Sony Music steps up its podcasting with nearly 40 new shows

Sony Music has been signalling its podcasting ambitions with a series of partnerships over the past year. Now it has revealed nearly 40 new shows resulting from those deals – and they’re all launching this year. The unveiling happened at the major label’s first IAB Podcast Upfront presentation, with shows in categories including true crime, politics, […]

YouTube contest involves making a music video for Hans Zimmer

For any aspiring filmmaker, the chance to have their work soundtracked by composer Hans Zimmer would be a dream come true. Now it will come true for five people. Zimmer has teamed up with Sony Music and YouTube for a contest challenging people to create original music videos for five of his compositions. A winner will be […]

Tom Walker is quizzing his fans in his new Alexa skill

The latest artist to get their own Alexa skill for Amazon’s smart speakers is Tom Walker, for whom Sony Music UK has launched ‘No. 1 Fan Music Quiz’. It’s a daily quiz where Walker sets the questions (about his own “songs, musical training and celebrity friends”) and fans test their knowledge by answering them. The […]

Noah Cyrus’s new video was made using PS4 game Dreams

Shooting music videos is possible but challenging within the social distancing measures of this Covid-19 pandemic. The latest example of an artist getting a creative way around those barriers is Noah Cyrus, as part of the ‘A Sony Collaboration’ series of projects. You may remember we wrote about a Nicky Jam TikTok video created through the scheme […]

DJ Regard gets his own Regard Runner promotional game

Music Ally last covered Kosovo-based artist DJ Regard in September 2019, when his ‘Ride It’ track became a TikTok-assisted viral hit. Now the artist, signed to Ministry of Sound, is getting his own casual game, Regard Runner, which can be played on mobile devices and computers alike. Ministry commissioned digital agency The Creative Corporation to make the […]

Sony invests $4.5m in sample clearance site Tracklib

Tracklib has been around since 2016, helping artists and producers to find and clear music for sampling. The company has just announced a $4.5m funding round from Sony Innovation Fund – the early-stage investment arm of Sony Music’s parent corporation – and Eelko van Kooten, founder of dance label Spinnin’ Records. Sony Innovation Fund had already […]

#TheShowMustBePaused latest: Sony Music, #ArtistsForBlackLives and more

Something that came through very clearly about last week’s #TheShowMustBePaused day when music companies of all kinds paused their regular work to respond to the protests about racism and police brutality was that it couldn’t just be about one day: it was about paving the way for a host of actions and changes over the […]

Sandbox Issue 253: Music Marketing in Lockdown

Lead: We are now several weeks into lockdown and have moved far, far beyond just “doing a livestream”. There was some wavering at the start as to whether albums should be delayed by several weeks or brought forward, but now everyone is having to roll their sleeves up and get on with it. The music […]

James Arthur gets Super Mario-style Instagram stories game

Earlier this month, we wrote about a marketing campaign for Ministry of Sound that made inventive use of Instagram Stories to create a motorbike-racing game – with fans tapping to avoid obstacles and ravines (i.e. to move to the next story post). Now the digital agency behind that campaign, F-That, is at it again – this time […]

Andy and the Odd Socks launch new album with kids’ parties

Andy Day is a popular children’s TV presenter in the UK on TV channel CBeebies, but he’s also been building a music career as the frontman of Andy and the Odd Socks. The band’s new album comes out today (22 May) through Sony Music’s children’s entertainment label Magic Star, and there’s an inventive marketing campaign around […]

Blank-et coverage: Sony launches album-art colouring site

Adult colouring books are a significant part of the book publishing world, with plenty of apps offering this too – usually in the name of mindfulness. Now Sony Music UK is getting in on the colouring action with a new site called The Colouring Sessions. It’s based around album artwork from artists including Elvis Presley’s debut […]

Sony Music and The Orchard held a machine-learning hackathon

Sony Music, The Orchard and Amazon Web Services held a machine-learning focused hackathon last week. Music Ally couldn’t make the event, so we asked if Sony could give us some information about the winning hacks. The label group came back with a full report on the event, quotes’n’all. So, in its own words, here’s what […]

Sony Music revenues grew to $4bn in 2019, fuelled by streaming

Sony Music’s recorded music business saw its revenues grow by 11.4% year-on-year to $1.16bn in the final quarter of 2019, according to the latest financial results for its parent company. That included a 20.6% increase in streaming revenues to $669m, accounting for 57.7% of the total. Meanwhile, Sony’s music publishing business generated $365m of revenues […]

Sony Music launches podcast partnership with Somethin’ Else

Sony Music’s thirst for podcast partnerships shows no signs of being quenched. This morning, the major label has announced its latest such alliance, with veteran UK-based radio and podcasts production company Somethin’ Else. “Under the agreement, Somethin’ Else will work with Sony Music to expand its leadership position in the UK market. In addition the […]

The most lucrative mobile game of 2019 is part of Sony Music

Earlier this month, a report by app-analytics firm App Annie offered its estimates for (among other things) the most lucrative mobile games of 2019, based on consumer spending. Top of the list was a game called Fate/Grand Order, a turn-based tactical RPG that was first released in 2015. Like all the biggest mobile games, it’s free to […]

Sony Music restructures its Asia and Middle East divisions

Sony Music has introduced a new reporting structure for its operations in Asia and the Middle East. This will involve the creation of a series of hubs in the regions that will report to Sony’s headquarters in New York. As part of the restructuring, Denis Handlin (who has overseen Sony Music’s Asia Pacific operations for […]

Sony’s 4th Floor Creative launches ‘This City’ podcast

British radio DJ Clara Amfo has launched a new podcast called ‘This City’, which will see her explore the streets of London “through the eyes of some of the city’s most recognisable names”. Available on all the usual podcast platforms, the interesting thing about it is that the podcast’s producer is Sony Music UK’s 4th […]

Sony Music invests in US podcast production firm Neon Hum

Sony Music really is serious about this podcasts business. The label has already launched two joint-ventures with podcast producers this year, as well as building internal teams to develop (and commercialise) spoken-word shows. Now it has announced a strategic investment in an existing podcast production firm, Los Angeles-based Neon Hum. Its hits include ‘Bag Man’, ‘The […]

Sony Music UK appoints VP of podcasting and creative strategy

Streaming services are going in all guns blazing with podcasts and the major labels are following suit. In April, Universal Music Group announced a partnership with podcast publisher Wondery to develop original podcasts based on the label’s catalogue, artists and labels. Sony Music has launched two podcast-focused joint ventures, and recently unveiled its US leadership team for podcasts. […]

Harry Styles had 2019’s most cryptic music-marketing campaign

The treasure hunt, scattering of Easter eggs and a good dash of the cryptic is a failsafe in music marketing. It is all a nice way to get the fanbase excited about a new album, an opportunity to test out a new platform and hopefully get some virality and/or wider media coverage in the process. […]

Sony Music reveals its leadership team for podcasts

Details have emerged about the team Sony Music is putting together in its New York office to produce and make money from podcasts. An internal memo from execs Dennis Kooker and Tom Mackay outlined the four key executives working on what they describe as a “key area of creative and business development”. They are: SVP […]

Sony Music is latest major label to license Boomplay in Africa

African music-streaming service Boomplay now has a full set of deals with the global major labels, with Sony Music the third and final major to strike an agreement. Sony’s catalogue of both African and international artists will now be available to stream on Boomplay, alongside material from Universal Music (which signed its deal with the […]

Sony Music to make a daily satirical podcast with The Onion

Sony Music Entertainment is partnering with satirical website The Onion to launch a new daily podcast in 2020. ‘The Topical’ will go live in January and will deliver daily sideswipes at the news and current affairs. It’s part of a wider trend towards shorter, daily podcasts that fit neatly into people’s work and home routines. […]

Sony Music’s Mora Qualitas hi-res streaming service launches in Japan

Sony Music Entertainment Japan has launched its Mora Qualitas hi-res streaming service, working with Rhapsody International (through its ‘Powered by Napster’ B2B business). Plans for the service were actually announced in December 2018, but it’s taken 10 months for the ‘formal’ launch of the service to happen. Mora Qualitas is offering FLAC-quality streaming, with Sony Music’s hi-res […]

Bring Me The Horizon create “Spotify-powered T-shirts”

Sony Music/RCA Records UK act Bring Me The Horizon are using their fans’ Spotify listening data to shape the T-shirt design that they can then buy – all as part of the promotion for their amo album from January. By going to a dedicated web page, they log in with their Spotify details and then […]

Jeffrey Epstein to be focus of Sony Music JV’s first podcast

Of all the possible topics for a major-label press release landing in Music Ally’s inbox, Jeffrey Epstein is definitely the most surprising. The late financier, who took his own life last month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, is the subject for the first show being made by Three Uncanny Four Productions, the podcast-production […]

Sony Music UK buys merchandise firm Kontraband

Major labels buying merchandise companies is an established trend now, from Universal Music’s Bravado division acquiring rival Epic Rights in January, and Warner Music paying $180m for German merch firm EMP in October 2018. The latest example was announced this morning: Sony Music UK is acquiring merchandise firm Kontraband for an undisclosed amount. The deal […]

Sony Music makes India non-film music push with Big Bang Music JV

One of the most interesting things about music-streaming’s impact in India is whether it will fuel an even-bigger surge in the popularity of non-film music – with tracks from movies having dominated India’s music scene to this point. Sony Music has been exploring the potential for non-film music already, but now it’s making a new […]

Google AdWords promotion was key to Badshah YouTube success

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

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

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

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

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

Nao gets a Microsoft-powered interactive music video

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

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

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

Louis Tomlinson debuts Landmrk-powered scavenger hunt for fans

The latest artist to benefit from a partnership with location-based marketing startup Landmrk is former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. He’s promoting a new single called ‘Two Of Us’ with a digital scavenger hunt using the Landmrk for Music platform that the British startup unveiled in December 2018. “I’ve hidden some video clips in hotspots around the […]

Universal Music and Sony Music face new artist lawsuits

Two of the three major labels are facing new class-action lawsuits filed in New York, which focus on the right of artists under the so-called ’35-year law’ there. That’s the legislation that in theory allows artists to file Notices of Termination to regain ownership and control of their copyrights 35 years after that music was […]

Sony cuts its ties with R. Kelly – as did UMPG

There has been a steady build-up of pressure on Sony and its RCA Records subsidiary to drop R. Kelly, in the wake of the latest set of allegations about his personal life. It has now emerged that Sony and R. Kelly, in Billboard’s words, “have agreed to part ways”. The news comes after several artists […]

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

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

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

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

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