YouTube and Amazon push for US students’ music subscriptions

The summer holidays are just a couple of weeks in here in the UK where Music Ally is written from, so seeing ‘back to school’ headlines from the US already is a strange experience. Part of that, though, is the upcoming start of another academic year for older students, and music-streaming services are joining the […]

Sandbox Issue 234: The New Era Of Music Videos

Lead: In the 1970s, “pop promos” (as they were called) were the preserve of the mega-star act, but after the launch of MTV in 1981 they became standard practice across the industry. The arrival of YouTube in 2005 may have blown apart MTV’s dominance but the format of music videos did not change much; it […]

M2V: music video finds its new future

Debate surrounds what the first music video actually was, but by the 1970s these “pop promos” had become the playthings of the biggest acts in the world while by the 1980s, after the arrival of MTV, they were the biggest weapons in the promotional arms race for everyone. All the arrival of YouTube in 2005 […]

Badshah far from the only artist buying YouTube views with ads

There is still no official word from YouTube on whether Indian artist Badshah has set a new record for first-day views of a music video, beating BTS’ previous milestone. If YouTube is hoping its silence will make the controversy around Sony Music’s claims of 75m 24-hour views for Badshah’s video ‘Paagal’ go away, however, it […]

Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna and J Balvin team up for ‘China’

Want a recipe to make a big splash with a music video on YouTube in 2019? Well, you could be BTS or Taylor Swift; you could buy a shedload of Google Ads; or you could round up a bunch of the biggest Latin American artists of the moment for a mega-collaboration. The latest example of Option […]

Study explores patterns of ‘high-subscriber’ YouTube channels

If you’re thinking about YouTube and music, you should definitely read the latest report by research company the Pew Research Center, which came out yesterday. Titled ‘A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels’, it’s based on an analysis of the videos posted by channels with more than 250,000 subscribers in the first week of […]

Analysts frustrated at lack of hard numbers on YouTube

How much money does YouTube make? The New York Times offers a carefully-vague suggestion in its latest article about Alphabet’s video service: “YouTube probably generates $16 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue, making the video service big enough to crack the top half of the Fortune 500.” The ‘probably’ actually illustrates the main thrust of the […]

YouTube and Mr Eazi team up to help emerging Nigerian artists

YouTube is already the most significant digital platform for Afrobeats artists looking to build their global audiences. Now the service has teamed up with Nigerian artist Mr Eazi and his emPawa Africa incubator to provide direct support for 10 emerging artists from Nigeria. The scheme will see those artists supported in recording music, making videos and getting […]

Queen launch UGC contest as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reaches 1bn views

Fuelled by the recent biopic, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has become the first pre-1990s video to pass 1bn views on YouTube. The achievement has been marked by a new, remastered ‘HD’ version of the video on Queen’s YouTube channel, complete with the lyrics in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Polish, German, Indonesian Bahasa, Korean, Czech, Russian and Turkish […]

FIMI boss urges Spotify to ‘do more’ to persuade Italians to subscribe

Something you won’t hear very much at a music-industry conference in 2019: people talking about piracy. Something you will hear a fair bit: people talking about how streaming has successfully seen off piracy as an existential worry for the industry. No wonder the ‘value gap’ has been a much more prominent debate among rightsholders and […]

FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US

YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations. The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now […]

YouTube Music adds feature to switch between audio and video

YouTube’s latest improvement to its YouTube Music app focuses on the boundary between audio and video. Since launch, people have been able to choose to listen to audio-only versions of songs in YouTube Music, or watch their music videos. What’s new this week is the ability to flick between those two modes while listening/watching. “No […]

Badshah’s ‘record-breaking’ track missing from YouTube chart

We reported last week on Sony Music India’s claim that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-views record, with 75m views of his ‘Paagal’ music video in its first 24 hours. Music Ally contacted YouTube at the time to get verification, and is still waiting for an official response. One thing’s for sure though: the video […]

Google AdWords promotion was key to Badshah YouTube success

On Friday, we reported on Indian artist Badshah’s success with his new music video ‘Paagal’, and Sony Music India’s claim that it had broken BTS’ YouTube 24-hour-debut record with 75m views in its first day on the platform. We’re still waiting for YouTube to officially confirm the record, but in India there has been criticism […]

YouTube may be blocking stream-ripping sites from ripping vids

Up to this point, much of the music industry’s action against ‘stream-ripping’ websites has been taken by industry bodies taking those sites to court and getting them shut down. Now it seems the main site from which streams are being ripped, YouTube, is joining the battle in earnest. “Several stream-ripping sites have been unable to […]

Lickd says Ed Sheeran is most-longed-for licence for YouTubers

Ed Sheeran is big on YouTube: as Music Ally recently reported, his channel has just passed the milestone of 40 million subscribers, while it’s now also past the 17bn views mark. However, Sheeran is also the top artist cited by YouTubers when asked whose music they most want to license for use in their videos. […]

YouTube adds new requirement for manual Content ID claims

YouTube’s Content ID copyright-protection system has long been a target of criticism not from music rightsholders, but from ‘creators’ on the platform. Now YouTube is making a change that it hopes will tackle the issues raised by some of those critics. “We’ve heard from creators that the recent uptick of manual claims, especially for short […]

New YouTube milestones for Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes

Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes are no stranger to big digital numbers. Their latest achievements come from YouTube. Sheeran’s official artist channel has just reached 40 million subscribers, which YouTube says makes him only the second artist to hit that milestone. The first? Justin Bieber: he’s on 45.6 million YouTube subscribers. Eminem (38.1 million), Ariana Grande […]

Sandbox issue 231: Conversions. Tracking Cause and Effect in fan marketing

Lead: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” is a quote commonly attributed to Philadelphian retailer John Wanamaker in the 1800s and it has haunted the advertising and marketing worlds ever since. Spending money and hoping for a consumer reaction previously involved stacking up a […]

Chartmetric explores the ‘trigger cities’ of south-east Asia

Earlier this year we wrote about music-analytics firm Chartmetrics’ theory of ‘trigger cities’ capable of propelling tracks to become global hits. Now the company has published a second in its series of blog posts focusing on the region of south-east Asia in this regard. There’s some good data on how Spotify is functioning as a platform in […]

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 […]

YouTube cracks down on videos with supremacist content

YouTube is one of the platforms most under pressure to tackle hate content in 2019, and yesterday it announced its latest moves. “Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, […]

Study claims music was 20% of all YouTube views in 2018

When the music industry criticises YouTube for the royalties generated by music videos, it’s driven by the assumption that music drives a LOT of YouTube viewing. But that’s often just what it is: an assumption, without much hard data to back it up. With that in mind, a new study by video and music analytics firm […]

YouTube adds more ticketing features through AXS partnership

YouTube continues to build up the concert-ticketing features within its service. The latest example is a partnership with ticketing firm AXS, focused on the US. “Fans watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels will now see listings from AXS events included on the video page,” explained YouTube. “Taking the jump to the live experience is easier than […]

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 […]

T-Series hits 100m subscribers on YouTube

We have been writing about T-Series, the Indian label and film production company that specialises in Bollywood soundtracks, for several years but have been most intrigued by its move onto YouTube, especially as it began to overtake PewDiePie in terms of channel subscribers (although that got very, very ugly on PewDiePie’s side). Now T-Series has just passed 100m subscribers, […]

Vevo’s Greg Duffy explains how artists can ‘growth hack the music video’

‘Growth hacking’ is very much a Silicon Valley phrase: a term used to cover a range of tactics used by startups when they’re trying to build a big audience very fast, in their early years.  Yesterday at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in New York, Vevo’s business operations and strategy manager Greg Duffy applied the […]

Old Town Road takes top spot in YouTube’s global songs chart

Remember when Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ was very much a US thing, with the controversy over whether it qualified for the country-music charts? Now it’s absolutely a global thing: last week, it dislodged K-Pop stars Blackpink from the top of YouTube’s global top-songs chart. ‘Old Town Road’ generated 73.6m views on YouTube in the […]

YouTube unveils ‘Bumper Machine’ tool to create six-second ads

YouTube has launched a couple of new ways to advertise on its platform, which may be of use for artists or smaller labels who are lacking the time and resources for creating and editing video ads. One of them is called Bumper Machine, and it’s a tool for creating the six-second ‘bumper ads’ that YouTube says […]

How Otis McDonald built a career… though royalty-free YouTube music

With the EU Copyright Directive passed but still to be implemented by the different member states, the issue of the ‘value gap’ certainly hasn’t gone away. At the heart of this debate is the argument that ‘user-uploaded content’ services, most notably YouTube, that use music as such a core part of their business should be […]

YouTube makes an artist spotlight story for Maren Morris

Country star Maren Morris is the latest artist to get an ‘Artist Spotlight Story’ from YouTube. It debuted on 10 May: a 15-minute mini-documentary that tracks Morris’ journey from “from her early days singing in honky-tonks, to becoming a songwriter in Nashville, to climbing the charts and breaking new ground in country music as a Grammy-winning performing […]

Will Article 17 have unintended consequences for musicians?

The new European Copyright Directive, complete with its Article 17 (formerly 13) on liability for user-uploaded-content platforms, is about to be passed into law, and then transposed into the legislation of the EU’s member countries. But will there be some effects on musicians beyond improving the bargaining power of their rightsholders when sitting down to […]

Report claims Google has 15m paying music subscribers

Google hasn’t revealed how many paying subscribers its YouTube Music subscription service has, and it’s been a long time since we saw any numbers for its existing Google Play Music. Now Bloomberg has tried to plug that gap with a report mooting a number for the combined figure of both services. “Google’s paid music services have eclipsed […]

YouTube Coachella festival livestream generated 82m views

YouTube says that its livestream of the first weekend of the Coachella festival last month set a new record: 82m live views, up an impressive 90% on the figure for 2018’s event. “After nine years of success in the desert, we’re doubling down on music festivals, starting with a new two-year partnership to live stream […]

PRS for Music boss Robert Ashcroft talks growth, YouTube and Fortnite

“Maybe what I’ll say is this: I’ve done 10 years of this. I’m going to let someone else take on the internecine warfare that seems to be endemic to the music industry!” Even when he’s playing a straight bat to a sensitive question – in this case, one about whether songwriters deserve a bigger slice of […]

TuneCore reaches $1.5bn payouts, cites YouTube and Africa growth

Music distributor TuneCore has hit its latest milestone: $1.5bn of distribution revenue for its independent artists. That’s after earnings of $83m in the first quarter of 2019, up 21% year-on-year. This follows a 28% increase (to $308m) for TuneCore’s distribution income in 2018 as a whole. The company noted that YouTube monetisation showed particularly encouraging […]

Taylor Swift ‘Me!’ video did 65.2m views in its first 24 hours

Her fans made a sterling effort, but Taylor Swift’s new video didn’t quite knock BTS off their perch holding YouTube’s record for a video’s most views in its first 24 hours. Their ‘Boy With Luv’ generated 74.6m in that period, while Swift’s ‘Me!’ video with Brendon Urie ended up getting 65.2m views in its first 24 hours. […]

BTS top YouTube global artist chart with Blackpink at number two

Music Ally reported last week on the success of K-Pop group Blackpink, specifically on YouTube, where they topped its weekly artists chart with 342m views for their music. Now they’ve been unseated… by another K-Pop group. Yes, BTS are sitting proudly atop this week’s YouTube artists chart, with 307m views for their music in the week […]

YouTube Music launches free, ad-supported tier for Google Home speakers

Reports earlier this week that Amazon was preparing to launch a free music-streaming tier for its Echo smart speakers sparked a drop in Spotify’s share price. So what effect will today’s news that YouTube Music is launching a ‘free, ad-supported experience’ for Google Home speakers have? In fact, YouTube Music’s free audio tier will work […]

Blackpink soar to top of YouTube chart with 342m weekly views

We’ve reported a few times recently on the way Indian and Latin American artists are dominating the upper reaches of YouTube’s global artists chart. Last week, though, they were trumped by a pop band from South Korea. No, not that one. Blackpink were the top artist on YouTube for the week of 5-11 April with a mightily-impressive […]

Lickd boss says Article 13 issue ‘is not going to go away’

Europe’s new copyright directive has passed its latest legislative hurdle, winning the approval of the European Union member states, after being voted through by the European Parliament last month. “With today’s agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age. Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong […]

Classic Spice Girls videos remastered for YouTube in 4K https://musically.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpquality

As an industry, we’re familiar with the idea of remasters in the audio world, where classic albums are revamped and released for modern listening kit / audio quality. We don’t think as much about videos getting the same treatment, but if you’ve ever been down one of those YouTube rabbit-holes with music videos from the […]

BTS smash YouTube record with 78m first-day views of ‘Boy With Luv’

2019 is going to be a very big year for K-Pop stars BTS, spurred by their new mini-album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’. Milestones are already tumbling. The band’s ‘Boy With Luv’ video smashed YouTube’s single-day viewing record, notching up 78m views in its first 24 hours last week. That takes the record from another K-Pop band, […]

YouTube has introduced new metrics to judge video success

Once upon a time, ‘views’ were the big metric that counted on YouTube. Then it moved on to ‘watch time’, but if you want to know what’s next, Bloomberg’s latest article is well worth a read. It claims that YouTube has “introduced two new internal metrics in the past two years for gauging how well videos […]

Julian Casablancas discards Spotify and Apple Music utterly, begrudgingly praises YouTube

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Cult Records has been speaking to Billboard about his various music projects, his record label and dealing with the creative process. But buried in the middle of the interview he talks about his dislike and distrust of most streaming services – and what their rise means for artists and labels. “In […]

YouTube programming gets interactive

Ben Relles has been named as the new head of innovation at YouTube, a role that will see the video platform move deeper into interactive programming and live specials. He was previously head of unscripted (i.e. reality/documentary etc.) content at YouTube. There was a huge buzz around interactive TV late last year when the Bandersnatch episode […]

YouTube Music hits 3m downloads in one week in India

The top bosses at YouTube, including CEO Susan Wojcicki and global head of music Lyor Cohen, are in India to mark the launch of YouTube Music there, announcing the app has been downloaded 3m times in its first week. (In comparison, Spotify said 1m people had signed up for the service during the first week […]

Polyglot marketing: streaming’s many and varied global battle lines

The IFPI’s global sales figures for 2018 were, once again, all about streaming driving the industry’s recovery. The overall market was up 9.7% (both downloads and physical declined sharply), while streaming jumped 34% and now makes up 46.9% of revenues globally. The jostling for dominance in this booming market is something that will continue apace, […]

YouTube names 11 independent artists for 2019 Foundry class

Working directly with independent artists is on the agenda of every major music-streaming service in 2019. But of course, it’s also intrinsic to YouTube as a platform, for creators of all stripes. YouTube Music has a specific initiative for musicians called Foundry, which has been running since 2016 as a way to choose a crop […]

The Battle of Billie Eilish: Spotify, Apple and YouTube scrap it out

Original content is a big strategic focus for the major streaming services in 2019, as is ‘claiming’ as many rapidly-emerging artists as possible, in terms of creating said original-content for and with them. Billie Eilish, whose debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is out today, looks set to become one […]

Report 422: Playlisting’s next leap forward

Playlists have been referred to as everything from the new album, the new compilation, the new greatest hits, through to the new radio, the new MTV and more. Whether you’re a pop act trying to build a truly global audience or just trying to make a living from making mood music, if you’re not on […]

Nigerian artist Burna Boy gets a YouTube Artist Spotlight

Afrobeats artist Burna Boy is the latest musician to get a ‘YouTube Artist Spotlight Story’ produced by Google’s video service. He’s the first Nigerian artist to be chosen as an ‘artist on the rise’ by YouTube Music, to recognise the way he’s building an audience around the world with his videos. YouTube also provided some stats to […]

Blackpink are first K-Pop artist with 20m YouTube subscribers

Chances are, when asked who the first K-Pop artist with 20 million YouTube subscribers was, many people would guess BTS. But no: their BangtanTV channel currently has 16.2 million subscribers, while the first Korean star to break through on YouTube, Psy, has 12.7 million. So take a bow girl-band Blackpink, whose channel has just crossed the […]

Pro-Article-13 bodies ask for access to YouTube promo tools

Creative-industries group Europe for Creators is raising a rumpus about the way YouTube has been promoting its campaign to change the proposed European copyright directive on its own platform. The body published an open letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki claiming that “YouTube has been actively using its own services to influence public opinion, often […]

YouTube stories get their own Snapchat-style AR features

Snapchat has its lenses, Instagram has its face-filters, and now YouTube has its own augmented-reality effects, which can be used in ‘stories’ posted to the video service. They’re a mixture of animated face-masks, hats and sunglasses that can be used in short videos posted by YouTube creators who have access to the ‘stories’ tool – which […]

YouTube disables comments on videos that feature children

YouTube has a big problem this week, and it’s nothing to do with European copyright reform. The video service has been under fire for its policies around protecting children who feature in videos on its platform. Why? Because of reports about child predators leaving suggestive (or worse) comments on such videos. Yesterday, YouTube outlined how it’s trying to […]

Billie Eilish is first artist for YouTube mini-series format

The latest video on artist Billie Eilish’s YouTube channel sees her rifling through her notebook: “an audio visual journey into the thoughts of Billie Eilish, exploring the inspiration behind songs” from her new album, according to its blurb. This is actually the first of a new format on YouTube under the banner of ‘mini series’ – three-to-five […]

YouTube simplifies its Community Guidelines strikes system

While the dust continues to settle from the Article 13 battle in Europe – at least temporarily – YouTube has announced a revamp of how its Community Guidelines strikes work. This is the system by which channels get three strikes before facing “more severe consequences” for breaking YouTube’s guidelines. In a blog post announcing the changes, YouTube […]

Marshmello YouTube channel got 164% boost from Fortnite concert

We wrote last week that we were waiting for the latest weekly YouTube Music charts to go live, so that we could gauge the bump that dance artist Marshmello got from his concert in YouTube. Not least because anecdotally, nearly every child aged 8-13 we know has been hammering his tracks on YouTube ever since […]

Sandbox Issue 221: Fake Views. Lies, damned lies and music statistics

Lead: Smoke and mirrors have always been part of music, but when it comes to data, truth is starting to play second fiddle to hype. The nefarious and ruthless are finding ways to “massage” social media and streaming numbers while offering the desperate and gullible a quick fix. But the platforms are getting wise to […]

Study tips YouTube to decline in popularity with British kids

Will children ever tire of YouTube? Surely not! Yet that’s the suggestion being made in a new report published by research firm Kids Insights, which is out today. “According to our data across all ages 4-18 the number of children spending time each day watching YouTube has declined from 61% to 51% in a persistent […]

Zee Music Company reaches 30m-subscribers YouTube milestone

It’s not just T-Series doing well at signing subscribers up for Indian-music YouTube channels. Zee Music Company has announced its own milestone: 30 million subscribers for its flagship YouTube channel, which mixes film and non-film music. “Zee Music Company is now 30 million subscribers strong on YouTube India. A big THANK YOU to all for […]

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 […]

The top three artists on YouTube last week were all from India

Guess who the most popular musician in the world was last week based on YouTube views? Not Ariana Grande, who’s currently Spotify’s top artist: she was only 21st in YouTube’s weekly rankings for 11-17 January – admittedly before the release of her latest track ‘7 Rings’, which has done 60m+ views in its first five days on […]

YouTube backs Maggie Rogers as first Artist On The Rise of 2019

Capitol Records artist Maggie Rogers is the first musician that YouTube has chosen for its Artist On The Rise marketing program in 2019. The initiative is focused on ‘up-and-coming’ talent, with Rogers having first come to prominence in 2016 in a video of a masterclass held by Pharrell Williams in New York, when one of […]

Watch your profanity! YouTube explains how swearing affects ads

YouTube’s latest educational video is aimed at all creators, not just musicians, but for any artists who like to turn the air blue with ‘industrial language’ it’s worth a watch. It explains how “vulgarity or inappropriate language” affects whether a video can be monetised with advertising or not. Ads are fine for “light profanity (shit, […]

Sandbox Issue 219: The Tools and Trends That Will Shape 2019

Lead: A new year and a new slate. To kick off the year, we speak to marketers around the business and around the world about what tools they think will be indispensable and what trends they believe will shape 2019. From AR filters and scarcity to algorithmic personalisation of playlists, the continued rise of Latin […]

YouTube continues its livestreaming partnership with Coachella

YouTube will be the exclusive livestreaming partner for American music-festival Coachella this year – the ninth year for the partnership. In fact, the deal is expanding, with YouTube now the exclusive playlists and livestreaming partner for both weekends of the festival – previously it only streamed the first weekend. “Additionally, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium […]

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