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 Playlists.net 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 […]

Roxanne de Bastion: ‘What I learned crowdfunding from my own website’

“You’d be surprised by who’s willing to support your music.” 

These were the words of my singer songwriter friend E.W. Harris back in 2010 (insert a thick US Southern drawl for a more accurate quote). He had just financed his new album via a crowdfunding campaign, a concept still alien to me at the time. […]

Report claims Apple is mulling high-end headphones move

After the AirPods earphones and HomePod smart-speaker, what next for Apple’s audio-hardware ambitions? According to Bloomberg’s resident Cupertino-whisperer Mark Gurman, a pair of noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones could launch as early as the end of 2018. Or not. “It’s possible Apple will redesign the headphones again before launch, or scrap the project altogether,” warned the sources […]

Die Fantastischen Vier launch an augmented-reality video app

German hip-hop group Die Fantastischen Vier is the latest example of an artist exploring the potential of augmented reality (AR) technology. The band have launched a free iPhone app called Tunnel AR, which is an interactive music video for their recent single ‘Tunnel’. The app enables fans to project the video onto a nearby table, […]

Palo Santo Messenger bot kicks off Years & Years album campaign

What is Palo Santo? It’s a fictional city where androids and humans live side-by-side, of course. But don’t worry if you didn’t know that: this is only just being revealed, bit-by-bit, to fans of British band Years & Years. Or perhaps we should say bit-by-bot, since one of the initial planks in the campaign for […]

Spotify and Smirnoff launch ‘unconscious gender bias’ campaign

Like us, you’ve probably been wondering when a prominent vodka brand would weigh in to 2018’s music-industry debates around diversity and inclusion. Congrats if you had ‘early March’ in the sweepstake: Smirnoff has teamed up with Spotify on a marketing campaign called the Smirnoff Equaliser. It’s based on the fact that the top 10 tracks […]

Pew Research: 73% of US adults use YouTube, while 68% use Facebook

The Pew Research Center’s surveys of Americans are well-respected, so its new study of social-media habits is well worth perusing today, to see some of the trends at work. Facebook remains the top platform overall, used by 68% of American adults according to the survey, with around three quarters of them logging in every day. […]

Former Spotify man Tuma Basa may be heading to YouTube

Last week brought confirmation that Spotify’s hip-hop boss Tuma Basa was leaving the company, having helped to make its RapCaviar playlist a well-known standalone music brand. So why is he leaving and where will he end up next? The answer to both questions, according to Billboard, is a new job at YouTube. The trade site […]

Nearly 8.3m Brits were music-streaming subscribers in January

While recent ERA and BPI figures have made much of the growth in revenue and consumption of music streaming services in the UK, they didn’t explains how many people in Britain pay for a music subscription. Now we have a – tentative – answer: ERA consumer tracking figures – which are based on 2.5k people […]

New study explores impact of user-centric music-streaming payouts

‘User-centric’ streaming payouts refers to a proposed system where the royalties generated by someone’s subscription would be divided only between the artists that they listen to, rather than going into a central pool divided by market-share on the platform as a whole. ‘If you only listen to Ed Sheeran, your money only goes to Ed […]

Q&A: BPI boss Geoff Taylor on the UK’s streaming-fuelled music growth

Music Ally recently interviewed BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor about the UK’s recorded-music market trends in 2017: from the growth of subscription streaming and safe harbours to Brexit and diversity. Recent BPI and ERA figures show a big increase in music streaming in the UK in 2017 – why was this? This increase is being […]

‘By definition the creative industry is not scaleable’ – but is this a problem?

Silicon Valley is always keen to understand how scaleable a startup’s business model is: what will make them the next billion-dollar unicorn and beyond? But in music, is that line of thinking problematic? A panel run by Music Ally at the by:Larm conference in Oslo today explored the question of whether the search for the […]

City Slang boss calls for governments to close the ‘value gap’

Christof Ellinghaus, founder of Berlin-based indie label City Slang, is keen for governments to take action to remove YouTube’s safe harbours, and thus address the ‘value gap’. “We’re all stopping to sell records at this moment. Our bands are getting bigger and bigger, but we are selling less and less of their music,” said Ellinghaus, […]

Music journalism: ‘It’s not dying. Actually, it’s changing…’

There’s been a lot of public worrying about the future for magazine journalism in recent times, with magazines and blogs shutting down, freelance journalists scratching around for work, and tensions around issues like clickbait and sponsored content. The panel was moderated by Roisin O’Connor from The Independent, and included Tshepo Mokoena from Noisey in the […]

How can blockchain make a real impact on music?

Today’s by:Larm conference in Oslo included a panel on blockchain technology and the music industry. No wait, stop! Don’t click away! Come back! In fact, there have been so many blockchain panels at music-industry conferences in the last two years, we’ve probably used that intro joke before. It’s true, though, that there’s a bit of […]

AI creating music: can we learn to love the algorithms?

Are the new wave of artificial-intelligence startups here to eat musicians’ lunch, or to help them become even more creative? A panel run by Music Ally at the by:Larm conference in Oslo today explored the sometimes-sensitive issues around AI and music. The panel included Scott Cohen from The Orchard, Sophie Goossens from Reed Smith and […]

Spotify files for its DPO: so what do you need to know?

“Feels great to have the cat out of the bag. Transparency breeds trust,” tweeted Spotify CEO Daniel Ek last night. The cat in this instance being Spotify’s long-awaited filing for its direct public offering (DPO), which was published last night. The document offers the most detailed insight yet into Spotify’s current business and future prospects. […]

Research claims 3% of YouTube channels get 90% of views

Views are no longer the most important currency on YouTube: it’s been watch-time for a while now – as shown by the fact that the platform’s new minimum requirements for ‘partner’ status include 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last year, rather than a certain number of views. So, a new study of YouTube based […]

Big services can’t find big hits’ writers according to NOIs

Can Spotify, Google and Amazon *really* not identify who to pay publishing royalties to for Drake’s global hit ‘God’s Plan’? Or for Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’? Or for Post Malone’s ‘Rockstar’ or Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana’ or… Well, you get the picture. Artist-rights blog The Trichordist has published a post from industry lawyer Chris Castle in which […]

CISAC-commissioned study criticises safe harbour rules

It will come as no surprise that a study commissioned by collecting-societies body CISAC criticises ‘safe harbour’ exceptions in copyright law. But the study, from Ashbel Smith Professor Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas at Dallas, is a good summary of the arguments being marshalled by music rightsholders as they campaign for reform of […]

Liberty Media offers $1.16bn for 40% iHeartMedia stake

US radio group iHeartMedia is battling to restructure its debts in order to avoid bankruptcy, and its latest potential saviour is a fascinating one: Liberty Media. That’s the same Liberty Media that’s the majority owner of satellite-radio firm SiriusXM, which recently acquired a $480m stake in Pandora, which competes directly with iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio service. The […]

Live Nation reported record revenues of $10.3bn for 2017

2017 was a good year for Live Nation in financial terms, with the live-entertainment giant’s revenues rising by 24% to $10.3bn last year, according to its latest financial results. 86 million people attended concerts put on by Live Nation, which was up 21% year-on-year, as the company hailed “its seventh consecutive year of record results” […]

Non-musical content key to UMG and WMG’s latest moves

Two separate announcements from major labels Universal Music and Warner Music shed some light on how they’re tackling content around the music of their artists. UMG has appointed Celine Joshua to a new position as general manager, commercial, content and artist strategy. Her role will include heading a new label called ’10:22 pm’ focused on […]

Check out the Music Ally digital sessions at by:Larm 2018

The by:Larm festival and conference is always a highlight of the year for Music Ally, and we’re delighted to be heading back to Oslo this week for the 2018 event. We’re also running five panel sessions and a couple of insights talks during the conference, covering some of the digital topics close to our heart […]

Smaller channels gauging impact of YouTube’s new policies

As of 20 February, YouTube’s new monetisation policies went into effect, with channels required to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last year before they are allowed to be ‘monetised’ through ads. When YouTube announced the changes, it claimed that around 90% of channels affected were making less than […]

Music-making firm Splice buys remix-contest site Indaba

There is more consolidation afoot in the digital music-making space, following the news earlier this month that BandLab was buying Gibson’s Cakewalk division. Now one of its rivals, Splice, has snapped up veteran remix-contests site Indaba Music for an undisclosed amount. “Over the years, Indaba has connected its community of musicians to over a thousand […]

Jukedeck takes its AI music to Korea with K-Pop collaboration

2018 may be the year of the AI/human music collaboration. British AI music startup Jukedeck is the latest company to work with musicians in an effort to show it’s a friend not a foe for human creators. The firm has teamed up with South Korean music stable Enterarts, with some of its K-Pop songwriters taking […]

SiriusXM CEO criticises proposed US Classics Act legislation

The proposed Classics Act is trying to clear up the digital-licensing status of songs recorded before 1972. When it was introduced earlier this year, we noted that Pandora was supporting the bill, in stark contrast to satellite-radio firm SiriusXM – despite the latter now being one of its main investors. Now SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer […]

Report claims 46% of ICOs from 2017 are already defunct

Fears that the mania for blockchain startups and initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a bubble will hardly be assuaged by a new report published by news site Bitcoin.com. “Tokendata, one of the more comprehensive ICO trackers, lists 902 crowdsales which took place last year,” it explained. “Of these, 142 failed at the funding stage and […]

Mobile World Congress kicks off with Android Go and Galaxy S9

The mobile-phone industry has swooped in to Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress event this week. Expect all manner of new smartphones to be announced, as well as related technologies. The news got underway this weekend with a pair of Android handsets at opposite ends of the smartphone spectrum. The Alcatel 1X is a […]

Auddly launches #MetadataPays campaign for music creators

Startup Auddly’s service aims to help songwriters and musicians to start creating metadata around their songs from the earliest stages of writing and recording. Now it’s launching a campaign to promote these practices, called #MetadataPays, in partnership with British collecting society PRS for Music. The campaign will focus on a three-step process for musicians to […]

Airbnb Concerts expands to 25 cities around the world

Airbnb isn’t just a platform for finding non-hotel accommodation around the world. It’s been edging in to music for some time via its ‘Experiences’ initiative, which includes getting hosts to hold secret gigs in unusual locations. Now that’s getting a proper rollout to 25 cities including London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and […]

LiveXLive approved for NASDAQ listing after Slacker acquisition

Digital music firm LiveXLive, which focuses on live-music videos as well as its recently-acquired streaming service Slacker Radio, has been approved to list on the public NASDAQ market. Boss Rob Ellin described it as “an exciting and major milestone in our evolution that we believe will expose the company to a wider audience of potential […]

Deezer reveals new Singtel deal and Midemlab sponsorship

Deezer has announced its latest deal with a mobile operator: Singtel in Singapore. It’s not quite a hard bundle, but it’s more than just a marketing partnership. Singtel’s post-paid customers will be able to pay 0.88 Singapore dollars a month (around US$0.66) for the first two months of a 12-month Deezer Premium subscription, then will […]

Shesaid.so seeks nominations for 2018 Alternative Power 100

Billboard’s recent Power 100 list of music-industry executives was criticised for being dominated by men. Now industry network Shesaid.so has opened nominations for its own Alternative Power 100 list – the second year for an initiative that aims for a more diverse selection of executives and creators within the industry. It’s not just about gender. […]

Spotify ‘Bulgarian’ scam fuels call from MMF for user-centric licensing debate

The ‘Bulgarian scam’ on Spotify, revealed earlier this week by MBW, allegedly involved an entity uploading a collection of sub one-minute tracks to Spotify; then arranging them into a few playlists. Devices tied to Premium Spotify accounts were then used to stream those playlists round the clock: even at a monthly cost of nearly $12k […]

MelodyVR keen for more publishing deals after Warner/Chappell

Music virtual-reality company MelodyVR announced a multi-year licensing deal with publisher Warner/Chappell yesterday. The agreement covers VR distribution of the publisher’s catalogue of songs around “an extensive library of original content, throughout numerous European territories”. MelodyVR has been signing a succession of deals with labels and collecting societies, but executive chairman Anthony Matchett said that […]

Brit Awards: Stormzy and Dua Lipa triumph as host shades Spotify

Apple Music and YouTube may have been the key digital and sponsorship partners for last night’s Brit Awards, but it was Spotify that got an (admittedly-unwanted) shout-out from the event’s host, comedian Jack Whitehall. Speaking about two-gong winner Dua Lipa: “If she had a pound for every time someone listened to her on Spotify, they […]

Facebook signs licensing deal with processing-hub ICE

The music agreements keep coming for Facebook, which now has a deal with online licensing and processing hub ICE – the joint venture between European collecting societies PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA. “The licence covers Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger and provides online music licensing for over 290,000 rightsholders, across 160 territories,” explained ICE […]

SoundCloud: ‘Do not think of us [just] as a streaming service… we’re a form of social media’

How did Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert and other artists have such success building an audience on SoundCloud? Because they saw it as more than just a music-streaming service. That’s according to SoundCloud’s director of label relations Julia Killer, who was talking at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week. “Do not think of […]

Lyor Cohen: ‘The music industry will recognise us as a huge value contributor’

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, has told Music Ally that 2018 will be “the year of music for YouTube and Google” and suggested the animosity between the video platform and the music industry will soon be a thing of the past. “It’s too easy of a soundbite – ‘value gap’,” he said. “I […]

Mobile games developer Supercell made $2.03bn in 2017

Finnish mobile games firm Supercell has published its financial results for 2017, revealing that it made $2.03bn of revenues, and a profit of $810m. The twist: the company did that without even releasing a new game that year. Supercell only has four games available: Hay Day and Clash of Clans were originally released in 2012, […]

Drake gives away nearly $1m for his new music video

How to follow up the success of a video where the highlight was your dad-dancing on a flight of stairs? For Drake, the answer is giving away $996,631.90 to strangers. That’s the clever premise of the video for ‘God’s Plan’ – already a big global hit thanks to the streaming services – which sees Drake […]

Analyst claims YouTube is ‘probably’ a $15bn business

How much money does YouTube make from advertising? Parent company Alphabet has never announced that, leaving analysts to make their best guesses. In 2013, eMarketer claimed that the site was generating $5.6bn in annual revenues, for example, while in 2015 UBS suggested that had grown to $8.5bn. A recent claim from Nomura that an advertising […]

No-booking-fees ticketing app Dice now adds booking fees

One of the key selling points for ticketing app Dice has always been its promise not to charge booking fees for its mobile tickets. Now the company has changed its policy, and has been explaining the decision to customers after a Twitter spat with British band Shame made it public. “Everyone’s favourite ‘no booking fees’ […]

New report quantifies the independent US creative economy

A new report published by a lobbying coalition called Re:Create – we’ll get to who that is in a bit – is trying to put some numbers to the independent creative economy in the US. The report is deliberately narrow in focus, attempting to calculate how much musicians, filmmakers, artists and other creators earned from […]

Diversity in the music industry: ‘We are all part of the solution’

From the recent open letters from women working in the Swedish and Australian music industries condemning harassment to the ‘step up’ storm currently engulfing Grammys organiser the Recording Academy, diversity is a huge topic for our industry in 2018. The term covers a number of related issues, from harassment to equal opportunities to enter and […]

How NoCopyrightSounds went from YouTube channel to indie label with 1.2bn streams

NoCopyrightSounds first came to the attention of many people in the music industry for its role as the launchpad for Norwegian artist Alan Walker’s track ‘Faded’. How could a YouTube channel devoted to making tracks available royalty-free for gaming channels on that service to use as their backing music spawn a global hit? It’s a […]

Jaak CEO warns music industry not to get ‘bored with blockchain’

There is, to put it mildly, a lot of hype and misinformation around the world of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) – including their potential for the music industry. Music Ally has already noted a blockchain backlash within many rightsholders, who question whether the tech and its fresh-faced startups can ever deliver […]

Healthy startup life: ‘Read more books and less tweets’

When Alex Kennedy founded his own startup, he was excited about the potential. What he didn’t realise was that the ride would be an emotional and financial rollercoaster. The post Healthy startup life: ‘Read more books and less tweets’ appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Debating the future for music merch and direct-to-fan sales

From merchandise and ticketing to crowdfunding, modern music artists have more options than ever to go ‘direct to fan’ and build a sustainable income to complement their recordings. But how can they make the most of those options? A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today debated how the D2F (or D2C) world is […]

Music streaming is booming… So what happens next?

The music industry is understandably excited about its streaming-fuelled return to growth over the past couple of years, but there’s also a widespread awareness that this isn’t the time for resting on laurels. The challenges and opportunities around how streaming should evolve were a topic up for discussion in a panel at the FastForward conference […]

ShaoDow talks artist entrepreneurs: merch, manga and more

Music Ally first encountered British artist ShaoDow earlier this month at AIM’s Indie-Con event in London. Less than a fortnight later, he was holding court at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam. The topic: ‘The Artist Entrepreneur’ – an exploration of how this particular musician has built his fanbase and income not just from his tracks, […]

Artist managers talk data, transparency and the attention economy

Coming off the back of 2014’s Dissecting The Digital Dollar report and 2017’s guides on both digital deals and transparency (as well as the beta launch of the Digital Deals Comparison Calculator), music management body the MMF organised a managers roundtable in London earlier this month, chaired by Music Ally. The purpose was to openly […]

Music/tech people share book tips and advice for younger selves

A pair of interesting articles on blogging platform Medium may provide some industry inspiration today. First, there’s Idagio product director Bas Grasmayer’s piece asking “what people in music tech would tell their 18 year-old selves”. From former Geffen CTO Jim Griffin (“Get 8+ hours of regular sleep a night. Doing it right is like the […]

Consumer Reports publishes initial HomePod comparison tests

The initial wave of reviews in the press about Apple’s HomePod smart speaker have been very positive about its hardware – specifically its audio quality. Now Consumer Reports has published some ‘early results’ of its comparative tests pitting the device against rivals. “Apple’s speaker does deliver very good audio performance, though it’s not the best-sounding […]

Musiio and Mubert are the latest AI-focused music startups

The fact that ‘AI music’ can mean several, very different things is well illustrated by the latest pair of startups exploring strains of artificial intelligence tech applied to music. Musiio’s focus is on using AI to analyse large catalogues of music. “The tools we provide allow you as a business to process more data than […]

Bandcamp paid out more than $70m to independent artists in 2017

Direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp has published its annual review of its business, including the stat that its all-time payments to artists are now past the $270m mark. That compares to nearly $200m at the end of 2016, meaning that the $70m+ paid to Bandcamp artists in 2017 represents a quarter of all payouts since the platform […]

Expansion on the agenda for YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify

Three separate stories this morning come together into a strand illustrating 2018’s status as a continued landgrab for new music-streaming subscribers. YouTube is finally readying a global push for its YouTube Red tier; Apple Music is launching its student membership plan much more widely across the world; and Spotify is offering lovebirds a Valentine’s-themed two-month […]

eMarketer claims Facebook is losing more younger users

‘Young people are ditching Facebook’ is a tech-industry trope that’s been running for at least five years now, without yet having an obvious impact on the social network’s growth or revenues. However, eMarketer’s latest report at least has data to back up its claim: “This year, for the first time, less than half of US […]

Like app resembles Musical.ly but with more AR features – and ‘BOOM’ effects

We can’t resist an app pitch that includes the phrase “revolutionary 4D magic coming” with a man in a cape flying out of a smartphone screen. The app is called Like, and it’s the latest social music/video app that is showing the first shoots of becoming a Musical.ly-sized craze. At its heart it’s still a […]

Chamillionaire launches Convoz video-messaging app

Having conversations through the medium of 15-second video clips, which may or may not include ending up getting a video back from Snoop Dogg and/or Chamillionaire? There’s an app for that! It’s called Convoz, and the latter artist is actually its founder. Chamillionaire describes the app as “the place where you go to talk to […]

MelodyVR to launch alongside new standalone VR headsets

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR has been in closed beta since the end of 2016, holding its plans for a commercial launch until it judges the market is ready. The company has just reiterated that this will be in 2018. “MelodyVR is well positioned for a successful public launch of its VR music platform in 2018,” […]

Google tickets: FanFair Alliance sees ‘room for improvement’

Yesterday, we reported on Google implementing its new policy for secondary ticketing ads on its search engine. Now UK lobbying group FanFair Alliance has issued its response, which welcomes the changes while urging Google to go further. “FanFair unequivocally welcomes the updates to Google’s ad policies. As a result of these changes, we are already […]

7digital trading update shows 52% rise in revenues

B2B digital-music firm 7digital has issued a trading update showing strong growth in its full-year revenues. The company says it expects to report revenues of £17.3m for 2017, up 52% year-on-year. “Losses at Adjusted LBITDA level are expected to be significantly reduced from the previous period and be better than market expectations,” claimed the company […]

Napster appoints Bill Patrizio as president and CEO

Streaming service Napster has a new, permanent boss. Bill Patrizio is no stranger to the company though: he was named as interim CEO in May 2017, while retaining his position as president of consumer media at RealNetworks – which continues to hold a stake in Napster. “He has led a resurgence of the company in […]

Amazon Alexa gets new music-playlist creation features

Amazon hasn’t made a big deal of its latest smart-speaker feature, but it’s an extremely interesting development for anyone who’s been thinking about how playlists evolve in a world of voice control. Users – initially on Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited in the US, we think – can now say commands like ‘Alexa, create […]

Recording Academy faces further industry criticism

Earlier this month, a group of six senior women from the music industry wrote to the Recording Academy calling for it to up its game on diversity, and offering their help. One report yesterday suggested that they have been “seriously underwhelmed” by the response. So, in a world where the term ‘hepeating’ has been coined […]

A&R in the digital age: ‘Learn with your artist and be open to admitting your mistakes’

In a world of streaming, social networks and the ability for any artist to get their music up on digital platforms, how is the role of the label A&R evolving? A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London today addressed the topic of ‘A&R in the digital age’. The speakers included Vidhi Ghandi from Ninja […]

Independent artists talk fans, streaming and digital survival

Around 20,000 new songs are added to streaming services like Spotify every single day. A sobering statistic for an independent artist wondering how they can cut through the noise to reach people who’ll love their music. So how are artists using streaming services, social networks and other means to build their audiences and sustain their […]

Record labels, huh? What are they good for in 2018?

If Music Ally had a pound for every time we’d heard someone predicting The Death Of The Label, we’d have enough money by now to buy at least two of the majors. The post Record labels, huh? What are they good for in 2018? appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

How does UK radio and streaming-playlist plugging work in 2018?

What’s more important for an independent artist in 2018: getting A-listed by prominent radio stations, or bagging some prominent slots on the playlists curated by Spotify and Apple Music? A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London today explored the evolving world of plugging with a focus on independent artists and labels. It included Secretly […]

Case study: marketing Laura Marling’s Semper Femina album

Laura Marling’s last album, ‘Semper Femina’, is a wonderful piece of work: something I’ve returned to again and again since its release, discovering new details every time. Hats off to that, then. But also to the team that worked hard on the marketing campaign for an album, released through More Alarming Records via Kobalt Music […]

Snapchat growth sends Snap, Inc share price soaring

Since its IPO last year, Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc has had a rough time of it on Wall Street, with investors uneasy about the social app’s sluggish growth. Yesterday brought some good news for the company in its latest financial results though: it beat analyst forecasts with stronger-than-expected growth, and saw its share price […]

Eventbrite joins the UK’s FanFair Alliance lobbying group

Ticketing firm Eventbrite has joined UK lobbying group the FanFair Alliance, to ‘support the fight against industrial-scale online ticket touting’. This follows Eventbrite’s partnership with face-value-resale platform Twickets last year, as well as the company’s ongoing expansion of its music-ticketing activities. The post Eventbrite joins the UK’s FanFair Alliance lobbying group appeared first on Music […]

European Commission to assess Apple’s Shazam acquisition

Apple announced plans to acquire music-recognition firm Shazam in December 2017, but European regulators may yet throw a spoke in the works of the deal. “The European Commission has accepted a request from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple,” […]

Apple HomePod reviews: sounds great, could be smarter

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker goes on sale this Friday (9 February) in the US, UK and Australia, with the first wave of reviews published yesterday. How does it compare to the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges? Reviewers have been broadly positive, with the HomePod’s audio quality coming in for particular praise. “From dance pop […]

Google ‘tightens standards’ on secondary-ticketing search ads

Google has implemented a new policy on secondary-ticketing websites, which will now have to ‘radically increase their transparency’ to be certified to book advertising on its platform. To be certified, secondary sites will have to not ‘imply’ that they are a primary marketplace; prominently disclose their status as a ticket reseller / secondary marketplace; prominently […]

Avicii launches his own mobile game: Gravity HD

It’s been a while since anyone thought mobile games would be the next big revenue stream for the music industry. But experiments continue, with dance star Avicii the latest to test the app-store waters. He’s fronting a game called Avicii Gravity HD, developed by Swedish mobile games firm Hello There. “In fast-paced Avicii Gravity HD, […]

Nelson lets people play with Spotify recommendation engine

Nelson: not just the chap whose statue stands on a column in Trafalgar Square seething at pigeons. Nelson is also the name of a “friendly in-browser Spotify jukebox” that’s gone live this week. Using Spotify’s recommendations API and web playback SDK, it’s a nifty way to play with Spotify’s recommendations engine. After logging in with […]

Lino raises $20m funding round to build a ‘crypto YouTube’

Lino wants to build “a decentralised autonomous content economy, where content value can be recognised efficiently and all contributors can be incentivised directly and effectively to promote long-term economic growth”. Not bad for something named after your carpet, eh? Lino is the latest startup hoping to tap blockchain technology in an attempt to eat at […]

Socan promises more transparency with ‘Layla’ royalty system

Canadian PRO Socan has launched a new royalty income and tracking system for customers of its Audiam subsidiary. Called ‘Layla’ (we’re sorry for the guitar-solo earworm you’ll be enjoying all morning now) it’s aimed at publishers and self-published songwriters. The system promises to track who’s recording their songs, where they’re being listened to and how […]

Gareth Emery of blockchain music startup Choon: ‘We’re committed to radical transparency’

We’ve seen a few blockchain-music startups in our time, but Choon is the first one named after what you might shout at the DJ when feeling over-excited and emotional in a club. That’s a world that the startup’s founder Gareth Emery knows well, mind. His career has seen him crack the top 10 twice in […]

eMarketer claims YouTube is ‘close to saturation’ in the UK

Research firm eMarketer has published some data for YouTube viewership in the UK, claiming that more than 90% of people classed as ‘digital video viewers’ regularly visit the service. “In 2018, 40.4 million people, or six out of 10 people in the UK, will watch video via the YouTube app or website at least once […]

Cür Music returns from the grave with licences and Q2 launch

Cür Music was one of the digital music services that shut down in recent years: having rebranded personal-radio service Raditaz in 2014, its owners raised $9.6m in funding; launched in beta in January 2016 with $2.99-a-month and $6.99-a-month subscription options; agreed to pay $8m in advances to major labels; and then in August 2016 laid […]

Apple Music’s latest milestone is 36m paying customers

Apple says its Apple Music service now has 36 million subscribers, up from “well over” 30 million in late September 2017. The milestone was shared with the Wall Street Journal as part of a wider piece on Apple Music’s progress – including the claim that it’s growing faster than Spotify in the US. “Apple’s subscriber-account […]

Kieron Donoghue talks ‘streaming-only’ label Humble Angel Records

In late January, former Playlists.net and Warner Music Group executive Kieron Donoghue launched his new venture, a ‘streaming-first’ independent label called Humble Angel Records. He promised royalty payout rates for artists ‘at least double’ the average of those offered by major labels – paid on a monthly basis, using startup Stem’s platform – as well […]

Hi-res music: ‘The barrier is the understanding of the value of the proposition’

Major labels are very excited about upping the audio quality of music-streaming services, under the banner of ‘hi-res music’. Audio hardware firms are excited too, while some streaming services (Tidal, Deezer and dedicated services like Qobuz for example) have adopted the technology. And music fans? That’s the challenge: as yet there isn’t an obvious surge […]

Spotify adds songwriting and production credits to its desktop app

Spotify is adding credits for songwriters and producers to songs on its service, although for now they’ll only appear within its desktop app. From today, listeners can right-click on a track and choose a ‘Show Credits’ option to see the credited performers, songwriters and producers in a pop-up window. The post Spotify adds songwriting and […]

Abbey Road Red incubator adds two more startups… and a new boss

Abbey Road Studios in London has announced that HumTap and Lickd will be the next two companies to join its Abbey Road Red startup incubator, under the wing of a new boss for the program. Karim Fanous, formerly head of research and insight at Music Ally (that’s us!) is taking over from Jon Eades, who […]

‘Shapeshifting’ startup AI Music closing £5m funding round

British artificial-intelligence music/tech startup AI Music is raising £5m of funding, as it prepares to launch its first product. The company has developed technology capable of “shapeshifting” songs, using AI to remix tracks on the fly. “We’re raising £5m, and we have a lead investor that’s happy to take the whole thing,” said CEO Siavash […]

Online audio-mastering startup CloudBounce to launch ICO

Drag’n’drop audio-mastering startup CloudBounce is joining the blockchain bandwagon, with plans to launch an initial coin offering (ICO). The company, which competes with services like Landr, announced its plans tonight at the Abbey Road Red incubator’s demo event in London. “We’re doing the next step in building a better community and better and faster audio-processing […]

Facebook’s viral crackdown sees time spent on service fall

It’s unusual to see a company proudly announcing in its quarterly financial results that people have been using it less. But Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 goal of focusing more on ‘time well spent’ on Facebook makes it an unusual case. “Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time […]

Music Ally Training :: Digital in Practice courses

Two new Music Ally webinar training courses start next week: ‘Connections’ and ‘Advanced’. A great way to start the year, our ever popular training courses will provide you with a solid grounding of digital knowledge with the best tips and practical insights whilst preparing you for what the future holds in this space too. Don’t […]

Dubset debuts three more DJ mixes on Apple Music

Mix-licensing startup Dubset Media Holdings has announced its three latest pieces of content, which appear to be exclusive to Apple Music. At least it’s getting first dibs on the DJ mixes by Steve Aoki, Sigala and DJ Suss One, which have been released on Apple’s streaming service this week. Dubset says it’s part of a deal to deliver “hundreds” […]

Deezer strikes deal with telco Hutchison 3 Indonesia

Telco partnerships have always been a key part of Deezer’s business model, and its latest sees the company expanding its ambitions in Asia. It’s working with Hutchison 3 in Indonesia, through its Tri operator brand in that country. Tri customers will be able to pay for a monthly Deezer Premium+ subscriptions using their balance credit, […]

Socan reports record revenues but highlights songwriter payouts

2017 was a good year for Canadian collecting society Socan, which has reported record revenues and distributions to its membership. The society’s performing-rights revenues grew by 6.4% to more than $350m in 2017, with more than $300m distributed to songwriters, composers and publishers. These figures included $49.3m of ‘internet audio streaming’ revenues up 46% year-on-year. However, […]

Sony Music launches dance label with Tencent Music

Fresh from its stock-swap with Spotify, Tencent Music has another interesting partnership with a western firm: Sony Music. The pair have teamed up to launch Liquid State, a label that will focus on dance music from Asian artists, as well as live events. “Liquid State has been created to support and enhance the discovery and development […]

Pandora lays off 5% of staff as value shrinks for Sirius XM

It’s just over a year since Pandora laid off 7% of its staff in the US in order to “to focus and realign existing resources on execution and make further investments in product innovation to drive advertising revenue and subscription growth”. Now it’s in for another round of layoffs, this time “an organisational restructuring designed to […]

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard talks streaming, Hysteria and label rows

When you have sold over 100m albums and shift more tickets today than you did in your supposed peak in the 1980s, you are “not exactly hurting” for money and can therefore afford to take your time when considering the leap into new, digital revenue streams. This, according to Def Leppard’s lead singer Joe Elliott, […]

She Makes War: Laura Kidd on the experience of crowdfunding an album

UK-based musician Laura Kidd writes, produces and records music as She Makes War, with three albums under her belt so far. She’s crowdfunding her fourth using PledgeMusic: here’s her take on the experience as an artist. “In the time since I crowdfunded my second album ‘Little Battles’ in 2011, using sites like PledgeMusic to raise […]

Elton John: ‘I’ve never downloaded anything in my life. Not even porn!’

Elton John held a press event with YouTube yesterday (24 January) to announce his farewell tour – a 300-date, multi-continent extravaganza that will start in September and run into 2021. While that news dominated the headlines, he also used the event to unveil a potted history of his career in music in VR as well […]

Despite Trump: ‘There are no walls that can stop Latin music…’

The most pointed quote of the second day of Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York came from Jesús López, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula. He used US president Donald Trump’s infamous ambitions to fortify the US border with Mexico as a jump-off for a reminder […]

Kobalt CEO blasts ‘elitist’ concerns about music as background listening

Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz delights in ruffling feathers within the music industry, so his appearance as a keynote speaker at Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York promised to deliver a fair few zingers. He was interviewed by Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley. The post Kobalt CEO blasts ‘elitist’ concerns about […]

Beggars Group, AEI Media and Atlantic Records talk modern-day music companies

Is it too much to hope that we’ve seen the last ‘death of labels’ story in the modern music industry? Labels aren’t dying as an industry entity, but they are evolving in interesting ways, as are management companies, publishers and music companies with their roots in the digital world. It’s the blurring of the boundaries […]

Music and tech startups: where is the innovation in 2018?

What kind of partner does the music industry make for music/tech startups in 2018? There have certainly been bumps in the past, from venture capitalists swearing never to invest again in startups requiring music rights, to shutdown firms blaming rightsholders for their business failure. Yet for their part, rightsholders argue that their focus is rightly […]

AI that makes music: ‘Labels should be buying this stuff…’

Should Ed Sheeran be getting worried about artificial intelligence dethroning him from his place atop the modern pop pantheon? It may sound like crazy foolish talk, but that was the question sparked by a session on creative AI at Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference this afternoon in New York. There is already […]

CMO Seth Farbman on Spotify: ‘It’s maybe more like a republic than a democracy’

Seth Farbman used to be chief marketing officer at clothing retailer The Gap. Now he’s marketing a music-streaming service, as CMO of Spotify. Farbman joined Music Biz and Music Ally’s NY:LON Connect conference in New York this morning for a fireside chat on how he sees the world. The moderator was Music Ally’s head of […]

Apple HomePod smart speaker will go on sale on 9 February

Apple HomePod, the company’s first smart speaker, will go on sale on 9 February in the US, UK and Australia, with pre-orders kicking off online this Friday (26 January). The company announced the dates today, having delayed the device’s planned launch in December 2017. It will compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home among other […]

Def Leppard break digital deadlock as entire catalogue goes online

Def Leppard, one of the last multi-platinum digital holdouts, have licensed their entire catalogue to download and streaming services. It is available today (19 January) on all the major streaming and download platforms. The band, whose global album sales top 100m, were conspicuous by their absence from iTunes, Spotify and more. This was partly down […]

Spotify debuts ‘Spotlight’ format for podcasts, audiobooks and news

Spotify’s latest announcement focuses less on music, and more on the other kinds of audio content available on the streaming service: podcasts, audiobooks and news. The company is launching a new ‘multimedia format’ called Spotlight, which will show photos, video and text as people listen to spoken-word content. The post Spotify debuts ‘Spotlight’ format for […]

Native Instruments launches Sounds.com loops and samples platform

The music industry is very familiar with the all-you-can-eat subscription model for streaming. Now Native Instruments is applying it to a different audio market: loops and samples. The company, best known for its Maschine music-production hardware and its Traktor DJing tools, has launched a new site called Sounds.com which will offer a catalogue of more […]

Deloitte makes tech, media and telecoms predictions for 2018

What does the year ahead hold for technology, media and telecoms? Consultancy firm Deloitte has published its annual ‘TMT’ trends report with plenty of topics to chew on. Here’s a grab-bag of some of its most interesting predictions: More than one billion smartphone users will create augmented-reality content at least once in 2018, with 300 […]

Facebook promises to redesign “too cluttered” Messenger app

2017 was a good year for Facebook Messenger, as the social network’s own-brand messaging app grew to 1.3 billion monthly active users. However, its boss David Marcus has admitted to one downside in his annual blog post predicting trends for the year ahead. “Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to […]

MelodyVR prepares for launch and aims to be a top-10 VR app

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR is preparing for its long-awaited commercial launch, with more than 5k hours of live performances and other content shot with artists. “We’re not going to say we want to be the killer app for VR because we’re not that arrogant, but we want to be in the top five to ten […]

SiriusXM debuts ‘360L’ in-car satellite-plus-streaming service

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM has launched the latest iteration of its in-car service, called 360L. That represents “360-degree listening” with a blend of satellite radio and streaming to pipe music into vehicles, starting with the 2019 Ram 1500 truck. Drivers will get SiriusXM’s lineup of 200+ live radio channels, as well as recommendations for other […]

David Lowery publishes 2018 ‘streaming price bible’

Musician David Lowery has published the latest data on payouts from a range of streaming services, sourced from “a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 200+ album catalog now generating over 200m+ streams annually”. It’s a very interesting snapshot as ever: both of average per-stream payouts and of the market shares of the various services. […]

17% of VC-backed startups have at least one woman as a founder

A study conducted by CrunchBase has found that only 17% of startups receiving their initial round of venture funding in 2017 had at least one woman as a founder. What’s more, that percentage has stayed static since 2012, having risen steadily in the three years before that. In 2017, all-women teams accounted for 3% of […]

Finnish band Phantom launch VR video using Notch technology

Finnish electronic duo Phantom have become the first artist to use new technology from Notch, which is best known for its software providing live visuals for a host of big acts. Its new tool aims to help artists create virtual-reality videos based on the music itself. “The interactive music video visualises sound in VR. It […]

Deezer unveils first batch of Deezer Next 2018 artists

Jorja Smith will be the first global artist promoted as part of streaming service Deezer’s ‘Deezer Next 2018’ initiative. She’ll get playlist and promotional support on the platform, with three more global ‘priority’ artists set to be announced later in the year. Up to eight more artists will be announced in each of Deezer’s key […]

Black boxes still a big challenge says ReedSmith partner

Transparency remains a big challenge for the music industry in 2018, according to Gregor Pryor, co-chair of law firm ReedSmith’s global Entertainment and Media Industry Group. “As ever, the challenge with distribution is data hygiene. Getting composers and creators focused on all of the supply chain is a difficult thing to do,” he said in […]

Meet Kasotsuka Shojo – the cryptocurrency-themed J-Pop group

We’ve come a long way from Scary Spice, Sporty Spice, Ginger Spice, Baby Spice and Posh Spice, it’s fair to say. Japanese pop group Kasotsuka Shojo have been getting a wave of coverage in the west for being the first J-Pop group where each member “represents a different cryptocurrency”. “We want to promote the idea […]

7digital signs contract with 8tracks as other clients launch

B2B digital-music firm 7digital has signed a contract with US streaming service 8tracks. The company says the deal has a minimum term of one year. 7digital has also signed a new contract with its largest shareholder, retailer MediaMarktSaturn, to migrate the latter’s Juke streaming service on to 7digital’s platform. The post 7digital signs contract with […]

Pandora was fourth top non-game app for revenue in 2017

Pandora was the fourth biggest non-game app across Android and iOS in 2017 in terms of revenues, according to app analytics firm SensorTower’s end-of-year report. Its analysis of in-app purchases ranks Pandora behind only Line, Tinder and chart-topper Netflix – with the latter thought to have earned $510m from in-app subscriptions in 2017, up from […]

NPR / Edison: One in six Americans now own a smart speaker

January has already seen a flurry of new research into smart speakers, timed to coincide with the CES show in Las Vegas. The latest example comes from NPR and Edison Research, who surveyed 1,816 Americans in November and December. 16% said that they own a smart speaker, which scales up to around 39 million people […]

Live Nation settles Songkick lawsuit for $110m

There has been a surprise ending to the long-running legal battle between Live Nation and the owners of ticketing firm Songkick: a $110m settlement that sees Live Nation acquiring some of the company’s remaining technology assets and patents. This, despite Songkick suffering several setbacks as it pursued litigation against the live-entertainment giant. “We are pleased […]

Samsung tipped to unlock the FM radios in its smartphones

Samsung will soon be unlocking the FM radio chip in its smartphones in the US and Canada, according to the maker of the NextRadio app. Note, this isn’t (yet) an official announcement from Samsung itself, but NextRadio owner TagStation claimed that the move will mean owners of the smartphones can listen to broadcast-radio while consuming […]

Pandora wants to create ‘the podcast genome project’

Pandora signalled its interest in the world of podcasts in late 2015 when it became the ‘exclusive streaming partner’ for the second series of podcast Serial. Now its recently-appointed CEO Roger Lynch says the company is ready to double down with the intention of creating “the podcast genome project” – referring to its famous system […]

Facebook confirms plans to focus more on ‘personal moments’

Rumours have been bubbling for several months that Facebook was planning a shift for its news feed back towards ‘personal’ content from friends and family, rather than ‘public’ posts and content from brands and media. Now CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the changes, which he says are part of the social network’s determination to make […]

Facebook signs music deals for Irving Azoff’s GMR, Kobalt and indie publishers

Facebook’s latest music-licensing deal, following its agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV, is something a corker: it’s with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights. That would be the Irving Azoff who’s regularly castigated YouTube in recent times over its licensing and royalty payments? The very same. “Today, we are excited to announce that Global Music […]

Hulu now has 17m subscribers after adding 5m since 2016

Video-streaming service Hulu has announced its latest milestone: 17 million subscribers. That’s up from 12 million in May 2016, which means the service has averaged just 263,000 net new subscribers a month over that period. Compare that to Netflix, which has been adding around five million subscribers a quarter in recent times, albeit with a […]

Data suggests Snapchat is still mainly a messaging app

We know from Snapchat’s last quarterly financial results that the social app had 178 million daily active users, but the company hasn’t broken down what those people are doing within its app. The Daily Beast has now got its hands on some internal metrics that show how popular – or unpopular – individual sections of […]

Huffington Post pulls artist’s report of Spotify meeting

An article by musician Blake Morgan about an artists meeting held by Spotify has been ‘unpublished’ by Huffington Post, in a move that’s already giving the piece a wider airing on other sites. “If anyone were to dispute your account of the meeting in question, we wouldn’t be able to verify or stand behind the […]

CD Baby’s parent company buys AdRev and DashGo

The parent company of distributor CD Baby has executed a mini-rollup of B2B services. AVL Digital Group has acquired AudioMicro, which in turn owns YouTube-monetisation tool AdRev and label-services provider DashGo, as well as its own sync-licensing platform. The intention here is to offer AudioMicro’s services as part of CD Baby’s package for artists and […]

EC presses internet platforms to crack down on illegal content

Yesterday saw a meeting in Brussels between a group of European Commission representatives and (unnamed) internet platforms to discuss illegal content. While piracy was included in the brief, the driving force behind the meeting was more about extremist content and hate speech. “Terrorist propaganda and content that incites violence and hatred online is a serious […]

Report: Apple’s ARKit has been used by 825 apps so far

App analytics firm Apptopia claims that 825 iOS apps released in 2017 used Apple’s ARKit augmented-reality framework. That included around 300 when the technology went live in Apple’s iOS 11 software in September, plus another 525 over the final three months of 2017. The post Report: Apple’s ARKit has been used by 825 apps so […]

Roku is launching a voice assistant for smart speakers

Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and the rest of the voice-assistant gang will soon be getting a new member, from an unexpected source. Set-top box maker Roku has announced plans to launch the ‘Roku Entertainment Assistant’ by this autumn, which will be used to control entertainment on its own devices, as well […]

Lyor Cohen promise: ‘We’re going to make you rich and famous’

AdAge has been profiling Lyor Cohen’s plans for 2018 as head of music at YouTube, including boiling down his pitch to artists, managers and labels as “We’re going to make you rich and famous”. That includes providing financial support for music videos and promotion for new releases, as well as the previously-reported plans for a […]

On-demand video was 22.8% of US music consumption in 2017

We reported on the latest music-consumption stats from the UK yesterday, but now Nielsen has published its data for the US, revealing even bigger growth for 2017. Specifically, sales and streams of albums and songs grew by 12.5% last year in the US, driven by a 59% increase in on-demand audio streams. Nielsen also noted […]

Reports claim Spotify has already filed to go public

Spotify may go public in the first quarter of this year, according to several reports citing the company’s confidential filing of documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in December. “All indications are that Spotify wants to list in Q1, and timing of the confidential F-1 filing would support such a calendar,” claimed Axios. […]

20 music/tech startups we’ll be watching in 2018

Here at Music Ally, we covered a lot of new music/tech startups for the first time in 2017. We’ve now chosen 20 of them that we think have the potential to make an impact in 2018 and beyond, from analytics to artificial intelligence, and from blockchain tech to radio monitoring. The post 20 music/tech startups […]

Some big YouTubers may be seeing a decline in views

Business Insider has been mining some stats for some of the most well-known YouTubers, and has identified a decline in their monthly views during 2017. PewDiePie, Zoella and DanTDM all saw their monthly views fall in the last year, as well as the number of new subscribers to their channels every month. The piece notes […]

Facebook hires more music executives for biz-dev and licensing

Fresh from the pre-Christmas news of its first licensing deal, with Universal Music, Facebook has continued to build out its music team, with former Googlers looming large. Among Facebook’s latest hires: Joe Bognanno, former manager of music content partnerships at Google and also director of royalties at SoundCloud, who is now Facebook’s commercial music publishing […]

Publisher Wixen hits Spotify with a $1.6bn lawsuit

If Spotify was hoping 2018 would see its publishing woes die down… well, Wixen Music Publishing has put those hopes to rest. The publisher has filed a lawsuit seeking damages of at least $1.6bn for Spotify’s use of songs written by Tom Petty, Rage Against The Machine, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks and other artists/songwriters. The […]

Jazz legend Scott Henderson talks taking guitar lessons online

Guitarist Scott Henderson’s career has seen him mixing jazz, blues, funk and rock in his solo work, as co-leader of fusion band Tribal Tech, as well as playing with artists like Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea. He’s also got more than 30 years’ experience teaching other people to play, in his role as an instructor […]

India: The sleeping giant of digital music is ready to wake up

At the end of September this year Music Ally was invited to attend the inaugural All About Music conference in Mumbai, India. We’ve since been speaking to some of its main contributors, and taking a look at the key themes that emerged on how India is evolving as a music market. All About Music is […]

Facebook signs Universal Music licensing deal for music, video and more

Music labels and publishers have spent much of 2017 wondering what Facebook’s plans were for licensing music. Today the social network announced its first major-label licensing deal, with Universal Music Group. The companies are describing this as a “global, multi-year agreement” that will license Universal’s recorded-music and publishing catalogues for “video and other social experiences […]

Shiny Awards aims to celebrate music videos and emerging filmmakers

2017 has been an exciting year for online video of all kinds, music videos included. Now there’s a new awards ceremony for that, which aims to celebrate emerging talent creating music videos and other short-form music-related work. The Shiny Awards take place on 22 February 2018 in London, and the deadline for entering is the […]

Read our Sandbox Best Music Marketing Campaigns of 2017 report

Here it is – Sandbox’s massive run down of the best, most innovative and most exciting music marketing campaigns of the past 12 months. Download the report HERE. As usual, all campaigns are listed in non-partisan alphabetical order. But this year there is a twist. We have given campaigns that have impressed us special commendations […]

Apple tipped to merge Mac and iOS apps starting in 2018

Bloomberg has an interesting piece about Apple’s potential plans to bring its iOS and MacOS app ecosystems together. “Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system […]

Apple changes its guidelines on template-based iOS apps

We reported earlier this month on new Apple guidelines that seemed to squash iOS apps created using template-based tools – for example, the various platforms that help musicians create and release their own mobile apps. After protests, Apple has changed the guidelines, which should mean these platforms can continue operating. The rules did say that […]

Mixcloud will use Gracenote’s MusicID to identify tracks

Gracenote has a new customer for its MusicID music-recognition technology: streaming service Mixcloud. The latter is going to start using MusicID to fingerprint music in the 1,000 hours-plus of DJ sets, radio shows and podcasts uploaded to its platform every day. The post Mixcloud will use Gracenote’s MusicID to identify tracks appeared first on Music […]

Guest Column: How fixing the secondary ticketing market will help future music events be better

This guest column comes from Maarten Bloemers, CEO and co-founder of GUTS: “The secondary ticketing market has recently been under scrutiny in the UK, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this month publishing the findings of a year-long investigation. The post Guest Column: How fixing the secondary ticketing market will help future music events […]

PRS for Music CEO: ‘How to unlock rightsholders’ money around the world’

This guest column comes from Robert Ashcroft, CEO of PRS for Music: “The issues of data, value and protection for songwriters have never been so high on the agenda. In early 2016 I had a conversation with George Howard for a blog he was writing for Forbes about the biggest issue facing the industry in […]

Spotify and Deezer lobby EC (again) over big-tech gatekeepers

Spotify and Deezer’s CEOs have both signed a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker calling for the EC to ensure they get a “level playing field” on platforms owned by large US technology companies including Apple and Amazon. The pair – along with a group of European games companies – are calling for “clear […]

7digital’s Pete Downton talks streaming, telcos, voice control and Apple

In the mid-2000s, Pete Downton had a PowerPoint presentation. It included a slide with a map of the world plotting Warner Music Group’s licensing partnerships with 40 mobile operators: a network with a theoretical reach of 1.8 billion customers. “There was a certain amount of truth in that, because we had deals in place to […]

SoundCloud revamps app home screen with playlists and recommendations

SoundCloud is redesigning its app’s home screen with more focus on playlists and recommendations, including two new own-brand playlists showcasing trending hip-hop and dance tracks. The app’s homepage will now be based around sideways-scrolling carousels of playlists and albums, some of which will be tuned to the listener’s tastes. These will include ‘More of what […]

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

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

Imogen Heap is taking Mycelia on tour… with Creative Passports

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

Deezer HiFi streaming service is launching in Japan this month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evolving exit strategies for music startups (#SlushMusic)

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

Google tightens rules on ticket-reseller advertising

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

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

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

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

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

Saavn teams with Amazon, Snapchat and new strategic investors

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

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

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

c3 exec Jeff Boxer resigns after sexual-misconduct reports

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

Edison Investment Research doubtful about Sonos prospects

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

Pioneer Jaron Lanier on the difference between VR and AR

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

Apple has bought an augmented-reality headset startup

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

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile launch ‘mixtape exchange’

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

Investment fund EQT takes 40% stake in Epidemic Sound

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

NetEase Cloud Music now has 400m users in China

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

Report claims Apple HomePod is ‘a huge missed opportunity’

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

Facebook hires former WMG exec Jeremy Sirota for labels role

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

Controversy sparked by plans to row back US net neutrality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative adds music to its partners

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

Baidu unveils Raven H smart speaker

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

Kickstarter relaunches Drip for Patreon-style creator subscriptions

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

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

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

10 talking points around music and virtual / augmented reality

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

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

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

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

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

Snap stock drops after disappointing quarterly results for Snapchat

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

Big Shaq gets an augmented-reality Facebook Camera effect

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

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

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

Crowdsourced-gigs service MyMusicTaste raises $11m

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

Amazon launches Echo devices and Alexa in Japan

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

iOS to support introductory subscription pricing offers

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

Musical.ly starts to attract brands for influencer marketing

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

Canary app could offer a new mobile spin on scrobbling

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

Chinese startup Nusic to launch mobile game for mix-sharing

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

Google Assistant gets its own Shazam-style music ID feature

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

Social stars launch their own video-streaming service

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

Beats 1 launches its first Spanish-language radio show

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

Russian streaming services add restrictions for free users

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

Shania Twain goes mobile gaming with Home Street partnership

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

Salute Music Makers contest gives cryptocurrency to entrants

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

Metal streaming service Gimme Radio launches new iOS app

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

Spotify data shows ‘listening diversity’ is up 40%

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

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

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

Smart headphones startup Doppler Labs is shutting down

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

Former 7digital boss launches Yoto smart-speaker for kids

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

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

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

Björk hits the blockchain with cryptocurrency fan rewards

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

Games firm CCP pulls back from virtual reality investment

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

Bandcamp launches new app for its artists and labels

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

Deezer gets more social with new community feature

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

Ducktails albums pulled from several streaming services

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

Apple Watch software update brings more music features

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

Former WMG boss Edgar Bronfman Jr starts new VC firm

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

Lessons from Kobalt’s Laura Marling pre-save campaign

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

Hookd rebrands as Lickd and adds Hospital Records catalogue

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

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

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

Pandora taps its curators for 250+ ‘featured playlists’

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

Apple HomePod keeps Siri voice commands for Apple Music

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

Mixcloud premium plans include individual creator subscriptions

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

India becomes world’s second-biggest smartphones market

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

Intel AI tech helps create video for Chinese star Chris Lee

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

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

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

Kickstarter’s Molly Neuman talks artists, crowdfunding and confidence

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

Crossfaith invites fans to unlock new track… by headbanging

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

Sam Smith swaps Spotify for Apple Music in new video project

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

Auddly invites managers in to its music metadata platform

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

MelodyVR raises £15m more funding through share placings

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

Netflix raises $1.6bn for content acquisitions and originals

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

Apple and Google app stores reached new heights in Q3 2017

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

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

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

Facebook tests relegating page posts to secondary news feed

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

EFF denies that stream-ripping is intrinsically illegal

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

CD Baby joins the pre-saves party on Spotify

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

BMG revenues and profits both up in first half of 2017

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

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