The Cinematic Orchestra launch website designed for offline use

Ninja Tune artist The Cinematic Orchestra have relaunched their website with a fun twist: it wants fans to use it offline. “To Believe… disable your internet connection now,” it explains, when they land on its homepage. If they do, the screen fades to black and then provides details about ‘A Caged Bird / Imitations of […]

Alan Walker launches #DifferentWorld challenge on TikTok

The latest artist to launch a challenge for users of social-video app TikTok is Alan Walker. It’s called Different World – the same title as his debut album – and has an environmental theme to match the title track’s focus on climate change. Walker and fellow musicians Sofia Carson, Corsak and K-391 are posting videos […]

Michael Bublé is the latest artist to get his own Alexa skill

Paloma Faith, then Little Mix, and now Michael Bublé. The Canadian crooner is the latest artist to get his own Alexa skill – a voice-controlled app for Echo smart speakers and other devices using Amazon’s virtual assistant. Fans saying ‘Alexa, open Bublé Daily’ will get access to the skill, which has launched in the UK, […]

YouTube backs Maggie Rogers as first Artist On The Rise of 2019

Capitol Records artist Maggie Rogers is the first musician that YouTube has chosen for its Artist On The Rise marketing program in 2019. The initiative is focused on ‘up-and-coming’ talent, with Rogers having first come to prominence in 2016 in a video of a masterclass held by Pharrell Williams in New York, when one of […]

AIM is ‘diversity champion’ for LGBT-equality charity Stonewall

UK independent-music trade body AIM is joining LGBT-equality charity Stonewall as one of its ‘diversity champions’, and hopes that other bodies and companies within the music industry will follow suit. “Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace holds a huge amount of benefits for any business. Ensuring that LGBT staff feel free to be themselves at […]

British DJ Charlie Sloth confirms he’s joining Apple Music

Hip-hop DJ Charlie Sloth left the BBC’s Radio 1 under a cloud last year, having invaded the stage at an industry-awards ceremony when another broadcaster won the category he was nominated in. At the time, Sloth had already announced plans to depart – the controversy meant that happened 10 shows earlier than expected – with […]

Spotify India launch plans heat up with T-Series… and Samsung?

Indian music company T-Series still hasn’t managed to knock gamer PewDiePie off his perch as YouTube’s most-subscribed-to channel: it’s on 80.5 million subs at the time of writing, compared to PewDiePie’s 80.9 million. Given their respective growth over the past year, it seems only a matter of time before T-Series is top dog – but […]

Chinese government clamps down on short-video apps’ content

There may be trouble brewing for TikTok and the other ‘short-video’ apps that have proven so popular in China over the last year. The Financial Times reported on a new set of industry guidelines, directed by the Chinese government, which will hold these apps responsible for all content posted by their users. Examples of content […]

Watch your profanity! YouTube explains how swearing affects ads

YouTube’s latest educational video is aimed at all creators, not just musicians, but for any artists who like to turn the air blue with ‘industrial language’ it’s worth a watch. It explains how “vulgarity or inappropriate language” affects whether a video can be monetised with advertising or not. Ads are fine for “light profanity (shit, […]

Music4EU group delivers Brexit petition to British government

A petition signed by more than 1,200 artists and music-industry people calling on the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May to ‘reconsider Brexit’ has been delivered to her official residence, 10 Downing Street. The petition was drawn up by the Music4EU campaigning group, with signatories including Spotify UK MD Tom Connaughton; Annie Lennox; Fatboy Slim; Snow […]

Tencent Xiaowei virtual-assistant will link to QQ Music

Just as Apple gets set to launch its HomePod (Siri voice-assistant included) in China, so local tech giant Tencent is preparing to launch a new smart-assistant of its own. It’s called Xiaowei, and according to Bloomberg will make its debut within Tencent’s hugely-popular WeChat messaging app. “The assistant will link to a plethora of Tencent’s […]

BPI says there was a ‘surge’ in classical streaming in 2018

Like jazz, classical music is a sector that is often described as being under-served by the big, global streaming services, thanks to challenges including its extra layers of metadata, not to mention the length of its tracks – a half-hour performance doesn’t monetise well in a per-stream environment built for single songs. Anyway, British industry […]

Ex-Facebook man founds startup to ‘structure the world’s audio’

It’s very early days for San Francisco-based startup Wavecut: its website isn’t up and running yet, and its profile on investment site AngelList (which is how we found it) merely says that the company is “structuring the world’s audio”. Oh, and that its CEO is Dave Goldblatt, a former product operations specialist at Facebook and […]

Australian music industry wants to block stream-ripping sites

The latest front in the music industry’s battle against ‘stream-ripping’ sites is in Australia. These sites, which enable people to convert (for example) YouTube videos into downloadable MP3s, have been a bugbear for the global industry for some time now. News site The Industry Observer reports that the Music Rights Australia body is applying for […]

Spotify reveals more about its podcast plans in 2019

Besides having a party with posh food and Rita Ora, Spotify’s presence at the CES technology show in Las Vegas this week has seen podcasts loom large. We reported earlier this week on its announcement of a new, exclusive deal with journalist and broadcaster Jemele Hill to launch a new podcast on Spotify. Now the […]

RIAA-backed report explores labels’ changing role in music

We’ll be blunt: anyone who tells you that labels are dead is talking out of their trumpet. But anyone who tells you that an artist can’t succeed without a label is just as big a fibber. The truth of the matter is that the ability for artists to thrive outside the traditional labels system in […]

VC firms predict that startup valuations may fall this year

One of the aspects of the music industry’s return to growth is the willingness of music companies (and, indeed, individual artists) to invest in music/tech startups. With that in mind, a feature in the New York Times interviewing venture-capital firms about the investment market makes for interesting reading. Its proposition is that the startup-funding market […]

TikTok culture is wider (and possibly crueller) than its app

Many people in the music industry are trying to get a handle on social-video app TikTok: particularly how young people are using it, and what kind of culture is growing around their shared clips. If you’re one of those people, New York magazine’s exploration of TikTok is well worth a read – especially because it […]

Simon Fuller ‘couldn’t give a monkey’s’ about streaming metrics

Former Spice Girls manager and American Idol creator Simon Fuller is hard at work with a new band in 2019, Now United, which includes members drawn from a host of countries. He’s been talking to Billboard about why (audio) streaming hasn’t been playing a role in the band’s early days. “[Today’s] music industry is all about: […]

Spotify signs former ESPN host Jemele Hill for new podcast

Jemele Hill used to be a host on sports TV network ESPN, and was in the news herself last year when she tweeted that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists”. Hill left ESPN in September and subsequently joined The Atlantic, but now she’s also signed a […]

Intel and Warner Bros test self-driving car entertainment ideas

The entertainment industries are very interested in a future of autonomous (self-driving) cars, because if we’re not driving our cars, that may free us up for other kinds of entertainment experience beyond audio. Music, TV/film and games companies alike are keen to understand the opportunities this may bring. If you’re thinking about this from a […]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveals personal challenge for 2019

Imagine being Mark Zuckerberg, trying to think of your annual ‘personal challenge’ for 2019, after the 2018 that Facebook had. Yet the social network’s CEO is sticking to his guns of choosing a new challenge every January (in the past that’s included learning Mandarin, building an AI for his home and running 365 miles). And […]

AR-powered ‘David Bowie is’ app launches as $7.99 download

The ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition was a real treat for keen (and even casual) Bowie fans, debuting at the V&A Museum in London in 2013 before touring the world. Last year, plans were revealed to turn the exhibition into an augmented-reality app, and this week it’s been released for Android and for iOS by Sony […]

CD Baby paid out more than $100m in royalties in 2018

Distributor CD Baby has published a big figure for its business in 2018: “well over” $100m of payouts to the independent artists who use its service. The company released the figure in a blog post in which it promised that “we’re expecting to pay out even more for the coming year as we open up […]

US satellite-radio service SiriusXM now has 34m subscribers

SiriusXM ended last year with around 34 million subscribers for its US satellite-radio service, including 28.9 million classed as ‘self-pay’ subscribers (as opposed to being on a trial or having it bundled with their car). The latter figure was 40% more than SiriusXM had predicted in its original financial guidance for 2018, so it was […]

Tidal takes MQA-powered ‘Masters’ hi-res music to Android

It’s a year since streaming service Tidal unveiled its ‘Masters’ feature, offering studio-quality hi-res music for subscribers to its top-end ‘HiFi’ tier. That was a partnership with hi-res music firm MQA, but it was only available from Tidal’s desktop client, rather than its mobile app. Until now, that is. At the CES show in Las […]

Report: 14m Americans got their first smart speaker in 2018

NPR and Edison Research have published their latest ‘Smart Audio Report’about the growth of smart speakers in the US. It claims that around 53 million Americans now own these devices – 21% of the adult population. 14 million of those got their first smart speaker in 2018, according to the survey. The study also tracks […]

Spotify opens Discover Weekly playlist up to brand sponsorship

Spotify has a new way for brands to spend money with the company: by sponsoring its Discover Weekly algo-personalised playlist on the streaming service’s free tier. “For the first time, we are unlocking Discover Weekly for brands to sponsor this personalised moment end-to-end,” is how Spotify described the move. Microsoft is one of the first […]

Deutsche Bank slaps €29bn valuation on Universal Music Group

Trebles all round at Universal Music Group: the company is worth €29bn ($33.2bn) now! Although perhaps hold off on the company-wide conga for now, since this is just an estimate from Deutsche Bank, as UMG’s parent company Vivendi prepares to sell off up to 50% of its music group. “With the hype around UMG stake […]

How Gaana became India’s top audio-streaming music service

There has been some debate over the title of India’s top music audio-streaming service, with multiple companies staking their claim. Most recently, in December 2018, Gaana said that it now had 80 million monthly active users (MAUs), which would make it the country’s top service “with a fair margin” according to CEO Prashan Agarwal. So […]

Consumer-tech body predicts $398bn of US tech sales in 2019

This week, it’s the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Get ready for a blizzard of new-gadget announcements, from TVs and speakers through to robots and smart toilets. The show’s organiser is industry body the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and every year it publishes its predictions for tech sales in the year ahead, as […]

Beyoncé’s company sued over the accessibility of her website

A new class-action lawsuit filed in the US against Beyoncé’s company Parkwood Entertainment will be triggering a few urgent meetings within management companies and labels in the week ahead, we suspect. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a fan in New York called Mary Conner, who is blind. It argues that Beyoncé’s own […]

Manager Jake Udell thinks artist subscriptions WILL work

Monthly subscriptions are doing a pretty good job for the music industry in the context of Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services. The idea of individual artist subscriptions has been tested regularly by startups and crowdfunding platforms, without yet catching on. Something admitted by manager Jake Udell in his latest blog post, which focuses on […]

MediaMarktSaturn mulls future for its Juke music-streaming service

B2B digital-music service 7digital published an update on its business on Friday, with three separate pieces of news. Among them, the news that 7digital is in talks with European retailer MediaMarktSaturn about the future of its Juke music-streaming service, which 7digital powers. “MMS has indicated that it may wish to change the current arrangements and this […]

TikTok ‘Lite’ apps have been installed 12m times already

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify are among the apps that have launched ‘lite’ versions aimed mainly at markets where mobile networks are slower, and/or where mobile data is more expensive. Now social-video app TikTok has quietly followed suit, launching a pair of ‘Lite’ apps (one with a lower-case ‘l’ in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and other […]

Amazon has now sold more than 100m Alexa-capable devices

Amazon has revealed a new figure for its Alexa voice-assistant: the company says that more than 100m devices with Alexa pre-installed have been sold. The number was revealed in an interview by The Verge with Amazon’s SVP of devices and services Dave Limp. As far as we can make out (it’s not stated explicitly) the figure relates […]

Deezer targets more growth with local focus and ‘humbleness’

Music-streaming service Deezer ended 2018 with seven million subscribers: half of its 14 million monthly active users. CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht revealed the figure in an interview with Music Ally, as he explained how Deezer’s business has evolved since he joined the company in December 2014, at a time when its business was heavily dependent on […]

Apple says App Store customers spent $1.22bn over Christmas

The fallout from Apple’s announcement earlier this week that its quarterly revenues would be lower than predicted continues: the company’s share price tumbled by nearly 10% yesterday as markets reacted to the news. Apple did put out some good news yesterday though: the latest festive figures for its App Store. “App Store spending topped $1.22bn […]

YouTube continues its livestreaming partnership with Coachella

YouTube will be the exclusive livestreaming partner for American music-festival Coachella this year – the ninth year for the partnership. In fact, the deal is expanding, with YouTube now the exclusive playlists and livestreaming partner for both weekends of the festival – previously it only streamed the first weekend. “Additionally, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium […]

Taylor Swift’s app The Swift Life is shutting down

Just over a year ago, Taylor Swift teamed up with mobile-games publisher Glu Mobile to launch The Swift Life, her own app for fans to connect with one another, share their own content, and get her latest news, photos and videos. Now it’s shutting down, which the official announcement suggests is because the app was […]

BTS member Jimin breaks SoundCloud’s first-day streams record

Jimin, one of the members of K-Pop stars BTS, started 2019 in impressive style, by breaking SoundCloud’s record for most first-day streams of a track. Jimin uploaded a song called ‘Promise’ on 31 December, and it raced to 8.5m SoundCloud streams in its first 24 hours, smashing the record held by Drake’s ‘Duppy Freestyle’, which […]

70% of Queen’s Spotify listeners are aged under 35

Spotify has put out some figures about the audience on its service for Queen, following the rock band’s recent biopic-fuelled spike in listening. “On Spotify, Queen is more popular than ever – not only among baby boomers and Gen Xers, but with millennials, too,” explained Spotify’s blog post. “Since the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody […]

Ebro Darden promises more discoverability for Beats 1 content

Freshly installed as Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B, Ebro Darden has been talking to Complex about his new role, and how Apple Music as a whole may evolve. “I’m just going to be looking at the heat map and to see where people are engaging with the platform, where we see […]

Report: 55% of consumers regularly watch music videos on YouTube

Research firm Midia Research has published its latest market estimates, based on music fans’ behaviour in the third quarter of 2018. “YouTube is the dominant music streaming platform, with 55% of consumers regularly watching music videos on YouTube, compared to a combined 37% for all free audio streaming services,” claimed the company, adding that YouTube […]

Spotify talks Latin American success: ‘We’ve built a castle…’

Spotify has been talking about its growth in Latin America for a piece in the Financial Times, which suggests the company is preparing to invest more heavily in staff for the region. “Spotify became the dominant paid streaming service in Latin America with minimal effort; to this day a few dozen employees working out of […]

BPI and ERA figures reveal music’s growth in the UK in 2018

British industry bodies the BPI and ERA have published figures showing how the UK’s recorded-music market grew in 2018. One of the headlines: an 8.9% growth last year in recorded-music sales to £1.33bn (around $1.68bn). It will come as no surprise that streaming was key to this. ERA’s stats show that spending on streaming subscriptions […]

Netflix ditches in-app purchases for new subscribers on iOS

In August 2018, it emerged that Netflix was testing a new subscription method for its iOS app, with people directed towards its mobile website to enter their payment details. That avoided Apple’s system of in-app purchases, and thus the company’s 30% cut of subscriptions (which falls to 15% after a subscriber has been paying for […]

Edjo uses blockchain and AI to battle digital plagiarism

Edjo is the latest startup hoping to prove that blockchain technology can be a boon for the creative industries. It’s aimed at digital artists, photographers and musicians, with its focus squarely on the problem of plagiarism. The pitch: “Create an unbreakable link between you and your work! With certificates of ownership generated using the licensing […]

Boomy is the latest startup using AI to create music

Jukedeck, Amper Music, Melodrive, AIVA, Popgun, WaveAI… The list of startups working on artificial-intelligence capable of creating original music gets longer by the month. Here’s the first to add to that list in 2019: US-based startup Boomy. “Welcome to the instant music revolution,” explains its website. “Generate beautiful, creative songs in seconds with artificial intelligence […]

Superclubs tackle climate change with D41M campaign

Superclubs Ushuaïa and Hï Ibiza have teamed up for a new initiative raising awareness of climate change. It’s called Dance For One Meter (#D41M for short) and last summer alone, it helped to protect 5,000 acres of rainforest. A portion of ticket sales for the two clubs was distributed to rainforest-protection partners – the idea […]

Sony/ATV boss sees more publishing consolidation ahead

Publisher Sony/ATV’s boss Martin Bandier is stepping down in March, but in an interview with the Financial Times he has hinted strongly that he isn’t ready for a quiet retirement just yet. “I can’t picture myself on a beach, and my golf game sucks. Maybe if I’m out there I can consolidate,” said Bandier, referring […]

Gwen Stefani stars in Snapchat’s first Lens Challenge

“Oh what fun it is to sing the Gwen Stefani way!” is the catchline for one of the first examples of a new Snapchat feature: Lens Challenges. They’re essentially this social app’s equivalent of the viral miming challenges that have proven so popular on TikTok (and before it). A Lens Challenge is a special […]

Universal Music project to identify emerging artists in India

Universal Music India has launched a new project with alcohol brand Allied Blenders & Distillers that aims to “incubate, encourage and promote aspiring singer songwriters to showcase their talent and release their music globally via Universal Music”. It’s called the Sterling Reserve Music Project, named after the whisky brand Sterling Reserve. Artists will be able […]

Fitness firm SoulCycle launches music program with Apple

SoulCycle has become a hit with its indoor-cycling workouts, and earlier this year it signalled its musical ambitions, with the launch of a media division to work on partnerships with music companies and artists. One of those has launched this week, with dance duo The Chainsmokers (yes, perhaps not the most-obvious artist name for a […]

Apple Music to launch for Amazon Echo speakers this month

From iTunes on PCs to Apple Music on Android smartphones, Apple has shown itself willing to take its digital-music platforms beyond its own devices. In the latter case, Apple Music has been installed more than 10m times on Android devices so far. Now there’s a new partnership, with Amazon. “We’re excited to announce that Apple […]

Maroon 5 top Vevo’s video and artist charts for 2018

Drake didn’t quite get a clean sweep of the streaming services’ end-of-2018 charts: Justin Timberlake was Amazon Music’s top artist, for example, while SoundCloud’s rankings were headed by Juice WRLD. Now Vevo has released its end-of-year rankings, with Maroon 5 the big winners. The band were the most-viewed artist globally through the music-video company’s distribution […]

Spotify and Netflix get dragged in to Facebook’s privacy mess

Facebook’s difficult 2018 isn’t over yet: and the latest investigation into privacy issues at the social network has dragged Spotify and Netflix in to the company’s mess. “For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from […]

Music Ally’s Sandbox 2018 music-marketing report is available now

Every year, Music Ally publishes an end-of-year report for Sandbox, our music-marketing brand, rounding up the best campaigns of the year. 2018’s is now available for you to read. As usual we were overwhelmed by the number and the quality of entries from labels, managers and other music companies, telling us about their best digital […]

Zoë Keating reveals her Spotify payouts for 2018

Canadian cellist and composer Zoe Keating has made a habit of publishing details of her income from digital-music services: for example in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Now she has shared some more data on her 2018 earnings, albeit in a tweet rather than an online spreadsheet, so it’s just a few details. The tweet is based on her Spotify Wrapped stats […]

UK Music study reveals improvements in industry diversity

British industry body UK Music has published the results of its latest Music Industry Workforce Diversity Survey – the second such report, following its original launch in 2016. Based on a survey of nearly 3,000 people within the British music industry, the study has some positive findings. BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) representation in the UK industry […]

Warner Music exec: ‘China can be a top-three market in the future’

Music Ally interviewed Simon Robson, president of Warner Music Asia, for an upcoming country-profile of China. We thought the full Q&A was interesting enough to post as a standalone article. The post Warner Music exec: ‘China can be a top-three market in the future’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Ninjawerks album includes exclusive licensing for YouTube usage

UMG’s Astralwerks has released ‘Ninjawerks’, the dance-music compilation curated by gaming star Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. The album was released on Friday through the usual streaming and download services, as well as digitally through his own site. Kaskade, Alesso and Tycho are among the artists featured. One fun point: the album is available as an album […]

Pandora reportedly seventh top-grossing iOS app of 2018

Music-streaming service Pandora was the seventh top-grossing iOS app of 2018, despite the fact that it’s only available in North America. That’s according to data from mobile-analytics firm Sensor Tower, published by Business Insider. It’s not a full picture of the year, given that the data only runs to the end of November, but it’s a […]

Vivendi, IFPI and others concerned at Article 13 direction

Earlier this week, we reported on the latest discussion points in Europe’s ‘trilogue’ process finalising its new copyright directive, including the Article 13 section focusing on user-generated content platforms like YouTube. Now a group of rightsholders from music and beyond have published an open letter to the European Commission, Parliament and Council expressing concern at the way […]

Ping redux: Apple Music shelves its Connect feature

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Apple is quietly retiring its social-music feature, after artists showed a lack of interest in using it. No, we haven’t accidentally sent out  an old bulletin from 2012 when Apple shut down the Ping music/social network that it had built in to iTunes. But the news that […]

Artists and music bodies say Brexit is ‘significant threat’ to UK music industry

As Prime Minister Theresa May heads back to Brussels to seek more concessions over the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, a group of artists and music-industry bodies has come out strongly against Brexit’s potential impact on British musicians. Paloma Faith, Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Jamie Cullum, Nadine Shah, Blur’s […]

Apple’s Platoon acquisition is about the much-bigger picture

The news broke on Friday morning that Apple has acquired British artist-services startup Platoon. The company is best known for working at an early stage with emerging artists – including Jorja Smith, Billie Eilish and Stefflon Don – before they move on to traditional-label (or in the case of Smith, distribution) deals. “The Apple deal gives […]

Massive Attack test remix-rights tracking with blockchain startup Blokur

If you’ve not seen Massive Attack’s Fantom app, it’s well worth having a play with: one of the best explorations of how music can be made interactive for fans that we’ve seen. This week, the app has been relaunched to tie in with the 20th anniversary activity around the band’s album ‘Mezzanine’, with new interactive […]

Amazon Alexa gets even more conversational about music

Q4 may not be quite as intense a period for many people in the music industry as it used to be in the physical era, given the fact that an album released early in the year (or in Ed Sheeran’s case, early in the previous year) can still be streaming up a storm in December. […]

FUGA talks expansion, experimentation and data drive

Four years ago, Amsterdam-based music distribution and marketing platform FUGA had just 12 employees and its only office was in the Netherlands. Since then, it has expanded to 90 staff, with offices in New York (opened in 2016), London (2018) and Milan (also 2018). The company also raised €6m of investment from its shareholders in […]

Rapper 2 Milly sues Epic Games over Fortnite dance move

We’ve written about how music is woven into the fabric of this year’s gaming craze Fortnite thanks to its ‘emotes’ – dance moves that players can buy using the game’s V-Bucks currency, and then use to show off while playing. It’s no secret that a number of those emotes are based on real dance moves […]

Report suggests Liberty Media is eyeing up iHeartMedia

US media group iHeartMedia – which includes radio-streaming service iHeartRadio – filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and has since been plotting a path to reduce its debts and exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This week, the company announced that it has agreed a deal with creditors to reduce its debts by around $10.3bn to $5.75bn, while separating […]

Big Neon blockchain-ticketing startup prepares for launch

In April this year, Music Ally stumbled upon an intriguing music startup called Big Neon, through its profile on an investment website. The profile explained that Big Neon’s co-founders included Dan Teree, former CEO of ticketing firm Ticketfly; cryptocurrency veteran Riccardo ‘fluffypony’ Spagni; and Naveen Jain, who’d handled tech duties for rock band (and VC […]

Mixcloud launches subscriptions option for individual creators

Just over a year ago, Nico Perez of streaming service Mixcloud told Music Ally about plans to let DJs, labels, podcasters and other creators charge subscriptions for their channels. Today, the feature is launching. It’s called Mixcloud Select, and will see fans able to pay a monthly fee – set by the channel and starting at […]

Independents’ global share up to 39.9% claims Wintel report

Independent labels’ share of the global recorded-music market grew from 39.6% in 2016 to 39.9% in 2017, according to trade body WIN’s latest Wintel report. WIN says that indie labels’ revenues grew by 10.9% year-on-year to $6.9bn, comparing this to the 10.2% growth for the overall market and – unsurprisingly this is a point of celebration for […]

15 things we learned at From Me To You for independent musicians

From Me To You is unlike most music-industry conferences in that it’s aimed squarely at independent artists. Indeed, it was founded by one, British musician Roxanne de Bastion, and makes a point of having artists moderate each of its sessions. The latest FM2U took place in London on Saturday. Music Ally was a supporter of […]

YouTube debuts student subs as originals strategy evolves

YouTube has followed other music-streaming services in launching cut-price subscriptions for students, albeit only in the US for now. Full-time students at accredited colleges or universities there will be able to get YouTube Music Premium for $4.99 a month, or YouTube Premium for $6.99 a month – although they can ‘lock in’ the latter for $5.99 […]

Jean-Michel Jarre talks creativity, tech and music’s AI future

Jean-Michel Jarre has been pushing the boundaries of electronic music and reimagining what live concerts can be since the 1970s. The French composer and producer’s one-off spectaculars – for example Place de la Concorde in Paris in 1979; Beijing and Shanghai in 1981; Houston in 1986; and London’s Docklands in 1988 – broke attendance records and changed […]

Abbey Road talks its first hackathon: ‘A space for bright ideas’

Earlier this month, Abbey Road Studios in London held its first hackathon, with 80 participants from startups and universities as well as 30 music-industry experts coming together to experiment with AI, hardware and other technologies. Organised by the Abbey Road Red incubator, the hackathon’s winning ideas included Rapple, an AI rap battler; HRMNI, a collaborative […]

Record Union wants indie acknowledgment from streaming playlists

Digital music distributor Record Union has launched a campaign targeted at music-streaming services on behalf of independent artists. But it’s not demanding higher royalties or more playlist slots, but rather some way of acknowledging on their platforms when music is ‘independent’. “We want independent music creators to have the ability to tag their music in […]

Viagogo ordered to stop selling Rammstein tickets in Germany

2018 has been a pretty bad year for secondary-ticketing firm Viagogo – on a public-relations and legal level, at least, since insight into the company’s financial performance is limited. In the UK, Viagogo has been heavily criticised by politicians; has been rapped by advertising watchdog ASA and taken to court by competition watchdog CMA; and […]

Tencent Music may start trading publicly on 12 December

Hold that speculation that Tencent Music’s IPO may slip into 2019. The post Tencent Music may start trading publicly on 12 December appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Music Ally’s guide to AI music: startups, artists and big questions

There’s no question any more about whether artificial intelligence can create music – the arguments are about how good that music will be, what it might be used for, and what that might mean for human musicians. We’ve been covering this area for some time now, interviewing and writing about startups like Jukedeck, Amper Music […]

Huawei claims its music-streaming service has 100m users

Chinese technology company Huawei makes a range of products, including smartphones, for which it has big ambitions. The post Huawei claims its music-streaming service has 100m users appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Next for Alexa: more headphones and newscaster speaking voice

Amazon’s drive to get its Alexa voice-assistant onto as many devices as possible, while improving its features, continues. The company has opened up its ‘mobile accessory kit’ for Alexa, which will help Bluetooth devices (headphones, particularly) to connect with the Alexa smartphone app. Meanwhile, tech firm Qualcomm has unveiled a reference design for a $299 […]

Podcasts conference outlines areas for improvement

17% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last week, according to Edison Research. That’s a relatively small rise from the 13% who did so in 2016, despite the buzz around the format in the last two years. Capturing ‘the other 83%’ was one of the themes of the recent Podcast Movement conference […]

Esports agency Hurrah explains how it cultivates diversity

There has been a lot of discussion about why music-industry companies could benefit from more diversity in their teams, but it’s as important to talk about how they can achieve this. A blog post from French esports agency Hurrah this week may offer some useful ideas, with its ambition of being “50% minority-driven” by the […]

Meek Mill teams up with Tidal, Puma and Foot Locker

We’ve seen artists do exclusives with streaming service Tidal before, but US rapper Meek Mill is doing something a bit more interesting with his upcoming ‘Championships’ album. That includes involving a pair of other partners: sports brand Puma and retail chain Foot Locker. The campaign involves a physical ‘collector’s book’ which fans can buy from […]

Anghami adds music-recognition feature with ACRCloud

Spotify and Deezer may have ambitions to take a chunk out of its audience in the Middle East and North Africa, but local service Anghami remains the dominant audio-streaming player in the region for now, with more than 70 million users. Its latest announcement is a partnership with Chinese firm ACRCloud to use the latter’s […]

Report suggests Tencent Music IPO could slip to 2019

Will Chinese streaming giant Tencent Music go public this year? Perhaps not. The company delayed its planned IPO from October, but as Reuters reports, the intention was still to float in November. “Now, the last mega US IPO of the year faces a still-weak mood towards tech stocks and ongoing market jitters ahead of next […]

From Lyor Cohen to pop-ups, YouTube’s Article 13 drive continues

“The first time I’ve touched this safe-harbour [topic] in quite some time is this morning with you! I don’t hear it,” YouTube Music’s Lyor Cohen told Music Ally in June, after we asked him about the ongoing tensions between the music industry and YouTube over the ‘value gap’. “Anybody who is thinking about that is […]

Chainsmokers, A$AP Rocky and other artists invest in Genies

A startup getting popular from a tool that helps people create avatars of themselves for social sharing? We’ve been here before: Canadian startup Bitstrips had an app hit with its Bitmoji avatars in 2015, and was acquired by Snapchat’s parent company Snap in March 2016 for $64.2m. Bitmoji are now a core part of Snapchat […]

Snapchat gets an official program for AR lens creators

If you’re a label (or artist) who’s ever fancied having your own augmented-reality ‘lens’ in Snapchat, but have been a bit daunted by the challenge of creating one… Well, Snap has some good news. It’s launching a ‘Lens Creative Partners’ program, which is basically a certified network of people who can create AR lenses for […]

Songwriter Sam Barsh publishes ‘shocking’ royalty figures

From the outside, Sam Barsh looks like a pretty successful songwriter, with credits on more than 100 songs including tracks by Kendrick Lamar, Anderson.Paak and Logic. But in a post on Facebook, he has published royalty figures that he suggests “will be shocking to many of you” reading. The figures cover royalties from sales, streams, […]

Brazil’s music boom: streaming, Sertanejo, Anitta and more

Brazil has currently more active smartphones than inhabitants. According to Getúlio Vargas Foundation, there are 220 million cell phones in operation in the country and 207.6 million inhabitants. Brazil will achieve the mark of two portable devices (smartphones, computers and tablets) per citizen by 2019. Moreover, regarding the recorded music market, the country has registered […]

Startup Mojo Vision raises $50m for ‘invisible computing’ AR

It’s not bad going for a tech startup to emerge from stealth mode armed with a $50m funding round. That’s what US startup Mojo Vision has done, with a founding team drawn from companies including Apple, Google and Amazon, and the ambition to create a ‘hands-free’ augmented-reality platform that it’s pitching as “invisible computing”. CEO Drew Perkins […]

The Chainsmokers launch ‘sound packs’ for Beat Maker Go app

EDM duo The Chainsmokers are the latest artist to explore the potential of selling samples (or in this case, ‘sound packs’) for music-making software. They are working with apps firm Gismart, providing sounds for its popular Beat Maker Go app, which has been downloaded more than 20m times since its launch in 2017. The sound packs gather […]

Glassnote switches UMG distribution deal for AWAL partnership

The company whose brand is literally ‘artists without a label’ has revealed that its latest partnership is with… a label! And it’s a deal to send some cats scampering among the pigeons, since AWAL’s new partner Glassnote Music was previously operating through a distribution deal with Universal Music Group. Now it’s switching horses to Kobalt’s […]

Deezer CEO sees partnerships as key to Middle East growth

Talking of intense competition for new subscribers… the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) streaming market is heating up nicely as 2018 nears its end, thanks to recent launches in the region by Spotify and Deezer – the latter flush with cash from a recent funding round including the Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company and media […]

Spotify tempts lapsed subscribers with three-month offer

From Mariah Carey on the radio to the terrifying aisle of singing plastic trees in our local supermarket, early signs of Christmas are emerging. But Music Ally’s preferred starting gun for the festive season might just be the annual reappearance of Spotify’s ‘three months for 99 cents’ subscription offer. This year’s kicked off on Friday, […]

Sendmate boss defends messaging bots after marketer criticism

It seems like the end of 2018 is the time for the ‘trough of disillusion’ around messaging bots, with recent criticism of their effectiveness by marketing pros Jon Loomer (here) and Darren Hemmings (here). Now Andreas Mahringer, CEO of startup Sendmate (which focuses on messaging) has published a response to defend bots as a marketing channel. Naturally, […]

FUGA goes gaming with Riot Games and Monstercat deals

Distributors signing new deals with labels is such a common occurrence, it rarely makes a story in this bulletin. Yet FUGA’s latest sheaf of deals includes a couple that are relevant to a bigger trend we’ve been covering recently: esports and gaming. The company is working with games publisher Riot Games, which makes one of […]

Impala hits back at YouTube over Article 13 reforms

European independent-music organisation Impala has published a response to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s latest criticism of the Article 13 section of the proposed new European copyright directive. “Far from threatening our ecosystem, however, the directive will make things clearer, fairer and sustainable for all,” wrote executive chair Helen Smith, in a letter published in the Financial […]

Report: Amazon outselling Google for smart speakers again

Research firm Canalys has published its latest figures on the smart-speakers market, focusing on shipments in the third quarter of 2018. It says they grew by 137% year-on-year to 19.7m units, which puts the market on track for 75m smart-speaker shipments (not ‘sales’ exactly – but shipments to retailers) for 2018 as a whole. Earlier this year, […]

Social music app TikTok gains momentum in the US

Based on app-store charts in the west, Chinese social-music app TikTok is picking up a fine head of steam, following its merger with earlier this year. Now there is more data on that from tech site The Verge, which claims that TikTok now has six million monthly active users in the US alone, where it’s […]

TuneMoji makes MusicGIF waves with Jonas Blue and Cardi B

British startup TuneMoji has appointed dance artist Jonas Blue as its first ‘UK brand ambassador’, while also creating the first official artist profile within its app – for US artist Cardi B. The app offers fans a way to create their own shareable clips blending text, video and music loops – the company calls them […]

Audit sees Chinese star Kris Wu counted down in Billboard chart

After all the hubbub around Chinese artist Kris Wu hogging the top spots in Apple’s iTunes downloads chart in the US, the first-week Billboard 200 albums chart ranking for his ‘Antares’ long-player was less spectacular. The album debuted at number 100 with 8k equivalent album units, including 5k sales. Contrary to claims that there was […]

African telco MTN buys music-streaming service Simfy

In Europe, we knew Simfy as a German music-streaming service – one of the first to launch in that country – which ran in to problems in 2015 before striking a deal with Deezer to transfer its subscribers over to that service. However, Simfy continued to be a standalone music-streaming service in Africa, and now […]

Ariana Grande breaks a Spotify record with ‘thank u, next’

Okay, so she might not have dropped a secret album under the pseudonym of Zandhr as some fans hoped, but Ariana Grande has set a new milestone on Spotify this week with her latest single. “thank u, next has surpassed 100 MILLION streams on spotify in only 11 days. it is the fastest song in […]

Pirate Studios raises $20m to expand self-service studios network

British startup Pirate Studios has raised a $20m funding round, which it will use to continue expanding its network of self-service rehearsal, DJ and production studios. That network currently numbers 350 studios across the UK, US and Germany, with musicians able to book in round the clock, and use features including AI mixing and mastering, […]

Study claims social media ‘increases depression and loneliness’

You know what makes us feel sad? Studies about how social media makes people feel sad. The latest comes from the University of Pennsylvania, based on an experiment involving 143 people completing a survey about their mood and wellbeing, while also sharing screenshots of their iPhone battery screens (which shows how long they’ve been spending on […]

Report predicts that 2018 will be a $1.24bn year for esports

In our recent talk on esports at our Sandbox Summit conference, we noted that most of the figures cited about the competitive-gaming industry come from the same report – published earlier this year by research firm Newzoo. Now another company has come out with some numbers, which are worth a look. Idate ups the figures, claiming that esports […]

Spotify launches database of women in audio and music production

Spotify’s latest diversity initiative is a database of women working in audio and music production, launched in partnership with nonprofit organisation SoundGirls. It’s called the EQL Directory, and is inviting women to submit their details for inclusion, with 736 profiles already featured and filterable by skill (audio, live, FOH, studio, recording engineer etc) and location. “It’s […]

Report claims there are now 57.8m smart-speaker users in the US

Voice and AI trade-news site Voicebot has published its latest state-of-the-market report, covering the world of smart speakers and voice assistants. Its stats are based on a survey of just over 1,000 Americans, adjusted to be nationally representative. The study claims that 22.9% of the US adult population now owns a smart speaker: that’s 57.8 million […]

2018 could be a $100bn year for digital advertising in the US

PricewaterhouseCoopers has published its latest report for ad-industry body the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) tracking US digital-advertising revenues in the first half of 2018. The key figures: digital ad revenues in the US grew by 23.1% in the first half of this year to $49.5bn, which puts the market on course for a $100bn year for 2018 […]

Spotify launches an official Apple Watch app

Yesterday was a busy day for Spotify: besides launching in the Middle East and North Africa, the company pushed the button (or if we’re being device-specific, twisted the crown) on its official Apple Watch app. It’s the first time Spotify has had a proper client on Apple’s smartwatch, enabling its listeners to control Spotify’s iPhone app from […]

Gimme Radio debuts $4.99-a-month ‘Brigade’ membership

We first wrote about startup Gimme Radio in November 2017 when it launched a free mobile app for streaming metal music – using a linear radio-style model rather than on-demand or playlist-based listening. A year on, it’s launching a new premium tier called Gimme Brigade. It’ll cost $4.99 a month, with features including ‘The Vault’ of […]

Pandora debuts its Podcast Genome Project for recommendations

Pandora has launched its Podcast Genome Project, which aims to do for podcasts what its famous Music Genome Project does for music – blend human and algorithmic curation to make recommendations to its listeners. For now, the new tech is in beta for “select listeners on mobile devices” on Pandora’s streaming service, although it’s inviting people […]

Spotify launches in the Middle East and North Africa (interview)

Rumours about Spotify’s impending debut in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been bubbling for weeks. Today, the streaming service launched in 13 countries in the region. Spotify’s free and premium tiers are now available in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian […]

Netflix to test lower subscription prices in some markets

Since going public, Spotify’s senior execs (and former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy in particular) have regularly been asked whether the company will take any inspiration from Netflix in its pricing strategy. The post Netflix to test lower subscription prices in some markets appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Report claims nanoinfluencers are the new microinfluencers

The first time ‘microinfluencers’ appeared on Music Ally’s radar was in the spring of 2017, when a few influencer-marketing agencies were trumpeting the merits of working with people with 30,000 or less followers on social networks. The post Report claims nanoinfluencers are the new microinfluencers appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

YouTube names its first ‘Ones to Watch’ artist list in the UK

Helping new artists get discovered is a big focus for YouTube Music this year and next. The post YouTube names its first ‘Ones to Watch’ artist list in the UK appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Industry lawyers call for ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment

A group of music-industry lawyers have set out the path from #MeToo to #WeTogether in an opinion piece published by Billboard. The post Industry lawyers call for ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

What Fortnite and esports could mean for the music industry

At Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit London conference last month, I gave a talk about games: specifically about what 2018’s gaming craze Fortnite, and the wider world of esports – competitive gaming – could mean for music marketing and the wider industry. This is an edited summary of the talk. The post What Fortnite and esports […]

FM2U conference set to help independent artists share expertise

There are plenty of music-biz conferences discussing the industry’s evolution, but FM2U (From Me To You) is a rarity: an event aimed squarely at independent musicians. It was founded in 2014 by artist Roxanne de Bastion, who also sits on the board of directors of the Featured Artists Coalition. The latest FM2U event takes place […]

Stashimi now has more than 100 artists using its messaging bots

Startup Stashimi is one of the companies launching messaging bots for musicians and brands, and it seems to have some traction. The company now has more than 100 artists using its bots, including Migos, Marshmello, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and G-Eazy, as well as a larger deal with Capitol Music Group. The bots can automatically respond to […]

Spotify launches ‘multimedia experience’ for Beatles album

Fans of the Beatles have been getting hot under the collar about a new “Super Deluxe” version of ‘The Beatles’ (aka ‘The White Album’), with new stereo mixes, early acoustic demos and alternative session takes. Spotify has marked the launch with a dedicated playlist called The Beatles White Album Experience, which includes animated videos as well […]

Can Facebook ‘Lasso’ teenagers with its new music app?

A 12-month period of misdirected tweets and school-holidays calls to the Music Ally office thinking we were social-music app gave us a ringside seat to the app’s rapid growth, before it was acquired by Chinese firm Bytedance and merged with another short-form video app called TikTok. The latter now appears to have real traction […]

DSPs under fire again in the UK over drill music

Earlier this year we reported on the controversy surrounding rap sub-genre ‘drill’ in the UK, as YouTube removed around 30 drill-music videos following complaints by police that they were driving gang tensions and violence in London. This week, Spotify and Apple Music have faced criticism over drill music’s availability on their platforms, including tracks by […]

Spotify launches analytics for music publishers

Streaming service Spotify has analytics for labels and distributors, and separately for artists and their managers. Spot who’s missing? Publishers – and by extension, songwriters. At least they were missing until now. This afternoon, Spotify has unveiled Spotify Publishing Analytics, which it says will provide music publishers with daily streaming analytics for their works on […]

And the biggest music-streaming service in the Nordics is…

If you just completed that sentence with ‘Spotify’, sorry, that’s not the answer. At least, it’s not the answer according to the 2018 Polaris Nordic Digital Music Survey, which is published by collecting societies Koda, Teosto and Tono. This year’s survey quizzed nationally-representative samples of more than 1,000 people in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden […]

Spotify’s free tier is coming to connected speakers soon

Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges have a significant role to play in Spotify’s strategy. Witness its recent deal to give away a Google Home Mini to all its family-plan subscribers in the US, and its wider ambitions to make its service available on as many speakers as possible. “From what […]

Pandora financial results reveal subscriptions growth but active-listeners decline

US streaming service Pandora is in the process of being bought by satellite-radio company SiriusXM, but for now it remains an independent, public company. That’s why we got its latest quarterly financial results last night, albeit without an earnings call for analysts thanks to that in-progress acquisition. Pandora’s quarterly revenues grew by 10.3% year-on-year to $416.6m, although […]

AI-music startup Popgun evolves: ‘We’re gonna make hit pop songs…’

In June 2017, Music Ally interviewed Stephen Phillips of Australian startup Popgun about his company’s development of an artificial intelligence (AI) called ‘Alice’ that was capable of playing piano with humans. Alice would ‘listen’ to the notes played by a human, then respond with what she thought might come next. Even at that early stage […]

Amazon Alexa gets artist notifications… and a Little Mix AAA skill

Spotify’s Release Radar and Apple Music’s New Music Mix are high in the minds of music marketers in 2018. They’re figuring out what ‘signals’ (for example: following an artist’s profile and saving their music to your collection) have an impact on the recommendation algorithms for those playlists, and trying to drive fans to do those […]

Wall Street life is tough – but that’s no surprise for Spotify’s management

The headaches of life as a public company are well known: the quarterly scrutiny of your financial and other business metrics leaving little room to hide, as well as the instant, often-brutal verdict of Wall Street as your share price bounces around – sometimes with what can seem like a tenuous link to the actual […]

Report claims Apple has explored partnership with iHeartMedia

Apple Music’s involvement with radio is well-known: its Beats 1 station, with its roster of professional DJs and shows hosted by artists. But it seems Apple may be at least considering deepening its involvement in broadcasting, through a partnership with (or even an investment in) US firm iHeartMedia. The Financial Times broke the story this […]

Facebook: the future of sharing may be about stories and messaging

Big technology firms are enduring choppy waters on the stock markets, and Facebook in particular is having a 2018 best described as ‘difficult’. There was plenty of attention, then, on the company’s latest quarterly financial results last night, and what the various privacy and political issues have meant for its business. The topline? Mark Zuckerberg isn’t on […]

Snapchat and Twitter reveal their latest financial results

Snapchat versus Instagram may be the existential social-app battle of 2018 (and by that we mean it looks more existential for Snapchat) but yesterday gave us the chance to compare its performance with another social network, Twitter. Both companies published their financial results for the third quarter of 2018. Snapchat is still losing users: it […]

Facebook adds more music features amid rumours of TikTok-style app

Facebook’s music-licensing deals continue to fuel new features for the social network, with several more announced yesterday. However, the most interesting may be something that hasn’t yet been announced: a full-on standalone app to rival TikTok, the social-music-videos app that recently merged with tween-craze app Which for the benefit of recently-subscribed readers, had nothing to […]

iHeartMedia is launching its own podcast awards

Every music-streaming service worth its salt wants a catalogue of podcasts in 2018 – and ideally to shout about its association with podcasts too. US radio group iHeartMedia (which owns the iHeartRadio streaming service) has come up with a new spin on the latter by announcing its first podcast awards. Due to be held on 18 January […]

Universal Music teams up with Marvel for hip-hop ‘variant’ covers

We’ve seen Marvel do interesting things with hip-hop stars before: for example a merchandise line for Run The Jewels in October 2017. Now it has started working with Universal Music’s ‘Urban Legends’ division, which focuses on the label group’s archives of hip-hop releases. Marvel is creating ‘variant covers’ (alternative artwork) for a series of classic […]

WaveAI launches EP with lyrics and melodies created by AI

The latest startup exploring whether artificial intelligence (AI) can create music is called WaveAI, and it has an app called Alysia that will let anyone test its technology out. The app works like the tools from other AI startups like Jukedeck and Amper Music: people choose a background music track in their preferred style, then Alysia generates […]

Imogen Heap launches her ‘Life of a Song’ project

British artist Imogen Heap has launched her ‘Life of a Song’ project, which focuses on a single track from 2005, ‘Hide and Seek’, showing exactly how it has made money over the last 13 years, as well as how those revenues have been split between Heap, her label, publisher and other entities involved in the work. […]

Socan launches its Dataclef global music-services platform

Canadian collecting society Socan had a big announcement yesterday: a new ‘global music services platform’ called Dataclef, which it says is aimed at other collecting societies as well as music rightsholders of all sizes. “For the first time ever, organizations can go to one place for state-of-the-art license administration, worldwide reporting, and intelligent royalty tracking and […]

Spotify tests ‘What’s New’ section to highlight new releases

Spotify has a few ways to let its listeners know about new releases by artists that they like, including the Release Radar playlist (for individual tracks); its ‘marquee’ tool that pops up sometimes to alert them to new albums; and a ‘New Releases’ section that isn’t that personalised. Now the streaming service is trying something […]

Instagram ‘edges’ Snapchat as US teenagers’ favourite social app

This is far from the biggest surprise you’ll read in your inbox this week, but Instagram appears to have overtaken Snapchat in popularity among American teenagers. This, at least, is the claim in research firm Piper Jaffray’s latest ‘Taking Stock With Teens’ survey, which quizzed 8,600 US teens about their consumer habits – from shoes to […]

YouTube CEO says Article 13 is a threat to creator livelihoods

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has criticised the European Parliament’s recent vote to approve the Article 13 section of the proposed new European copyright directive, and suggested that the legislation could force her company to block videos from smaller creators, including educational channels. “Article 13 as written threatens to shut down the ability of millions of […]

Report explores the lucrative growth of ‘games as a service’

The concept of ‘games as a service’ isn’t a new one: it’s been around since the early days of Facebook gaming with FarmVille and its like, where games resided on their developers’ servers to be constantly tweaked and updated, and made money from in-game purchases of virtual currency. And the business model – although it […]

Could RapCaviar ‘cash in’ as an independent entity from Spotify?

We’ll be honest: the likelihood of Spotify spinning out its RapCaviar playlist rather than keeping the brand to itself is slim. Yet writer Dan Runcie’s Trapital blog has published a thought-provoking post on how and why RapCaviar might work as a standalone company that still collaborates closely with its parent. “Both Spotify and RapCaviar would thrive with […]

Universal Music makes Giles Martin ‘head of audio and sound’

Giles Martin is no stranger to the Universal Music family: the son of Beatles producer Sir George has been working with its Abbey Road Studios subsidiary for a long time now, alongside his work as ‘sound experience leader’ for Sonos. This morning, though, Universal Music Group has named Martin as its head of audio and […]

Merlin says average payments to Japanese members are up 70%

The headline from indie licensing agency Merlin’s latest stats announcement is that distributions to its Japanese members are up 200% year-on-year. However, as the agency made clear, that’s partly because it has grown its Japanese membership in the last year, and thus the payouts are bigger. “The rest can be attributed to average payments to […]

Fanbase launches as blockchain-powered music fan-rewards platform

The latest blockchain startup hoping to make an impact in the music industry is Fanbase, which is launching a platform to help artists mint their own tokens, which fans will be able to buy to access exclusive content, VIP tickets and merchandise. The startup is positioning itself as an alternative to traditional social-media marketing for […]

Indian telco Jio added 37m subscribers in the last quarter alone

Our lead story in today’s bulletin talks about the Indian music industry’s ambitions to be a top-10 global market by 2022. Telcos are going to play a crucial role in that, so our attention was grabbed this morning by the latest financial results from Reliance Industries, the parent company of mobile network Jio – which is […]

Study: listeners have more passion for streaming than radio

It’s no secret that music-streaming services are gunning for radio both in terms of attracting its listeners and peeling off more of its advertising revenues. “The 20-year trend here is linear dies, everything on-demand wins. Instead of free / paid, it’s paid plus free, and free eats broadcast radio,” as Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy put it […]

YouTube adds Eventbrite integration to its ticketing feature

Last November, YouTube announced a partnership with Ticketmaster to add tour information and ticket-buying links to official music videos on its platform. Nearly a year later, the feature is getting another major integration: with Eventbrite. “Starting today, fans watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels will see Eventbrite listings for live music performances throughout the US […]

Facebook accused of misleading advertisers over growth in video usage

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a new problem has come knocking at the door of Facebook. Online marketing agency Crowd Siren is taking legal action against the social networking and, based on reviewing 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records, is claiming it knew about inflated metrics around video view times as early as 2015. “[Facebook] […]

Netflix subscriber numbers rise but it faces “poaching” lawsuit from Viacom

New to Netflix Originals, it’s The Good & The Bad Place… that’s where the subscription TV- and movie-streaming service finds itself this week. It now has 137m subscribers globally, growing by 7m in the three months to September. This was above projections and the company’s biggest quarterly growth to date. Revenue in the quarter grew 34% […]

Wear Where? Spotify app coming to Google Wear OS

Apple Music has full integration with the Apple Watch and now its biggest rival wants in on the smart device action. Spotify has announced that from next month its app for Wear OS, the Google-owned operating system for smartwatches and other wearable devices (previously known as Android Wear), will go live. In short, this will allow […]

Royalty Exchange sued by investor over breach of contract in $420,000 deal

Royalty Exchange, the broker/marketplace to connect owners of copyrights with private investors, is being sued by Ryan Stotland who invested $420,000 to take 100% ownership of the recording and publishing rights in five albums by rapper King Lil G. Stotland is claiming breach of contract. According to financial documents ahead of the sale, the 68 […]

“I want everything available digitally”: Danny Bennet, head of Verve, on how digital is regenerating classical and jazz

  In a recent issue of Sandbox, we spoke to the team behind the release and marketing of the “lost” 1963 John Coltrane album Both Directions At Once. In that campaign focus, Danny Bennett, president & CEO of Verve Label Group, talked about how his label made the album launch “an event” by treating it […]

Spotify invests in DistroKid as part of new distribution partnership

Spotify recently announced that it would be testing a direct-uploads tool with some artists, enabling them to get their music onto its service without a distributor or label. Now the company has expanded the initiative to help those artists distribute to rival services, via a partnership with distributor DistroKid – including Spotify making a “passive […]

Spookify: YouTube ad for Spotify pulled after being deemed too distressing for children

The Advertising Standards Authority has taken issue with an ad run by Spotify in June this year on YouTube that drew on the tropes of horror films, claiming that the tone, the setting and the narrative events were “particularly likely” to scare younger viewers. In short, the ad showed a spooky doll menacing children if […]

Impala warns of Sony’s “near monopoly grip” on European charts if EMI Music Publishing deal is cleared

Impala warns of Sony’s “near monopoly grip” on European charts if EMI Music Publishing deal is cleared Impala, representing the European independent music community, is upping its efforts to block Sony’s full acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, providing research it claims exposes how the bulking up of Sony would give it an iron grip on […]

Mixcloud’s subs service edges ever closer with UMG deal

Yesterday, Mixcloud announced that it had signed a multi-year direct licensing deal with Universal Music Group. This is not quite a global deal as both China and Japan are currently excluded from the agreement, but the UMG deal does cover recorded music rights and will see its artists remunerated for the use of their music […]

Confirmed: Apple has bought music analytics startup Asaii

Music-analytics startup Asaii is shutting down this month because it has been acquired by Apple. The deal has been confirmed to Music Ally by the company’s first investor. “As the first investors in Asaii, we are incredibly excited by their recent acquisition by Apple where they will have the opportunity to dramatically scale their impact […]

Tencent Music IPO on hold amid market turbulence?

There has been growing excitement and anticipation around the planned IPO of Chinese mega-company Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TMEG). At the start of the month it even filed its IPO documents which gave a revealing insight into the company, its business models and its growth targets (as well as confirming that Sony and WMG have […]

Genius strikes lyrical deal with Apple Music

The company formerly known as Rap Genius has a new partner. ‘Encyclopedia of music’ Genius has announced a deal to make Apple Music the official music player on its site and iOS app. Genius’ database of lyrics will be integrated into the streaming service in return as part of the partnership. “Starting today, Apple Music […]

Albums in the streaming era: ‘Just think of it as a blank canvas for telling stories’

Streaming is a world of tracks and playlists rather than albums, right? An event in London last night organised by British industry bodies the BPI and ERA promised to explore the role of the album in the streaming era, including some stats and views pushing back on the assumption that it doesn’t have one. Added […]

eMarketer breaks down US digital-video advertising predictions

Research firm eMarketer has published its latest predictions for digital video advertising in the US, which includes a new number for YouTube. “This year, YouTube will generate $3.36 billion in net US video ad revenues, up 17.1% over last year,” claimed eMarketer. “YouTube now derives 73% of its ad revenues from video in the US. YouTube […]

Study outlines internet-access growth in sub-Saharan Africa

The music industry’s excitement about the potential of countries in sub-Saharan Africa is underpinned by the awareness that internet access – particularly through smartphones – is growing rapidly in those markets. Now the US-based Pew Research Center has published some new data on that growth in six countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. […]

PledgeMusic reveals management changes and promises improvements

Crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic has confirmed the departure of its CEO Dominic Pandiscia, and announced a reshuffle of its management team in its wake. Co-founder Malcolm Dunbar will now be global president and chief operating officer at the company, with two of its former executives – Jayce Varden and Scott Graves – back at the company in senior-management […]

Yandex.Music has 20m active users – and now it’s in Israel

Russian music-streaming service Yandex.Music was rumoured to be planning a launch in Israel, and this week it’s happened. It’s the first time the service, run by internet giant Yandex, has expanded outside the former Soviet Union. One interesting aspect of the launch: the chance to get a ‘lifetime’ 50% discount on the cost of a […]

SoundCloud opens up its Premier monetisation program

SoundCloud has thrown the doors open wide to its SoundCloud Premier program, which enables independent artists to make money from streams of their tracks on its service. Any SoundCloud Pro and Pro Unlimited creators – those who pay a subscription for extra tools around their uploads and profiles on SoundCloud – can now join the program. CEO […]

Streaming and piracy star in IFPI’s 2018 consumer-insight report

Global industry body the IFPI has published its latest ‘Music Consumer Insight Report’, which is based on a survey by market-research firm AudienceNet earlier this year. The trends it outlines will not come as a surprise, but the data is useful nonetheless. On average, consumers spend 17.8 hours a week listening to music; 86% of them […]

Spotify now pays music rightsholders $288m every month

Spotify is ten years old today as a consumer service, having launched on 10 October 2008. Among the stats being put out to celebrate the anniversary is a new figure for payouts. “As of August 31, 2018, we have paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch,” announced Spotify this morning. That’s up €2bn […]

Google+ to shut down after Google reveals user-data leak

It seems a long time since Music Ally was writing articles about what the Google+ social network might mean for music marketing. Google stopped promoting it as a social network some time ago, although Google+ lived on. Not any more: it’s being shut down in the wake of a data leak affecting up to 500k accounts on […]

Peter Bjorn and John get a ‘3-in-1’ video for new singles

Remember Peter Bjorn and John? Their big hit was ‘Young Folks’ in 2006, and we can only apologise if reading this sentence puts its whistling hook on your internal jukebox for the entire day. They’re still going strong, though, and they’ve done something interesting around their latest music. The band have released three singles from […]

Help Musicians UK launches £200k fund for independent musicians

Music-industry charity Help Musicians UK has launched a new ‘Do It Differently’ fund aimed at independent musicians, which will start with £200k to distribute. Producers, composers, songwriters, musicians, singers, DJs and beatboxers are being invited to apply for up to £3k each for “developing experience in touring or recording”, while a further £2k will be […]

Sentric to help dance producers get their songwriting royalties

British music-rights firm Sentric Music thinks that dance producers are missing out on royalties from the tracks that they’ve worked on – specifically publishing royalties from their songwriting contributions. Now it’s trying to help them, with the launch of a new division called Sentric Electronic. “Clubs, download stores, streaming services, radio stations and television are […]

Euro songwriters body comes out against Sony / EMI deal

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) is the latest industry body to come out against Sony’s plan to take full control of EMI Music Publishing. The deal has been ‘notified’ to the European Commission, which will now decide if it merits further investigation on competition grounds. ECSA follows IMPALA and BASCA in calling for […]

Spotify UK financials reveal growth in advertising revenues

Spotify’s UK subsidiary has published its financial results for 2017, and at first glance there’s a shock: revenues *down* by 55% year-on-year to £107.1m ($140.1m). However, that’s because Spotify started processing British listeners’ subscription payments through Spotify AB in Sweden – hence only £1.7m of subscription income is included in the 2017 UK results, compared to […]

‘Ethical Pool’ idea could let fans choose user-centric royalties

Industry blog Music Tech Solutions has been thinking about the debate around ‘user-centric’ streaming royalties. That’s where the royalties from every paying streamer’s monthly subscription are divided only between the artists they listen to, rather than going into a bigger pool divided by overall listening share on the entire service. MTS’ new idea: let fans choose […]

Facebook Portal smart speakers include Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio partnerships

Facebook has finally unveiled its first two smart speakers: the Portal and Portal+. Well, we say smart ‘speakers’ – like Amazon’s Echo Show, these devices have screens built in too. Facebook’s new devices are available initially in the US, pre-orderable from today and shipping in November. They use Amazon’s Alexa for their voice-control features, while […]

Five trends for digital music marketing in 2018

There are three pillars for music marketing in 2018: what you do with social media; what you do with digital service providers (DSPs, principally streaming services); and what you do with your own platforms – mailing lists, most obviously, and direct-to-fan sales be it on your own site or something like Bandcamp. But what are […]

Via tests time-stamped lyrics merchandise with QR-code rewards

Los Angeles startup Via has some interesting ideas around lyrics, merchandise and physical-to-digital connectivity. “We’ve created endless options for artist merchandise by using lyrics and citing the exact time stamp they were recorded.This turns every lyric into a product and allows fans to express themselves through the music they love,” explains its profile on startups website AngelList. “We’ve […]

Yoko Ono to hold ‘Imagine Global Listening Event’ with Spotify

Tomorrow (9 October) would have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday if he was still alive. Yoko Ono is set to mark the anniversary of her late husband and musical collaborator with a ‘global listening event’ based on the album ‘Imagine’. Or, to be specific, ‘Imagine – The Ultimate Collection’ – a new remastered version of […]

Beat Hazard 2 game ‘listens’ to streaming music for soundtrack

Game soundtracks are a meaningful part of the music-synchronisation pie, but what happens when games start sourcing their music through alternative sources to its rightsholders? The post Beat Hazard 2 game ‘listens’ to streaming music for soundtrack appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Confirmed: Ministry of Sound shifts its playlists to Apple Music

We alluded to this in yesterday’s story about Sony Music boss Rob Stringer’s comments about Spotify and streaming, but it’s worth a standalone piece. The post Confirmed: Ministry of Sound shifts its playlists to Apple Music appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Q2-Q3 may be the new Q4 according to Republic Records

Is it time to bid a fond farewell to the position of Q4 as the kingpin period of music revenues? A feature on Variety suggests that it might. The post Q2-Q3 may be the new Q4 according to Republic Records appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Beatport download sales grew by 8% in first half of 2018

Music download sales fell by 20.5% globally in 2017 according to the IFPI, while in the US specifically, they fell by a further 27% in the first half of this year. The post Beatport download sales grew by 8% in first half of 2018 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Former Spotify man creates Repertoire blockchain music-index

Erik Beijnoff was once the CEO of consultancy firm Devant, which was involved (and thus had a stake) in music-playlists startup Tunigo. The post Former Spotify man creates Repertoire blockchain music-index appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Apple Music exclusive sees Ministry of Sound de-list (but not delete) Spotify playlists

Reports earlier this week of an exclusive playlists partnership between Ministry of Sound and Apple Music have now been confirmed. “All Ministry of Sound playlists and the monthly Ministry Mix – only on Apple Music,” explains Ministry’s curator profile on Apple Music. 15 playlists are currently featured on the profile: Dance Nation, R&B Mixtape, Ibiza Anthems, […]

New study explores the clout of modern ‘power gamers’

Online-video network Fullscreen has teamed up with research firm Magid to explore the changing demographics – and the purchasing power – of modern gamers. Obligatory caveat: Fullscreen owns a number of gaming brands, so the goal here is clearly to offer brands more evidence to spend money with them. Still, the survey of 1,300 Americans threw up […]

Deadmau5 takes his global mau5trap Radio show to Mixcloud

Dance star Deadmau5 – or as we’ll always think of him, thanks to Kanye West: Dead-Mow-Five – is launching a new, global radio show called mau5trap Radio. In the US, it’ll air every Friday on SiriusXM, as well as on selected radio stations in countries like Australia, Mexico, Russia and Thailand. However, Deadmau5 has done an accompanying deal […]

Warner Music Group signs partnership with DotBlockchain

Blockchain startup DotBlockchain appears to have secured a high-profile new partner from the rightsholder world: Warner Music Group. “In the next months, Warner Chappell publishing and WMG labels will collaborate with us to create a revolutionary way for record labels and publishers form a collective truth about their media assets on the blockchain,” announced DotBlockchain, while […]

Mobility of artists key to Impala’s post-Brexit recommendations

Independent body Impala has been debating the potential impact on music from the UK’s upcoming exit from the European Union – aka ‘Brexit’. It has published a list of recommendations for the cultural sectors, following a meeting with more than 60 experts from across Europe. One of the key recommendations concerns freedom of movement for artists and […]

Facebook launches Premieres interactive-video format

Facebook has announced the official launch of its ‘Premieres’ format, which enables people to “release a pre-recorded video as a live moment” on the social network. The idea being that new videos can be turned in to fan events, complete with pre-publicity and a chat window for interactions while it’s airing. Premieres can be scheduled up to […]

$321.3m copyright infringement case against Spotify continues

Bluewater Music Services Corp. has been given the go-ahead to continue its copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify, despite the streaming service’s attempt to get the case struck down. A Tennessee federal court denied that, according to Law360. “Spotify said that under the language of the administrator agreements involving the songs, Bluewater has not obtained either exclusive […]

10 things we learned from Tencent Music’s IPO filing

Tencent Music published its filing to go public last night. We’ve been filleting the document to pull out some of the most interesting data and strategic titbits on the Chinese digital-music company. 1.  The big figures Tencent Music’s total revenues were RMB 10.98bn in 2017 (that’s $1.66bn) having grown by 151.8% year-on-year. The company recorded a net […]

RIAA criticises new US trade agreement with Mexico and Canada

President Trump was certainly happy with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal that he announced yesterday, describing it as “one of the most advanced trade deals” in the world that’s “truly extraordinary for US, Canada and Mexico”. The post RIAA criticises new US trade agreement with Mexico and Canada appeared first on Music […]

US ‘plateaued’ in internet, social media and device ownership

US research organisation the Pew Research Center is on a run of interesting reports this autumn, with its latest focusing on internet and social media usage, as well as device ownership in the US. The headline: all three metrics have “plateaued”. “The shares of U.S. adults who say they use the internet, use social media, own […]

YouTube money calculator suggests merchandise is the key

Calculating earnings from YouTube video views is, as ever, a real piece-of-string affair. Much depends on the length of the videos and the nature of the ads run against them, for example: there’s no one ‘royalty rate’ to use in wider calculations. What there are, though, are averages – and now a tool launched by a […]

Nielsen publishes its latest US research on smart speakers

2018 has seen a regular flow of surveys and studies showing the growth of smart-speaker ownership, particularly in the US, which remains the biggest market for these devices. The post Nielsen publishes its latest US research on smart speakers appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Spotify Co.Lab events will teach musicians about the industry

First direct-licensing deals, then a direct-uploads tool in testing. Now there’s another way Spotify is working with artists directly, although this is focused more on education. The company has launched a new series of events branded as Co.Lab. It’s described thus: “A new Spotify for Artists event series designed to connect you with experts from across […]

Tencent Music reportedly set for $3.1bn revenues in 2018

We’re still waiting for the official publication of Tencent Music’s filing for an IPO in the US, which will provide bags of metrics on the company’s music-streaming services. The post Tencent Music reportedly set for $3.1bn revenues in 2018 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Next Big Sound opens up its Pandora data on artists

Music-streaming service Pandora’s analytics division Next Big Sound is opening up its data, in an effort to give Pandora metrics a higher profile within the music industry. Until now, artists, managers and labels could see metrics like spins, interactive plays, thumbs ups and station adds for their own artists and tracks, but not others. That’s […]

WhatsApp co-founder joins the fray over Facebook culture

This week’s news that Instagram’s two co-founders are leaving the company sparked several reports on the tensions between them and parent company Facebook. Now the co-founder of another prominent Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp, has joined the fray. Brian Acton left Facebook 10 months ago, and has already made his feelings clear on the social network with […]

Spotify creates pop-up exhibition for Ariana Grande in New York

From shoppable Snapchat lenses to location-based treasure hunts to ticketing/album bundles, the campaign for Ariana Grande’s latest album ‘Sweetener’ has been pulling out plenty of digital stops. Now it’s doing something else interesting in the real world, backed by Spotify. The streaming service is building an “immersive exhibit” inspired by the album, which will be […]

Facebook and Messenger stories now have 300m daily users

The ‘stories’ format within social apps is now a pillar of the social-media world, having been pioneered by Snapchat, then copied and developed by Instagram and others. Facebook included: it has ‘stories’ in its main app as well as Facebook Messenger, although they aren’t talked about that much compared to Snapchat and Instagram’s versions. Anyway, […]

Blockchain startup to launch streaming service

Another day, another blockchain startup promising to (in the words of its launch announcement) “revolutionise the global music industry”. And we’re at the point in, as research firm Gartner puts it, the ‘trough of disillusionment’ around blockchain startups and token sales that a lot of people in that global music industry will simply roll their […]

Deezer says podcast listening on its service has grown by 146%

Growth stats as percentages without the actual before-and-after numbers can be misleading: if the original base is very small, the significance diminishes. So, Deezer’s claim yesterday that its monthly podcast streams are up 146% globally since 2017 is hard to gauge, given that it didn’t say how many streams that amounted to in 2017 or […]

Classical streaming service Idagio raises $11.7m funding round

We’ve seen a few streaming services focusing on classical music launch in recent years, although as yet none have managed to create a symphony of success in terms of signing up subscribers. Can Idagio buck the trend? The German startup is already available in 130 countries, and says that it has signed up more than 250,000 registered […]

Bandcamp to hold fundraiser to protect voting rights in the US

Bandcamp has announced the details for its next day-long fundraiser, which will take place this Friday, seven weeks ahead of the US mid-term elections. The focus this time round is on voting rights, with Bandcamp planning to donate 100% of its share of sales on its site to a program called the Voting Rights Project. “We […]

SoundCloud starts recording artist sessions in its Berlin studio

SoundCloud is the latest music-streaming service to start recording exclusive sessions in its own studio – in this case, in the company’s Berlin studio. The sessions will be branded ‘First on SoundCloud: Studio Sessions’ and will focus on “emerging creators who began their careers first on SoundCloud, and the creative journey of their newest track”. First […]

Songtrust expands to Atlanta, Los Angeles and Nashville

Royalty collection and publishing-administration service Songtrust is expanding again, this time swelling its team to include staff in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Nashville. The company has hired former ASCAP, MusicBox and RightsFlow executive Alex Gershwin to work in LA as a business development representative. Meanwhile, Breanna Harper, formerly of Spotify, the Grammy Foundation and Disturbing […]

Spotify and Deezer lobby for EU ‘platform-to-business’ law

The new European copyright directive has a few steps to go before becoming law yet, but there’s another piece of in-progress European legislation to keep an eye on. It’s called the ‘platform-to-business’ law (P2B for short) and will focus on fair treatment for European businesses that operate on large internet / technology platforms. Such as […]

Analysts give their views on SiriusXM / Pandora acquisition

Analysts have been publishing their views on the implications of SiriusXM’s proposed acquisition of Pandora, and it’s fair to say many of them are taking a wait-and-see approach. Goldman Sachs highlighted the ‘go-shop’ provision in the deal that allows Pandora to seek out a better offer, and suggests that “the value of Pandora as an […]

Music Modernization Act approved by House of Representatives

Nobody is counting chickens just yet when it comes to the Music Modernization Act, given that its final hurdle to become law is President Trump’s signature. But music-industry bodies are confident that there won’t be any issues when the MMA reaches the president’s desk, having been unanimously approved yesterday by the US House of Representatives. This follows […]

Analyst claims Apple Music has an ‘iOS ownership advantage’

You may have seen some headlines overnight about Apple Music ‘converting’ people to subscribers at a rate “2.5x faster than Spotify”. But what does this mean, given that the two services have different funnels – a fully-free ad-supported tier for Spotify and a time-limited free trial for Apple Music? It’s worth following the headline trail […]

Sandbox Summit 2018 – London #MarketMusicBetter

Music Ally is delighted to announce the agenda and first set of confirmed speakers for this year’s Sandbox Summit sponsored by Linkfire which will take place at the London Arthouse on Wednesday 31st October. Early bird tickets have already sold out and momentum is building for the second London edition of our dedicated music marketing conference. […]

Shazam financials show revenue growth flattened in 2017 ahead of Apple acquisition

Apple completed its acquisition of music-identification app Shazam this week, but now the latter company has published its latest (and likely final) set of public financial results, via the UK’s Companies House. They reveal Shazam’s figures for the 2017 calendar year, with the company having accepted Apple’s acquisition offer on 10 December that year. What […]

Apple to take Shazam ad-free after completing app acquisition

Shortly after receiving approval of the deal from the European Commission, Apple has completed its acquisition of music-recognition app Shazam. Its first move: to announce that the app will “soon offer its experience ad-free for all users so everyone can enjoy the best of Shazam without interruption”. This, of course, includes ads from streaming services that aren’t […]

SiriusXM to buy Pandora: ‘We would benefit from a free funnel’

By now you’ll likely know that US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM has announced plans to buy streaming service Pandora, in a transaction valuing the latter company at $3.5bn. The deal follows SiriusXM’s $480m strategic investment in Pandora in 2017, which had seen its chairman, CEO and CFO appointed to Pandora’s board of directors. SiriusXM says that […]

Led Zeppelin Experience may offer streams of concert recordings

It’s been a long time since they rock and rolled: the last time Led Zeppelin played live was for a one-off reformation in December 2007, and since then hopes of further concerts featuring the surviving members of the band have ebbed away. However, they may be planning another live-related venture: a service for streaming recordings […]

Distributors start to respond to Spotify’s direct-uploads tool

You’ll hopefully have seen our story yesterday on Spotify’s new tests of a tool for artists to directly upload their music to its platform – including our thoughts on why it’s less a distributor-killer, and more just the latest reason why those companies need to focus on added-value services for their artist clients. The post […]

Eventbrite shares spike by 59% on first day of trading after IPO

It’s always risky to read too much in to the ‘pop’ of a company’s shares on the day it goes public, although if they sink below their initial price, that’s definitely not a good sign. The post Eventbrite shares spike by 59% on first day of trading after IPO appeared first on Music Ally. Source: […]

RIAA mid-year stats: 10% growth in US recorded-music market

US industry body the RIAA has published its mid-year figures for 2018, outlining the growth in recorded-music revenues in the first half of this year. Retail spending on recorded-music grew by 10% year-on-year to $4.6bn, while wholesale revenues (after the cut taken by digital services) also grew by 10%, to $3.1bn. Streaming now accounts for […]

Spotify tests tool for artists to upload their music directly

Spotify is testing a tool that will enable independent artists and labels to upload their music directly to the streaming service, without having to go through a distributor. The company has quietly been testing this tool with a few DIY artists and small labels, but is now opening it up to “a few hundred” US-based […]

Google Home Mini was most popular smart speaker in Q2 2018

We reported earlier this week on figures suggesting that the cheaper tier of western smart speakers – Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot – were an increasingly-important part of this market. The post Google Home Mini was most popular smart speaker in Q2 2018 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

YouTube’s gaming audience is now 200m+ people a month

YouTube has announced some changes in the way it presents games videos on its service, folding its standalone YouTube Gaming app back in to the main service. Not just yet: the app will be ‘retired’ in March 2019 so that the company can “focus all of our gaming efforts on YouTube where we can reach […]

Indian offline music service Carvaan gets a premium version

‘Offline’ music? That’s the raison d’etre of something called Carvaan in India: a portable music player launched by Saregama that is preloaded with 5,000 ‘evergreen’ songs in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Marathi versions, and which is thus aimed at older people who may not have reliable-enough internet access to stream music. The premium version of […]

Campaign calls for UK events to do better on gender diversity

A number of industry bodies in the UK have backed a new campaign calling on conferences and awards shows to do a better job on gender diversity. The MMF, AIM, WIN, PRS Foundation, Featured Artists Coalition, UK Music, BASCA, Help Musicians UK and SheSaidSo are among the organisations supporting the campaign, which is focused on advertising in […]

Cheaper smart-speakers are selling strongly in the US

The latest research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) on the US smart-speaker market is making headlines for its views on Apple’s HomePod – but we think it highlights a bigger trend. “Across the market, consumers migrated to the lowest-priced models,” claims CIRP about the latest market data. “For the two biggest competitors, Echo Dot accounts for […]

Spotify facing gender-discrimination lawsuit in the US

For a company that prides itself on its initiatives focused on diversity and gender-equality, Spotify won’t have enjoyed the overnight headlines about a lawsuit filed against the firm in New York. The lawsuit comes from Hong Perez, who worked as a sales executive for Spotify between 2015 and 2017, and accuses the company of gender […]

Report: Tencent Music halves amount sought in IPO to $2bn

We’re eagerly awaiting more public details on Tencent Music’s IPO in the US, which will give the industry a deeper insight into the figures and trends around the Chinese company’s music-streaming services. Its filing hasn’t been published yet, but it seems there are some late shifts in the plans for going public. Reuters reported this morning that […]

Last-minute negotiations see Music Modernization Act passed

Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t just one of the greatest football managers of all-time: he also came up with some of the best soundbites. Particularly “squeaky bum time” – the phrase he used once to describe the period at the crunch point of the football season, when managers would be squirming about […]

Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier to step down in March 2019

We wondered yesterday what reports that Jon Platt’s departure from music-publisher Warner/Chappell was setting him up for a senior role at rival Sony/ATV meant for the latter’s current boss Martin Bandier. The post Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier to step down in March 2019 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Report claims eight new Amazon Alexa devices to launch before Christmas

2018 has seen an explosion in new devices NOT made by Amazon or Google, but which use those companies’ voice assistants – Alexa and Google Assistant respectively. The post Report claims eight new Amazon Alexa devices to launch before Christmas appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Instagram expands its shopping features through stories and Explore section

The rumours were true: Instagram is getting new features focused on shopping. They were announced yesterday, and will be focused on two specific areas of Instagram’s app: its stories section, and its Explore homepage. The post Instagram expands its shopping features through stories and Explore section appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Apple’s iOS 12 is live, including Apple Music changes and Siri shortcuts

Apple’s new iPhones will inevitably hog the limelight this week, but it’s just as important (from the music industry’s perspective, anyway) that the company’s latest iOS software is being released commercially too. The post Apple’s iOS 12 is live, including Apple Music changes and Siri shortcuts appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Artists threaten to boycott SiriusXM over its MMA lobbying

US satellite-radio service SiriusXM has been coming under sustained fire for its lobbying around the proposed Music Modernization Act legislation, which this week has reached a crucial stage in its passage through the US Senate. The post Artists threaten to boycott SiriusXM over its MMA lobbying appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Spotify releases 17 tracks and 34 videos of Paul McCartney’s Abbey Road gig

Sir Paul McCartney is on track for his latest number-one album, and a carefully-planned promotional campaign has been playing its part. We wrote last week about plans for a livestreamed McCartney concert on YouTube, but then on Friday Spotify unveiled its own partnership with Sir Paul. It’s under the streaming service’s Spotify Singles brand, but went much […]

Analytics startup Asaii to shut down on 14 October

It’s been a rapid rise to prominence for analytics startup Asaii: we wrote about the company in our Sandbox report in July 2017; it pitched at our NY:LON Connect conference in January 2018 and was then a MidemLab finalists in June. And now? Now Asaii is shutting down. “Asaii will be shutting down operations on October […]

Spotify says non-US country streaming-share is up 21% since 2015

One of the themes Music Ally explored in our recent report on country music was how streaming is helping the genre and its emerging artists find new audiences abroad. Now Spotify has published a blog post on the trend to celebrate International Country Music Day. “While the bulk of country listening takes place in the US, we’ve […]

YouTube children’s-music channel Little Baby Bum gets acquired

You likely won’t know Little Baby Bum unless you’ve had toddlers in the last few years: it’s the most successful nursery-rhymes channel on YouTube, with its animated songs proving hugely popular. How popular? The British channel has 16.4 million subscribers and 17.5bn lifetime views, including its famous hour-long supercuts of nursery-rhymes. Now the company has […]

Google beefs up its music-recognition skills with Sound Search improvements

It looks like Apple’s acquisition of Shazam will soon go through, having been approved by European regulators. That will in turn spark more discussion of what the deal means for rivals: not just Apple Music’s rivals like Spotify, but Apple’s rivals like Google. As if by magic, there is news today on how Google’s own […]

Music Biz / AudienceNet study explores US music-listening habits

Industry organisation Music Biz and research firm AudienceNet have published their latest study of US music habits, based on a survey of 3,000 Americans in July 2018. Among its findings: 20% said their favourite media/entertainment activity is listening to music: level with streaming video and ahead of viewing social-media content (19%), watching terrestrial TV (17%), playing […]

Jon Platt to leave Warner/Chappell amid rumours of Sony/ATV role

Warner/Chappell chairman and CEO Jon Platt will be stepping down from his role at the company, amid rumours that he could be the next boss of rival publisher Sony/ATV. “WMG is an amazing company. I’ve grown so much in my time here, not only as a music executive, but as a leader,” wrote Platt in […]

Spotify CFO on Apple: ‘It’s not a software culture: it’s a hardware culture’

Spotify’s chief financial officer Barry McCarthy delivered a blunt rejoinder to a question about the threat posed by big-tech rivals like Apple, during his interview at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference on Friday. “I don’t think anybody is making a bigger investment in tech required to be successful in our business than we are,” he said, […]

NumberEight raises funding for AI tech that could help music-streaming services

Artificial-intelligence startup NumberEight has raised a funding round after completing three trials of its technology with music-streaming companies. The London-based company raised the undisclosed amount from investors including Beacon Capital, AI Seed, Ascension Ventures, 7% Ventures and angel investors including E100 angels from the London Business School NumberEight’s software is designed to sit within iOS […]

Gotickety blends mobile gaming with ticket and merch giveaways

It’s tempting to roll your eyes at a startup pitching itself as ‘Candy Crush for the Music Industry’. What, an app that 20 minutes in suddenly makes it a thousand times more difficult to listen unless you spend money on power-ups? Hopefully London-based startup Gotickety will be better than that though. “Gotickety allows music fans the chance […]

UK gets new Council of Music makers body representing musicians

Five of the industry bodies representing music creators in the UK have come together to form a new umbrella organisation. The UK Council of Music Makers(CMM) includes the Music Managers Forum (MMF), Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Music Producers Guild (MPG), Musicians’ Union (MU) and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA), with a mission […]

BMI distributions up 9.3% to $1.12bn in its last fiscal year

US collecting society BMI has published its latest numbers, for the organisation’s fiscal year which ended on 30 June. BMI says it collected $1.2bn in domestic and international royalties, as well as money from direct deals administered on behalf of publishers. The organisation’s distributions for the year were $1.12bn, up 9.3% year-on-year. “The most public performance […]

Report predicts 4.4bn mobile-broadband users by end of 2018

UN agency the International Telecommuncation Union knows its onions when it comes to mobile statistics, so its latest report comes with plenty of credibility. It claims that by the end of this year, there will be 4.4 billion mobile broadband users globally, up from 4.2 billion at the end of 2017, and 3.2 billion at the end […]

Amazon to release exclusive Jack White documentary and live EP

Amazon’s latest music ‘original’ comes from a partnership with artist Jack White, based around his Washington DC concert from May this year. Amazon will release a ‘Prime Original’ documentary film on the gig called Jack White – Kneeling at the Anthem DC, which will focus on the gig as well as White’s exploration of the […]

Videos are top digital-music consumption format in India

While MusicWatch is focusing on the US, Nielsen’s latest report turns its attention to India – a country where it claims 94% of the online population listens to music, based on its latest survey. The India Music 360 report’s findings also include 20 hours of average listening a week – either as a primary activity or in […]

Article 13 approved by European Parliament by 438 votes to 226

MEPs have voted to pass the much-discussed Article 13 of the European Copyright Directive. Of the 751 politicians voting on the directive today in Strasbourg, 438 voted in favour, 226 against and 39 abstained. The news is already being celebrated by music rightsholders and their representative bodies, but will come as a blow to the […]

US now has 51m music subscribers claims MusicWatch

Research firm MusicWatch has published its latest estimates on the US music-streaming market, claiming that there are now 51 million subscribers in the country. That would be a decent increase from the 35.3 million reported by the RIAA in its end-of-year statistics for 2017 – although that was an annual average over the year, rather […]

Japanese music firm Avex joins Techstars Music accelerator’s partners

Music/tech accelerator Techstars Music is set to return for a third year, armed with a new partner in Japanese music company Avex, and a deeper partnership with major label Sony Music. An announcement by Techstars Music chief Bob Moczydlowsky revealed the news, as he kicked off the hunt for 10 more startups to join the […]

Sonos quarterly revenues are down by 6.6% year-on-year

Sonos published its latest quarterly financial results overnight, for its fiscal Q3 (the second quarter of 2018, calendar-wise). They’re a mixed bag. The company’s revenues actually fell by 6.6% year-on-year, to $208.4m. However, the number of products that Sonos sold rose by 11.4% in the same period (to 886.5k units). The company said that these numbers are […]

French recorded-music revenues up 3.3% in first half of 2018

French industry body SNEP has put out its figures for recorded-music income in the first half of 2018. The topline: revenues in France were up 3.3% to €256m (around $297.3m). Within that, physical sales fell by 12.9% to €91.6m (35.8% of the market) while digital revenues grew by 16.2% to €153.7m (60% – the rest was synchronisation, […]

48% of Americans predicted to own smart speakers by Christmas

We’ve seen some bold predictions about smart-speaker sales in the rest of 2018: in July, research firm Canalys claimed that there would be 100m of these devices in use globally by the end of the year. Now a study published by Adobe, and focusing on the US market, has its own prediction that’s making headlines: that by the […]

Startup Jammber raises $2.3m for its platform for musicians

Jammber is the US startup that has created software for musicians and songwriters to log their credits from the earliest stage of the creation process (a bit like Auddly) while also offering a tool to help them organise tours. The company has just raised $2.3m in funding from music-industry investors including Sony Nashville’s Joe Galante […]

Duelling billboards as Apple and Spotify promote Nina Nesbitt

We’ve seen a few stories in recent years about artists being penalised (promotion-wise) on one streaming service because they’ve done a deal with another – Apple Music and Spotify usually being the cited services. Nicki Minaj’s recent criticism of Spotify for allegedly reining in its promotion for her new album ‘Queen’ after it debuted (slightly) […]

Apple Music adds 116 new country-level Top 100 charts

The announcement that Apple Music has added Top 100 charts for 116 countries may have come as a surprise to anyone who assumed the service had this kind of feature already. But no: Apple Music users *can* now browse the top 100s for a host of countries, from the UK and US to China, with […]

Despite Article 13 support, Paul McCartney to play YouTube gig

Sir Paul McCartney has a new album coming out, ‘Egypt Station’, and like a growing number of artists he’s promoting it through partnerships with various streaming services. YouTube included: Sir Paul will be livestreaming a performance on his YouTube channel this Friday (7 September) promising to play Beatles, Wings and solo classics as well as his new […]

BPI says British music exports reached $408.4m in 2017

If ever there was a warning bell ringing, it’s this: Europe is ‘driving growth’ for exports of British music, as the UK moves ever closer to its increasingly-chaotic ‘Brexit’ from the European Union next year. The claim comes from British industry body the BPI, which revealed this morning that overseas earnings by British labels were […]

The rise of Indian hip-hop: ‘There’s going to be a huge opportunity…’

From labels to streaming services to brands, they’re all saying the same things: hip-hop is the hottest independent music genre in India in 2018, and it’s only going to get bigger. Hip-hop is the fastest-growing genre for streaming service Saavn. Major label Sony Music and indie label Azadi Records are each negotiating deals with more […]

Viagogo sues Kilimanjaro Live over ticket cancellations

The already-heated debate around secondary ticketing in the UK has stepped up a notch: secondary firm Viagogo is suing promoter Kilimanjaro Live for its recent cancellations of Ed Sheeran tickets resold through the platform. Viagogo is accusing the promoter of “confiscating thousands of genuine tickets at the gate, forcing fans to buy new tickets, and […]

Camila Cabello hits 1bn Spotify streams for ‘Havana’

Congratulations to Camila Cabello, whose track ‘Havana’ has just reached the milestone of one billion Spotify streams. A landmark in itself, but what surprised us was that it’s the first time any woman has hit that number. The post Camila Cabello hits 1bn Spotify streams for ‘Havana’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

YouTube enlists its creators to campaign against EC’s Article 13

This month, the European Parliament will have a fuller debate and a new vote on its plans for copyright reform, including the much-discussed Article 13, which will cover safe harbour for internet platforms. The post YouTube enlists its creators to campaign against EC’s Article 13 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally ‘Action Pages’ to reward fans for streaming actions

Music-marketing startup has a new, well, feature. It’s called ‘Action Pages’, and it’s designed to help labels and artists reward fans for their activities within streaming services Spotify and Apple Music (initially: more will be added in the future). The post ‘Action Pages’ to reward fans for streaming actions appeared first on Music […]

UK broadcasters call for more regulation of internet firms

In a year of enhanced scrutiny of internet companies, the latest example is a group of British broadcasters lobbying for Facebook, Google and Twitter to face more regulation by a new watchdog created specifically for the purpose. The post UK broadcasters call for more regulation of internet firms appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music […]

eMusic CEO talks blockchain, transparency and MP3’s survival

eMusic made its name with a subscription-based music downloads service focused on independent labels, before adding major labels in 2010 – a controversial move at the time. Eight years on, the company is planning an even-bigger shift: launching a new music-distribution and royalty-management system that will use blockchain technology. This month, eMusic is launching a […]

Warner Music Australia signs new influencer partnership

As influencer marketing continues to become a more-common part of the music-marketing landscape, Warner Music Australia has announced an interesting joint venture with talent agency Born Bred Talent. The post Warner Music Australia signs new influencer partnership appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Amazon Music: ‘We’re in a leadership position everywhere’

Amazon’s music boss Steve Boom has been talking about the company’s growth in music-streaming, amid its new marketing campaign that focuses on ‘voice’ – both in singing and Alexa voice-control terms. The post Amazon Music: ‘We’re in a leadership position everywhere’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

T-Series tipped to overtake PewDiePie for YouTube subscribers

We’ve been covering the rapid growth of Indian music firm T-Series’ YouTube channels (in terms of their subscribers) in recent months. Now the company’s main channel could be set to dethrone the biggest YouTube star of all: gamer Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg. The post T-Series tipped to overtake PewDiePie for YouTube subscribers appeared first on Music […]

WMG appoints Alfonso Perez-Soto to Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa role

Warner Music Group is setting its sights on growth in more emerging markets. It has appointed Alfonso Perez-Soto as its new EVP of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Reporting in to WMG’s international boss Stu Bergen, Perez-Soto will be hoping to bring his knowledge of building the major-label group’s business in Latin America. The […]

YouTube is ‘the main way consumers aged 16-44 discover music’

Music videos continue to be the most popular video category on YouTube, accounting for 32% of views on the platform. This, at least, is the estimate published by research firm Midia Research in its latest State of the YouTube Music Economy report. The post YouTube is ‘the main way consumers aged 16-44 discover music’ appeared […]

Ticketmaster signs deal to sell tickets through Samsung’s Bixby

Fresh from tying up a deal with Spotify to be the official streaming partner for its new smart speaker, Samsung has announced an alliance with Ticketmaster too. The post Ticketmaster signs deal to sell tickets through Samsung’s Bixby appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

UK music industry ups #LoveMusic Euro lobbying effort

Tensions are rising ahead of the crucial European Parliament vote in September on copyright-reform legislation. A group of British music industry bodies are lobbying together to persuade MEPs to vote to reform the way safe harbour works in Europe, under the banner of #LoveMusic. The post UK music industry ups #LoveMusic Euro lobbying effort appeared […]

Universal Music and ESL team up for esports music label

We’ve thought for a while that there’s potential for more partnerships between the music and esports (competitive gaming) worlds. Now Universal Music Group and esports firm ESL are testing the waters. The companies are launching a joint-venture label, which will sign artists and promote their music across ESL’s esports tournaments and channels. That will include […]

Netflix joins Spotify in bypassing Apple in-app subscriptions

Netflix is testing changes to the way it charges iOS users for its monthly subscriptions – and that’s a move that will be of intense interest to the music-streaming world in the coming days and weeks. TechCrunch has the details, reporting that Netflix is testing a new subscription method in 33 countries where, instead of […]

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR says its early metrics are ‘extremely encouraging’

Virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR launched its app commercially in the US and UK on 1 May, then in eight more European countries on 26 June. So its just-published figures for the first half of 2018 – revenues of just £6.8k included – aren’t a reflection of where the company hopes to be as its app rolls […]

Napster revenues down, but unlike music-streaming rivals it’s profitable

Music-streaming service Napster is on track to record a net profit in 2018, despite its revenues having dropped by nearly 28% since the company’s peak in 2016. Napster recorded net profits of $4.4m and $2.1m respectively in the first two quarters of this year, although its $76.5m revenues for the first half of 2018 compare […]

20 voteworthy music sessions from the SXSW PanelPicker 2019

The voting process is underway in the SXSW 2019 PanelPicker, where the public gets to vote on which session ideas should be programmed at the Austin conference next March. As ever, there are plenty of music sessions being pitched, so I’ve spent some time today reading through them on the PanelPicker website, to come up […]

Nicki Minaj hits out at Spotify after Queen album misses #1 in the US

Nicki Minaj isn’t happy with Spotify at all. But this isn’t an argument about royalties: it’s about her new album ‘Queen’ only getting to number two in the US chart in its week of release, with Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ holding on to the top spot. According to Billboard, Scott’s album recorded 205k equivalent-album units last week […]

Can acts on direct deals with Spotify out-perform those on major labels?

There has been a lot of bellyaching, handwringing and bluster spoken about Spotify recently doing direct deals with artists. Is it a stealth move by Spotify to cut out labels entirely? If it is, it’s the biggest kamikaze play in history. Is it a tactical bartering chip for when Spotify has to renew its licensing […]

Amazon still leads in smart speakers; but Google is really snapping at its heels

It’s not going to surprise anyone that in the latest totting up of smart speaker shipments Amazon’s Echo is leading the pack. The latest numbers come from Strategy Analytics, looking at the smart speaker market globally in Q2 2018. The headline figures are that Amazon shipped 4.8m speakers in Q2, giving it a 41% market […]

Instagram Instgr-albums: aligning the social network

[The following is a comment piece by Gregor Pryor, co-chair of the Entertainment & Media Group at legal firm Reed Smith.] So Jaden Smith released his (remix) album solely on Instagram. It’s a typically obtuse promotional move from Smith, a pop star who once tweeted that “Instagram is not the answer”. Perhaps the release of […]

Spotify could overtake Pandora in the US by 2022; but is a ceiling being hit?

The latest forecast from eMarketer claims that a sharp growth in adoption of Spotify and a slowdown in the adoption of Pandora will see the former overtake the latter in the US within the next five years. The research company suggests that Pandora will have 75.9m users this year compared to 58.4m for Spotify (split […]

Industry reacts to Ticketmaster’s U-turn on secondary ticketing

You will hopefully have seen our news alert yesterday on the news that Ticketmaster is decommissioning its two secondary ticketing sites in Europe. From October, GET ME IN! and Seatwave will be replaced by a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange platform that will not permit tickets to be sold for more than face value. The move […]

UMG goes deeper with Apple on Deutsche Grammophon playlist initiative

  It is not quite picking favourites between Spotify and Apple Music, especially when it has equity in the former, but Universal Music Group has certainly been getting a lot closer with Apple Music in recent months. Its latest move is around classical, a genre that has been dramatically underserved by streaming to date. As […]

What is Social Music in the Streaming Age?

Music IS social, and it always has been. We talk (and argue!) about it; we watch concerts together; go clubbing together; experience it as a communal soundtrack for birthday parties and religious worship and much, much more… Any over-confident tech startup promising to ‘make music social’ is drunk on their own disruption. But of course, […]

Spotify is now Samsung’s ‘go-to’ music partner on its devices

Spotify has made its latest move in its battle with Apple, striking a partnership with the latter company’s fiercest rival in the smartphone space: Samsung. Spotify is now the “go-to music service provider” for Samsung, across its various devices, from smartphones and TVs to smart speakers. “Users can get excited about Spotify becoming part of […]

Drake hits 50bn streams milestone: here’s how that breaks down for Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube

Universal Music’s Republic Records has announced the latest digital milestone for Drake: he’s “the first artist to surpass 50 billion streams across all global streaming platforms”. The news comes just a month after his latest album ‘Scorpion’ became the first album to rack up more than one billion streams in a single week. “Additional details […]

Ninja gets 10m Twitch followers (and a Lollapalooza slot)

Tyler Blevins (aka Ninja) is the gamer who’s been attracting big audiences on Twitch and YouTube alike with his videos playing the game Fortnite. Oh, and he’s also the chap who helped Drake and Marshmello clamber on to this particular bandwagon earlier this year, playing the game with them online and breaking Twitch viewing records […]

Startup Thenexus to launch ‘blockchain-ready’ distributor Muso

A blockchain-ready music distributor? But of course: it’s 2018 after all. The platform in question will be called Muso when it launches by early 2019, and it’s the work of a startup based in Malaysia called Thenexus. “Low costs and no annual fees for bands, artists and producers. Over 300+ stores. Worldwide digital music distribution,” pitches […]

Royalty Exchange launches valuation app for songwriters

Zillow is the website whose features start with providing an estimate for the value of your house, to help you gauge whether to sell or rent it out (which the site can also help with). Now music firm Royalty Exchange has launched an app for songwriters that it’s pitching as ‘the Zillow for royalties’. That’s “a free […]

Amazon Prime Music may have overtaken Apple Music in UK

It’s been clear for some time that in terms of music subscribers, Amazon is now the third player globally behind Spotify and Apple Music. Could it have vaulted Apple Music into second place in the UK however? That’s the conclusion of the latest report from research firm Kantar Worldpanel as reported by Music Week. Its Entertainment Retail […]

Smart speaker sales, forecasts and market share: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and more

The music industry is intensely interested in the growth of the market for smart speaker devices: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and other speakers controlled via voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respectively. Research firms are also interested in this market, putting out regular estimates of how well these devices are selling […]

SESAC row eases to take Music Modernization Act one step forward

Peace appears to have broken out after a heated row involving collecting societies and songwriting bodies in the US, over the Music Modernization Act (MMA). Songwriter bodies SONA and NSAI had strongly criticised Blackstone, owner of SESAC and the Harry Fox Agency, for what they perceived as an attempt to derail the legislation as it […]

Deezer shoots for unicorn status after $185m funding round

‘Is Deezer really worth a billion dollars?’ asked one headline yesterday, as the streaming service announced a new funding round of €160m (around $185m) from new and existing investors. Well, is Deezer worth ‘unicorn’ status? Taking Spotify as the base for some super-rough calculations, the latter service has 180 million active users, and a current […]

Social app to shut down after merger with TikTok

Social music app is being shut down by its owner Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, which plans to merge the app’s community with one of its other apps, TikTok. Bytedance bought for more than $800m in November 2017, after the latter app had grown to more than 100 million users – mostly in the west. […]

Universal Music launches Peaceful Music playlist on Apple Music

Music for relaxation has quietly (well, it wouldn’t be loudly…) become one of the big playlist genres on music-streaming services. Now Universal Music Group is hoping to capitalise by launching a playlist called Peaceful Music. For now, it’s only available on one streaming service: Apple Music. Universal says that the playlist has been “co-created” with […]

Global smartphone shipments down as Huawei overtakes Apple

Apple’s quarterly financial results are always the trigger for a new round of figures on the global smartphone market, and such was the case yesterday. Research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics agree on the key trend: smartphone shipments are down slightly year-on-year. IDC claimed a fall of 1.8% to 342m smartphone units shipped in the second quarter […]

eMusic claims it will raise $70m for its blockchain plans

We reported earlier this year, somewhat sceptically, on digital-music service eMusic’s plans for a blockchain-powered relaunch. Now the company has given more details about how much money it’s planning to raise to fund its pivot to a ‘decentralised music distribution and royalty management system’. eMusic says that it’s shooting for $70m in its token sale, which […]

New for Spotify: Google Clock deal and Archie motion-comics

Spotify already has a pretty close relationship with Google for integration into its Google Home family of smart speakers. Now the companies are collaborating on one of the most well-used apps on Android devices: its clock app. “Starting today, you’ll be able to wake up to your favourite music on Spotify with the Google Clock […]

Canadian collecting society Socan acquires Sodrac

Socan is getting its wallet out again: this time the collecting society has closed its acquisition of fellow Canadian organisation Sodrac (the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers). Socan is bullish about what the deal means for creators. “For the first time in Canada, a single organisation – Socan – will be […]

Researcher suggests Facebook is working on ‘Talent Show’ feature

Could the world’s biggest social network have plans to park its tanks on the X Factor and The Voice’s lawns? Researcher Jane Manchun Wong has uncovered what may be plans for a new Facebook feature called ‘Talent Show’ by digging around in the code of its app. “Wong has discovered an interface that allow users […]

Spotify flew Stormzy’s biggest UK fans to his birthday party

British artist Stormzy turned 25 last week, and celebrated with a birthday party on the island of Menorca. And, this being 2018, he celebrated by teaming up with Spotify to take some of his fans along. The streaming service identified the grime star’s top streamers in the UK on its premium tier and invited them […]

Dot Blockchain teams up with Exactuals for song-data cleanup

One of the earliest blockchain-music startups, Dot Blockchain, has a new partnership this week. It’s working with payments and metadata firm Exactuals on a partnership that the pair say is “ensuring both company’s clients’ song data is clean, correct, and up-to-date and synchronised properly in conjunction with registering the datasets to dotBC’s blockchain solution”. That […]

SoundExchange payouts grew by 17.5% year-on-year in Q2

US company SoundExchange has published its latest quarterly figures, and they show strong growth in its payouts to artists and labels. The company paid out $208.7m in the second quarter of this year, up 17.5% year-on-year. That growth is also reflected in SoundExchange’s figures for the first half of 2018, with distributions up 17.4% to $398.6m, […]

iHeartRadio launches ‘Your Weekly Mixtape’ personal playlist

A weekly playlist personalised to each individual user of a streaming service? Where on earth could iHeartRadio have got that idea? Okay, so the ‘Discover Weekly’ format is now almost a standard feature for streaming, with the US radio-streaming service the latest to join the hyper-personal bandwagon. To be specific, iHeartRadio’s new Your Weekly Mixtape […]

Strong streaming growth for UMG as Vivendi rules out IPO

Vivendi published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, including figures for Universal Music Group. And UMG’s parent company also provided an update on its plans for the major label, which will now involve selling up to 50% of the company to one or more strategic partners, having ruled out an initial public offering (IPO). Figures first: Universal […]

Troy Carter leaves Spotify – ‘It was the right time to move out’

Spotify’s global head of creator services Troy Carter is leaving the company in September, although he will be taking up an advisory role for the music-streaming service after he departs.  Music Ally understands that Spotify’s global head of shows and editorial, Nick Holmstén, will be assuming Carter’s duties in addition to his existing job, reporting […]

Stem’s Zoë Gholson: ‘Education and transparency are really important for empowering independent artists’

“It’s something that’s struck me for years working in this industry: people just don’t know how to talk to artists about the business in the artist’s language!” That’s something that Zoë Gholson has worked hard on since 2009, when she joined music-streaming Mog as its marketing, social media and community manager. Since then, corporate acquisitions […]

France now sees 1bn audio music streams every week

France is the latest major market to publish its recorded music sales numbers for the first half of 2018, with the headline news being that on-demand streaming grew 39% from the opening six months of 2017 and now makes up 56% of the total market. Recorded music trade body SNEP reports that there were 27bn […]

Spotify talks direct artist deals: ‘Licensing content doesn’t make us a label’

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has taken pains to reassure labels that the company’s direct-licensing deals with independent artists should not be seen as a threat to labels, tying it back to Spotify’s ‘two-sided marketplace’ strategy. “As a platform, we’ve always licensed music from rightsholders both large and small, and we will continue to license music […]

Spotify Q2 financials: 83m subscribers, revenues up 26% and a €394m net loss

Spotify has just published its financial results for the second quarter of 2018. The music-streaming service ended June with 180 million monthly active users, including 83 million subscribers. Those figures were up 30.4% and 40.7% respectively year-on-year, and up 5.9% and 10.7% respectively quarter-on-quarter. Spotify generated revenues of €1.27bn (around $1.49bn) in Q2 this year, […]

Facebook opens China ‘innovation hub’ despite being blocked

“There are three reasons I decided to learn Chinese,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a Chinese audience (in Mandarin) back in October 2014. “The first, my wife is Chinese. Her grandmother can only speak Chinese. When I told her in Chinese I was going to marry Priscilla, she was very shocked. Then I want to study Chinese […]

Twitch launches Creator Camp to teach livestreaming skills

Amazon’s live-video platform Twitch wants to help people build audiences on their channels. It has just launched a site called Twitch Creator Camp, taking a leaf out of YouTube’s playbook (or, indeed, its actual ‘Playbook’ initiative of yore.) In Twitch’s case, the new site is billed as a place “where streamers can get the information they […]

Blockchain startup Tron buys BitTorrent for reported $126m

BitTorrent (the company) has a new owner: blockchain firm Tron, which bills itself as “the world’s largest decentralised ecosystem”. BitTorrent confirmed the acquisition on its site, noting that its products have more than 100 million active users worldwide, and that it will now “provide robust support for Tron’s global business development and partnerships”. Variety cites financial filings suggesting […]

ERA, BPI and BBC team up for UK’s National Album Day in October

‘Is the album dead?’ has been a tiresome hot-take that keeps getting reheated by thinkpiece-writers since the heyday of Apple’s iTunes Store. The current streaming dynamics are only making it pop up more often. British industry bodies ERA and the BPI hope it isn’t dead though: they’ve teamed up with broadcaster the BBC for an […]

India seen as new point of leverage for labels over Spotify

Spotify has made it clear that India is one of its key priorities for global expansion, post going public. Yet reports that some of its rightsholder partners are holding off on the necessary licensing agreements won’t go away. This time it’s the Financial Times claiming that “the large record labels that control the music industry have not […]

MQA chief Mike Jbara talks hi-res music and streaming evolution

“Up to this point, if you were to summarise the industry’s marketing message around hi-res music, it’s ‘will you pay more for better sound quality?’ That’s a losing marketing message.” This may not be a surprising thing to say, until you realise who’s saying it: Mike Jbara, chief executive of MQA, the British technology company […]

Ticketing firm Eventbrite reportedly files for its IPO

Spotify, Sonos and now Eventbrite: music-related companies are going public at a rate of knots in 2018. According to the Wall Street Journal, ticketing firm Eventbrite has filed confidentially for an IPO to take place later this year, working with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co on the offering. The confidential nature of the filing […]

Universal Music targets monthly accounting to artists

Universal Music Group’s head of royalties Cindy Oliver has been talking about the major label’s moves towards accounting to artists on a monthly, rather than a quarterly or semi-annual basis. This is based on the label group’s ‘Global Clearinghouse’ initiative, which went live earlier this month. “Since we’ll have monthly ingestion and reporting of financial […]

Spotify falls foul of BTS Army with chopsticks-emoji tweet

And *that* is certainly a headline we couldn’t have envisaged writing when this bulletin started life 15 years ago, folks… Spotify probably thought it was having some light-hearted fun when it published a blog post called Five Artists That Can Help Us Decipher The Curious Language of Emoji last week. But a tweet promoting the piece saw the streaming […]

YouTube reaches new milestone: 1.9bn logged-in monthly users

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has revealed a new milestone for the service: 1.9 billion logged-in users a month, up from 1.5 billion in June 2017. Wojcicki published the figure in a blog post giving YouTube channel-owners an update on its ‘five creator priorities’ in 2018, with another stat noting that “on average, users now watch over 180 […]

Prick up your earworms: Beat Fever is reviving mobile music games

More than a decade ago, music games were something the music industry was excited about. Guitar Hero, Rock Band and SingStar had the benefit of not just being console games built entirely around music; they also had multiple iterations and a secondary revenue source by offering in-game purchasing of extra tracks to keep them fresh. […]

Motive Unknown boss talks marketing, merch and Spotify

In 2011, PIAS Group’s head of digital marketing Darren Hemmings left to set up his own consultancy, Motive Unknown. Originally conceived as a solo freelance affair, seven years on the company has expanded to six people, working with a range of artist, label and non-music clients. Hemmings talked to Music Ally about how music marketing […]

Spotify adds feature for pitching unreleased music to its playlist curators

Spotify has added a new feature to its back-end: the ability for artists and labels to submit unreleased songs for “playlist consideration” by its in-house team of curators. The feature goes live today in beta, as part of the company’s Spotify for Artists and Spotify Analytics tools. Spotify says that any artist, label, manager or […]

U2 still the top-earning musicians in Forbes Celebrity chart

Forbes has published its annual ‘Celebrity 100’ list of the highest-paid entertainers in the world, with many headlines (and inevitable internet arguments) focusing on its claim that Kylie Jenner is set to be “the youngest ever self-made billionaire”. There are a fair few musicians in the list though, including three in the top 10. Sixth-ranked U2 are […]

Merch Cat launches direct-to-fan merchandise app for live shows

Merchandise-management firm Merch Cat has launched a new app, Merch Cat Fan, which it hopes will drive sales of merchandise around live shows – with less queuing involved for fans. The idea is that fans will browse and buy merchandise on their smartphones using the app, then pick it up at shows or have it […]

Childish Gambino gets a new summer-themed Snapchat lens

Having created the most talked-about music video of 2018 with ‘This Is America’, Childish Gambino is also getting up to some inventive stuff with Snapchat. Gambino and RCA Records worked with Snap to create a new Snapchat lens based on his song ‘Summertime Magic’, which will be geofenced to 23 cities – starting with Los […]

Netflix sees its next 100m subscribers coming from India

The Financial Times has a good piece on video-streaming service Netflix’s ambitions in India where it’s starting to invest more money in original shows and films. It quotes CEO Reed Hastings speaking at a Delhi conference, saying “Even we couldn’t have predicted the last two years of Indian internet growth” and adding that in terms of Netflix […]

Report: Amazon now accounts for 49.1% of US e-commerce market

Amazon is about to fire the starting trigger on its annual Prime Day of shopping deals, and research firm eMarketer has put out some new analysis of the company’s place in the US online-retail sector to accompany it. Its analysts reckon that Amazon will do $258.22bn of US retail sales this year, accounting for 49.1% of all […]

Maroon 5 frontman to exec-produce eight-episode YouTube series

The video for Maroon 5’s single ‘Sugar’ has been popular on YouTube, with nearly 2.7bn views so far for the band’s exploits crashing wedding receptions. YouTube liked it so much, it’s now commissioned an entire series based on the video’s concept. w‘Sugar’ will be an eight-episode show behind the YouTube Premium paywall, executive-produced by Maroon 5 frontman […]

Artist Ben Kweller is working on music startup Streamative

Very few details are available on this, but an intriguing new startup popped up on our AngelList feed this morning. It’s called Streamative, and its CEO is Ben Kweller. Yes, musician Ben Kweller, or as his profile on the investment site puts it: “Acclaimed recording artist and songwriter for 20+ years. Huge advocate for artists and […]

Danish court rules that stream-ripping is illegal

Given the growth of the recorded-music market overall, it’s hard to make apocalyptic predictions about how specific forms of piracy will damage the industry. Not that rightsholders haven’t been tempted to do that with ‘stream-ripping’, with several reports and industry-body announcements proclaiming that tools for turning YouTube streams into downloads are the new menace. The […]

Stashimi releases figures for G-Eazy and Zedd messaging bots

Startup Stashimi has built a platform for artist messaging bots, working with artists including G-Eazy, Zedd, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. The company says it has more than 100 artists using its tool to create bots for Facebook Messenger, and this week it’s published some figures for two of them: G-Eazy and Zedd. Stashimi worked with G-Eazy’s […]

Blink Identity raises $1.5m from Live Nation and others

Austin-based startup Blink Identity has raised a $1.5m seed-funding round from investors including Live Nation, Techstars and Sinai Ventures. The company was part of this year’s cohort of Techstars Music startups. Its focus is on ‘facial recognition at scale’ with an emphasis currently on live events: identifying people as they walk past its scanners, for example to […]

Deezer expands HiFi tier’s availability on Google Home

Thus far, the music aspects for smart speakers have focused on voice-control features, rather than the quality of the audio. Deezer is hoping to drum up more subscribers for its ‘high-fidelity’ Deezer HiFi tier from owners of Google Home smart speakers. It’s offering a deal for Google Home users in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Germany […]

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs criticises lack of support for black execs

Artist and entrepreneur Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has given an interview outlining his frustration with the music industry’s approach to supporting black executives. “You have these record companies that are making so much money off our culture, our art form, but they’re not investing or even believing in us,” he told Variety. “For all the billions of […]

Chinese secondary-ticketing firm Moretickets raises $60m

In the west, secondary-ticketing platforms are increasingly controversial in terms of their role within the music industry. In China, though, one of the most popular sites has just raised a significant funding round.  Moretickets’ Series C round was worth $60m, led by investment firm TPG Growth – last covered here in January when it bought […]

Universal Music expands in French-speaking African countries

Universal Music Group is launching a new division focusing on French-speaking African countries, based in Côte d’Ivoire. It will be led by industry veteran Moussa Soumbounou, who’ll report in to Universal Music France CEO Olivier Nusse. Cameroon, Congo, Mali, Senegal and Togo will be among the countries falling under the new division’s wing, with plans […]

Amanda Palmer has raised nearly $1.6m so far on Patreon

A story about Amanda Palmer crowdfunding leading the Music Ally Bulletin? Today’s email is brought to you by 2012… But no: Palmer continues to be one of the most successful crowdfunders in the music world, but nowadays she’s operating on fan-funding platform Patreon rather than Kickstarter. We’ve reported before on Palmer’s Patreon community: she has 11,115 […]

Music analytics in 2018: ‘Data will tell you what’s hot, but not what is good’

Tied to the publication of the new report from British industry bodies ERA and BPI (Magic Numbers: How Can Data & Analytics Really Help The Music Industry?) and written by Music Ally, an afternoon of presentations and panel discussion on the current state of music analytics / data and their future was held at the […]

MIT’s new AI system can identify instruments within music

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced details of its latest use for AI – a deep-learning system capable of isolating the individual instruments used in a music video. “The system, which is ‘self-supervised,’ doesn’t require any human annotations on what the instruments are or what they sound like,” explained MIT. “Trained on over 60 […]

Top-10 social profiles have thousands of impersonators

Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are among the musicians with the largest followings on social networks – but also those with the greatest number of impersonators. That’s according to the New York Times, which commissioned a company called Social Imposter to research the number of people pretending to be one of the top 10 accounts […]

Drake ‘Scorpion’ album does more than 1bn first-week streams

This is where we’re at in the evolution of music-streaming: a single album has been streamed more than 1bn times in its first week after release. That album, of course, is Drake’s ‘Scorpion’, with label Republic Records having confirmed the figure to The Verge, as well as the artist himself having posted about it. “New era. […]

Music bodies up lobbying efforts ahead of crucial Article 13 vote

It’s now one day until a crucial vote in the European Parliament on the EU’s draft Copyright Directive, and music bodies are leading the charge of creative industries in urging politicians to support the proposed legislation – and specifically its Article 13, which focuses on the obligations of online platforms around copyrighted content being uploaded […]

Music bodies up efforts ahead of crucial Article 13 vote

It’s now one day until a crucial vote in the European Parliament on the EU’s draft Copyright Directive, and music bodies are leading the charge of creative industries in urging politicians to support the proposed legislation – and specifically its Article 13, which focuses on the obligations of online platforms around copyrighted content being uploaded […]

Report claims global publishers may pull out of SGAE

Spanish collecting society SGAE is facing a big problem in early 2019: the potential for some of the world’s biggest publishers to take their catalogues elsewhere. Warner/Chappell, Peermusic, Sony/ATV, Universal Publishing and BMG have given SGAE six months’ notice of their intention to not renew their contracts with the society, according to reports in the Spanish media. […]

WMG signs partnership to boost video advertising revenues

Warner Music Group has announced a new partnership, with Sony Pictures subsidiary Internet Media Services (IMS), which the label hopes will boost its advertising revenues in some under-monetised parts of the world. IMS will be managing the ad inventory for WMG’s YouTube channels in Russia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, and all of Latin America bar Brazil. […]

Amazon to hold ‘Unbox Prime Day’ event in London including music

Amazon’s annual ‘Prime Day’ has become a date to ring in the diaries of anyone who likes bargain-hunting online. This year’s starts on 16 July, and the reason we say ‘starts’ is because it’ll actually last for 36 hours rather than a single day. What’s new this year, for Amazon in the UK, is a real-world […]

Years & Years preview new album with Facebook Camera effects

The latest element in artist Years & Years’ campaign for their new album ‘Palo Santo’ is a set of augmented-reality ‘effects’ for Facebook’s Camera feature. Fans using the camera to record video selfies can trigger one of 11 different effects based on the album’s artwork – with the visuals overlaid as they film their clips. According […]

Drake Scorpion takeover risks reminding Spotify users of Apple’s U2 overreach

“Drake’s new album Scorpion is currently being streamed over 10 million times per hour,” chirped Spotify’s official Twitter account on Friday. There hasn’t been an updated-stats tweet since, which is possibly explained by the announcement on the Twitter feed of Spotify’s greatest rival. “#Scorpion x Apple Music. The most streams in a single day, on any streaming […]

Instagram stories now have 400m users… and licensed music to soundtrack them

Instagram has announced its latest milestone tonight: more than 400 million people are using its ‘stories’ feature every day to share photos and video clips on an ephemeral basis. There’s also a new feature for those people to play with: music. Instagrammers can now add music to their stories, thanks to Facebook’s recent set of […]

Sendmate generated 53.8% click-through rate for Imogen Heap

Artist Imogen Heap is heading off on a world tour soon under her ‘Mycelia’ banner – you may remember us reporting on the plans from her launch event in December – and she’s been testing a new tool to let fans know about it. Heap worked with Sendmate, the messaging tool recently launched by startup Record Bird, to […]

Instagram publishes Creator Handbook for video tips

Hot on the heels of launching its longform-video section IGTV, Instagram has published a ‘Creator Handbook’ to provide tips and recommendations for anyone creating video for the platform. “Think of this guide as a way to get started capturing vertical video content, whatever your camera,” is how the guide is pitched to creators of all stripes, musicians […]

Fitness firm Peloton buys B2B music startup Neurotic Media

Peloton is one of the highly-valued startups trying to apply technology to the area of fitness, with livestreamed classes that people can pedal along with at home on the company’s customised exercise-bike and app. In May 2017, its last funding round ($325m) valued the company at $1.25bn, making it the latest Silicon Valley ‘unicorn’. Anyway, it’s […]

Ticketmaster UK gives fans warning after security breach

Ticketmaster UK is in hot water this week after revealing that a data breach earlier this year could have affected a number of its customers. The breach affects customers who bought tickets between February and 23 June, with Ticketmaster saying that customers’ personal information AND payment details may have been compromised. The biggest problem, as […]

NetEase hails success of western artists on its service

We’ve heard at several conferences recently that Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music might be a happier hunting ground for western artists than rival services operated by Tencent Music. Now NetEase is talking about some of the success stories to reinforce that view. More than 30% of activity on its service – including streams but […]

Spotify’s Danielle Lee talks brands, audio and diverse recruitment

“Music data, I think, is really unique. We really believe that we can extract unique insights based on how you stream. You can understand habits. You can understand moods, mindsets, tastes. And you can start to predict behaviour.” Danielle Lee is Spotify’s global head of partner solutions, charged with helping big brands tap in to […]

Steve Lillywhite on how selling music in Indonesia isn’t chicken feed

Since 2016, renowned British record producer Steve Lillywhite has been running Jagonya Music & Sport, a company that places music in Indonesia’s Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. KFC Indonesia sells around 600,000 CDs a month, making it a huge player in the Indonesia music industry. Music Ally spoke to him to find out more about this […]

MelodyVR app to launch in eight more countries tomorrow

Virtual-reality music app MelodyVR is expanding beyond its initial launch markets of the UK and US. As of tomorrow (26 June) it will also be available in France, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Austria and Belgium – mirroring the European rollout of Facebook’s Oculus Go VR headset. In an announcement to the markets this morning, […]

Study: Spotify Today’s Top Hits placement ‘worth up to $163k’

The latest study of Spotify claims that placement on the streaming service’s Today’s Top Hits playlist can be worth between $116k and $163k to an artist. The study was carried out by Luis Aguiar and Joel Waldfogel of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Some highlights: “Appearing on Today’s Top Hits, a […]

Fanbytes on Snapchat marketing: ‘A new form of TV for younger people’

It may face tough competition from Instagram, but Snapchat remains a vibrant platform for social expression, while the app that kickstarted the ‘stories’ phenomenon continues to be a development ground for new video formats. No wonder a number of labels and other music companies want to explore its potential as a marketing platform, although many […]

St. Vincent talks live music: ‘People want transcendence’

This year’s Cannes Lions conference has featured a succession of artists talking about their creative processes and the wider culture. After earlier sessions featuring Vic Mensa and Jax Jones, this afternoon’s program closed with St. Vincent, on a panel about live music hosted by Live Nation. Live Nation’s global president of media and sponsorship Russell […]

Jax Jones: ‘Creativity is a constant exercise. It’s a muscle that you train’

Universal Music Group’s global head of new business Olivier Robert-Murphy was joined by artist Jax Jones at the Cannes Lions conference today, for a session titled ‘Re-humanising the Creative Process’ focused on how brands and artists can collaborate. The post Jax Jones: ‘Creativity is a constant exercise. It’s a muscle that you train’ appeared first […]

Vic Mensa on hip hop and brands: ‘Nobody likes those #ad posts on Instagram!’

Streaming has helped to make hip-hop the most popular recorded-music genre in the US, according to industry-tracker Nielsen. A panel at the Cannes Lions conference today explored what this means for brands, who are mulling how best to work with established and emerging artists in the field. Artist and producer Vic Mensa was joined by […]

LDH talks music, brands and artists: ‘They sell 2.4m tickets just in Japan…’

LDH – it stands for Love + Dream + Happiness, since you ask – is a Japanese creative artist management group, which has been striking some interesting deals with brands. At the Cannes Lions conference today, some of its key figures – including artists Afrojack and Verbal as well as chief creative officer ‘Hiro’ and […]

Esports are booming: so how can music brands get involved?

Whenever Music Ally has to define esports for someone who hasn’t followed the sector, we tend to say it’s ‘competitive gaming with an audience’, citing tournaments using games from League of Legends to FIFA, and the tens of millions of people who watch them online on platforms from Twitch to YouTube. One thing we’ve picked […]

Labrinth talks creativity and music: ‘You have to be calm amongst the storm’

Artist and producer Labrinth is preparing to release his second studio album. Today he talked about some of the creative processes behind the record, in a Cannes Lions conference session hosted by Sony Music. The post Labrinth talks creativity and music: ‘You have to be calm amongst the storm’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: […]

Spotify on political resistance: ‘You have to choose what side of history you want to be on’

When Spotify launched its ‘I’m With The Banned’ campaign in July 2017, it was a surprising sign that the music-streaming service was willing to take political stands – in this case, against the Trump administration’s efforts to introduce a travel ban covering six predominantly-Muslim countries. Spotify’s chief marketing officer Seth Farbman hosted a panel at […]

Lyor Cohen on YouTube and the music biz: ‘We have a new love affair’

Fresh from a series of media interviews to promote the launch of YouTube Music Premium – including a chat with Music Ally – YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen gave a keynote speech at the Cannes Lions conference today. The post Lyor Cohen on YouTube and the music biz: ‘We have a new love […]

Lyor Cohen on YouTube Music: ‘How do we actually grow the business?’

“This is about where we are – not we, YouTube, but where the industry is – and how do we move forward? And to me that’s the key: how do we elegantly move forward as we are transitioning from 18 years of decline, where artist development may have gone a little thin?” Lyor Cohen was fresh off […]

YouTube Music rolls out: ‘Leading with audio is the key for us’

YouTube Music Premium, the new subscription tier for Google’s video service, is launching fully in 17 countries today, including 12 additional markets to the five that were announced in May. The UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Sweden are among the countries joining the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico […]

Facebook makes its case for not being a social monopoly

US Senate and House committees recently sent Facebook more than 2,000 questions about how it operates its business, as part of the fallout from the recent Cambridge Analytics revelations. Overnight, the social network provided its answers, with the full document well worth a read (alright: a scan, if you’re busy). One answer is particularly interesting: Facebook making […]

Deezer launches Football Fever playlist takeover for World Cup

Football’s World Cup kicks off later this week, with 32 countries hoping for glory (or, in England’s case, hoping at least for something better than abject embarrassment and penalties ineptitude). Deezer is on the bandwagon, launching a promotion called ‘Football Fever’ with playlists curated by local artists in each of the 32 participating nations. Kasabian are at […]

The Glitch Mob turn album into a VR show with TheWaveVR

Musical VR startup TheWaveVR has revealed its latest partnership with an artist: electronica group The Glitch Mob. It’s turning their album ‘See Without Eyes’ into… well, something you see with your eyes. “A VR odyssey of shifting dreamscapes choreographed to a 20-minute custom mix of the album” as the startup puts it, which will be […]

Deutsche Grammophon and Google to digitise archive tracks

Happy 120th birthday, classical-music label Deutsche Grammophon. The celebrations will include an interesting partnership with Google Arts & Culture to digitise a stash of rediscovered and previously-unreleased tracks from the label’s archives. The recordings were made from the early 1900s, and include “a reading from one of his novels by iconic Russian author Leo Tolstoy, […]

Sirius XM to pay $150m to SoundExchange to settle lawsuits

Could peace and love be returning to the US digital-music ecosystem? Don’t answer that question… But there is a new rapprochement of sorts in the relationship between satellite-radio firm Sirius XM and royalty-collector SoundExchange. Sirius XM has agreed to pay SoundExchange a lump sum of $150m to settle a pair of lawsuits that had accused […]

Marathon Artists LABs 2018: startups target music monetisation (sponsored feature)

Independent music company Marathon Artists launched its LABs accelerator in 2016, bringing together a group of six music/tech startups to work with its label, management and publishing arms, as well as a group of external mentors. This year, LABs has returned, with partners including Domino, Audiotube, Tileyard Studios and Music Ally, and a theme of […]

Indie labels and tech: ‘We’re not going to start building our own blockchain…’

How can independent labels make the most of disruptive new technologies, from blockchain and AI to virtual and augmented reality? A session at the Midem conference last week explored the issue. The panel included Jason Reed, head of digital at Domino; Becky Brook, business development consultant at Jaak; and Luke Dzierzek, CEO at Scored. The […]

PwC predicts video-streaming will be a $30.6bn market by 2022

The global ‘over-the-top’ video market will grow from $22.6bn in 2018 to $30.6bn in 2022, according to the latest prediction from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2018-2022 report suggests that 79.6% of OTT revenues – over-the-top means video delivered outside the traditional cable/satellite/terrestrial broadcasting networks – last year came from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services […]

Dice rolls with Kanye West album-launch ticketing partnership

Kanye West’s listening events in Brooklyn, Miami and Chicago for his new album ‘Ye’ were understandably focused on the music. But there was a tech aspect too: West’s team and marketing agency 1AM worked with British ticketing firm Dice on the events, making tickets available through its app. 1AM’s Julieanna Goddard tweeted about the plans for the […]

Midem to launch music awards in 2019 based on Soundcharts data

The Midem 2018 conference only finished on Friday, but organiser Reed Midem has already announced one of the key planks in next year’s event: the Midem Music Awards. The twist: “Entirely based on platform-enabled fan data and verified by an independent adjudicator, this innovative concept will introduce a completely new way to measure and reward […]

Indian firm Saregama sees growing music and video streams

Indian music and film company Saregama has been talking about the strong growth it’s seeing from audio music-streaming services, as well as from YouTube. By the end of 2017, the company’s music catalogue was generating 724m quarterly streams on audio services like Saavn, Gaana and Wynk Music according to local site Medianama. That’s up from 503m […]

SeatGeek can now sell tickets from within Snapchat stories

We reported last week on Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc’s pitch to the music industry for the power of its AR lenses. The day after its Midem keynote, the company unveiled a new partnership in a different area relevant to our industry: ticketing. Snap is working with SeatGeek on a feature that will see musicians and sports […]

Amazon Premier League deal could be a boost for music-streaming

This story may sound somewhat parochial, but bear with us. Amazon has paid an undisclosed amount for the rights to stream 20 English Premier League (football) matches for each of the three seasons starting in 2019. The games will be streamed to fans as part of the Amazon Prime Video service in the UK – this isn’t […]

Apple Music quietly launches “pre-adds” for albums

If you browse the Apple Music app this morning, you’ll notice it has quietly added a pre-save mechanic for upcoming albums. Except they are not called pre-saves; they’re termed “pre-adds”. You do, however, have to do a little bit of digging to find it. Tap on the “Browse” tab and scroll down – all the […]

Mind State compilation raises awareness for mental health support

Mind State Vol 1 (out today – 8th June) is a new compilation from the drum & bass world, compiled and arranged by Ben Verse, former MC in Pendulum. Released by Getahead Records/AEI Media, it is designed to raise money for, an awareness of, Help Musicians UK (HMUK) and get the dance community to eradicate […]

Napster boss: ‘Even a 20% slice of a $20bn market is a $4bn market…’

Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube may hog many of the streaming headlines, but Rhapsody International / Napster is still going as a global streaming service too. Its president and CEO Bill Patrizio outlined the company’s strategy, in a keynote session at the Midem conference today. He was interviewed by Midia Research MD Mark Mulligan. […]

Scooter Braun: ‘It’s a youth-driven business: invest in each other’

Music manager and entrepreneur Scooter Braun was the biggest keynote draw of this year’s Midem conference, interviewed by Variety executive director Shirley Halperin. The post Scooter Braun: ‘It’s a youth-driven business: invest in each other’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Tackling the gender gap: from tech staff to streaming playlists

From man-heavy diversity statistics for music companies to fears that women artists are losing out in the recommendation algorithms of music-streaming services, there are a number of challenges facing the music industry around the gender gap. A panel at the Midem conference this morning explored some of them. Moderated by Vanessa Reed of PRS Foundation, […]

Snapchat and music: ‘We ultimately want artists to be compensated for their work’

How is Snap, Inc working with artists and labels on music campaigns? The parent company of Snapchat hasn’t talked publicly often about its music strategy, but its VP of partnerships Ben Schwerin gave a keynote at the Midem conference in Cannes today, accompanied by Geffen Records president Neil Jacobsen. The pair were interviewed by Billboard […]

Concord Music: ‘If a sizeable opportunity comes along we’ll be ready to think it through’

Concord Music Group has quietly become one of the most interesting rightsholders in the recordings, publishing and theatrical performance rights world. At the Midem conference in Cannes today, three of its executives – CEO Scott Pascucci, chief business development officer Steven Salm, and chief publishing executive Jake Wisely – talked about the company’s evolution so […]

Midemlab 2018 pitches: Experiential music technology startups

20 music/tech startups are finalists in this year’s Midemlab contest at the Midem conference in Cannes. This afternoon’s last session saw the experiential technologies startups showing off their products and platforms. The judging panel included Danielle Kayembe, CEO at Greyfire Impact; Ismail Elshareef, SVP of fan experience and open platform at Ticketmaster; Marwan Elfitesse, startup […]

Midemlab 2018 pitches: Marketing and data / analytics startups

20 music/tech startups are finalists in this year’s Midemlab contest at the Midem conference in Cannes. This afternoon’s second session saw the marketing and data/analytics startups pitching their wares. The judging panel included Eleonore Oudea, venture capital associate at Kima Ventures; Kate Russell, technology journalist from the BBC; David Weiszfeld, CEO of Soundcharts; and Music […]

Midemlab 2018 pitches: Music discovery and distribution

20 music/tech startups are finalists in this year’s Midemlab contest at the Midem conference in Cannes. This morning’s first session saw the music discovery and distribution startups showing off their products and platforms. The judging panel included Colleen Theis, COO at The Orchard; Christina Cassala; freelance business journalist; Scott Sellwood; head of commercial music publishing […]

Midemlab 2018 pitches: Music creation and education startups

20 music/tech startups are finalists in this year’s Midemlab contest at the Midem conference in Cannes. This morning’s first session saw the music creation and education startups pitching their wares. The judging panel included Joanna Kirk, MD of Starther and co-founder of Startup Sesame; Robb McDaniels, CEO of Beatport; Sirena Bergman, freelance journalist; Guillaume Quelet, […]

BMG boss Hartwig Masuch: ‘Our ambition is that we are a major’

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch was the closing keynote speaker for the first day of the Midem conference in Cannes today, and he stayed true to his reputation for plain-speaking about the established companies in the industry that he is trying to disrupt. The post BMG boss Hartwig Masuch: ‘Our ambition is that we are a […]

Africa’s music opportunity: ‘One thing you have to have is resilience’

Africa isn’t one music market: it’s a collection of them. And most of them aren’t that well understood by the music industry elsewhere in the world. That’s why the day-long Midem African Forum is such an interesting strand at this year’s Midem conference in Cannes. Music Ally sat in on some of the main sessions […]

Citi CMO Jennifer Breithaupt: ‘We work with over 1,500 artists, and we sell a ton of stuff’

There’s an ignoble history of dodgy ‘brands and music’ sessions at industry conferences: long on ‘it’s not just about a big cheque’ and ‘it’s all about authenticity’ babble, but rather shorter on genuine insight. Happily, Citi’s global consumer CMO Jennifer Breithaupt swerved the platitudes in her keynote at the Midem conference in Cannes today, instead […]

Music-streaming trends, from A&R to global/local evolution

At today’s Midem conference in Cannes, a pair of afternoon sessions at the event’s ‘Streaming Summit’ focused on some of the evolving trends around the music-streaming world. The first explored the question of whether streaming services are “the new A&Rs”, with a sparky (if, unfortunately, all-male) panel including Epidemic Sound CEO Oscar Hoglund; Playground Music […]

Fair Ticketing Alliance co-founder defends secondary ticketing

The UK recently got a new body to campaign in support of secondary ticketing: the Fair Ticketing Alliance. It’s thus in direct opposition to the FanFair Alliance, which campaigns against what it sees as abusive practices in the secondary market. Now one of the FTA’s co-founders, Scot Tobias of secondary service Worldwide Tickets, has been […]

Music-hardware startup Roli takes investment from Sony

British instrument-maker Roli has received new investment from tech giant Sony, through the latter’s VC arm Sony Innovation Fund. CEO Roland Lamb told Bloomberg that the deal is a “significant investment and relationship for us”. While Roli isn’t saying how much Sony invested, TechCrunch notes that before this deal, Roli was listed on investment site PitchBook as having raised […]

Positiva turns 25: lessons from the dance label’s first quarter-century

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Positiva Records – the label behind artists such as Reel 2 Reel, Spiller, Vengaboys, Alice Deejay, Shapeshifters, Paul van Dyk, David Guetta, Jonas Blue and Swedish House Mafia. It was originally set up by Nick Halkes and Dave Lambert in 1993 as part of EMI’s first serious move […]

Report claims Google beat Amazon for Q1 smart-speaker shipments

In well-established hardware markets like smartphones, the main research firms tend to agree – more or less – on the main market-share figures. For smart speakers, it seems there is more room for disagreement, aided by the fact that the main players aren’t publishing many figures themselves. For example, check out research firm Canalys’ latest […]

Alexa in the spotlight over sharing of private conversation

When privacy campaigners express concerns about the rise of smart speakers, the suggestion that big-tech firms are ‘listening in’ (and, indeed, potentially recording) private conversations is often raised as a worry. A story yesterdayabout an Echo recording a conversation between a husband and wife and then sending the audio to someone in their contacts list will […]

Peex wants fans to create their own five-channel mixes of gigs

Unsatisfied with the sound levels at a concert? A new startup called Peex says it’ll offer fans the chance to customise the audio in real-time. The company’s technology takes an audio feed from the soundboard at a concert, then separates it into five ‘stems’ (e.g. the different instruments) which are then transmitted to audience members, synchronised with […]

Online music studio Soundation raises $500k funding round

Soundation is one of the startups trying to help musicians of all levels make music online. The Swedish startup claims to have more than 75,000 monthly active users of its browser-based studio service, mainly in the US, and is one of the more established companies in the space having launched in 2009. Now Soundation has raised […]

Report claims Spotify will restore XXXTentacion to playlists

The last few weeks has seen the term ‘de-playlisted’ used regularly by Music Ally, thanks to Spotify’s new policy on hateful conduct. Now it seems we may have to add ‘re-playlisted’ into the mix. Bloomberg claims that rapper XXXTentacion could be on his way back to Spotify’s programmed and algorithmic playlists in the future, even if fellow […]

Merlin turns 10 and celebrates indies: ‘We’re over-indexing’

Independent licensing agency Merlin is celebrating its tenth birthday by revealing that 2017 saw its highest number of new members since its first year of operation. The organisation has grown from a team of three when it launched in May 2008 to 21 staff now, servicing tens of thousands of independent labels. It also paid […]

Vevo to ‘phase out’ its own mobile apps and website

The launch of the YouTube Music subscription service has sparked questions about what it all means for Vevo, which distributes music videos to YouTube while also running its own apps and website. Today, the company has answered that question: it will “phase out” its owned-and-operated mobile apps and site, and move forward as a pure […]

Def Leppard’s long tail gets flicked on interactive concert map

Having been digital holdouts for years, Def Leppard have taken to online with gusto in recent months. It’s the live arena where their next digital dalliance is happening, in part to promote the anniversary tour around 1987’s blockbusting ‘Hysteria’ album, but also to drive up the band’s total streams.  The Def Leppard Tour Book is an […]

Big-data A&R startup TuneGo completes $7.7m funding round

Until recently, the idea of spotting emerging musicians through big data – analytics-driven A&R – was notable mainly for the ‘gut over data’ grumpiness it sparked on conference panels. However, things are heating up in this space: in March, Warner Music Group acquired a startup called Sodatone that does exactly this task, while UK firm […]

Amuse raises $15.5m for its ‘next generation record label’

In March 2017, Music Ally reported on a new startup in Sweden called Amuse, which was billing itself as “the world’s first mobile record label”. It had an app through which unsigned artists could upload their music for distribution, with the company then monitoring the data to spot artists with traction, to get behind promotionally. Just […]

Impala warns of regulatory fight ahead for Sony / EMI deal

When we reported yesterday on Sony’s plans to up its stake in EMI Music Publishing, we noted that the deal would require regulatory approval before it could go through. Now independent body Impala has warned that this approval may be tough for Sony to secure. “The European Commission will want to avoid reinforcing the Sony/Universal duopoly, the […]

Should Spotify windfall lead majors to cancel unrecouped debts for legacy artists?

Musician Tom Gray of British band Gomez – currently firing up crowds on the 20th anniversary tour celebrating their ‘Bring It On’ album – has an idea for major labels about how to follow up their windfalls from Spotify’s public listing. In short: he thinks they should cancel the unrecouped debts of the legacy artists […]

Facebook AI team creates ‘universal music translation network’

The music industry has been abuzz with speculation about what, exactly, Facebook has planned for music beyond its first set of user-generated-content focused licensing deals. Few people have suggested that the social network’s agenda includes using artificial intelligence for “translating music across musical instruments, genres, and styles”. However, that’s exactly what a team within Facebook’s […]

Boiler Room launches ‘multi-genre’ streaming platform 4:3

We know Boiler Room for its DJ-set videos, although it has also published music documentaries online. Now it is spreading its wings further with the launch of a service called 4:3. We’ll let the announcement speak for itself: “4:3, is for a culturally connected audience, the Netflix of the underground. 4:3 aims to expand gateways […]

Blockpool / OpSec blockchain deal could power merch and ticket sales

British blockchain startup Blockpool is best known to Music Ally readers for its recent partnership with Björk and One Little Indian, to reward fans who pre-ordered her new album by giving them cryptocurrency. Now it has announced a partnership with a company called OpSec, which could also have implications for music. It needs a bit […]

Ticketfly co-founder’s blockchain startup Tari reveals plans – including ticketing

In early April, Music Ally was first to report on a new startup from ticketing firm Ticketfly’s co-founder Dan Teree. Codenamed Big Neon, it was slated to be a “highly scalable, mobile-centric event ticketing platform” using blockchain technology. Now the company has been officially announced, but with a new name – Tari – and a wider […]

OptimiseLab uses AI to predict ‘music popularity scores’

Another day, another AI/music startup – this one hailing from Toronto and called OptimiseLab. It’s using the slogan ‘538 for music’ – a reference (we think) to well-known statistical-analysis blog FiveThirtyEight, run by data-journalist Nate Silver. “We are building patent pending AI technology to analyse, improve, and compose music,” explains OptimiseLab’s profile on investment site AngelList. “Our first […]

Epic Games to pump $100m into Fortnite esports events

If you’re still not sure what the game Fortnite is all about, ask a passing 10 year-old. The action-shooter has become one of the biggest gaming crazes since Minecraft, with similar appeal to tween and teen gamers, as well as older players and Twitch / YouTube live-streamers. Now Fortnite’s publisher, Epic Games, is making a […]

BTS beat YouTube’s 24-hour views record for 2018

Despa-WHO-to? K-Pop band BTS are the flavour of the month (again) on YouTube with their new single ‘Fake Love’. According to the video service, the official video did 35.9m views in its first 24 hours: the biggest such total in 2018 so far, and third in the all-time rankings for this particular metric (behind the 43.2m views […]

China’s music potential: ‘We are finally getting there!’

2017 was a big year for the music industry in China: according to the IFPI, last year it was one of the world’s 10 biggest recorded-music markets for the first time. Excitement around the growth of the music-streaming services run by tech companies like Tencent and NetEase is palpable within the western industry, but a […]

S-Curve Records’ Steve Greenberg talks startups and music-marketing history

Steve Greenberg is certainly a music man with some pedigree. The renowned music executive and founder of S-Curve Records is also a Grammy-winning producer of hits for artists including Joss Stone, Hanson, Baha Men, Jonas Brothers, AJR and Andy Grammer. In his time he’s also been head of A&R at Mercury Records, president of Columbia […]

Former Armonia CEO Virginie Berger joins VC fund LeanSquare

Virginie Berger has joined Belgian venture-capital fund LeanSquare as a venture partner, moving from pan-European licensing platform Armonia, where she served as CEO for the past two years. As well as being founder of Paris-based tech/media consultancy DBTH, Berger’s career has also included stints at Microsoft, NRJ, Omnicom and MySpace France. Her role at LeanSquare […]

MelodyVR to launch its VR music app ‘in the coming weeks’

After a lengthy beta-test period and a succession of licensing deals with music companies, VR music startup MelodyVR is preparing for its commercial launch. In an announcement this morning, the publicly-listed company revealed that it “intends to launch its flagship music product (The MelodyVR app) in the coming weeks”, including a version for Facebook’s upcoming […]

British music companies admit ‘unacceptable’ gender pay gaps

Yesterday was the deadline for all British companies with more than 250 employees to report their ‘gender pay gaps’ to the UK government’s Equalities Office. The definition of this being the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women for each company. Each firm has reported their ‘mean’ gender pay gap (based on […]

Beggars Group China strategy: ‘We have a real issue with exclusivity’

“China was my hobby for the best part of 10 years: something which the company allowed me to run as a hobby on the side as long as I wasn’t spending too much money. It was five years before we made any money whatsoever, and 10 years until we felt we had a business…” Simon […]

SEC files charges over ICO that was promoted by DJ Khaled

This may seem obvious in the light of some recent news stories, but prominent artists really do need to be careful when endorsing brand-new blockchain startups running ICOs. The latest example is a company called Centra, which raised more than $32m last year from an ICO based on its CTR token, with plans to build […]

HTC appoints former SoundCloud / TheWaveVR exec to VR role

HTC is expanding its Vive X global VR and AR accelerator program, with a new ‘hub’ based in London. It has also appointed Dave Haynes as its director of Vive X in Europe. He’s a familiar face for the music industry over here, joining from a post as head of business development and partnerships at […]

Deezer optimistic about subscriptions growth in Brazil

Music Ally’s latest country profile focuses on Brazil, including an interview with Deezer’s country manager Bruno Vieira. He expresses optimism about the growth not just of music-streaming in Brazil, but of people willing to pay for a streaming subscription there. “We are very positive that over time users will adopt the premium model because it […]

Apple hails 26m first-day streams for The Weeknd’s new EP

If Spotify needed a reminder yesterday to focus on the music-streaming competition rather than swinging share prices, Apple provided it. The latter company announced that The Weeknd’s new EP ‘My Dear Melancholy’ was streamed more than 26m times in its first 24 hours on Apple Music, including 6m streams for its lead track ‘Call Out […]

Amper Music: ‘AI’s not going to replace your job – it’s going to change it’

“Our goal is to write music as well as John Williams, which then sounds like it’s recorded at Abbey Road and produced by Quincy Jones. Obviously we’re not there yet…” No, this isn’t the latest ambitious young band with an eye for a pullquote. It’s Drew Silverstein, CEO of startup Amper Music. And the music […]

Apply now to compete in Primavera Pro Startups 2018 contest

Applications are underway for 2018’s crop of music/tech startup contests. Besides Midemlab in June, there’s Primavera Pro Startups 2018 in May, as part of the Primavera Pro conference in Barcelona. Registrations are open until 20 April for this year’s contest, with five startups due to be chosen to pitch at the event, which was won […]

‘Battle royale’ game Fortnite is generating $100m a month

We first wrote about Fortnite: Battle Royale last month, when Drake popped up on Twitch playing the game against a popular streamer. But the rise of Fortnite is well worth following for its own merits: a gaming brand that’s come from nowhere to generate more than $100m a month from in-game purchases, and become a […]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: ‘We will dig through this hole’

Mark Zuckerberg’s apology tour of the media continues, with an interview with website Vox about Facebook’s recent data controversies. “I think we will dig through this hole, but it will take a few years,” said Zuckerberg. “I wish I could solve all these issues in three months or six months, but I just think the […]

Spinnin’ Records rebrands playlists with smart-speakers in mind

Fresh from being acquired by Sony Music, dance label Spinnin’ Records is experimenting with its streaming playlists – with a particular focus on how they’re accessed through smart speakers. “While curated music content is becoming the norm, voice-recognition is rapidly changing the digital landscape. According to Google, about 20 percent of all mobile search queries […]

Spotify gets exclusive videos from Taylor Swift and The Weeknd

We reported last Thursday on Apple Music adding a dedicated music-videos category. Just after we clocked off for Easter, Spotify launched its own salvo in what’s shaping up as a new battle for ‘exclusives’ between the two companies (not to mention YouTube and Vevo). Taylor Swift debuted a new vertical-orientation video for her track ‘Delicate’ […]

Landmrk powers ‘frame-by-frame’ album-unlock campaign for CNCO

Latino boy-band CNCO have a new album on the way, and for the second time they’re working with location-based-marketing startup Landmrk to promote it. In August 2016, their label Sony Music US Latin used Landmrk for a campaign called CNCO Go, which encouraged fans to visit ‘hotspots’ in Latin America and Spain to hear the […]

Genius and YouTube launch new ‘Song Stories’ video format

2018 is already a very active year for lyrics-focused company Genius: its latest $15m funding round was revealed in early March, before a partnership with Spotify on a podcast called Déjà Vu which was announced last week. Now Genius is working with YouTube on something else: a new format called ‘Song Stories’ which will tell […]

Kobalt revenues and losses both increased in last fiscal year

Music firm Kobalt’s latest financial results show that its revenues grew by 23.5% to $321m in its last fiscal year, which ended on 30 June 2017. However, the group’s operating loss grew by 45.6% to $24.3m, while its net loss for the year grew by 69.8% to $33.1m. Although given the company’s ability to raise […]

SoundCloud says it surpassed $100m of revenues in 2017

SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor has been talking to the Financial Times about what he says is a corporate comeback for the streaming service, following its troubles of 2017. According to Trainor, SoundCloud’s revenues last year surpassed its goal of $100m, with its user base growing in each of the last three quarters after an (underreported […]

Report claims Apple’s music app has 49.5m users in the US

Research firm Verto Analytics has put out some new numbers comparing Apple Music and Spotify in the US, but it’s important to understand exactly what it’s measuring. And what it isn’t. “This month’s Verto Index looks at the top streaming music properties, from Apple Music to TuneIn Radio, among U.S. adults (ages 18 and above)” […]

Apple adds music videos to its Apple Music streaming service

Apple Music is expanding its catalogue… with music videos. From today, Apple will have a catalogue of music videos – including curated playlists – sitting within its subscription service. Apple is describing this as “one of the most extensive music-video catalogues available” – although without a specific number on that – and will make it […]

Facebook shuts down its ‘partner categories’ for ad-targeting

Facebook has announced that it’s shutting down its ‘partner categories’ ad-targeting feature. “This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook,” explained the social network in a brief blog post. “While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve […]

Spotify and Genius team up for Déjà Vu music podcast

Spotify’s latest podcasts move is a partnership with lyrics-focused firm Genius. The companies have collaborated on a podcast called Déjà Vu, which launched yesterday. It’s a panel-based podcast discussing “the ways that modern hitmakers connect to the iconic musicians from the past who paved the way”, focusing on a different current star each episode. “Does […]

First BTS ‘Burn the Stage’ episode does 3.9m views in 15 hours

The first two episodes of K-Pop stars BTS’ new ‘Burn the Stage’ documentary series went live on YouTube overnight. The first episode was made available for free on the band’s own channel, with the second (and future) episodes being kept behind the YouTube Red subscription paywall. That first instalment is already proving popular: the 21-minute […]

Indian firm T-Series is adding 3m YouTube subscribers a month

Indian music giant T-Series has long been one of the most popular channels on YouTube, and its growth is continuing apace. Its film-music focused catalogue has just reached a new milestone on Google’s video service: more than 40 million subscribers. Indian news site RadioAndMusicBiz notes that this is up from 30 million in December 2017, […]

More British 15-34s stream music than listen to BBC radio (says the BBC)

British broadcaster the BBC has published its latest ‘annual plan’ report setting out its creative plans for the year, and its wider strategy. There are some interesting bits on music. Like this: “For the first time, in October-December 2017 we estimate 15-34s listened more to streaming music services than all BBC Radio (5 hrs vs. […]

Pandora starts testing its own personalised playlists

Spotify has Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Daily Mix. Apple Music has My New Music Mix and My Favourites Mix. Now Pandora is launching its own personalised playlists for listeners. Well, it’s testing them with a “small group” of its Premium subscribers anyway. And Pandora is going bigger with the number of playlists: more than […]

A&R’s data moment: Sodatone acquisition and Instrumental funding

Two separate announcements yesterday highlight the fact that big-data and machine-learning for A&R purposes are enjoying a bit of a moment – after years of being mostly seen as a controversial niche when they cropped up in the on-stage conversations at industry conferences. Music Ally has been to countless panel sessions where A&R veterans scoffed […]

Live Music Loyalty wants to create a ‘concert community’

The latest startup trying to create a business out of gig-goers social-media habits is Live Music Loyalty. The New Jersey-based company has launched a free iOS app billed as a “concert photo community” that encourages people to share their gig photos, mark their upcoming concerts, and follow artist profiles. There are also rewards and rankings […]

Blockchain music startup Opus is ‘ready to conquer’ in May

Music Ally is in the process of compiling a list of current blockchain-music startups, and at the time of writing we’re up to 31. One of them is Opus, which has been developing an “open-source decentralised music-sharing platform” with a demo based on the Ethereum blockchain and peer-to-peer technology IPFS. The company is one of […]

Facebook reportedly delays unveiling its smart speakers

More Facebook/privacy news – and stop us if this sounds familiar – the social network reportedly WON’T be unveiling its new hardware products at its f8 developer conference in May, as planned. As we predicted earlier this week, the ongoing revelations about how startup Cambridge Analytica accessed and used data on up to 50 million […]

Messenger bot makers reveal ‘pause’ in new bot launches

Want to launch a new Facebook Messenger bot in the next few weeks? Good luck with that. As part of the fallout from the ongoing Cambridge Analytica revelations, the social network has “paused” app reviews while it implements changes to its platform. It has now emerged that this also applies to the approval of all […]

Sandbox Summit 2018 | NYC #MarketMusicBetter

Music Ally is pleased to announce some of the key speakers for Sandbox Summit NYC – the one-day music marketing conference sponsored by Linkfire and Push Entertainment which takes place at Opry City Stage, Times Square, New York on Wednesday 25th April. After the hugely successful inaugural Sandbox Summit in London, we have responded to demand in the US […]

Spotify ‘super trials’ boost its quarterly subscriber gains

It’s hardly a shock to suggest that Spotify’s $1-for-three-months premium trials increase its subscribers. But Midia Research has calculated how much this boost is worth. “On average, Spotify’s global subscriber base grew by a net total of 2.8 million each quarter between Q4 2015 and Q4 2017 in the quarters that these ‘super trials’ were […]

Reliance claims $1bn valuation for Saavn and JioMusic merger

Indian telco Reliance Industries is merging its own music-streaming service JioMusic with independent player Saavn, in a deal that it says values the merged entity at more than $1bn. It’s promising that the resulting business will offer “global reach, cross-border original content, an independent artist marketplace, consolidated data and one of the largest mobile advertising […]

Spotify expects to have up to 96m subscribers by Christmas

Spotify has published some guidance on its financial outlook for 2018, including predicting that it will have 92-96 million premium subscribers by the end of the year. That would represent annual growth of between 30% and 36% from the 71 million subscribers that Spotify ended 2017 with. The new guidance also suggests that Spotify is […]

Instagram music’s Lauren Wirtzer Seawood talks artists, fans, stories

“The reality, particularly for artists, is that people want to feel like they can connect with you. And it’s really hard to connect when you’re perfect all the time…” It’s interesting that Lauren Wirtzer Seawood is saying this, given that she’s the head of music partnerships at Instagram – a social-media platform that’s still seen […]

‘First on SoundCloud’ program will celebrate early creators

For all its troubles in the last year, SoundCloud still elicits affection from a lot of artists who made their first moves on the platform – including some who’ve since become global stars. Now the streaming service is flagging that up much more prominently with a new initiative called ‘First on SoundCloud’. It’s partly about […]

Music-discovery app Cymbal to shut down in June

There’s another once-promising music startup heading for the deadpool, and this one’s a shame, because when it first emerged, Cymbal was one of our favourite music-discovery apps. The app was a way to search for songs and see what ‘likeminded’ people were listening to, but like its closest equivalent Soundwave (later bought by Spotify in […]

Spotify gets a new in-car integration with Cadillac

I love you for your pink Cadillac, crushed velvet seats, riding in the back, streaming Discover Weekly down the street… Spotify’s latest partnership will put its service onto the dashboards of Cadillacs (not just pink ones) through their ‘infotainment’ systems. Spotify and Cadillac have designed the app with a car-friendly interface, as well as prioritising […]

Apple’s Jimmy Iovine to ‘transition’ out in August says WSJ

That speculation that Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine is on his way out of the streaming service – and its parent company – won’t go away. This time it’s the Wall Street Journal reporting that Iovine “will transition into a consulting role in August and step back from daily involvement with the company’s streaming-music business”. The […]

Spotify and Deezer reveal latest artist partnerships

Spotify and Deezer have announced their latest artist-focused partnerships. For Spotify, that’s an initiative called ‘Louder Together’ which is an extension of its Spotify Singles program. The new thing isn’t just about getting artists in the studio to record covers, but rather about organising collaborations between different artists on original songs. Artists Sasha Sloan, Nina […]

Huawei to launch a music-streaming service in South Africa

Chinese technology company Huawei may be best known in the west for its hardware, but it’s also gearing up to launch a music-streaming service in South Africa. Huawei Music will launch this year, with a catalogue initially made up of 80% South African music, with plans to add international content later. According to local news […]

Smart speakers’ impact on music: ‘I don’t think it can be overhyped…’

More than 26m smart speakers were shipped globally in 2017 according to research firm Futuresource, with the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges proving popular devices. That was the spur for an event hosted by British music-industry bodies the BPI and ERA last night in London, and a report exploring the impact for music, published […]

Cambridge Analytica exposés put Facebook in the spotlight

If you haven’t read this weekend’s articles about data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, it’s well worth spending 10 minutes with this piece from the Guardian and/or this piece from the New York Times. Then, perhaps, another five minutes revoking the access to your Facebook account for every unknown-developer personality test app you’ve ever completed on the […]

Google and OK Go launch ‘sandbox’ for use in classrooms

US band OK Go’s latest brand partnership is with Google, and it has an educational focus. The pair have launched something called the OK Go Sandbox, which they describe as “a collection of materials created for and with K-12 educators: design challenges, educator guides, and more”. K-12 meaning primary and secondary education: so the full […]

Sony shows off virtual-reality music video for Khalid

When it comes to experimenting with virtual-reality technology, Sony Music has one advantage over other labels: its relationship with Sony’s consumer-electronics division, with its PlayStation VR headset. We’ve seen that relationship work last year with a VR experience for classical musician Joshua Bell, but now in 2018 it’s rising star Khalid getting the virtual treatment. […]

Facebook signs licensing deals with Sacem, Socan and Wixen

Facebook’s music-licensing efforts continue apace, with the announcement of three more deals this weekend. The social network now has agreements with French collecting society Sacem; Canadian PRO Socan; and music publisher Wixen Music Publishing. As with Facebook’s other recent deals, these are licensing agreements covering user-generated content across Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Oculus VR. […]

10 key talking points from the Spotify investor day

Spotify held its ‘investor day’ event earlier this evening, revealing that it will go public on 3 April in the process. You can read our liveblog of the event here. But what did we learn from the nearly-three-hour series of presentations from Spotify’s management? Here are some takeaways to chew on. The post 10 key […]

Merlin signs deals with NetEase, Tencent and Alibaba in China

Indie licensing agency Merlin has announced agreements with the three biggest music-streaming service owners in China: Tencent, NetEase and Alibaba. The deals will see the catalogue represented by Merlin – music from more than 20,000 independent labels and distributors – made available on Chinese streaming services including NetEase Cloud Music, Xiami, QQ Music, Kugou and […]

Indie labels see boom in payouts from Latin American streaming services

Indie-labels licensing agency Merlin says that its members’ earnings from Latin America have grown five-fold in the last three years, fuelled by music-streaming services. The company expects to generate more than $60m of audio-streaming revenues from Latin America for its member labels in 2018. Merlin CEO Charles Caldas will be flagging up the Latin American […]

Linkfire gets a deeper data partnership with Pandora

Linkfire has become a popular tool for music marketers using ‘smart links’ to direct fans to artists’ music on digital services, while getting analytics back from those clicks. Now the company has announced a deeper partnership with one of those services, Pandora, which will be providing Linkfire with “advanced attribution data” for its customers to […]

Lyor Cohen wants YouTube to break ‘two-horse race’ of Apple and Spotify

Why did Lyor Cohen take the job as head of music at YouTube in 2016? In his keynote speech at SXSW today, the music-industry veteran explained. “My greatest fear at the time was that distribution was going to be too highly consolidated between Apple and Spotify. It was scary that this could be a two-horse […]

A digital-music decade ago… Music Ally stories from March 2008

As part of our research service for Music Ally subscribers, we publish a daily news bulletin, sent out by email every morning. It celebrated its 15th birthday last year, which means we’ve got archives covering the bulk of digital music’s history. It can be fun looking back through those archives, so we thought we’d share […]

Google publishes latest report on how it tackles ‘bad ads’

Among the areas of historical tension between music rightsholders and Google has been the use of its advertising network on piracy sites. Although in this case, Google has been pretty responsive, regularly providing updates on how it’s cracking down on ‘bad ads’ and advertisers across that network – something that’s not just about piracy. The […]

K-Pop stars BTS are getting their own YouTube Red series

YouTube has been one of the main engines behind the global success of K-Pop band BTS in the last year. Now they’re getting their own series on its YouTube Red subscription service. The eight-episode series is called BTS: Burn The Stage, and will launch on 28 March, offering fans an “intimate, personal portrayal” of the […]

Google shows off NSynth Super neural synthesizer instrument

Last year, we wrote about a Google research project called Magenta, which is exploring the intersection of machine-learning / AI and creativity, music included. Among its releases was a ‘neural synthesizer’ called NSynth, which used AI technology to “learn the characteristics of sounds, and then create a completely new sound based on these characteristics”. Now […]

Classical streaming service Grammofy returns – using Spotify

Grammofy was a classical music-focused subscription-streaming service that launched in May 2016 in the UK and Germany, but then shut down in November 2017. At the time, the company said that despite “continued growth and vigorous efforts” it hadn’t been able to “build the necessary mid-term financial solidity to fund the man-hours needed to continue […]

Apple Music now has 38m subscribers and 8m trial users

In early February, Apple revealed that its Apple Music streaming service had 36 million subscribers. A month on, and that figure has increased to 38 million. The new figure was provided by the company’s SVP of internet software and services Eddy Cue during his appearance at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. It’s a significant […]

Bose shows off audio-only augmented-reality sunglasses

Augmented reality (AR) technology is about seeing virtual content and information in the real world around you, whether you’re looking through a smartphone or a pair of smart glasses. But can there be augmented reality without a visual element? Audio-hardware firm Bose hopes so. It has been showing off a pair of AR sunglasses that […]

Humble Angel boss wants self-serve artist ads on Spotify

As the founder of and subsequently a playlists/streaming-focused executive at Warner Music, Kieron Donoghue knows a thing or two about the streaming ecosystem. Now running indie label Humble Angel Records, he’s published a blog post calling for Spotify to offer better and more-affordable self-serve advertising options for artists on its platform. Donoghue compares Spotify […]

DeepMusic Alexa skill serves up AI-generated songs

Amid all the industry conversation about how smart speakers will affect the way people listen to music, the assumption has been that the music in question will be made by humans. Here’s a new Alexa skill to make you think, though. It’s called DeepMusic, and has just launched for Alexa-powered devices like the Echo speakers. […]

Qwant Music is a dedicated search-engine for music

There’s already a couple of powerful search engines for music: they’re called Google and YouTube, and they’ve sparked the odd controversy, as Music Ally readers will know. But is there room for a *dedicated* music search engine? Startup Quant hopes so: it’s launching Quant Music at SXSW this week with the ambition of becoming “the […]

Clickamix sees $670m opportunity in sports music-licensing

A $670m pot of music-licensing revenue that hasn’t been tapped? That’s the kind of claim that gets rightsholders’ interest, although there’s a natural scepticism too when the goldmine is being quantified by a company whose business is focused on tapping that revenue stream. Still, Clickamix is definitely worth investigating: it wants to work with publishers, […]

India music trends: Transparency, independent artists and more

India has long been one of the most interesting music markets in the world, and one that dances to its own rules, particularly with the influence of the film industry – Bollywood included. So how is the Indian market evolving in the streaming age? A panel at Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in […]

Google’s latest search feature is official posts from musicians

The question of what appears in Google search results when people look for their favourite music artists has sparked controversy in the past: rightsholders regularly attacked Google for returning links to illegal downloads. They’ll be happier about Google’s latest search feature, which has been announced tonight. It’s called ‘search posts’, and will offer social network-style […]

Kobalt promises $150m investment for AWAL recordings business

Kobalt is making AWAL the brand for its entire recordings division, while promising to invest $150m and hire 100 more staff to build up that side of the business. Kobalt acquired digital distributor AWAL in 2012, as it prepared to launch its own label-services division. Since then, AWAL has been the entry level for Kobalt’s […]

Can an artificial-intelligence DJ outmix Steve Aoki?

Startup Pacemaker has been putting its artificial-intelligence DJ technology through its paces, in what it’s describing as a ‘DJ Turing Test’ against dance star Steve Aoki. Pacemaker’s AI DJ is part of its iOS app, where it automatically turns people’s Spotify playlists into flowing mixes. The company has run a test in which 100 people […]

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