Soundtrack Your Brand renews WMG deal, launches on-demand tier

B2B streaming service Soundtrack Your Brand has renewed its licensing deal with Warner Music Group, a couple of months after striking an agreement with Universal Music Group. In WMG’s case, it’s a renewal of the deal signed two years ago with Soundtrack Your Brand, which provides music to businesses including retailers, restaurants and hotels. The news […]

Amazon Music HD adds ‘thousands’ of tracks from UMG and WMG

We should clarify this headline quickly: Amazon Music HD already has many more tracks from Universal Music and Warner Music. The news is that Amazon is working with the two labels to remaster thousands of tracks in ‘Ultra High Definition’ for its hi-res streaming service. Amazon’s definition of Ultra HD is tracks with a bit […]

WMG’s latest partnerships: Tips Music in India and SOSV in Asia

Post-IPO, there’s a flurry of dealmaking and senior appointments happening at Warner Music Group, as the company gears up for its next stage of growth. Today alone it has announced new partnerships with Indian company Tips Music and investment firm SOSV. The former deal will see Warner Music India distributing the film-music label’s music in […]

WMG’s Arts Music signs YouTube kids brand Super Simple Songs

Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division has been steadily growing its catalogue of kids and family music, with partners including Sesame Workshop, Mattel and Build-a-Bear Workshop. Its latest deal is with a popular YouTube children’s music brand, Super Simple Songs. Well, with its parent company Skyship Entertainment anyway, which will be making the Super Simple Songs […]

WMG’s ADA Worldwide follows LatAm expansion with Asia launch

Warner Music Group’s distribution arm ADA Worldwide is on an expansion drive. In July, it launched ADA Latin to oversee Latin America and Latin music in the US as well as Spain and Portugal. Now it’s turning its attention to Asia. ADA Asia will be headquartered in Singapore, with a remit to sign up artists and independent […]

Warner Music Latina launches a mobile game for Kidd Keo

Kidd Keo is a Spanish hip-hop artist signed to Warner Music Latina, and now the label has launched an official mobile game for his new album ‘Back To Rockport’. Released for iOS and Android, Back To Rockport – The Game is an endless-runner game in the same vein as app hits Temple Run and Subway Surfers. […]

Dua Lipa launches #DuaVideo fan challenge with TikTok

Dua Lipa is the latest major artist to launch a TikTok challenge, but in her case, she’s looking for fans to appear in her next proper music video. The challenge is #DuaVideo and runs for a week, having been launched yesterday with a video by Dua herself. Fans are being challenged to submit clips showing their creative skills […]

Warner Music acquires viral content firm Imgn Media

Warner Music Group’s latest acquisition is an intriguing one: of Israeli company Imgn Media, which creates videos and memes designed to go viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. TechCrunch reported that WMG paid “just under $100m” for the company, which claims that its content generates more than 3bn views a month, with more than 40 million subscribers […]

Chinese music subscribers have doubled to 60m in two years

Music Ally has just published our latest country profile, of China, and it includes some new figures on the growth of the recorded music industry there. We already knew from the IFPI that in 2019 China’s market grew by 16% to $590.9m, becoming the seventh biggest recorded music market in the world. For the profile, […]

WMG boss: ‘We’re very happy that Spotify is investing in podcasting’

Having published its latest financial results this morning, Warner Music Group held its quarterly earnings call this afternoon, with CEO Steve Cooper and CFO Eric Levin fielding questions from analysis. One of those questions focused on Spotify’s podcasts expansion, and whether it’s causing tensions around the potential impact on royalties paid out to companies like […]

WMG revenues down 4.5% year-on-year but digital still growing

Warner Music Group has published its latest quarterly financial results, for its fiscal third quarter (calendar Q2). They reveal the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have on its business. WMG generated revenues of $1.01bn last quarter, down by 4.5% year-on-year. However, its digital revenues grew by 11% to $720m as part of that, […]

WMG appoints head of global equity, diversity and inclusion

Warner Music Group’s push for diversity and inclusion across its company has a new boss. Dr Maurice Stinnett will be WMG’s new head of global equity, diversity and inclusion, having joined from a similar role at BSE Global, owner of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center venue. Stinnett certainly has seniority: he’ll […]

Lianne La Havas campaign wants fans to grow virtual flowers

British artist Lianne La Havas has just released her latest, self-titled album, and one of the marketing elements for it wants to encourage fans to get planting… virtually. The ‘Flowerbed’ website is exactly that: a digital flowerbed where fans can plant a new flower every day. They make those flowers bloom by signing in to Spotify […]

Mike Singer single promoted with stream-to-unlock campaign

Warner Music Central Europe has created a stream-to-unlock initiative to push ‘100Tausend’ (‘100 Thousand’), the new single from German artist Mike Singer which is released on 17 July. Users going to a page on his website pick their streaming service of choice and then they have to play ‘Paranoid’ (the first single from the new […]

Finnish artist Artem launches an ‘8D’ music video

Imagine if 2D was four times better, or if 3D was, ahem, 2.67 times better. That’ll be 8D! And it’s 8D that Finnish artist Artem, who’s signed to Warner Music, is exploring with his new music video. We should stress, 8D isn’t about extra dimensions, but rather about a recently-developed way of recording and editing […]

Tencent has bought $200m stakes in Warner Music Group

On Friday it emerged that Chinese tech giant Tencent had bought a chunk of shares in Warner Music Group… but confusion reigned over exactly how much it had invested. The Wall Street Journal claimed it was $200m, while MBW said it was around $100m. As it turned out, both were right. Tencent Music Entertainment, the music streaming […]

WMG share price leaps on first day of public trading

Warner Music Group had a good first day of trading following its IPO this week. The company priced its shares at $25, valuing the major label group at $12.75bn. By the end of the day, WMG’s share price had risen to $30.86, sending its valuation to around $15.36bn. The IPO is being watched closely by […]

Warner Music Group delayed IPO share-pricing until today

Last week, Warner Music Group filed to go public in its IPO: you can read our analysis of the filing’s juicier bits here. According to the Financial Times, WMG was planning to announce the pricing for its shares in the IPO yesterday – which would in turn reveal the valuation of the company – but decided to […]

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share. “The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. […]

Warner Music Group launches its IPO – we’ve been filleting the filing

Warner Music Group’s initial public offering launches today, with the music group offering 70m shares in a public offering whose price is expected to be between $23 and $26 per share. “The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders,” explained WMG in its announcement. […]

WMG approved for Nasdaq IPO listing as financials announced

Warner Music Group announced its latest quarterly financial results yesterday, but in the earnings call, CEO Steve Cooper kept his cards close to his chest regarding the label’s upcoming IPO. “The current market conditions are obvious, so our board and management will continue to monitor the situation,” Cooper told analysts. However, there was some news later: “We have […]

Warner Music Group opens its live vaults for PlayOn Fest

This weekend (24-26 April), Warner Music Group is hosting the virtual PlayOn Fest where listeners can “relive epic performances one time only”. Over the three days, past shows from a huge range of acts, among them Coldplay, Green Day and Janelle Monáe (we only picked these three as they rhyme, but there are MANY more) will be […]

Warner Music Group invests in African distributor Africori

Warner Music Group is increasing its footprint in Africa with an investment in Africori, a distribution, rights management and artist development company. The deal will give Warner’s ADA distribution division access to a range of African artists through Africori’s roster of 6,500 artists and 700 labels, taking on their distribution and marketing globally. Warner will […]

Spotify and WMG seal their deal – including ‘additional markets’

The coronavirus pandemic appeared to have put the long-running soap opera of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels on hiatus. Now it’s returning: with concrete progress. “Warner Music Group and Spotify are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets,” […]

Space is the place for new Big Beat Records campaign

Warner Music Group’s Big Beat Records label is preparing to release a new album called ‘Big Beat Ignition: Space’ on 3 April. The 10-track compilation has an intergalactic theme – “anyone else down for a space rave right now?” – and a creative marketing campaign drawing on data from NASA and the European Space Agency, as […]

Report claims Warner Music Group is delaying its IPO

Warner Music Group may be delaying the plans to go public that it announced earlier this year. The label group has not made an official announcement, and indeed hadn’t yet confirmed specific timescale for its IPO anyway. CNBC’s report claimed that WMG and another about-to-IPO company, shoemaker Cole Haan, “had hoped to communicate to the market […]

James Blunt launches audio e-cards campaign for Valentine’s Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so if you have a partner (or an object of your affections) how are you planning to celebrate? Chocolates and flowers? Furry handcuffs and a glint in the eye? A brisk lecture about Valentine’s Day being a cynical creation of the greetings-card industry? Pfft. All of these things (especially the last […]

Tech, innovation and music: ‘Pick one little thing and go deep!’

“VR is shit! It’s shit but it doesn’t have to be. Certainly the hardware’s not all the way there yet, it’s quite bulky and if you put it on for an hour or so you’re going to get a pretty raging headache and neck ache. But the real problem is the content is shit. The […]

Warner Music Group appoints its first senior privacy counsel

Here’s an interesting job title for a major label: senior privacy counsel. Warner Music Group has just created the role, and appointed Clare McConnell to it, reporting in to WMG’s general counsel, international, Kate Logan. “Clare is an online privacy expert and specialist in compliance with data privacy legislation in the US, Europe and beyond,” […]

Sandbox Issue 241: Music Merchandising Moves On

A T-shirt or a flimsy tour programme was the bulk of merchandise in the “old days” – mass-produced items to shift quickly when an act was on tour. Fortunately, things have changed dramatically in recent years – with a clear drive to be as environmentally aware as possible. Print-on-demand technology is also allowing acts to […]

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.

 The post WMG’s Scott […]

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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