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

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

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

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

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

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

Spotify launches a dedicated Disney hub in certain countries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report claims Apple will soon be funding original podcasts too

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

Warner Classics launches new website with streaming built in

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

eMusic boss joins 7digital board and reiterates blockchain ambitions

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

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

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

Chinese streaming service Xiami Music adds MQA hi-res audio

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

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

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

Japanese music industry asks Apple to crack down on pirate app

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

Google AdWords promotion was key to Badshah YouTube success

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

SyncPower sees a bright future for synced lyrics and music recognition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK music industry declares a ‘climate and ecological emergency’

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

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

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

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

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

ROCCR aims to restore crowdfunding’s reputation after PledgeMusic troubles

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

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

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

Snapchat unveils new ‘Creator Shows’ format for celebrities

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

YouTube may be blocking stream-ripping sites from ripping vids

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

Internet Creators Guild shuts down, hits out at music labels

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

East African streaming service Smubu has 200k active users

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

Amuse-commissioned study explores independent-artist revenues

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

Key execs exit Bytedance’s China music-business team

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

Report: Amazon had 32m music subscribers by April 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report: Big Hit Entertainment may launch own streaming platform

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

Facebook to launch more money-making features for creators

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

YouTube adds new requirement for manual Content ID claims

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

Instagram flags up its efforts to crack down on bullying

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

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

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

Spotify officially launches its ‘Lite’ app in 36 countries

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

7digital financials shed more light on company’s position

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

Baidu says its DuerOS voice assistant now has 400m users

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

LGBTQ brand Gay Times is the latest Apple Music curator

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

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

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

Line Music service set to launch in Taiwan this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MelodyVR reveals content-licensing deal with Facebook

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

UK regulator pursues Viagogo for contempt of court

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

Amazon reveals details on how it keeps Alexa data

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

Monstercat to hold weekly virtual-reality music events

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

LyricFind gets government funding to spread Canadian lyrics

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

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

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

New YouTube milestones for Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes

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

Cyanite aims to use AI to analyse songs’ emotional qualities

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

Tidal adds ‘interactive credit pages’ for listeners to explore

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

Marshmello launches his own mobile game to debut new album

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

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

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

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

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

Elevate Music Podcast to focus on wellbeing for musicians

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

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

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

Line Music to add freemium tier and music videos this year

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

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

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

Startup Popgun is launching an AI-mastering tool called Gloss

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

Chinese government to ‘curb industry chaos’ with audio apps

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

Spotify closes its direct-upload test for artists

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

Former Songkick boss co-writes 2019 State of AI report

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

Film soundtracks are still 80% of music consumption in India

There are lots of exciting green shoots for an independent music scene in India, but music from films continues to be the dominant factor in what people are listening to there. That was one of the talking points at the recent Music Inc conference, as reported on by journalist Amit Gurbaxani for Firstpost. He notes that Spotify […]

Epidemic Sound raises $20m and prepares for Asia expansion

Production-music firm Epidemic Sound has raised a $20m funding round, which the company says will fuel its expansion to Asia. The round includes equity funding from Korean investor DS Asset Management, and debt funding from Swedish group SEB. Epidemic is opening an office in South Korea this autumn, in partnership with the former company. “We […]

Chance The Rapper’s streaming mixtape is missing a track

Chance The Rapper has re-released a pair of old mixtapes for the first time on streaming services, but while 2012’s ’10 Day’ remains unchanged, 2013’s ‘Acid Rap’ is missing one of its big tracks: ‘Juice’. It’s been replaced with Chance’s voice explaining why it’s missing (“I really wanted ‘Juice’ to be on the mixtape, but […]

Look beneath the drama of the BMLG / Scooter Braun / Taylor Swift row

There’s a whole sub-genre of YouTube channels and Instagram accounts dedicated to documenting ‘drama’ – the breakups, makeups, shade and almighty rows within the world of social-media stars. Today, music-industry media feels like our own version of that, as all hell broke loose over the news that Big Machine Label Group has been acquired by Scooter […]

How to prepare for ‘deepfakes’ of musicians? ‘Above all, have a plan’

A recent video that falsely appeared to show American politician Nancy Pelosi slurring her words as if drunk has brought the issue of ‘deepfakes’ back into the spotlight. Prominent musicians and their teams should be taking note, thinks Gregor Pryor, co-chair of the entertainment and media industry group at law firm Reed Smith – because they […]

Apple’s design guru Jony Ive is leaving the company

“It is the end of an era at Apple,” is how the Financial Times introduced its scoop on the company’s design guru Jony Ive (Sir Jonathan Ive, if we’re being formal) leaving the company. “While I will not be an employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come. This […]

7digital needs £4.5m by the end of July to avoid administration

There’s a stark warning delivered within the latest financial filing for B2B digital-music company 7digital. “The Company currently believe that it still needs to raise Additional Funds of at least £4.5 million by 31 July 2019, failing which it is highly likely that the Company would need to be placed into administration.” This follows the investment of […]

More than 9m people play Candy Crush Saga for 3+ hours a day

British politicians are currently interviewing a range of people from the games industry, as part of a select committee investigation into “immersive and addictive technologies”. Yesterday, an exec from mobile games publisher King gave evidence, with some interesting (or perhaps: quite scary) stats about how people play the game Candy Crush Saga. Alex Dale revealed […]

Twitch launches ‘subscriber streams’ feature in beta

Amazon’s live-video service Twitch is trying a new way to persuade people to stump up cash to support their favourite broadcasters: subscriber streams. Those would be exclusive streams for subscribers only, although casual visitors to a channel will see previews, as a way to persuade them to upgrade. “We could definitely see competitive streamers taking […]

Capital in Music to explore finance for local music rights

The co-founder of Norwegian music firm Arctic Rights Management has announced plans for a new project called Capital in Music. Erik Brataas will be taking a six-month leave from his position at Arctic Rights to lead the initiative. “Capital in Music is a project founded by five different companies in the space of music, finance […]

Spotify’s Soundtrap relaunches free tier with unlimited storage

Soundtrap is the online music-creation software that Spotify acquired in November 2017. Now the company is relaunching its free tier, with the big change being unlimited storage for people’s music or podcast recordings. Until now, that feature was only available for people paying for a subscription. Soundtrap has also bumped up the number of music […]

Publishers slam Peloton over its copyright-infringement defence

Fitness startup Peloton’s decision to respond to music publishers’ copyright-infringement lawsuit with a counter-claim alleging anti-competitive behaviour has – and you may wish to sit down for this bombshell – not gone down well. Peloton had suggested that the publishers had conspired with industry body the NMPA “to fix prices and to engage in a […]

Trisha Yearwood helps celebrate Farmville’s 10th birthday

Here’s an anniversary we didn’t remember was coming: 10 years since the release of FarmVille, the Facebook farming game that established US firm Zynga as an early giant of the social gaming world. Music is part of the birthday celebrations, thanks to a partnership between Zynga and country star Trisha Yearwood. She’ll be appearing in […]

BTS World mobile game launches today with another new track

Today’s the day that BTS fans get to play the band’s new, official mobile game, BTS World. It’s being released by publisher Netmarble as a free download for Android and iOS from this evening (26 June). As we reported previously, the game puts players in the role of BTS’ manager at the start of their career, […]

Guggenheim analysts hail Spotify’s push into podcasts

Spotify’s big podcasts push is eliciting mixed feelings within the music industry, as our recent survey showed: some people worry that it will draw attention (and revenues) away from music, while others think it will help Spotify grow as a platform and thus grow for its music partners. Analysts, meanwhile, are welcoming the development. Business […]

Facebook and Instagram expand their music features to Brazil

Facebook hasn’t just been rolling out UGC-focused music features across its apps in the last year: it has also been expanding those features regularly to new markets. The latest is Brazil, where Facebook and Instagram users can now share music in their videos and posts, as well as using Facebook’s Lip Sync Live feature. “In […]

Cameo raises $50m for its celebrity-shoutouts app

Startup Cameo has an app that lets people pay between $5 and $3k to get personalised video messages from celebrities, including Snoop Dogg – also an investor in the company. Now Cameo has raised a $50m funding round to continue building a business that it claims is currently generating around 300k transactions a month, with the company […]

Former This Is My Jam exec launches AI video-editing app Trash

The Guardian’s piece on the launch of a new app called Trash mentions that it’s from the ‘ex-head of Vine’, but Music Ally also remembers Hannah Donovan as the co-founder of music-discovery site This Is My Jam back in the day. Her new venture isn’t specifically about music, but it could certainly be useful for musicians. Trash […]

Music podcast ‘And The Writer Is…’ passes 2m downloads

One of the quirks of the podcasts market in 2019 is that ‘downloads’ is still an important metric, even as the likes of Spotify and Pandora have made ‘streams’ a bigger part of the market. Still, downloads count, and one of the established music podcasts just announced a new milestone. ‘And The Writer Is…’ is […]

Taylor Swift joins list of artists failing to beat ‘Old Town Road’

There’s a slightly woe-is-me feel to Vanity Fair’s ‘If Taylor Swift Can’t Have a No. 1 Pop Hit in 2019, Can Anyone?’ headline. The correct answer being ‘Yes, Lil Nas X has been having a giant No. 1 pop hit in 2019’. But the article’s point is that Swift is just the latest big pop […]

Hipgnosis reveals its first set of financial results

Music-rights company Hipgnosis has gone on a spree of publishing-catalogue acquisitions over the last year. Now the company has provided an update on its business, through its first set of financial results. They reveal that by the end of March 2019, the company owned (or had a partial stake) in 12 music catalogues, comprising just […]

Chartmetric explores the ‘trigger cities’ of south-east Asia

Earlier this year we wrote about music-analytics firm Chartmetrics’ theory of ‘trigger cities’ capable of propelling tracks to become global hits. Now the company has published a second in its series of blog posts focusing on the region of south-east Asia in this regard. There’s some good data on how Spotify is functioning as a platform in […]

Apple says only 680k Spotify subscribers use in-app purchases

Apple has officially responded to the European Commission, as the latter weighs up whether to launch an investigation based on Spotify’s anti-competition complaint earlier this year. It’s interesting to see the different takes on Apple’s response from different publications. “Spotify boss Daniel Ek might have some explaining to do,” is how MBW introduced its article on the […]

Music Ally China launches this month

Music Ally has been writing about the digital-music market in China for more than a decade, tracing its development from an almost-entirely unlicensed territory through to today, when China is the seventh biggest recorded-music market in the world, with hundreds of millions of people using streaming services from companies like Tencent Music and NetEase. In […]

Replica will help artists ‘license their own voices at scale’

Earlier this year, Australian startup Replica was announced as one of the latest cohort for accelerator Techstars Music: a company using AI “to create the next generation of games, films, music, and other media” providing “millions of ‘Replica’ voice actors on demand”. Now the company has been explaining more about what it does, and how it might be […]

Spotify explains how its ‘Fans Also Like’ feature works

Artists’ profile pages on Spotify include a ‘Fans Also Like’ tab, showing a range of artists considered to be similar to them. How does it work? Well, yes, it’s based on who fans of that artist also like, but Spotify has published a blog post outlining its methodology in a little more detail. “The more fans two […]

AI-music startup Endel releases five new ‘Relax’ albums

Earlier this year, AI-music startup Endel revealed plans to release AI-generated albums through a distribution deal with Warner Music Group. And it definitely *is* a distribution deal: headlines about Endel becoming the first AI to ‘sign to a label’ were wide of the mark. Five albums came out earlier this year: ‘Clear Night’, ‘Rainy Night’, ‘Cloudy Afternoon’, […]

Amazon debuts ‘Handpicked’ artist playlists, starting with Katy Perry

Ice cream. Weepy movies. Three-hour gym sessions. Howling at the moon like a crestfallen wolf. All good ways to respond to being dumped. Or you could listen to Katy Perry’s new ‘Songs About Moving On’ playlist on Amazon Music, of course. It’s the first in a new series of playlists for Amazon under the banner […]

German stream-ripping site Convert2MP3 is shutting down

Forget the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie: it’s stream-ripping websites that are putting Queen on our internal jukebox regularly at the moment. Every few months, another one bites the dust. The latest to bow after being put, ahem, under pressure (sorry, we’ll stop now) is German site Convert2MP3, following legal action from industry bodies IFPI and BVMI. […]

Spotify’s relationship with publishers hits the rocks – again

A new Spotify / music publishing story broke on Friday, but there’s a bigger picture here: the increasingly-dispiriting story of the streaming service’s approach towards the publishing community, as well as the perception of Spotify by those publishers and songwriters. At a time when recorded-music revenues are going from strength to strength, what’s happening around […]

Latest ‘deepfake’ project animates photos to sing

We enjoyed The Verge’s take on a new research project capable of turning a photo and an audio file into a singing / talking video portrait. “Finally, technology that can make Rasputin sing like Beyoncé.” It’s what we’ve all been waiting for! Or at least making Rasputin sing Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’, which would be suitably meta. Anyway, […]

Afriquency launches Africa-focused music-streaming playlists

A team working within African music distributor Africori has launched a series of playlists for global streaming services, which focus on music from Africa. The team is Afriquency, and its playlists include Afro Fresh Friday, Afro Vybz, La Fête (focusing on Francophone African music) and The New Collective (which focuses on emerging artists. “Africa is […]

Music industry comes together to tackle ‘stream manipulation’

Music Ally really has been trying not to go too far down the Donald Trump road of slinging the word ‘fake’ willy-nilly. That said, in the last two years we’ve ended up reporting on ‘fake artists’ (who turned out to be production-music artists releasing their work commercially); ‘fake uploads’ (from people repackaging old and/or unreleased […]

Gaana may split premium features into cheaper subscriptions

Indian music-streaming service Gaana is planning to test cheaper subscription options that separate out some of the features from its current premium tier. That’s according to CEO Prashan Agarwal, in an interview with the BusinessLine website. “We need to de-couple Gaana Plus offerings. Currently, there are three key benefits that a user gets from Gaana Plus: ad-free […]

Spotify CEO says Libra currency could help listeners ‘pay artists directly’

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new blockchain-powered currency called Libra, and a digital wallet for it called Calibra. Spotify was among the companies backing the plans by becoming a founder member of the independent Libra Association. Now Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has been talking about his hopes for Libra, including the suggestion that it […]

Questions and criticism emerge for Facebook’s Libra currency

Facebook launching its own global currency was bound to provoke some criticism, and some close scrutiny of exactly what the social network is planning and how it will work. Three pieces are worth your attention today to understand how the initiative – backed by Spotify, as we reported earlier in the week – is being […]

Universal Music works with YouTube to remaster old music videos

Universal Music Group is following in the Spice Girls’ footsteps – not a sentence we ever expected to write in a Music Ally story – by remastering some classic videos for YouTube viewers in 2019. The Spice Girls, if you remember, started replacing their grainy old videos with spiffing new 4K-quality ones earlier this year. Now […]

MelodyVR reveals beta smartphone app and ‘Viewer’ hardware

One of the things holding back music virtual-reality startups so far as been the slower-than-expected growth of VR-headset ownership. Now startup MelodyVR is making moves to tackle that challenge. First: it’s launched a closed beta of its app for Android and iOS devices, with plans for a commercial launch this summer. It’ll offer the company’s […]

Marshmello and Ninja to star at Metarama music / esports festival

Music Ally has been talking for a while about the potential for live events combining music and esports. We’ve already seen music performances at major esports tournaments, of course, while MTV tested an esports/music festival in Singapore last year called Hyperplay. Now two of the more prominent figures in recent games/music crossovers – Tyler ‘Ninja’ […]

Idagio-commissioned study explores classical streaming potential

A report claiming that classical music could be ‘streaming’s next genre’ comes with an important caveat – to its credit, one that’s openly stated – that it was commissioned by a classical-music streaming service. Idagio enlisted research company Midia Research to survey 8,000 adult music consumers across eight countries, including the US, UK and Germany. […]

Indies prepare for battle over Vivendi’s UMG sell-off plans

Vivendi appears to be paving the way for its planned sell-off of up to 50% of Universal Music Group to happen in 2020 rather than this year. That’s the gist, at least, of comments made by chairman Yannick Bolloré in an interview with Bloomberg (and reported on by Billboard) maintaining that the plans are proceeding smoothly. […]

Amazon’s Twitch has acquired venerable social network Bebo

Here’s a generational test: do you remember Bebo? Did you have a profile on it? The social network’s heyday, in western Europe at least, was in 2006-2008, before an $850m acquisition by AOL that coincided neatly with Facebook’s emergence to leave Bebo trailing in its wake. Yet Bebo has continued to exist, through further acquisitions, […]

Teespring teams up with Twitch for new merch partnership

We know Teespring well for its work with music companies and artists around merchandise, but it also has a thriving business making merch for ‘creators’ – social and livestreaming-video stars. That’s more the focus for its latest announcement: a new partnership with Amazon’s live-video platform Twitch. It’ll enable viewers of Twitch streams to buy merchandise […]

Mobile music-video creation app Voisey raises funding round

Voisey is a music-making app that gets people to sing or rap over pre-produced beats, then create one-minute videos (including split-screen duets) to share with friends. Think Smule’s Sing! Karaoke meets TikTok. Voisey soft-launched in Norway in December 2018, then in the UK in January 2019, with plans to debut in the US this summer. The […]

Roli launches Kickstarter for Lumi educational instrument

British startup Roli has launched a series of inventive musical instruments. Its latest has been unveiled with a Kickstarter pre-orders campaign. The instrument is called Lumi, which is pitched as “the illuminated keyboard, app and song library that lets you play great songs and learn as you go”. You might compare it to music game Guitar […]

SOCAN set a new record for royalty payouts in 2018

Perhaps we should start asking some pointed questions to any collecting society or label that *isn’t* announcing record royalties and/or payouts. New milestones are being set by the week in 2019, it seems. Canadian collecting society SOCAN is the latest example. In 2018 it paid out $320m to its members, representing 8% year-on-year growth, although […]

Hopeless Records boss claims fake streams may cost $300m a year

A Rolling Stone headline claiming that ‘fake streams could be costing artists $300 million a year’ could be seen as over-egging its story, given that the source is a single indie-label boss citing anonymous sources. Still, Hopeless Records founder Louis Posen *is* making a useful contribution to the debate about the scale of ‘fake streams’ […]

Merlin CEO steps down after another record payouts year

The boss of indie licensing agency Merlin will step down at the end of 2019. Charles Caldas revealed the news yesterday, having led the organisation since its earliest days in 2007. It’s an amicable life-choice decision, with plenty of praise for Caldas’ work in its wake. “Merlin and the whole independent community owe Charles a […]

The truth starts to emerge about Genius / Google lyrics row

The blame game continues in the row over how lyrics from Genius, complete with their unique apostrophe patterns, found their way into Google’s lyric search results. Genius had its say to the Wall Street Journal for the article that brought the argument to public notice, but now Google and one of its key lyrics partners, LyricFind, […]

Wondery talks music and podcasts: ‘This really is its own medium’

Podcast production studio Wondery was founded in 2016, and is best known for shows including Dirty John – recently made into a Netflix TV series – American History, Business Wars and Dr Death. Wondery is also one of the biggest independent podcast publishers in the US, with a monthly audience of 7.4 million Americans in March 2019, and […]

Snapchat original-show viewing has tripled in last year

In recent times, Snapchat has tended to come off worse in comparisons with Instagram, particularly when it comes to active users. There are now at least some bright spots: in Snapchat’s slate of original TV-style shows. One of them, ‘Endless Summer’ attracted 28 million viewers for its first season last year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. […]

Roxi, formerly Electric Jukebox, still planning US launch

British music-streaming / hardware startup Electric Jukebox was announced in October 2015, and launched in November 2016 in its home country – although it postponed its planned debut in the US citing Spotify’s songwriter lawsuits as the reason. Then, in August 2017, the company revealed a new product called Roxi and suggested that it would go public in 2018. Fast forward […]

Spotify explains why it’s backing Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency

The recent leaks were correct: music-streaming Spotify is on board as one of the first backers of Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency. The social network will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020, complete with a wallet developed by the company’s new Calibra subsidiary. And backing all this is The Libra Association, which Facebook says will […]

Capitol Music Group is building its own game-streaming studio

Fresh from launching a compilation album with gaming star Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, Capitol Music Group is now building a studio in its Los Angeles HQ to help musicians follow in his game-streaming footsteps. “Because we know our artists have an affinity to game, we’re going to build out a streaming studio at Capitol Records in […]

37% of US adults now mainly use smartphones to go online

The Pew Research Center has put out some new stats on Americans’ internet use: and specifically on their mobile internet use. “Today, 37% of U.S. adults say they mostly use a smartphone when accessing the internet. This share has nearly doubled since 2013,” it explained. “At that point, 19% of Americans named their smartphone as their primary […]

Spotify will now help advertisers target podcast listeners

Spotify’s latest feature for brands advertising on its service is ‘podcast listener targeting’. It launched in 10 countries on Friday: the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia. “With this feature, enterprise brand marketers will be able to reach Spotify Free users who have listened to podcasts on Spotify, verified by […]

Kickstarter’s Drip follow-up has been canned before launch

Crowdfunding platform Drip began life as a project out of independent label Ghostly International: a way for indie labels and artists to raise money from fans through ongoing subscriptions. In early 2016 its founders announced plans to shut it down, before crowdfunding company Kickstarter swooped in to acquire it, with promises of a relaunch. That came in […]

Report claims Spotify is backing Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

Facebook has quietly (bar the odd leak) been working on its own cryptocurrency initiative for some time now. Reports suggest it will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 17 June), complete with a consortium of partners offering governance for Facebook’s new coin, called The Libra Association. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that financial firms including […]

Oana Ruxandra to be WMG biz-dev lead as Ron Wilcox leaves

Oana Ruxandra will be Warner Music Group’s new lead of business development for recorded music, reporting directly in to CEO Steve Cooper. “A talented negotiator and collaborative leader, Oana has a first-class strategic brain and keen sense of how to get deals done swiftly and effectively,” wrote Cooper in an email to colleagues. “Oana, along […]

The best music podcasts in 2019

There are a number of popular genres in the podcasts market: true crime, comedy, sports, politics and technology among them. But music is also a thriving genre, with a variety of sub-formats exploring songs, artists and the culture around music. We’ve chosen some of the most popular and/or inventive shows, which make a great starting […]

Ryan Tedder slams artists who take undeserved songwriting credits

Complaints about artists taking an unmerited share of songwriting royalties on songs written for them aren’t new: the phrase ‘change a word, get a third’ has been around for years. Now songwriter Ryan Tedder has come out swinging against the practice, in a speech at the National Music Publishers’ Association’s annual meeting. “In the entire […]

Mixcloud breaks down its revenue-sharing model for curators

Streaming service Mixcloud launched its Mixcloud Select program in December 2018, enabling listeners to subscribe to individual curators (or channels) for a monthly fee of $2.99 or above. Now the company has been explaining how the revenues are shared out, in a blog post noting the fact that Mixcloud’s direct licensing deals “identify the ‘long form […]

LiveXLive reports $9.2m of revenues but a $9.7m loss in Q1

Music firm LiveXLive, which focuses on streaming concerts as well as its Slacker audio-streaming service, has published its latest quarterly financial results. The company’s revenues grew by 29% year-on-year to $9.2m in the first quarter of 2019, although its net loss grew too: from $9.5m in Q1 2018 to $9.7m last quarter. LiveXLive also says that […]

Spotify rolls out its new Library design to premium users

Some Spotify subscribers have had its mobile app’s redesigned ‘Your Library’ screen for a while now, but as of yesterday it began rolling out to all of the service’s premium users. As we reported before, the screen now has two main tabs, ‘Music’ and ‘Podcasts’, with the latter providing an easier way for people to […]

The challenge for music and podcasts: “Rights are a disaster’

There are big opportunities for the music industry in podcasts, but one of the big barriers is licensing: the cost and complexity for podcasters of securing the rights to actually play music in their shows. This was one of the clearest points made last night at the BPI and Music Ally’s ‘Pod Only Knows’ event […]

Facebook Watch videos attract 140m daily active users

Facebook has published an update on Facebook Watch, the section of the social network devoted to premium videos. “We launched Watch globally less than a year ago, and there are now more than 720 million people monthly and 140 million people daily who spend at least one minute in Watch. On average, the daily visitors spend more […]

Fortnite publisher Epic Games buys social-video app Houseparty

Having raised a $1.25bn funding round, and with its Fortnite game continuing to be a licence to print money, publisher Epic Games is on the acquisition trail. It recently bought Psyonix, the developer of popular game Rocket League. Now it has diversified into social media. Epic has bought startup Houseparty, whose “face-to-face social network” is […]

Bastille get an online ‘Doom Days House’ for fans to explore

“Escape the harsh realities of the world,” suggests a new website launched for British band Bastille. With 2019 being what it is, that’s a good pitch: time for some light-hearted, sweet content that… Oh wait. “Step into the Doom Days house.” Perhaps not so light-hearted then. But it’s a fun marketing campaign for the band’s […]

Amazon revamps Echo Dot Kids speaker despite privacy concerns

Amazon has launched a new version of its Echo Dot Kids smart speaker, which was originally released in April 2018. The new version is louder and comes in new colours like ‘Frost Blue’ and ‘Rainbow’. The $70 device will also include a year’s subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime service, which gathers child-friendly content and Alexa skills. Amazon […]

Pandora now has its own ‘audio consultancy’ for advertisers

Streaming service Pandora wants brands to make better, more effective ads for its platform. It’s latest move to help them do that is the creation of an in-house ‘audio consultancy’ called Studio Resonate. It’ll work with advertisers on “audio creative development, sonic branding and strategy services, as well as visual design, rich media production, web / […]

CISAC says SGAE expulsion was ‘regrettable but essential’

In May this year, the general assembly of collecting-societies body CISAC voted to expel Spanish society SGAE, temporarily, in the wake of the long-running controversy around ‘The Wheel’ (a system that saw some of the society’s members’ music played through the night on some Spanish TV channels, boosting their performance royalties). Now CISAC’s director-general Gadi […]

Analyst claims Apple Music could be worth up to $20bn

“Apple Music could be worth more than half of Spotify if Apple is forced to divest it to comply with antitrust-related actions,” claims a report on financial news site Barrons. Which, we have to say, is an extremely big ‘if’ right up front: thus far, complaints about Apple giving its own music-streaming service an advantage over rivals […]

Spotify targets US commuters with playlist of podcasts and music

Spotify has unveiled its latest algo-personalised playlist, Your Daily Drive, which is aimed at commuters in the US. “Music and news” is its thing: a mixture of familiar and new songs based on the tastes of each listener, but also “short-form podcast news updates” from outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NPR and PRI. Spotify says […]

Jaxsta launches open beta of its music-credits database

Startup Jaxsta has been working on a huge database of music credits – from artists and songwriters to producers and engineers – for four years now. This week, the project has launched a public beta for music fans and industry folk alike to poke around. “We are proud to unveil what promises to be the world’s largest […]

Distributor DistroKid steps up its fight against fake uploaders

After a spate of old and/or leaked songs from famous artists making their way onto streaming services without their permission, distributors are taking action. DistroKid has just revealed a partnership with audio-fingerprinting firm Audible Magic that will see it checking new uploads from artists to make sure they’re original. But what about recordings that have […]

Swedish data-protection authority launches Spotify GDPR investigation

There may be trouble brewing for Spotify in its home country, with the Swedish data-protection authority (Datainspektionen) launching a review of how Spotify handles requests for people to see what information it holds about them. “The authority has become aware that there may be some shortcomings in how the company handles registry extracts, including that […]

Mobile games are 10% of app time but 74% of app spending

More games stats? We got ‘em! Well, analytics firm App Annie has got ‘em, at least. It’s published some new data on the mobile games market, as a sub-sector of mobile apps. “33% of all mobile downloads and 10% of time spent on mobile are now games,” explained the company in its latest blog post. […]

VC Mary Meeker publishes her 2019 Internet Trends report

US venture-capital exec Mary Meeker has, for many years now, published an annual slide deck on ‘Internet Trends’. Despite their famous length – this year’s, which was published yesterday, is 333 slides long – the reports are pored over by startups and fellow VCs alike, as an annual state-of-tech roundup of trends and stats. There isn’t […]

Beats online-store BeatStars has paid out $50m so far

BeatStars is one of the websites where artists and producers can go to buy beats to use in their new tracks, and it’s currently enjoying a spell in the limelight thanks to being the source for the beat in Lil Nas X’s global chart-topper ‘Old Town Road’. The company has also announced a new milestone: […]

AIMP conference offers new stats on indie publishing business

This week saw the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) in the US hold its latest Indie Music Publishing Summit in New York. The event included a presentation with Massarsky Consulting offering some new stats on independent publishers’ businesses. Among them: the news that performance royalties were 50% of indie publishers’ revenues in 2018 (at […]

Spotify criticised for its ‘big mood machine’ business

Journalist Liz Pelly has emerged as one of the more thoughtful (without pulling any punches) critics of Spotify: for example her examination of the gender skews of its big playlists last June, or her look at the ‘streambait pop’ sound last December. Her latest article takes aim at Spotify’s “Big Mood Machine” – the service’s ecosystem of mood-focused playlists – and […]

Radiohead release 18 hours of OK Computer demos after hack

As sales pitches for an £18 digital album go, “It’s not v interesting / there’s a lot of it”, takes some beating. The download is actually an archive of 18 of Thom Yorke’s archived MiniDiscs from the mid 1990s. A blog post on the band’s website explained: “We got hacked last week – someone stole Thom’s minidisk […]

Redpill VR and Sensorium raise $70m for VR music concerts

Music and virtual reality? It’s a creatively-exciting crossover, but commercially it has yet to make a significant impact, with the clutch of music-VR startups’ prospects tied closely to the (slower than the hype predicted) growth of VR-headset ownership. Music game Beat Saber’s million-plus sales are a bright spot, but otherwise there’s a strong sense that […]

Global spend on gaming reached $132bn in 2018 says Futuresource

Amid the hubbub of the E3 games conference in Los Angeles this week, research firm Futuresource Consulting has put out some new numbers on the global games market. They are, unsurprisingly, huge. The company claims that in 2018, global consumer spend on games software reached $132bn, including $63bn on mobile games and $28bn on console games. Other […]

Facebook to launch new models of its Portal smart display

Facebook launched its first Portal smart speakers – or rather, smart displays, since they came with screens – in October 2018. The 10 and 15-inch screened devices went on sale first in the US, using Amazon’s Alexa for their voice-control features, with support for Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio on the music-streaming side. Facebook hasn’t yet announced […]

Imagine Dragons launch 10-track song-pack for Beat Saber game

Virtual-reality music game Beat Saber has been one of the success stories in VR so far. Released in May 2018, it sold its millionth copy in February this year. Now it’s going down the traditional Guitar Hero / Rock Band route of selling music in-game, in partnership with artists and labels. Yesterday, the band Imagine Dragons released […]

British music industry to launch new trade-mission to India

British music-industry bodies the BPI, AIM and MPA – along with the UK’s Department for International Trade (DTI) – are launching their latest trade mission to India. It’ll take place from 26-30 August, coinciding with the All About Music event in Mumbai. It’s the fifth year for the mission, which is open to artists, managers, promoters, […]

Bad Bunny and Nicky Jam on board for Spotify Viva Latino gig

Spotify’s efforts to take its big playlist brands into the physical world continue. On 30 August, it will hold the latest in its ‘¡Viva Latino! Live’ series of concerts, based on its flagship Latin playlist. Bad Bunny and Nicky Jam will headline the concert in Miami. It’s also the first time that ‘superfans’ of the […]

TikTok now has 120 million monthly active users in India

2019 has brought some bumps to TikTok’s progress in India, including a brief removal of its app from Google and Apple’s app stores in April. However, the social video app is now firing on all cylinders again in India, telling the Economic Times that it has 200 million users in the country, of which 120 million are […]

Researchers reveal tech to modify talking-head videos by editing text

A team of researchers at Stanford University have been showing off technology that they’ve created to perform “text-based editing of videos of talking heads”. What that means is, for a video of someone shot from the shoulders up talking about something, what they’re saying can be changed simply by editing its script. “The application uses […]

Spotify repeats ‘Sound Up’ podcasts program for women of colour

Last year, Spotify ran a New York accelerator program called ‘SoundUp’ for women of colour with ambitions to launch their own podcasts. It has since been repeated elsewhere in the world. Now it’s heading back to New York for its second year. 10 women will be chosen for the five-day program, with a panel of […]

Melodrive launches 24-hour Twitch channel of AI-generated music

Painting, Doctor Who and crowds playing Pokémon have all attracted healthy audiences on Amazon’s Twitch live-video service. Could round-the-clock AI-generated piano music be the platform’s next craze? Okay, it lacks the star (whether human or animated-monster) quality of those past trends, but music-AI startup Melodrive is giving it a whirl anyway. It has launched ‘Twitch plays Melodrive’, […]

MelodyVR gets into Broadway theatre content with John Gore

Users of music virtual-reality app MelodyVR should be getting ready for more tappy feet and jazz-hands in their headsets over the coming months. The company has announced a deal with Broadway-musicals firm The John Gore Organisation (JGO). The pair will be creating a new joint venture to produce Broadway theatre content for VR, with JGO investing £5m […]

Study asks Harvard lawyers for their attitudes towards piracy

What do “elite upcoming lawyers from around the world” really think about file-sharing and copyright? A new study based on a survey of international LL.M. (Masters of Law) students at Harvard University has been trying to find out. “We expected lawyers to take highly conservative ethical positions on the issue of online copyright infringement,” wrote the […]

NetEase’s Mathew Daniel talks China, artists and publishing as ketchup

Mathew Daniel, VP international at Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music, has criticised collecting societies while suggesting that direct payments to publishers could be a better model in China. “I have an analogy. Publishing is like a tomato-ketchup bottle. We are in the 21st century, and we are all still struggling with it,” said Daniel […]

Esports and TikTok on the marketing agenda at Midem

There were some fun panels at the Midem conference yesterday, including an appearance from musician TheFatRat, the first signing to Universal Music and ESL’s Enter Records label. “I don’t see that I have to please two companies. I see that two companies have to please me! Which I think is a great thing. I see […]

Skepta gets his own streaming heat-map for fans to see

One of the features artists and labels have most appreciated in Apple Music’s beta analytics are the ‘heat-maps’ of their streams, showing activity around the world. Now The Orchard is taking the idea and using it in a fan-facing marketing campaign for British grime star Skepta. His “streaming heat map” website is available to all, […]

Mobile phones will beat TV for Americans’ time this year

Research firm eMarketer has predicted a tipping point for Americans’ entertainment habits this year. “For the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV, with smartphone use dominating that time spent,” claimed the company, in its latest data-release. “The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes […]

YouTube cracks down on videos with supremacist content

YouTube is one of the platforms most under pressure to tackle hate content in 2019, and yesterday it announced its latest moves. “Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, […]

New Avicii album will be premiered in Oculus’ virtual reality

The late dance star Avicii (Tim Bergling) is getting his first posthumous album release this year: ‘TIM’. Facebook has announced that its Oculus virtual-reality division will be running a premiere of the new album on 6 June, through its Oculus Venues app. “We’re honoured to partner with Avicii Music and Geffen Records to bring the […]

Chartmetric debuts Cross-Platform Performance metric for artists

Music analytics firm Chartmetric has a new acronym to shout about: CPP. It stands for Cross-Platform Performance, and it’s an attempt to provide a single metric that measures an artist’s performance across music-streaming services, social media platforms and other digital entities. In a detailed blog post explaining how the new metric is calculated, Chartmetric said […]

Universal Music inks strategic deal with AI startup Super Hi-Fi

Music Ally first wrote about startup Super Hi-Fi in September 2018, when it announced a partnership with The Associated Press “to transform AP’s daily global news content into audio-based stories that can be seamlessly embedded into any digital music service partner”. The company’s focus is on “the space between the songs” on streaming services, with technology […]

Report: Apple is opening up Siri to other music services

One of the music-related antitrust complaints about Apple concerns how open (or not) its Siri voice-assistant is to streaming services that aren’t Apple Music. “Apple won’t allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won’t let us connect with Siri to play your jams,” claimed the website Spotify set up to support its European complaint against […]

Goldman Sachs: annual streaming revenues will be $37.2bn in 2030

When Goldman Sachs published its ‘Music In The Air’ report in 2017, predicting trade revenues from paid streaming of $28bn by 2030, it sparked excitement and controversy in equal measure – the latter once people wondered which Goldman Sachs clients would most benefit from sky-high predictions. Keep your pinch of salt handy, then, for the […]

Study claims music was 20% of all YouTube views in 2018

When the music industry criticises YouTube for the royalties generated by music videos, it’s driven by the assumption that music drives a LOT of YouTube viewing. But that’s often just what it is: an assumption, without much hard data to back it up. With that in mind, a new study by video and music analytics firm […]

Dina LaPolt gives Spotify a roasting over songwriter royalties appeal

The ears of senior Spotify execs will surely have been burning this afternoon, as veteran lawyer Dina LaPolt took the company to task in her Midem keynote over its appeal against new songwriter royalty rates in the US. Spotify was not the only streaming service to appeal: Pandora, Amazon and Google are too. But LaPolt, […]

Midemlab 2019: experiential technologies startup pitches

The Midemlab startups contest is taking place at Midem today, and the fourth and final category was for experiential technologies startups. The jury for this category included Google’s Christian Behrendt; TheLynk’s Yvan Boudillet; Station F’s Marine Wetzel; Kuack Media Group’s Juan Francisco Saavedra Plata; and GP Bullhound’s Alon Kuperman. The post Midemlab 2019: experiential technologies startup […]

Midemlab 2019: music marketing and data/analytics startup pitches

The Midemlab startups contest is taking place at Midem today, and the third category was for marketing and data/analytics startups. The jury for this category included Music Ally’s Paul Brindley; OneRagtime’s Stéphanie Hospital; Warner Music’s Tiago Correia; Q&A’s Suzy Ryoo; France Digitale’s Nicolas Brien; and Soundcharts’ David Weiszfeld. The post Midemlab 2019: music marketing and data/analytics […]

Midemlab 2019: Music distribution and discovery pitches

The second pitch session in this year’s Midemlab startups contest focused on music distribution and discovery startups. Disclosure: Music Ally was involved in choosing the finalists for this year’s contest. The jury for this session included Bluenove co-founder Martin Duval; Recochoku CTO Mikio Inari; Capitol Music Group VP of business development Ching-Ching Chen; Deezer’s Alexander […]

UK industry bodies launch survey on impact of PledgeMusic collapse

The slow-motion collapse of crowdfunding firm PledgeMusic has yielded a number of tales of artists owed money by the company, but now a group of UK music-industry bodies are trying to get a better picture of the effects. The Musicians’ Union is hosting an ‘impact assessment survey’ that will run until 25 June, supported by *takes deep […]

YouTube adds more ticketing features through AXS partnership

YouTube continues to build up the concert-ticketing features within its service. The latest example is a partnership with ticketing firm AXS, focused on the US. “Fans watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels will now see listings from AXS events included on the video page,” explained YouTube. “Taking the jump to the live experience is easier than […]

Midemlab 2019: music creation and education startup pitches

The Midemlab startups contest has become a key part of the annual Midem conference in Cannes. Today, this year’s finalists in four categories are pitching their technology and business models to panels of jurors, as well as the Midem audience. Music Ally is here – disclosure: we’re a partner for Midemlab, helping to choose the finalists […]

Troy Carter talks distribution and the ‘false narrative’ around DIY artists

He’s been Lady Gaga’s manager and Spotify’s global head of creator services, but Troy Carter is now co-founder and CEO of Q&A, a new music company focusing on distribution, management and label services for artists. Today, he was also a keynoter at the Midem industry conference, interviewed on-stage by journalist Cherie Hu. The conversation saw […]

Next for music subscriptions: new markets, diversity and rethinking value

The music industry made around $7.1bn from streaming subscriptions in 2018, according to industry body the IFPI. That was 32.9% year-on-year growth, with subscriptions generating 37% of global recorded-music revenues. How can the music industry (and the streaming services) build on that growth in the coming years? What will drive the next spikes in paid […]

What’s next for smart speakers? Metabait, Antitrust and ‘limitless’ discovery

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, 86.2m smart speakers were shipped in 2018, up from 32m the year before. Meanwhile, rival Canalys reckons that the global install-base will be 207.8m by the end of 2019. Oh, and the same company thinks that China has just overtaken the US as the biggest market for these devices. […]

Are Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube the new record labels?

Spotify is signing direct licensing deals with some artists and testing the ability to allow others to upload directly to its platform. YouTube and Apple Music are creating content and putting marketing budget behind artists. And Apple Music has also acquired Platoon, the British startup which helped a number of emerging artists to develop, including […]

Gully Boy inspiration Divine talks hip-hop, India and independence

The film Gully Boy has been a huge hit in India, and it’s also reflected the emergence of an exciting new independent hip-hop scene in the country – something journalist Amit Gurbaxani wrote about for Music Ally in September 2018. Gully Boy is inspired by real-life rappers Divine and Naezy, and Divine (aka Vivian Fernandes) was […]

Music streaming in 2019: radio rivalry, Spotify sustainability and ‘west versus east’

Streaming was the big driver behind the recorded-music industry’s 9.7% growth in 2018, according to the IFPI. In fact, streaming revenues grew by 34% to $8.9bn, accounting for 47% of the global total. At the end of 2018, there were 255 million users of paid streaming subscriptions, up from 176 million at the end of 2017. […]

TheFatRat on music and esports: ‘The potential is growing every year’

TheFatRat is a German dance artist and producer (real name Christian Büttner) who’s also one of the early musicians to get involved in the world of esports – professional gaming. In November 2018, he was announced as the first artist to be signed to Enter Records, the label joint-venture founded by Universal Music and esports organisation ESL. Büttner […]

Report predicts Apple will soon retire its iTunes software

Apple is killing iTunes! So said dozens of headlines this weekend, which all lead back to a single sentence in a Bloomberg article claiming that “The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes”. It follows up with “Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple […]

T-Series hits 100m subscribers on YouTube

We have been writing about T-Series, the Indian label and film production company that specialises in Bollywood soundtracks, for several years but have been most intrigued by its move onto YouTube, especially as it began to overtake PewDiePie in terms of channel subscribers (although that got very, very ugly on PewDiePie’s side). Now T-Series has just passed 100m subscribers, […]

Tidal has lots of things up its sleeve for the exclusive on Prince’s new album.

Remember streaming exclusives? Everyone seems to have given up on them. Well, everyone except Tidal. It has announced that it has the exclusive on Originals, a posthumous album from Prince containing a number of unheard demos from the legendary artist, and it will be on the streaming service from 7th June. It appears this will […]

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

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

Flighthouse CEO Jacob Pace talks TikTok, music and virality

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

Vizu.al pitches merits of embedding videos in email marketing

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

Podcasts and music: the opportunities… and the annoyances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Label Rehegoo Music Group launches background-music service

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

HoloMe launches AR music video for Warner Music artist Amir

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

Mixtapes website MixTape Monkey says it has 11m listeners

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

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

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

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

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

Delic rights-management startup prepares for autumn beta launch

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

Linkfire targets independent artists with new membership plans

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

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

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

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

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

Arctic Rights Management hits 2.5bn streams milestone

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

China has now overtaken the US for smart-speaker shipments

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

The ‘impermanent social internet’ may be our online future

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

Startup Oben is making ‘personal artificial intelligences’

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

TikTok parent Bytedance launches Feiliao messaging app

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

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

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

China’s music industry discusses social music-promotion

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

BandLab buys British music-media brands NME and Uncut

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

Spotify Car Thing hardware streams music and podcasts to drivers

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

Spotify encourages artists to create their own podcasts

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

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

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

Revelator launches its digital-wallet app for musicians

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

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

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

Australian labels win blocks against stream-ripping websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gimme Radio launches its second music service: Gimme Country

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

Ticketmaster launches ‘SafeTix’ feature for digital tickets

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

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

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

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

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

BBC promises to build ‘public-service’ recommendation algorithm

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

Beatport launches Beatport Link subscription service for DJs

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

Spotify’s Soundtrap cloud-studio moves into podcast creation

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

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

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

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

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

Anjunabeats clears 350 tracks for use in Twitch livestreams

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

Soundstripe raises $4m for video music-licensing business

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

Spotify tests ‘Storyline’ feature for artists’ stories

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

Tencent Music now has 28.4m paying users for online music

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

YouTube makes an artist spotlight story for Maren Morris

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

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

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

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber break Spotify daily-streams record

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

Rolling Stone delays public-beta launch of its daily charts

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

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

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

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

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

UK Music boss calls for investigation into PledgeMusic collapse

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

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

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

Will Article 17 have unintended consequences for musicians?

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

Spotify tests making podcasts more prominent in mobile app

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

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

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

UK survey reveals ‘hidden barriers’ for disabled musicians

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

Record label 777 Music launches its own esports offshoot

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

Create Music Group’s new app will manage songwriting splits

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

Incoming Recording Academy boss promises ‘new perspective’

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

PledgeMusic co-founder confirms imminent administration

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

Report claims Google has 15m paying music subscribers

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

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

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

Facebook boosts original content in its rankings

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

Google will offer users greater privacy and restrict cookie usage

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

How music companies are gaming streaming with “playlist stuffing”

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

Rolling Stone creates new US chart

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

WMG sees streaming push up recorded numbers but publishing slips

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

Music service Wynk loses statutory licensing case in India

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

BBC plans Alexa rival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PledgeMusic goes into pre-administration: report

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

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

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

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

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

Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage signs global deal with UMG

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

YouTube Coachella festival livestream generated 82m views

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

Spotify is testing voice-enabled ads in the US

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

Midem reveals finalists for its 2019 Midemlab startups contest

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

Research project compares Spotify and radio for breaking hits

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

Games consolidation as Fortnite publisher buys Rocket League developer

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

Hulu reveals latest milestone and ‘binge advertising experience’

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

Next Clio Music awards submission deadline is 17 May

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

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

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

Amazon launches Alexa in-skill purchasing internationally

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

RAC and Goldroom launch a blockchain record label

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook f8 event kicks off with more privacy promises

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

Audzilla app will blend fans’ concert videos with HD audio

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

Artists will be part of Instagram’s new shopping feature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Japanese white-label ticketing startup Zaiko raises funding

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

Gaana CEO targets 600m Indian music-streamers by 2022

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

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

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

Artists need ‘meaningful patronage’ in 2019 beyond streams

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

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

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

Nao gets a Microsoft-powered interactive music video

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

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

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

Could streaming services offer ‘creator support’ for artists?

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

PRS for Music boss puts Fortnite on notice after record collections

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

Wellbeing survey of independent musicians finds worrying results

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

Spotify now has 100 million premium subscribers

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

OpenAI launches MuseNet, the latest music-generating AI

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

The Dirt biopic fuelled surge in streams of Mötley Crüe music

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

Help Musicians UK steps up fundraising after spending increase

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

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

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

Facebook financials strong despite looming multi-billion fine

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

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

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

Childish Gambino gets his own Google-powered multiplayer AR app

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

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

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

Paramore star complains about Spotify / Genius lyrics feature

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

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

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

MLC debate continues in the US with calls for more information

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

Apple CEO renews his call for more regulation of big tech

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

Twitter and Snapchat publish their latest financial results

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

Piracy-tracking firm Muso raises £3.5m more funding

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

Napster wants to power more music-streaming services in Asia

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

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

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

Blood on the Dance Floor music is removed from Spotify

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

Sylvia Rhone gets Epic promotion and Midem keynote slot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook is working on its own Alexa-style voice assistant

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

Bandcamp launches vinyl-pressing service for artists and labels

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

Reminder: the perils of marketing singles to free streamers

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

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

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

European Parliament backs continent-wide ticket-bot ban

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

Tumblr has launched a dedicated hub for K-Pop music

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

Lawyers outline ‘messy questions’ around AI-created music

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

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

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

Beyoncé drops surprise live-album to accompany Netflix special

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

Universal Music to develop original shows with podcast firm Wondery

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

Netflix added 9.6m subscribers in the first quarter of 2019

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

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

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

Blueprint Radio launches podcast-plugging service for artists

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

Fuga joins preferred-distributor lists of Spotify and Apple Music

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

CD Baby will use Audible Magic to spot infringing music

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok downloads blocked in India after government request

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor Swift kicks off teaser campaign for 26 April 2019

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

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

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

Instagram launches a photo-filter dedicated to Billie Eilish

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

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

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

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

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

Curve Royalty Systems launches new music-accounting platform

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

Twitch Sings karaoke game launches with ‘thousands’ of songs

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

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

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

Amazon under fire after report on teams listening to Alexa users

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

Could podcast listening be more social? Castbox thinks so

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

YouTube has introduced new metrics to judge video success

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

eMarketer sees Snapchat declining in popularity in the US too

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

Project Wave app aims to blend private messaging with music

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

Requestify is the latest spin on social, digital jukeboxes

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

Instrumental signs data partnership with Coda for talent spotting and development

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

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

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

YouTube programming gets interactive

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

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

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

Lush Cosmetics switches off social media in UK

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

MicTurn takes the idea of open-mic concerts online

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

Jam Session app hopes to spark social co-listening

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

Former Facebook Portal designer working on Renaissance startup

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

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

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

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

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

Spotify Ad Studio adds advanced streaming conversion metrics

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

XITE launches new music video platform in US

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

YouTube Music hits 3m downloads in one week in India

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

UMG licenses to uduX, a new Nigerian music streaming service

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

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

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

The Chris Bevington Foundation aims to transform lives through music

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

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

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

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo under investigation over online gaming subscriptions

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

Lizzo and Jameela Jamil talk body positivity on Instagram

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

TikTok wants to break new acts via Spotlight

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

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

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

Legacy Entertainment Ventures wants to turn stars into VCs

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

Snapchat gets the Bitmoji Party party started

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

Instagram is pinching Snapchat’s users in the UK

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

2019 Midem Artist Accelerator finalists revealed

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

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

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

Deezer has a new VP of artist marketing: Nigel Harding

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

Google Assistant can now talk like musician John Legend

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

Esperanza Spalding drove fans from Facebook / Instagram to Spotify

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

Google steps up artist migration from Google Play Music

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

Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio to shut down

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

YouTube names 11 independent artists for 2019 Foundry class

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

iHeartMedia files for IPO and reveals figures for iHeartRadio

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

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

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

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

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

Deezer launches dedicated K-Pop channel after 157% growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billie Eilish album on course for impressive first-week streams

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

Pandora will test interactive voice ads later this year

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

Mark Zuckerberg calls for more regulation of the internet

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

Lang Lang deploys digital tactics for ‘Piano Book’ album

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

Spotify’s Austin Daboh says playlists need more diversity

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

IDC predicts 144.3m smart speaker shipments in 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drake invests in another esports startup, Players’ Lounge

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok upgrades its ‘restricted mode’ for younger users

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

Instagram’s head of music partnerships steps down

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

LiveXLive gets livestreaming rights to iHeartRadio events

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

Mixcloud adds more creators to its Select subscriptions

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

Warner Music leads funding round for hardware startup Artiphon

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

SoundCloud adds more ‘handcrafted’ playlists to its service

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

British politician Boris Johnson attacks new EU copyright law

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

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

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

Downtown Music snaps up CD Baby as part of AVL acquisition

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

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

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

Artist Mike Casey talks streams, playlists and jazz growth

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

Reuters warns of ‘frightening world’ of deepfake videos

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

BBC pulls its podcasts from Google Podcasts and Assistant

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

Nigerian artist Burna Boy gets a YouTube Artist Spotlight

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

Spotify’s EMEA comms director Alison Bonny is leaving

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

SoundCloud hires Apple’s director of subscription marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Spotify’s programmed playlists will now be personalised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pinterest IPO filing reveals plenty of data

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

Independent artist She Makes War launches ‘Supersub Club’

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

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

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

Nav promoted his new album in Fortnite stream with Ninja

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

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

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

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

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

Report predicts $45.3bn of global streaming revenue by 2026

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

Groups still competing to run US Mechanical Licensing Collective

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

Report: JioSaavn slashes annual subscription price by 75%

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

eMarketer claims Spotify US will overtake Pandora by 2021

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

7digital gets a new CEO as Simon Cole steps down

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

AI-music startup Endel to release albums through Warner Music

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

Apple Music hails Billie Eilish, throws more shade at Spotify

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

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

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

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

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

BTS success fuelled record year for Big Hit Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

Subscription streaming now more than half UK labels’ income

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

Google takes the wrappers off game-streaming service Stadia

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

Patreon shifts to tiered pricing for crowdfunding services

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

Instagram adds ‘Checkout’ feature for in-app shopping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anghami adds more than 250 local podcasts to its catalogue

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

Report on UK live market has lessons for other countries too

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

Snapchat tipped to launch its own gaming platform in April

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

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

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

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

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

Crush app wants to help superfans keep up with fave artists

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

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

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

New Moby album is exclusive on… meditation app Calm

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

Sound Diplomacy launches its Music Cities Manual

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

Warner Music signs licensing deal with Boomplay in Africa

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

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

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

France recorded-music market grew by 1.8% in 2018

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

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

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

Stormzy’s book imprint launches contest for emerging writers

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

UMG gets a new CIO while Deezer appoints a new COO

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

Gimlet Media staff plan to unionise after Spotify acquisition

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

UK’s Musicians Union launches mentoring scheme for women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Hot Chili Peppers to live-stream their pyramids concert

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

MelodyVR signs four more music-publishing licensing deals

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

Should streaming services ban R. Kelly and Michael Jackson?

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

UN human-rights expert delivers warning about Article 13

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

InChorus Group to measure bias and harassment in the music biz

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

Spotify files complaint with European Commission against Apple

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

Almost Tangible wants to make audiobooks more immersive

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

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

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

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

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

YouTube stories get their own Snapchat-style AR features

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

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

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

Apple is giving playlists the album-artwork treatment

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

Stage is the latest startup planning live concerts in VR

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

DotBlockchain founder Benji Rogers is leaving the company

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chemical Brothers create ‘fastest remix’ for Formula 1

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

Spotify sees label-relations and editorial teams working closer

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

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