Mobile video service Quibi launches to mixed reviews

Music Ally has been covering the build-up to the launch of mobile video subscription service Quibi for a while now, including the $1.75bn of pre-launch funding that it has raised, and its plans for a music-focused show. Now Quibi has launched, to reviews that are the classic mixed bag. Engadget nailed its colours to the mast with the headline ‘Quit […]

Songstats is the latest startup providing music analytics

After past acquisitions of music analytics startups Next Big Sound (by Pandora), Semetric and Asaii (both by Apple) the industry once again has a clutch of independent dashboards competing to help artists, managers and labels make sense of their streaming and social stats. We’ve written regularly about the likes of Soundcharts and Chartmetric, but the […]

The Roots ramp up original content for their YouTube channel

Usually the house band on The Tonight Show, excellent hip-hop collective The Roots are using this period of social distancing to work on their YouTube channel. They already have 267,000 subscribers to the channel and 165.3m lifetime views, but the coming weeks will see the group ramp up their original content. There’ll be DJ sets from Questlove, […]

How closed venues can help the vulnerable during the pandemic

So many concert and cultural venues are closed at the moment, with their owners wondering whether they’ll be able to ride out the period until lockdowns end and punters can return. Here’s something that could be interesting to think about in the meantime though: a guide for cultural venues on how they can support homeless and […]

Vinyl sales ‘expected to drop heavily’ says Vinyl Alliance

Industry body the Vinyl Alliance has been surveying its members about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their businesses. Spoiler: it’s not good. Its findings note that “even though many brick and mortar stores divert to online sales, sales are expected to drop heavily” – not least because Amazon has “temporarily moved its focus […]

StubHub faces class action lawsuit over coronavirus refunds

With a huge number of festivals and concerts postponed or cancelled entirely amid the coronavirus pandemic, event organisers and ticketing companies have been mulling their options. One solution is to offer customers ticket vouchers (for when events are rescheduled) rather than cash refunds, as a way to stay financially afloat during the current period of […]

How Does Music Marketing Personalisation look like in 2020?

Marketing used to be based around demographic categories or social archetypes, but the more marketers and digital platforms know about you, the more personalised they can become in terms of both messaging and products. There are enormous opportunities here but also a growing need to tread carefully around just how deep and tailored marketing can […]

Tools. Zaiko: Ticketing in times of Coronavirus

For the music industry, it was live that got hit first and hit hardest by COVID-19; but technology is helping to plug some of those gaps caused by the mass cancellation of shows and festivals.    Tokyo-based platform Zaiko is known as a white-label ticketing platform but quickly built a ticketed concert live stream solution […]

FanBytes ByteHouse is a Big Brother-style house with UK TikTok stars

Imagine trying to launch a project at this specific point in time that involved a group of TikTok stars living together in a Big Brother-style house. Impossible. Luckily for agency Fanbytes, said TikTokers moved into its new ‘ByteHouse’ before the current social-distancing lockdown in the UK, so its project can proceed as planned. That project […]

Report suggests Apple might buy live-VR startup NextVR

Music Ally has been writing about virtual-reality startup NextVR since 2015, when it raised a $30.5m funding round from investors including the Madison Square Garden Company for technology that would enable music concerts and sports events to be broadcast live to VR headsets. T he company had already streamed a concert by Coldplay. It then signed a deal with […]

Dolby On could help musicians sound better on Twitch livestreams

Audio company Dolby has just launched its Dolby On app for Android, following its earlier release for iOS. It allows users to record high-quality audio and video on their smartphone. More interestingly, however, the company has also announced that the iOS version of Dolby On now works with live-video platform Twitch, enabling users to livestream […]

Drake tapped dancing influencers for ‘Toosie Slide’ release

If you’ve been spotting Drake’s new track ‘Toosie Slide’ all over your socials in recent days, it’s no accident. Rolling Stone has a piece explaining how the artist enlisted some popular dancing influencers to promote the single. Toosie, Hiii Key, Ayo & Teo (the latter are a duo) are the influencers in question, popular on TikTok, Instagram […]

The Rattle goes non-profit while Tileyard goes north

Two of London’s physical music-tech communities have announced plans for their future. The Rattle, which now has bases in London and Los Angeles to bring musicians, producers, music professionals and startups into the same community space, has announced that it is diverting 100% of its profits to help artists struggling with the financial impact of […]

Tencent plans Africa expansion for Joox music streaming service

In its last set of financial results, Tencent Music revealed that it had 644 million mobile monthly active users of its online music services, including 39.9 million who were paying. That represents the scale of its business in its homeland, China, but now its parent company Tencent Holdings is planning some music-streaming expansion in another part […]

Pollstar says 2020 global live revenues would have been $12.2bn

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bullseye was a popular darts-based British TV game show, complete with a ‘look at what you could have won’ element where losing contestants were shown the grand prize they’d just failed to win. It’s hard not to be reminded of that by Pollstar’s announcement on Friday of its estimate for what global live-music […]

TikTok has label licences, but publishers are threatening to sue

We reported last week on TikTok signing short-term licensing deals with major labels, as a bridge to longer agreements at a later date. However, Bytedance’s social app still has some licensing headaches on the publishing side, and US body the National Music Publishers Association is threatening to make them worse. According to the Financial Times, […]

Report: there were 358m music subscribers by the end of 2019

The IFPI has delayed the publication of its Global Music Report, with no new date yet set for its analysis of recorded music figures for 2019. A new report from Counterpoint Research is plugging one of the knowledge gaps: the number of people subscribing to music services globally. It claims this figure grew by 32% in 2019 […]

Twitch will get games for streamers and viewers to play together

Amazon has been publishing games for a while now: its Amazon Game Studios division has been around since 2015. However, the company is preparing a new push, investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in its games development and distribution business according to the New York Times. That includes big-budget PC games, but we’re just as interested […]

Zoom has 200m daily users, but CEO promises to fix its problems

A month ago, most of us had never even heard of video-conferencing app Zoom. Now it feels like we’re all on it having work meetings and catching up with friends and family. The company behind it has revealed that Zoom was being used by 200 million daily users in March – up from an average of […]

YouTube Kids may be the top video streaming app of 2020 so far

Apptopia is one of a cluster of app analytics firms (see also: App Annie, Sensor Tower) mining the app stores for data on the size and growth of the apps market. Its latest report is co-published with a customer engagement firm called Braze, and focuses on the video streaming world. The part that caught our […]

Startup SupaPass is now a ‘website and app creation’ platform

Back in July 2016, we profiled a British startup called SupaPass, which had just launched an app for musicians to run their own subscription services: starting at £1 a month for access to their music, videos, social posts and other exclusive content. Imogen Heap would be one of its most high-profile artists. We hadn’t checked in […]

L Devine’s digital ‘URL Tour’ helped her sell out of merch

One of the most inventive approaches to livestreaming so far this year came from British artist L Devine, who went on an online-only ‘URL Tour’ when a planned physical tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of towns or cities, the URL Tour was structured around platforms: Instagram Live on 16 March; Twitter on 20 […]

Encore launches ‘music messages’ including NHS donations

Personalised video messages from celebrities are officially A Startup Thing, thanks to companies like Cameo and Taki, where people can pay for celebs to record them (or their friends / family) a unique video clip. Now music/tech startup Encore has launched a spin on the idea for musicians. Its core business is providing a website for events organisers […]

Side Door expands to include ticketing for livestream concerts

There are plenty of ways for artists to perform concerts at home and livestream them during the current period of social distancing and self-isolation, but not quite so many ways to charge fans to watch. One recently-launched option is a startup called Side Door. Its core business is (or rather: will be, once the lockdown […]

Spotify app now works with Siri voice assistant on Apple Watch

We haven’t heard that much about Spotify’s European anti-competition complaint against Apple for a while, despite rumblings last year about a potential investigation. However, there have been some moves by Apple to open up its ecosystem in ways that address some of the complaints that Spotify had. One concerns access to its Siri voice assistant, […]

European music orgs call for more pandemic-tackling investment

A collective of 40 European music bodies are calling for the European Union and also national governments to deliver more support to the music industry and its creators, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “In light of this dire situation, we call for emergency as well as sustainable public support and structural policies at EU, […]

SoundCloud makes its pitch to artists as a music distributor

SoundCloud made several announcements yesterday, and alongside its financial support for creators, there was also the launch of a new ‘marketing and distribution engine’ called Repost by SoundCloud. It’s a very interesting move for the streaming service: “professional marketing and monetization services and industry-leading distribution features, with priority chat support”. In essence, it’s a pitch for […]

Calm and Headspace lead list of top meditation apps in the US

Meditation apps is a space that we’ve been following for a while now, as more of those apps license music and form partnerships with the music industry in other ways. Given the current global situation, it should come as no surprise that mindfulness apps of all kinds are seeing a spike in downloads. Analytics firm […]

Startups battered by a coronavirus-driven ‘great unwinding’

The New York Times has published an interesting (if also bleak) article exploring the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic is presenting for tech startups in particular. It’s a good read, especially for people within the music industry who work with music-tech startups. One Silicon Valley exec who specialises in restructuring failed startups describes the current period as […]

What music can learn from YouTube’s biggest channels

The latest edition of Sandbox went out to subscribers last night and the cover feature runs through the biggest YouTube channels outside of music (although we do add in T-Series for good measure) to look at what they do, how they do it and what music can learn from them all. There is comedy (in […]

Grimes and WeTransfer want creatives to rework her new video

Artist Grimes has just released the video for her new track ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’, which sees her performing the song against a green-screen background. That design decision was actually part of a partnership with internet firm WeTransfer, with the goal being to encourage creatives (and fans) to take the raw footage from the […]

EMI Archive Trust creates Sound Of The Hound podcast series

The EMI Archive Trust has created a new podcast series that looks at the history of recorded sound. It is called ‘The Sound Of The Hound’ (in tribute to Nipper, the canine made famous in the His Master’s Voice painting that gave the label and the HMV retail stores their names) and is presented by […]

Some iHeartMedia staff furloughed as CEO foregoes his salary

Last week, we reported on US radio, live and streaming group iHeartMedia withdrawing its financial guidance for 2020 and drawing on $350m of a pre-agreed credit facility to tide it through the coronavirus pandemic. However, yesterday there were some more developments. Radio industry site RAMP got its hands on an internal memo revealing a range of cost-cutting measures to […]

BPI & ERA Insight Session: Serving The Superfans – 29 April

Music Ally is partnering with ERA and the BPI to create a special report and livestreamed event looking at superfans and how to best market to them. The report will be published to coincide with the virtual conference which takes place on 29th April from 4pm to 6.30pm (GMT). The sessions during the afternoon include: […]

Despite 2019 growth, Spanish industry braces for slump in 2020

There’s good news from Spain about the growth of its recorded music market in 2019, but very bad news expected for the rest of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Industry body Promusicae announced both yesterday. Recorded music revenues grew by 22.5% to €296.4m (around $324.5m) in 2019 in a market that is now three quarters […]

Spotify and WMG seal their deal – including ‘additional markets’

The coronavirus pandemic appeared to have put the long-running soap opera of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels on hiatus. Now it’s returning: with concrete progress. “Warner Music Group and Spotify are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets,” […]

SuperAwesome report: ‘Everyone is a kids and family brand now’

Just as many parents are teachers now, so when it comes to the world of technology and digital services “everyone is a kids and family brand now”. That’s the tagline for a report by kid-tech firm SuperAwesome, which explores what the coronavirus pandemic (and the stay-at-home measures being deployed to battle it) mean for businesses. […]

‘Listen In’ with new artist-curated playlists on Pandora

Pandora has created a series of new playlists, all curated by different artists and exclusive to the platform, under the umbrella brand of Listen In. “Each artist-curated playlist will feature songs that are soundtracking their lives during this unusual time, with commentary about their connection to the music, what’s inspiring them, keeping them busy, or […]

Huawei Music claims 160m monthly users, as it launches in Europe

Back in November 2018, we wrote about Chinese technology firm Huawei’s claim that its Huawei Music streaming service had 100 million monthly active users – a surprise to many people in the west who hadn’t been following its growth. Since then, Huawei has become one of the more controversial tech companies in the world thanks to scrutiny in […]

Spotify Kids expands again, as country playlist Indigo launches

With parents across the world still getting to grips with home-schooling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and associated social-distancing measures, digital services aimed at children are having a big moment in the spotlight. Spotify had already launched its Spotify Kids app in a range of countries, but yesterday it expanded to the world’s biggest music […]

Tencent finally seals the deal for 10% stake in Universal Music

On the very last day of 2019, Tencent Holdings (heading up a consortium of investors) signed an agreement to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group. Now, in a neat bit of quarterly timing, that deal went through on the very last day of the first quarter of 2020. As previously announced, the deal valued Universal Music Group […]

Management firm ie:music launches ie:ventures to invest in startups

Yesterday, we reported on the launch of music-making app Endlesss. One of the British startup’s investors is music management company ie:music, through a new arm called ie:ventures. Director Stephen O’Reilly told us more about the new division, and why the company – whose artists include Robbie Williams, Passenger and Ladyhawke – is getting into startup […]

Record Union launches music-focused ‘Wellness Starter Pack’

Last year, we reported on a study by distributor Record Union into mental health and wellbeing for independent musicians. The results made for concerning reading. Now the company is launching something new as a result: a ‘wellness starter pack’ which it describes as a “toolbox for wellbeing” aimed at musicians. It’s a collection of videos focusing on […]

Hips my Life: Hipgnosis buys catalogue of Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora

Richie Sambora is best known as the guitarist in Bon Jovi and co-writer of some of their biggest hits (such as ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ and ‘It’s My Life’) which, three decades on from their release, still do decent business on streaming services. Those three songs along have combined […]

StubHub is offering credit, not refunds, for cancelled events

The next big controversy around secondary ticketing has arrived, and it concerns whether buyers will get refunds for events that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. If they bought through StubHub, the answer is now ‘no’ in the US and Canada – unless they were bought in areas where such refunds are legally required. […]

Midem 2020 conference cancelled, replaced by ‘digital edition’

Conference organiser Reed Midem has confirmed that its Midem event, which was due to take place on 2-5 June, has been cancelled – in its physical form, at least. The next Midem will be in June 2021. “The situation related to the coronavirus is changing daily, as are government announcements and restrictions… Given the uncertainty surrounding the virus […]

Music-making app Endlesss officially launches its iOS app

We wrote about music-making app startup (and extra-sibilant scourge of auto-correct systems) Endlesss several times in 2019: for example when the company pitched at and co-won the Midemlab startups contest last June, then when we interviewed CEO Tim Exile the following month. The company’s app has been available on an invitation-only basis since then, but today sees its official commercial launch […]

Internet Archive’s ‘National Emergency Library’ sparks row

There’s a copyright row breaking out in the US after the launch last week by the Internet Archive of something called the ‘National Emergency Library’. It’s not actually a brand new thing: it’s a change of policy for its existing ‘lending library’ for ebooks. The change is that people don’t have to join a waitlist […]

Podcast listening may be falling amid coronavirus pandemic

There’s been a certain amount of debate in the last fortnite about whether music streaming isn’t, in fact, getting a spike in usage as more people work from home. Here’s some more possible context for that: perhaps non-radio audio is what’s getting a bit of a hit. Podcast analytics firm Podtrac has been looking at […]

AudioLock and Label Worx launch The Music Mission to battle piracy

Anti-piracy firm AudioLock and distributor Label Worx have teamed up for a campaign called The Music Mission, which they say will target ‘pay for access’ piracy download sites. The companies want other music firms to help them shut down around 200 piracy sites by squeezing their ‘payment gateways’, and turn their visitors back towards legal music […]

Report explores potential subs growth for Indian music services

Indian management consultancy firm RedSeer has published a report about the ‘audio OTT’ (i.e. music streaming) market there, including exploring the potential for growth in paid subscriptions. Some of the figures are familiar: for example its claim that only around 1% of current listeners are paying for subscriptions, but that the average revenue per subscriber is ’80 […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (30 March)

There’s something of a domino effect happening as collecting societies sign off their plans for hardship funds and other measures designed to support songwriters and composers during the current pandemic. French society Sacem has announced a €6m ‘rescue fund’ for hard-hit musicians, with grants of €1.5k, €3k and €5k available depending on the situation. Sacem has also […]

MMF and FAC call for ‘recoupment holidays’ for artists

UK industry bodies the MMF and FAC have published some results from a survey of more than 150 managers and artists about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their incomes. They have extrapolated the data to suggest that “over £50m has already been lost to the wider music economy” with live cancellations the main reason. […]

Facebook expands its ‘stars’ monetisation to musicians

We haven’t written about this much, because musicians couldn’t use it, but Facebook has had its own livestream monetisation system of ‘stars’ running for a while now. It’s akin to Twitch’s bits and cheers and YouTube’s Super Chat, in that viewers can spend money on virtual items, with the streamer who they’re watching getting a […]

View-Tang Clan: Amazon Music makes Ol’ Dirty Bastard documentary

Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard released his debut solo album ‘Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version’ on 28th March 1995. To mark its quarter-century anniversary Amazon has created the Unique: Return To The 36 Chambers 25 Years Later mini-documentary. It features previously unseen footage of the late rapper as well as interviews […]

Space is the place for new Big Beat Records campaign

Warner Music Group’s Big Beat Records label is preparing to release a new album called ‘Big Beat Ignition: Space’ on 3 April. The 10-track compilation has an intergalactic theme – “anyone else down for a space rave right now?” – and a creative marketing campaign drawing on data from NASA and the European Space Agency, as […]

Russian anti-piracy boss hails efforts to tackle infringement

The head of Russian anti-piracy body the Internet Video Association has claimed that voluntary piracy measures in the country imposed two years ago have been having the desired impact. Back in 2018, a number of Russian content companies, platforms and distributors – bowing to years of pressure, lobbying and litigation – signed up to a […]

Indian video service MX Player expands to six new markets

MX Player is an on-demand video streaming service owned by Times Internet (the digital arm of Indian media conglomerate Times Media) and has over 175m active users in India. It has now expanded to six new countries – the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Nepal. This comes after a significant investment round last […]

iHeartMedia withdraws its financial guidance for 2020

It’s not so long since US radio firm iHeartMedia was in deep financial troubles, and while it pulled itself out of those last year, it’s understandably one of the companies being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Now the company has followed Twitter in withdrawing its guidance for analysts (financial predictions) for 2020. “Given the ongoing uncertainty […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (27 March)

Let’s start today with Germany, at a time when bodies representing musicians and the music industry are pressing governments around the world for relief and support. The post Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (27 March) appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

TikTok’s top creator Charli D’Amelio now has 41.8m followers

With many parents exhausted already by homeschooling, and relaxing their device-usage rules once lessons are done, we suspect TikTok’s servers are getting a mighty battering. That’s going to be good news for the top creators on the social app though, whose audiences may see a spike. Tubefilter notes that this includes a change at the top of […]

Analyst predicts big hit to Facebook and Google ad revenues

We’re trying to report on all the positive news amid the coronavirus pandemic, but we can’t ignore the bad news. For example, the likely impact on digital advertising spending, with the giants of that space – Google and Facebook – likely to take the biggest hits. “The two internet giants together could see more than $44 billion […]

AIM Sync conference to go virtual for its 30 March event

UK indie body AIM was due to hold its annual AIM Sync conference on 30 March, but for understandable reasons, it’s not going ahead as a physical event. However, it will still happen digitally: “a live and interactive virtual conference” thanks to a partnership with digital agency level8. People who’d bought tickets to the planned conference are […]

Video service Quibi to launch a show focusing on music

We’ve written about Quibi a few times: the company formerly known as NewTV was founded by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and tech veteran Meg Whitman, and is launching a subscription-based app with original TV shows split into bitesize episodes. It’s also raised a ton of money – $1.75bn so far, with its service about to launch. Now there’s […]

Apple Music Browse page is tuned for self-isolating listeners

We’ve been writing about what streaming services are doing to support music-industry relief efforts and artists, but the coronavirus pandemic is also having an impact in how they’re recommending music (and other content) to their listeners. We wrote about Deezer’s new ‘Stay at Home’ hub earlier this week, but Apple Music is also adapting to the time […]

StubHub furloughs staff due to coronavirus impact

StubHub has become one of the first ticketing firms to confirm plans to ‘furlough’ staff (the term means to put staff on mandatory leave, often unpaid – it’s not clear whether that applies here – as a temporary measure). “Given the impact of the coronavirus on the live-events industry, we have made the difficult but responsible decision […]

SoundCloud Go+ subscription service launches in the Nordics

SoundCloud Go+, the streaming service’s subscription tier for listeners, has expanded into four new markets – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. They’ll now get access to its full catalogue of more than 200m tracks and DJ sets, with features including no ads, offline play and better audio quality. It’ll cost 99 kr a month in Denmark, €9.99 […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (26 March)

We’re keeping this going, not least because positive news is keeping us going, personally… British collecting society PRS for Music has launched an Emergency Relief Fund for its members, created with the PRS Members’ Fund and PRS Foundation. To qualify, applicants have to have been members of PRS for at least two years and earned over £500 […]

Spotify coronavirus response includes letting artists add fundraising links to their profiles

Spotify has just announced some of the things it’s doing in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. They include launching a music relief project where the streaming service will match donations up to a total Spotify contribution of $10m, and a feature enabling artists to fundraise from fans via their Spotify profiles. The Spotify COVID-19 […]

Justin Bieber to release bi-weekly mini-compilations

News that Justin Bieber is going to be releasing a couple of albums a week during the coronavirus pandemic may raise your eyebrows, but there’s a caveat: these are compilations rather than all brand new material. “Gonna be putting up some compilations for you guys. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here is the first one,” tweeted Bieber yesterday, […]

YouTube’s Stay Home #WithMe hub gathers music livestreams

YouTube’s latest initiative to encourage people to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic’s current phase is a hub called StayHome #WithMe that gathers videos that it thinks will keep people entertained, active and informed while staying home. The top shelf on the page is called ‘Jam With Me’ and spotlights the latest livestreams from artists – at the time […]

SoundCloud creates artist shortcuts alerting fans to new uploads

SoundCloud has added a new feature to its iOS app that will alert users to new uploads (or reposts) from favourite acts as soon as they open the app itself. The company claims that in early testing of the feature it saw engagement with an act’s music increase by over 25%. In a blog post about […]

Publishers awarded $189k in damages in Wolfgang’s case

A long-running legal action against Wolfgang’s Vaults over its streaming of archive concerts has resulted in music publishers being awarded $189,500 in damages. There were 197 separate songs listed in the suit, with 167 of them were deemed to have been wilfully infringed. That means that the per-song infringement worked out at $1,000 each, far below […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (25 March)

Start today with the group of streaming services and tech companies announcing contributions to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund in the US. Amazon Music, Facebook, SiriusXM and Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music are the services, and while no amount has been given for their contributions, MusiCares said that in less than a week it has raised “millions […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news (24 March)

Music Ally is trying to write a story every working day, rounding up the good, practical things happening in and around our industry: focusing on relief efforts and other initiatives from the music industry and music / tech communities. Start today with Bandcamp’s update on how last Friday’s big music sale went. “On a typical Friday, […]

Twitter users up but revenues hit due to coronavirus

Earlier this year, Twitter provided analysts with its financial guidance for the first quarter of 2020, predicting revenue of between $825m and $885m, and operating income between $0m and $30m. Yesterday, though, Twitter withdrew that guidance, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “While the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on […]

New York Times buys startup that turns articles into audio

It’s not just music streaming services who are excited about podcasts and long-form audio more generally. The New York Times just acquired a startup called Audm, which runs a “subscription-based audio app that offers listeners the world’s best longform journalism, read aloud word-for-word by celebrated audiobook narrators”. It launched in 2016, and aggregates articles from the NYT but […]

BTS로 한국어 배우기 (that’s ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ in Korean)

We really hope that means ‘Learn Korean with BTS’ – blame Google Translate if not! We wrote about Weverse earlier this year as part of our report on K-Pop giant Big Hit Entertainment’s latest financial results: it’s a fan community platform focusing on artists including BTS, TXT, Seventeen and Gfriend, launched by Big Hit subsidiary beNX. Now it […]

South Korean DSP changes chart to battle ‘distorted’ streams

Flo, owned by SK Telecom, is one of the main music streaming services in South Korea. It used to run a near-real-time chart (updated hourly) showing what the most popular songs were on the platform. That has now been replaced by a new Flo Chart that updates every 24 hours that allows it to use […]

Spotify is testing photo-based music recommendations

Have you ever been using a music streaming service and thought: ‘Yes playlists and suchlike are good, but what I really need is the ability to take a photo and have that used to recommend music to me’? Nope, us neither. Still, Spotify clearly sees some potential in the idea: it appears to be testing […]

Apple Music’s new personalised playlist is Get Up! Mix

Although Apple Music has made human curation a big part of its brand (especially when execs are throwing shade at Spotify in interviews) that hasn’t stopped it from developing its own series of algo-personalised playlists. Now Favourites Mix, Chill Mix and Friends Mix have a new team member: ‘Get Up! Mix‘. Like the others it’ll […]

Music Ally to hold free webinar: ‘Bringing Live Online’

As you’ll have noticed, livestreams are all the rage right now, as artists look for a way to perform for and chat to fans (and perhaps to find a new income stream) in lieu of cancelled tours and festivals. This Thursday, Music Ally is holding a free webinar called ‘Bringing Live Online’ – kindly supported by […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Pex sees big music potential in UGC

For the last few years, LA-based startup Pex has been quietly scanning, fingerprinting and indexing every single piece of audio and video uploaded to open, public-facing platforms. It has accrued a whopping database of 20 billion data points, and – perhaps – know what’s happening on certain platforms better than the platform itself. Music Ally […]

Survey suggests Disney+ has been a huge hit in the US

In its last financial earnings call, Disney said that it ended 2019 with 26.5 million paid subscribers for its Disney+ video streaming service, representing a very strong start in the US. Now, ahead of its rollout in Europe, Variety has some new stats that point even more towards Disney+ being a huge hit back home. “Approximately 50% of American […]

Struggling with isolation? An astronaut might be able to help

Some people have been working from home regularly for years, and others take to it like ducks to water. But others may struggle, especially if they’re cooped up alone (or with housemates / family) for what’s looking like an indeterminate period of time. In the knowledge that many of our readers will be thinking hard […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related music industry news

Stuff we’re heartened by today includes Resident Advisor’s ‘Save Our Scene‘ campaign, which is mustering collecting action from the electronic music community. There’s an open letter that fans, musicians and other people in the industry can sign – more than 3,000 people so far have – with encouragement for people who want to do their […]

Soundplate launches cover-art generator for music playlists

We haven’t written about Soundplate before, but it’s one of the companies creating marketing tools for artists and labels: its best-known product is Soundplate Clicks, a smart-links tool competing with the likes of Linkfire and SmartURL, but it also has a tool for creating music-vizualiser videos for YouTube and social platforms, and a tool for […]

MelodyVR is raising $12m by selling more shares

We reported last week on virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR’s postponement of its planned expansion to Latin America and Asia Pacific, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company’s growth hopes continue: this morning the company – which is public – announced plans to raise $12m of new funding by selling shares to existing and new investors. After expenses, it’ll mean […]

Spotify launches a new podcast API for developers

Spotify may be booting DJ apps off its music API, but the company is also launching a new API for another part of its business: podcasts. “Today, we launched a new podcast API for developers. This will allow developers to explore and build unique experiences to help your shows reach new listeners in new ways,” explained Spotify […]

It’s too early to tell what coronavirus means for streaming

It’s not great for your work/life balance to spend the weekend feeling grumpy every time you spot that ‘people are streaming music less due to coronavirus’ story doing the rounds – based on a limited comparison of stream counts from the Spotify charts. It’s true that other forms of media may be more appealing to […]

Mixtape site Spinrilla sues RIAA over takedown notices

Usually when US industry body the RIAA is involved in a court copyright dust-up with a website, it’s the industry body doing the suing (or rather, working with labels who are doing the suing). The boot will be on the other foot in an upcoming case, however. TorrentFreak reports that mixtapes site Spinrilla is suing the RIAA […]

Instagram and TikTok ‘sidekick apps’ were hot in 2019

A new report from research firm Sensor Tower has found that a third of the biggest new apps in 2019 were “sidekick apps” for the likes of Instagram and TikTok. What are sidekick apps? They are apps that work in conjunction with ‘mother’ apps, adding new features or enhancements that the original app is lacking. According to […]

Behind The Campaign: Indian hip-hop star Naezy

In India, Naezy is one of the driving forces behind the country’s emerging hip-hop scene. Given the centrality of Bollywood, the Indian music industry was, for many years, a sub-division of the film industry and music marketing had to work around that structural fact. As digital opens the county up, new opportunities are bubbling up […]

Netflix reduces streaming quality in Europe to save bandwidth

Netflix is making some changes to the way its service runs in Europe, in response to a request from the European Union’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton. He asked the video streaming service what it could do to reduce its load on the continent’s internet networks, with populations working at home en masse. “Streaming platforms, telecom operators […]

There really is a robot releasing music on Spotify

Wait! Drop the pitchforks! Shimon isn’t one of these fake artists you’ve been hearing about (we’re still trying to get to the bottom of who Jan Thiel is, by the way). No, Shimon is proudly, unashamedly an actual robot, and he plays the marimba. He’s one of the robotics projects at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music […]

Music companies share their lessons on remote working

Many of us (Music Ally included) are now figuring out how to run our companies as entirely remote-working businesses. A couple of music companies with more experience of this have been sharing their lessons, which may be useful. Merch firm Push Entertainment’s Simon Scott has published a post of “real world things that work for highly functioning […]

Spotify’s dance playlist Mint spawns its own ‘singles’

We’re well used now to ‘Spotify Singles’, the streaming service’s series of original live recordings from artists, where they re-record one of their own songs plus a cover version – with their label retaining all the rights. Well, now one of Spotify’s big playlists is spawning its own line of similar releases. The playlist is dance-focused […]

The Weeknd sets Apple Music record, holds Spotify listening session

It’s fair to say that The Weeknd’s new album ‘After Hours’ is expected to have a big debut this weekend. The streaming services are certainly throwing their weight behind it. Apple announced yesterday that the album has broken its record for Apple Music pre-adds (people pre-saving it to their libraries). MBW reported that by yesterday, […]

Tencent Music talks album sales and independent artists

Earlier this week we reported on Tencent Music’s latest financial results, including the news that it now has 39.9 million paying users for online music. Note, that’s not just ‘subscribers’, because Tencent Music also sells music – digital albums – through its streaming services. In the company’s earnings call with analysts, it talked about some of the recent […]

Is Triller music’s next big launchpad?

It’s not quite a case of: “Come in, TikTok – your time is up.” However, Triller has been growing sharply in recent months and is starting to break tracks and acts in its own way. For now, the audience skews towards both the US and hip-hop, but the app has global ambitions and wants to […]

Tools. Audience Republic: Sell more tickets for your event

Audience Republic was established in 2016, three years after founder and CEO Jared Kristensen had lost $20k at a low-selling event he had put on. After three more years of organising various events, he realised that he was missing an effective solution that would help sell tickets.  The company now has offices in London, Los […]

TikTok appoints US external advisors for content moderation

TikTok has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent months, in the US particularly, over how its content moderation policies work. Now the app has appointed what US general manager Vanessa Pappas described as “an external council of leading experts to advise TikTok on content moderation policies covering a wide range of topics… thought leaders who […]

Charli XCX kicks off ‘self-isolating’ livestreams series on Instagram

Everyone and their artist auntie is livestreaming now, it seems – our RSS feed was overwhelmed by a blizzard of media articles commenting on the trend this morning too. Some of the more notable examples from the past 24 hours include: Charli XCX kicking off a series of Instagram livestreams, patching in fellow artists like Christine and […]

Startup Landmrk launches ‘Virtual Tours’ feature for artists

We’ve written about British startup Landmrk regularly over the past couple of years: its platform enables artists (and other kinds of brands too) to create virtual ‘treasure hunts’ that encourage fans to explore the real world to find digital content. Obviously, there are some issues with the ‘explore the real world’ aspect right now, what […]

Glastonbury Festival and Eurovision both cancelled for 2020

Spring and summer music events getting cancelled is now expected, rather than a surprise, but for Europeans yesterday still managed to deliver something of a hammer blow with the cancellation of the 2020 editions of both the Glastonbury Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest. By now, neither is news, so the aspect we’ll pull out […]

MusicWatch report notes growth in US ‘music buyers’ to 116m

Research company MusicWatch has revealed some of the findings from its Annual Music Study, which surveys 5,000 Americans on their music habits. Among those findings: there are now 116 million ‘music buyers’ in the US, the highest total since 2007. That’s a metric covering people who pay for subscriptions and/or CDs, downloads and vinyl. Meanwhile, […]

Bootleg podcasts hint at how Spotify could shake up audio shows

What to call them. Podboots? Notcasts? Vice has run a fascinating piece on the Trojan horse world of podcasts on Spotify that are smuggling unlicensed music onto the platform. Vice has trawled Spotify’s music podcasts category and found a range of shows, with names like idk im high, boyband nostalgia and the less i know the circle […]

MelodyVR postpones expansion to Latin America and Asia Pacific

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR is seeing a silver lining in the coronavirus outbreak – its content sales are up – but it’s also forcing a pause in the company’s global expansion plans. On the first of those: “We have not sought to actively capitalise on the events of the last few weeks, yet having experienced […]

New Sonos app and operating system coming in June

Sonos is launching a new app in June, alongside new software for its speakers. Well, some of its speakers. The app and software is called ‘Sonos S2’, and it will be compatible with many existing Sonos devices and all its new ones. However, some of the company’s older hardware will not support it – what […]

Anti-LGBTQ+ song removed from music streaming services

Malaysian rock band Bunkface have a song called ‘Akhir Zaman’ [‘The End of Times’] which included homophobic lyrics like the line “LGBT can go to hell” (or “LGBT can go die”). The band had released a statement denying that this was hate speech, suggesting instead that they were protesting against the movement for LGBTQ+ rights in […]

‘TikTok for musicians’ Jamiphy joins Y Combinator accelerator

We wrote about startup Jamiphy in August 2019 after we spotted its profile pop up on an investment website. It was billing itself as ‘TikTok for Musicians’ – an app where artists could “create short musical videos with others, and with AI musicians using any instrument or style”. The company has since launched its app in Indonesia, and now […]

UK music industry concerned for venues closing for coronavirus

The COVID-19 situation is certainly fast-moving. Yesterday afternoon, various UK music bodies criticised the British government heavily for advising people not to go to public venues including pubs, clubs and concert venues without actually ordering those places to close – the concern being that this would not enable them to claim on their insurance policies. “The […]

NBCUniversal is sending new films straight to digital rental

Here’s another example of how the coronavirus situation is impacting an entertainment industry: it’s smashing through Hollywood’s ‘theatrical window’ – the period at which new films are only available to watch in cinemas. Studio NBCUniversal announced yesterday that its current slate of new films will be made available for on-demand (digital) rental at the same time […]

Eventbrite tears up its financial predictions for 2020

Ticketing firm Eventbrite has withdrawn its business outlook – the predictions for revenues, profits etc that public companies provide to analysts – in the light of the coronavirus-fuelled uncertainty around the live entertainment business. CEO Julia Hartz described the situation as “unprecedented”. “The year started off strong across the board and we are now seeing a […]

Years & Years & TikTok: capitalising on a viral hit

British band Years & Years swiftly set up a TikTok account at the end of last week – in a large part because their cover of 2003’s ‘Breathe’ (by Sean Paul ft. Blu Cantrell) from six years ago was having a viral impact on the app without any push from them. They were able to capitalise on […]

More artists turn to livestreams amid coronavirus isolation

As the live-music shutdown continues, more and bigger artists have turned to livestreaming performances online as an alternative, if not (certainly not in terms of income) a replacement. Neil Young is launching a ‘Fireside Sessions’ series of concerts broadcast from his home. As far as we can tell, the performances will be hosted on his own Neil […]

Raine Group predicts recorded-income spike for indie artists

Investment firm Raine Group has a keen interest in the independent music and DIY artists sectors, having put funding into SoundCloud and Amuse, while advising Downtown on its acquisitions of CD Baby and Fuga. Now the company has produced a report claiming that the artists using these and other companies will see strong growth in their recorded […]

British music labels’ trade income grew by 7.3% in 2019

UK music industry body the BPI has published its annual figures for British labels’ trade income – the money that labels actually earn, rather than the ‘retail value’ of consumer spending on music that was reported by fellow body ERA earlier this year. The unsurprising headline: more growth for labels. Their trade income grew by […]

Amazon Alexa gets smarter with some new music features

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has some new tricks in the way it deals with music. Launched this week, they include the ability to serve (on request) a cappella, live, remix, instrumental and other versions of tracks. “Saying commands like ‘Alexa, play the Con Calma remix’ or ‘Alexa, play live J. Cole songs’ kicks off the […]

Melanie Martinez got 100m+ YouTube views for her K-12 project

Melanie Martinez is the latest musician to get the YouTube Artist Spotlight Story treatment: a 13-minute mini-documentary about her “artistic journey and the many hats she wears as a creative”. We were tickled by the phrase ‘With exclusive BTS from her feature film K-12’ in the video’s YouTube description too: that’s exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ footage, obviously, […]

Live music affected by latest coronavirus event restrictions

Having said last week that we’re going to try not to stoke your anxiety over the novel-coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with long, scary stories, this morning we can’t ignore the latest developments and their implications for our industry. You may have already seen the reports that Universal Music Group boss Sir Lucian Grainge has been hospitalised […]

Kesha taps Spotify for Blessed Mess room-wrecking promo game

“You can’t get to heaven without raising a little hell darlin’,” is how the website for Kesha’s new promotional game Blessed Mess greets fans, before inviting them to “connect to Spotify, wreck Kesha’s room and unlock exclusive content”. As with other Spotify-linked campaigns, connecting the streaming service means the label (Sony Music in this case) will get […]

YouTube app switches Trending tab to Explore – music included

YouTube is officially changing the name of the ‘Trending’ tab in its mobile app to ‘Explore’, with changes to the videos that people will find under that tab too. “With Explore, you not only have access to Trending videos, but also to destination pages for some popular content categories like Gaming, Music, Fashion & Beauty, […]

US subscriptions surge still accompanied by ‘value gap’ fears

One of the facts that may have gone overlooked in the USA’s recent surge in recorded music revenue is the country’s incredibly strong music subscription numbers, which come under the microscope in our latest US country profile. In 2019 the US averaged 60.4m paid subscriptions, up from 46.9m in 2018, according to the RIAA. If we […]

The mystery of Childish Gambino’s ‘Donald Glover Presents’

Fans of Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) got a surprise this weekend when a new album called ‘Donald Glover Presents’ appeared to drop out of the blue. Not on streaming services, but as Billboard reported, the album was made available on a website of the same name, with its 12 tracks including new collaborations with Ariana […]

Amazon Music launches analytics for artists with a mobile app

With more than 55 million music streaming users around the world, most of whom are paying, Amazon is the third biggest player in the global music subscriptions market behind Spotify and Apple Music. One area in which it has lagged those rivals has been artist analytics: the data it provides artists and their teams on […]

Cocooning, downgrading… what will Coronavirus mean for music?

The short term impact of the novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in the US at least, is this: no big tours. AEG and Live Nation both announced yesterday that they are postponing all arena tours scheduled for March, having set up a task force together with talent agencies CAA, WME, Paradigm and UTA to figure out a collective […]

Super-bundle plans reportedly missing from Apple Music’s new deals

Amid all the blow-by-blow speculation about the progress of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels, it’s been easy to forget that – sit down for this revelation – other streaming services also have deals that periodically need to be renewed. Apple Music, for instance, which according to the Financial Times has quietly sealed its new deals with […]

Songtrust boss hopes for gender parity in A&R signings by 2030

Songtrust president Molly Neuman has been one of the key champions for diversity and inclusion in the music industry. In an op-ed piece for Variety, she has outlined some ways she thinks the music industry can do better over the coming years. It includes a rousing call to rightsholders across the industry, and an accompanying target. […]

Liz Pelly talks Spotify, independence and ‘big music tech criticism’

Over a series of articles for US journal The Baffler, journalist and critic Liz Pelly has examined the culture and dynamics of music streaming in general and Spotify in particular. In Discover Weakly, Unfree Agents, Streambait Pop and Big Mood Machine, she offered some of the sharpest criticism of Spotify’s business, its impact on musicians […]

Allthestreams·fm stunt hacks US subscription video-streaming

As we’ve noted before, the video streaming landscape is very different to the music streaming world, where bar the odd exception, every service has all the music. For video, it’s more a case of many different TV and film subscription services fighting tooth and nail to secure exclusives (easier if they were the original producer […]

Killer clown Pennywise pops up in a Spotify lullabies playlist

We’ve heard some weak excuses in our time, but suggesting that you “did not believe the playlist was designed primarily for children” when the playlist is called ‘Classical Lullabies’ and has several tracks mentioning children in their title? It’s not the strongest of defences, and especially not when what you’re defending is the appearance of […]

Drop it like it’s Brots: startup swipes right on music discovery

Dating app Tinder’s swiping interface has long been applied to other kinds of apps and services, music included – we wrote about Next in 2014 and Fab·fm in 2016 as two examples. The latest startup to apply the functionality of Tinder to music is Brots. It’s an app where listeners play 30-second clips of new acts where they can swipe […]

BPI has now asked Google to remove more than 500m search links

British music industry body the BPI has set a new milestone, but it’s announcing it in frustration rather than celebration. The body says it has just submitted its 500 millionth URL to Google, asking for it to be delisted from the company’s search engine on the grounds of copyright infringement. The BPI also says it has […]

Startup Rightsholder·io aims to streamline music clearance

Music Ally is long enough in the tooth to be skeptical whenever someone has a bright idea for launching a database offering “a clear and complete picture of who owns the rights to a song all in one place”. Those are the words of Atlanta-based startup Music Tech Works about its first product, Rightsholder·io, which is currently available […]

SXSW and Ultra Music Festival both have ‘no refunds’ policies

We gasped the other day when it emerged that SXSW didn’t have an insurance policy that would cover cancellation due to “communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics” – like the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). If that was the shot, here’s the chaser: it appears that both SXSW and the also-cancelled Ultra Music Festival will not be refunding people […]

Music Ally Startup Files: MyPart’s new spin on AI music analysis

Israeli startup MyPart aims to use AI to turn the long tail of music catalogues into revenue streams that humans may have overlooked. In fact, the company wants to do more than analyse music and pull the needle from the haystack: it wants to pair the songs no human would consider with artists who never […]

Billie Eilish ‘Bad Guy’ was the biggest global single of 2019

Billie Eilish is going to need to build a new awards cabinet soon: her latest trophy is the IFPI’s award for the biggest global single of 2019, awarded to ‘Bad Guy’. The track notched up 19.5m ‘global converted track equivalents’ last year – a metric that includes audio and video streams as well as download […]

Love ISN’T in the air as DSPs’ US royalty-rates appeal kicks off

David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association in the US, has never been a man to pull his verbal punches when taking digital services to task. “Songwriters: This week, Spotify and Amazon are quite literally taking you to court,” is how his latest guest column for Billboard begins, and it doesn’t get any less […]

I Heart Songwriting Club interview: ‘There is no ceiling to this!’

“I was having panic attacks. I was completely anxious and stuck, because I wasn’t doing the thing I wanted to do. I struggled to write songs: I judged every idea as boring and not good enough, and that stopped me writing altogether. Four songs a year was all I could manage at one point…” Australian […]

How K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ (aka ‘Renegade’) went viral – and what happened next

Atlanta rapper K Camp began releasing mixtapes in 2011, before signing to Interscope in 2014, building up a loyal following. However, the release of his track ‘Lottery’ in early 2019 changed everything. The track initially had a slow build through platforms including Instagram, YouTube and Triller, but then a few months later users of TikTok […]

Radar is Spotify’s new program to promote emerging artists

Spotify is launching a new program called Radar to promote emerging artists. Actually, it’s 19 ‘sister’ programs across the world, which in 2020 will feature 36 artists. Those musicians will get slots on Spotify’s programmed playlists – including a dedicated ‘On Our Radar’ playlist – as well as other types of marketing support and editorial content […]

Spotify gets former HuffPost exec as head of content at Gimlet

Spotify acquired podcast production studio Gimlet Media for €172m in February 2019. Now it has hired a suitably high-powered media executive to be the company’s head of content. Lydia Polgreen has been poached from her role as editor-in-chief at HuffPost, a title she’d held for the past three years. Variety reports that Polgreen will be in charge […]

Carrie Underwood launches fit52, her own fitness app

American artist Carrie Underwood has a new sideline in 2020: as a fitness guru. Her book ‘Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life’ came out last week, complete with a deck of 52 cards that help people exercise at home. Now, to borrow a phrase from […]

Label-led piracy lawsuit against ISP Grande is postponed

The latest label-led copyright infringement lawsuit against an ISP in the US was focusing on Texan ISP Grande Communications. However the case has been postponed until September. The reason given was that the court only has six days available for the hearing, which both sides agreed was insufficient, suggesting that 10 days were required. The ISP […]

Maggie Collins warns of a ‘crisis point’ for artist managers

Australian manager Maggie Collins, of Morning Belle, has published a social-media post (which The Industry Observer has reported on) warning of a “crisis point” for modern artist managers. “We are not super humans. We are f***ing exhausted. An alarming amount are suffering serious mental health problems due to burn-out because we have to do so much […]

SXSW cancelled due to coronavirus: so what next for music?

By now, you’ll surely have seen the news that the SXSW festival and conference has been cancelled by the City of Austin itself due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – a decision that SXSW has promised to respect, while exploring its options to reschedule and/or hold some of the conference parts online. You may also have […]

Lauv is latest artist to launch a Landmrk-powered treasure hunt

Music Ally has been covering location-based marketing startup Landmrk for several years now, including its campaigns for artists including CNCO, Ariana Grande and Louis Tomlinson. The startup’s latest client is AWAL act Lauv, to promote the release of new album ‘How I’m Feeling’. The angle is that Lauv has hidden clips of the album’s tracks across the world, pinning them […]

Music monitoring startup Audoo’s latest funding round is £1.5m

Audoo is a British startup that has launched technology for monitoring music played in public spaces, in order to ensure the proper performance royalties are paid. The company has just raised £1.5m (just over $1.9m) in its latest funding round, with investors including Tileyard London – the fast-growing music hub into which Audoo will soon move […]

Bad Bunny is the big winner at Spotify’s first awards

Last night, Spotify held its first awards event, in Mexico City. The focus was mainly on Latin American artists, with most of the categories’ nominees and winner based on data from Spotify listeners in Mexico, rather than globally. Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny was the night’s biggest winner, taking home the Spotify Artist of the Year […]

‘Hey Spotify’ – streaming service’s work on voice tech continues

App-cracker Jane Manchun Wong has been poking around in Spotify’s innards again, and has uncovered more signs of the streaming service’s work on voice controls. It’s a toggle to enable a feature called ‘Hey Spotify’, which will have the app “listen for Hey Spotify when the app is open and on your screen”. Note, Spotify has […]

Music streaming services support International Women’s Day

This Sunday (8 March) is International Women’s Day, and as has become traditional, the big music streaming services are all celebrating the occasion. Spotify will be launching a new ‘Women’s History Month’ hub on Sunday, with all-women playlists and podcasts, as well as IWD-themed takeovers of some of its popular playlists. Apple is hosting a […]

The Trichordist publishes per-stream royalties data for 2019

Every year, artist-rights blog The Trichordist publishes an updated ‘streaming price bible’ comparing the per-stream payouts of the major music streaming services. The latest version, for 2019, was published overnight, and as ever is based on “a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 350+ album catalog now generating over 1.5b streams annually”. Among its findings: Spotify’s […]

Global recorded music revenues grew to $21.5bn in 2019 says Midia

Music industry body the IFPI will publish its latest Global Music Report on 24 March, revealing the size and growth of the recorded music market in 2019. However, in recent years consultancy firm Midia Research has made a habit of getting in first with its own estimates. This year is no different: Midia has just published […]

Bad Influencer Marketing

Tighter rules around what they must declare and a series of scandals have not quite knocked influencers off their pedestal, but there has been a lot of damage to some big reputations and this reflects badly on everyone in the influencer world. Record labels and managers are getting more deeply involved in the influencer world […]

Tools: Portes. Connect artists directly to their fans in under 3 seconds, with a bespoke VIP experience

Consumer concerns around online privacy, and new regulations such as GDPR, COPPA and CCPA are causing complications for tech giants like Facebook, Google and TikTok; and are increasingly seen as a differentiator and point of competitive advantage for Apple.  Those same philosophical differences are beginning to emerge in the startup space too. OCL, a London-based […]

Twitter is getting its ‘stories’ with new fleets feature

“Sharing your thoughts publicly can be intimidating!” tweeted Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour yesterday. No, this wasn’t a precursor to announcing new measures to crack down on the kind of users who can make Twitter such an angry, intimidating place. Instead, Twitter is launching its equivalent of Snapchat, Instagram and everyone else’s ‘stories’. Twitter’s version is called […]

Video-streaming startup Quibi raises $750m more funding

In nearly a decade between being founded and going public, Spotify is estimated to have raised $2.6bn in funding. Compare that to video-streaming startup Quibi, which hasn’t launched yet, but has already raised $1.75bn – including a new round of $750m this week, a month ahead of its debut. This is the company co-founded by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey […]

Loudly shows off AI tech to remix songs into different genres

German startup Loudly is taking the wrappers off its music-focused artificial intelligence technology, which it says can automatically remix tracks into different genres. The tech is being shown off on the company’s website with tracks by Becky G, Dillon Francis, Bien Monk and MØ. For example, Becky G’s track ‘Next To You’ has been remixed by the […]

Ultra Music Festival may be postponed due to coronavirus

It’s very early to start making doom-laden predictions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak laying waste to 2020’s festivals season. But certainly those that are earlier in the calendar are facing tough questions about whether to go ahead or not. Newspaper the Miami Herald reported yesterday that the Ultra Music Festival, due to be held later this […]

Bytedance’s Resso launches in India but can it drive subscriptions?

A much-hyped freemium music service has launched in India, but without one of the world’s major music companies. Déjà vu, anyone? Almost exactly a year on from Spotify’s debut in India amid a dispute with publisher Warner Chappell, Bytedance has officially launched its widely-anticipated Resso streaming service in India. There’s no legal battle this time, but Universal […]

Taki takes on Cameo to offer personalised celebrity videos

In June last year we wrote about a new startup called Cameo, which had raised a $50m funding round to continue building its business selling personalised video messages from celebrities. Now it has a new rival called Taki, which is doing the same thing. “Make a birthday extra special. Have a celeb announce a baby to […]

New IMPF boss promises to reach out to other publishing bodies

The Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF) has confirmed the identify of its next boss. Annette Barrett, MD of Reservoir UK, is now its president-elect and chair of the body’s board of directors, and will formally take on the role of president later this month, replacing current president Pierre Mossiat. In her statement, Barrett promised […]

Youngboy Never Broke Again continues his YouTube success

The most popular artist on YouTube in the US last week was YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka Kentrell DeSean Gaulden), with 78.6m views of videos including his music. That was more than double the second-ranked artist Roddy Ricch (who had 37.5m views), reflecting Gaulden’s popularity on YouTube. His total was driven by 14 of his songs […]

Labels roll out new policies in response to coronavirus

Major labels are beginning to place restrictions on international travel for their staff, in the face of the spreading coronavirus outbreak. Billboard reported on a Universal Music Group internal memo explaining that “for the health and well-being of our staff, and in order to be a responsible member of the global community seeking to stop the spread […]

Add Don Toliver, Kim Loaiza and Trevor Daniel to 2019’s success stories

Taylor Swift was the IFPI’s top artist of 2019, based on global streams and sales, while Post Malone was Spotify’s most-streamed artist, and Billie Eilish was Apple Music’s artist of the year. But here’s some more success stories from last year that you won’t have seen on the charts put out by those companies: Don […]

Phantom Of The Tokera: get set for TikTok: the stage show

You like the app – now try the festival. The storied London Palladium theatre will be hosting ‘For You Stage, a Live Show Feat TikTok Superstars’ on 24 and 25 May this year. Named after the ‘For You’ discovery tab in TikTok, the show “will incorporate some of the biggest content creators on the TikTok […]

Facebook and Twitter pull out of SXSW due to coronavirus

We reported yesterday on what the coronavirus outbreak might mean for June’s Midem music industry conference: presently, it means sharing Cannes with 23,000 real-estate folk due to the postponement of that industry’s MIPIM conference to the same dates as Midem. But now SXSW in Austin, Texas is facing its own disruptions, just a week and […]

Circa Waves offset their carbon footprint… with their own cider!

Plenty of artists have launched their own beers and lagers: Iron Maiden, Queen, Elbow, Motörhead and so on. It’s good to see someone sticking up for the more apple-y end of things in 2020 though: British band Circa Waves are launching their own cider called ‘Cider Waves’. There’s also an interesting story behind it: alongside […]

Spotify co-head of music slams playlist promotion ‘scams’

Spotify’s co-head of music Jeremy Erlich has come out strongly against agencies charging labels or artists to pitch their music to the streaming service’s playlists. “I hate it. They’re just scamming artists. There’s absolutely no promo in the streaming world. We don’t talk to any of these people at all. They’re scams,” he told Forbes. “If […]

Musiio launches self-service dashboard for AI catalogue-tagging

AI-tagging startup Musiio has launched a new service that will make it easier for music companies to use its technology. It’s called Musiio App, and is aimed at independent labels, production houses, sync companies, DJs and other creatives. Anyone with a catalogue of music, who wants to make it easier to tag those tracks and search […]

After 400m downloads, music apps firm MWM raises €50m

French company MWM is responsible for a suite of apps including DJ app edjing; music-making apps like Beatwave 3, Beat Maker Pro and Drum Machine; musician tools like Tuner and Metronome; and educational apps Piano, Guitar and Drums. Those apps have been downloaded more than 400m times so far, putting MWM up there with Gismart in terms […]

Recording Academy officially fires CEO Deborah Dugan

Just before the US Grammy Awards, its organiser the Recording Academy placed its president and CEO Deborah Dugan on administrative leave. Now it has taken the next step and terminated her employment altogether. The industry body will begin its search for a replacement president and CEO “in the coming days”. Is this an end to […]

Report claims Warner Music Group is delaying its IPO

Warner Music Group may be delaying the plans to go public that it announced earlier this year. The label group has not made an official announcement, and indeed hadn’t yet confirmed specific timescale for its IPO anyway. CNBC’s report claimed that WMG and another about-to-IPO company, shoemaker Cole Haan, “had hoped to communicate to the market […]

Bad Bunny hops onto Spotify with his own ‘lookbook’

It’s not quite a ‘visual album’ on the scale of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ or Frank Ocean’s ‘Endless’, but Latin American star Bad Bunny has partnered with Spotify to create what is being termed a “lookbook” for his third album, ‘Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana’ (translating as I Do What I Want). The Puerto Rican artist […]

Zoë Keating explains why she doesn’t sell merch or use YouTube

Zoë Keating is an artist who’s taken a leading role in talking about new technologies (blockchain, for example) as well as streaming royalties transparency. Her latest interview is with Emily White, author of the new book ‘How To Build A Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams’, with a foreword in the form of a […]

Spotify teams up with MBC’s Shahid for six-month MENA promotion

Spotify is part of a new bundle in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, but rather than a telco contract, this partnership involves a video streaming service. Specifically, it’s a video streaming service called Shahid, which is owned by broadcasting group MBC Group. Shahid’s ‘VIP’ (premium) subscribers will be able to get six months […]

Music to meet real-estate as MIPIM conference moves to June

Events firm Reed Midem has postponed its Cannes-based MIPIM real-estate conference from this month to 2-5 June, due to growing concerns related to the Coronavirus. Notice anything about that new date? It’s when the same company’s Midem music industry conference is due to take place, also in Cannes. That means the 5,000-ish Midem attendees will be […]

Canada now has around 7.8m music subscribers says Socan boss

Canadian collecting society Socan says that Canada is home to around 7.8m music subscribers, or 22% of the country’s total population, after Nielsen figures revealed a 31.2% increase in on-demand audio song streams in Canada last year. Socan CEO Eric Baptiste, talking in our Canada Country Profile, cautions that that Socan works with total subscriber […]

RealNetworks filing reveals Napster revenues of $106.3m in 2019

The latest financial results from technology firm RealNetworks include figures for its Napster subsidiary: $106.3m of revenues for 2019. Napster’s cost of revenues for the year were $85.9m, with operating expenses of $25.8m leading to it recording an operating loss of $5.4m for the year. Napster’s revenues were $143.8m in 2018, which would indicate a 26.1% year-on-year […]

Report: global value of music copyright reached $30.1bn in 2018

One of the quirks of the way the music industry makes its market data available is that we tend to talk about the ‘value of the industry’ purely in terms of recordings: thanks to the IFPI’s annual Global Music Report. Meanwhile, collecting societies body Cisac publishes an annual report of its members’ collections, including a […]

‘Who are you Jan Thiel?’ Zola Jesus uncovers new Spotify mystery

Musician Zola Jesus posed a question this weekend. “I opened Spotify for the first time in months. Clicked on a random playlist. Played a random song that has 1.5 million streams. The album said it was released Jan 31 2020. Searched off Spotify for artist: nothing comes up. FAKE F**KING MUSIC. WHO ARE YOU JAN THIEL?” […]

BTS YouTube premiere broke records with 1.54m concurrent viewers

Earlier this week, we reported on a strong start for K-Pop stars BTS’ latest music video, ‘Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima’, on YouTube. The video was the fifth biggest 24-hour debut in YouTube history, but it turns out it also set a new record in another way. BTS used YouTube’s ‘premiere’ feature to time-release the […]

New appointments for Spotify and Songtrust in the US

Spotify has a new head of editorial in Nashville: Rachel Whitney, who joins from YouTube, where she led strategy and programming for country and roots music. Whitney will work with head of artist and label services Brittany Schaffer in Spotify’s Nashville office. “I’m proud to further the mission of sharing all of Nashville’s amazing talent […]

Deezer expands DJ offerings with exclusive mixes

Recently we were pondering just how far exclusives with DSPs will go. It’s not quite back to the days of full albums, but the cases of both Coldplay and Justin Bieber with Apple Music in the past few weeks suggests there is a testing of the boundaries happening. So what about exclusive mixes? That’s what […]

Netherlands recorded music revenues grew by 13.2% in 2019

Individual country figures for recorded music revenues in 2019 are coming thick and fast at the moment: the Netherlands remains part of the double-digit growth party. According to figures published by industry body NVPI Audio (and reported on by the NL Times) Dutch recorded music revenues grew by 13.2% last year to €206.8m (around $227.6m). Streaming […]

Mr Eazi reveals 30 more artists for emPawa Africa program

AfroPop star Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa is a talent incubator for artists in Africa: you may remember us writing about it in July 2019, when he inked a partnership with YouTube to support his latest cohort of Nigerian artists. Now he has named the latest 30 artists taking part in the program, who’ll all receive a $10k grant […]

Spotify refreshes its mobile app design on iOS

Spotify has given its mobile app a spring clean, for now on Apple’s iOS, although we’d imagine that Android will follow in due course. Spotify is pitching the app’s new design as “a more streamlined, easy-to-use interface with fresh designs to actionable icons”. That includes a big, green ‘shuffle play’ icon; and grouping actions (like, […]

Stem launches ’Scale’ feature for artist and label advances

Distributor Stem is the latest non-label company to start offering advances to its clients – although in this case, those clients include independent labels as well as individual artists. Its new feature is called ‘Scale’, and it will involve Stem drawing on a $100m pot (supplied via a capital partnership with investment firm CoVenture) to offer […]

Universal Music expands leadership team for India and South Asia

Universal Music Group has been very active in India in recent times, from its VYRL Originals non-film-music label (which we wrote about in November 2019) to its launch of Mass Appeal India in partnership with rapper Nas, and that label’s signing of Indian star Divine. Now UMG is preparing for its next push with an expansion of its […]

Streaming service Akazoo had 5.5m subscribers at end of Q3 2019

We’ve got our first update for our recently published post listing the biggest global music streaming services by subscribers. Akazoo, which focuses on emerging markets in territories like eastern Europe and Latin America, ended September 2019 with 5.5 million premium subscribers. The figure, disclosed in a financial filing, was up 28% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Akazoo’s registered users […]

A BTS-fuelled IPO is still on for Big Hit Entertainment

Warner Music Group is having an IPO. Universal Music Group will be having an IPO. And now K-Pop giant Big Hit Entertainment’s plans for its own initial public offering appear to be progressing too. The company, whose biggest star is BTS, has now chosen the banks and brokerage firms who’ll be handling its IPO, according […]

Spotify reveals trends (not user numbers) from first year in India

“It’s been exactly 12 months since Spotify launched in India, and my, how we’ve grown,” is how the streaming service began a birthday blog post this morning. Unfortunately, what follows are NOT any figures showing how it’s grown in user numbers there since reporting two million in April last year. Instead, the blog post focuses on the […]

T-Series’ main YouTube channel reaches 100bn views milestone

Indian music company T-Series’ flagship YouTube channel has been the most popular channel on the video service for some time now. After a lengthy (and sometimes controversial) battle with gamer PewDiePie for top spot, T-Series has accelerated away: it now has more than 130 million subscribers compared with PewDiePie’s 103 million – a gap that opened up even […]

Sony Music and The Orchard held a machine-learning hackathon

Sony Music, The Orchard and Amazon Web Services held a machine-learning focused hackathon last week. Music Ally couldn’t make the event, so we asked if Sony could give us some information about the winning hacks. The label group came back with a full report on the event, quotes’n’all. So, in its own words, here’s what […]

Imogen Heap’s Creative Passport reveals CEO and advisory board

Back in December 2017, we wrote about artist (and blockchain early-adopter) Imogen Heap’s idea for a ‘Creative Passport’ for musicians, which would store and share their professional and creative data. Well, the project has continued to evolve over the past two years: next month, a closed beta for the Creative Passport will launch, under the auspices of a […]

Socan collections exceeded $400m for the first time in 2019

The latest collecting society announcing growth in its annual collections is Canadian PRO Socan. It estimates that it collected C$405.5m (around US$305.1m) in 2019 – the first time its collections have exceeded $400m in its history. We say ‘estimates’ because the final figure won’t be published until Socan’s AGM in June. Assuming it’s confirmed, that would […]

Music pirates may be (slowly) increasing again in the UK

Piracy is much, MUCH less of a collective music industry nightmare now than it was a decade ago, with the consensus being that streaming has replaced it for all but the keenest music pirates. We’ll avoid scaremongering with this news, but it’s worth thinking about: a new study by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) suggests that […]

Investigation reports on Placido Domingo’s sexual misconduct

An investigation into opera star Placido Domingo has concluded that he “engaged in ​inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace” over several decades. The investigation was launched last September by US union the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents performers in the opera, choral and dance fields. […]

US recorded music trade revenues grew by 11% in 2019

It appears to be the day for new figures on the US music market. Industry body the RIAA published its year-end numbers for 2019 last night, revealing that recorded music’s retail value grew by 13% to $11.1bn last year. Meanwhile its wholesale value – the earnings for labels – grew by 11% to $7.3bn. Within the […]

Netflix opens up its data (a bit) with new Top 10 lists

Getting viewing figures for shows on Netflix has historically been difficult: even for the producers of those shows. Recently, the video streaming service has given out some stats for its original shows: in its first four weeks, 76m Netflix member households ‘chose to watch’ The Witcher, for example – a metric that merely counts how many people […]

Label Sahel Sounds uses WhatsApp to source music from Africa

US independent label Sahel Sounds is releasing a series of compilations of music from African artists, called ‘Music from Saharan WhatsApp’. The title is the clue to the digital twist: musicians are sending their tracks to label boss Chris Kirkley via WhatsApp, often just days before the album they appear on is released. The project […]

MooTube: ChilledCow lo-fi hip-hop channel returns to YouTube

Earlier this year, we pointed you in the direction of an article exploring how 24-7 lo-fi hip-hop YouTube livestreams make their money. It’s still well worth a read, if you missed it at the time. Now one of those channels, ChilledCow, has been making headlines after it was temporarily suspended by YouTube – a suspension that turned out […]

Blood Blast Distribution will place its focus on ‘extreme music’

Music Ally has written a fair bit about the exploration of genre-specific streaming services focusing on classical music, jazz or metal. Is there an opportunity for distributors to follow a similar strategy? Distributor Believe and German label Nuclear Blast are teaming up to have a go, with the launch of a joint venture called Blood Blast […]

Indian music discovery app Flutin takes investment… from Sega

Indian startup Flutin has taken new investment from an unusual source: games firm Sega, of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Drive / Genesis fame. Sega has invested an undisclosed amount in Flutin, which the latter company says will help it expand in markets like the US. “They believe in us because of the approach we […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Flutin, India’s new music discovery app

Indian startup Flutin has a bold, dual-pronged mission: to round up millions of music fans and serve them – for free – new music that they’ll love; and to provide artists with an easy-to-reach fanbase that’s eager to engage and even purchase. Dig a little deeper into the company, and there are some interesting lessons on how […]

Apple Music’s latest exclusive is a Coldplay EP and short film

We have written many times that the DSP thirst for exclusives from major artists has moved away from the album and towards things like videos, live performances and session singles. The new EP from Coldplay suggests a testing of the water as to what an act will give a DSP on an exclusive basis that […]

Despite link issues, BTS TikTok #OnChallenge has 133.8m views

We reported last week on TikTok’s coup in securing a 30-second exclusive preview of ‘ON’ – a track from the new BTS album – ahead of its official release to streaming services. The app challenged fans to create their own videos for an #onchallenge, and as you’d expect, the BTS Army responded in droves. So much so, that at […]

Fortnite rickroll emote caused some YouTube Content ID problems

Last week, we reported that Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ had been turned into a Fortnite emote – one of the dances that players can perform in-game to celebrate or goad opponents. This emote included a clip of the actual track. We (and more importantly, the game’s publisher Epic Games) should have spotted the obvious problem […]

Patreon CEO promises no ‘invisible boost’ to Capital creators

Last week, we reported on fan-funding service Patreon’s launch of a new service called ‘Patreon Capital’, providing cash advances to creators, repayable from future income earned on its platform. In an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) interview on Reddit, CEO Jack Conte has been responding to some of the questions around how the model will work – including one about […]

BMG’s parent company wants to be carbon neutral by 2030

2030 has become a key date in the battle against the climate emergency, although also a controversial one – many campaigners think even 10 years is too long to take the urgent action required. Still, it’s a target, and it’s one that BMG’s parent company Bertelsmann is getting behind. “By 2030, the international media, services, and […]

Spotify revamps the brand of its New Music Friday playlist

Spotify hasn’t exactly talked down its ‘New Music Friday’ playlist in recent times: it’s more that the streaming service has been keen to steer artists and labels away from making a slot on the playlist their main marketing goal. Messages coming out of Spotify both in public and in private have included: that artists need […]

Twitch tipped to reach 37.5m active viewers in the US this year

Amazon’s live-video platform Twitch will be watched by 37.5 million Americans this year, rising to 41.2 million in 2021. At least, that’s research firm eMarketer’s prediction: the first time it’s published estimates for Twitch’s viewership in the US. “The video streaming platform will reach 15.5% of US digital video viewers this year,” claimed the company’s blog […]

Cash Money docuseries to debut on Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist

It’s fair to say that Cash Money Records, whose roster has included Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj among others, likes exclusive documentaries about its history. ‘Before Anythang: The Cash Money Story’ launched on Apple Music in 2018. Two years on, and there’s a new docu-series on the way, but this time Spotify is the […]

Spotify says it’s dealing with bootleg music podcasts

In October last year, we wrote about an 89-episode podcast that suddenly appeared on Spotify, with every episode consisting simply of a demo, remix or rarity from Britney Spears – clearly NOT an official project. It was quickly removed from the platform. Now Pitchfork has published an investigation suggesting that ‘bootleg podcasts’ are a wider problem that Spotify is […]

YouTube preps drill-music documentary ‘Terms and Conditions’

In May 2018, YouTube deleted dozens of music videos made by artists in the ‘drill’ genre, at the request of London’s Metropolitan police, on the grounds that they were inciting gang violence. Spotify and Apple Music have since faced criticism for drill music being available on their services too, yet it’s also been argued that censoring drill music is […]

Dance artists get live boost with Resident Advisor Spotify deal

Spotify has a new partner to point its listeners in the direction of local music concerts: Resident Advisor. The electronic-music brand’s event listings will now be incorporated into Spotify, ensuring that the streaming service has a bigger database of concerts from independent dance acts playing in local venues. As with its other live-music partnerships, Spotify […]

Apple could open HomePod and iOS up to third-party default apps

There are many reasons why Apple is one of the world’s most successful companies, and its ‘walled garden’ of hardware, software and services is one of them. However, it has also proved controversial when companies making services that compete with Apple’s think they’re not getting fair access to its hardware and/or software. Spotify’s anti-competition complaint against […]

Tools: Deezer Backstage. Designed to bring artists and music professionals closer to their audience

Last year, Deezer became the first DSP to actively promote and test a user-centric payment system. At the same time, the streaming service began properly rolling out its own artist analytics backend, Deezer Backstage, with a freshly launched landing page and a host of innovative features. The last time Deezer publicly reported on its MAUs […]

Cloudflare faces new legal action from music rightsholders

Cloudflare is the technology company that helps a range of websites fend off security threats and speed up people’s access to their content. It’s also controversial though, because some of those clients are piracy sites. Cloudflare has regularly been cited by music industry rightsholders as a problem, because they see it as protecting sites that […]

No Pain, no gain: T-Pain’s website takedown and takeover

Rapper T-Pain posted a curious tweet earlier in the week. He claimed that someone had launched the f—ktpain.com website (we can’t put the full title in here as some spam filters don’t like profanities), perhaps to mock or troll him. So he decided to do something else. “I simply purchased it from them and now all the profit comes […]

The 1975’s new video was teased with a fictional digital detox

“Begin your own journey and find yourself in our stunning retreat. Mindshower digital detox puts you back in control. RECONNECT. RECHARGE. REJUVENATE.” No, one of the daleks from Doctor Who hasn’t suddenly got on the wellness bandwagon. This was the introductory tweet from a mysterious new digital detox retreat called Mindshower. Which, as it turns out, […]

Dave to top the bill at Apple Music’s first ‘Agenda’ UK concert

Artist Dave was the star of the Brit Awards earlier this week, with his new verse for his song ‘Black’ calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson a racist; drawing attention to the differing media coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex (aka Kate and Meghan); calling for more conservation and less deforestation; and slamming […]

Genius x Fuse brings Genius lyrics to TV for the first time

Genius, the lyrics analysis site, is bringing its content to linear TV for the first time through a deal with music media company Fuse. The ‘Genius x Fuse’ show will debut on 18 March on Fuse, which is available through platforms including Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku. “The series will feature the best […]

How many users do Spotify, Apple Music and other big music streaming services have?

Sometimes the statistics around how many people are streaming music – and how many are paying for it – can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Recently, for example, we’ve seen one story suggesting that Amazon was “on course to overtake Apple Music” based on comparing an Amazon figure from January 2020 with one from Apple […]

Top 10 Tips for Musicians to Make Your Instagram Sing

This article is part of a new regular monthly series from Music Ally which highlights some of the top tips from our Learning Hub (www.learn.musically.com) The Learning Hub has been designed to help artists, creators and their teams to understand how to find, grow and engage with your audience around the globe.  It’s a part […]

Catalogue marketing rejuvenated

Catalogue marketing used to mainly be about the 20th anniversary box set (with some demos and a couple of new photos added in) or about the same 15 songs in a slightly different order, popped in a slightly different sleeve and called a “best of”. Streaming has changed that completely. Plus, with popular music now […]

Justin Bieber launches an exclusive music video on Apple Music

Single-DSP exclusives for music are increasingly rare, but as we’ve reported over the last year or two, the content around them, from videos to live sessions, is very much fair game. Justin Bieber is the latest example: he’s released an exclusive video for ‘E.T.A.’ off his new album ‘Changes’ on Apple Music. And according to Apple, it’s […]

Mixcloud turns 10 and loses its cloud with new M-X logo

A decade is a lifetime in digital music. Back in 2010, for example, digital made up just 29% of the global recorded music business, according to IFPI numbers. In that time, UK-based firm Mixcloud has gone from bootstrapped startup to having a library of over 50m radio shows, DJ mixes and podcasts that have come […]

Pandora Apple Watch app can now stream music without a phone

Streaming service Pandora has launched a new ‘standalone’ app for the Apple Watch, which will let people stream music and podcasts directly to the smartwatch rather than via an iPhone. “The standalone Pandora app means that you can control your personalized listening experience directly on your Apple Watch without needing to pull out your phone […]

Reliance invests $19.6m in its JioSaavn music streaming service

With the competition in India’s music streaming market only intensifying, telco Reliance Industries is giving its JioSaavn streaming service a financial shot in the arm. According to news site Inc42, Reliance has invested $19.6m in the service, nearly two years after the company acquired Saavn and merged it with its existing Jio Music to form […]

Study suggests country radio listeners DO want more women

Country radio stations in the US have been criticised strongly in recent times for their male-dominated playlists. A study published earlier this month by SongData’s Jada Watson showed why: women accounted for just 10% of daily spins and slots in Billboard’s year-end country airplay chart. But now a separate study commissioned by country media brand CMT suggests […]

Music, gender representation and the ‘pipeline problem’

The lack of women nominated in some of the key mixed-gender categories at last night’s Brit Awards was a talking point even within the awards itself. Now Vick Bain, the former CEO of songwriters body BASCA (now the Ivors Academy) has published some thoughts on the issue of diversity in music awards ceremonies and festival lineups that […]

Beatstravellers wants to blend travel and live music

The latest startup to mix music and tourism is London-based Beatstravellers. “A social marketplace creating unique vacation options in the travel and music market,” is how the company describes itself on investor database AngelList. It wants to add a tourism strand when people travel to a festival, to help music fans see a bit more of the surrounding […]

Deezer is turning its playlists into live music events

Deezer is taking three of its biggest genre-based playlist brands – Rocket, Popstar and Certified – and turning them into a series of invitation-only live events in small venues. The series kicks off in Paris tomorrow (19 February) with Circa Waves and Twin Atlantic. The shows will also be recorded for Deezer Sessions as exclusives […]

Ragya hopes to find streaming niche with Indian classical music

We’ve written a lot about the big Indian streaming services like Gaana and JioSaavn, as well as emerging startups like Flutin. Now there’s a new name for the latter group. Ragya is a streaming service focusing just on Indian classical music: specifically ‘ragas’ designed to be played at specific times of the day. “We launched the […]

Splice sample leads to plagiarism accusations for Justin Bieber

Is the latest pop plagiarism scandal going to engulf Justin Bieber? No, it is not. Well, it seems not anyway: an accusation from another artist, Asher Monroe, that Bieber’s ‘Running Over’ nicked one of his hooks has turned out to have an interesting explanation. The Verge’s Dani Deahl has done the digging: “It turned out no […]

Once-hot mobile game-show HQ Trivia has now shut down

In early 2018, HQ Trivia was the hot new thing in startup-land: an app where people could take part in a live-video game show and win real money. The company raised $15m in funding and at its peak had more than two million people playing at the same time. Since then, though, HQ Trivia has […]

YouTube’s latest plans to focus on Official Artist Channels

YouTube has emailed its music users with an update on how it’s managing artists’ channels. Many now have an ‘Official Artist Channel’ on YouTube, but also their own channels, Vevo-branded channels, and ‘topic’ channels focused on their music. That’s all being rationalised. “If you previously subscribed to an artist’s topic or partner-provided channel, you’ll automatically […]

The 1975 fund environmental work with reusable water bottles

British band The 1975 have taken a leading role in talking about the climate emergency, as well as taking action to reduce their own environmental impact (for example with recycled merchandise). Now the band are trying something new: they’ll be selling a £15 reusable water bottle as merchandise at their upcoming round of gigs in […]

Digital agency Space150 creates AI-generated Travis Scott track

AI-generated music is an exciting but controversial topic within the music industry, but creative AI is also giving the advertising industry some ideas. One agency, Space150, has just trained an AI on the back catalogue of rapper Travis Scott, and used it to create a brand new ‘Travisbott’ track called ‘Jack Park Canny Dope Man’ […]

Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is now a Fortnite emote

We confess to smiling at a YouTube video published from the official Fortnite channel (then shared on socials) titled ‘Watch How This Bear Made The Unlikeliest Of Friends’. The video is a rickroll: anyone clicking through will see Fortnite’s Fishstick and Polar Patroller characters (aka the fish and the polar bear) dancing to Rick Asley’s […]

YouTube dominates mobile video-streaming time says App Annie

YouTube remains the Billy Big Boots of the online video world, according to the latest report from mobile analytics firm App Annie. It claims that of the time spent in the world’s five most popular video streaming apps (on Android) YouTube accounts for 70%, well ahead of second-placed Tencent News’ 10% share. “Time spent in YouTube […]

Pearl Jam launch a Superblood Wolfmoon AR experience for fans

Pearl Jam fans may well be going out into their back gardens this week and howling at the moon. No, this isn’t about ticket prices for their upcoming tour. The returning band have launched an augmented reality ‘experience’ called Super Blood Wolf Moon, ahead of the release of their new album’s lead single ‘Superblood Wolfmoon’ […]

The Brit Awards reveal TikTok partnership for 2020 event

The British music industry is gearing up for next week’s Brit Awards in London, and TikTok will be on board as one of the event’s key digital partners. The app will be live-streaming the  arrival of artists and celebrities on its official Brits channel, complete with a red-carpet live performance from Lewis Capaldi. The night will […]

Ninja Tune releases a sequel to its Jamm music-making app

Back in 2013, we reviewed Ninja Jamm, a music-remixing app launched by independent label Ninja Tune. It was good fun, and according to Ninja Tune, it was downloaded more than 600k times. Now it’s getting a sequel called Jamm Pro, which launched for iPad this week. It’s a more powerful music-production tool than its predecessor, complete with […]

Turkish music industry has ‘high expectations’ for growth

Turkey could be on the verge of “an explosion” in music streaming, according to one veteran of the Turkish music industry, with new players coming to market and streaming subscriber numbers up sharply. Metin Uzelli, who has worked in the Turkish music industry for three decades, says that he has “high expectations” for the future […]

Fortnite boss sees ‘free stuff in games’ as future of ads

It’s a bit reductive to call Tim Sweeney just the ‘Fortnite boss’ – his company Epic Games has a big business outside that game too, from the Unreal Engine development platform to game series like Gears of War and (via acquisition) Rocket League. But it’s Fortnite’s success that has reinforced Sweeney’s stature within the games industry, […]

US regulator to toughen up its rules on influencer marketing

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appears to be preparing for another crackdown on shady influencer marketing. Commissioner Rohit Chopra has published a statement that suggests the current regulations there need to be toughened up. “Misinformation is plaguing the digital economy, and recent no-money, no-fault FTC settlements with well-known retailers and brands to address fake reviews and […]

Could the coronavirus outbreak affect music conferences?

Mobile industry conference Mobile World Congress is huge: according to the Guardian, it now attracts more than 100,000 delegates to Barcelona, and is worth around €500m to the city every year. So the news that this year’s event has been cancelled less than a fortnight before it was due to kick off is big news, if […]

Ticketmaster expands in Asia with acquisition of Tixcraft

A photo of a BTS stadium gig in Taiwan accompanies the latest announcement from Ticketmaster, signifying its ambitions in Asia. The company has acquired Taiwanese ticketing company Tixcraft, while also launching a Ticketmaster Singapore operation. “We have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” said Ticketmaster International […]

The Ringer launches a Spotify-exclusive music podcast

A Spotify regulatory filing has confirmed how much it’s paying for media and podcasts group The Ringer: “Cash consideration totaling approximately €130 to €180 million, a portion of which is deferred, subject to closing adjustments”. That’s between $141m and $196m. The filing, which is a more detailed version of the shareholders letter in which Spotify announced its […]

Mindfulness startup (and Spotify partner) Headspace raises $93m

Back in November 2016, Spotify launched its first ‘bundle’ subscription with another digital service: meditation and mindfulness firm Headspace. The bundle still exists, although according to Headspace it’s only available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK. Since that bundle was announced, Headspace has continued to grow: its latest press release notes that its app has been […]

James Blunt launches audio e-cards campaign for Valentine’s Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so if you have a partner (or an object of your affections) how are you planning to celebrate? Chocolates and flowers? Furry handcuffs and a glint in the eye? A brisk lecture about Valentine’s Day being a cynical creation of the greetings-card industry? Pfft. All of these things (especially the last […]

Spotify launches ‘songwriter pages’ feature in beta

Spotify is launching a new feature aimed at songwriters, giving them their own profile pages on the streaming service, complete with playlists of recordings of their songs. ‘Songwriter Pages’ launches in beta today, accompanied by a tweak to Spotify’s existing track credits feature to make the names of songwriters taking part in the beta clickable, […]

FTC to examine past acquisitions of big US tech companies

Whenever Apple buys a startup not big enough to ping any regulatory radars, it has a standard statement that it gives to journalists requesting comment on the acquisition: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.” Now, however, Apple – along with Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Google and […]

Nielsen report sheds light on American video streaming habits

Research firm Nielsen’s latest ‘Total Audience Report’ is its first to tap smart TV data from Gracenote, and focuses on American homes that are (in TechCrunch’s words) “capable of over-the-top streaming” – i.e. Netflix, YouTube etc. Among those homes, streaming accounted for 19% of the TV time in the final quarter of 2019. Netflix was the […]

Michelle Phan’s music startup Thematic joins 500 Startups

We first wrote about Thematic in June 2018: it’s a startup founded by YouTuber (and all-round influencer) Michelle Phan, which specialised in licensing music for her fellow online stars’ videos. The pitch was “no membership fees, no licensing fees, no rev-shares” during its public beta, with all the music pre-cleared for use. According to a crowdfunding pitch from the […]

Patreon ramps up European ambitions with new Berlin office

Fresh from signing up M.I.A. to fan-fund on its service, Patreon has opened an office in Berlin. It’s part of a wider expansion across Europe, with offices already in Porto and Dublin. Patreon is also allowing newly-signed-up creators to now price their tiers and be paid in euros, pounds or dollars –existing creators on the platform will […]

Reading/Leeds Festival under fire for male-dominated lineup

The UK’s Reading and Leeds festival made its first major lineup announcement for the 2020 edition yesterday, and is already coming in for criticism on the grounds of diversity. The three main headliners are all men (Stormzy, Rage Against The Machine and Liam Gallagher), and of the 18 artists so far announced for the festival’s main stage, […]

SiriusXM takes $75m stake in SoundCloud with two board seats

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM owns Pandora, but now it has a minority stake in SoundCloud too. The company announced a $75m investment in the streaming service yesterday, which will see it also take two seats on SoundCloud’s board of directors. “We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in […]

Rappers take centre stage in the livestreaming video battle

There’s something of a talent war going on in the livestreaming video space, with several gaming stars (Ninja, most prominently) being tempted away from Twitch by big-money offers from Microsoft’s rival, Mixer. Another company in the live-video space is Caffeine, and it’s just hauled in a big name: musician Drake. Caffeine described it as a […]

Zero Carbon Roadie helps touring artists with their carbon footprints

A growing number of artists are making their views known in the debate about how best to tackle the climate emergency. One of the thorniest issues for our industry, however, is touring. Ocean conservation organisation Project Zero has a new tool that might help. It’s called Zero Carbon Roadie, and it’s a ‘carbon calculator’ specifically for touring […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Jambl, the music-making app for non-musicians

Music is different to other creative acts: there’s a palpable barrier to entry compared to, say, photography. Jambl aims to change that by making music-creation fun, simple and entertaining, but with a full industry vertical behind it. Can hits be made, remixed, identified, and fully exploited, all in one platform? Jambl, which recently received half […]

Tech body CCIA criticises the European Copyright Directive

US tech-industry body the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) counts Amazon, Facebook, Google and Pandora among its members. It’s also, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, not a fan of the European Copyright Directive. The body has submitted its views on “onerous intellectual property-related regulations, aimed at US Internet companies” to the US Trade Representative, including a section […]

How to Make a Big Artist Comeback

If a pop star wants to go away, can they ever really ”go” away? In an age of always-on communication, the marketing fires can never go out completely; but the longer they stay away or the quieter they are, the harder it is to make a convincing return. We speak to marketers about how they […]

How catalogue marketing shines new light on the unfamiliar

It sometimes feels like we are living in an age of permanent anniversaries – where 10th, 20th, 25th and 50th album anniversaries all seem to crash in on each other. For a long time, the remastered or deluxe album reissue was the main way to mark these occasions, but streaming and social media (and the […]

AI-powered Symphonia app turns singing into instrumental music

French startup Symphonia claims that its iPhone app is “the future of music composing”. Released this year, it uses AI to help people turn their musical ideas into actual music. “Just sing a melody. And Symphonia automatically detects the notes you sing and magically transforms them into amazing musical instruments in MIDI format,” explains its App Store blurb. “Thanks […]

LiveXLive financials raise doubts over ‘going concern’ status

US live-music and streaming firm LiveXLive has published its latest financial results, including a warning about the company’s financial viability over the next 12 months. LiveXLive generated $9.7m of revenues in the final quarter of 2019, up by 8.2% year-on-year. However, operating expenses of $17.6m nudged the company into its latest quarterly net loss – $8.8m – while […]

Radiant app taps Spotify for ‘digital radio hosted by AI’

There’s a theory that if music streaming wants to grab more listeners and advertising revenues from radio, it needs to become a bit more radio-like. From Spotify’s ‘Your Daily Drive’ playlist blending podcast clips and music to startups like Stationhead and Super Hi-Fi, there have been various moves on this front. Now another startup is […]

Tidal financials: its revenues grew by 26.4% in 2018 to $147.6m

Project Panther Bidco is the parent company of Aspiro Group, which in turn is the parent company of streaming service Tidal. Because Project Panther Bidco – originally created as the vehicle for Jay-Z to acquire Tidal – is based in the UK as a legal entity, it files financial results here. Cue figures on how Tidal’s […]

Google’s Chrome browser to block ‘intrusive’ ads around videos

Google’s Chrome browser will soon stop showing videos that include certain kinds of ads, and the policy will affect YouTube as well as other websites. The changes are outlined in a blog post from Google describing “three ad experiences that people find to be particularly disruptive on video content that is less than 8 minutes long”. They […]

Twitter quarterly revenues top $1bn for the first time

A symbolic moment for Twitter almost 14 years after its founding: for the first time, its quarterly revenues surpassed $1bn ($1.01bn, to be precise, an increase of 11% year-on-year). The company’s share price rose on the news, following fears that its advertising revenues were slowing down. Twitter uses its own metric of MDAUs (monetisable daily active users) […]

Social star KSI debuts on TikTok with #WakeUpCallChallenge

British YouTuber KSI is a social media sensation. His YouTube channel has 21m subscribers, while his November boxing match against fellow influencer Logan Paul was described as “the biggest amateur boxing match in history”. KSI has also been releasing music for some time: his first single came out in 2013, while in November 2019 he […]

Justin Bieber YouTube doc’s first episode races to 42m views

Justin Bieber’s new YouTube documentary series, Seasons, is already a record breaker. The show’s first episode was watched 32.7m times in its first week, setting a new bar for the ‘most-viewed premiere in its first week’ for a YouTube Original show. Not that viewing tailed off there: the first episode has since grown to 42m views on YouTube. Subsequent […]

Concord and Queen drummer back audio tech startup Iris

It’s clearly the week for starry seed investors. Snafu Records has Abba’s Agnetha Fältskog but another new startup, Iris, can boast Queen drummer Roger Taylor as one of its early backers. Its promise: “a revolutionary new audio technology that heightens audio quality whilst simultaneously activating the brain”, which (if all goes well) will be integrated by […]

Study points to heavy (Android) use of YouTube in South Korea

Analytics firm Wiseapp has published some new estimates for YouTube’s popularity in South Korea. Well, its popularity on Android smartphones anyway. The company reckons that YouTube had nearly 34 million Android users in South Korea at the end of 2019, up 6% year-on-year. This, in a country with a population of 51.5 million, as TechCrunch points […]

Google’s Area 120 launches live-music data tool with Pollstar

We’ve written about Google’s experimental division Area 120 before: for example when it launched a project called Fundo to explore crowdfunding for social stars, or when it made a co-viewing app for YouTube called Uptime. But Area 120’s latest project is of direct relevance to the music industry. It’s called ‘Demand’, and it’s a partnership with live-music brand […]

AIM CEO pushes for post-Brexit ‘touring passport’ for artists

Paul Pacifico, CEO of UK indies body AIM, used his speech at the organisation’s AIM Connected event in London this week to talk about post-Brexit challenges for musicians. “We are working alongside our colleagues at the Musicians Union and other partners at UK Music to promote the idea of a ‘touring passport’ to try to […]

Music monitoring startup Audoo launches equity crowdfunding campaign

British music/tech startup Audoo has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign, in which it will attempt to raise $250k of funding at a valuation of £6m. CEO Ryan Edwards launched the campaign last night at the latest demo day of the Abbey Road Red incubator in London, which Audoo is currently part of. The company is focused on helping […]

Abbey Road Red startups have raised $40m of funding so far

Abbey Road Red, the music/tech incubator run by Abbey Road Studios in London, held its latest demo event last night, including an update on its portfolio. “We have now incubated 15 companies across all areas of the value chain, who together have raised $40m and are collectively worth $200m,” said Abbey Road boss Isabel Garvey, […]

Tools: Keyhole. Measure the impact of their social media & influencer campaigns

Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has evolved significantly, introducing plenty of features that have since become essential in music marketers’ toolkits.  One constant in its suite of features have been hashtags, which still present a crucial opportunity to boost an account’s visibility on the platform and help it to be discovered by new […]

Snap financials reveal user growth but also heavy losses

Social app Snapchat ended 2019 with 218 million daily active users, having added 31 million during the year as a whole – 17% year-on-year growth. That’s according to parent company Snap’s latest financial results, which were published yesterday. Is that growth in users helping Snap to turn a profit? No, it is not. Snap’s annual revenues grew […]

KFC took over artist profiles to get ads on Spotify Premium

Who said Spotify’s premium tier is advertising-free? KFC Arabia has found a way around that, taking over the profiles of three artists in a campaign run by advertising agency Memac Ogilvy. “KFC teamed up with three major artists from the region—Flipperachi, Moh Flow, and Shébani—to place imagery of Kentucky Burgers in their cover photos, bios, […]

Ninja Tune MD on the climate emergency: ‘We need to step up’

Peter Quicke isn’t just the managing director of independent label Ninja Tune and chair of British indies body AIM. He’s also a co-founder of Music Declares Emergency, the working group set up last year to drive the music industry’s response to the climate emergency. At AIM’s London conference this week, AIM Connected, Quicke addressed what […]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek: ‘With The Ringer, I think we bought the next ESPN’

Spotify published its latest quarterly financial results earlier today, followed by an earnings call with analysts in which CEO Daniel Ek talked about its just-announced acquisition of media and podcasts firm The Ringer. “If you up-level this conversation and think 10 years out, the trend we’re investing in is that radio is moving online, because […]

Spotify ended 2019 with 271m listeners and 124m subscribers

Spotify has published its latest financial results, for the final quarter of 2019, and thus the entire year too. The music streaming service ended 2019 with 271 million monthly active users (MAUs), up 31% year-on-year, having added 23 million in Q4, and 64 million over the year as a whole. 124 million of those active users […]

Sony Music revenues grew to $4bn in 2019, fuelled by streaming

Sony Music’s recorded music business saw its revenues grow by 11.4% year-on-year to $1.16bn in the final quarter of 2019, according to the latest financial results for its parent company. That included a 20.6% increase in streaming revenues to $669m, accounting for 57.7% of the total. Meanwhile, Sony’s music publishing business generated $365m of revenues […]

SiriusXM financials reveal latest numbers for Pandora

US music streaming service Pandora ended 2019 with 63.5 million monthly active users, representing an 8.5% decline year-on-year as the service lost 5.9 million listeners. Its total ad-supported listener hours for the year also fell, by 9.5%, to 13.4bn. However, Pandora ended 2019 with nearly 6.2 million ‘self-pay’ subscribers, having added 251,000 over the course […]

Justin Bieber went big with Super Bowl TikTok campaign

The Verge’s headline about Justin Bieber’s latest marketing campaign is pretty tart: ‘Justin Bieber is increasingly desperate for ‘Yummy’ to go viral on TikTok’. Ouch. It refers to Bieber’s Super Bowl campaign with restaurant chain Chipotle, which was heavily focused on TikTok, and videos made by influencers on that app. Bieber launched an official profile on […]

Big Sync Music expands into four new markets

Last February, music licensing platform Songtradr acquired UK-based Big Sync Music, which focuses on sourcing music for brand campaigns. The following month, Songtradr raised a $12m Series B round of funding to help it expand globally. Now the company has announced that Big Sync Music is launching in four new markets – Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany. Big […]

Sony Music launches podcast partnership with Somethin’ Else

Sony Music’s thirst for podcast partnerships shows no signs of being quenched. This morning, the major label has announced its latest such alliance, with veteran UK-based radio and podcasts production company Somethin’ Else. “Under the agreement, Somethin’ Else will work with Sony Music to expand its leadership position in the UK market. In addition the […]

Artist Akon confirmed for a keynote slot at Midem 2020

Reed Midem has announced the latest keynoter for its Midem conference in Cannes this June. Artist Akon will be talking about his career so far, his collaborations with a host of artists, and how he sees the globalisation of the music industry. “I want to be able to open up the diversity with different artists from different […]

TikTok’s latest censorship row focuses on India ‘shadow banning’

TikTok isn’t just about musical videos, and some of its non-music content has already sparked controversies around moderation and censorship issues. India, which is TikTok’s biggest international market right now, is a particular hotbed of sensitivities when it comes to political statements. The BBC has a lengthy piece about the growth of “shadow banning” – where restrictions are […]

Rough Trade is now a playlist curator for Apple Music

Apple Music is pressing on with its work to sign up external brands and music companies as playlist curators, alongside its in-house editorial team. The latest to join is independent music retailer Rough Trade, which will be maintaining some Apple-exclusive streaming playlists. “Launching as a curator on Apple Music to champion the most exciting new […]

M.I.A. launches Patreon page to fund music and other work

Patreon has snagged another prominent musician to use its platform to fund their work. M.I.A. has launched her page on Patreon, offering fans the chance to spend $5 or $10 a month to support her art. And ‘art’ is the right word: her Patreon isn’t just about music. “I’m doing a Patreon, because I make so […]

MMF and YouTube reveal managers for their 2020 accelerator

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and YouTube have announced the list of 20 managers who’ll be taking part in their UK-focused accelerator programme this year. The chosen 20 represent 66 artists, songwriters and producers between them, with the MMF stressing their diversity on several grounds: “Over half the group are based outside London. 40% are female, and […]

Despite TikTok / Triller boom, Dubsmash does 1bn monthly video views

Before TikTok (and the Musical·ly app it merged with) took the world by storm with music-soundtracked short videos, there was Dubsmash. The lip-syncing app was a craze back in 2015, but that popularity quickly ebbed away, and then Musical·ly and now TikTok took its core feature and ran with it. But Dubsmash isn’t dead. Far […]

South Korea now has more than 10m paying music subscribers

Around one in five people in South Korea now subscribe to a music streaming service, as the country’s golden age for music – and for the music industry – shows little sign of abating. Recent industry estimates suggest that the total number of paying music subscribers in South Korea, across all domestic and international platforms, […]

Gaana milestone raises eyebrows, but it’s almost certainly a typo

Imagine Music Ally’s surprise this morning when we read in a Wall Street Journal profile of Indian music streaming service Gaana that it now attracts ‘152 million monthly users’. Surprise, because it was only mid-December 2019 when we were reporting on the company reaching 125 million monthly users, having added around 3.1 million a month since hitting the 100 […]

Spotify ‘Discovered On’ listener count is now for artists’ eyes only

Spotify has made a small change to its desktop application that is causing some ripples of discontent among its community of playlist creators. The change is on the ‘Discovered On’ section within artists’ profiles on Spotify, which shows which playlists are the top sources of people discovering those artists’ music. Until now, the playlists were […]

Algoriddim updates djay app with Tidal and SoundCloud support

Music apps firm Algoriddim has updated its djay app, both the desktop and smartphone versions, to allow integration with Tidal and SoundCloud for both live audio and video mixing. Users do, however, need to either be Tidal subscribers or have a SoundCloud Go+ premium subscription to avail of the new features. The VJ side of it comes […]

BMI and RMLC settle their radio rates dispute in the US

US performing rights organisation BMI has settled its rates dispute with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and signed a deal that will cover radio royalties from 2017 to 2021 – a date span that clearly illustrates how long the dispute has lasted so far. “The new license carries a rate that reflects the strength of […]

Raised in Space has invested in five music-tech startups

In February 2019, Music Ally reported on a new investment fund being created by former BMG exec Zach Katz, working with manager Scooter Braun, cryptocurrency firm Ripple, and Something Gold boss Shara Senderoff. Raised In Space Enterprises would be looking to invest between $500k and $5m apiece in music/tech startups. In November last year, the fund led a […]

Amazon Prime membership has now grown to 150m worldwide

Usually when Music Ally reports on Amazon’s financial results, we add in a sentence noting that the company hasn’t disclosed any useful numbers for its music services. This time round, the reason is different: the company already disclosed some earlier in the month, when it revealed that it now has more than 55 million Amazon […]

Google Meena may be the most chatty chatbot so far

Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant may be clever, but we’re not sure whether we’d class any of them as entertaining conversationalists. But Google has a new chatbot, called Meena, which may point to a future where these entities can sustain a conversation for much longer without making you (metaphorically) look frantically over their shoulder for […]

Facebook’s annual revenues grew by 27% to $70.7bn in 2019

Shock news: Facebook made a shedload of money in 2019! The social network’s latest financial results cover the final quarter of 2019, but also the full year. Facebook’s revenues grew by 27% year-on-year to $70.7bn, although its net profit narrowed from $22.1bn in 2018 to a mere $18.5bn in 2019. As for user metrics, Facebook ended 2019 […]

20 British artists to share £262k in latest MEGS funding

UK industry body the BPI has announced the latest recipients of the British government’s Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding, which helps local artists with ambitions to grow their audiences abroad. 20 artists are sharing £261.5k in the 17th ‘wave’ of MEGS grants, which are funded through the government’s Department for International Trade (DIT). There […]

Musiculus music education startup launches its first apps

The latest startup hoping to use digital wizardry to help people learn to play instruments is Canadian firm Musiculus. The company has launched its first web apps (with native versions to come) as part of what it calls “the only all-in-one online music learning tool that will teach you a systematic approach to understand, learn, and […]

Music Ally announces our first ever Japan event

The Music Ally Japan Digital Summit in association with Linkfire and the Orchard and supported by MQA will take place at the Future 7 venue in Tokyo on Wednesday 22nd April.This one-day event, part of Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit series of events, will focus on digital strategy and digital marketing. With sessions including how to […]

UK watchdog threatens StubHub with court action over website

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has long been a thorn in the side of secondary ticketing firm Viagogo. Now it’s also training its sights on StubHub, the company that Viagogo is in the process of buying for $4.05bn. The CMA has told StubHub that it may face court action unless it makes some key changes to […]

Judah & The Lion promote new album with Beat Maker Go app

Gismart is the company behind music creation apps such as Beat Maker Go, Piano Crush and DJ It. Those apps have, as of December, been downloaded over 500m times. Now American band Judah & The Lion are using the Beat Maker Go app as part of the promotion for their new album. This is all […]

Nicky Jam and YouTuber Teala Dunn team up for TikTok video

There is a lot going on in this TikTok video featuring musician Nicky Jam and YouTuber Teala Dunn: a motorbike chase, a fight scene, drones and a daring, tracksuited car-park-clambering escape. Published through Sony’s official TikTok profile (that’s big Sony, the overall company, rather than its Sony Music subsidiary) it claims to be “the most epic TikTok […]

How do 24-7 YouTube lo-fi hip-hop channels make their money?

As podcasts have become more strategically important both to music streaming services and to the music industry, so Hot Pod News has become one of our trusted sources for information on the podcasting world. Its latest piece, written by music-industry journalist Cherie Hu, explores something less podcast-y: the economics of ’24-7 Lo-Fi Hip-Hop YouTube Livestreams’, […]

Deezer study suggests that album listening is on the wane

Streaming service Deezer has revealed some of the results from a survey of 8,000 people in the US, France, Germany and Brazil about their music-listening habits. Among its claims: that 54% of respondents say they are ‘listening to fewer albums than 5-10 years ago’. Nearly 40% said they prefer playlists, while one in 10 ‘feel […]

Apple Music’s ALT CTRL playlist gets a Beats 1 show

Apple Music has steadily been creating spin-off Beats 1 radio shows for its big editorial playlists, with the alternative-focused ‘ALT CTRL’ the latest to get the treatment. Beats 1’s Hanuman Welch will host the weekly radio show, which will focus on the latest alternative tracks to hit the playlist, as well as an interview with whoever […]

Top VR headset sales have dropped sharply year-on-year

Nielsen’s SuperData subsidiary has published some new figures for the ‘XR’ (‘cross reality’) market – essentially AR, VR and hybrids of the two – including the latest estimated sales figures for the top virtual-reality headsets. The company claims that Sony’s PlayStation VR and Facebook’s Oculus Quest were the top sellers in the final quarter of 2019, with 338k and […]

Keychange initiative reveals its 2020 participants

The Keychange initiative – led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst – is about getting companies and events in and around music to sign up to a 50/50 gender balance pledge by 2022. As part of this push, it has revealed the 74 artists and industry professionals (drawn from 12 countries in Europe and North […]

Pro Music Rights extends streaming lawsuits beyond Spotify

In November 2019, we reported on the latest lawsuit filed against Spotify by music rightsholders: Sosa Entertainment and its sister firm Pro Music Rights. Sosa was claiming that it had not been paid the full royalties for more than 550m streams of its catalogue. Now Pro Music Rights is targeting Spotify’s rivals too, with copyright infringement lawsuits […]

Services revenue still growing strongly for Apple

Apple reported its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, for the final quarter of 2019 – the company’s fiscal Q1. They were good: “Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever,” according to CEO Tim Cook, who highlighted sales of iPhone 11 smartphones as well as new records for Apple’s services category (which includes Apple Music) and Wearables, Home and Accessories category […]

YouTube launches first episodes of Justin Bieber: Seasons doc

Earlier this year, Music Ally reported on YouTube’s plans to launch a Justin Bieber docu-series as part of its ‘originals’ slate. The series will include 10 episodes, with the first four released yesterday. As a gauge of demand for the series, the first episode was released 15 hours ago at the time of writing, and has already been […]

Artists can now share Spotify Canvas to their Instagram story

A growing number of artists have been taking advantage of Spotify’s Canvas feature, with its eight-second video loops accompanying tracks instead of static artwork. Now Spotify is encouraging artists to spread those videos on social media. “Starting today, artists in the Canvas beta can share Canvases to their Instagram Stories, broadening the reach of their […]

Vine successor Byte is now available on the app stores

In certain social-media circles, it’s been a familiar sight to see people sighing wistfully about how much they miss Vine – even though that app’s short-video creativity is alive and well on TikTok. Still, there’s been some excitement about the fact that Vine’s original co-founder Dom Hofmann was working on a new app for sharing six-second […]

The most lucrative mobile game of 2019 is part of Sony Music

Earlier this month, a report by app-analytics firm App Annie offered its estimates for (among other things) the most lucrative mobile games of 2019, based on consumer spending. Top of the list was a game called Fate/Grand Order, a turn-based tactical RPG that was first released in 2015. Like all the biggest mobile games, it’s free to […]

DeepJams is latest project exploring original AI-generated music

2020 looks set to be the year when a new AI-music startup (or at least a research project) pops up every week. This week’s entry is DeepJams, which falls somewhere between the two. It’s a graduate project from UC Berkeley exploring ways to use machine intelligence to augment traditional music composition. “We are applying the latest […]

Sony Music restructures its Asia and Middle East divisions

Sony Music has introduced a new reporting structure for its operations in Asia and the Middle East. This will involve the creation of a series of hubs in the regions that will report to Sony’s headquarters in New York. As part of the restructuring, Denis Handlin (who has overseen Sony Music’s Asia Pacific operations for […]

Midia Research thinks we’re in a ‘song economy’ now

Consultancy firm Midia Research has published an interesting blog post triggered by the curious (and highly lucrative) afterlife of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ through TV shows and now streaming playlists. Toto’s ‘Africa’ and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ are also under the microscope. “The three songs illustrate the development of the song economy,” […]

Recording Academy’s interim boss promises to make changes

With the Grammy Awards now done and dusted, organiser the Recording Academy can turn its attention fully to dealing with the fallout from the last two weeks – a boss on administrative leave; allegations from both sides that need to be investigated; and calls from outside for the organisation to speed up its promised reforms. The […]

Music startup Voisey: ‘It’s not an application, it’s a movement’

Will the next TikTok – i.e. a social app craze – be about making music? Norwegian / British startup Voisey hopes so. Its app aims to combine early SoundCloud’s zealous userbase, early Hype Machine’s excitement of discovery; Snapchat’s intimacy; and TikTok’s front-facing camera appeal. Its songs are created in two ways: producers can upload short […]

German artists call for label changes over streaming royalties

Artists and their managers are unhappy with their streaming royalties in Germany… but for once it’s not streaming services who are the target of this unrest. MBW reports on 14 managers and lawyers representing popular artists in Germany, who have written to the three major labels plus BMG questioning whether the way they pay out streaming royalties […]

UK government won’t implement the European Copyright Directive

British music-industry bodies played an important role in the lobbying process leading up to last year’s European Copyright Directive, including its Article 13 (which became Article 17 in the final legislation) section covering online platforms’ responsibilities around user-uploaded content. The concern for the Brits, however, was always its imminent exit from the European Union (‘Brexit’) […]

She Is The Music campaign signs up 19 big supporters

Nonprofit organisation She Is The Music is campaigning to support women in the music industry, as well as to increase their numbers. Its focus so far has been on songwriting camps, mentorship programs and a global database of professionals, and now it has some heavyweight backing – including funding – from a range of companies in and around […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Voisey is the TikTok for music creation

If co-founder Olly Barnes’ infectious optimism is correct, Voisey is a phenomenon-in-waiting. It’s an app that has the potential to shake up how songs are made; tap into hitherto locked-away artistic talent; develop a new breed of pop star and pop songs; and maybe even bypass the traditional label system. Sounds too good to be […]

Distributor Ditto reveals Bluebox blockchain tools for musicians

Back in May 2019, we caught on early to something new from distributor Ditto Music called Bluebox. It was described as “a platform to streamline the music industry supply chain and bring modern technology to an industry lacking transparency, framework, and structure” with blockchain involved somehow. Eight months later, Bluebox has been officially unveiled. It’s now described […]

New study suggests 60m Americans now own a smart speaker

NPR and Edison Research have published their latest ‘Smart Audio Report’, based on a telephone survey of 1,002 people in the US, focusing on smart speakers. The study claims that 24% of American adults – around 60 million people – now own a smart speaker. That’s up from 21% in December 2018, 18% in December 2017, and just […]

Recording Academy diversity task force renews call for change

And so the saga continues… In December, the US Recording Academy’s task force on diversity and inclusion published a report offering 18 reforms and recommendations for change at the body. In the wake of the last week’s ructions at the organisation, the task force has now issued a statement expressing its “shock and dismay” at the allegations surrounding the […]

TikTok signs Merlin deal but its licensing work is far from done

TikTok and indie licensing-agency Merlin have announced a licensing deal covering use of music from the latter’s member labels “wherever the platform is available around the world”. The deal is effective immediately, and financial terms have not been disclosed. Cue warm words from both sides. “Independent artists and labels are such a crucial part of […]

Octi creates AR social network (with funding from Live Nation)

Time for another shuffle of the deck of buzzy tech terms. The ‘blockchain of machine learning’ perhaps? How about the ‘big data of storytelling’? Or maybe ‘the social media of AR’ then? The latter is the description of Octi, a startup describing itself as “the first people-powered social AR platform. Founded in 2016, it has raised […]

Prajakta Kohli launches YouTube series with Neha Kakkar episode

Prajakta Kohli is one of the emerging wave of young Indian YouTubers growing their audiences on the video service. Her channel MostlySane has nearly 4.5 million subscribers, and she’s just launched an original series called ‘Pretty Fit’, which is about getting fit by doing some unusual non-gym activities – tilling land, harvesting sugarcane etc. Anyway, her guest […]

Billie Eilish now has more than 25m subscribers on YouTube

We suspect Billie Eilish will be picking up a Grammy or two (or more) this weekend. Ahead of that event, she’s reached a new milestone on YouTube: 25 million subscribers to her official channel. Eilish is one of fewer than 20 artists to reach that total, according to YouTube. This growth in her following is paying […]

AI-music startup Never Before Heard Sounds joins Betaworks camp

In September 2019, startup studio Betaworks announced plans for an initiative called Audiocamp, promising to “invest in and mentor start-ups building on top of the latest advancements in NLP, or inventing new mobile, voice-enabled experiences and utilities, or engaging audiences in new ways of finding and supporting their next favorite audio programming, or developing new social listening […]

Mixcloud launches Loud, a new in-house brand consultancy

Streaming service Mixcloud has launched its own in-house brand consultancy, Loud. It will be headed up by founding partners Kazim Rashid and Ben Lawrence. Rashid is a visual artist and was previously head of UK marketing at Warp while Lawrence spent the past nine years as head of brand partnerships at Mixcloud. “We help global brands […]

Downtown Music Holdings’ latest acquisition is… FUGA

Downtown Music Holdings, the parent company of Downtown Music Publishing and Songtrust, is buying distributor and music/tech services company FUGA, for an undisclosed amount. The deal comes just 10 months after Downtown made a splash with the acquisition of AVL Digital Group, whose subsidiaries included CD Baby, AdRev, DashGo and Soundrop. AVL is the entity […]

Amazon now has more than 55m music streaming users

Amazon has announced a big milestone for its music-streaming business: more than 55 million users. “The streaming service has reached more than 55 million customers globally, with subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited growing by more than 50% last year alone,” claimed Amazon in its announcement. In an accompanying interview with the Financial Times, music boss […]

Netflix revenues topped $20bn in 2019 after ‘strong finish’ to year

Netflix published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, including its full-year figures for 2019. In that year, the company’s revenues reached $20.16bn, with its Q4 total of $5.47bn representing 30.6% growth year-on-year. Netflix ended 2019 with 167.1 million global streaming paid memberships, up 20% year-on-year having added nearly 8.8 million net new subscribers in the […]

Epic Games launches TikTok contest to find next Fortnite emote

The streams of the two biggest current digital youth-trends are crossing this month, as the publisher of Fortnite launched a dance contest on TikTok. The #EmoteRoyaleContest will be catnip for Fortnite’s tween’n’teen superfans too, as it gives them a chance to get their own dance routines added to the game as one of its ‘emotes’. […]

Triller bags an official partnership for the Grammy Awards

The US Recording Academy may be in the thick of a full-blown crisis following the defenestration of its boss Deborah Dugan, but with the Grammy Awards imminent, it’s still business as usual on the latter front. That includes digital partnerships for the organisation’s flagship event. Buzzy social-music app Triller is on board for the 2020 Grammys, […]

Sony’s 4th Floor Creative launches ‘This City’ podcast

British radio DJ Clara Amfo has launched a new podcast called ‘This City’, which will see her explore the streets of London “through the eyes of some of the city’s most recognisable names”. Available on all the usual podcast platforms, the interesting thing about it is that the podcast’s producer is Sony Music UK’s 4th […]

Indie body WIN reveals its five new board members

Global independent-labels trade body WIN has held elections for its board of directors, with five new executives joining the board. Francesca Trainini (PMI), Garry West (Compass Records), Jörg Heidemann (VUT), Lisa Levy (Robbins Entertainment), and Zena White (Partisan Records) are the five newbies, joining WIN’s 15-person board. “Francesca, Garry, Jörg, Lisa, Zena and Jason together […]

Google boss: ‘Artificial intelligence needs to be regulated’

The artificial intelligence technology being developed by companies including Google needs to be regulated… thinks the CEO of Google (and now also its parent company Alphabet) Sundar Pichai. He published a guest column for the Financial Times yesterday that’s been widely shared since, outlining his views. “History is full of examples of how technology’s virtues aren’t guaranteed. […]

Agency Blackstar London expands team and sets up shop in LA

British creative, marketing and digital agency Blackstar London, whose founder Olivia Hobbs spoke at our Sandbox Summit conference last autumn, is expanding. The company is opening an office in Los Angeles, and has hired three new staff, one of whom will be based out in LA. “The expansion of the team and company is as vital […]

Radiohead gather their archives in a ‘Public Library’ website

“Radiohead.com has always been a) infuriatingly uninformative and b) surprising. The most surprising thing to do next, therefore, is to suddenly become incredibly informative,” explained an announcement on Radiohead’s website yesterday. “So that is what we have done.” They certainly have. The band have launched a ‘Radiohead Public Library’, which they describe as “an online resource containing […]

Delic raises £250k and preps release-management platform launch

Last year we wrote about UK-based startup Delic, and its plans to launch a “progressive asset and rights management platform for labels, management companies, and independent musicians” including blockchain technology. At the time, it was still working on that product. Now the company has raised £250k (around $325k) in a ‘pre-seed’ funding round led by Velocity EIS Technology […]

Recording Academy interim boss slams ‘leaks and misinformation’

Is the controversy around Recording Academy boss Deborah Dugan being placed on administrative leave going to quieten down in the days leading up to the organisation’s flagship event, the Grammy Awards? No. No it is not. Chair of the board and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason, Jr has published a letter to the ‘Academy Family’ on its […]

Music’s global evolution: K-Pop, China, and Eastern Europe

The second morning at this year’s NY:LON Connect conference focused on ‘emerging international and influential markets’. Three territories in particular: South Korea, China, and Russia / Eastern Europe. The track began with a keynote from Sun Lee, YouTube’s head of music content partnerships and subscriptions for Korea and Greater China. Lee was interviewed by Billboard […]

One-tap video app Trash wins NY:LON Connect startup showcase

One of the traditional highlights of the NY:LON Connect conference is the startup pitches session, and 2020’s event was no exception. New York startup Trash emerged as the winner in an audience vote for the best pitch, but fellow pitchers Super Hi-Fi, MyPart, Boomy and FeedForward won plenty of plaudits from attendees too. Music Ally […]

Report suggests Bytedance set for big push into mobile games

Fresh from test-launching its Resso music-streaming service, Bytedance is set to expand into another sector that will bring it into direct competition with fellow Chinese firm Tencent. That sector is mobile gaming, which drives huge revenues for Tencent already. Bloomberg reports that Bytedance has “rapidly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore […]

Amazon Prime now has 112m members in the US alone claims CIRP

Amazon’s Prime membership is a huge driver for its music-streaming services, so how is it growing in the US? Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has put out some new estimates. It claims that the number of American Prime members grew by 11% to 112 million at the end of 2019, with 52% of those […]

Björk taps Microsoft AI tech for ‘lobby soundscape’ in New York

Keen followers of Björk’s career so far may have thought it was only a matter of time before she experimented with AI music, such has been her openness to new technologies. However, her new ‘Kórsafn’ project is less about using AI to generate the music itself. It’s an installation at the Sister City hotel in […]

Tech, innovation and music: ‘Pick one little thing and go deep!’

“VR is shit! It’s shit but it doesn’t have to be. Certainly the hardware’s not all the way there yet, it’s quite bulky and if you put it on for an hour or so you’re going to get a pretty raging headache and neck ache. But the real problem is the content is shit. The […]

Troy Carter talks music disruption: ‘I’d still be in a panic if I were a major label…’

Troy Carter was the closing keynote at Music Ally and Music Biz’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York on Friday. The former Atom Factory boss (where he managed Lady Gaga during her rise to fame) and Spotify exec is now running Q&A, a company blending artist development, distribution and technology. I interviewed Troy on-stage at […]

Midemlab startups contest reveals its jury for 2020

Earlier this month, we reported on changes to the Midemlab startups contest at Midem in June: a new ‘Live Music Experiences’ category to replace the existing ‘Experiential Technologies’ one. Music Ally, as before, is one of the selection partners for the contest, which means we’ll be one of three companies (alongside Plus 8 Equity and The Lynk) […]

EMMA launches its European music-managers mentorship program

Music managers body EMMA (the European Music Managers Alliance) is launching a pan-European mentorship scheme for managers, with applications opening today. Called EMMMA (an extra ‘m’, because it’s the European Music Managers Mentorship Activation) it has support from the EU’s Creative Europe program, as well as from YouTube Music. Announced last year, it will offer […]

Can ‘fantasy record label’ games become big hits with fans?

In August 2018, we published an article questioning what ‘social music’ is in the streaming age, which included a (slightly depressing, in hindsight) rundown of past failures at wedding social features and music. Among them was a catalogue of music-discovery gamification services – fantasy labels or league tables of friends’ track-spotting skills – which included Thesixtyone and the […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRS for Music and Spotify team up for songwriting documentary

British collecting society PRS for Music teamed up with Spotify for a three-day songwriting camp called Who We Be Songwriting Sessions, using the brand of the streaming service’s popular playlist. Now they’ve released an eight-minute mini-documentary about the event, which saw more than 30 grime, rap, R&B and afrobeat musicians collaborating in London’s RAK Studios. […]

Latin America gets electronic-music conference Cancun Music Week

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok was the second most-downloaded mobile app of 2019

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

Twitch steps up with a new music partnerships manager

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

Tools: RoadNation Empowers Creators and Fans to Build Tours Together

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

Music discovery app Lüm adds virtual gifting feature

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

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

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

Deezer signs deal to offer direct telco billing in MENA region

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok may launch ‘curated feed’ to boost ad revenues

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

Dolly Parton plans posthumous career with click-track recordings

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

Oprah Winfrey pulls sexual-misconduct documentary from Apple TV+

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

Justin Bieber sparks controversy by reposting fan-made slideshow

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

LiveXLive says that it now has 820k paying subscribers

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

Midem rebrands Artist Accelerator program as Talent Exporter

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

Composer Kerry Muzzey tweets tangled tale of Chinese licensing problems

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

$500m-funded Saban Music Group inks Universal partnership

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

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

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

Indian artist Sukhbir Singh invests in music startup Flutin

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

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

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

TikTok clarifies its community guidelines after censorship row

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

Spotify criticised over Nazi-glorifying playlist titles

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

Hot Pod News makes its podcast-industry predictions for 2020

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

Messaging platform Sendmate gets acquired by Community

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

Mastercard is releasing its first single: Merry Go Round

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

Emotional baggage: scientists pinpoint music’s 13 key feelings

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

Dan Chalmers named as director of YouTube Music EMEA

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

Hipgnosis and Concord make latest publishing investments

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

WWE averaged 510 YouTube video uploads a month during 2019

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

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

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

Sonarworks promises personalised sound with SoundID app

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

YouTube to release a documentary about Coachella festival

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

Nettwerk Music Group buys back shares from HBC Investments

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

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

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

French Montana track’s Spotify revival sparks controversy

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

KKBox’s new Microsoft deal includes plans for AI music

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

Rolling Stones rarities seen as copyright-extension tactic

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

Bytedance hires former Tencent Music exec for Douyin role

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

Ripple exec Craig DeWitt reveals plans for xSongs platform

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

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

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

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

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

Concord COO is launching a new music-rights business

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

Canalys predicts big year for wireless headphones and earphones

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

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

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

Keaton Henson releases album through meditation app Music Zen

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

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

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

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

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

Sofar Sounds explains its business model after criticism

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

Facebook tipped to sign music-video licensing deals for Watch

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

Facebook tipped to sign music-video licensing deals for Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midemlab startups competition seeks entrants for 2020

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

Tracklib launches its ‘State of Sampling 2019’ report

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

Amazon Music is official digital partner for 2020 Brit Awards

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

Spotify plans Tekashi 6ix9ine podcast for new year

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

Sound Royalties backs Wyclef Jean’s Carnival World Music Group

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

New DJ mixes on Deezer promise ‘fair artist revenues’

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

YouTube Music unveils three more personalised playlists

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

Clio Music awards winners offer music-marketing inspiration

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

Music Ally Startup Files: Musiio talks AI-tagging

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

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

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

WWE strikes TikTok deal including wrestler entrance-themes

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

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

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

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

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

Billboard will soon count YouTube data towards US albums chart

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

Report claims YouTube has 800k paying subscribers in India

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

Sony Music invests in US podcast production firm Neon Hum

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

Startup Qjam aims to popularise ‘digital signings’ from artists

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

Stormzy and Wham get AR camera-effects on Instagram

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

Pandora launches its test of interactive voice adverts

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

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

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

Sony Music UK appoints VP of podcasting and creative strategy

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

Label Dirty Hit signs global distro deal with Ingrooves

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

RoadNation is latest platform to help acts de-risk tours

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

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

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

Napster reveals a new partnership with startup Super Hi-Fi

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

Warner Music Group appoints its first senior privacy counsel

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

Hype Machine connects Spotify Wrapped playlists with Bandcamp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UMG, EMI Trust and The eXceL Project back Secret Studio

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

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

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

Bytedance tests music-streaming app Resso in India and Indonesia

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

Deezer signs its first telco deal in the MENA region

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

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

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

Shesaid·so and InChorus reveal first bias-reporting data

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

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

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

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

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

Colors moves into the headphones market with first hardware

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

Former WMG exec Ole Obermann confirms new role at TikTok

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok settles children’s privacy lawsuit in the US

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

Twin Atlantic use new Google Earth features for campaign

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

Spotify Wrapped 2019 sparks new discussion about artist income

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

Jamie Cullum teams with Clos19 for personal song tributes

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

AIM Connected conference ditches the panel format for 2020

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

U2 to launch their own radio channel on SiriusXM and Pandora

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

Portes aims to connect artists and fans while respecting privacy

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

Beatport launches a new editorial website called Beatportal

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

Streaming-led recorded-music revival in Italy is lasting

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok backs the Giggs economy in month-long partnership

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

Collecting society GEMA buys stake in distributor Zebralution

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

Jukedeck founder responds to Amazon’s DeepComposer launch

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

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

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

Sony Music reveals its leadership team for podcasts

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

TikTok criticised for limiting reach of people with disabilities

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

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

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

Ministry of Sound playlists back on Apple Music rivals

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

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

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

TicketSwap hires FastForward founder Chris Carey

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

Billie Eilish wins big in Apple awards and Spotify 2019 stats

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

The Weeknd becomes face and sound of luxury electric car ad

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

Anghami offers music-streaming for travellers at Dubai airport

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

Deezer launches its own Christmas originals album

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

Spotify offers half-price annual subscription in India

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

Mixcloud apologises to users affected by hacking attack

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

Music Declares Emergency campaign gets an Impala award

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

Tools. Toneden: Automated Social Marketing

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

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