Universal Music works with YouTube to remaster old music videos

Universal Music Group is following in the Spice Girls’ footsteps – not a sentence we ever expected to write in a Music Ally story – by remastering some classic videos for YouTube viewers in 2019. The Spice Girls, if you remember, started replacing their grainy old videos with spiffing new 4K-quality ones earlier this year. Now […]

Indies prepare for battle over Vivendi’s UMG sell-off plans

Vivendi appears to be paving the way for its planned sell-off of up to 50% of Universal Music Group to happen in 2020 rather than this year. That’s the gist, at least, of comments made by chairman Yannick Bolloré in an interview with Bloomberg (and reported on by Billboard) maintaining that the plans are proceeding smoothly. […]

Universal Music inks strategic deal with AI startup Super Hi-Fi

Music Ally first wrote about startup Super Hi-Fi in September 2018, when it announced a partnership with The Associated Press “to transform AP’s daily global news content into audio-based stories that can be seamlessly embedded into any digital music service partner”. The company’s focus is on “the space between the songs” on streaming services, with technology […]

TheFatRat on music and esports: ‘The potential is growing every year’

TheFatRat is a German dance artist and producer (real name Christian Büttner) who’s also one of the early musicians to get involved in the world of esports – professional gaming. In November 2018, he was announced as the first artist to be signed to Enter Records, the label joint-venture founded by Universal Music and esports organisation ESL. Büttner […]

Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage signs global deal with UMG

Universal Music wants to build its business in Africa: that’s been clear for some time now. In July 2018 it announced an expansion in French-speaking Africa with a brief to sign up emerging artists there, as well as launching Universal Music Nigeria as a hub for its expansion in western Africa. There too, signings were a key part of […]

Universal Music to develop original shows with podcast firm Wondery

Spotify and Pandora are throwing their energies into podcasts… but now so is the largest major label, Universal Music Group, via a partnership with podcast publisher Wondery. The pair have signed a deal to develop original podcasts based on the label’s catalogue, artists and labels. No specific shows have been announced yet, but when they […]

UMG licenses to uduX, a new Nigerian music streaming service

Yesterday we reported on music streaming service Boomplay raising $20m to expand across the African continent having signed a licensing deal with Warner Music Group last month. Now uduX, a new streaming service based in Nigeria, has signed its first licensing deal with a major label – Universal Music Group. (UMG was also the first […]

Chemical Brothers create ‘fastest remix’ for Formula 1

The Chemical Brothers have a new track out today, called ‘We’ve Got To Try’, which is marvellous. But the veteran dance duo also released another track this week called ‘WGTT15000BPM F1 NEEEUM MIX’ that’s more curious. Not least because it’s only three seconds long (and thus won’t be earning any royalties on streaming services, which […]

UMG boss on smart speakers: ‘Have the title in the chorus’

We reported yesterday on UMG boss Sir Lucian Grainge’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. Now more details are emerging about what he talked about, including non-mobile devices like smart speakers. Grainge talked about the challenges for labels of a voice-driven world. “Our experience is people can’t ask for a song when […]

Interscope EVP: streaming spurs creative exploration in hip-hop / R&B signings

The current popularity of hip-hop and R&B on music-streaming services is enabling labels to sign more artists, and thus take more creative risks, according to Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP of urban operations at Interscope Geffen A&M. “This is an amazing time to be in urban music. We’re able to really monetise urban music on a scale […]

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 […]

Universal Music snaps up merch/branding firm Epic Rights

Universal Music Group’s Bravado division has been bolstered this week by the acquisition of merchandise and branding firm Epic Rights, for an undisclosed amount. Epic Rights works with the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, AC/DC and Britney Spears among other artists. CEO Dell Furano will be staying on as part of the acquisition. “I’m very proud […]

Deutsche Bank slaps €29bn valuation on Universal Music Group

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

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