Universal Music teams up with Marvel for hip-hop ‘variant’ covers

We’ve seen Marvel do interesting things with hip-hop stars before: for example a merchandise line for Run The Jewels in October 2017. Now it has started working with Universal Music’s ‘Urban Legends’ division, which focuses on the label group’s archives of hip-hop releases. Marvel is creating ‘variant covers’ (alternative artwork) for a series of classic […]

Universal Music makes Giles Martin ‘head of audio and sound’

Giles Martin is no stranger to the Universal Music family: the son of Beatles producer Sir George has been working with its Abbey Road Studios subsidiary for a long time now, alongside his work as ‘sound experience leader’ for Sonos. This morning, though, Universal Music Group has named Martin as its head of audio and […]

Universal Music and ESL team up for esports music label

We’ve thought for a while that there’s potential for more partnerships between the music and esports (competitive gaming) worlds. Now Universal Music Group and esports firm ESL are testing the waters. The companies are launching a joint-venture label, which will sign artists and promote their music across ESL’s esports tournaments and channels. That will include […]

UMG goes deeper with Apple on Deutsche Grammophon playlist initiative

  It is not quite picking favourites between Spotify and Apple Music, especially when it has equity in the former, but Universal Music Group has certainly been getting a lot closer with Apple Music in recent months. Its latest move is around classical, a genre that has been dramatically underserved by streaming to date. As […]

Drake hits 50bn streams milestone: here’s how that breaks down for Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube

Universal Music’s Republic Records has announced the latest digital milestone for Drake: he’s “the first artist to surpass 50 billion streams across all global streaming platforms”. The news comes just a month after his latest album ‘Scorpion’ became the first album to rack up more than one billion streams in a single week. “Additional details […]

Universal Music launches Peaceful Music playlist on Apple Music

Music for relaxation has quietly (well, it wouldn’t be loudly…) become one of the big playlist genres on music-streaming services. Now Universal Music Group is hoping to capitalise by launching a playlist called Peaceful Music. For now, it’s only available on one streaming service: Apple Music. Universal says that the playlist has been “co-created” with […]

Strong streaming growth for UMG as Vivendi rules out IPO

Vivendi published its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, including figures for Universal Music Group. And UMG’s parent company also provided an update on its plans for the major label, which will now involve selling up to 50% of the company to one or more strategic partners, having ruled out an initial public offering (IPO). Figures first: Universal […]

Universal Music targets monthly accounting to artists

Universal Music Group’s head of royalties Cindy Oliver has been talking about the major label’s moves towards accounting to artists on a monthly, rather than a quarterly or semi-annual basis. This is based on the label group’s ‘Global Clearinghouse’ initiative, which went live earlier this month. “Since we’ll have monthly ingestion and reporting of financial […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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