Artists, blockchain and experimentation: ‘We’re at the very start of what’s possible’

Imogen Heap’s Mycelia event in London today wasn’t just about announcing a world tour and Creative Passport initiative for artists. There was also a panel of ‘reflective bytes from absorbent minds’ about some of the issues raised in Heap’s keyonote. The panel included Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament; Sammy Andrews, CEO of Deviate […]

Imogen Heap is taking Mycelia on tour… with Creative Passports

We’ve seen a few music-industry conference venues in our time, but never a giant tipi until today. Built in the grounds of musician Imogen Heap’s home in Havering-atte-Bower, it was the location for Heap to talk about the next steps for her Mycelia project. She was unveiling Mycelia’s proposal for a ‘Creative Passport’, which is […]

Deezer HiFi streaming service is launching in Japan this month

Deezer is launching its hi-res ‘HiFi’ tier in Japan this month, working with local partners Onkyo, Pioneer Marketing and Yamaha. Deezer HiFi will offer FLAC-quality streaming in Japan with a catalogue of more than 36m songs, according to its announcement. A three-month free trial will be offered to people signing up with devices bought from […]

Warner Music Group revenues up 10.2% year-on-year

The music industry’s growth story continues: Warner Music Group has just announced its financials for its fiscal fourth quarter, and thus its full financial-year figures. The headline: 10.2% growth in total revenues. In fact, WMG saw its revenues grow from $3.25bn in the year ended 30 September 2016 to $3.58bn in the year ended 30 […]

YouTube music videos back online in Finland after blockage

YouTube and Finnish collecting society Teosto have resolved a situation that saw a number of music videos on the service blocked from being watched in Finland. The message shown to users pointed to Teosto as the cause, but this did not turn out to be a prolonged GEMA-style dispute between YouTube and the society. The […]

Biggest tracks could be main losers from user-centric streaming payouts (#SlushMusic)

Research being conducted in Finland into a ‘user-centric’ payments model for music-streaming suggests that the biggest tracks may be the main losers under such a system. That’s according to Lottaliina Pokkinen, head of legal affairs at the Finnish Musicians’ Union, although she stressed in a session at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this week […]

How does free ‘promotion’ fit in to the music-streaming era? (#SlushMusic)

“The industry’s problem to solve is we’ve been addicted to promotion for the entire time that the music industry has existed. We’ve always given stuff away to sell something. But that mindset in the consumption world just doesn’t really stack up…” The music industry’s view in the ‘value gap’ debate, at its simplest is ‘YouTube […]

Spotify talks playlists, skip rates and NF’s Nordic-fuelled success

“I would once and for all like to kill the myth that it’s just about something called skip rate.” Spotify’s Nordic head of shows and editorial Daniel Breitholtz was keen to make something clear in his speech at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki today: the streaming service’s editors aren’t ruled by skip rates when […]

WMG’s Stu Bergen: ‘I would caution us not to get drunk on two years of growth’ (#SlushMusic)

As CEO, international and global commercial services at Warner Music Group, Stu Bergen has become one of the main spokespeople for WMG’s strategy in the streaming age. At the Slush Music conference in Helsinki today, Bergen appeared in a session with the event’s co-founder Kalle Lindroth – a musician in his own right – to […]

Scott Cohen: ‘The music industry isn’t broken. It never was’ (#SlushMusic)

Attendees at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning may have turned up expecting to hear The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen telling them why the music industry is broken, and how he’s going to fix it. That was, after all, the title of his session. It was a red herring. “Once a week somebody […]

Women and music: ‘The famous glass ceiling hasn’t been smashed’

Earlier this month, 1,993 women signed an open letter calling out sexism, sexual harassment and assault within the Swedish music industry. One prominent major-label executive there has since been suspended following multiple accusations of harassment. This is the tip of the iceberg, there will surely be more dominoes falling, and discussion of how the music […]

UMG’s Jonathan Dworkin: ‘Despacito is more than just a hit’ (#SlushMusic)

As SVP of digital strategy and business development at Universal Music Group, Jonathan Dworkin is playing a significant role in how the biggest major label wants to steer the digital music world in the years to come. His speech at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning focused on ‘the globalisation of the music […]

How to spot the next music/tech giant (#SlushMusic)

2017 has been a fascinating year for digital music, from the growth in paid streaming to a wave of new accelerators and initiatives to help talented music startups get up and running. A pair of sessions at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki this morning provided some insights into the music/tech world. Raine Group partner […]

Evolving exit strategies for music startups (#SlushMusic)

We’ll be blunt: for many music startups, the ‘exit’ is either shutting down when nobody wants their product or service, or an ‘acquihire’ of their team and/or tech by a bigger fish without the kind of valuation that gets investors salivating. Might there be bigger and better exits ahead? A panel at the Slush Music […]

Google tightens rules on ticket-reseller advertising

Google is updating its rules on how ticket-resellers can advertise on its search engine, with the changes due to take effect in January 2018. Secondary ticketing services globally will have to be certified with Google before they can advertise using its AdWords platform. “To be certified, resellers can’t imply that they are the primary or […]

Telegram blocks channel after music-piracy complaint

Sorry, at the time of writing Taylor Swift hasn’t put her new album ‘Reputation’ on streaming services as a post-Thanksgiving gift to fans. Today’s Taylor story focuses on another aspect to the album’s rollout: cracking down on piracy. Messaging app Telegram has blocked one of the channels (i.e. messaging groups) on its service after a […]

BTS included: Spotify hails its 6.6bn K-Pop streams since 2015

Spotify users have streamed 6.6bn songs from K-Pop artists since the company launched its K-Pop hub in 2015, racking up more than 14.4bn minutes of listening. That’s according to a blog post published by Spotify yesterday hailing the growth of streams for South Korean pop artists on its service since its hub went live in […]

Paid online-music market tipped to grow 59% in China

The market for ‘paid online music’ in China is expected to grow by 59% this year to $455m according to research firm iResearch, whose prediction is quoted prominently in the Financial Times’ latest piece on China. It focuses on the evolving dynamics of the Chinese streaming market, where the exclusive licensing deals signed by Tencent […]

Saavn teams with Amazon, Snapchat and new strategic investors

Indian streaming service Saavn is having a busy month, thanks to a partnership with Amazon, a marketing campaign running on Snapchat, and a pair of new strategic investors for the company. Saavn has also seen its latest original track, ‘Bom Diggy’, become a hit not just on its own service in India, but also on […]

K-Pop band BTS are world-record breakers on Twitter

South Korean boy-band BTS made a splash at the American Music Awards last weekend, and now they’re breaking records on Twitter too. They’ve been included in this year’s Guinness Book of World Records for “having the world’s most Twitter engagements for a music group”. Dedication’s what they needed for that. The post K-Pop band BTS […]

Startup Kurv touts the ‘world’s first wearable guitar’

London-based startup Kurv is working on what it claims is “the world’s first wearable guitar”. To which the logical response is ‘hang on, aren’t all guitars wearable?’ Well, all bar slide-guitars anyway. But get beyond the strap-snubbing slogan, and Kurv looks quite interesting. It looks a bit like a giant woodlouse, held in the palm […]

Valyou X wants to create a blockchain-based stock market for music

The idea of fans investing in music rights is enjoying a flurry of attention in 2017, and blockchain startups are all the rage. It was only a matter of time before startups started putting the two concepts together. One of them is Valyou X, based in Australia, which is pitching itself as “the world’s first […]

c3 exec Jeff Boxer resigns after sexual-misconduct reports

The executive director of US artist-rights body the Content Creators Coalition, Jeff Boxer, has resigned after three women published blog posts alleging sexual misconduct (links here, here and here). “The Executive Board of Content Creators Coalition is deeply troubled by reports of sexual misconduct by our executive director, Jeff Boxer. We convened an emergency board […]

Edison Investment Research doubtful about Sonos prospects

Analyst firm Edison Investment Research has put out a note on Sonos’ prospects in the smart-speaker market, with its devices now supporting Alexa as well as Spotify Connect. It’s not optimistic. “By enabling both Spotify Connect and Amazon Echo, Sonos has removed the requirement for users to use its software which is a sign that […]

Pioneer Jaron Lanier on the difference between VR and AR

While we’re on the subject of different kinds of reality, Jaron Lanier is a useful man to listen to, having been one of the original pioneers of virtual reality technology. Wired has been talking to him about the difference between VR and ‘mixed reality’ (MR), and his thoughts may prove handy for any music companies […]

Apple has bought an augmented-reality headset startup

Sorry, the rumours about Apple making an AR headset and/or smart glasses are going to keep on coming until the company actually makes one. At least there’s some concrete fact to the latest story: Apple has acquired a startup called Vrvana that was making an AR headset called the Totem. TechCrunch claims that the acquisition […]

Vita Bergen use Google Translate for their new tour

From taxis to restaurant menus in foreign climes, Google Translate has often been a useful travel tool for Music Ally. We’ve never thought of performing a song with it though. Leave that to Swedish indie-pop band Vita Bergen, who have teamed up with Google to put its translation tool to musical use. The band will […]

UMG’s Urban Legends turns music journalism into marketing

As we go into 2018, there are very real concerns about sustainable business models for music journalism, with magazines shutting or slimming down and websites scratching about for revenues. But there are some other models for music journalists emerging: from the original-content divisions of streaming services to commissions from labels. The post UMG’s Urban Legends […]

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile launch ‘mixtape exchange’

We’re big fans of the recent album by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, and we’re also impressed by the inventive Spotify-fuelled marketing campaign around it. So is Spotify: the streaming service has featured the campaign as a case study on its Spotify for Artists blog. The post Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile launch ‘mixtape exchange’ […]

Investment fund EQT takes 40% stake in Epidemic Sound

Swedish alternative-investments firm EQT has taken a 40% stake in production-music company Epidemic Sound, whose CEO Oscar Höglund we interviewed earlier this week about this summer’s ‘fake artists’ controversy. The investment also sees VC firm Creandum upping its stake in Epidemic Sound to 20%, although the actual investment amounts and valuation have not been announced. […]

NetEase Cloud Music now has 400m users in China

Chinese music service NetEase Cloud Music says it now has 400 million users, having increased its monthly active users (MAUs) by 44% year-on-year. The company also says that its users are skewed towards the 15-35 year-old demographic in China’s tier one and tier two cities, with those listeners creating 620k playlists and posting 1.5m comments […]

Report claims Apple HomePod is ‘a huge missed opportunity’

Apple has just announced that its HomePod smart speaker won’t be on sale until early in 2018. Now Bloomberg has been shedding more details on the backstory of the product, which if the article is true, paints a picture very different from the finely-honed R&D machine that Apple is often seen as. Among its claims: […]

Facebook hires former WMG exec Jeremy Sirota for labels role

Facebook has taken its latest step forward in its path towards music-licensing. the social network has appointed Jeremy Sirota as its label music business development manager, operating out of New York. Sirota joined the company from Warner Music Group this month according to his LinkedIn profile. His last role at WMG was as SVP, head […]

Controversy sparked by plans to row back US net neutrality

There are some lobbying rows that pit the creative and technology industries against one another: the US Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012, for example, or the current debates in the US and Europe over safe harbour. But in other cases, the two industries stand together. Net neutrality – the principle that all traffic on […]

Epidemic Sound gives its side of the Spotify ‘fake artists’ controversy

“We were on our summer break, because we’re Swedes and nobody works for two months in July and August. But that’s when the whole fake-artists thing hit, so we were surprised, but mostly offended. Granted, we hadn’t been telling the story that much, but there was nothing fake about this…” The summer of 2017 is […]

EA forced into last-minute changes by ‘loot box’ controversy

We write and think a lot about how music companies and artists could be interacting with their keenest ‘superfans’, including the fine line between offering them more ways to support an artist without seeming to be ‘milking’ them of their money. Other industries are thinking about this too, of course, and not always getting it […]

7digital makes video news programme for Amazon’s Echo Show

7digital’s Entertainment News division is making the most of the screen that comes with Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker. Just launched in the UK after its US debut earlier in the year, the Show has a seven-inch screen that means companies developing Alexa skills can add video and images in to the mix. The post […]

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative adds music to its partners

The USC Annenberg university in California is launching a new thing: the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, with music-industry partners including Universal Music backing its efforts around diversity. “Our new name reflects our continued and unwavering commitment to championing inclusion in all forms – including but not limited to gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT, disability and now mental health […]

Spotify will make London its latest R&D hub

You’ve likely heard about Spotify’s swanky new US headquarters in New York, but the company is also doubling down on its presence in London. Spotify said yesterday that it will be making that office its latest ‘R&D hub’ to set it alongside the company’s Stockholm, Gothenburg, New York, San Francisco and Boston offices. The post […]

Baidu unveils Raven H smart speaker

Chinese technology firm Baidu has unveiled a new smart speaker, which will make its debut in its homeland this December. It’s called Raven H, and is the first product to be launched under Baidu’s umbrella by Raven Tech, a smart-home hardware startup that the company bought in February this year. The equivalent of Alexa, Siri […]

Kickstarter relaunches Drip for Patreon-style creator subscriptions

Kickstarter is relaunching Drip, the platform for artist and label subscriptions that it bought in 2016, shortly after its previous owners warned they were having to shut it down. “Today we launch a new Drip for artists and creators across the full spectrum of disciplines we support on Kickstarter,” blogged Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen. As […]

FUGA’s Pieter van Rijn: ‘Embrace the change’ (guest column)

This guest column comes from Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA: “In a business as dynamic as music, it goes without saying that one of the few constants is change. It’s also no huge revelation to say that we weren’t always in a place where change was understood or appreciated. Parts of the record industry […]

10 talking points around music and virtual / augmented reality

PRS for Music held an event at its London offices last week exploring the impact and potential of immersive technologies on music – including virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR and MR). There has been plenty of hype around these technologies, often fuelled by the companies making headsets and content, but from licensing and […]

YouTube to promote US concert tickets on artist videos

YouTube has announced a partnership with Ticketmaster that will see tickets for artists’ US concerts promoted within their official videos. “Starting today, we will begin featuring hundreds of artist’s upcoming US tour dates on their YouTube videos,” explained a blog post from the YouTube Music team. “Fans enjoying an artist’s official music video on YouTube […]

Women in Music awards: ‘We can be a boss, without the fear of being called a bitch’

“I really can’t open this awards ceremony without mentioning the ‘W’ word. That’s for Weinstein, or willy-wangling… I doubt that in this country there is a single office, bank, factory, pub or club that hasn’t seen some poor behaviour towards women.” WIN chief executive Alison Wenham addressed the elephant in the room at Music Week’s […]

Spotify correcting data glitch that saw label playlists’ follower counts fall

A technical error has led to a sharp drop in the follower counts for a number of Spotify playlists, but the streaming service says it is working to correct the problem. Several labels have contacted Music Ally this week saying that follower counts on some of their playlists had dropped suddenly, in some cases by […]

Coldcut on 30 years of innovation: ‘We are finally growing up’

30 years ago, Matt Black and Jon More met on the mixtape and rare-groove scenes in London and formed Coldcut as a rolling music, technology, art and politics project. They had enormous hits in 1988 with ‘Doctorin’ the House’ and ‘The Only Way Is Up (under the guise of the Plastic Population), both featuring Yazz, […]

Twitter rolls out 280-character limit more widely

Given everything else that’s going on in the world, you’d hope people won’t get too carried away getting angry about Twitter doubling the character limit in its posts. Having tested a new 280-character limit earlier this year, the feature has now rolled out to everyone bar Japanese, Korean and Chinese users, for whom Twitter says […]

Snap stock drops after disappointing quarterly results for Snapchat

Are the wheels well and truly coming off the Snapchat bandwagon? Parent company Snap, Inc published its latest quarterly financial results last night, and while its revenues grew by 62% year-on-year to $207.9m, the company’s net loss ballooned to $443.2m compared to $124.2m this time last year. The post Snap stock drops after disappointing quarterly […]

Big Shaq gets an augmented-reality Facebook Camera effect

In our recent report on augmented reality technology, we suggested that rather than launching standalone AR apps for artists, labels would do better exploring some of the AR features in the big social apps. Now Island Records has offered a new example with the biggest social app of all: Facebook. The label has launched a […]

Domino turns Franz Ferdinand Spotify pre-save into a fan club

The ability for fans to ‘pre-save’ an album on Spotify has become an increasingly-common marketing tactic since Kobalt pioneered the idea last year with Laura Marling. Now independent label Domino Records is trying something a bit different with the idea: its pre-save campaign for Franz Ferdinand’s new album is structured as a “fan club”. “Subscribe […]

Crowdsourced-gigs service MyMusicTaste raises $11m

South Korean startup MyMusicTaste has raised a Series C funding round of $11m for its service which enables fans to request gigs by their favourite artists. KTB Network led the round according to TechCrunch, with Softbank and Samsung’s investment arms also part of the funding. The post Crowdsourced-gigs service MyMusicTaste raises $11m appeared first on […]

Amazon launches Echo devices and Alexa in Japan

Amazon is continuing its slow-but-steady global rollout of its Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice assistant. Having launched the devices in India in October, now they’re debuting in a major music market: Japan. The Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus speakers are available to pre-order today, and will ship to Japanese customers next week. Meanwhile, […]

Taylor Swift to make streaming services wait for new album

It wouldn’t feel right to have a new Taylor Swift album without an almighty hoo-ha around streaming, despite the star’s rapprochement with Spotify in June. Multiple reports overnight explain that her new album ‘Reputation’ won’t be available to stream when it’s released this Friday. Bloomberg suggested the album will be withheld for a week, while […]

Spotify, Deezer and SoundCloud launch European lobbying coalition

Music-streaming services Spotify, Deezer and SoundCloud are among the founder members of a new coalition that plans to represent the European digital music industry in Brussels. Streaming service Qobuz, B2B firm 7digital and music-analytics startup Soundcharts are the other three founding members of Digital Music Europe. Its president will be Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, while […]

iOS to support introductory subscription pricing offers

This is a small change to the way in-app subscriptions work on Apple’s iOS platform, but a potentially good one for third-party music-streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and the rest. Apple’s next software update, iOS 11.2, will include a feature called ‘Introductory Pricing for Auto-Renewable Subscriptions’. The company explains the feature thus: “Soon, you’ll […]

Musical.ly starts to attract brands for influencer marketing

Social app Musical.ly has been cautious about getting into advertising – and with good reason, given the strong regulations in the US around advertising to children. However, brands are starting to make use of the app for their own marketing by working with its popular ‘Musers’ on influencer-marketing campaigns. The post Musical.ly starts to attract […]

Canary app could offer a new mobile spin on scrobbling

Last.fm’s days as a music-streaming powerhouse may be behind it, but its idea of ‘scrobbling’ music – keeping track on the songs and artists you listen to – remains useful. Now a new startup called Canary looks like it’s exploring the idea with more of a mobile focus. Its app is currently available in beta […]

Chinese startup Nusic to launch mobile game for mix-sharing

We raise our eyebrows wearily whenever we see a new startup touting itself, as Nusic does, as an ‘Instagram for Music’. But the slogan for the Chinese firm’s profile on investment site AngelList actually sells it short: the company appears to be working on something much more interesting than just a ‘share photos with music […]

Google Assistant gets its own Shazam-style music ID feature

Google really does mean business in 2017 when it comes to parking its tanks on Shazam’s lawn. The company’s recently-unveiled Pixel 2 smartphones include a feature to automatically identify music that’s playing around their owner. Now the company’s voice-assistant Google Assistant can perform a similar trick, simply by being asked ‘What song is this?’ or […]

Social stars launch their own video-streaming service

There’s a new video-streaming service in town, called Zeus, but its founders are social-media stars rather than tech entrepreneurs or media companies. Zeus is due to launch in early 2018, co-founded by Andrew ‘King Bach’ Bachelor, Amanda Cerny and DeStorm Power. According to Variety, the service will focus on categories including comedy, beauty, fashion and […]

Beats 1 launches its first Spanish-language radio show

Beats 1 tiene un nuevo programa de radio que es en español y se enfoca en la música latinoamericana. Or to switch back into English: Beats 1 has a new Spanish-language radio show, focusing on Latin American music. The post Beats 1 launches its first Spanish-language radio show appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music […]

Tidal adds liner notes for tracks and albums

Why don’t music-streaming services provide credits of the depth you used to get on vinyl and CD albums? It’s a question regularly asked on conference stages, with the simple answer that – accepting the fact that it would be a positive step for musicians, songwriters and producers – there hasn’t been an obvious business incentive […]

Russian streaming services add restrictions for free users

The first industry push in Russia was to clamp down on pirate and unlicensed music services, persuading some of the highest-profile examples to sign licensing deals. Now we appear to be entering a second phase: to shift those services’ emphasis a little more towards paid subscriptions rather than free streaming. The post Russian streaming services […]

Shania Twain goes mobile gaming with Home Street partnership

Mobile gaming is a huge and growing industry, with spending up 18% to $40.6bn in 2016 according to research firm SuperData – a figure that matched global box-office revenues for films that year. Mobile games based on musicians, however, are… less lucrative. Publisher Glu Mobile had flops with its games based on Katy Perry, Nicki […]

U2 to use Ticketmaster Verified Fan platform for US tour

We’ve reported on the growth of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan initiative earlier in this bulletin, but in separate news yesterday, the company had some news on the artist front. U2 are going to use Verified Fan for all the tickets sold for their upcoming US tour, rather than just a portion of them like previous artists […]

YouTube co-produces behind-the-scenes videos for Camila Cabello

Former Fifth Harmony star Camila Cabello is launching some new stuff on YouTube: a series of three ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos based on the actual music video for her single ‘Havana’. The interesting point here: the new videos have been co-produced by YouTube itself with Epic Records. The first episode went live yesterday, with the next two […]

Salute Music Makers contest gives cryptocurrency to entrants

Salute Music Makers is the latest attempt to adapt the idea of a musical talent contest to the digital world. Announced in March, it has attracted more than 2,000 entrants so far, with six chosen as finalists this past weekend. Now Salute is announcing a very-topical additional element to its contest: plans to distribute free […]

Metal streaming service Gimme Radio launches new iOS app

We’ve been wondering about the potential for single-genre streaming services for a while now, with classical (through companies like Primephonic and Grammofy – one of the first areas to explore the idea. Now it’s time for metal to have a go, with streaming service Gimme Radio launching its first mobile app this week. Pitched as […]

Spotify data shows ‘listening diversity’ is up 40%

Spotify says it’s experiencing “an explosion in listening diversity” on its service, by which it means the number of artists the average listener streams in a week. “Since 2014, the average number of artists each listener streams per week has increased 37 percent, from just under 30 to about 41 artists per week so far […]

Facebook revenues up 47% while net profit grows by 79%

Facebook has announced another strong set of quarterly financials, with the company’s revenues growing by 47% year-on-year to $10.33bn in the third quarter of 2017. The social network reported a net profit of $4.71bn for the quarter, up 79% year-on-year. The latest user numbers: Facebook daily active users were up 16% to 1.37bn, while monthly […]

Smart headphones startup Doppler Labs is shutting down

US firm Doppler Labs has raised more than $51m since 2013 to make its range of smart headphones, telling media in 2015 that “we want to put a computer, speaker, and mic in everyone’s ear: We have very lofty visions of the future, everything from real-time translation to personal assistants.” Yet those lofty visions are […]

Former 7digital boss launches Yoto smart-speaker for kids

Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are a sensitive subject when it comes to children. While both those companies are encouraging developers to create child-friendly ‘skills’, there are concerns around privacy issues and data storage. Former 7digital CEO Ben Drury is hoping to avoid that with his new venture Yoto: a smart speaker […]

YouTube responds to Content Creators Coalition takedown claim

Yesterday, we reported on the claim by the US Content Creators Coalition (c3) that YouTube had removed one of its spoof ads protesting about the company’s music-licensing. The video was later returned to the service. Now YouTube has made a statement putting its side of the story. The post YouTube responds to Content Creators Coalition […]

Q&A: Blockpool’s Kevin Bacon talks Björk, blockchain and cryptocurrency

Earlier today, Björk announced more details about her upcoming album ‘Utopia’, including plans to reward fans who pre-order the album with free AudioCoins cryptocurrency, through a partnership with British blockchain startup Blockpool. The company’s CEO Kevin Bacon has been talking about the project in an interview published this morning. We used selected quotes from it […]

Björk hits the blockchain with cryptocurrency fan rewards

Fans will be able to buy Björk’s new album ‘Utopia’ using cryptocurrencies, and pre-ordering it directly from the star or her label will earn them crypto rewards too. The musician has teamed up with British blockchain startup Blockpool, which is working with label One Little Indian on the online store to process ‘Utopia’ pre-orders using […]

Games firm CCP pulls back from virtual reality investment

Many people in the music industry have high hopes for virtual reality technology, and Universal Music’s announcement this week of a partnership with startup Within is an example of the partnerships being struck around VR. But here’s some news from the games industry that may spark caution: one of the key evangelists for VR in […]

YouTube stars had greater role in Apple iPhone X launch

A number of journalists are huffing and puffing this week, after it emerged that Apple cut back advance access to its new iPhone X for technology writers, while giving handsets to a handful of YouTube stars. “Apple provided the iPhone X to a small number of traditional testers for about a week, while limiting most […]

Bandcamp launches new app for its artists and labels

Bandcamp has launched a new Android and iOS app, but this one isn’t for its customers, it’s for the artists and labels using the platform to sell their music. “It gives you a real-time mobile view into your stats, helps you manage and fulfil your merch, and lets you directly message your fans, even targeting […]

Deezer gets more social with new community feature

Should music-streaming be more or less social? Spotify recently shut down its Inbox messaging feature, but Apple Music’s latest update bumped up its friends factor a bit. Now Deezer is making its own move, launching a feature called ‘Community’ that aims to get its listeners chatting to one another about music. The post Deezer gets […]

Ducktails albums pulled from several streaming services

Several albums by Ducktails – the project for American independent musician Matt Mondanile, formerly of Real Estate – have been pulled from streaming services. Pitchfork claimed that distributor The Orchard was responsible for the takedowns on Spotify and Tidal, with three albums – two released through Domino and one through his own label – affected. […]

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s launches its own vinyl label

One of the strangest aspects of the vinyl revival in the UK has been the sighting of LPs and turntables on sale in the biggest supermarket chains – previously the bastion of narrow top-40 and compilation CD sales. Now one of those chains, Sainsbury’s, is launching its own vinyl label (called ‘Own Label’) as part […]

YouTube criticised for taking down c3 spoof video

Last week, we reported on the launch by the US-based Content Creators Coalition (c3) of a pair of spoof video ads on YouTube, criticising the service’s approach to music licensing. A few days on, YouTube has landed itself in hot water by reportedly removing one of the ads, ‘Pennies vs. Dollars’, from its service due […]

Apple Watch software update brings more music features

Apple has pushed out its latest software update for its Watch smartwatch, and watchOS 4.1 has some notable features for music fans. Apple Music subscribers will now be able to browse and stream the entire catalogue from their watch, rather than having to download specific playlists to it for offline listening. The post Apple Watch […]

Streaming fuels strong rise in Sony Music revenues

This is a familiar tale by now: a major label announces its latest quarterly results, with revenue increases that would have been pie in the sky during the music industry’s 15-year decline, and with streaming as the prominent driver of that growth. Sony Music’s figures for the third quarter of 2017 – its fiscal Q2 […]

Former WMG boss Edgar Bronfman Jr starts new VC firm

We haven’t heard much (in a music-industry sense) from Edgar Bronfman Jr since he sold Warner Music Group to Access Industries in 2011, then stepped down as chairman a few months later. Some interesting news this morning though: Bronfman is starting a new venture-capital company called Waverley Capital, which Bloomberg reports will be raising a […]

Lessons from Kobalt’s Laura Marling pre-save campaign

At our recent Sandbox Summit conference, Kobalt Music Recordings’ David Emery outlined three lessons learned from running a Spotify pre-save campaign for Laura Marling. Now he’s turned the talk into a blog post, which makes good reading for any music marketer. We reported on his thoughts about getting away from your desk and inbox to […]

Universal Music to work on AR / VR experiences with Within

We’ve been writing about virtual reality startup Within since it was founded under the name of Vrse by Chris Milk, the filmmaker whose previous projects included the famous ‘Wilderness Downtown’ interactive video for Arcade Fire. Now Within has signed a high-profile music partnership with Universal Music Group, to make both virtual AND augmented reality experiences […]

Hookd rebrands as Lickd and adds Hospital Records catalogue

We reported on the launch of Hookd in September: the British startup is launching a ‘pre-cleared, commercial music licensing solution for online video creators’. Basically a way for YouTubers to license labels’ tracks for use in their videos for as little as £6. In the weeks since, there’s been a change: Hookd is now known […]

Blockchain startup Guts Tickets raises $2.5m (so far) from ICO

Dutch startup Guts Tickets is one of the companies exploring blockchain technology’s potential for the music industry – but in its case, the focus is on selling tickets rather than recorded music. The company has just raised $2.5m through 2017’s buzziest funding mechanism: an initial coin offering (ICO). However, this is just from the pre-sale: […]

Pandora taps its curators for 250+ ‘featured playlists’

As a free radio-style streaming service, Pandora has always been focused on ‘stations’ rather than playlists. But now with its premium tiers, the company is starting to follow its rivals in that space by curating playlists too. “Today we launched Featured Playlists to help you find the perfect jam to set the mood for any […]

Apple HomePod keeps Siri voice commands for Apple Music

Business Insider has chosen its words carefully in an article about Apple’s new smart speaker: ‘Spotify won’t work with Siri on Apple’s HomePod’. It’s sparked by a message published by Apple for app developers about the SiriKit tools for HomePod: “With the intelligence of Siri, users control HomePod through natural voice interaction. And with SiriKit, […]

Mixcloud premium plans include individual creator subscriptions

Mixcloud’s plans for premium subscriptions will include the ability for individual DJs, curators and podcasters on its platform to launch subscriptions for their mixes and shows. The streaming service’s ambitions to move beyond its traditional ad-supported model were revealed earlier this month, when it signed its first direct licensing deal, with Warner Music Group. Since […]

Study predicts sharp growth for average iPhone app spend

American iPhone owners spent an average of $47 on apps in 2016 according to research firm SensorTower. But it expects that to grow to $63 this year, $77 in 2018 and $88 in 2019. That’s 86% growth from 2016 to 2019, although the app category hoovering up the lion’s share of this spending will come […]

India becomes world’s second-biggest smartphones market

China is the country with the highest smartphone shipments in the world, followed until now by the US in second place. Two different research companies reckon that India has just overtaken the latter country. Canalys claims that more than 40m smartphones shipped in India in the third quarter of this year, representing growth of 23% […]

Intel AI tech helps create video for Chinese star Chris Lee

Here’s more evidence of music as a guinea pig for cutting-edge artificial-intelligence technology. Just as Google is training some of its AI tech by getting it to create music, so Intel is testing some of its AI out on music videos. Specifically a video for Chinese pop star Chris Lee’s single ‘Rainy Day, But We […]

Songkick app: ‘We won’t be selling tickets ourselves…’

Songkick the company is shutting down, ending its ticketing operations after a punishing legal battle with Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Songkick the concert-recommendations app, however, is very much alive and kicking, having been sold to Warner Music Group earlier this year. To head off potential confusion for its users around the corporate-shutdown news, the app’s […]

Kickstarter’s Molly Neuman talks artists, crowdfunding and confidence

Molly Neuman has been head of music at Kickstarter for two years. She used her presentation at the BIME Pro conference in Bilbao to explain how her original career in music as a member of Riot Grrrl band Bratmobile informs the importance she places on community at the crowdfunding platform. “My career began in community,” […]

Streaming and lyric translation will push Latin music to new heights

Earlier this week, the RIAA revealed that US (recorded) revenues from Latin American music had grown by 44% in the first half of 2017, compared to overall industry growth of 8.1%. But as ‘Despacito’ has shown, the Latin boom extends way beyond the US. That was a topic explored during the Latin Music, Latin Market: […]

Why the Release Radar playlist is Spotify’s secret weapon

How to get songs onto popular Spotify playlists like New Music Friday and RapCaviar is a hot topic for labels in 2017. But it seems that they’re all being outperformed in terms of streams by a playlist that can’t be pitched to: the algorithmic Release Radar. That’s according to Bryan Johnson, director of artists and […]

UMG, Kobalt, Amazon and more confirmed for NY:LON Connect 2018

More speakers have been confirmed for the NY:LON Connect conference that Music Ally and the Music Business Association are holding in New York early in 2018. Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz; Amazon Music director Ryan Redington; SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste andASCAP CEO Beth Matthews will be joining (previously announced) Spotify chief content officer Stefan Blom at […]

Crossfaith invites fans to unlock new track… by headbanging

Japanese metal band Crossfaith are encouraging fans to headbang in their own homes with a marketing campaign for their new EP ‘Freedom’. Launched by label Sony Music and agency Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign gets fans to visit the band’s website and then headbang in front of their webcam, which unlocks a stream of a […]

Sam Smith swaps Spotify for Apple Music in new video project

With every music-streaming service now keen on making original video projects with artists, should the latter pick one partner or find different creative treatments with several? Sam Smith is taking the latter path. Having worked with Spotify on a vertical video for his comeback single ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ which was embedded in a swathe […]

Ticketmaster to offer mentoring for FastForward alumni

With two Amsterdam conferences plus a London event under its belt, FastForward is starting to explore the potential for building a network of its young industry attendees. The company has announced a partnership with Ticketmaster to deliver mentoring for a small group of its attendees. Six Ticketmaster (and parent company Live Nation) execs will each […]

YouTube Best.Cover.Ever talent contest launches next month

YouTube has revealed the launch date for its Best.Cover.Ever talent contest, which will challenge young wannabes to cover tracks by an array of popular artists. The competition will kick off on 20 November, and as previously announced is hosted by rapper Ludacris, with Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Jason Derulo, Flo Rida, Nicky Jam, Charlie Puth […]

Auddly invites managers in to its music metadata platform

Swedish startup Auddly has been building what it describes as a “song data hub”, initially for songwriters to store details on their songs as they work on them – including co-writer and producer details, split agreements and credits. Now the company is widening the pool it’s using to source this data to managers, via a […]

MelodyVR raises £15m more funding through share placings

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR is raising more money: £10m from a placing of new shares, and another £5m from the sale of shares by co-founders Anthony Matchett and Steven Hancock. The company, which is listed on UK stock exchange AIM, plans to use its latest cash injection to continue building its library of original music/VR […]

With 16m music subscribers Amazon is no longer a dark horse

We’ll stress upfront that this isn’t an official announcement from Amazon: the company hasn’t abandoned its policy of keeping its key music stats to itself. Instead, this is an estimate from Midia Research, claiming that with 16 million subscribers across Prime Music and Music Unlimited, Amazon is now the third biggest music-subscription service in the […]

Netflix raises $1.6bn for content acquisitions and originals

Netflix had already announced plans to spend between $7bn and $8bn on content in 2018, but there was a question about how the publicly-listed company planned to finance that investment in licensed shows and films, plus its own originals. Now that question has been partially answered: yesterday Netflix raised $1.6bn of debt funding through a […]

Apple and Google app stores reached new heights in Q3 2017

The latest report from research firm App Annie claims that combined app downloads on iOS’ App Store and Android’s Google Play were nearly 26bn in the third quarter of this year. That’s up 8% year-on-year, and as App Annie points out, the figure relates to new app installs, not reinstalls or app updates. The post […]

Smart speakers to fuel ‘tenfold’ increase in smart-home devices

Research firm Forrester’s latest prediction for the smart-devices market focuses on the US alone, we should say. “Smart home devices are expected to grow tenfold between 2017 and 2022,” claimed the company in its latest blog post. “Forrester expects the adoption of smart home devices in the US to be 10 times higher by 2022, […]

Spotify investor claims Spotify could be worth $100bn one day

Shock news! An investment firm thinks that one of the companies that it has a stake in will see its valuation increase fivefold in the coming years! GP Bullhound’s claim that Spotify’s valuation will shoot up from $20bn when it goes public to $100bn in the future should probably be filed alongside recent claims by […]

Facebook tests relegating page posts to secondary news feed

In recent years, we’ve regularly covered claims by digital marketers that posts from their pages are seeing their ‘organic’ (i.e. not paid for) reach decline. Less of their fans are seeing their posts unless they pay to boost their reach. But now imagine a world where page posts are scrubbed from Facebook’s main news feed […]

EFF denies that stream-ripping is intrinsically illegal

In its recent ‘Notorious Markets’ submission to the US Trade Representative, the RIAA took aim once again at stream-ripping websites, which enable people to rip YouTube videos into downloadable MP3 files. Now campaigning body the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised the RIAA’s line of argument in its own submission to the Representative. After defending […]

CD Baby joins the pre-saves party on Spotify

In December 2016, Kobalt launched a campaign for Laura Marling that enabled fans to ‘pre-save’ her next album, automatically adding it (and its advance tracks) to their Spotify playlists as soon as they were available. Since then, other labels and distributors have developed similar tools, capitalising on a feature in Spotify’s API that hadn’t previously […]

K-Pop band BTS team up with Line for characters and merch

Japanese messaging app Line has always made a big thing of its animated characters, which are used as ‘stickers’ in its users’ conversations, as well as appearing in mobile games, merchandise and cartoons. Now the company is working with one of the biggest K-Pop bands, BTS, on their own range of characters. BT21 are eight […]

Native Instruments raises €50m in new funding round

DJ-tech firm Native Instruments has raised a €50m (around $58.8m) funding round from private-equity company EMH Partners. The firm says it plans to use the cash to fuel “rapid international growth” as well as developing new digital services for its users. Native Instruments says it’s also planning a recruitment drive in Berlin, Los Angeles and […]

Spotify launches ‘Rise’ programme for emerging artists

A few years ago, Spotify had an initiative called ‘Spotlight’ which picked out its new acts to watch, promoting them in its local markets. Hozier, Tove Lo and Jack Garratt were among the beneficiaries. But Spotlight didn’t happen at the start of 2017: we were told at the time that the plan was to replace […]

Brexit and the future of the British music industry (guest column)

This guest column comes from Chrysalis Records co-founder Chris Wright: “Last month, thousands of people crowded together in the Eventim Apollo theatre in Hammersmith to celebrate some of the best of British music at the Mercury Awards. The eventual winner, Sampha’s ‘Process’, was hailed as a challenging, individual kind of album and a fitting recipient […]

Demi Lovato YouTube documentary gets 3.5m views in three days

Demi Lovato’s exclusive documentary for YouTube has been watched 3.5m times in the first three days after it launched. The documentary, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, is a 78-minute long film about her current life, and is one of the first original-video music projects commissioned by YouTube to be made available for free supported by ads, […]

Vivendi Content boss: “My belief is that YouTube’s DNA is free”

Dominique Delport is the chairman of Vivendi Content and MD of Havas Group, so he’s an interesting figure in terms of connecting the dots between Universal Music Group’s parent company and its advertising-giant arm. He gave a keynote at yesterday’s MIPCOM TV industry conference in Cannes and had plenty to say. Among the points he […]

Spotify launches new playlist-pitching system for labels

Spotify has moved to formalise the process by which major and independent labels pitch for slots in the Browse section of its service, with a quota-based system applying to global and local playlists. The move comes after longtime discussion within the industry about the extent to which Spotify promotes its own in-house curated playlists over […]

Sources claim Spotify is on course for a $4bn year – but losses also grow

Sources claim Spotify is on course for a $4bn year – but losses also grow The post Sources claim Spotify is on course for a $4bn year – but losses also grow appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Spotify launches iOS app for musicians

Spotify has launched a new mobile app, but this one has a very specific group of users in mind: musicians. The Spotify for Artists app goes live today for iOS, with the music-streaming service promising that an Android version will follow “really soon”. The company is describing it as “a one-stop shop to track your […]

Kobalt Series D funding swells to $89m as Section 32 chips in

In May, music company Kobalt announced a $75m Series D funding round, led by media firm Hearst Entertainment. Now that round has increased to $89m. The $14m ‘second installment’ was led by former Google Ventures partner Bill Maris’ new Section 32 fund, with Maris joining Kobalt’s board of directors as part of the funding. Maris […]

Digital marketing lessons from WMG, Kobalt and Lounge Books

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London yesterday included three short’n’sharp sessions where digital marketers outlined the lessons they learned from recent campaigns. Warner Music Group’s senior VP of global marketing Beth Appleton talked about influencer marketing. “We know that they’re the new tastemakers. And ultimately we’ve got the potential to reach millions globally. And […]

AEI Group’s Diluk Dias: ‘Vilifying YouTube is like moaning about the weather or Brexit’

“I am getting pretty fucking bored of the vilification of YouTube. It’s like moaning about the weather or moaning about Brexit… We are living in a time of abundant opportunity and tech companies are putting music front and centre.” Diluk Dias, founder of British music company AEI Group, had some firm views on the ‘value […]

What more could Spotify and Apple Music do for music marketers?

Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and their rivals have been working hard on back-end features for labels, managers and artists. But could they be doing more? The closing panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today invited the audience of music marketers to suggest a wishlist of new features. The session was […]

Music data and analytics: digging below the surface trends

Every music company in 2017 is facing the challenge of making sense of a torrent of data from streaming services and social networks, among other sources. How to make the most of it? A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today heard from some experts including Lucy Blair, director of international sales […]

Going live: how livestreaming video can be used for music marketing

From Facebook Live and Twitch to apps like YouNow and Live.ly, livestreaming video is a burgeoning medium for individual creators and media brands alike. And music? A panel at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today explored some of the potential that live video has for music marketing. The panel included Stef Pascual, head […]

Meet the centennials: SuperAwesome boss talks kids in 2017

The opening session at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London today was a keynote by Dylan Collins, the CEO of children’s network SuperAwesome. His focus was on the new generation of consumers (mainly those under the age of 13) and why we need to scrap most – if not all – of our preconceptions […]

Influencer marketing: why labels are turning to social stars

YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchat stars, Twitch streamers, Musers on Musical.ly… The emergence of new stars on online-video services and social networks has provided a new promotional channel: influencer marketing. Paying social stars to promote a product or brand has been a growing trend for some time, but what does it mean for music marketing in 2017? […]

Pitch perfect: the trends around pitching to Spotify and Apple Music playlists

In 2017, pitching tracks to the in-house playlisters at Spotify, Apple Music and other music-streaming services is an important cog in labels’ marketing campaigns. But it’s also a discipline with plenty of mystery around it. How do labels pitch these curators, and what kind of pitches are most likely to succeed? A panel at Music […]

A new Silicon Valley trend: disconnecting from social media

What does it say about the culture we’re currently living in that several of the key people who created the ‘like’ button for Facebook are now disengaging from social media? The Guardian published a thought-provoking piece this weekend about how some people in Silicon Valley are rearing back from the culture they helped to create. […]

YouTube takes on Netflix and Hulu: ‘Like it or not’

YouTube CEO Susan Wojkicki and content boss Susanne Daniels have been talking about the company’s plans to continue investing in original shows and events. Their interview with The Hollywood Reporter includes some bullish quotes on the prospects of competing with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. “I want our shows to resonate in a big […]

YouNow’s Rize app giving cryptocurrency to influencers

We wrote in September about the upcoming launch of live-video app Rize: it’s the work of popular app YouNow, and will blend livestreaming with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. In fact, Rize will have its own cryptocurrency called ‘Props’, with its creators revealing more plans on how they plan to tempt social-media stars to use Rize […]

Onkyo revamps its hi-res music downloads service

The emphasis around ‘hi-res’ music may be shifting to streaming, but there are still hi-res download services around trying to find an audience. One of them belongs to hi-fi firm Onkyo, which has just announced a revamp of its hi-res store, which uses MQA’s technology. The store’s interface has been spruced up, suggesting music as […]

‘Spotify Teardown’ book sparking controversy before release

A team funded by the Swedish Research Council are writing a book about Spotify’s history, but ‘Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music’ is already creating controversy in the service’s homeland. The book is due to come out next year, the tenth anniversary of Spotify’s commercial launch. The controversy is less about the […]

Musical.ly star Danielle Cohn launches her own app

There isn’t much excitement at all around apps for musicians in 2017: the heyday of artist-app platforms like Mobile Roadie is a rapidly-receding memory. But for social stars (or ‘influencers’) it’s a different story: they do still seem to see a value in bagging their own spot on fans’ homescreens. The latest example is Dani […]

Megastar is the latest talent contest run via an app

Usher is the latest artist to moonlight as a c-level executive for a technology company. The R&B veteran is now ‘chief creative officer’ of startup Megastar, as well as an investor in the company. It’s the latest firm trying to launch an X Factor-style global talent contest via a smartphone app, also called Megastar. In […]

VR startup MelodyVR signs licensing deals with Roc Nation

British music/VR startup MelodyVR has announced its latest licensing deals, with Roc Nation and Roc Nation Publishing. The global, multi-year deals will “license the creation and distribution of virtual reality content featuring Roc Nation artists, covering both record label and publishing rights” according to MelodyVR’s announcement for investors this morning. “As part of the relationship, […]

Spotify expands its partnership with Google Assistant

After Google’s press event last night, Spotify put out its own related announcement: an expansion of its partnership with Google around the latter’s Google Assistant voice-controlled helper. Owners of a Google Home smart-speaker have been able to control Spotify using voice commands since its launch, but now those commands will work with Google Assistant on […]

SoundCloud now shows creators who’s playlisting their tracks

Traditionally, individual tracks have been the important unit on SoundCloud, with the streaming service’s discovery dynamic being mainly about following the right people to surface the best tracks into your feed. However, SoundCloud has been gradually putting more emphasis on playlists to match the strategies of its rivals: something that’s clear from the latest update […]

Microsoft mixed-reality headsets available to pre-order

Fresh from pulling out of the music-streaming market via a partnership with Spotify, Microsoft has announced the next moves in its quest to be a big player in ‘mixed reality’ – devices that blend augmented and virtual reality technology. Microsoft is opening up pre-orders for the first batch of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, with five […]

Abbey Road launches Topline app to help artists capture ideas

Not content with running its own startups incubator, Abbey Road Studios is now getting into the mobile apps game. But its new app, Topline, is firmly focused on the London studios’ key customers: artists. The app is pitched as a way for musicians to quickly capture their song ideas. “You can share files easily, sing […]

Techstars Music seeking second cohort of music startups

The Techstars Music accelerator is on the hunt for its second cohort of music/tech startups, with applications closing on 15 October. The final decision on who makes it onto the program is set to be made by mid-December. The first cohort of startups earlier this year have gone on to raise more than $15m of […]

Italian music market struggling to match 2015’s euphoria

There were celebrations when recorded-music sales in Italy rose 25.5% in 2015, but since then the market has struggled to repeat the euphoria. That’s according to Music Ally’s latest country profile, which is available to download today for subscribers to our research service. In 2016, recorded-music income grew by just 0.4% to €149m ($178.5m) in […]

WMG appoints new leadership team for Warner Bros Records

Warner Music Group’s new CEO of recorded music Max Lousada isn’t wasting any time making changes within the group. Cameron Strang is stepping down as chairman and CEO of WMG’s Warner Bros Records, to be replaced by current Interscope and RCA executives Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson. They’ll be co-chairman of Warner Bros, with Bay-Shuck […]

Producer Youth talks tech: ‘The best AI you can have is your imagination’

Finding success initially with Killing Joke in the 1970s, Youth (or, as per his passport, Martin Glover) has produced a dizzying array of acts over the years. Notable clients include The Verve and Take That, with his remix CV including The Sugarcubes, U2 and Siouxsie & The Banshees. He also formed The Fireman, an experimental […]

Snapchat launching global partnership with artist Jeff Koons

Snapchat launched a teaser website yesterday with a 24-hour countdown to… Well, people didn’t know what, until a Business Insider journalist tried setting their computer’s clock forward 24 hours, and discovered all the website’s secrets. And they are: a partnership with artist Jeff Koons that will scatter a number of his artworks and installations across […]

About gender ratios on-stage at music-industry conferences…

There are too many men and not enough women on-stage at music-industry conferences. That’s understood widely, but now US journalist Cherie Hu has dug into the actual numbers behind this concern. Her analysis of 1,644 speakers at 13 industry conferences in 2017 shows that 73% of them are male, while 81% of the ‘C-Suite’ level […]

Video publishers say Facebook mid-roll ads off to slow start

There are high expectations for Facebook’s plans to license music and share advertising revenues from streams of videos including it. But it’s important not to forget the question about how lucrative those revenues will be. Or won’t be, if you read Digiday’s feature offering early feedback from video publishers who’ve been testing Facebook’s ‘mid-roll’ ads […]

Music community reacts to Las Vegas mass-shooting

The terrible events at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas have sparked plenty of responses from within the music industry. Country star Jason Aldean, who was on-stage as the mass-shooting began, posted on Instagram. “Tonight has been beyond horrific… It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming […]

iHeartRadio launches entertainment show on Facebook

The latest music brand looking to make use of video on Facebook is iHeartRadio. The US streaming service has launched a TV-style chat-show called ‘iHeartNow with Elvis Duran’, fronted by one of its most popular DJs. The show will see Duran interviewing musicians and celebrities, kicking off with former Fifth Harmony singer turned solo-star Camila […]

Pandora CEO: ‘All three tiers of the service are important’

Satellite-radio firm Sirius XM’s investment in Pandora, and comments made by its executives since that deal was agreed, have raised concerns about whether Pandora will be putting less welly behind its subscription tiers. However, recently-appointed CEO Roger Lynch maintains that subscription remains important to Pandora. “All three tiers of the service are important. If you […]

Financials reveal Shazam narrowed its losses to £3.7m in 2016

Shazam narrowed its net losses from £16.7m in 2015 to £3.7m in 2016 (around $4.9m) in a year when it said its app had more than 300 million annual active users. These details come from the company’s financial results for last year, filed with Companies House in the UK. Shazam’s revenues increased by 14.5% to […]

Mobile ticketing startup Dice expands to the US

British startup Dice launched its music-ticketing app in September 2014 focusing initially on London. Since then it’s expanded its net of concerts across the country. Now Dice is launching in the biggest (but also the toughest) ticketing market of all: the US. Its app will now offer tickets to concerts in Los Angeles and San […]

Remix Hits claims major-label deal for licensed stems

Nashville startup Remix Hits got some press this week, with Digital Music News claiming that the company has a deal with Sony Music to make licensed ‘stems’ of tracks available for DJs to remix and release legally. Yet when Remix Hits followed up with its own press release, there was no mention of Sony Music […]

RIAJ research gives new insights into streaming challenge in Japan

What’s the most popular way to listen to music in Japan? Many people in the music industry’s first answer would be CD, given the market’s continued domination by physical sales. But no. According to research published earlier this year by industry body the RIAJ, the most popular way to listen to music in Japan is […]

UKF founder: ‘YouTube is a platform where you have to fend for yourself’

YouTube music boss Lyor Cohen has been winding up rightsholders recently with his views on why the ‘value gap’ debate is overblown. But amidst this controversy, it’s easy to forget that some music executives see YouTube as the industry’s biggest opportunity rather than its greatest menace. Speaking at Paris Electronic Week, Luke Hood, founder and […]

Ticketmaster exec talks politicians, touts and dynamic pricing

Ticketmaster International’s SVP of insight and marketing Sophie Crosby has addressed the debate around secondary ticketing and online touting, criticising British politicians who launched an inquiry into ticket abuse in 2016. “Politicians haven’t got anything better to do? They don’t want to talk about education or Brexit or unregulated internet porn or massive technology giants […]

Access to new sources of finance could fuel a new golden age for music (guest column)

The international music industry is entering a new golden age. A kind of second gold rush. We’re right at the start, and it’s streaming that’s largely responsible. This business has suffered a long period of decline in terms of sales but I’m hugely optimistic about where we are headed right now. You have the biggest […]

RIAA half-year figures reveal 17% rise for US recorded-music revenues

Paid music-streaming subscriptions are the star of US industry body the RIAA’s latest half-year figures, which show a 17% year-on-year rise in recorded-music retail revenues in the first six months of 2017. That means $4bn of spending on recorded music in the first half of the year, up from $3.4bn in the first half of […]

Spotify mechanical-licensing woes mount with new legal filings

Spotify’s mechanical-licensing problems in the US aren’t easing. In fact, they’re escalating. Hundreds of artists and songwriters have put their names to a legal objection to Spotify’s proposed $43m settlement over mechanicals. The signatories include Tom Petty, Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, Kenny Rogers, […]

Music analytics startup Soundcharts raises $3.1m funding round

Soundcharts was an award-winner at the Midemlab startups contest earlier this summer. Now the French music-analytics firm has raised a $3.1m Series A funding round. The round was led by VC firm Alven Capital, with Kima Ventures and Global Founders Capital also chipping in. It follows $0.3m of previous seed funding from a round in […]

Tencent strikes sub-licensing deal with Alibaba in China

One of the quirks of the Chinese digital music market, from a western perspective, is the exclusive licensing deals that tech-giant Tencent has struck with major labels. Its deals with global label groups like Universal Music and Sony Music mean that the dominant player in the Chinese music-streaming market gets to sub-license those catalogues to […]

Smartphones reaching usage tipping-point in the UK

2017 is set to be a tipping point in the UK for the way people access the internet, with smartphones overtaking desktop and laptop computers for the first time. That’s in terms of time spent a day, according to research firm eMarketer. It claims that this year, Brits will average one hour 59 minutes on […]

Vevo hopes for 30% growth after 2016 revenues of $500m

Vevo has been talking about the growth in its advertising business, with the music-videos service having taken in $500m in 2016. Chief sales officer Kevin McGurn told Business Insider that Vevo is expecting 30% growth in 2017, including nearly $200m in year-long ad commitments spawned by its shift towards ‘upfront’ sales of advertising, matching the […]

Blockchain ticketing startup Aventus to test its tech in the UK

Ed Sheeran’s manager may loathe online ticket-touting, but could blockchain technology be part of the solution in stamping it out? Startup Aventus Systems hopes so: it has announced a partnership with music D2C firm Townsend Music to test its blockchain-ticketing technology in the UK. That tech “mirrors the creation, transfer, and sale of tickets throughout […]

ICOs raised $797m in the second quarter of 2017 alone

Despite being banned in China and regulated more strictly in the US, initial coin offerings (ICOs) for blockchain-based startups are going to be drumming up large amounts of funding for a while yet. A new report by Coindesk quantifies the ICOs market before the two crackdowns above were announced: it claims that ICOs raised $797m […]

2017 was a billion-dollar distribution year for BMI

US performance-rights organisation BMI has announced a strong set of figures for its 2017 fiscal year, which ended recently. The company generated $1.13bn of revenues, distributing just over $1.02bn to songwriters, composers and publishers – up 10% year-on-year. BMI is hailing the results as “the most public performance revenue and highest royalty distributions of any […]

Music bodies confirm YouTube-MP3 stream-ripping shutdown

Reports on a court filing meant that the news of a settlement between labels and stream-ripping site YouTube-MP3 broke before the relevant industry bodies could announce it. But announce it they did, yesterday, with the IFPI, RIAA and BPI trumpeting the shutdown of a site which at its peak had 60 million monthly visitors turning […]

Startup Reprtoir to launch SaaS suite for the music industry

The latest startup focusing on the music industry’s workflow is Reprtoir, which will soon be launching its software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools for music companies. Or as the French firm describes it: “A complete SaaS suite built by and for music industry professionals that powers operating teams of all sizes… a breakthrough online music industry platform that […]

BMG revenues and profits both up in first half of 2017

It wasn’t just Universal Music posting new financials this week. BMG (through its parent group Bertelsmann) has also revealed its latest figures, with encouraging growth in both revenues and profits. BMG generated revenues of €233m ($277m) in the first half of 2017, up 28% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the music company’s operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, […]

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