Hi-res streaming service Qobuz launches in the US today

Music-streaming service Qobuz will go live in the US today: a launch that the company has been teasing for several months. The company will be offering its established blend of hi-res streams AND downloads to American users for the first time. “Nobody else is offering high-res music like this,” its US managing director Dan Mackta […]

Israel and Wales get new local-focused music-streaming services

Shiri? Isn’t that what you talk to on your iPhone when you’ve had a few-too-many gins? But no: Shiri is actually a new music app launched by the National Library of Israel, with a catalogue of more than 400k tracks by Israeli artists. It’s been launched to promote local musicians, as well as to make […]

Vodafone Idea mulls new music-streaming strategy in India

We’ve written a lot about Indian streaming services Gaana, Saavn (now JioSaavn) and Wynk Music over the last couple of years. Their next source of competition may come from telco Vodafone, which recently merged with another Indian mobile operator, Idea Cellular. The latter company already has its Idea Music app, which combines streaming, downloading, playlists […]

Calm raises $88m: should meditation be on Spotify’s audio radar?

Spotify said yesterday that podcasts are just the ‘start’ of its ambitions to focus on all forms of audio. What next? We’d suggest that meditation / mindfulness will be high on the company’s radar – and not just because one of its first subscription-bundle partnerships was with meditation app Headspace back in 2016. Investor interest […]

88% of British adults are still listening to radio stations

Taking a bite out of broadcast radio is at the heart of Spotify’s move into spoken-word content – and is high on the agenda for other streaming services too. The opportunity (but also the challenge) is illustrated by the latest figures from British radio-measurement body Rajar. It says that 88% of the UK population – […]

Gimme Radio launches crowdfunding and plans country expansion

Metal-focused streaming-radio startup Gimme Radio is raising money, but through equity-crowdfunding rather than turning to VC firms. The company has launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. It’s trying to raise $1.5m with a minimum amount of $500 per investor, and if it succeeds, Gimme Radio would be valued at $6m. The campaign also offers […]

Swizz Beatz on streaming: ‘The creatives should be 50/50’

Producer and artist Swizz Beatz has called for artists to get a bigger share of streaming royalties. “I’m friends with all the streaming companies, but what I will say on record to them is we’re not getting enough money for those services and those companies to be trading for billions of dollars,” he told MarketWatch. […]

Report 420: #2019Goals. The music industry’s key challenges this year… and how we can tackle them

Welcome to the first Music Ally Report of 2019. We’re taking a look at some of the key challenges that lie ahead for our industry this year – and how they might be tackled. From diversity to startups via fake music and taking a bite out of radio, we hope it’s a constructive take on […]

Could China be the model for music-streaming growth in Japan?

Japan may be the world’s second-largest recorded-music market, but in terms of music-streaming, it is still early days for a country where CD is still the prime format. Midia Research has raised some concerns about the rate of streaming growth in Japan: “Up 30% in 2018, which puts it on a par with US for […]

Frank Ocean Endless video-album spreads wings beyond Apple Music

Remember Frank Ocean’s ‘Endless’ album? It’s okay if you don’t: its release in August 2016 was rather trumped by the launch a day later by ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – the latter on his own label, with ‘Endless’ having seen out his contract with UMG subsidiary Def Jam. At the time, the move was thought to […]

Sandbox Issue 220: Vault-ing Ambitions

Lead: While Netflix viewers are currently obsessing over Marie Kondo and her rules on de-cluttering the home (instructing viewers to only hold onto the things that “spark joy”), a different approach needs to happen in digital marketing. Rather than binning everything but the essentials, archivists and markets should be retaining as much as they can […]

Hungama Music launches radio-style ‘original audio programming’

It’s not just the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Pandora trying to take a bite out of traditional radio by moving into podcasts. Indian streaming service Hungama Music is following suit with the launch of what it’s terming ‘original audio programming’. That means radio-style shows in languages including Hindi, Telegu, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi, but starting […]

RealNetworks doubles its stake in Napster for up to $40m

RealNetworks has announced that it has doubled its stake in music-streaming service Napster to 84%, after agreeing a deal with co-owner Columbus Nova Technology Partners. RealNetworks is paying $1m in cash up-front, a further $14m “over time subject to certain conditions”, although the final bill could reach $40m if Napster is sold (or has a “similar liquidity […]

Ariana Grande takes Spotify single-day streams record

It ain’t Christmas any more, Mariah! Ariana Grande has seized the Spotify 24-hour-streams record that Mariah Carey snaffled in December. The latter’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ was streamed 10.8m times on Christmas Eve, but now Grande’s new track ‘7 Rings’ has the record, after nearly 15m streams in the 24 hours after […]

As streaming grows, so songs appear to be getting shorter

News site Quartz has an interesting article analysing the song lengths on the last few albums by artists including Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Kanye West. Its conclusion: “Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soundrop is investigating fake Beyoncé and SZA album-uploads

More details are emerging about the fake Beyoncé and SZA albums uploaded to streaming services just before Christmas, which gathered old tracks and unreleased demos from the artists under different artist names (Queen Carter and Sister Solana respectively). Music distributor Soundrop has revealed that the albums were uploaded through its pipeline, telling Rolling Stone that it took […]

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