Spotify launches new playlist-pitching system for labels

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

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

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

Spotify launches iOS app for musicians

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

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

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

Digital marketing lessons from WMG, Kobalt and Lounge Books

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

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

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

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

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

Music data and analytics: digging below the surface trends

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

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

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

Meet the centennials: SuperAwesome boss talks kids in 2017

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

Influencer marketing: why labels are turning to social stars

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

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

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

A new Silicon Valley trend: disconnecting from social media

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

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

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

YouNow’s Rize app giving cryptocurrency to influencers

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

Onkyo revamps its hi-res music downloads service

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

‘Spotify Teardown’ book sparking controversy before release

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

Musical.ly star Danielle Cohn launches her own app

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

Megastar is the latest talent contest run via an app

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

VR startup MelodyVR signs licensing deals with Roc Nation

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

Spotify expands its partnership with Google Assistant

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

SoundCloud now shows creators who’s playlisting their tracks

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

Microsoft mixed-reality headsets available to pre-order

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

Abbey Road launches Topline app to help artists capture ideas

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

Techstars Music seeking second cohort of music startups

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

Italian music market struggling to match 2015’s euphoria

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

WMG appoints new leadership team for Warner Bros Records

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

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

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

Snapchat launching global partnership with artist Jeff Koons

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

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

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

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

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

Music community reacts to Las Vegas mass-shooting

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

iHeartRadio launches entertainment show on Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile ticketing startup Dice expands to the US

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

Remix Hits claims major-label deal for licensed stems

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

RIAJ research gives new insights into streaming challenge in Japan

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

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

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

Ticketmaster exec talks politicians, touts and dynamic pricing

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

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

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

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

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

Spotify mechanical-licensing woes mount with new legal filings

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

Music analytics startup Soundcharts raises $3.1m funding round

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

Tencent strikes sub-licensing deal with Alibaba in China

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

Smartphones reaching usage tipping-point in the UK

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

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

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

Blockchain ticketing startup Aventus to test its tech in the UK

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

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

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

2017 was a billion-dollar distribution year for BMI

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

Music bodies confirm YouTube-MP3 stream-ripping shutdown

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

Startup Reprtoir to launch SaaS suite for the music industry

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

BMG revenues and profits both up in first half of 2017

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

Spotify originals boss Tom Calderone is leaving the company

We’ve written a lot about ‘original content’ on music-streaming services in the past year or two: from video shows on Spotify to documentaries commissioned for Apple Music to podcasts on Spotify and Deezer to… There’s a lot of activity anyway. But the elephant in the room is the question of whether many people are actually […]

Streaming generated $1.3bn for major music labels in Q2 2017

The three major labels – Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music – saw their collective recorded-music revenue from streaming grow to just under $1.3bn in the second quarter of 2017. That represents 38.5% growth year-on-year, with the three label groups now collectively making $14.2m a day from streaming. This is according to Music Ally’s […]

Beyond Music: ARKit is Apple’s big augmented reality moment

From cars to TVs, if straight-batting questions about future products was an Olympic sport, Tim Cook would be festooned with more medals than Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps combined. So when Apple’s CEO does talk about new technologies, his precision-targeted comments are always worth parsing. Such as these from an interview in March 2017. “I’m […]

Messaging app Kik is raising $125m with its Kin cryptocurrency

Youth-focused messaging app Kik is the latest company raising funding through its own cryptocurrency – or specifically through an ethereum ‘token’ called Kin, which it announced earlier this year. Kik has just sold $50m of the tokens to institutional investors, with plans to open up a public sale to raise another $75m through an initial […]

Goldman Sachs predicts $41bn recorded-music industry by 2030

At our NY:LON Connect conference in January this year, Dot Blockchain boss Benji Rogers caused a stir by making the confident prediction that “we’ll be at $100bn a year as an industry in two years” – albeit with the caveat that “it’s going to be really painful to get there”. It’s fair to say that […]

Mind Music Labs wants to make every instrument ‘smart’

“What we’re working on is not just the performance. What we believe is that the next revolution is to have every instrument smart and connected…” Michele Benincaso is the CEO of Mind Music Labs, the Sweden-based startup behind the Sensus Smart Guitar. You may know it from the guitar’s unveiling at the Web Summit conference […]

comScore study reveals tough landscape for new smartphone apps

The latest survey by research firm comScore has found that 51% of American smartphone owners download precisely zero new apps a month. This isn’t a new trend – the figure this time last year was 49% – but it’s a reminder of how tough the market is for brand new mobile apps. comScore noted that […]

Watch the stars with new Foo Fighters mobile-web app

The Foo Fighters have worked with former Songkick developer Lee Martin on an inventive mobile-web video for new track ‘The Sky is a Neighborhood’. The video sees the band playing on the roof of a cabin with a backdrop of the night sky. The twist for the mobile version is that it’s the actual constellations […]

Merlin pays out $1bn to members to date

Who doesn’t love a nice round number? Indie digital rights body Merlin has now paid out $1bn to its members since its inception in May 2008. It now represents 20,000 indie labels and distributors across 53 markets – collectively accounting for 12% of the recorded music market in digital. Merlin has deals in place with […]

Blind data: music managers’ three biggest data challenges

  Managers, by the very nature of their job, have to be across everything their artists do, closely following each ebb and flow of every revenue source and being ready to jump on the next one when it emerges.  Data is solving a lot of the problems for managers here – rich and real-time information […]

Spotify and SEC meet over IPO bypass plans

Bloomberg is reporting that executives from Spotify met with Securities & Exchange Commission representatives recently to discuss the former’s supposed plan to bypass the traditional IPO path and go the direct listing route instead on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). “A direct listing also avoids underwriting fees and restrictions on stock sales by current […]

RIAA and BASCA shoot down Lyor Cohen’s pro-YouTube blog

At the end of last week, YouTube music boss Lyor Cohen published a blog that outlined why YouTube was good for music and why the music business was wrong to attack it on issues such as safe harbour and the value gap. The industry took its time to chew over Cohen’s thesis, but different bodies […]

BASCA issues response to Lyor Cohen YouTube blog

BASCA – the body representing songwriters, composers and lyricists – has outlined its criticisms of Lyor Cohen’s recent blog about YouTube. The full statement is below. BASCA response to Lyor Cohen Safe harbour a mere distraction? It actually means the price of the licensing agreements between YouTube and the music industry are not at their full […]

About that Lyor Cohen YouTube blog: “The same old talking points dressed up”?

Lyor Cohen’s blog for YouTube (which we ran a news alert on yesterday evening) was always going to ruffle feathers. But then again Cohen has never been one to not ruffle feathers. Just under a year into the job as head of music at the video-sharing platform, this blog offered his most detailed overview of […]

YouTube’s Lyor Cohen: ‘The focus on copyright safe harbours is a distraction’

YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen has admitted that “there’s still a disconnect between YouTube and the rest of the industry” but maintains that the company is keen to continue building bridges with music rightsholders. “I get why some in the music industry would be skeptical of their relationship with YouTube. They were late to […]

Tomplay reaches 50k musicians with interactive sheet music

Sheet music is perhaps the oldest element of the modern music ‘industry’ as we know it, but it’s no surprise to find a number of startups exploring how it can evolve in the digital world. Swiss firm Tomplay is one of them, and it’s trying to do more than simply digitise sheet music. Like a […]

Electric Jukebox debuts Roxi, raises $14m and plans 2018 IPO

British digital-music firm Electric Jukebox has sprung a surprise this morning, claiming that it is in the process of closing a $14m funding round that will prepare the way for an IPO in the first half of 2018. The claim came as the company unveiled its second hardware/software product, Roxi, which blends music-streaming with karaoke […]

Loudr boss: Spotify songwriter settlement is just a ‘speeding ticket’

When Spotify agreed a $43.4m deal in May this year to settle a class-action suit brought against it over mechanical royalty payments – in a case combining lawsuits filed by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick – it was no doubt hoping that would end negative coverage of its songwriter-royalties issues. For Chris Crawford, co-founder and […]

Fender on its music-learning move: ‘We’re not Guitar Hero’

“This fundamentally changes the nature of how we talk to beginner guitar players. We’ve always sold them guitars and amps, but we’ve never been part of the learning process other than ‘here’s the instrument’. Now we’re saying come back: we’ll teach you how to use it…” Chances are you know Fender makes guitars and amps, […]

Jellynote talks edtech, music publishers and AI potential

At first glance, Jellynote may look like the latest, polished app to help people learn to play guitar, piano and other instruments. Yet there is more to the company than meets the eye, from its use of machine-learning technology to its plans to evolve into a fully-fledged social platform for musicians. Its CEO Martijn Tjho […]

Startup Dodeka rethinks the keyboard… and music notation

Swiss firm Dodeka is one of the startups exploring music edtech with a mixture of hardware and software. And in this case, with a new form of music notation too. Founded by father-and-son team Jacques-Daniel Rochat and Josua Rochat, the company started with the idea of making it easier to learn music through notation that […]

SoundCloud secures new investment – and gets a new CEO

SoundCloud has secured new investment from merchant bank The Raine Group and investment firm Temasek, with former Vimeo boss Kerry Trainor taking over as CEO as part of the deal. SoundCloud’s existing CEO, co-founder Alexander Ljung, will be staying at the company as chairman of the board. Trainor is bringing his former Vimeo colleague Michael […]

Snap shares fall as net losses continue to grow

Snapchat’s parent company Snap reported its latest quarterly financial results overnight, and the sight of its share-price plummeting tells you what the markets thought of the figures. The company’s revenues were up 153% year-on-year to $181.7m, but its net losses increased even more sharply: from $115.9m in Q2 last year to $443.1m last quarter. The […]

Why ‘A a a a a Very Good Song’ is becoming an iTunes hit

A track called ‘Why ‘A a a a a Very Good Song’ is 10 minutes of silence. Not in a John Cage conceptual way, but for purely practical purposes. Samir Rezhami created the track in response to a bug (or feature!) that sees iPhones start playing a user’s music library in alphabetical order when the […]

Google launches Hip-Hop Doodle with Fab 5 Freddy and Cey Adams

If you find yourself on Google’s homepage today, be warned, you may not be getting back to work quickly. The company’s latest ‘doodle’ is devoted to hip-hop: a pair of decks to mix with, and a virtual crate of tracks with some of the genre’s most-recognisable samples from its history. Hip-hop veterans Fab 5 Freddy […]

Amazon prepares to expand ticketing ambitions to the US

Amazon’s ambition to do more around concert ticketing is hardly a secret: Amazon Tickets has been operating in the UK for some time now, and is increasingly prominent there through partnerships with venues. In January, the company hired former WMG exec Lawrence Peryer as its director of tickets, while previous job ads revealed an intent […]

Neil Finn talks livestreams, tech and social media’s evolution

As a founding member of both Split Enz and Crowded House, Neil Finn is New Zealand’s most successful musical export, and a multi-award-winning songwriter. As well as being hugely prolific, he was an early convert to the power of live streaming, regularly broadcasting performances since 2001. His latest project is a series of Friday-evening (NZ […]

ICO fundraising continues despite US regulatory warning

We’ve been writing a bit more about initial coin offerings (ICOs) recently. In the blockchain world, they’re a way for a startup to raise money by creating and selling their own cryptocurrencies, without having to run the gamut of regulations that a traditional IPO would have to. Or at least, that was the theory: a […]

Disney pulling out of Netflix to launch own video service

The differences between the video and music-streaming worlds have been highlighted again, with the news that Disney is pulling its content from Netflix at the end of 2018. Why? Because the company is planning to launch its own video-streaming service in the 2019, starting in the US. Disney is buying a majority stake in tech […]

First projects from Kickstarter ‘Make Vinyl’ initiative go live

When we interviewed Kickstarter head of music Molly Neuman last September, she made it clear that partnerships were high on her agenda. One of the first was with vinyl-crowdfunding startup Qrates for an initiative called ‘Make Vinyl’ which is exactly what it sounds like: encouraging artists to crowdfund vinyl releases on Kickstarter, which are then […]

Instagram expands live-video feature to two people at once

Instagram is adding something to its live-video broadcasting feature: an extra person. The app is testing allowing people to add another Instagram user to their broadcast in split-screen, which could be used for one-to-one video-chats (think FaceTime) or for collaborative broadcasts. “After we launched the first version of Live [last November], we noticed that a […]

Tidal hires former Kobalt president Richard Sanders as CEO

Tidal has a new CEO. An evergreen sentence that we get to use at least one or two times a year, it seems, for a role that’s become the music-streaming industry’s equivalent of Spinal Tap’s drummers. The latest incumbent is Richard Sanders, who was president of Kobalt Music Group until earlier this year, with a […]

AI Music reveals its plans for ‘shape-changing songs’

In January this year, Music Ally spotted a new artificial-intelligence music startup pop up on investment site Angellist. Called AI Music, the London-based firm said it was “evolving music from a static, one-directional interaction to one of dynamic co-creation”, with its CEO Siavash Mahdavi having a background in 3D printing and an engineering doctorate in […]

LiveXLive signs up online influencer Amanda Cerny

LiveXLive describes itself as a ‘premium live-music streaming network’ but it’s also making a name for itself working with online influencers. We reported in June about its deal with former Vine star Andrew ‘King Bach’ Bachelor to make an original show for the network, but now it’s expanding its relationship with fellow social star Amanda […]

‘See You Again’ share up for grabs on Royalty Exchange

Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’ was a monster hit on streaming services, including unseating ‘Gangnam Style’ as the most-viewed YouTube video – at least until ‘Despacito’ turned up. Now the track has become one of the most high-profile songs to appear on Royalty Exchange, where a share of its digital-performance royalties is being auctioned off […]

200+ artists and labels join Bandcamp’s donations day

Earlier this week we reported on D2C platform Bandcamp’s plans to protest against US president Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. The company is donating 100% of its share of sales today (Friday 4 August) to the Transgender Law Center (TLC) to show its disgust for Trump’s new policy, […]

Ujo Music on blockchain: ‘It’s such an uphill battle with existing companies’

Last month, dance artist RAC – aka André Anjos – released his new album EGO through the usual channels. But he also launched his own webstore selling the album using the Ether cryptocurrency. This was billed as the first full-length album to be distributed using the Ethereum blockchain platform. RAC worked with startup Ujo Music, […]

Blokur talks blockchain music: ‘The technology on its own is not the whole picture’

A reminder that the Venn diagram of ‘music people’ and ‘blockchain startup people’ is not a pair of separate circles. Phil Barry, founder of British startup Blokur, was a professional artist making electronic music as Mr Fogg before setting up his own independent label. Barry went on to lead the team of consultants working on […]

Snapchat may be losing the attention of advertising agencies

There has been plenty of discussion this week about Snap, Inc’s share price, which has reached a record low following the Snapchat parent company’s IPO earlier this year. Now CNBC has published an article based on interviews with ad-agency executives, which flags some warning signs for the company’s business model. The post Snapchat may be […]

A year after launch, Instagram publishes new Stories stats

It’s now a year since Instagram added its (by which we mean Snapchat’s) ‘Stories’ feature, for people to share quicker, rawer photos and videos for a short period of time. 12 months on, and the feature now has 250 million daily active users, and has been one of the factors in the lustre-loss of Snapchat […]

Facebook recruiting music publishing biz-dev manager for EMEA

Facebook’s music-licensing ambitions continue, with news that the social network is recruiting a music publishing business development manager for the EMEA region. The London-based role requires someone who is “passionate about the changing music ecosystem, technology and supporting our goal of connecting people through social media, the mobile eco-system and business strategy”, and will lead […]

Brazilian artist Anitta signs with Shots Studios in video deal

Anitta and her team are doing a pretty good job already of building her audience through online videos: The Brazilian singer’s YouTube channel has 5.1 million subscribers and just under 1.7bn views so far. Now she has signed a deal with digital-video agency Shots Studios, which will be managing her and developing more video content. […]

RIAA: mixtapes site Spinrilla ‘ineligible’ for safe harbour

US industry body the RIAA is continuing its action against digital-mixtapes site Spinrilla, claiming that the site should not be eligible for DMCA safe-harbour protection. In a new court filing, the body claims that Spinrilla has not registered a ‘designated agent’ with the US Copyright Office, in order to field infringement notifications from rightsholders. Nor […]

Gracenote brings Global Music Data to Europe and Latin America

Now safely berthed within Nielsen, Gracenote has announced that it is launching its Global Music Data product in Europe and Latin America, following its debut in the US in February. The company is pitching it as “the global database of record for the music industry” with data on genres, artists, albums, recordings, artist associations and […]

Bandcamp supports trans rights with day of donations

Artist-stores platform Bandcamp has announced that it will be donating 100% of its share of sales this Friday (4 August) to the Transgender Law Center (TLC). It’s the company’s protest against US president Donald Trump’s announcement last week that transgender troops would no longer be able to serve in the armed forces. “We support our […]

Spotify now at 60m subscribers as it prepares new podcasts push

Spotify reached its latest milestone yesterday: 60 million paying subscribers. Reported in the Financial Times and confirmed to Music Ally by Spotify, the figure means Spotify has added 12 million paying subscribers in 2017 to date, with its last financial results revealing that it ended 2016 with 48 million. Having reached 50 million subscribers in […]

Could blockchain power an industry-wide music startup sandbox?

One of the potential benefits of blockchain technology could be its ability to power an industry-wide ‘sandbox’ of pre-cleared music for startups to experiment with. That’s according to several interviewees for Music Ally’s blockchain report, which was published this week for our subscribers. The post Could blockchain power an industry-wide music startup sandbox? appeared first […]

Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler is stepping down

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is looking for a new CEO, after its current boss Yancey Strickler revealed he is stepping down from the role. Strickler was one of Kickstarter’s three co-founders in 2009, and became CEO in 2014 before guiding the company into its current incarnation as a public benefit corporation (PBC). Strickler stressed the positives […]

Twitter user growth stalls while revenues decline

It looks like the much-discussed Trump bump is over for Twitter, with the company’s latest quarterly financial results flashing a number of warning lights. Twitter now has 328 million monthly active users (MAUs), which is up 5% year-on-year, but there was no growth between the first and second quarters of this year. And in fact, […]

Facebook Messenger gets natural-language and payments features

Facebook has launched the latest update to its Messenger Platform for developers creating apps and bots for its messaging app. Version 2.1’s new features include built-in natural language processing (NLP) to automatically detect certain phrases and information in messages from users: hello, bye, thanks, date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, email and […]

Esperanza Spalding to record new album on Facebook Live

From in-studio snaps to live performances and webchats, artists have been digitally giving fans insights into their recording process for some time. Jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is going a few steps further though: she’s planning to write and record her next album in the studio over a 77-hour period, while broadcasting the entire experience on […]

French market slips 2.3% with digital now 55% of music revenues

New figures published by French industry body SNEP show that digital is now the biggest part of the French recorded music market. In the first six months of 2017, it accounted for 55% of recorded music revenues in the country. Unlike in other major territories, streaming is not yet managing to counter the physical and […]

YouTube Red and Google Play Music to merge says Lyor Cohen

Why does Google need to have two music-subscription services? It’s a question that’s been discussed by a fair few music-industry people in recent years. Now it seems that YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen has been asking the same question. And, indeed, answering it with a new plan. “The important thing is combining YouTube […]

Facebook tipped to launch its own smart speaker in 2018

Amazon and Google have their own smart speakers with Apple’s HomePod set to join them by the end of 2017, as well as devices for China from the various tech giants there. It was only a matter of time before rumours about Facebook joining the voice-activated party started buzzing. Taiwanese news site DigiTimes claims that […]

Jay-Z to release a cassette version of ‘4.44’ album

Get your spooling-pencils ready! Jay-Z’s latest album ‘4.44’ may still be missing from Spotify, but it’s getting a new physical release as a cassette. Virgin EMI Records promoted the format in a tweet yesterday, with fans who pre-order the £7 version before 4 August to be entered into a draw to win tickets to watch […]

Facebook buys copyright-protection startup Source3

Facebook is stepping up its efforts to tackle the issue of copyrighted videos being uploaded to the social network without permission from their rightsholders. The company has acquired a startup called Source3, co-founded by Patrick Sullivan, Ben Cockerham and Scott Sellwood, who sold their previous startup music-licensing firm RightsFlow to YouTube in 2011. What is […]

Mobile-video ad-spending tipped to overtake desktop in 2018

The amount of money spent globally on mobile video ads is expected to overtake that spent on desktop video ads next year. The forecast comes from research firm Zenith, which claims that mobile video ad-spending will grow by 49% to just under $18bn in 2018, compared to a 1.5% decline in desktop video ad-spending. The […]

Blockchain startup Voise prepares for alpha-client launch

We wrote about blockchain/music startup Voise in June when we spotted its profile on an investment site: the Spanish-headquartered firm is working on a decentralised music streaming and downloading platform for independent artists. Now the company has published the latest version of its roadmap, laying out plans to launch an alpha version of its web […]

Pitchfork launches a virtual-reality channel with Inception

Pitchfork is the latest music brand exploring the potential for virtual reality. It is launching its own channel within the VR app of startup Inception. “Music videos have been a driver in the digital video space for a decade, and we see huge potential in expanding the art form into this much more immersive format,” […]

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