this year, with Capaldi having stepped up from being a Deezer Next artist in the UK last year. They follow Deezer’s global artists […]

Former Sony exec Michael Lynton joins board of WMG

Warner Music Group is making some interesting appointments at the moment. We reported on its hiring of The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen earlier this week. Now WMG has appointed former Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton as non-executive chairman of its board. He’ll combine the job with his current role as chairman of Snapchat’s parent company […]

Spotify Teardown authors call for Facebook-style scrutiny

The team of Swedish researchers behind new book ‘Spotify Teardown’ have already roused the ire of the streaming service, which criticised their methods of digging in to its system. But with the book on the verge of release, the authors have given an interview to Rolling Stone that puts forward their view. “The issue became: How does one […]

Indian music industry keen for safe-harbour clampdown

The ‘value gap’ debate isn’t just a European or American thing. In India, too, there is a discussion going on (and, indeed, a fully-fledged political consultation exercise) on how safe harbours should operate. The Indian government is considering new legislation – the  Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules – and Indian music-industry body IMI has published […]

Pitchfork calls TikTok ‘the great music meme scam’

Pitchfork spares no punches in its profile of social-video app TikTok, drawing an unflattering comparison between the value of its parent company Bytedance, and the level of royalties being paid to musicians for use of their work. That said, a tale does emerge of viral TikTok videos sparking streams of music on YouTube and other platforms […]

Steve Aoki joins Star Trek Fleet Command mobile game

Dance artist and DJ Steve Aoki was early in to esports, and now he’s become the first artist to nab a starring role in the latest mobile game based on Star Trek. Aoki is appearing in Star Trek Fleet Command as a character called Officer D’Jaoki, joining the game yesterday. This isn’t a brand new relationship with […]

The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen to join Warner Music

Earlier this month, distributor The Orchard’s co-founder Scott Cohen announced that he was ‘retiring’. It seems that this will involve very little golf, gardening and/or complaining about the buses though. He’s been hired for an as-yet undisclosed role at Warner Music Group, working on what MBW describes as ‘innovation’ (as opposed to working for WMG’s in-house equivalents […]

Tracklib publishes its latest ‘State of Sampling’ report

A fifth of songs that made Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart in the US used samples, according to a report published by Tracklib – a company that focuses on sample-clearance. “It’s been fairly consistent the last few years: usually between 20-25%. Looking back 10 years, the number was 14%,” explains its ‘State of Sampling’ report. “The increasing […]

Spotify and Deezer attack ‘unfair practices’ of tech firms’

Much of the limelight in terms of European policy is being hogged by the new copyright directive and Article 13 this week. However, a group of European tech firms and industry bodies want to remind policymakers of another area for modernisation: that covering ‘platform-to-business’ – how large internet platform-owners like Google, Apple and Amazon treat European businesses […]

Video-streaming service Vimeo now has 952k paying subscribers

It’s a long time since, scale-wise, Vimeo was in anywhere near the same league as YouTube in the video-streaming world. Still, the company – now owned by media group IAC – continues to grow its business. Vimeo’s revenues grew by 54% to $160m in 2018, according to IAC (as reported by Reuters) while the service’s […]

Spotify gets Chuck D for eight-part podcast about The Clash

It was clear last week just how much welly Spotify is willing to put behind podcasts in the year ahead, with up to $500m earmarked for acquisitions of tech and content – including its deals for Gimlet Media and Anchor. Now Spotify has announced details of its next original, exclusive podcast: an eight-part documentary called […]

Childish Gambino dances his way onto Google Pixel smartphones

One of the points we’ve been making about augmented-reality (AR) technology over the past year is that the biggest impact for artists from it will come from campaigns using the big social/tech platforms with AR features: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook etc. Now Childish Gambino is testing another angle: appearing as an animated character in the ‘Playground’ […]

Marshmello YouTube channel got 164% boost from Fortnite concert

We wrote last week that we were waiting for the latest weekly YouTube Music charts to go live, so that we could gauge the bump that dance artist Marshmello got from his concert in YouTube. Not least because anecdotally, nearly every child aged 8-13 we know has been hammering his tracks on YouTube ever since […]

Israel and Wales get new local-focused music-streaming services

Shiri? Isn’t that what you talk to on your iPhone when you’ve had a few-too-many gins? But no: Shiri is actually a new music app launched by the National Library of Israel, with a catalogue of more than 400k tracks by Israeli artists. It’s been launched to promote local musicians, as well as to make […]

Vodafone Idea mulls new music-streaming strategy in India

We’ve written a lot about Indian streaming services Gaana, Saavn (now JioSaavn) and Wynk Music over the last couple of years. Their next source of competition may come from telco Vodafone, which recently merged with another Indian mobile operator, Idea Cellular. The latter company already has its Idea Music app, which combines streaming, downloading, playlists […]

Apple Music used Shazam for extended-trial Grammys promotion

We’re getting a sense of how music-identification app Shazam, acquired by Apple in September 2018, will be used by the company to promote Apple Music. Last night, anyone tagging a track during the Grammys ceremony unlocked a ‘Grammy Awards experience’ listing the songs performed during the event. There was also a special offer: new subscribers (to Apple […]

Music’s Article 13 meltdown: read the two industry-body letters in full

Two open letters published this week have laid bare new divisions within the music industry over the proposed new European copyright directive – and its Article 13 section dealing with user-uploaded content platforms like YouTube. Yesterday, a letter whose signatories included the IFPI and Impala (representing labels) and ICMP (representing publishers) called for the directive […]

UK music-maker bodies slam labels and publishers over Article 13

Yesterday, music-industry bodies the IFPI, Impala and ICMP published a letter calling for the European copyright directive to be scrapped. Now a group of bodies representing musicians, songwriters, managers and producers have criticised the intervention, and the gloves are truly off. “It is hugely disappointing to see the music labels and publishers disregard the interests […]

Marshmello Fortnite gig sent his YouTube views soaring

More than 10 million people watched Marshmello’s first concert in video-game Fortnite last weekend. Now Nielsen has put out some figures showing how the event caused a big spike in his on-demand video (i.e. YouTube) streams. Billboard reports that his track ‘Check This Out’ saw a nearly 24,000% increase in views on the day of the concert, […]

Abbey Road Red seeks more diversity in startup founders

Abbey Road Studios wants to recruit more teams with women founders to its Abbey Road Red startup accelerator, according to the studios’ MD Isabel Garvey. “We are acutely aware that we have no female founders, and very few women in our founder teams, and we are trying to be a little more diverse,” said Garvey, […]

Spotify to crack down on listeners using ad-blocking tools

Spotify’s latest update to its terms and conditions of use was published yesterday (7 February), and one of the new clauses is picking up some interest from tech-news sites. New to the list of forbidden activities for Spotify users: “circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in […]

Siri co-founder Tom Gruber talks about his new AI-music startup LifeScore

“I think we’re looking at a new way of doing music, which is a collaboration between human expertise, human taste, and human raw talent in creating music and recording it, with the machine’s ability to combine those things and generate music all day long. And make it sound like a human made it.” “Just imagine […]

Podcasting startup Himalaya Media raises $100m funding round

It’s the week for big podcasting news. Spotify has made waves with its acquisitions of Gimlet Media and Anchor, but other podcasting firms are also capitalising on current interest in the medium. US startup Himalaya Media, for example, has raised $100m in funding to push its podcast-listening app and distribution platform. The app launched in […]

Calm raises $88m: should meditation be on Spotify’s audio radar?

Spotify said yesterday that podcasts are just the ‘start’ of its ambitions to focus on all forms of audio. What next? We’d suggest that meditation / mindfulness will be high on the company’s radar – and not just because one of its first subscription-bundle partnerships was with meditation app Headspace back in 2016. Investor interest […]

88% of British adults are still listening to radio stations

Taking a bite out of broadcast radio is at the heart of Spotify’s move into spoken-word content – and is high on the agenda for other streaming services too. The opportunity (but also the challenge) is illustrated by the latest figures from British radio-measurement body Rajar. It says that 88% of the UK population – […]

Sonos share-price plunges after it reveals CFO to step down

It’s a compliment, of sorts, if your company’s share-price falls by 15% after you announce plans to step down. Although we doubt Mike Giannetto will be celebrating: he won’t quit as Sonos’ chief financial officer until later in 2019, so for now, that share-price remains his problem to worry about. In fairness, the plunge wasn’t […]

Gimme Radio launches crowdfunding and plans country expansion

Metal-focused streaming-radio startup Gimme Radio is raising money, but through equity-crowdfunding rather than turning to VC firms. The company has launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. It’s trying to raise $1.5m with a minimum amount of $500 per investor, and if it succeeds, Gimme Radio would be valued at $6m. The campaign also offers […]

PledgeMusic suspends contributions to its active campaigns

Crowdfunding firm PledgeMusic’s efforts to dig itself out of its current financial troubles continues: this time with a suspension of all active campaigns running on its platform. Billboard reported that PledgeMusic announced the news in an email sent to artists. It follows the company’s public statement last week apologising for delays in paying artists. “The […]

Music/tech startup Musiio raises $1m seed-funding round

Singapore-based music/tech startup Musiio has raised $1m in seed fundingfrom investors including Wavemaker Partners, Exponential Creativity Ventures and other angel investors. The startup uses artificial-intelligence technology to analyse catalogues of music for a range of clients. As its CEO Hazel Savage explained at the recent NY:LON Connect conference, the company can power automated search through […]

Major label WMG now has… a president of independent music?

It may raise a few eyebrows to learn that major-label Warner Music Group now has an executive role whose title includes ‘president of independent music’. Actually, it’s not a surprise: the company’s new president of independent music and creator services is Eliah Seton, who’s been promoted from his previous position as president of ADA Worldwide, […]

Study explores how smartphone ownership trends vary globally

“Today, it is estimated that more than 5 billion people have mobile devices, and over half of these connections are smartphones,” explains the latest study from the US-based Pew Research Center. It proceeds to explore some of the differences between countries: fertile material for anyone in the music industry thinking about smartphone habits around the […]

Snapchat narrows losses but daily-user growth is still flat

Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, and while there are still headaches for the company, the actual business is growing well. Snap’s Q4 revenues were up by 36% to a record $390m, while its losses narrowed from $350m in Q4 2017 to $192m a year later. However, Snapchat’s daily […]

Swizz Beatz on streaming: ‘The creatives should be 50/50’

Producer and artist Swizz Beatz has called for artists to get a bigger share of streaming royalties. “I’m friends with all the streaming companies, but what I will say on record to them is we’re not getting enough money for those services and those companies to be trading for billions of dollars,” he told MarketWatch. […]

Deezer bags former Turner exec to be its MENA CEO

As music-streaming competition heats up in the Middle East, Deezer has announced a new boss for the region: Tarek Mounir. He will join the company on 1 April as CEO for MENA and Turkey, with a focus on ‘growing Deezer’s B2B and advertising business’ in the region, as well as working with its global team […]

Former BMG exec Zach Katz launches music-tech investment fund

Until December 2018, Zach Katz was BMG’s president of US repertoire. Now he’s turning music/tech investor, in partnership with manager Scooter Braun, cryptocurrency firm Ripple, and Something Gold boss Shara Senderoff. They’ve co-founded an investment firm called Raised in Space Enterprises, which will focus on music/tech startups. Billboard reported that the company will look to […]

There are 66m smart speakers in the US – and 70% are Echos

Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has issued its latest estimates on the smart-speaker market in the US. It claims the number of speakers in use grew from 37m at the end of 2017 to 66m at the end of 2018, including 13m bought in the fourth quarter of the year. The relative market-shares […]

Universal Music and Sony Music face new artist lawsuits

Two of the three major labels are facing new class-action lawsuits filed in New York, which focus on the right of artists under the so-called ’35-year law’ there. That’s the legislation that in theory allows artists to file Notices of Termination to regain ownership and control of their copyrights 35 years after that music was […]

Spotify buys podcasting firms Gimlet Media and Anchor

Rumours that Spotify was about to shell out $200m-plus on podcast production company Gimlet Media were correct: the acquisition was announced today. But Spotify is also buying a second company, Anchor, which makes an app that people can use to create their own podcasts. The value of the acquisitions has not yet been announced (Spotify […]

Spotify financial results: revenues up by 30% as premium subs reach 96m

Spotify has published its latest quarterly financial results, covering the final quarter of 2018. The post Spotify financial results: revenues up by 30% as premium subs reach 96m appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Amuse to pay artists up to six months of royalties in advance

Amuse is the Swedish music company that’s part distributor – a platform for artists to upload their music to streaming and download services – and part record label, working more closely with talent that’s emerged from its distribution arm. Launched internationally in 2017, the model is similar to that of Kobalt’s AWAL with its combination of […]

Warner Music Group revenues grew by 15.1% last quarter

Warner Music Group has published its latest quarterly financial results, which reveal that the company’s revenues grew by 15.1% year-on-year. That was just over $1.2bn in the fourth quarter of 2018 (WMG’s fiscal Q1). Of that, digital revenues grew by 17.6% to $627m, with the company reporting an operating profit of $147m and a net […]

Two groups vying to oversee MMA’s blanket mechanical licence

One of the key parts of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was the plan to create a new collective to license and administer mechanical rights in the US. Yesterday we got more details on the pitch from the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and Songwriters of North America (SONA) for their ‘Mechanical Licensing Collective’ (MLC), […]

India draws up new rules for ‘intermediary’ apps like TikTok

Social apps from overseas, particularly China, have been dominating the upper reaches of app stores in India. Now the government is responding, with new regulations aimed at ‘intermediary’ apps that get their content from users. The Financial Times reported that any such apps with more than five million users in India ‘need to set up […]

Emma McGann talks music, live video and finding fans on YouNow

Live video is an increasingly common way for musicians to interact with their fans, from album and tour launches on Facebook to fan Q&As on Instagram and even streaming gaming sessions on Twitch or YouTube. One aspect of livestreaming that still flies under the western music industry’s radar, though, are standalone live-video apps like YouNow, […]

Study tips YouTube to decline in popularity with British kids

Will children ever tire of YouTube? Surely not! Yet that’s the suggestion being made in a new report published by research firm Kids Insights, which is out today. “According to our data across all ages 4-18 the number of children spending time each day watching YouTube has declined from 61% to 51% in a persistent […]

Startup Steereo pays Uber / Lyft drivers to promote music

We know that in-car radio has historically been a key source of music discovery. And we also know that rideshare services (Uber and Lyft included) are very-popular ways to get around cities. Startup Steereo is bringing those two ideas together, with a music-promotion service based around paying drivers to play new music to their passengers. […]

PledgeMusic asks for patience amid acquisition talks

After a troubling start to 2019 (and to be honest, a pretty worrying 2018 for artists whose payments were delayed) PledgeMusic is asking for patience as it sorts out its financial issues. “The situation that PledgeMusic has found itself in is unacceptable and to all of the artists, managers, labels and fans who have put […]

Campaign for producer and engineering inclusion launches in US

This time last year, the US Recording Academy was facing strong (and deserved) criticism for poorly-worded comments by its boss Neil Portnow about how women needed to “step up” in the music industry. 12 months on, the Academy is offering something more constructive: a ‘Producer and Engineering Inclusion Initiative’ which aims to increase the opportunities […]

Marshmello Fortnite concert thought to have attracted 10m fans

Those rumours that dance artist Marshmello was going to play a concert within video-game Fortnite were right: it happened on Saturday. In fact, he played two concerts, 12 hours apart, to ensure people could attend at a suitable moment for their timezone. What’s startling is how many people the first of those concerts attracted. Pollstar […]

What happens if you quit Facebook for a month?

Quitting specific social networks – temporarily or permanently – is an increasingly-common pastime. But does it improve your life? A study at Stanford University has been finding out, focusing on Facebook with a study of 2,844 of its users in the US. A subset of them deactivated their accounts for four weeks. And the main […]

Artist-collab platform HitRecord raises $6.4m funding round

We wrote about startup HitRecord for the first time last October, when it launched a project with artist Logic. He was the highest-profile musician so far to take advantage of HitRecord’s platform for creative collaborations: posting the bones of a new track and inviting fans to flesh it out with their own contributions – with […]

Research firm predicts Spotify added 2m US subscribers in Q4

Spotify announces its latest quarterly financial results on 6 February, but research firm CIRP has got in early with some predictions – based on (caveat alert!) a survey of 500 Spotify listeners in the US. It reckons that Spotify added two million paying premium subscribers in the US during the final quarter of 2018, while […]

Facebook financials impress but Apple row is getting serious

Facebook published its latest financial results yesterday, with quarterly revenues up 30% year-on-year to $16.91bn, leading to a net profit of $6.88bn in the fourth quarter of 2018. Mobile advertisements accounted for around 93.5% of Facebook’s overall revenues last quarter. For the year as a whole, Facebook generated just over $55.8bn in revenues, up 37% […]

New York cracks down on companies selling fake socials activity

If you’ve ever been tempted to spend money inflating your Instagram followers, SoundCloud streams or other social metrics, here’s the latest useful warning not to. The state of New York has reached a settlement with a now-defunct firm called Devumi, after attorney general Letitia James launched an investigation into the company last year. In an […]

Apple Music announces Wi-Fi partnership with American Airlines

In January, United Airlines caused a stir with a promotional banner at one of its events, announcing that Apple was its biggest corporate customer, spending $150m a year with the airline – including $35m on flights to Shanghai in particular. When a photograph of the banner leaked, it was widely reported, sparking a swift statement […]

German court makes key ruling on secondary-ticketing prices

Attention in the debate about secondary ticketing and touting has shifted to Germany this week, where the Hanover regional court has made an important ruling. According to the court, it is officially anti-competitive to sell concert tickets at a price more than 25% above the original cost. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by […]

PledgeMusic co-founder returns in effort to get artists paid

Benji Rogers is returning to the company he co-founded, PledgeMusic, as a ‘volunteer strategic advisor and observer to the board’ in an effort to help the crowdfunding company deal with its financial troubles and get artists paid. “I have been in discussions with the management team and board of Pledge over the last few days […]

Could China be the model for music-streaming growth in Japan?

Japan may be the world’s second-largest recorded-music market, but in terms of music-streaming, it is still early days for a country where CD is still the prime format. Midia Research has raised some concerns about the rate of streaming growth in Japan: “Up 30% in 2018, which puts it on a par with US for […]

SoundExchange reveals record royalty payouts in 2018

US firm SoundExchange has published its year-end numbers for 2018, and like other bodies collecting and distributing royalties for musicians and rightsholders, it enjoyed a record year. “We distributed more sound recording performance royalties to recording artists and rights owners than in any other year of our 15-year existence – a record $953m,” announced SoundExchange […]

SiriusXM reveals more on its plans for Pandora

As it prepares to close its acquisition of Pandora, satellite-radio service SiriusXM has published its latest quarterly financials. We already new from the company’s trading update earlier this month that it ended 2018 with 34 million subscribers in the US. Now we also know that SiriusXM’s revenues grew by 6% to $5.8bn last year – […]

Community takes on SuperPhone with text-marketing for celebs

We’ve been writing about text-marketing startup SuperPhone since 2016, when musician Ryan Leslie raised $1.5m to build a tool for artists to communicate with fans via SMS. Now it’s got some competition from a startup called Community, discovered by Wired when actor and investor Ashton Kutcher promoted it to his fans. “I miss having a […]

Marshmello may be playing a gig within Fortnite this weekend

The popularity of video-game Fortnite has recently sparked a series of lawsuits from rappers and dancers, angry at the game including some of their signature moves without asking for permission or paying any kind of licensing fee. Some musicians have a more positive relationship with Fortnite though: EDM star Marshmello, for example, who’s broken online-viewing […]

RIAA appeals dismissal of case against stream-ripping site

We reported earlier this month on the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by US labels against Russian stream-ripping site FLVTO. Now the RIAA is launching an appeal against the decision, which was based on whether a US court had jurisdiction over the site. “The court got it wrong. Its decision represents a big step backward […]

Spotify’s Ad Studio is its fastest-growing advertising channel

Spotify has been banging the drum this week for Spotify Ad Studio, its self-serve advertising platform that launched in September 2017, and is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. The company now says it’s Spotify’s “fastest-growing advertising channel” (based on quarterly revenue and advertiser growth). “We’ve already seen success with a variety of […]

WMG doubles down on Turkey with Doğan Group partnership

Warner Music Group’s latest partnership is with Doğan Group in Turkey: owner of the country’s biggest independent label, and also of online-video channel NetD. The deal will see Doğan Music Company (the label) distribute WMG’s physical catalogue in Turkey, as well as “represent its repertoire to Turkish-owned digital music platforms”. That will also see the […]

PPL’s international collections grew by 43% in 2018

British collecting-society PPL has reported some figures for 2018: its international collections, for public and TV/radio performances (plus private copying) of its members’ tracks. The organisation collected £70.9m ($93.3m) in 2018, up 43% year-on-year, and a new record for PPL, which now has 92 international collection agreements in place. Those include deals signed in 2018 […]

Artist Fastball has been paid by PledgeMusic this month

Crowdfunding service PledgeMusic has been taking more criticism this week for delays in its payments to artists using its platform. One of those artists were rock band Fastball, who as a post from industry-blogger Bob Lefsetz explained earlier this month, were owed $20k by the company. Now, according to Variety, they have been paid more […]

Spotify CEO joins protest against EU digital-revenues tax

It’s not just Article 13 and new copyright legislation causing controversy within the European Union. The EU could also be in line for a new law involving a 3% tax on the European revenues of technology companies, although as Bloomberg reports, several countries are resisting the idea. As is Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, according to […]

Apple clarifies rules for iOS in-app subscriptions

Apple has published some new rules for how in-app subscriptions should be advertised to people using iOS apps. Those rules include clearly explaining the terms of a subscription to new customers, including the billing amount. “In the purchase flow, the amount that will be billed must be the most prominent pricing element in the layout. […]

Facebook tipped to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger

Why DID Instagram’s co-founders and the remaining co-founder of WhatsApp leave Facebook in 2018? More fuel for the gossip was provided by a New York Times report this weekend reporting that CEO Mark Zuckerberg “plans to integrate the social network’s messaging services — WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger… The services will continue to operate as […]

Frank Ocean Endless video-album spreads wings beyond Apple Music

Remember Frank Ocean’s ‘Endless’ album? It’s okay if you don’t: its release in August 2016 was rather trumped by the launch a day later by ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – the latter on his own label, with ‘Endless’ having seen out his contract with UMG subsidiary Def Jam. At the time, the move was thought to […]

Zee Music Company reaches 30m-subscribers YouTube milestone

It’s not just T-Series doing well at signing subscribers up for Indian-music YouTube channels. Zee Music Company has announced its own milestone: 30 million subscribers for its flagship YouTube channel, which mixes film and non-film music. “Zee Music Company is now 30 million subscribers strong on YouTube India. A big THANK YOU to all for […]

Spotify bars ads from right-wing organisation PragerU

Thought for the day: “Women want real men, men they can count on and yes, look up to. No amount of feminist theory will change that.” Or here’s another one: “Intersectionality is a form of identity politics, in which the value of your opinion depends on how many victim groups you belong to.” And just […]

The curious tale of Spotify, ‘mysterycore’ artists and (possibly) fake streams

Spotify’s ‘2018 Wrapped’ promotion had plenty of people boasting about how much time they’d spent listening to their favourite artists last year. But for some Spotify users, the Wrapped microsite was more baffling: if some of their ‘favourite’ artists were acts they had no memory of listening to. An investigation by the BBC Trending team […]

TV, games, esports… lessons from outside the music-industry bubble

Panels where people from the music industry talk about the music industry in front of people from the music industry are obviously useful in terms of exchanging ideas and taking the temperature of the business. But equally it is important – especially in an age of discovery algorithms, big data, targeted marketing, in-app revenue opportunities […]

Music-streaming in the Middle East: ‘There is a space and place for everyone’

Spotify and Deezer’s recent launches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have highlighted the region’s status as a strategic priority for the music industry – although these companies (and Apple Music) are facing strong competition from local streaming service Anghami. Trends in the MENA region were the focus for a panel session at Music […]

ClicknClear wins startup pitch contest at NY:LON Connect conference

Five music/tech startups pitched their wares at the NY:LON Connect conference this afternoon in London: Amadeus Code, Musiio, Rootnote, Scored and ClicknClear. The audience voted on which was their favourite, and ClicknClear prevailed. An achievement more impressive because of the high quality of all the pitches, and the technology they showcased. Here’s our roundup of each […]

Analyst claims Instagram will make $14bn of revenues this year

Facebook doesn’t break out revenues for Instagram when publishing its financial results – just like Alphabet doesn’t give standalone figures for YouTube. That leaves a gap for analysts to fill with their own estimates. One, Jefferies, has put out a figure for Instagram. “We believe that Instagram is a material driver for growth in ’19 and […]

Universal Music snaps up merch/branding firm Epic Rights

Universal Music Group’s Bravado division has been bolstered this week by the acquisition of merchandise and branding firm Epic Rights, for an undisclosed amount. Epic Rights works with the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, AC/DC and Britney Spears among other artists. CEO Dell Furano will be staying on as part of the acquisition. “I’m very proud […]

CD Baby becomes ‘preferred’ distributor for SACM in Mexico

Distribution firm CD Baby has inked an interesting deal with publishing-rights organisation SACM in Mexico. “CD Baby will be offering free standard submissions to all registered SACM members,” explained the distributor. “SACM is equally honoured to recognise CD Baby as their “preferred” and recommended distributor. Representing more than half of all Mexican artists, this is […]

MelodyVR to launch new app for upcoming Oculus VR device

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR launched its app last year, timing it around the launch of Facebook’s Oculus Go VR headset. Now the companies are taking their partnership to a new level. MelodyVR “will release a new version of the MelodyVR music platform, featuring updated features and functionality, for use on a forthcoming Oculus device” according […]

Hungama Music launches radio-style ‘original audio programming’

It’s not just the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Pandora trying to take a bite out of traditional radio by moving into podcasts. Indian streaming service Hungama Music is following suit with the launch of what it’s terming ‘original audio programming’. That means radio-style shows in languages including Hindi, Telegu, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi, but starting […]

RealNetworks doubles its stake in Napster for up to $40m

RealNetworks has announced that it has doubled its stake in music-streaming service Napster to 84%, after agreeing a deal with co-owner Columbus Nova Technology Partners. RealNetworks is paying $1m in cash up-front, a further $14m “over time subject to certain conditions”, although the final bill could reach $40m if Napster is sold (or has a “similar liquidity […]

The top three artists on YouTube last week were all from India

Guess who the most popular musician in the world was last week based on YouTube views? Not Ariana Grande, who’s currently Spotify’s top artist: she was only 21st in YouTube’s weekly rankings for 11-17 January – admittedly before the release of her latest track ‘7 Rings’, which has done 60m+ views in its first five days on […]

MQA talks music and the future of in-car entertainment

This week, rumours that Spotify is preparing to launch a $100 in-car speaker as its first hardware resurfaced. It’s a sign of the wider excitement around the potential for music-streaming in cars. Hi-res music-technology firm MQA is part of that trend: earlier this month, it showed off how its studio-quality music can be experienced in […]

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