WMG’s Scott Cohen talks innovation: ‘What’s coming next, and what do we need to do?’

Ever since co-founding distributor The Orchard in 1997, Scott Cohen has been known as one of the music-industry executives with an intense curiosity about new technologies and their potential applications for musicians and rightsholders – even when (or perhaps, especially when) they are disruptive to current business models and ways of thinking.

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WMG pushes back at reports that Stormzy triggered Ben Cook resignation

You’ve likely read the news earlier this week that Atlantic Records UK president Ben Cook was stepping down, as the result of an incident seven years ago when he went to a party dressed as a member of Run DMC. Cook was disciplined for the incident last year, but has only now stepped down, which […]

Warner Music Group talks startups, technology and investment

In Music Ally’s latest analysis report, we take a look at the three major labels’ strategies around music/tech startups and investment. The full report is for Music Ally subscribers only, but you can sign up for a free trial, which includes access to the latest report. An extract from it follows, focusing on Warner Music […]

Report 424: Music/Tech Startups in 2019

Our focus is on music/tech startups, and their interaction with the music industry. Screenwriter William Goldman’s famous line about Hollywood – ”Nobody knows anything” – applies just as well to the task of spotting successful music/tech startups. But what Music Ally does know is that whenever we’ve been curious about startups in the present, it’s given us […]

WMG boss: streaming isn’t the only reason for industry growth

Warner Music Group published its latest quarterly financials yesterday, with its revenues up 10.4% year-on-year to $1.06bn, including 12.5% growth in its digital revenue to $648m – 61.2% of the total. Within that, WMG’s recorded-music revenue grew by 13.8% to $913m, but its publishing revenue actually fell by 7.5% to $147m – “lower market share and loss […]

Aussie fans can create videos with Ed Sheeran’s official app

The launch of a smartphone app for fans to create and share their own videos with Ed Sheeran’s music (legally!) forming the soundtrack should be big news. But it seems that the Ed No. 6 app is only available in Australia for now. It’s been launched by Warner Music Australia for Android and iOS smartphones, with […]

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 […]

Warner Classics launches new website with streaming built in

Warner Music Group has a revamped website for its Warner Classics & Erato arm, which it hopes will capitalise on the potential of streaming for the classical-music audience. So much so, that Warner has built streaming directly in to the new website. Visitors will be able to stream 30-second clips from the Warner Classics & Erato […]

The latest new music label is… Build-A-Bear Records?

We don’t get to report on stuffed-animal announcements very often in Music Ally’s bulletin, but today we bring you news that retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop is launching its own record label. Build-A-Bear Records is the result of a partnership with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division and its Warner Chappell publishing arm. The plan is to […]

AI-music startup Endel releases five new ‘Relax’ albums

Earlier this year, AI-music startup Endel revealed plans to release AI-generated albums through a distribution deal with Warner Music Group. And it definitely *is* a distribution deal: headlines about Endel becoming the first AI to ‘sign to a label’ were wide of the mark. Five albums came out earlier this year: ‘Clear Night’, ‘Rainy Night’, ‘Cloudy Afternoon’, […]

Oana Ruxandra to be WMG biz-dev lead as Ron Wilcox leaves

Oana Ruxandra will be Warner Music Group’s new lead of business development for recorded music, reporting directly in to CEO Steve Cooper. “A talented negotiator and collaborative leader, Oana has a first-class strategic brain and keen sense of how to get deals done swiftly and effectively,” wrote Cooper in an email to colleagues. “Oana, along […]

Next for music subscriptions: new markets, diversity and rethinking value

The music industry made around $7.1bn from streaming subscriptions in 2018, according to industry body the IFPI. That was 32.9% year-on-year growth, with subscriptions generating 37% of global recorded-music revenues. How can the music industry (and the streaming services) build on that growth in the coming years? What will drive the next spikes in paid […]

Are Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube the new record labels?

Spotify is signing direct licensing deals with some artists and testing the ability to allow others to upload directly to its platform. YouTube and Apple Music are creating content and putting marketing budget behind artists. And Apple Music has also acquired Platoon, the British startup which helped a number of emerging artists to develop, including […]

HoloMe launches AR music video for Warner Music artist Amir

French-Israeli singer Amir is the latest artist exploring augmented-reality (AR) technology, with the help of his label Warner Music France and startup HoloMe. The latter company has created a smartphone app, called Amir & Moi, which is available as a free download for Android and for iOS. The app features a video for Amir’s single ‘5 Minutes Avec […]

WMG sees streaming push up recorded numbers but publishing slips

Warner Music Group has published its numbers for the fiscal second quarter (ending 31st March 2019) and the headlines are that total revenue across all parts of the business was up 13.2% and that it saw net income of $67m compared to a net loss of $1m in the same period last year. Digital was, […]

Sandbox Issue 227: TIK-ING BOXES. How TikTok can change music marketing.

Lead: TikTok is far more than a novelty app for people to whip up memes that have a shorter shelf life than a carton of milk. It is now breaking acts and songs in a way that other platforms cannot. We look at what the music industry is doing to capitalise on its phenomenal growth […]

Sandbox Issue 225: Retargeting in an Age of Privacy

Lead: Tighter regulations around retargeting have made the job of digital marketing much trickier to navigate. What this has meant is that marketers have to get smarter. We speak to those working around these rules about why – if they put the work in – this can be more blessing than curse. Campaigns: Billie Eilish […]

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 […]

Warner Music leads funding round for hardware startup Artiphon

Artiphon is one of the startups exploring the potential to create new musical instruments with a digital twist. It raised $1.3m in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2015 to make its first device, the Instrument 1.The $399 device is a MIDI controller designed to work like a guitar, piano and/or drum machine. A few years on, […]

Holly Herndon sees Endel AI label-deal as a ‘warning shot’

We reported last week on startup Endel’s announcement that its music-creating AI had signed a major-label deal with WMG. As the news spread, some artists have been having their day, including electronica artist Holly Herndon. “Well that escalated quickly, although it seems like this is simply a repackaging of procedural generation composition systems that have […]

AI-music startup Endel to release albums through Warner Music

Music Ally has for some time been covering the emerging wave of startups exploring AI music: algorithms trained on catalogues of existing music, with the aim of then being able to create their own new melodies – and even entire tracks. Thus far, the most prominent commercial model for all this has been that espoused […]

Warner Music signs licensing deal with Boomplay in Africa

Warner Music Group has become the second major label to sign a direct licensing deal with African digital-music service Boomplay, following Universal Music’s deal in November 2018. WMG’s deal covers a catalogue of 1m songs for 10 countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Boomplay will make the music […]

Scott Cohen confirmed as new ‘chief innovation officer’ for WMG

The news had already leaked that The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen had been poached by Warner Music Group, but there has been speculation about what, exactly, his role would entail. Yesterday, WMG dished the details: Cohen will be its new chief innovation officer, recorded music, reporting directly to the label group’s recorded-music boss Max Lousada. […]

Publishing body ICMP backs WMG over Spotify India dispute

Spotify is live in India, but its dispute with Warner Music Group continues, over the way it sought a statutory licence for works owned (partially or wholly) by publisher Warner/Chappell. Now the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) has weighed in to the row, firmly on the side of Warner/Chappell. “Music publishers worldwide work in […]

Court ruling emerges as Warner Music calls Spotify’s comments ‘appalling’

An Indian court has made its ruling on Warner Music Group’s application for an injunction as part of its dispute with Spotify over publishing licensing in the country. Does the ruling settle the matter one way or the other? Unsurprisingly, it’s complicated. Here’s Spotify’s statement, sent out to journalists this morning: “We’re pleased with today’s […]

Sandbox Issue 222: SYNC IN. Music Synchronisation Gets Smarter

Lead: as synchronisation grows in importance, a new wave of tools is emerging to make that whole process work seamlessly and smarter, covering both micro-licensing and pitch management. We look at the key players here, what they do and where they are taking synch – plus consider how AI is set to shake things up […]

Former Sony exec Michael Lynton joins board of WMG

Warner Music Group is making some interesting appointments at the moment. We reported on its hiring of The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen earlier this week. Now WMG has appointed former Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton as non-executive chairman of its board. He’ll combine the job with his current role as chairman of Snapchat’s parent company […]

The Orchard co-founder Scott Cohen to join Warner Music

Earlier this month, distributor The Orchard’s co-founder Scott Cohen announced that he was ‘retiring’. It seems that this will involve very little golf, gardening and/or complaining about the buses though. He’s been hired for an as-yet undisclosed role at Warner Music Group, working on what MBW describes as ‘innovation’ (as opposed to working for WMG’s in-house equivalents […]

Major label WMG now has… a president of independent music?

It may raise a few eyebrows to learn that major-label Warner Music Group now has an executive role whose title includes ‘president of independent music’. Actually, it’s not a surprise: the company’s new president of independent music and creator services is Eliah Seton, who’s been promoted from his previous position as president of ADA Worldwide, […]

Warner Music Group revenues grew by 15.1% last quarter

Warner Music Group has published its latest quarterly financial results, which reveal that the company’s revenues grew by 15.1% year-on-year. That was just over $1.2bn in the fourth quarter of 2018 (WMG’s fiscal Q1). Of that, digital revenues grew by 17.6% to $627m, with the company reporting an operating profit of $147m and a net […]

WMG doubles down on Turkey with Doğan Group partnership

Warner Music Group’s latest partnership is with Doğan Group in Turkey: owner of the country’s biggest independent label, and also of online-video channel NetD. The deal will see Doğan Music Company (the label) distribute WMG’s physical catalogue in Turkey, as well as “represent its repertoire to Turkish-owned digital music platforms”. That will also see the […]

Music-streaming in the Middle East: ‘There is a space and place for everyone’

Spotify and Deezer’s recent launches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have highlighted the region’s status as a strategic priority for the music industry – although these companies (and Apple Music) are facing strong competition from local streaming service Anghami. Trends in the MENA region were the focus for a panel session at Music […]

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