UMG, EMI Trust and The eXceL Project back Secret Studio

As part of a collaboration between UMG, the EMI Trust and youth-community charity The eXceL Project, the three-day education programme Secret Studio has resulted in the release of two new original tracks. The eXceL Project’s (XLP) community leaders picked six individuals, aged between 16 and 20, from different backgrounds across London to harness their creativity […]

Capitol Gains: Capitol Records talks innovation, startups and music

In September, Music Ally spoke to three of Warner Music Group’s senior innovation and business-development execs, about how they work with startups and innovative technologies. That month, we also interviewed some music/tech startups, who gave some blunt, honest feedback on the challenges they have faced working with major labels in general. It’s a conversation that’s […]

Impala to oppose Tencent investment in Universal Music Group

Independent-music body Impala has come out against plans for Chinese technology company Tencent to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to buy a further 10%. “Even at a low level of shareholding, we believe the risk of harm for consumers and competitors from such a transaction would be a concern […]

Universal Music launches streaming/social data app for artists

Universal Music Artists (UMA) is a new Android and iOS app for artists signed to Universal Music Group (and their managers) where they can access data and insights on their music plays on the major international DSPs – Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube are named in the announcement. However, it will also pull in data […]

Tencent may seek partners for Universal Music investment

It’s been known for some time that Chinese tech firm Tencent is in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to acquire another 10% for up to a year afterwards. The deal is thought to value UMG at around €30bn, but now there’s been a development: Tencent may not […]

Capitol Royale roundup: empowerment, hacks and A&R’s evolution

On Saturday and Sunday (November 16-17), Capitol Music Group held its 2nd annual music and tech festival, Capitol Royale, at its Los Angeles headquarters. The theme for this year was ‘Music on the Move’, with workshops, hackathons, panels, and social events revolving around the ever-changing landscape of music and innovation. Kicking off on Friday was […]

Universal Music India’s VRYL project launches ‘Intezaar’ vide

Last week, Music Ally published a feature about the challenge that ‘non-film’ music is providing for Bollywood music in India – you can read it here if you missed it at the time. One of the projects exploring the potential for non-film music in India is Universal Music’s VYRL, which includes YouTube videos, streaming playlists and radio […]

UMG expands its college-marketing program into °1824 team

Universal Music Group is shaking up its ‘college lifestyle marketing program’ in the US, with a new team, and brand, called °1824. The label describes it as “a new marketing, content and experiences team powered by university students and young creatives from around the world”. It’s partly about finding new creative talent to place in […]

UMG’s schlager YouTube channel is doing 30m views a month

This story has been written to the soundtrack of gravelly-voiced German artist Ben Zucker, as well as the ‘Ultimatver Party Hitmix’ of his compatriot Sonia Liebing. It’s been quite the listen. Why? Because we’ve been investigating Universal Music’s ‘Ich Find Schlager Toll!’ YouTube channel (translation: ‘I think Schlager’s great!’). It’s one of the projects called […]

Streaming still paying off for UMG with 18.6% revenue growth

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: streaming is paying off rather well for the world’s largest music company. Universal Music’s revenues grew by 18.6% year-on-year for the first half of 2019, according to yesterday’s financial results from its parent company Vivendi. The company’s revenues were €3.26bn (around $3.68bn), with UMG’s recorded-music revenues growing […]

UMG and WMG execs talk startups and innovation at Sonar+D

Behind the music industry’s fiercely competitive public face hides a wider spirit of digital collaboration, according to Tuhin Roy, the executive who leads Universal Music’s efforts to support early-stage digital music companies. Roy was speaking at the Sónar+D conference in Barcelona alongside Warner Music’s Tiago Teixeira Correia, on a panel that gave a rare glimpse into the […]

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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