CTS Eventim expands its live entertainment business to Asia

Live firm CTS Eventim is expanding into Asia with a new subsidiary, Eventim Live Asia. Led by former Live Nation exec Jason Miller, the division will be based in Singapore, with a focus on markets including China, Japan, South Korea and various other south east Asian countries. In its announcement, the company stressed Miller’s credentials, […]

Two positive TikTok studies… and a third that’s less so

TikTok has commissioned and published two new studies to trumpet its impact on music and culture, although a third study also published yesterday – an investigation of its recommendation algorithm’s workings by the Wall Street Journal – offers a considerably less sunny outlook on the social app’s impact. On the sunny side, MRC Data authored a study of TikTok and […]

Sony Music sues fitness brand Gymshark over music usage

Major labels are very keen to strike licensing deals with fitness tech startups, but they’re equally unkeen about the idea of other kinds of fitness brands using their music without the necessary agreements. Witness Sony Music’s new copyright infringement lawsuit against Gymshark, which makes a popular range of fitness clothing and kit. As MBW reported, […]

Anne-Marie debuts her new album as a series of TikTok clips

We’ve seen artists debut tracks as clips on TikTok ahead of their official release, but Anne-Marie is going a step further and making her entire new album available for TikTokers to use. Yesterday, clips of all the tracks from the album were released on TikTok, ahead of its launch on Friday. Meanwhile, Anne-Marie will be […]

YouTube’s latest tipping feature focuses on individual videos

YouTube viewers already have three ways to support their favourite creators by paying: Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel subscriptions. Now there’s a fourth, Super Thanks, and unlike the first two above, it isn’t restricted to being used during livestreams. This feature has actually been in testing since February this year, initially under the name […]

Apple Arcade set to launch music-themed Tetris Beat game

Mention of Tetris and music will set an almighty earworm going for many readers – and if it doesn’t, we can help with that! But yes, the latest Tetris game will have a musical focus, including licensed tracks. It’s called Tetris Beat, and will be exclusive to the Apple Arcade games service when it launches in the […]

Chartmetric report explores gender pronouns for artists

Analytics firm Chartmetric has published its trends report for the first half of 2021, analysing the fastest growing artists on various streaming services and social platforms. Spoiler: Olivia Rodrigo had a decent six months! There’s some good stuff on tracks ranked by their TikTok growth, including the tale of a 1960 track called ‘Bongo Cha Cha […]

Spotify’s new artist, genre and decade-based mixes go live

During its recent ‘Stream On’ event Spotify revealed plans to launch a new suite of personalised playlists as an expansion to its ‘Daily Mix’ family. They’d be based on artists, genres and decades. Now the new mixes are rolling out to free and premium listeners globally, sitting within Spotify’s ‘Made For You’ hub alongside its other […]

Bandsintown publishes findings from new livestreaming survey

Bandsintown has been talking to artists and fans again about their livestreaming views and habits. Its latest survey canvassed 7,688 people, and found that 86% of fans have watched at least one music livestream within the past 12 months, while 31% have streamed seven or more. 62% have paid for a livestream, while 55% say […]

Apple leads $50m funding round for distributor UnitedMasters

Remember when Spotify invested in distributor DistroKid back in October 2018? Now its biggest rival is making a similar move. Yesterday, Apple led a $50m Series B funding round for UnitedMasters, alongside Alphabet (yes, Apple and Google’s parent company investing together) and Andreessen Horowitz. Apple isn’t just opening its wallet: the deal includes a strategic partnership which […]

OurSouls takes on Clubhouse with NFT-minted live audio debates

2021 is the year audio startup Clubhouse became a $1bn unicorn, but it’s facing plenty of competition. Twitter and Facebook already have Clubhouse-like features in testing, Spotify just bought Locker Room, and startup OurSouls is launching out of stealth mode this morning with an iPhone app, and funding led by VC firm Looflirpa Fund. Silicon Valley veteran […]

Dapper Labs capitalises on NFT fever with $305m funding round

NFTs may be all the rage in 2021, but startup Dapper Labs was one of the first companies to explore blockchain-powered digital goods with its CryptoKitties game in 2017. It has since gone on to have another big hit with its NBA Top Shot basketball partnership, and also took investment from Warner Music Group in September 2019. […]

Video requests startup Cameo raises $100m funding round

We recently reported on video requests startup Cameo’s growth in 2020, when it sold 1.3m videos of its celebrity community, generating revenues of $100m. Now the company has raised a Series C funding round, also of $100m, which sees Cameo graduate to ‘unicorn’ status with a valuation of just over $1bn. SoftBank, GV, Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins, Spark […]

Report explores the (pre-Covid) carbon footprint of touring DJs

“Last Night a DJ Took a Flight” is an excellent name for a report, even if many DJs’ touring has been grounded for more than a year by Covid-19. But the report, from Clean Scene, is an important analysis of the environmental impact of the electronic music industry before Covid struck, with thoughts on how […]

T-Series finally joins Indian collecting society IPRS

India’s collecting society IPRS now has a full set of major music companies from the country, after T-Series joined the likes of Saregama and Times Music (plus the local subsidiaries of Sony and UMG) as a member. “With IPRS now representing the T-Series music publishing catalogue, it will improve the ease of doing business, with […]

YouTube trumpets hip-hop growth in push for more advertising

One particular hip-hop video may be giving YouTube some internal ructions (see earlier story) but the service is keen to talk up the wider importance of the genre – particularly for advertisers. “Of the top three genres on YouTube in the U.S. — hip-hop, rock and pop — hip-hop is the fastest growing,” wrote YouTube’s […]

UK study questions majors/indies split on streaming playlists

Do independent labels get a fair share of slots on music streaming services’ playlists? It’s a complicated question, with the answer having varied, historically, depending on which playlists you’re talking about (all of them, or just the big ones?), how you define independent (do major-distributed tracks count?) and other factors. The latest attempt to get […]

TuneIn loses appeal in UK copyright infringement case

Radio aggregator TuneIn has lost its appeal in a copyright infringement case brought against the company in the UK by Sony Music and Warner Music. The original ruling, in November 2019, was mixed with the High Court ruling that TuneIn wasn’t infringing with its live streams of radio stations already licensed in the UK, but […]

Barcelona gig had 5,000 fans with masks but no distancing

Aware that some countries that have Covid-19 under control already have concerts and festivals up and running, we’re trying not to generalise about live music. However, for those countries still awaiting a musical reopening, this weekend’s concert in Barcelona for indie band Love of Lesbian will be an encouraging sight. It was an experiment for […]

NFTs explosion: Crypto.com, The Weeknd, Gorillaz, Lindsay Lohan…

Say what you like about non-fungible tokens (NFTS) – and right now, everyone appears to be doing exactly that on Twitter – but it’s undeniable that there is a gold rush of musicians towards the idea. In the past few days alone, there has been a mini-blizzard of announcements and on-sales, with some prominent artists. Start with […]

Research firms highlight growth in wellness and fitness apps

Sensor Tower and App Annie are the two most high-profile research firms tracking the apps market. By a quirk of fate, both published some new stats yesterday around wellness and fitness apps – a current area of hot interest from the music industry. Sensor Tower predicted that ‘mental wellness’ apps will be downloaded more than 1bn times […]

Music bodies slam Twitter for ‘rampant theft of creative works’

Yesterday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (and his *sigh* bitcoin clock) made an appearance before a US House hearing about online extremism and misinformation. Copyright wasn’t the matter at hand, but a group of music industry bodies took the opportunity anyway to criticise Twitter for its attitude towards music licensing. The letter, sent by a group including the […]

The NFTs boom is still sparking praise and scepticism

Well, that’s a headline we could probably run every single day for the next few months. But with the music industry still buzzing with questions about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and their potential, it’s worth keeping abreast of the latest debates. Start today with the “long-ass blog post” by artist Rev Dan Catt, which is an […]

The next Roblox? Gaming platform Rec Room raises $100m

The growth of Roblox and its use by labels and artists – not to mention Warner Music Group’s investment in it – has sparked interest within the music industry about other games platforms and microverses that might be worth investigating. We’d suggest Rec Room should be one of the first ports of call. The Seattle-based startup has just […]

Matador launches ‘Revisionist History’ podcast using Anchor

Don’t worry, independent label Matador isn’t launching a podcast claiming that President Kennedy was actually killed by alien assassins, or that the medieval plague was started by a time-travelling Bill Gates practising for Covid-19. The history being revised in the label’s new podcast is strictly its own: a chance for artists to talk about their […]

Sony Music’s 4th Floor Creative debuts Mood Playlist creator

Spotify is a dab hand at curating playlists for a wide range of moods and contexts, but labels are keen to get into that game too. Witness the latest project from the 4th Floor Creative team within Sony Music UK, which has launched a site for music fans called ‘Mood Playlist‘. The pitch: “Instantly make […]

Spotify beta tests new marquee management tool in the US

Marquee is Spotify’s marketing tool for promoting an artist’s new album to people who’ve listened to them – the full-screen pop-ups that appear over its mobile homescreen. Now Spotify is beta testing a new campaign management tool for marquee in the US, which will make these ads (well, ‘sponsored recommendations’) self-service. The tool will take the form […]

Beggars Group and Gary Numan clarify streaming payouts comments

Recently, artist Gary Numan gave an interview to Sky News during which he talked about streaming royalties, and specifically about a small cheque he’d received. “I had a statement a while back and one of my songs had had over a million plays, million streams, and it was £37. I got £37 from a million […]

Don’t freak out! Nile Rodgers gets a ‘voice-interactive portrait

Does anyone in the music industry have better anecdotes than Nile Rodgers? Now he can deliver them in virtual form, which may save him repeating the best ones over and over. Rodgers has been turned into “the world’s first voice-interactive portrait” through a partnership between the UK’s National Portrait Gallery, Universal Music and Abbey Road […]

NFT trends include 50/50 split for musicians and visual artists

Music NFTs must be big business. Look, the Wall Street Journal is writing about them! And it’s a good summary of the current activity (and hype) around non-fungible tokens in the music space. That includes stats: journalist Cherie Hu’s calculation that since June last year around 29,800 NFTs involving artists have generated $42.5m in primary sales. […]

SoundCloud launches new artist accelerator with nine musicians

SoundCloud is adding a new string to its artist-partnerships bow with the launch of First on SoundCloud. it’s billed as an accelerator program for artists, starting with nine independent musicians: Charmaine, Ela Minus, Kid Quill, Lourdiz, Otis Kane, Pa Salieu, Payday, Sofia Mills and SoFaygo. ‘First on SoundCloud’ is actually an existing program for promoting […]

Early blockchain music startup Jaak has shut down

British startup Jaak was part of the first wave of firms trying to put blockchain technology to use in the music industry. It was part of the first Techstars Music accelerator in 2017, and launched a pilot with partners including WMG, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Global Music Rights the following year. Founder and CEO Vaughn McKenzie-Landell was also part of the […]

Secretly Group workers announce plans to unionise

Employees from independent music company Secretly Group and its subsidiaries have announced plans to form a union. “Our goal is to spotlight the rights of our staff and the health of our workplace,” they explained on the Secretly Group Union website. “Working in the music industry is not an easy way to support oneself for the […]

Impala rejects ER but says labels should pay fair digital rates

Impala, which represents independent music companies in Europe, is the latest organisation to step in to the debate about the music streaming economy and how to reform it. “Our aim is to make streaming fairer and provide a dynamic, compelling and responsible future for creators and for fans,” was how Impala introduced its 10-point plan. The […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Freeme invests in Afrobeats’ bright future

Freeme – pronounced “free me” – is an independent distributor & label services company based in Lagos. Founder and CEO Michael Ugwu has international industry experience: he was previously general manager at Sony Music West Africa, and is the first Black person to be appointed to the Merlin Board. As a business, Freeme has twin […]

IFPI report reveals 7.4% growth in global recorded music revenues

Global recorded music revenues grew by 7.4% to $21.6bn in 2020, according to industry body the IFPI, which has published its annual Global Music Report today. That’s a deceleration compared to 2019, when the market grew by 8.2%, but with 2020 being the year of Covid-19, labels will see the latest figures as a success […]

Ministers give their views at the UK’s music streaming inquiry

Yesterday saw the final hearing in the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming, but rather than music industry or tech executives being questioned, it was ministers and civil servants. Caroline Dineage MP, minister for digital and culture at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Amanda Solloway MP, minister […]

Yubo social app is a hit with Gen-Z – more than 45m of them

Parents are apparently getting in a bit of a flap about Yubo, because as tech site Protocol explains: “the app very openly wants young people to make new friends with strangers on the internet”. With a user base focused around 13-25 year-olds, Yubo is proving popular though: the piece claims that the social app has signed […]

Lo-fi hip-hop brand ChilledCow rebrands as Lofi Girl

ChilledCow is one of the most well-known lo-fi hip-hop brands that have grown on YouTube and streaming services with their mixes for studying, working and/or relaxing to. But the most recognisable aspect of ChilledCow wasn’t, in fact, a cow – it was the animated girl studying in its YouTube videos while her cat lazed on a […]

Stevie Nicks reportedly blocks use of ‘Dreams’ for an NFT

Well, of course that guy on the skateboard who made that Fleetwood Mac song go viral on TikTok is now selling that video as a non-fungible token. Nathan Apodaca is hoping to trouser at least $500k from the NFT sale of his 23-second video, although there’s one wrinkle: it won’t include ‘Dreams’. Apodaca’s representative told showbiz site […]

Apple expands its ‘Up Next’ program for emerging artists

Thus far, Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’ program has picked emerging artists from across the world for promotion on the streaming service, with a global focus. Now it’s going local too. Apple is expanding the program for individual regions, kicking off with the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, India, Canada, Australia, South Africa and […]

Surprise! YouTube is the most popular music streaming service

Alright, this will come as no surprise at all to the majority of Music Ally readers. YouTube is the biggest music streaming service in the world, with its scale – both in terms of its overall users and the more than two billion people who specifically consume music on it. However, if you’re in the market for […]

Spotify’s new website promises ‘more clarity’ on streaming economy

Did you know that the top 500 artists on Spotify last year generated around $1.85bn in royalties from the streaming service – 37% of its overall payouts? Or did you know that the 286,000 DIY artists releasing through distributors generated $1.17bn of Spotify royalties last year – around 23.5% of the total? You do now. These […]

Yungblud re-releases ‘Parents’ with a fan after TikTok duet

Artist Yungblud is re-releasing a track from 2019 due to TikTok, but no, this isn’t because someone went viral singing along to it on a skateboard. Instead, Yungblud ran a duet contest on TikTok inviting fans to freestyle their own verse over his track ‘Parents’. One of the most impressive entries was from a young singer-songwriter […]

Chilean music downloads store PortalDisc moves into streaming

Apple Music and Amazon Music are far from the only streaming services whose origin stories involve music download stores. PortalDisc is the biggest downloads store in Chile, but it is now moving into streaming with its new service PortalDisc App. Billed as “the first 100% Chilean music streaming service”, it’s a partnership with B2B digital music […]

New label Offmeta will explore the music and esports crossover

The latest company looking to forge more links between the music and esports industries is Offmeta, which launches today. It’s a label that plans to sign artists and seek out licensing deals and partnerships for them in the games and esports worlds. Canadian artist bbno$ is its first signing, and his new single ‘Bad to the […]

BPI set for ’10 x 10: Ten Trends for the Next Ten Years’ event

British industry body the BPI has announced its next ‘Insight Session’ online event, and once again Music Ally is the partner co-presenting it. ’10 x 10: Ten Trends for the Next Ten Years’ takes place on 15 April, and will involve 10-minute presentations on a range of future trends for the music industry. Among those […]

Netflix has calculated the carbon footprint of video streaming

How bad for the environment is streaming? It’s one of the questions we’re still seeking answers to. In the video streaming world, Netflix is playing its part. The company has been working with researchers at the University of Bristol to calculate the carbon footprint of watching its service. Wired has the details: “Netflix claims that one […]

YouTube launches ‘Checks’ tool to check videos for copyright

Content ID is well established as YouTube’s system for identifying copyrighted music in user-uploaded videos, and giving rightsholders the option to take them down, claim their ad revenues or leave them be. Now YouTube is launching a new tool that gives uploaders more control over whether their content falls in to Content ID in the first place. […]

Ditto Music adds NFTs to its Bluebox blockchain platform

Distributor Ditto Music is moving into NFTs, but its plans will enable fans to acquire shares in songs, rather than just digital artwork. The company has launched an ‘NFT exchange’ as part of its Bluebox royalties platform, and is working with artists Big Zuu and Taylor Bennett on its first sales. Both will be auctioning […]

Google reduces its app sales cut for small developers

Apple’s 30% “app tax” (as critics like to call it) isn’t always 30%. It’s 15% for subscriptions once a subscriber has been paying for a year, and since November 2020 it has also been 15% for smaller developers and businesses who make less than $1m a year. A change clearly made in part due to the pressure […]

OnlyFans launches creative fund with £20k grants for musicians

We first wrote about OnlyFans in August 2020, when Cardi B launched a $4.99-a-month subscription on the crowdfunding site previously better known for being used by adult entertainment stars. In December, the company said it was paying out $200m a month (!) to its community of creators, as it made its pitch for more mainstream celebrities to use it. […]

Concert streaming site MySongbird seeks $5m in crowdfunding

New rules on equity crowdfunding in the US will allow startups to raise up to $5m a year from ‘non-accredited’ investors (i.e. the general public). Expect a wave of startups testing it out, including music firms. Early out of the blocks is MySongbird, a streaming service for live performances and music documentaries, which is seeking $5m […]

Async to launch ‘programmable music’ through stems and NFTs

Async is a startup focused on ‘programmable art’ that is capable of changing over time. Oh, and it’s also part of the blockchain wave, with that art able to be bought, resold and interacted with. It has generated more than $1m in sales for digital artists since its launch in February 2020. Now the company is […]

Downtown’s Joe Conyers III joins Crypto·com to work on NFTs

Artists piling onto the NFTs bandwagon is one thing, but prominent music industry executives leaving their jobs for it is quite another. Joe Conyers III, of Downtown Music Holdings, has left for a new EVP role at cryptocurrency firm Crypto.com, where he will be in charge of its new “invite-only NFT platform that will feature […]

Africa expansion for UMG/Boomplay and for Freeme Digital

From DSP launches to label expansions to [waves enormous plug] new education initiatives for the industry, there is plenty of exciting activity happening around Africa’s music ecosystem. There are two more examples to report on this morning. First, Universal Music Group has extended its licensing deal with streaming service Boomplay from seven countries in Africa to […]

Marc Geiger: ‘We’re going into a post-Spotify earning era’

Yesterday was the first day of SXSW 2021’s online conference, including a chat between former WME music chief Marc Geiger and Pandora founder Tim Westergren – now working on their new ventures, venue network Savelive and livestreaming firm Sessions. The topic was timely: the explosion of ways for artists to connect with fans and to try […]

Clubhouse launches its first ‘creator accelerator program’

Every social media platform has its community of ‘creators’ and now Clubhouse wants one too. The audio startup is launching a “creator accelerator program” that it says will “support and equip 20 creators with resources they need to bring their ideas and creativity to life”. Which hopefully means people who won’t just be wanging on about bitcoin […]

Spotify launches ‘African Heat’ and Daft Punk campaigns

Fresh from launching in a number of African countries, Spotify is giving its flagship ‘African Heat’ playlist a new marketing push. That includes launching an #africanheatchallenge dance challenge on social media, billboards in New York and Toronto, and embedded video clips from artists including Focalistic, Fuse ODG, Olamide and Moonchild Sanelly. “For me, African Heat […]

Tim Burgess is selling earphones to raise money for venues

Thankfully for fans of British music of a certain era and geographic origin, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess hasn’t spent the Covid-19 lockdown spouting conspiracy-theory claptrap. Instead, he launched Tim’s Twitter Listening Party to bring cheer to a growing community of music fans. Now he’s building on that to raise money to support independent venues by… selling earphones! […]

Ian Brown protests after Spotify removes anti-lockdown track

It’s been an awkward few months if you’re a Stone Roses fan who thinks lockdown is necessary, wants to get vaccinated, and doesn’t believe the Covid-19 pandemic is one big plot by The Authorities. Because frontman Ian Brown has… different views. And he has used his social media profiles and his music to express that […]

Apple stops making original HomePod to focus on HomePod Mini

Apple’s HomePod is dead, long live the HomePod Mini! Except we’re talking more about a retirement: Apple will carry on selling its first smart speaker until stock runs out, and will still be providing software updates for it. However, the company’s smart speakers strategy is pivoting firmly to its smaller, cheaper model. “HomePod mini has […]

BPI boss talks artists, streaming and equitable remuneration

Throughout the current UK parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming, and indeed, throughout the history of streaming itself, Music Ally has worked hard to report fairly the full range of views in the debates about how streaming pays off for musicians. That’s why we’ve reported at length on the key sessions at the […]

FAC and MMF on livestreaming tariffs: ‘We need to talk!’

This guest column is by David Martin, CEO at the Featured Artists Coalition, and Annabella Coldrick, CEO at the Music Managers Forum: Whether it’s COVID 19, Brexit, the yearning for live shows and international touring, the economics of streaming, or the constant battle against inequalities, there’s a lot going on in the music industry right […]

Music and NFTs are buzzing, but should you believe the hype?

The music industry has got quite… well, let’s say “excited” about Non-Fungible-Tokens (NFTs) in the last couple of months. The headlines have been breathless and the figures eye-popping. Grimes sold $5.8m of NFTs in 20 minutes! 3lau sold 33 NFTs for $11.6m! The former boss of T-Mobile US paid Steve Aoki $888,888.88 for an NFT […]

iManage Africa and Music Ally’s Music Business Academy for Africa

We’re delighted to announce our new joint venture with iManage Africa, the Music Business Academy for Africa. We’ll be working together to provide fully localised vocational education for aspiring creative entrepreneurs across the continent. It’s the brainchild of Godwin Tom (iManage Africa), a Nigerian talent manager and exec who’s worked with the likes of Wizkid […]

Belgian collecting society Sabam joins the Ice core in Europe

European licensing hub Ice was founded by three collecting societies: PRS for Music, Stim and Gema. However, its ‘Ice Core’ also licenses repertoire from other entities: Imro, BMI and independent publishers including Downtown and Concord. Now the latter group has grown with the addition of Belgian PRO Sabam. “We pursued an exceptionally thorough process to […]

Spanish collecting society SGAE rejoins Cisac after reforms

One of Spain’s collecting societies, SGAE, is coming in from the cold and being readmitted to global PROs organisation Cisac, after reforms that the latter say “have transformed the society and its operations”. SGAE was temporarily booted out of Cisac in May 2019, after well-documented controversies around how it was run, and particularly ‘The Wheel’, a […]

SoundCloud clarifies revenue share from ‘fan-powered royalties’

Earlier this week we reported on a SoundCloud interview with Vice that suggested the company would be taking a 45% cut from its new ‘fan-powered royalties’ (user-centric) system. The company has since revealed that the interview misinterpreted its policies, and that its share is actually lower. A spokesperson told Music Ally that SoundCloud is not keeping 45%, […]

Spotify gets its missing K-Pop music back with new Kakao deal

Spotify’s catalogue of K-Pop music is returning to its former glory, after the company managed to end its high-profile dispute with South Korean firm Kakao Entertainment. The new agreement is global, including South Korea, with the separation of the two having been one of the sticking points that led to Kakao’s catalogue being removed from […]

Amazon Music adds merchandise features to its mobile app

Amazon Music’s app is steadily adding more features beyond basic audio streaming. Having integrated livestreams last year, now the app is getting merchandise features. As of this week, artists who are taking part will have their merch shown on their profile pages, with Billboard reporting that most of it will be available with Prime shipping for Amazon […]

First day of Roblox trading valued games firm at $38.3bn

Games firm Roblox is now a public company, having successfully seen through its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Its first day of trading yesterday saw the company’s share price close at $69.50, valuing Roblox at $38.26bn. That is certainly good news for Roblox’s investors, who include Warner Music Group, since when the company raised […]

Courtney Barnett launches online archive of live performances

Australian artist Courtney Barnett is excellent live – we have the ‘bought in post-gig over-excited state’ official Courtney Barnett bright-red socks to prove it. Now she’s showing off some of her best live performances in a new archives website. It’s a combination of footage from concerts, radio sessions and other live appearances since the early days of […]

Women in Radio report identifies sexism and career barriers

A new report in the UK has explored some of the barriers that women face when trying to develop their careers in the radio industry. Published by Radio Silence and Women In Ctrl, the report is based on interviews and surveys with more than 100 women working in the British radio industry. The findings aren’t […]

IFPI says The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ was 2020’s top track

Look away now, Grammy Awards organisers: the most controversial omission from this year’s nominations has just been anointed as the biggest ‘global digital single’ of 2020 by industry body the IFPI. It says that The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ generated 2.72bn ‘subscription stream equivalents’ globally last year, ahead of second-ranked ‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones and I […]

Startup Sona launches ‘music therapy’ app for stress relief

If you want our tip for making life instantly 78% less stressful, mute the words ‘Harry’, ‘Meghan’ and ‘Piers Morgan’ on all your social apps. But if that fails, perhaps a new app called Sona is worth a try. Developed by a US startup of the same name, it’s a ‘music therapy’ app offering a catalogue of […]

Songclip raises $11m to help license more music to social apps

Ensuring that the music clips used in social apps are properly licensed has been a key focus for rightsholders in recent years, and deals with Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and others have offered encouragement. Now one of the startups hoping to be a middleman in even more of these deals has announced an $11m funding round. […]

Verzuz switches Apple Music for Triller following acquisition

It’s just under nine months since Instagram livestreams brand Verzuz signed an exclusive deal with Apple Music. However, that deal is now at an end according to Variety, after Verzuz was acquired by Triller’s parent company Triller Network. The deal will see Verzuz founders Swizz Beatz and Timbaland getting shares in Triller Network, a portion of which […]

After extension, the Kings of Leon NFTs generated $2m of sales

We reported the other day on the Kings of Leon NFT sale being extended after four of its ‘golden ticket’ NFTs failed to meet their reserve prices. So it’s only fair to also report on the final performance of the sale, which reached more than $2m according to Billboard – a figure that came from the band’s […]

TikTok’s new ‘music hub’ highlights trending tracks and artists

TikTok is launching a new feature described as its ‘music hub’ in the UK, which it says will help people to see which tracks, artists and playlists are currently trending on the service. It will be accessed from TikTok’s ‘Discover’ screen, and people will also be pointed in its direction if they search for music […]

Techstars Music reveals the 11 startups in its 2021 cohort

Last year, startups accelerator Techstars Music announced plans to run its 2021 program virtually, while promising that 50% of the startups’ CEOs would be diverse. It also revealed that Amazon Music had joined its ‘member companies’ from the music industry, supporting the accelerator including investment in its startups. Concord is also chipping in extra seed and follow-in […]

Ticketing and livestreams app Dice gets into merchandise

Dice started as a mobile ticketing app, before swiftly expanding into livestreams as Covid-19 lockdowns hit physical concerts. Now it’s expanding again: into merchandise. Its new ‘Merch On Dice’ feature will enable artists to create limited-edition ‘product drops’ that fans will be able to order for pickup at venues (once concerts are running again) or […]

Tools. Sparkline: Analytics tool for Spotify

Sparkline is a new platform developed by technology consultancy company Decimal, who mainly work with music clients on development projects. Decimal pitches Sparkline as the “missing analytics tool for Spotify” – a bold claim hinging on its ability to allow users to get insight into third parties on the streaming platform.  The company identified that […]

Blockchain ticketing firm Big Neon is shutting down

Anyone looking for a reminder not to get too carried away with the NFTs bonanza would do worse to look at the fate of some of the blockchain music companies from a few years ago that had big ambitions. Big Neon for example, whose founding team included Ticketfly co-founder Dan Teree and cryptocurrency expert Riccardo […]

Kings of Leon NFT auction extended as some listings fall short

We wrote last week about plans to launch a series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the new Kings of Leon album. So how is that going? Well, the auction for the NFTs has been extended until 8pm EST today (8 March), which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going brilliantly. The six ‘golden ticket’ NFTs, which include front-row seats […]

Recording Academy commissions study of women’s representation

It’s International Women’s Day today, which means an inbox full of related press releases, many of which are simply new spins on things that were announced last year or the year before. Which neatly illustrates the challenge being tackled: the music industry is good at saying the right things (and sending out press releases about […]

Apple predictions: VR/AR headset in 2022, AR glasses in 2025

Oh, and don’t forget AR contact lenses sometime after 2030. By which time nobody will remember the prediction or the predictor enough to check whether it was right. In fairness, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, is one of the Cupertino-focused crystal-ball gazers who has earned respect with accurate predictions about what Apple […]

Independent music, not Bollywood, may be India’s global crossover

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek recently told Music Ally that he believes “100% that we’re going to see a rise of Bollywood and new types of Indian music making it into the global scene in the very near future”. As an Indian journalist who’s been covering Bollywood and other types of Indian music for two over decades, I […]

MMF Unite returns with ‘Black Women Mean Business’ panel

The UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) is bringing back its MMF Unite series of virtual events focusing on race, racism and injustice. They’re kicking off next week with ‘Black Women Mean Business’, an online panel on 9 March featuring Nike Durosaro (Big Drum Entertainment), Shikayla Nadine (SNM Management) and Shauni Caballero (The Go 2 Agency), […]

Ever wanted Gucci Mane to read you Beowulf or Little Women?

That’s a rhetorical question: of COURSE you have. Unless you’d prefer the trap veteran’s dulcet tones to read you Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Peter Pan, of course. No, Gucci hasn’t taken a surprising career leap into audiobooks narration. Instead, this is something called Project Gucciberg created by a […]

TuneCore launches educational ‘Rewards’ program for artists

We’re familiar with loyalty schemes for supermarkets, but for music distributors? That’s a new one. TuneCore is trying it with its new TuneCore Rewards program for artists, which has just launched in beta. It’s based around a series of educational videos – ‘master classes’ – covering topics including promotion, social media and release planning. Doing the classes earns artists […]

Spotify and Apple Music reveal latest emerging artist picks

The major streaming services are continuing to choose emerging artists for their respective promotion schemes. Spotify and Apple Music announced their latest picks yesterday. Spotify has gone with Norwegian artist Girl In Red as its latest ‘Radar’ artist in the US. She’ll be getting the full playlisting / Spotify Single / mini-documentary / billboard ads treatment, ahead […]

Universal Music Group’s revenues grew by 3.8% in 2020

Universal Music is the latest major label to publish financial results showing that its business rode out the Covid-19 storm in 2020. UMG’s revenues for the year grew by 3.8% to €7.43bn (around $8.95bn) – or by 4.7% when calculated as ‘organic growth’. Within that, UMG’s recorded music revenues grew by 5.9% to €5.97bn, although that increase […]

Music NFTs fever heats up with 3LAU and Kings of Leon

Haven’t you launched an NFT yet? What are you waiting for? Grab an audio doodle from your studio outtakes, commission some terrible fantasy or sci-fi novel cover-artwork* and/or a GIF of a funny animal – cats are a saturated market by the way, so we suggest pivoting towards penguins, bonobos or blobfish – and STONKTASTIC RICHES […]

Abbey Road holds Equalise International Women’s Day festival

Ahead of International Women’s Day next week, Abbey Road Studios is holding an ‘Equalise’ festival online, with a focus on responding to the fact that fewer than 5% of music producers and engineers are women. The event is a mixture of masterclasses, panels and mentoring sessions, and runs until Monday. Sessions still to come include: Becoming […]

Twitch transparency report focuses on safety, not copyright

When we saw headlines about Twitch publishing its first ever transparency report, our news antenna started pinging. Would this be a chance to get data on how many copyright takedowns the service has been hit by from music rightsholders? When other tech firms have published similar reports, they have included takedowns in the data. Unfortunately, […]

Joox seizes its opportunity to stress its K-Pop credentials

Tencent-owned music streaming service Joox is one of Spotify’s key rivals in south east Asia, and that’s a region where K-Pop is enormously popular. Credit the company for being quick off the mark, then, following the recent news that Spotify has lost a big chunk of its K-Pop catalogue due to a breakdown in licensing negotiations with […]

Songtrust trumpets growth with 3m songs and 350k songwriters

Songtrust has revealed some new stats showing the growth of its business, both in terms of the songs that it collects royalties for, and the songwriters who it’s paying those royalties out to. The new numbers: 3m songs and 350,000 songwriters, up from 2m songs and 300,000 clients in December 2019. The company also says that its royalty […]

New funding for livestreaming startups Maestro and Looped

If you’re a livestreaming startup, now is the time to be raising funding (or if you’re Veeps, getting bought by Live Nation). Two of the companies trying to help musicians perform live online for their fans have announced new funding rounds this week. Maestro, whose clients have included Billie Eilish and Erykah Badu, has raised […]

Spotify could overtake Apple for US podcast listeners this year

Spotify is pushing hard in podcasts, and research firm eMarketer has predicted that this will pay off in 2020 with the company overtaking Apple for US podcast listeners. “This year 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts,” claimed its report. eMarketer thinks the gap […]

Anghami reportedly set for public listing through Spac merger

Middle Eastern streaming service Anghami may be going public soon, via a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) in the US. Bloomberg reported that Anghami is “close to being listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York” in a move that could value the company at nearly $300m. The report added that the move could be announced […]

Martin Goldschmidt: ‘Why I have come round to the user-centric model’ (guest column)

User-centric payouts has been bubbling on the fringes of the music industry for years as an issue. The first time I took it seriously was at an industry board meeting last year – no names! – where we got two presentations on the topic. The big question everyone in the room wanted answered, including me, was: would […]

SoundCloud goes user-centric with its ‘fan-powered royalties’

Rumours that SoundCloud would become the first big music streaming service to adopt user-centric payouts were correct. The company has just announced plans for what it’s calling ‘fan-powered royalties’. The system won’t apply to the entire catalogue of music that is available on SoundCloud, but just to the tracks uploaded by independent artists directly to […]

UMG and Gameloft launch Queen: Rock Tour mobile game

After a fan-made music videos contest and the band’s official TikTok debut, the latest stage in Queen’s digital strategy has been revealed: a mobile game. It’s called ‘Queen: Rock Tour’, and launched today for Android and iOS. Universal Music is keeping it in the family too: the Vivendi family, since the game is by Gameloft, the games publishing subsidiary of UMG’s […]

Apple Music launches ‘Behind the Songs’ songwriters section

Apple Music has a new hub focusing on songwriters, producers and session musicians. It’s called ‘Behind the Songs‘ and launched on Friday as a home for related playlists like ‘Songbook’ and ‘Behind the Boards’, as well as Apple Music Radio shows including Nile Rodgers’ ‘Deep Hidden Meaning’. There will also be original video series including […]

Facebook’s NPE Team launches a new music app called Bars

Facebook’s experimental studio NPE Team has launched its second music product: a video-sharing app called Bars, for rappers. It comes 10 months after the studio launched music-making app Collab. Available in the US App Store with an invitation-only closed beta, Bars offers a catalogue of pre-created beats for people to rap over, with lyrical features including rhyme […]

Spotify faces K-Pop conundrum after loss of Kakao M catalogue

Spotify is excited about having finally launched in South Korea, but the company will be rather less excited about losing a significant chunk of its K-Pop catalogue globally. After licensing negotiations broke down with one of South Korea’s biggest distributors, Kakao M, the latter’s music has been removed from the streaming service. The fact that […]

US recorded music revenues grew 9.2% in 2020 despite Covid-19

The bottom dropped out of the live music industry in 2020 due to Covid-19, but it’s becoming clear that the recorded music industry weathered the storm thanks to streaming subscription revenues, whose growth continued. US industry body the RIAA’s annual figures for 2020 are the latest evidence, revealing that the retail value of recorded music revenues […]

DistroKid will fast-track artists to Twitch affiliate status

Anyone can join Twitch, but you can’t start making decent money from it until you have ‘affiliate’ status, which unlocks features like channel subscriptions, bits and ad revenue sharing. DistroKid is the latest distributor to sign a partnership with Twitch to fast-track musicians to affiliate status, hopping over the stage where they have to stream […]

Deezer launches a global channel for Japanese music

If K-Pop can take over the global music world, what price J-Pop achieving similar success? It’s not happened yet, but Deezer sees an international appetite for Japanese music, and the streaming service is launching a new channel to test it. Called ‘Japanese Music‘, it will offer a range of playlists, from J-Pop, City Pop and […]

TuneCore opens South Africa and Nigeria offices for Africa launch

It’s quite the week for the rapidly-evolving streaming ecosystem across Africa, with Spotify launching in a number of countries there, and now distributor TuneCore getting up and running in the region too. The distributor has hired two executives for its Africa launch: Jade Leaf as head of TuneCore for Southern Africa, and Chioma Onuchukwu as […]

BMG says it has offset more than 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide

Our recent Music Ally TV Show sustainability episode offered plenty of encouragement for music companies thinking about cutting their emissions. Now BMG has been talking about its efforts on this front. The company says it has offset the more than 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide produced by its activities in 2019, including offsetting its emissions […]

Spotify $1.3bn debt funding is ‘for general corporate purposes’

Spotify’s management team talked about a lot of things in the company’s ‘Stream On’ event earlier this week, but one announcement was saved for later. Yesterday the streaming services announced plans for an ‘exchangeable senior notes offering‘ from its US subsidiary to raise $1.3bn. It’s debt funding, essentially. “The notes will be senior, unsecured obligations […]

Global Citizen reveals its ‘recovery plan for the world’

This isn’t a music story, specifically, but there are some high-profile musicians involved. Global Citizen is the organisation behind several high-profile livestreamed music events last year, as part of its wider mission to tackle global poverty, inequity and the climate emergency. Yesterday, it published what it’s describing as a ‘recovery plan for the world… to […]

Moving The Needle launches for women in the UK music industry

There’s a new group in the UK that aims to support women entering the music industry. It’s called Moving The Needle, and is launching ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March. The group is planning to offer a mixture of mentorship, training, events and networking to young women “of all backgrounds, ethnicities and personality types”. […]

Vampr raises $790k and plans to add livestreaming features

Startup Vampr is describing itself as a “LinkedIn for Creatives” nowadays, and the company has just raised more funding to continue developing its service. The money is $790k, taking it to $2.6m raised so far – with a Series A funding round to follow. Vampr says it will use the new funding to launch a […]

Big Hit Entertainment revenues grew 36% to $716.7m in 2020

K-Pop giant Big Hit Entertainment had an excellent 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Its financial results, published yesterday, revealed that the company behind BTS’s revenues grew by 36% last year to KRW 796.3bn (around $716.7m). The breakdown is very interesting too. Concert revenues dropped off a cliff, unsurprisingly: down 98% to KRW 3.4bn. However, album sales […]

Major labels talk user-centric payouts and equitable remuneration

Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music had their say at the UK’s streaming economics inquiry yesterday: if you missed it last night, here’s our report on their session. But yesterday the parliamentary committee holding the inquiry also published the latest written evidence from the three major labels, in response to some specific questions from the politicians […]

Spotify, Apple and Amazon at the UK streaming economics inquiry

Reporting on a two-and-a-half hour parliamentary inquiry session the day after liveblogging a two-hour Spotify event plus associated interviews? That’s living alright! It’s a busy week for anyone involved with the music streaming world. Today’s hearing in the UK’s streaming economics inquiry was the long-awaited appearance of Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music to field questions […]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talks Bollywood, creators and battling radio with live features

“I believe 100% that we’re going to see a rise of Bollywood and new types of Indian music making it into the global scene in the very near future.” Not the first prediction of this kind, but it carries extra weight given that the person making it was Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. He was talking […]

Liveblog: Spotify ‘Stream On’ event

Spotify is holding an online ‘Stream On’ event today, to announce… well, we’re not quite sure what the company is announcing, but we’re expecting some new product features; updates on how its tools for artists and ‘two-sided marketplace’ is evolving; plenty of podcasts talk and… well, we’ll find out. Stick with us, and you will […]

Tools. Listening Party: Premiere your music or podcast for fans

Lee Martin was the developer of what we crowned the ‘Best Listening Party’ in our Sandbox 2020 best music marketing campaigns report – for Future Islands’ album ‘As Long As You Are’. This innovative campaign was the catalyst for Martin building his own platform, Listening Party, which lets artists and podcast creators throw listening parties […]

Podcast update: Acast buys RadioPublic and Podimo raises €11.2m

Spotify’s big podcasting moves get lots of attention in the music industry, but the company’s aggressive push into podcasts has had a bigger ripple effect. From Amazon Music buying production firm Wondery to iHeartMedia’s recent acquisition of ad-tech firm Triton Digital, lots of big players are making big moves at the moment to position themselves […]

Twitter isn’t buying Indian TikTok rival Moj – but it might have

‘Company X not buying Company Y’ may seem like a pointless news story: we may as well tell you that Music Ally isn’t buying Spotify, right? But news that Twitter was in talks about a potential acquisition of Indian tech company ShareChat *is* interesting, even if the deal appears to have run into the rocks. TechCrunch claimed […]

Sony Music-backed The Coda Collection debuts on Amazon Prime

We spend a lot of time writing about short-form music videos, but long-form content is also finding new audiences through a variety of digital platforms. Including a new one that’s just debuted on Amazon Prime in the US, called The Coda Collection. It’s a streaming video channel with a catalogue of more than 150 music documentaries […]

DIY artists released 9.5m tracks in 2020 – 8x the major labels

There are plenty of interesting stats in Will Page’s latest article for the Financial Times, as you’d expect from a former Spotify chief economist. One that stood out for us showed the current scale of DIY artists operating outside the label system. “As lockdown took hold, major labels released 1.2m songs in 2020; DIY artists released […]

Splice raises $55m funding round valuing company at $500m

Having become one of the key services (and communities) for music makers, Splice is raising money again. The company has raised a $55m funding round from investors Goldman Sachs and Music – the latter being the investment company of Songs Music Publishing founder Matt Pincus. According to Bloomberg, the round valued Splice at nearly $500m, and took its […]

Big Tech and Big News continue their uneasy frenemyship

We’ve followed the music deals and clashes of Facebook, Google and other big tech companies with diligence, but we keep a watching eye on how these firms are interacting with other creative and media industries. Two stories today reflect the deals and, yes, the clashes with the news publishing world. News Corporation’s senior executives have […]

Glass Animals make a Minecraft splash with fan’s ‘house flip’

A number of artists and festivals have experimented with the game Minecraft in recent years. One of the still-powerful things about it is the community of YouTubers and Twitch streamers making Minecraft videos, which reach big audiences. As part of what’s already been a really inventive (and long-lasting) campaign for the band, Glass Animals have […]

Axel Mansoor sets off on a virtual tour… of Clubhouse rooms

We’ve been writing about live-audio startup Clubhouse and thinking about the potential it might hold for musicians. Some artists are already diving right in to explore though. One example is Axel Mansoor, who’s already been one of the users to have their faces used as Clubhouse’s app icon. Since the end of 2020 he has […]

A&R startup Andrson offers a new spin on Spotify Wrapped

Spotify’s annual year-end Wrapped campaign packages up people’s listening in best-of playlists, but now it’s being given a remix by AI-powered A&R startup Andrson. It has launched something called ReWrapped, which people can sign in to using their Spotify accounts. Andrson then puts its audio analysis engine to work on comparing their favourite tracks from 2020 […]

Triller now claims it’s worth $10bn even with half the users

We may be reaching the point where someone needs to take Triller’s shovel away and gently remind it of the merits of stopping digging. Earlier this week, the company was the focus of a Billboard report claiming it had half the monthly active users [MAUs] that it claimed last year, rebutting that by claiming there was […]

Your Music Your Future teaches creators about copyright buyouts

Copyright buyouts, where composers and other musicians creating music for film and TV give up their future royalty rights and accept a one-off fee instead, are currently a very sensitive subject in music circles. Now collecting societies body Cisac has teamed up with US organisation Your Music Your Future to expand the latter’s educational campaign around buyouts […]

BPI says exports are a £1bn opportunity for British music

As British artists continue to bemoan the Brexit balls-up that threatens their ability to tour Europe, industry body the BPI is offering the British government a timely reminder of the potential value of music exports. It has published a report claiming that this value could grow to more than £1bn (around $1.39bn) with a key caveat: “if […]

South Korean video services protest at increased music rates

A group of video streaming services in South Korea are protesting at plans to increase the royalties they pay for music used in the content on their platforms. The Korea Herald has the story, which explains that the Korea Music Copyright Association (Komca) proposed an increase in rates for Korean video services from 0.625% of […]

Spotify, Apple and Amazon set for UK streaming inquiry hearing

When YouTube, SoundCloud and Twitch took part in a DSPs hearing at the UK’s streaming economics inquiry recently – well, Twitch’s rep didn’t get to speak – we knew there’d be another session for the big guns of the audio streaming world. Now it has been confirmed for next week: Tuesday 23 February. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music […]

Landr launches Sessions video calling app made for musicians

Having started life as an AI-powered mastering tool, Landr has expanded a lot in recent years: into distribution, for example. Its latest new service is called Sessions, not to be confused with the livestreaming startup of the same name. Landr Sessions is essentially Zoom but made for musicians, including the ability to stream high-quality audio […]

Ditto Music launches Industry Access diversity initiative

Distributor Ditto Music is the latest company trying to widen access to the music industry. It has launched a new scheme called Industry Access aimed at people from minority and working-class backgrounds. It will include a training programme for up to 100 people aged 16 and over, as well as a music industry fair and […]

Managers body Emma offers its views on livestream licensing

As PRS for Music’s recent launch of a livestreaming tariff in the UK (and subsequent u-turn after a barrage of criticism) showed, creating licensing for livestreams is a sensitive affair right now. The European Music Managers Alliance (Emma) has joined the debate by setting out its views on how such tariffs should work, at a time when […]

Warner Music Group invests in Middle Eastern label Rotana

Warner Music Group’s latest splashing of its cash is focused on the Middle East, and independent label Rotana Music. The undisclosed investment includes a deal for WMG’s Ada Worldwide label services division to distribute Rotana’s releases “globally outside of MENA and via YouTube for the entire world”. “We’re especially excited about the opportunity to both […]

Copyright scanning startup Pex raises $57m funding round

We profiled Pex in March last year: the startup has developed technology to scan, fingerprint and index audio and video on a swathe of video streaming services and social apps. It has since shared some of its data on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Now the company has raised an impressive $57m funding round to continue its growth. Tencent and Tencent […]

Triller claims ‘there is no legal definition of MAU/DAU’

In the past, Triller has responded aggressively to accusations that it has inflated its user figures in public statements: for example threatening to sue analytics firm Apptopia when the latter questioned its stats. Now the issue has cropped up again with a Billboard article claiming that Triller had around 25 million monthly active users in July 2020, despite a […]

Report: 24m hours of music were watched on Twitch in January

Music-focused channels were streamed for 24m hours in January, according to a report published by StreamElements using data from analytics firm Rainmaker·gg. “At this same time in 2020, it was only averaging around 4.6 million hours, which illustrates the difference a year and a pandemic can make,” claimed the report. It also breaks down the top 10 […]

Julie’s Bicycle talks sustainability and music: ‘Start wherever you can’

The latest episode of our Music Ally TV Show focused on sustainability and the music industry: the case for companies in our sector upping their efforts even more to help tackle the climate emergency. The first section of the show was a discussion between Dr Allen Hershkowitz, one of the world’s leading experts on the […]

The case for sustainability as a priority for the music industry

“We’re treating the atmosphere like a sewer! Every day we dump a hundred million tonnes more of global warming pollution into the atmosphere… We are literally on a path, this might sound extreme, but frankly the new concept that people are talking about is ‘human extinction event’.” As one of the world’s leading environmental scientists, […]

ByteDance could sell TikTok India to local rival Glance

ByteDance appears to have seen off attempts by the last US administration to force it to sell TikTok to an American company or shut it down. Now the company can refocus its attention on a country where its social video app *has* been shut down for a while: India. Bloomberg reported that ByteDance has a plan: a […]

Artist Mario Winans launches Artime music mentoring startup

Mario Winans is known to many people for his 2004 hit ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ but you probably DO wanna know about what he’s up to in 2021. It’s a music startup called Artime, which is going to focus on online mentoring for independent artists and students. They’ll be able to browse the company’s roster of […]

SyncFloor patents ‘natural language search’ of music catalogue

SyncFloor, the music discovery and licensing platform, has been awarded a technology patent for the key part of its platform designed with the needs of video production teams in mind: its “natural language search.” As CEO Kirt Debique (pictured) explained to Music Ally in our Startup Files piece in June 2020, SyncFloor believes it can generate […]

Sofar Sounds snaps up ticketing startup Seated in acquisition

In 2018, ticketing startup Seated made people, ahem, sit up and take notice when it was one of the winners at the Midemlab startups contest. We reported on its winning pitch at the time, with the company working directly with artists to sell tickets to their shows, and to remind fans when they were on sale – even automatically […]

Music industry sustainability: ‘Every little thing matters’

Friday’s episode of the Music Ally TV Show was really interesting: an exploration of the music industry and environmental sustainability. “It’s more than just the right thing to do: it’s an essential business obligation,” said Dr Allen Hershkowitz, one of the world’s authorities on this area. “There is no one big answer to this issue… […]

Universal Music Group to go public with Amsterdam listing

The London Stock Exchange may be the listing venue of choice for companies like Hipgnosis and Round Hill Music, but Universal Music Group will be going public on a different European exchange – later this year. Parent company Vivendi confirmed its plans to spin off UMG on the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam, in an announcement that came […]

Spotify reveals new ‘Work From Anywhere’ policy for staff

A year in to the Covid-19 global pandemic, and in many countries there are still huge swathes of industries working from home – music included. Both there and in countries where control measures have enabled more of a ‘normal’ life to resume, though, thoughts are turning to the longer term changes to working patterns that the […]

Syncfloor awarded patent for ‘natural language search’ of music catalogue

SyncFloor, the music discovery and licensing platform, has been awarded a technology patent for the key part of its platform designed with the needs of video production teams in mind: its “natural language search.” As CEO Kirt Debique explained to Music Ally in our Startup Files piece in June 2020, SyncFloor believes it can generate […]

YouTube and SoundCloud testify at UK’s streaming economics inquiry

A lot has been said about the strengths and failings of music streaming services during the UK parliamentary inquiry into the economics of this market. Yesterday, three DSPs got the chance to have their say. Well, two of them, as things turned out. In one of the most curious episodes in the inquiry so far, […]

‘The song value has been suppressed… because of the industry mechanics’

Yesterday’s second session at the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming was another double-header, featuring representatives of musicians. Graham Davies is chief executive of songwriters body the Ivors Academy, while Horace Trubridge is general secretary of the Musicians’ Union (and a founder member of 1970s band Darts). The panel of MPs questioning […]

Podz app turns podcasts into playlists of 60-second clips

With every music streaming service and their aunt piling into podcasts, we’re interested in some of the innovation coming from startups in that space: as a precursor to future features (or indeed acquisitions) from the big platforms. So Podz is worth checking out: it’s an iPhone app pitched as “your audio newsfeed”. What that means is it […]

Facebook reported to be developing a Clubhouse clone

Apparently tech mogul Elon Musk has just agreed to do Clubhouse with Kanye West, which is either the latest proof of the audio-debating-club’s amazing disruptive potential, or the latest proof that it’s a hellhole of blowhards. Delete according to preference. But Clubhouse *is* having a bit of a moment right now: even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped […]

BPI and MPA have their say at UK’s music streaming inquiry

The latest day of hearings for the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming was the busiest yet, with three sessions – including the first to involve streaming services. As before, there was a mixture of tough questions, grandstanding and moments of farce. And plenty to think about as the digital, culture, media and […]

Justin Bieber set for Valentine’s Day TikTok livestream

Fresh from inking a spangly new deal with Universal Music Group, TikTok is preparing to host a livestreamed concert by one of its key artists. Justin Bieber will play a full-length concert on TikTok on 14 February (yes, for Valentine’s Day) with a re-airing the following day. It’s very much a fan-service event too: Bieber will be […]

Deezer swaps streams for steams in new erotica section

If ever there were a story whose keywords were guaranteed to get Music Ally’s bulletin blocked by the music industry’s spam filters en masse, it’s this one. Well, apart from the stories about That Site launching a record label or That Other Site being used by Cardi B for a fan subscription. But anyway: Deezer has launched a […]

Echo’s latest music feature lets friends share tracks

Amazon regularly adds new music-related commands and features to its Alexa voice assistant, and many go under the radar of journalists and the music industry. The latest is worth noting though: owners of Echo smart speakers can now ask Alexa to “share this song with” one of their contacts – as in people they have set up as […]

SoundCloud has a new board director: Troy Carter

2021 is shaping up as a highly interesting year for streaming service (turned distributor) SoundCloud. First hints that it could be mulling user-centric payouts in some form, and now news that it has added Q&A boss Troy Carter to its board of directors. SoundCloud says Carter will be advising the company on “all topics across the music […]

Spotify launches Noteable website gathering songwriter resources

Spotify launched a songwriters hub on its service last December, gathering playlists and podcasts by or about the songwriting community. Now it’s launching a dedicated site, called Noteable, for those songwriters. The site, which comes with its own newsletter and social accounts, is being pitched as a place for writers and composers to “get the […]

Blockchain game sells nine plots of virtual land… for $1.5m

We’ve been writing about NFTs (nonfungible tokens) recently, and thinking about their potential for the music industry. But other entertainment sectors are doing the same, games in particular – the pioneer industry in terms of creating collectible digital items that people are willing to pay money for. What they’re paying money for this week are […]

Twitter ended 2020 with 192 million daily active users

Twitter is the latest tech company to publish its financial results for the final quarter of 2020. It ended the year with 192 million ‘monetisable daily active users’ (mDAUs – its chosen metric) which was up 27% year-on-year. Twitter’s revenues also grew, by 28% to $1.29bn, helping it to an operating profit of $252m. In keeping with […]

Jadu debuts ‘Curse of Calypso’ Palaye Royale AR experience

Jadu is one of the startups exploring the potential of augmented reality technology for music artists. Its latest experiment is with artist Palaye Royale, for whom it has created an AR experience called ‘Curse of Calypso‘. It’ll bring the band (and their piano) into fans’ living rooms, along with music from their latest album ‘The […]

BPI reveals latest artists to receive UK export funding

10 more artists have been announced as receiving funding from the UK’s Music Export Growth Scheme, which is run by industry body the BPI. It’s the first tranche of funding since the scheme was put on hiatus during the initial wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jungle, Beabadoobee, Bicep, Kero Kero Bonito, Kwaye, Wesley Joseph, Orla […]

Amazon rumoured to be working on a wall-mounted Echo

It may be a while before Amazon takes the wrappers off its next family of Alexa-enabled devices, given the Christmas season tends to be its focus. However, Bloomberg is offering a sneak peek at what Amazon may have in store for later in 2021. “A new Echo device with a large touchscreen that attaches to the wall […]

Distributor PlayTreks hopes to stand out with analytics focus

At last week’s indies session at the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into music streaming, Aim boss Paul Pacifico suggested that major labels buying independent distributors wasn’t necessarily a concern as long as new independent firms sprung up to keep that sector thriving. We’re not saying PlayTreks is the next Awal, but it’s one of the newest companies to […]

Mike Shinoda releases his first NFT – and it’s valuable

NFTs – nonfungible tokens – are rapidly pinging the radar of the music industry, as it wakes up to the decent sums of money being paid for digital collectible assets of various kinds. We expect to see a growing number of music-related NFTs this year, and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda – often early into new tech trends […]

Hipgnosis Songs Fund raises another £75m for acquisitions

On the rare news-day when we don’t have a Hipgnosis catalogue acquisition to report, it feels like there’s often news of the company raising more money for its next swathe of deals instead. On Friday, Hipgnosis announced that it had raised £75m (around $103m) through its latest sale of shares, with MBW reporting that Morgan Stanley Investment Management led […]

Triller hits back at UMG claiming artists can license direct

If you thought Donald Trump’s advisers’ attempts to overturn the US presidential election would be the most surprising legal arguments you’d hear in 2021… Well, Triller might just have, ahem, trumped them. After Universal Music Group pulled its catalogue from the short video platform saying it had “shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists”, Triller […]

Spotify has now paid out more than €21bn to rightsholders

Spotify has filed its full report for 2020 with US regulator the SEC, and there are some interesting nuggets on the company’s business in there. For example: “Through December 31, 2020, we have paid more than €21 billion in royalties to certain record labels, music publishers, and other rights holders since our launch,” explains the filing. […]

Independents day at the UK’s music streaming inquiry

Having recently grilled the bosses of the three major labels’ UK subsidiaries, today it was time for the MPs on the UK’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming to hear from the independent sector. Jazz Re:freshed co-CEO and executive director Yvette Griffith; Aim CEO Paul Pacifico; and Beggars Group general counsel Rupert Skellett were […]

Podcaster Joe Budden joins Patreon as ‘head of creator equity’

Joe Budden was one of Spotify’s first big podcast signings back in August 2018, with an exclusive on his popular hip-hop show. However, two years later Budden binned off the streaming service in public fashion, claiming “Spotify is pillaging. You pillage the audience from the podcast, and you’ve continued to pillage each step of the way”. Where […]

SoundCloud gets into gaming with Player One tournament

SoundCloud’s latest expansion is taking it into the buzziest areas of the modern media industry: gaming and esports. The streaming service is launching its own online gaming tournament, Player One, which will see eight popular musicians on SoundCloud competing in Fortnite for an audience watching on Twitch and SoundCloud. Rapper Rico Nasty is on board as […]

Todd Rundgren sets off on a geo-fenced virtual tour of the US

During the ‘live and livestreaming’ track at last week’s NY:LON Connect conference, one of the recurring points was the idea of geo-fencing virtual tours, with shows focusing on fans in a specific city or region. We expect to see plenty of experimentation with this in 2021, and artist Todd Rundgren’s upcoming tour is one of […]

Defected Records to launch slate of original shows for Twitch

Twitch continues to be a touchy subject for major rightsholders in the music industry, but Amazon’s livestreaming service is also forging partnerships with independent labels – particularly in the dance world. Defected Records, for example, which used Twitch for its online music events last year as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. Now Defected is planning six […]

Early social streaming service Turntable·fm is coming back

It’s now a full decade since the launch of Turntable·fm, the music streaming service built around avatars and chat rooms. It got lots of buzz at its peak, but ultimately foundered – in part because it struggled with licensing. Could the idea work better in 2021? We’re going to find out. One of the original team, […]

Awal acquisition is ‘not good news’ says Absolute boss

Following Awal’s acquisition by Sony Music, rival independent distributors are having their say on what it all means – and some of them are worried. Absolute Label Services boss Henry Semmence wrote an op-ed for MBW explaining why the deal is not “music to Absolute’s ears” as some people might expect. “Make no mistake, the continued consolidation […]

Music Venue Trust takes 13 more venues off its crisis list

Here’s some more positive news from the campaign in the UK to preserve the future of independent music venues hit by the Covid-19 shutdown. The Music Venue Trust has taken 13 more ‘grassroots music venues’ (GMVs) off its ‘red list’ of venues in imminent danger of permanent closure. That’s nearly half of the 30 venues it […]

Morgan Wallen axed from streaming playlists after racial slur

Country star Morgan Wallen had been all over radio and streaming playlists alike in the early weeks of 2021, with his ‘Dangerous: The Double Album’ topping the US charts. However, this week a video emerged of Wallen using a racial slur, and broadcasters and streaming services have been quick to react by pulling his music […]

Sony Music revenues grew strongly in final quarter of 2020

Here’s another one for the list of music companies thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sony Music reported overall music revenues of ¥187.11bn ($1.79bn) in the final quarter of 2020 – its fiscal Q3. That’s up 13% year-on-year (in yen). Within that, recorded music revenues grew by 12.8% to ¥142.1bn ($1.36bn) while publishing revenues grew by 13.3% to […]

Spotify shares tumble after warning of uncertainty ahead

We reported yesterday on Spotify’s latest financial results, including decent growth in users, subscribers and revenues. Yet by the end of the day, the company was worth $5.37bn less than the day before, as its share price fell by 8.2%. Caveat: that still means a market cap of $60.15bn, more than double what Spotify was worth a […]

Tools. Community: Supercharging text to make connecting one-to-Community as easy as connecting one-to-one

SMS marketing platform Community first made it onto our radar in January 2019, after Ashton Kutcher had invested into the company and a flurry of high-profile artists started using the platform (like Eminem, Paul McCartney and Jennifer Lopez). Since then, artists wanting to make use of Community have had to join a waitlist and little […]

Spotify ended 2020 with 345m users including 155m subscribers

Spotify’s latest financial results are out, covering the fourth quarter of 2020, and thus the full calendar year. The streaming service ended the year with 345 million monthly active users, including 155 million premium subscribers. That was year-on-year growth of 27% and 24% respectively, with ad-supported (free) users up 30% to 199 million. Spotify’s quarterly […]

ByteDance sues Tencent in China over WeChat and QQ policies

Chinese tech giants ByteDance and Tencent have been locking horns on the app stores for some time, but now they may be heading to court. ByteDance has sued Tencent alleging monopolistic behaviour in the latter’s WeChat and QQ social platforms. Specifically, it claimed that they are blocking content from ByteDance’s Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok […]

Amazon posts its first $100bn quarter as CEO Bezos steps down

Apple posted its first ever $100bn-revenues quarter last week, and now Amazon has hit the same milestone. In fact, Amazon’s net sales grew by 44% year-on-year to $125.6bn in the fourth quarter of 2020, fuelled by pandemic home-shopping habits. That helped the company to post an operating profit of $6.9bn. For the full year, Amazon’s revenues were […]

Breakr wants to help artists find influencers to work with

As the ‘TikTok-fuelled hit’ stories keep coming, so the idea of enlisting influencers on that and other social apps to help break a new track becomes more appealing – even if manufacturing such virality remains challenging. Breakr is one of the startups popping up promising to help. It’s a platform for ‘music influencers’ and artists, who can […]

CreateSafe makes a publishing simulator for streaming income

Last September, we wrote about startup CreateSafe’s launch of a ‘record deal simulator’, which let anyone plug in figures for advances, recording and marketing costs, as well as artist/label splits, to gauge how many streams an artist would need in order to recoup. It was widely shared within the industry, and was also cited in the […]

Jonathan Azu launches Diversity in Music employment database

Culture Collective managing partner Jonathan Azu was one of the speakers on our NY:LON Connect ‘label evolution’ panel last year. Now he’s starting a new project that aims to help the wider music industry evolve. It’s called Diversity in Music, and is a talent database of Bipoc (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and women music professionals looking for […]

Viagogo told to sell StubHub’s business outside North America

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued its verdict on secondary ticketing firm Viagogo’s acquisition of rival StubHub. The regulator says Viagogo will have to sell StubHub’s business outside North America, and that the CMA will have to approve the purchaser of the business before any sale can go through. The body had concluded that […]

YouTube advertising revenues grew 46% to $6.9bn in Q4 2020

Google and YouTube’s parent company Alphabet published its latest financial numbers yesterday, including advertising revenue figures for YouTube. They show a big bounce-back from the initial hit caused by the Covid-19 pandemic: YouTube ads made $6.89bn in the final quarter of 2020, up 46% year-on-year. That means YouTube advertising accounted for just over 12% of Alphabet’s overall […]

Midia warns of equitable remuneration’s ‘unintended consequences’

There are still several sessions to go in the UK’s parliamentary inquiry into music streaming’s economics, with Aim, Beggars Group and Jazz Re:freshed next in the hotseat on 4 February, and streaming services still to come too. But we can already see strong pointers towards a recommendation by the committee of MPs that at least a […]

Music Venue Trust criticises PRS for Music’s livestream rate

The row over British collecting society PRS for Music’s new livestreams licence continues, with the Music Venue Trust weighing in with a statement offering strong criticism of the society’s approach. It refers to its work with PRS for Music on Covid-19 relief last year. “At no time during those regular conversations across 8 months has anybody suggested […]

Universal Music Group could now go public by the end of 2021

A consortium led by Chinese tech giant Tencent has completed its deal to buy another 10% stake in Universal Music Group, valuing the major label at €30bn overall. The consortium now owns 20% of UMG, with majority owner Vivendi saying that the expanded stake “will notably enable UMG to further develop its activities in Asia”. Vivendi’s announcement […]

Ditto launches Opulous decentralised finance scheme for artists

Ditto CEO Lee Parsons sparked some heated online discussions last month with his ‘There’s never been a better time to be a recording artist‘ article. He claimed that over 500 of the distributor’s artists earned more than $50k from streaming in 2020, and over 50 earned more than $100k, as part of an argument that […]

Facebook and Apple revenues booming despite Covid-19 pandemic

Facebook and Apple both announced their latest quarterly financial results yesterday, with strong growth in revenues despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Facebook’s Q4 revenues were up by 33% year-on-year to $28.07bn, helping the social network turn a net profit of $11.22bn. It had 1.84 billion daily active users (up 11% year-on-year); 2.8 billion monthly active users (up […]

Study: Spotify has 80.7% of Mexico’s music streaming market

We’ve known Spotify was big in Mexico for some time now, but a new study claims that the company has an 80.7% share of the music streaming market there. The study comes from The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), and claims that YouTube Music is in second place with 5.1% of the market, followed by Apple Music (4.5%) […]

Big Hit Entertainment investing in K-Pop rival YG Entertainment

As we’ve found out when reporting on any story comparing BTS and Blackpink, different K-Pop fandoms can be… competitive. So it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll make of the news that BTS’s parent company Big Hit Entertainment is planning to invest 70bn won (around $63m) in rival YG Entertainment, which includes Blackpink, Bigbang and Psy among […]

PRS for Music’s livestreaming licence sparks another row

In December, UK collecting society PRS for Music’s proposed tariff for livestreamed concerts drew an angry response from manager and artist bodies MMF and FAC, claiming that it would make livestreams “unviable” for artists of all sizes. Yesterday, PRS launched its new ‘Online Live Concert‘ licence for small events – those earning less than £500 in […]

French study offers new data on impact of user-centric payouts

One of the things that’s been clear in the debate about user-centric models for paying out streaming royalties – primer here if you need it – is that we need more studies based on recent data from big streaming services. So, news this week of a new study commissioned by the National Music Centre (CNM) in France from […]

Short videos app Clash raises funding and buys rival Byte

We wrote about Byte when it launched in January 2020: it was created by the co-founder of Vine as a new take on short-video apps. In July, it announced plans to add music to its app. We’ve also written about Clash Video, another short-video app, founded by a TikToker and launched in July 2020. Now the two are […]

Spotify is testing geotargeted tracks to slow down drivers

Spotify can put songs in your personalised playlists targeted by your tastes, but a pilot project in Australia is seeing the streaming service inserting songs based on listeners’ location. Specifically those who are within 5km of school zones in Queensland. It’s a partnership with the Australian Road Safety Foundation that “will work to keep kids safe within […]

IFPI and BVMI win injunction against stream-manipulation site

The IFPI and its member bodies are on a drive to crack down on stream-ripping piracy destinations, but ‘streaming manipulation’ sites are also very much on their radar. The latest proof is an injunction issued in Germany against a site called likeservice24·de, which IFPI claims is “a widely-used website engaged in illicit music streaming manipulation […]

UMG and Lego’s partnership spawns Vidiyo music video-making app

In April 2020, Universal Music Group and Lego announced that they were working together on some new music-focused products for kids, to be released in 2021. Now the first of those products has been unveiled. It’s called Vidiyo, and it includes an augmented reality app, a new collection of Lego minifigures, and a catalogue of music from […]

Rebuilding Europe study stresses creative industries’ importance

As music and other creative industries continue to lobby for support from governments and policymakers to get through the Covid-19 pandemic, figures showing their importance to the wider economy are crucial. Expect to hear a lot about a new Rebuilding Europe report by research firm EY, then – commissioned by the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and […]

YouTube reveals $30bn payouts figure for last three years

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has published her latest letter to YouTube’s community of creators, and as usual there are some new figures alongside the recap and future plans. The big number: “Over the last three years, we’ve paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies,” wrote Wojcicki. She also provided an update on […]

Round Hill boss sceptical about major music firms’ priorities

Josh Gruss, CEO of Round Hill Music, was the keynote interviewee for NY:LON Connect’s publishing strand yesterday. He offered some views on the disparity in digital royalties between recordings and songs. “I think it should be around 50/50. You don’t have a recording without the song. You also don’t have a concert without the song,” […]

ByteDance: ‘We don’t know when we will make a comeback in India’

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is cutting back its workforce in India, after the government there decided to renew its ban on TikTok and other apps of Chinese origin. Reuters reported on an internal memo from ByteDance setting out its plans. “We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived…we find that has not been the case,” it […]

Music industry diversity and equity must be about ‘legacy changes’

Yesterday’s third track in the NY:LON Connect conference we co-run with Music Biz focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in the music industry, starting with a keynote session involving Binta Brown, founder of Omalily Projects and co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition, and Paulette Long OBE, deputy chair of UK Music’s diversity taskforce. “I’m […]

Tools. Crowdtangle: Follow, analyze, and report on what’s happening with public content on social media

CrowdTangle, which was bought by Facebook in 2017, is a tool for media publishers and content creators to track how content spreads online, and to see what content their target audience engages with. CrowdTangle is free to use and can be used – to a certain extent – by anyone, but the platform’s full analytics […]

Vimeo’s latest funding round values the company at $5bn

We last wrote about video streaming service Vimeo in November 2020, when it raised $150m in a new funding round, as parent company IAC mulled a spin-off for the service. Now the company is turning to investors again, raising another round of $300m which IAC said values Vimeo at more than $5bn. In fact, it quantified the ‘more’ […]

Label Big Dada relaunches with new focus on minority communities

Independent label Ninja Tune’s Big Dada subsidiary already has a strong reputation for its hip-hop releases, but now it is relaunching with a new mission statement. Big Dada will now be “run by Black, POC & Minority Ethnic people for Black, POC & Minority Ethnic artists” – the company provided a “for lack of a better […]

African music accounts for 70% of streams on Boomplay service

Streaming service Boomplay’s MD East Africa Martha Huro was one of the speakers at the NY:LON Connect conference yesterday, in an MQA-hosted session on opportunities for regional DSPs. She offered insight into trends on the pan-African streaming service. “70% of our total streams come from African content,” she said, adding that this guides Boomplay’s strategy […]

Spotify and Apple show narrative ambition with new audio stories

There is more to non-music audio than podcasts, as we’ve been pointing out recently. The latest proof comes from Spotify and Apple, with their latest content experiments. Spotify has released nine new audiobooks on its service. Well, we say ‘new’ – they are all classic, public-domain books – ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Frankenstein’ etc – but brand new recordings […]

PRS Foundation launches ‘Power Up’ anti-racism initiative

PRS Foundation is hoping to follow the success of its Keychange initiative, which supports underrepresented genders in the music industry, with a new movement tackling anti-Black racism. It’s called ‘Power Up’, and is launching as a partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition, with the backing of a number of industry […]

UTA’s David Zedeck: livestreaming will be a ‘virtual balcony’

The NY:LON Connect conference that we co-run with Music Biz kicked off its first online edition yesterday with a track on the future of live and livestreaming, including a keynote interview with UTA partner and global head of music David Zedeck, conducted by Billboard’s Taylor Mims. He talked about how he sees livestreaming’s future once […]

WMG teams up with FMG for Adaptr startups licensing platform

Warner Music Group has teamed up with Feed Media Group – the company behind B2B music firm Feed.fm – to launch an initiative that aims to make it easier for startups to license music. It’s called Adaptr, and its core is a pre-licensed library of music for developers to use in their apps, for which they’ll pay […]

Clubhouse has 2m users, new funding and plans for ‘creators’

In our world, chatter about ‘audio’ tends to focus on podcasts, and music streaming services’ drive into that form of content. However, there’s a wider audio trend getting Silicon Valley excited, and Clubhouse is one of the main reasons. It’s the service once described as “a mashup of Spotify, Zoom and even the X Factor“, […]

TikTok’s new creator portal has tips for TikTokers old and new

There’s a long history of video and social media platforms building detailed ‘playbooks’ – resources teaching the people using their services how to build audiences and make good stuff. TikTok is no different: it has just revamped its educational materials with the launch of the TikTok Creator Portal. Aimed at creators old and new, it promises best-practice […]

Nigerian musicians await resolution in battle of the PROs

In January 2019 during a panel on Africa’s music industries at NY:LON Connect, Chocolate City group’s Aibee Abidoye talked about one of the challenges in Nigeria: competing collecting societies causing confusion in the market – including giving broadcasters an excuse for avoiding paying royalties for music usage. Are things looking any more settled two years on? This […]

Indian music company Saregama reports latest financials

Saregama is one of the Indian media firms focusing on both music and films – and, indeed, music for/from films. Its latest financial results reveal that the business is holding up despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on India’s movie industries. Saregama’s quarterly revenues were up by 7% year-on-year to 134.6 crore rupees (around $18.5m) even though its […]

Sea shanties singer Nathan Evans gets a major label deal

As we write this story, Scottish artist Nathan Evans is on course for a top 10 hit in the UK with ‘Wellerman’ – his sea-shanty cover that took TikTok by storm. There’s an obligatory heartwarming story about him giving up his job as a postman for a career in music. But behind this, there’s an industry move: Evans […]

Buying catalogues is a sprint, but managing them is a marathon

It’s easy to buy a catalogue of songs – well, it is if you have the money, obviously – but the challenge of managing them well to grow revenues is an important challenge. “Marketing is absolutely at the core of future success for song catalogues, even if lucky random breaks will continue to happen thanks to […]

Native Instruments sells majority stake to Francisco Partners

By the end of 2020, Native Instruments had more than 1.5 million monthly active users of its products for making music and DJing. This, plus the wider buzz around music creation technology, has been making investors’ ears prick up. Native Instruments’ majority owner is an investment company called EMH Partners, which bought in to NI […]

Bob Dylan’s catalogue sale sparks lawsuit over co-writes

Where there’s money, there are invariably lawsuits. There’s certainly money in musicians selling their catalogues and royalty interests to investment companies, and lo and behold, there are lawsuits popping up as a result. Bob Dylan is facing one, after selling his song catalogue to Universal Music Group in December. Billboard reported on the lawsuit from the […]

British artists criticise UK government over Brexit mess

Musicians in the UK are still angry about the lack of a deal to help them avoid increased costs and red tape when touring Europe, after Brexit. A number of them have written an open letter to the British government lambasting its failure to reach an agreement with the EU on this point. “British musicians, dancers, actors […]

UK’s music streaming economics inquiry publishes written evidence

If you had the metaphorical (or, indeed, literal) popcorn out on Tuesday for the latest sessions in the UK parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming… well, perhaps grab a few more bags now and settle in for the day. The committee behind the inquiry has just published all the written evidence submitted by […]

Netflix shares soar as video services passes 200m subscribers

Netflix ended 2020 with 203.7 million paying subscribers, according to its latest financial results. The company added 8.5 million net paid members in the final quarter of the year, and 37 million in 2020 as a whole – a record for Netflix. The video streaming service generated $6.64bn of revenues in Q4, and a net profit […]

Spotify users created more than 12k new sea shanty playlists

Why are sea shanties so popular on TikTok and streaming services right now? Wait for it… Because they arrrrrrrrr! With #ShantyTok establishing itself as 2021’s first unexpected social/streaming music trend, Spotify has revealed some stats on how sea shanties are catching on with its listeners. The company says that its users have created more than […]

BBTV says its music video content gets 391m monthly viewers

BBTV is one of the companies that works with music artists and channels to boost their YouTube performance: clients include mtheory (Major Lazer included); Future Classic (Flume included) and 21 Savage. Now the company has published its latest stats on how its roster of channels and videos is doing on YouTube. It claims that in […]

Smart speakers startup Syng hires Rio Caraeff ahead of launch

We wrote about Syng in May 2020: it was a startup founded by former Apple design team member Christopher Stringer, which was planning to launch its own smart speaker and subscription service. The company is still working on those first products, but as launch nears, it has made a significant hire: former Vevo and Magic Leap […]

Call for entries: Midemlab 2021 music startups contest

Music tech startups! It’s that time of year again: when industry conference Midem opens the applications process for its Midemlab startups contest. It’s the competition’s 14th year, and as ever Music Ally is delighted to be one of the selecting partners (alongside Panache Ventures and The Lynk) who’ll be rummaging through the applicants to pick […]

Wave is shutting down its VR app to focus ‘outside headsets’

Wave started life as a virtual reality music startup, with an app hosting VR raves. In recent times, it has pivoted to become more of a production tool: artists like The Weeknd have used it to turn their livestreams into hybrid video/animation events, to be broadcast on bigger social and video platforms. Now Wave is […]

Live Nation makes its livestreaming move with Veeps deal

If you needed a sign that livestreaming is likely to sit side-by-side with physical concerts even once the latter return at scale, how about Live Nation buying a majority stake in a livestreaming startup? That happened yesterday, as the live giant bought in to Veeps, the company founded by musicians Joel and Benji Madden of Good […]

Major labels gave evidence to the UK’s music streaming economics inquiry… so what did we learn?

It’s actually pretty rare to get genuine smoking-gun ‘gotchas’ from political inquiries in the moment. When they work well, it’s more about patient, forensic questioning that elicits genuinely enlightening answers – and sometimes quotes that later come back to haunt the speaker. Did we get that from this morning’s sessions at the UK parliamentary inquiry into […]

Laura Marling livestream to be rebroadcast as ticketed event

Last summer, Laura Marling sold 6,500 tickets for her two livestreamed shows from the Union Chapel venue in London: one of the first examples of a ticketed livestream utilising that kind of performance space during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now her team is experimenting again: exploring how much replay value there is in those original concerts. On 31 […]

WMG strikes deal with Punjabi music firm Sky Digital India

As India’s music streaming market grows, so the western major labels continue to seek out partners to grow their foothold there. The latest example is Warner Music Group’s new distribution agreement with Sky Digital India, an aggregator of Punjabi music from more than 42 Indian labels, as well as running a collection of Punjabi music […]

Scruff of the Neck launches live music shows on Twitch

British live music promoter Scruff of the Neck is trying out a new business model on livestreaming service Twitch. It’s launching a channel called Scruff of the Neck TV, which will be airing three-hour shows with live music performances, with 10 planned this month before settling into a schedule of performances, podcasts and artist interviews from […]

Feat guide offers anti-touting tips for agents and promoters

Ticket touting has dropped out of the music industry headlines over the last nine months – unsurprisingly, given that in many countries there aren’t many tickets to tout due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But as the live industry continues its preparations for a return at scale (hopefully) later this year, so the murkier side of secondary […]

Publishers and PROs ‘disappointed’ as US consent decrees are unchanged

The US Justice Department has decided to leave the ‘consent decrees’ governing public performances of music unchanged, sparking an unimpressed response from publishers and collecting societies there. This is the legislation that means Ascap and BMI have to license their entire catalogue of music for public performance by any company that requests it. Both PROs […]

Bicep turn their ‘Isles’ artwork into an Instagram filter

The latest artist to turn their artwork into a whizzy Instagram filter is Bicep. Signed to Ninja Tune, their new album ‘Isles’ comes out on 22 January, with the filter launching ahead of it – tap on this link from your phone to try it. It’s not just a fun effect though: fans creating videos with it […]

UK and European Comission disagree over who’s to blame for Brexit music woes

While musicians in the UK and Europe fret about the Brexit deal’s impact on touring, the British government and European Commission are arguing about who’s fault it is. “We sought a mutually beneficial agreement that would have allowed performers to continue working and perform across the continent without the need for work permits. Musicians, artists, […]

Report: global startups funding grew by 4% in 2020 to $300bn

We’ve written a lot about what the Covid-19 pandemic meant for the music industry, but what about the wider tech world – and funding for startups in particular? CrunchBase has published its annual review of the figures. It claims that global venture funding grew by 4% year-on-year to $300bn in 2020, and then breaks this […]

UMG signs music licensing deal with fitness service Variis

Variis isn’t a fitness startup as such: it’s a fitness app launched last March by Equinox Media, owner of a chain of gyms in the US. The app works with a Peloton-style connected exercise bike, which costs $2,500, and provides video lessons from instructors. Now, like Peloton, Variis is signing licensing deals with major music labels. […]

Tencent Music could raise $3.5bn from secondary offering

Chinese digital music giant Tencent Music went public in 2018 with an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Now, however, the company may be preparing a secondary offering in Hong Kong that could raise up to $3.5bn. That’s according to Nikkei Asia, which suggested that TME’s plans are part of a trend for Chinese companies that are […]

Sonos Radio is the third most-streamed service on its devices

The latest musicians to curate channels on Sonos Radio were announced yesterday: D’Angelo, FKA Twigs, Björk and the Chemical Brothers are the latest artists to turn DJ for the hardware firm’s streaming service. But another detail in the announcement caught our eye: the fact that Sonos Radio is now “the third most streamed service on Sonos”. That’s […]

Report claims Twitch viewing hours grew by 83% in 2020

Video streaming industry firm StreamElements has published its latest report on the state of the livestreaming market, using data from analytics firm Arsenal·gg. Among the claims: that Twitch saw its viewing hours grow by 83%, from 9bn hours in 2019 to 17bn in 2020. The report also suggests that in December 2020 alone, people watched Twitch […]

Expect more rows in 2021 over platform moderation of podcasts

Hot Pod News founder Nicholas Quah is one of the sharpest analysts of the podcasting industry, so his ‘2021 Year in Preview‘ post is well worth a read. Among its predictions: more moderation rows ahead over the content of podcasts made available through big platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. “I have a strong feeling […]

The latest unexpected TikTok trend is… sea shanties?

“Soon may the Wellerman come, to bring us sugar and tea and rum…” In a day of news with plenty of worries for our industry – Brexit, concert cancellations etc – here’s some light relief: the latest music craze on TikTok is sea shanties. A growing number of TikTokers are singing traditional sailors’ songs, often […]

Aim calls for UK / EU cooperation to resolve Brexit mess

Anger is still reverberating around the British music industry about the costs and red tape musicians will face touring in Europe following Brexit. News that Brits running training seminars on the continent wouldn’t need a permit spurred artist Tim Burgess to note that “setting up The Charlatans Business Consultancy Inc – where people buy tickets and I sing […]

The 1975 cancel all their scheduled concerts for 2021

Remember the days, in March last year, when concerts and festivals were being postponed to the autumn? Those were optimistic times. Live music is coming back in a number of countries that have Covid-19 under control, but in many major music markets it’s still unclear whether autumn *this* year will be possible for concerts at […]

Shakira and KT Tunstall sell stakes in their music catalogues

Two more musicians are selling their rights – or at least part of them – to investment companies. Shakira is the latest to throw in her lot with Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which has acquired 100% of her music publishing rights for her entire catalogue of 145 songs. “One of the most serious and successful songwriters […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Bitfury Surround – After the initial hype disappointed, can blockchain tech have a second coming for music?

Bitfury Surround says it is about to provide a platform that can take all your data, attach it to the blockchain, and standardise it. Then, you can look at this vast, interconnected set of data and figure out, for instance, the money you’ve not recovered, and who you need to get it from. Or figure out who to market to […]

Social app Parler faces app store removals and partner pullouts

“Ban him @discogs, just in case,” from musician Damon Krukowski was one of the tweets that raised a smile after Twitter and a host of other social and video platforms banned or suspended US president Donald Trump’s accounts. The crackdown en masse by mainstream platforms also sparked debate about where Trump and his supporters will move, online-wise. […]

Sony unveils its first 360 Reality Audio smart speakers

Sony’s consumer electronics arm has been showing off its new smart speakers, which are its first to use the company’s 360 Reality Audio format. They do stick to some Sony traditions though: numberwangtastic product names: the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 will be launching in the next couple of months. Both devices will offer a choice of voice […]

Primavera-funded study explores Covid-safe concert measures

A study commissioned by Spanish festival Primavera Sound has offered some pointers to the kind of safety measures that could be used at concerts when they start to return later this year. A gig at an indoors venue for 463 people who’d been tested (negative!) on the same day for Covid-19 took place on 12 […]

UK recorded music market grew by 6.8% to £1.55bn in 2020

We reported last week on industry body the BPI’s report that music consumption grew by 8.2% in the UK last year. Now we have some revenue figures to set alongside that, courtesy of the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era). It claims that Brits spent £1.55bn on music across physical sales, download sales and streaming subscriptions in 2020, up by […]

SiriusXM writes down Pandora value by $1bn citing royalties

US satellite radio firm SiriusXM has revealed that it is writing down the value of Pandora, its music streaming subsidiary, by around $1bn. The news came in SiriusXM’s announcement to investors of its expectations for 2021 under newly-installed CEO Jennifer Witz. “In connection with its annual impairment assessment of goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets, the company […]

UK music industry enraged by post-Brexit touring revelation

“Immigration arrangements for members of the armed forces, musicians and other performers are completely unchanged, and those routes will operate as they do now,” said the UK’s home secretary Priti Patel in February 2020, during a parliamentary debate on plans for a new points-based immigration system after the UK Brexited from the European Union. 11 months […]

Report: games and interactive media made $139.9bn in 2020

It isn’t news that the games industry is now much bigger than the recorded music industry, and rather than that getting us down, it should fuel our excitement about the potential collaborations between the two industries. Some new figures on exactly how big the games market is are out this week from research firm SuperData. Its […]

Facebook redesigns pages with focus on followers over likes

How many likes does your top artist’s or company’s Facebook page have? Who cares?! At least, that’s one of the messages coming from Facebook’s latest redesign of how its pages look and work. “We are removing Likes and focusing on Followers to simplify the way people connect with their favorite Pages,” explained Facebook in a blog […]

Apple hails Apple Music’s ‘record year’ (without user figure)

It’s our strong suspicion that Apple Music will soon have more than 100 million paying users, and that Apple is waiting for that milestone before updating its official stat from the 60 million figure it revealed in June 2019. If so, that’s why a new users stat is missing from Apple’s announcement reviewing its services’ performance in […]

Hunter Walk’s ‘creator wellness’ ideas apply to music too

Former YouTube executive Hunter Walk, who’s now an investor, has published an interesting article with some suggestions for dealing with ‘creator burnout’ on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. We think it may have some useful ideas for the music industry too, where many artists feel like they’re on a similar algorithm-driven treadmill of content creation. “What’s […]

Roblox raises $520m funding round from investors including WMG

Gaming platform Roblox was all set to go public in late 2020, before putting off its IPO until this year to give more time to decide how to price it. Now the company has sprung a surprise with a new funding round of $520m – its Series H round – valuing Roblox at $29.5bn. The round was led by VC […]

Cameo sold 1.3m videos in 2020, with revenues of $100m

Another Covid-19 pandemic trend has been a flood of celebrities joining Cameo, the service set up for fans to pay their favourite (or comically obscure) stars to record video messages for their friends, family or colleagues. Now Cameo has revealed some stats on what this meant for its business in 2020. According to Axios, Cameo sold […]

Swedish startup Staccs preps music concerts streaming service

A lot has been written about the growth of livestreamed music performances during the Covid-19 pandemic – including some shows that were pre-recorded. Meanwhile, some artists and labels with archives of past concerts have been exploring YouTube as a way to keep fans entertained, including using its premieres feature to turn them into social events. Now […]

Neil Young sells 50% of his song catalogue to Hipgnosis

The first few working days of 2021 have been a powerful statement of intent for Hipgnosis Songs Fund, albeit a pretty blistering one for its corporate wallet. Hot on the heels of its deals with Jimmy Iovine and Lindsey Buckingham, today the company has announced a swoop for Neil Young’s songs catalogue. Well, 50% of […]

UK Music sets its sights on summer for live music’s return

We’ll be avoiding generalisations about Covid-19 and live music this year: in countries whose governments have dealt with the epidemic decisively and effectively, concerts are already coming back. In others… that’s not the case. Talking of which: UK Music has published a report targeting this summer for the restarting of the UK’s live music industry. Accompanied […]

Investment firm Shuaa Capital buys stake in Anghami

Early last year, there were rumours that Middle Eastern streaming service Anghami might be up for sale, fresh from generating more than 10bn streams in 2019. A year on, and Anghami remains independent, but it is raising money. Dubai-based investment firm Shuaa Capital has taken a stake in Anghami, although the terms of the transaction have yet […]

Charli D’Amelio is first TikTok star to reach 100m followers

TikTok has its first nine-figure star this morning, with Charli D’Amelio becoming the first TikToker to reach more than 100 million followers on the platform. What’s even more startling is the fact that she only joined TikTok in the spring of 2019, so that audience has been built in just over a year and a half. D’Amelio […]

Apple’s AR team hints at ‘devices that may exist tomorrow’

Apple has been doing a lot of work around augmented reality technology with its iPhone and iPad software and ARKit developer tools, but rumours that the company might be working on a full-blown AR headset persist. An interview with the company’s AR team by CNET offers a little more fuel for that fire. “AR has enormous […]

BPI launches a new Membership Inclusion Programme

British industry body the BPI is trying to expand its membership, particularly from labels and music companies owned by people from “underrepresented” communities in the current industry. That means “women, people from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, people with disabilities, or those who identify as LGBTQIA+” according to the body, which is offering […]

Audoo raises £5.2m from investors including Björn Ulvaeus

British startup Audoo has raised a Series A funding round of £5.2m (around $6.9m) to continue developing and rollout out its technology to track public performance usage of music. The round was raised in 10 weeks from investors including Edinv, Björn Ulvaeus and Tileyard London. The funding follows Audoo’s win at the Midemlab startups contest earlier this […]

MMF chair sees ‘dangerous disconnect’ in streaming royalties

Tomorrow sees the first session in the UK Parliament’s inquiry into music streaming economics. Ahead of that, the chair of managers body the MMF, Paul Craig, has outlined his hopes for the inquiry, as well as his concerns about the current streaming environment. He warned of a “dangerous disconnect” between the streaming-fuelled growth of the recorded […]

Snap acquires music-focused short-video app Voisey

Snapchat’s music ambitions just took another significant step forward, with parent company Snap seemingly having acquired startup Voisey, whose app is used to create and share original music videos. We say ‘seemingly’ because neither company has yet commented, but the news – broken by Business Insider then followed up by TechCrunch – isn’t in doubt. Voisey’s four co-founders resigned as directors last […]

First speakers and sponsors announced for NY:LON Connect

We’re delighted to announce some initial keynote speakers and sponsors for NY:LON Connect 2021 which takes place from 25-28 January. Confirmed keynote speakers include Warner Music Group chief digital officer Oana Ruxandra in the ‘Global Streaming Strategies’ track sponsored by MQA, while Wendy Ong, president of TaP Music, will keynote the ‘Live and Livestreaming’ track. […]

Apple halves its App Store commission for small developers

Apple’s latest salvo to fend off anticompetition accusations is a reduction in its App Store Commission. Its 30% cut will now be reduced to 15% for any developer or small business with annual revenues of less than $1m. The new scheme will launch on 1 January, with Apple pitching it as meaning “small developers and aspiring entrepreneurs […]

Spotify launches collection of original Christmas tracks

It’s Christmas season, and heaven knows we all need it after the year that 2020 has been. It’s no surprise to see Mariah Carey’s annual climb up various charts starting early: ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ is currently 73rd in YouTube’s global chart. Pandora has kicked off its Christmas 2020 ‘digital celebration’ and Amazon Music already launched […]

Artist Lil Yachty is launching his own cryptocurrency

Remember the heyday of the early blockchain+music hype, and visions of a future where successful artists would ‘tokenise’ themselves, with their own cryptocurrencies, with oodles of riches for everyone? Well, we’re still waiting for those oodles. Maybe Lil Yachty can provide them. He’s working with ‘social money platform’ Fyooz, which specialises in getting influencers and celebrities […]

Noisy is a Discord bot that generates AI music for groups

This feels like a very modern story: there’s now a bot for chat app Discord that will serve up AI-generated music in the style of Chopin, Lady Gaga or Frank Sinatra. People running a Discord channel can invite the bot – Noisy – to join to provide them with a soundtrack, using the MuseNet technology launched by tech firm […]

LiveXLive financials show a $10.2m loss for Q3 2020

US livestreaming and podcasts firm LiveXLive is a public company, so it’s one of the few companies in that space whose numbers we get quarterly insights into. The numbers for Q3 follow its historical pattern: growing revenues, but also net losses. LiveXLive saw its revenues grow by 51.9% year-on-year to $14.6m last quarter, but it recorded […]

UK’s streaming inquiry reveals first oral-evidence sessions

We reported last month on plans for a parliamentary inquiry in the UK into the economics of music streaming. Industry bodies, artists, DSPs and other interested parties have been submitting their evidence, and now we know who’s going to be offering their views at the first oral evidence hearing next Tuesday (24 November). The session will kick off with […]

Apple Music Awards return with big gong for Lil Baby

It’s nearly a year since Apple Music held its first awards, anointing Billie Eilish as its inaugural ‘global artist of the year’ with additional prizes for Lizzo and Lil Nas X. Now the awards have returned for a second year, with an announcement today to be followed by a week of performances and online content across Apple’s services […]

Instrumental launches a £10m fund for independent artists

Last month, data-driven A&R startup Instrumental announced that Tencent Music and Tencent Holdings had acquired a minority stake in the British company. Now it’s launching a new initiative in its homeland called the ‘Instrumental Music Fund’, with £10m to invest in independent artists that have been talent-spotted using its technology. “For some time, we have known […]

Wixen Music Publishing sues Triller in $50m lawsuit

The latest copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing promises to be a biggie: it’s suing Triller for $50m, alleging that it has infringed more than 1,000 songs from the company’s catalogue. Billboard has the details, including some pointed criticism of how Triller has been spending its money in recent months. “Instead of paying Wixen […]

Tencent Music invests in Wave and re-airs Billie Eilish livestream

These are two separate stories, but they both show Tencent Music’s growing focus on livestreaming. This morning TME announced a strategic partnership and minority equity investment in startup Wave, whose tech has been used for virtual concerts by the likes of The Weeknd, John Legend and Lindsey Stirling. The deal will enable TME to air […]

SoundCloud adds profile verification and Rotor Videos deal

Bad news for anyone whose hobbies include masquerading as popular musicians on SoundCloud: the service is finally introducing proper blue-tick profile verification. Billie Eilish, Wiz Khalifa and Trippie Redd are among the first to get the checkmark, although SoundCloud turned the revealing of others into a day-long social marketing campaign with posts on its Instagram, Facebook […]

Vargas & Lagola team up with Spotify for livestream concert

Vargas & Lagola is the artist name of Swedish duo Vincent Pontare and Salem al Fakir, who recently released their second album ‘Mount Alda’. To promote it, they’re doing a livestreamed concert on 25 November, promising “a holistic experience, a visual journey, where we trigger all senses”. Which is nice, but what’s really interesting about it […]

TicketSwap and GoFundMe aim to raise £2m for European venues

We’ve written about the fundraising campaigns for independent venues run in the US (by NIVA) and the UK (by the Music Venue Trust). Now there’s a new pan-European campaign launched by ticketing firm TicketSwap, crowdfunding site GoFundMe and investment firm Cosimo. The trio are attempting to raise £2m (around $2.6m) across 14 countries to help out at […]

BandLab adds ‘Sounds’ library of royalty-free music samples

There’s a decent business in selling beats, loops and samples to musicians – and growing appeal to artists and producers capable of producing that content. Splice paid out $11m in royalties to sound creators in the first nine months of 2020, while BeatStars reached $70m of lifetime payouts in April, then $85m in July. Now BandLab is […]

Artist tools startup Tully expands its app with premium tiers

In April we wrote about Sony Music investing in a startup called Tully, founded by US artist Joyner Lucas, which had an app that was part distribution service, and part suite of tools for artists to manage both music creation and their business. Now Tully is expanding its offering with something called ‘Tully Platform’, including several tiers of […]

Spotify CFO says UMG is ‘willing to lean in more aggressively’ than rivals

Look away, non-Universal major labels: you may feel a little testy about the latest interview with Spotify CFO Paul Vogel, at a conference organised by RBC Capital Markets. He was asked about Spotify’s latest licensing deal with UMG, which includes access to tests of new marketing tools. “There’s nothing preventing the other labels from doing it, […]

Shazam reveals that it now has 200m monthly active users

The last time we had a figure for how many users Apple’s music-identification app Shazam had, it was 478 million annual active users in 2018. It’s not the most satisfying of metrics for gauging an app’s popularity, but thankfully there’s now an update. According to Apple, Shazam now has 200 million monthly active users. The company completed […]

New features for Twitter and Instagram: Fleets and Guides

Has it really taken this long for Twitter to copy the ‘stories’ format from, well, every other social app? It has. The company’s test of ‘fleets’, which was announced earlier this year, is now becoming a rolled-out feature. Fleets only last for 24 hours before auto-deleting, with profile bubbles at the top of the feed showing people […]

YouTube now has more than 2bn monthly music users

In mid-2018, YouTube said that more than one billion people visited it every month to consume music. Two and a half years later, that total has doubled to more than two billion. The new milestone has been announced this afternoon in a blog post by YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen, as YouTube launched […]

GitHub reinstates YouTube-DL project after RIAA takedown

GitHub is one of the most popular sites for developers in the world, hosting open source code and helping people manage their projects. It’s also on a collision course with music rightsholders in the US, over a takedown notice sent to GitHub in October by industry body the RIAA focusing on a project called YouTube-DL […]

Ticketing firm Eventbrite buys marketing platform ToneDen

We’ve written about ToneDen a few times in recent memory: for a profile of its social and streaming marketing tools in November 2019, for example, and then a story in June this year about its ‘StreamLinks’ feature offering smart links for livestreaming events. Now the startup has been acquired by a company very much rooted in the live events […]

Unilad Sound is now an official Apple Music playlist curator

Earlier this month, we wrote about how online brand LadBible had put Craig David and KSI on people’s desks via an augmented reality music video. Now another part of the LadBible empire, music community Unilad Sound, has announced a big partnership. It’s joining Apple Music as an official curator, initially with four flagship playlists. ‘Certified’ will feature guest […]

Queen join TikTok and make 10 tracks available to its users

We’ve had George Michael, Prince and John Lennon. Now TikTok’s collection of heritage artists has another entry: Queen. The British rock band now have an official TikTok profile, set up by their management with Universal Music Group/Hollywood Records. What’s more, 10 Queen tracks have been made available for TikTokers to use in their own videos. Sensibly, it’s […]

BAPAM bursary scheme aims to support BAME musicians in UK

BAPAM is the British organisation that provides ‘performing arts medicine’ in the UK, supporting musicians and other performers in their physical and mental health. Its latest initiative focuses on the latter for a specific group: Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) musicians. It’s a bursary scheme jointly funded by charity Help Musicians and collecting society […]

China stiffens its copyright laws including music aspects

China’s copyright laws are getting an update, including more careful definitions of copyrighted works, and much bigger punitive damages for infringement. Music is included: with the industry having lobbied hard for the creation of public performance rights and broadcasting rights in China, both have now been implemented in law. There are some big implications for short-video […]

Scooter Braun sells Taylor Swift catalogue to Shamrock Holdings

When Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group for around $300m in 2019, the deal included Taylor Swift’s back catalogue of recordings – something that made Swift furious given her ongoing disputes with Braun. Nearly a year and a half on, Ithaca has sold those master rights to Swift’s first six albums on, in a […]

IFPI report breaks down music’s €81.9bn annual value for EU

As the music business scraps it out with every other industry for Covid-19 relief, a key part of its argument has been the economic value created by the industry. An aspect that’s at least well-rehearsed, since it is also deployed whenever the music industry is lobbying for changes to copyright legislation. The latest report commissioned […]

Travis Scott and Lil Nas X hop on the PlayStation 5 bandwagon

Sony’s new PlayStation 5 console went on sale in some countries last week, with a wider rollout this week. Right from the earliest model, PlayStation marketing has often had strong ties with music, and the PS5 is no exception. Already this month we’ve seen Travis Scott and Lil Nas X promoting the new console. Scott […]

Nominations open for SheSaid·so 2020 Alternative Power list

Every year, SheSaid·so publishes its Alternative Power list of people in the music business, as a more diverse version of the traditional industry power lists. 2020’s Alt List is open for nominations now, with a deadline of 22 November and a theme of ‘resilience and adaptability’. According to the organisation, this is “an opportunity to […]

More than 21m players have used AI music app Splash on Roblox

AI music startup Popgun launched its Splash music-making app on gaming platform Roblox in May, and saw it used by more than one million players in its first 20 days. How’s it going now? Still strong. “Wow, over 21M players have now made music with Splash!” tweeted Popgun boss Stephen Phillips this weekend. “55K kids performed on stage for the first […]

Ticketmaster fined in the UK over 2018 customer data breach

A £1.25m fine for Ticketmaster is very small beans compared to the money that its parent company Live Nation has lost this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the fine, levied by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is still a serious matter. It’s for failing to keep customers’ personal data secure, leading to a data […]

Damon Krukowski explains penny-per-stream US artists campaign

We reported last month on the launch of the Justice at Spotify campaign by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) in the US. Now one of its prime movers, artist and author Damon Krukowski, has been talking to Vice about the campaign’s goals – including its demand that Spotify pay a minimum of a penny (one cent) per […]

Instagram redesigns its homescreen with Reels to the fore

Instagram started testing its TikTok-style ‘Reels’ feature in late 2019, before rolling it out globally in August this year. Now the feature is getting a big boost in Instagram’s latest redesign of its homescreen, with a dedicated tab rather than simply showing Reels content in the app’s ‘Explore’ screen. For artists who are using Reels, this should help their short videos […]

Hatsune Miku online concert zooms past its Kickstarter goal

Long before Riot Games started creating virtual artists like K/DA and Seraphine, Japanese avatar star Hatsune Miku was playing stadium gigs. Now her creators are working on a big virtual concert based on her ‘Miku Expo’ tours. It’s called Hatsune Miku Expo 2021 Online, and will be a free show with at least 10 songs. […]

Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige and more get festive with Amazon Music

Alright, it’s officially Christmas season now – don’t @ us, the John Lewis ad is out – and Amazon Music is going in strong with its now-annual lineup of original tracks. This year it’s got Justin Bieber doing ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’; Mary J. Blige doing ‘Last Christmas’; and Carrie Underwood doing a brand new song called ‘Favorite […]

Artist Tom Vek is crowdfunding a Sleevenote music player

In 2016, we interviewed artist Tom Vek about his work on a mobile app called Sleevenote, which offered “interactive sleeve artwork for your digital music”. He’d clearly been thinking hard about the listening experience on streaming services, and that has continued. Vek has just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a new iteration of Sleevenote, and it’s hardware instead […]

Tidal adds millions of WMG hi-res tracks using MQA technology

Tidal is swelling its catalogue of hi-res music, announcing yesterday that “millions” of Warner Music tracks in the MQA format have been added to its HiFi tier. Tidal also announced that “since 2019, MQA users have doubled on Tidal, and Tidal HiFi users now stream 40% more tracks in Master Quality than last year” – […]

Ticketmaster won’t set entry policies for post-vaccine concerts

Yesterday we reported on Ticketmaster’s work on concerts safety for 2021, including fans proving that they’ve either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or have tested negative within the 72 hours before an event. Now the company has been clarifying those plans, stressing that it won’t be setting the entry policies for concerts, but just providing options for […]

Spotify to host ‘Tokyo Super Hits Live 2020’ livestream concert

With Apple Music hosting livestream events with artists and Amazon Music forging ever-closer links with sister company Twitch, the integration of livestreaming and audio streaming is a trend we’re keeping an eye on. Now look to Japan, where Spotify is hosting a livestreamed concert on 26 November based on its ‘Tokyo Super Hits’ playlist. The […]

Believe reportedly eyeing a 2021 IPO at $2.4bn valuation

It’s nearly two and a half years since distributor Believe was being tipped for an acquisition by Sony Music to the tune of $355m-$444m. The deal never came to pass, and that’s looking like a good decision for Believe now. Reuters reported yesterday that the company is preparing to go public in 2021, with an IPO that could […]

Sonos goes HD with subscription-based radio service

Sonos is kicking its streaming ambitions up a notch, with the launch of a subscription-based radio service called Sonos Radio HD. Available in the US and UK, it costs $7.99 / £7.99 a month, and promises ‘high-fidelity audio’ of the Sonos Sound System radio station. There will also be exclusive artist-curated stations (Dolly Parton being the […]

Tools: With The Band. Revolutionizing fan engagement by putting community first

In 2017, Sarah Beth Perry developed the idea for the “fan engagement” platform With The Band while she was studying Entrepreneurship and Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville. The app and website, launching in January 2021, “enables artists to create their own ‘fan crew’ – our modern-day version of a fan club”, says CEO […]

ByteDance tipped to make $27bn of ad revenue in China this year

ByteDance may be waiting to find out what’s happening with its proposed divestment of TikTok in the US, but business is going pretty well back home in China. Reuters reported that the company is “on track to generate at least 180 billion yuan ($27.2 billion) in advertising revenue in China this year”, making it the second biggest […]

Apple Music makes Beabadoobee its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Keeping all the music streaming services happy as an artist can be tough: Katy Perry was one of the most famous examples of a musician being penalised on one service for giving a rival an exclusive. So we doff our cap to Beabadoobee and her team at Dirty Hit for juggling the partners without tension. In 2020 […]

Concerns mount about Euro tours for UK artists as Brexit looms

British artists haven’t been thinking about touring Europe this year, with Covid-19 having put paid to live music across the continent. But as hopes rise that a vaccine could bring concerts back in 2021, the British industry is being reminded that the UK is due to complete its exit (‘Brexit’) from the European Union at […]

Afem launches sexual harassment and discrimination code of conduct

The recent death of DJ Erick Morillo, and multiple accusations against him of sexual assault, have shone a light on issues of sexual harassment and discrimination in the electronic music world. Industry body the Association for Electronic Music (Afem) has now drawn up a code of conduct to tackle this behaviour. You can find it here, with […]

Blockchain music service Audius has 30k-50k daily users

We’ve been following the progress of blockchain music streaming service Audius with interest: from early debates about whether its ‘censorship-resistant’ nature would be a copyright-takedowns nightmare, to its funding rounds in August and October this year. Now the company has given news site Coindesk a new figure on its scale: it’s attracting between 30,000 and 50,000 unique users a day. Note, the monthly […]

Viagogo could sell StubHub’s business outside North America

It’s not been smooth sailing for secondary ticketing firm Viagogo’s $4bn takeover of rival StubHub since it was announced in November 2019, thanks to regulatory investigations and Covid-19. Now Viagogo is proposing a solution that it hopes will fend off the regulators: selling StubHub’s business outside North America, while hanging on to the US and Canada […]

Shutterstock acquires assets of AI music startup Amper Music

Amper Music has been one of the more prominent AI music startups since emerging in 2017 as one of the first startups to take part in the Techstars Music accelerator. It launched with a tool for people to make music with its AI to use in their own creative projects, and along the way has collaborated with artist […]

Ticketmaster lays plans for post-vaccine concerts in 2021

This week’s encouraging news about pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s work on a Covid-19 vaccine has renewed talk about how and when the live music industry will be able to come back at scale in the west. Billboard has an interesting piece on Ticketmaster’s plans, which will involve fans proving either that they have been vaccinated, or […]

European Commission steps up its investigations of Amazon

The European Commission has been training its sights on Amazon for a while now, with an investigation into its impact on the online retail market. Yesterday, the EC told Amazon that it has reached a preliminary view that “it has breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in online retail markets”. It has also opened […]

Lil Nas X set to play a concert in games platform Roblox

Games platform Roblox’s music ambitions press on: it’s working with Columbia Music and Lil Nas X on a concert this weekend. Well, it’s a bit more than a concert. There’ll be a pre-show event on Friday evening involving a Q&A with the artist, as well as the debut of a new video for his upcoming […]

Google’s Area 120 shuts Demand analytics for live music

In February this year, Google’s experimental division Area 120 launched something called Demand, in partnership with Pollstar. It was a live-music analytics tool promising “actionable, real-time analytics facilitating better planning, pricing, marketing and sponsorship of live events through data in four key areas: trends, pricing, announcements and insights”. Which sounded good, right up until the live […]

Artist Russ reveals his weekly streaming royalties

“In the entire existence [of Spotify] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single artist saying ‘I’m happy with all the money I’m getting from streaming,” Daniel Ek told us in July, in an interview that sparked a rumpus royale on social media. He might be pleased to see this tweet from American rapper Russ, then. “Some […]

Music Venue Trust launches new ‘Traffic Light’ campaign

UK body the Music Venue Trust had great success recently in helping grassroots venues secure £41.4m in government funding to secure their futures. Now it’s kicking off a new phase of its campaign to protect hundreds of venues in the UK as the Covid-19 live-music lockdown continues there. This phase is focusing on 30 venues who *didn’t* […]

Audiomack’s new WMG licensing deal includes Africa

Streaming service Audiomack has a new deal with Warner Music Group, which for the first time includes Africa, Canada and Jamaica. It’s the first of those that’s most interesting, coming just a week after Audiomack announced a partnership with smartphone maker Transsion Holdings in that region. “Under the new deal, not only will our teams benefit from […]

TikTok tipped to reach 1.2bn monthly active users in 2021

Mobile analytics firm App Annie is predicting that TikTok will have more than 1.2 billion monthly active users by the end of 2021, after crossing the one billion mark this year. That would be some growth: figures published recently as part of TikTok’s legal battle in the US showed that it had 689.2 million monthly active users worldwide in […]

Report claims mental wellness is a $120.8bn market

We’ve been writing a fair amount about music’s intersection with the ‘wellness’ industry, from mindfulness apps like Calm and Headspace to fitness startups like Peloton. Now there’s a new report that’s trying to quantify the global ‘mental wellness’ market. The topline: it could be worth $120.8bn, which breaks down into four categories: senses, spaces and […]

Amazon Music to host Dolly Parton Christmas livestream

If you’re the kind of person who shouts at people who put their Christmas decorations too early, look away now. Dolly Parton is doing a Christmas-themed livestream for Amazon Music… on 13 November. ‘Dolly Parton’s Comin’ Home for Christmas’ will be streamed live on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel and within its app, with a performance and […]

Def Jam to launch fictional podcast featuring real artists

UMG’s Def Jam Recordings is teaming up with iHeartMedia and podcasting firm Double Elvis Productions for a new show that will feature emerging artists from the label. ‘Here Comes the Break’ is more interesting than just a showcase though: it’s a “serialised hip-hip music breaking podcast… that fuses a fictional scripted narrative with real artist […]

One Media prepares to expand TCAT anti-piracy service

TCAT? That would be the Technical Copyright Analysis Tool developed by One Media IP to scan legal digital music services for music that shouldn’t be on there (e.g. unauthorised or duplicated releases, or incorrect public domain uploads) and take it down. According to One Media, two major labels are already using it, as well as industry bodies […]

ShareChat taps Audible Magic for copyright-spotting tech

Indian social media company ShareChat has become the latest customer for Audible Magic’s rights management and content recognition tech. It will be used to “proactively address both licensed and misuses of copyright media” on ShareChat’s app, which has more than 160 million monthly active users. Besides that app, the deal also includes ShareChat’s separate TikTok […]

Spotify survey hints at plans for podcasts subscription

Amid all the music industry speculation about whether podcast listening might in the future cannibalise not just streams of music, but royalties for it too, the assumptions were of a continuing single subscription covering both forms of content. But what if Spotify were to launch a standalone podcast subscription? That’s a question the streaming service […]

Vimeo raises $150m as parent company mulls spin-off

Video streaming service Vimeo may be spinning off as an independent company within parent group IAC. The news was revealed as IAC also announced that Vimeo had raised $150m in a new funding round, from Thrive Capital and GIC. A letter to shareholders from IAC boss Joey Levin outlined Vimeo’s journey from being a (smaller) YouTube rival, […]

Fangage relaunches after €300k crowdfunding campaign

Fangage is the startup founded by Dutch DJ and producer Sam Feldt: a fan platform for musicians and influencers to promote their music and content; communicate with fans; sell merchandise; and build audiences. Founded in 2016, it’s been used by clients in the dance world including Oliver Heldans, Laidback Luke and Armada Music, attracting hundreds of […]

Apple Music gets more exclusive Ministry of Sound mixes

Apple Music and Ministry of Sound have a well-established partnership now, and it’s yielding some new mixes for listeners on the streaming service. There’s a mix version of Ministry’s new ‘The Annual 2021’ compilation, but also some mixes harking back to past glories for the dance brand. Pete Tong and Boy George have remixed the first […]

Irving Azoff talks Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok licensing

Ahead of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, Irving Azoff has been talking to the Los Angeles Times for a profile. It includes some entertainingly spiky views on the state of music licensing in 2020. “These people, when they start out — whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, whatever — they resist […]

Driift takes its livestreams to Australia and New Zealand

Management company ATC Management launched its Driift online-concerts spin-off earlier this year after successful events for Laura Marling and Dermot Kennedy. Ahead of tomorrow’s Kylie Minogue ‘Infinite Disco’ broadcast, Driift is expanding to her homeland. In fact, it’s opening an office to produce and promote shows in Australia AND New Zealand. “We believe this is a format with […]

NetEase Cloud Music now has 200k independent Chinese artists

Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music has published a report hailing the fact that the number of Chinese independent musicians on its platform has doubled in the last year. There are now more than 200,000 of them, up from 100,000 in 2019, and just 20 million back in 2016. “Compared with 2017, over 40% of […]

Live Nation publishes financials, sees ‘signs of promise’

There are few surprises in the latest quarterly financial results for Live Nation. Revenues were down 95% year-on-year – slashed from $3.77bn in Q3 2019 to just $184m a year later. The live giant reported an operating loss of $504.4m, compared to an operating profit of 260m a year ago. For the first nine months of 2020, […]

TikTok generated $115m of user spending in October 2020

The latest estimates for the monthly smartphone apps are out from research firm Sensor Tower, and there’s no change at the top of the top-grossing non-game apps list for October. TikTok generated $115m of user spending that month, according to the rankings. That’s more than six times the figure from October 2019, with 86% of it coming […]

Youth Music reveals recipients of its £2m incubator fund

In July, British charity Youth Music announced a £2m incubator fund aimed at 18-25 year-olds in the UK, particularly from under-represented groups, with their music industry ambitions. Now it has revealed the 31 businesses that will be receiving grants of between £5k and £30k from the first round of the fund. The companies are all focused on […]

Could podcast growth mean higher per-stream Spotify rates?

Midia Research has published a blog post about ‘understanding how Spotify thinks‘, spurred by its recent announcement of its new Discovery Mode feature – and the subsequent criticism from artists. It turns Spotify’s three interest groups – investors, audience, and rightsholders and creators – into a neat Venn diagram, but a sentence further down it jumped out […]

Socan reveals 2019 financials and plans to sell Dataclef assets

Canadian collecting society Socan has published its financial results for 2019. Its collections grew by 8.2% to $405.6m, including a 37.6% increase for its digital collections to $86m. However, distributions to its members fell by 6% to $296m, which Socan said was due to “the steep learning curve required for the company’s newly deployed technology to […]

European music managers call for changes to streaming economy

The latest salvo in the debate about music streaming’s economics – and particularly royalties for artists – comes from the European Music Managers Alliance (Emma). In a statement issued this morning, it has praised streaming for returning the recorded music industry to growth, but claimed that “the fact that streaming services are still licensed on […]

Tools: Viberate. The all-in-one platform for growing your music career

With so much analytic data for artists and their teams to chew over, their challenge is digesting this data in a way that delivers insight and helps grow an artist’s career. Viberate provides a comprehensive and versatile ecosystem of analytics for artists, labels and promoters alike, with a blend of features similar to those offered […]

Collecting society Apra reveals Covid-19 impact on royalties

Australian collecting society Apra is the latest PRO to quantify the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on its collections, and thus on its payouts to songwriters and publishers. “The November APRA royalty payment overall will be down 11% compared to the same quarter last year,” it explained. November’s payment is for royalties from the […]

Audiomack inks Africas smartphone deal with Transsion Holdings

Outside the US, streaming service Audiomack has been a little under the radar thus far. That’s something it’s hoping to change in one of the regions the music industry sees huge potential in: Africa. It has signed a deal with smartphone firm Transsion Holdings, whose handset brands include Tecno, Infinix and Itel. The details aren’t clear […]

Apple opens up: Pandora on HomePod and Spotify on Apple Watch

Well, it’s not as sudden as the headline sounds: Apple has been opening up its device ecosystem in new ways recently – it’s just we’re starting to see the apps and integrations now as a result. Pandora now works on the HomePod smart speaker, meaning people will be able to ask Siri to play music from […]

Arguments over US songwriter streaming royalties kick off again

The good news for Spotify is that something other than its Discovery Mode is causing a stink today. The bad news for Spotify is that the something is the ongoing battle over new streaming royalties for songwriters set in the US by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) – which Spotify along with Amazon, Google and Pandora […]

RJ Thompson launches augmented reality app for latest album

There’s a mini-flurry of augmented reality experimentation going on in music at the moment, outside the big platforms (Instagram, Snapchat) and not always by artists on major labels. RJ Thompson, for example, released his new album ‘Lifeline’ last week, complete with what’s being described as “the world’s first ever-evolving AR designed album artwork”. The idea: […]

KSI and Craig David turn into holograms for LadBible video

Craig David all over your… desk? The British star’s latest collaboration, with KSI, has been turned into an augmented reality video for online brand LadBible. Fans can visit the microsite on their smartphones (here’s the link) and then point their camera at a space around them to pop up virtual versions of the pair performing […]

Linkfire’s latest attribution data deal is with YouTube Music

Music marketing platform Linkfire has announced its latest data deal, with YouTube Music. “In addition to seeing how many of your link visitors click through to YouTube and YouTube Music, you’ll be able to see how those clicks translate into streams on the platforms,” promised the company. It makes YouTube the latest service to sign on […]

Taylor Swift fans celebrate as block on re-recordings ends

Remember in August 2019, when Taylor Swift talked about when the block on her re-recording her back catalogue would elapse? “My contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again,” said Swift at the time. “I’m very excited about it. I just think that artists […]

European cultural bodies launch Covid-19 recovery campaign

A group of 110 bodies representing the creative and cultural industries are keeping up the pressure on governments and European policymakers over their post-Covid recovery plans. Impala, the IFPI, ICMP and ECSA are among the bodies who have written to national governments and to the European Commission pressing for at least 2% of each country’s ‘national recovery […]

Spotify’s new artist tool could boost streams (with a discounted royalty rate)

Spotify is testing a new feature that will enable artists and labels to boost specific tracks in the recommendation algorithms for its radio and autoplay features – if they agree to a “promotional” (i.e. lower) royalty rate for those streams. Autoplay is the feature that automatically plays other songs when you reach the end of an […]

League of Legends World Championship kicks off with KDA in AR

Surprisingly, a whizzy augmented reality performance including a virtual star zooming onto the stage on a motorbike *wasn’t* the strangest sight for western viewers of the League of Legends World Championship opening ceremony this weekend. For those of us in countries where the live industry is still shut down, an event with more than 6,000 […]

Trump administration’s TikTok ban faces another barrier

We suspect that Donald Trump’s mind isn’t really on the proposed ban of TikTok in the US right now: he has bigger priorities this week. But remember: even if he loses the US presidential election (not to mention accepting the result) the handover won’t come until mid-January, so TikTok’s US status could well become a […]

Capitol and Gener8tor’s gBeta Musictech accelerator set for pitches

gBeta Musictech is the startup accelerator launched by Capitol Music Group and a company called Gener8tor, and it’s holding its latest pitch night on 11 November as part of Capitol’s involvement in the Infinity Festival. Six startups took part in this year’s accelerator, which started at the end of July and lasted for seven weeks. We’ve […]

African streaming service Mdundo now has 6.4m listeners

It’s barely a month since we were reporting that African streaming service Mdundo had five million monthly active users. Now the official total has risen to 6.4 million. That’s according to the company’s new quarterly update. Thanks to growth in the east, west and south of Africa, the company’s user total is up 144% year-on-year. Mdundo also says […]

Hipgnosis ups the ante with $322.9m Kobalt Capital deal

Like a child scrambling to spend their birthday money on V-Bucks or Robux within seconds of being given it, Hipgnosis Songs Fund isn’t wasting any time spending its latest injection of cash from investors. This morning saw the company’s biggest deal yet, paying $322.9m for a catalogue of more than 33k songs (or shares in […]

Industry equality: rethinking funnels and creating opportunities

YouTube’s music chief Lyor Cohen convened a panel to discuss racial justice and the ‘race to equality’ in the music industry. Published on Friday, it included contributions from Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas (who founded #TheShowMustBePaused); Binta Brown (co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition); Public Enemy’s Chuck D; UMG’s EVP of business and legal affairs […]

Experts panel: how can the music industry diversify its income streams?

Music Ally’s Global Experts panel is an international group of industry leaders, and each month we put a single, vital question to them about the state of the music industry, and what we should be doing to change it. We hope that these Experts panels can help zero-in on the really meaningful issues, and describe […]

YouTube now has 30m music and premium subscribers globally

YouTube’s parent company Alphabet reported another big quarter yesterday. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the advertising market, Alphabet’s Q3 revenues were up by 14% year-on-year to $46.17bn, helping the company to an $11.25bn net profit in the third quarter. Within that, there were figures for YouTube advertising revenues, which grew by 32.4% year-on-year to $5.04bn […]

Grimes teams up with Endel to create an ‘AI Lullaby’

Startup Endel made its name with technology generating AI music to suit people’s moods and activities. Now it has announced a partnership with a high-profile human artist: Grimes. They’ve worked together on an ‘AI Lullaby’ that will be featured in Endel’s iOS and Mac apps until 23 December. Later this year it will also be […]

BPI / Brit Awards donate £54k to Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund

As Covid-19’s second wave sweeps Europe (and the first wave seemingly never ran out of steam in much of the US) we may soon have to revive our regular ‘positive industry stories’ slot, just to keep our heads up. In advance of that, here’s some positive news from the UK, where the BPI and Brit […]

Primephonic launches a ‘digital crash course’ in classical music

Classical music streaming service Primephonic’s new initiative, Ludwig, is more than just a marketing wheeze. It’s a 10-week “digital crash course” in classical music, with a weekly podcast; bi-daily email lessons; playlists on key composers and genres; and access to Primephonic’s app and catalogue of music. The latter point hints at the interesting aspect: Ludwig is […]

TikTok strikes back at Triller with patent counter-suit

Remember when Triller sued TikTok for patent infringement in July? Whatever happened to that case? What happened this week is that TikTok struck back with a counter lawsuit. At issue is a June 2017 patent awarded to a children’s apps firm called Mibblio, whose co-founders David Lieberman and Sammy Rubin also co-founded Triller – which says it now owns the […]

New K-Pop group Aespa includes both human and virtual members

K-Pop firm SM Entertainment has unveiled its latest group, and Aespa promises to be a fascinating project. The group will include both human and virtual (avatar) singers, who’ve been introduced to fans one by one to build anticipation. Yesterday saw a teaser interview posted with human member Karina and her virtual version ‘æ-Karina’. SM Entertainment’s founder […]

Former WME exec Marc Geiger to invest in independent venues

Marc Geiger was the music boss at talent agency WME, before leaving earlier this year. Now he’s setting up to invest in a network of independent music venues across the US. Geiger has founded a company called SaveLive and raised $75m to invest in venues and small clubs, taking 51% ownership of them in the […]

Sony Music’s recorded music revenues grew 11% year-on-year

Sony Corporation’s latest quarterly financials came out yesterday, and they revealed a strong quarter for Sony Music. Its Q3 recorded music revenues grew by 11% year-on-year to $1.16bn, including 19% growth in streaming revenues – which reached $742.3m. This, despite the fact that Sony Music’s release schedule is still under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic. “The release of […]

UK Music publishes its latest industry diversity study

The UK’s umbrella industry body, UK Music, has published its latest report on music industry diversity. Its findings highlight a mixture of progress made, and work still to do, as you’d expect. There have been rises in the proportion of women in the industry (from 45.3% in 2016 to 49.6% in 2020) as well as […]

Spotify can’t just shrug off the latest Joe Rogan controversy

“A few people tweeting that they’re cancelling their Spotify subscriptions does not a firestorm make,” we wrote in our news bulletin yesterday, about the initial responses to Alex Jones guesting on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Well, later that day the flames began to spread, as major media outlets picked up on Jones’s appearance despite his own […]

Spotify Q3 financials reveal it now has 320m users and 144m subscribers

Music streaming service Spotify has announced its latest quarterly financial results. The company ended Q3 with 320 million monthly active users, having added 21 million during the quarter. Meanwhile, Spotify’s subscriber total is now 144 million, up from 113 million a year ago, and 138 million at the end of Q2. Spotify’s Q3 revenues grew […]

UMG’s Bravado inks merch deal with Alibaba’s Tmall platform

2020 has been a really interesting year for Universal Music Group’s various arms in China. From local signings like Linong Chen and Sunnee to a joint label with Tencent Music, via gaming songwriting camps and the small matter of $1.2m of Taylor Swift album sales in a few days on NetEase Cloud Music. Weaving these strands into the overall story of UMG’s China strategy […]

FIFA 21 adds music-disabling option to help game streamers

The knock-on effects from rightsholders’ pressure on Twitch over music licensing are starting. Games publisher Electronic Arts has added a new menu option to its FIFA 21 game: ‘Disable All Music For Streaming Purposes’. That means people streaming their gameplay on platforms like Twitch will now be able to do it without any background music that […]

Keychange movement expands in Poland with events this week

The Keychange initiative pressing for gender equality in the music industry – including on its live stages – has a new frontier this week. Poland has become an official partner for the movement, and tomorrow will see an event co-hosted by Key Change and festival organiser Spring Break to introduce its first two ambassadors in Poland: Avtomat and Karolina […]

It’s 2020 so of course there are now fake artist livestreams

There was good news for fans of musician Zoe Keating in late August: one of her cancelled gigs was being replaced by a ticketed livestream. The only downside: Keating knew nothing about it. It had been created as an event on Facebook, with the people behind it taking fans money in the full knowledge that […]

Amuse expands its Fast Forward royalty advances service

Distributor Amuse launched its Fast Forward scheme in February 2019 as a way to pay artists up to six months of royalties in advance, based on its estimates of their future earnings. The company now says that hundreds of artists have benefited from the feature, with advances between $250 and $300k. Now Fast Forward is relaunching and […]

Dutch dance industry warns of Covid-19’s earnings impact

Electronic music is suffering considerably from the Covid-19 pandemic, given the difficulties of safely opening clubs and putting on live events at any scale. The Netherlands may be in the most precarious position of all according to a new report presented at the ADE conference last week, and authored by Music Ally. Figures from DJ […]

Tomorrowland says its virtual festival ‘about broke even’

Dance festival Tomorrowland sold nearly 140k tickets to its virtual festival earlier this year. Now the organisers have been talking to Billboard about how those sales translated into profit. The answer: not quite, but not far off. Co-founder Michiel Beers said that the festival “about broke even” after Tomorrowland spent around $6m putting it together, with additional […]

Capitol Royale returns with Infinity Festival Hollywood

Capitol Music Group is bringing back its Capitol Royale tech event, although in a different form to last year’s two-day conference. The label has partnered with an online event called Infinity Festival Hollywood, which runs from this week (28 October) until early January 2021. “Capitol Royale will bring a unique slate of music-related programming to the table including […]

Deep Word is the latest startup creating synthetic video

The word ‘deepfake’ already has negative connotations: of people manipulating photos, audio and/or video for nefarious purposes. That’s why you’re going to hear the word ‘synthetic’ a lot in the coming months: the same technology, but being put to more positive work than misinformation or the really worrying stuff. Deep Word is an interesting example of synthetic […]

Justin Bieber’s ‘Next Chapter’ is another YouTube documentary

If 10 episodes of YouTube documentary about Justin Bieber weren’t enough for you earlier this year, we have some good news. The video service is following up its ‘Justin Bieber: Seasons’ series with a one-off 30-minute doc called ‘Justin Bieber: Next Chapter’. Fans can expect “an exclusive look at his life today – everything from […]

Deezer encourages pirate app users to switch to official version

It may seem strange that people try to use music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer through unofficial apps, when there’s not even a subscription barrier to entry for the official ones. Getting premium features without paying is one reason some people gravitate towards the unofficial (or ‘modded’) apps, and understandably the streaming services regularly […]

iHeartMedia is buying podcasting tech firm Voxnest

It’s open season for acquisitions of podcasting startups whose technology and/or shows seem appealing to a bigger fish. The latest example is Voxnest, a company that makes advertising tech for podcasting, and which is now being bought by iHeartMedia. Cue adspeak! “iHeartMedia, through Voxnest, will now be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory […]

Decentralised streaming service Audius raises another $1.25m

We first wrote about Audius in August 2018, when it raised $5.5m for what one report described as “SoundCloud on the blockchain”. It launched just over a year later, with a “censorship-resistant, community-controlled” audio streaming service where “anyone who joins Audius can effectively become an artist, just by uploading tracks”. Its decentralised model – music hosted on local […]

Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Netflix among PS5 media partners

November this year is New Consoles Month, with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S plus Sony’s PlayStation 5 making their debuts. While games are the focus, music and video streaming will also be part of the packages. Sony revealed some of its plans yesterday: at launch the PS5 will have apps for Apple TV, Disney+, […]

Sam Smith set for AR Spotify video and TikTok interview

Sam Smith’s new album ‘Love Goes’ is out later this month, and they’re pulling out plenty of promotional stops around its release, including new single ‘Diamonds’. The latter is getting a web-based augmented reality music video in partnership with Spotify. Dreamed up by agency Powster, it gets fans to scan an image to pop up […]

Quincy Jones invests in music/tech startup Musimap

Quincy Jones is no stranger to the world of music/tech startups: he founded music video-on-demand service Qwest TV, which launched three years ago. Now he’s also investing in another startup, Musimap, which describes itself as an “emotional artificial intelligence” company, with a lead product called MusiMe which is a “psycho-emotional profiling engine”. Essentially it analyses people’s […]

Music-making tech company Output raises $45m funding round

Output is one of the music/tech companies making digital instruments, effects and even furniture for musicians to use in the studio. A valuable business? It certainly is according to investment firm Summit Partners, which has just funded Output to the tune of $45m in its Series A round. It’ll help the company to add “playable instruments and mobile […]

YouTube Music’s next online festival is the #FoundryFest

YouTube Music’s #SOSFest last weekend has so far raised more than $1.8m to support NIVA’s campaign to support independent music venues in the US. The company is already planning its next online festival though: it’s called #FoundryFest, and will be an “on-demand video series” rather than a full-on livestreamed event. It’s focusing on artists who […]

Pandora now has 58.6m monthly active listeners

US satellite-radio firm SiriusXM published its latest financials yesterday, revealing that it now has nearly 30.5 million ‘self-pay’ subscribers to its service, having added 169,000 in the third quarter of this year. Its revenue grew by 1% year-on-year to $1.6bn. Its music streaming subsidiary Pandora is still battling to turn around its listener decline though. Pandora […]

Report: independents are 27% of music publishing market

Independent publishers body IMPF has published a new ‘Global Market View 2020′ report offering figures for its members’ share of the global publishing sector. The key stats: an estimate that the global publishing market was worth €5bn (around $5.9bn) in 2019 – up from €4.63bn in 2018 – and that independent publishers accounted for 27% of […]

Calvin Harris sells publishing catalogue for $90m-plus

Shock news! The latest big-money deal for a publishing catalogue doesn’t involve Hipgnosis Songs Fund. Dance star Calvin Harris has sold his catalogue of more than 150 songs to financial firm Vine Alternative Investments, although Sony/ATV will continue administering it. The price wasn’t officially announced, although Variety claimed it was “around $100m” while Billboard offered a wider “between $90m […]

Spotify launches its own radio-style ‘daily morning show’

Breakfast shows are a staple of the traditional radio landscape. Now Spotify has one too. ‘The Get Up’ is a weekday-mornings show, launching in the US only, delivered as a playlist. That means personalised music picks for each listener, sandwiched between talk segments from the show’s three hosts: Kat Lazo, Speedy Morman, and Xavier Jernigan. […]

Canalys thinks 163m smart speakers will be shipped in 2021

It’s been a while since we’ve had some big-figure predictions for the smart speakers market, but here’s research firm Canalys hoving into view with its latest forecasts. It reckons that 163m smart speakers will be shipped in 2021, which would be year-on-year growth (from its estimates for 2020) of 21%.  Speakers using Amazon’s Alexa and Google […]

TikTok expands its policies for tackling hateful content

Removing hateful content from a social media or streaming service is a constantly moving target as new movements and forms of hate emerge, and new tricks to avoid moderation. TikTok is the latest platform to announce how its policies are adapting. “While our Trust & Safety teams already work to remove hate speech and hateful ideologies, […]

Mobile video-streaming service Quibi is shutting down

Barely six months after it launched, video streaming service Quibi is shutting down. “We are winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets,” announced co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman in a blog post overnight. “Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of […]

The Kid Laroi and Mulatto get Spotify and YouTube approval

Pretty much every major streaming service now has some kind of program to identify and promote emerging artists: Spotify’s Radar, Apple Music’s Up Next, Amazon Music’s Breakthrough, Deezer’s Next, YouTube Music’s Artist on the Rise… Two of them have announced their latest picks this week. Spotify has made teenage rapper The Kid Laroi its third Radar […]

Spotify signs podcast development deal with Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun is a man with his finger in many pies, and now he’s added podcasts to his pastry portfolio. In fact, his Ithaca Holdings company has signed a podcast development deal with Spotify (described as a ‘first look’ agreement by Variety, which means Spotify will get first dibs on new shows from Ithaca Holdings). The […]

BMG to buy majority stake in German live firm Undercover

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic grows in many countries, now’s a very difficult time to be involved in live music. However, it may also be seen as an opportunity by companies looking to make acquisitions in live. BMG, for example, is getting into live music for the first time, with an agreement […]

Snapchat now has 249m daily active users and booming AR usage

In our latest Music Ally report, we examined how Snapchat had bounced back from a worrying-looking flattening of its user growth in 2018. That bounceback is continuing, judging by parent company Snap’s financial results for Q3 2020. Snap said that Snapchat ended the quarter with 249 million daily active users (DAUs), up by 18% year-on-year. It also […]

Netflix growth slows but 200m subscribers milestone is in sight

Netflix warned investors that its subscriber growth was going to slow in the second half of this year, and it has. The video streaming service added 2.2 million net new paid subscribers in the third quarter, taking it to just under 195.2 million overall. Netflix also said that it expects to pass 200 million subscribers (201.2 […]

US Justice Department files antitrust charges against Google

The US Department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing it of “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets”. It’s the latest (and biggest) move in the US antitrust debate over big tech companies, following the recent high-profile hearing involving Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. […]

George Michael joins Prince and John Lennon on TikTok

It sounds like a supergroup for the ages, doesn’t it? But what George Michael, Prince and John Lennon have in common is that their estates and labels have been working with TikTok to bring their legacies into the world of short video clips. A licensing deal for Prince’s music plus an official TikTok profile came in […]

Amazon launches Breakthrough Live weekly livestreams series

The timing may be awkward given the renewed DMCA takedown notices currently battering Twitch, but Amazon Music is stepping up its livestreaming activity, including with its sister platform. It’s launched a new weekly show called Breakthrough Live, which will air live performances from artists in a different genre every Tuesday. The show will be broadcast live […]

Report claims Spotify has overtaken Apple in key markets for podcast listeners

Reputable figures breaking down the global podcasts market are hard to come by, but there’s been a general consensus that Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) has been the biggest platform by far; that the rest of the market is very fragmented; and that Spotify’s aggressive move into podcasts meant it was growing fast to finally become […]

Spotify takes down four QAnon podcasts after media coverage

We don’t have space here to go into the full lunacy of the QAnon conspiracists movement, and the unwillingness of the actual US president to disavow it. Suffice to say that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are among the big online platforms cracking down on QAnon content, but that crackdown has seen its adherents try to shift to other […]

Push Live Unlimited helps artists with simul-livestreaming

As the number of artists exploring livestreams at scale grows, so there’s going to be a need for decent infrastructure around that. One example is being announced today, by live-tech firm Push. It’s a tool called Push Live Unlimited, which helps artists who want to broadcast on a number of platforms at once – for example, […]

Kylie Minogue set for Driift-run ‘Infinite Disco’ stream

More evidence for the growing ambition of online concerts for bigger artists comes with Kylie Minogue’s ‘Infinite Disco’ event on 7 November. It’s the latest event from Driift, the company launched earlier this year by ATC Management, with investment from Beggars Group. The 50-minute show will blend tracks from Kylie’s new album ‘Disco’ with older hits, […]

Billie Eilish merch store will be integrated into livestream

We reported earlier this month on plans for Billie Eilish’s first livestream, the $30 ‘Where Do We Go? The Livestream’ concert on 24 October. Startup Maestro is the technical partner, and it’s been talking about a new partnership with ecommerce firm Shopify that will see merch sold during the event. Open to all artists using the platform, it […]

Apple Music goes Boss-eyed with its Bruce Springsteen Week

Apple Music is pushing all the boats out for the release of Bruce Springsteen’s 20th studio album ‘Letter to You’. There’ll be a week of radio shows on its new Apple Music Hits station, plus an album listening party and live Q&A, and a documentary on the Apple TV+ service, which drops on Friday alongside […]

Believe was the buyer of playlisting platform Soundsgood

In April we reported on the shutdown of French startup Soundsgood. It had launched in 2015 as a way to curate playlists and manage them across multiple streaming services, before moving more towards B2B services for labels. “These B2B activities have eventually led to our recent acquisition,” announced Soundsgood as it closed down, but the company […]

Apple Music TV channels classic MTV with music videos

Live radio is already one of Apple Music’s big differences to its streaming rivals. Now it’s trying out MTV-style music television, although for the most part without the VJs. Instead, Apple Music TV is a 24-hour channel broadcasting music videos via the Apple Music and Apple TV apps, as well as on the web. For now, it’s […]

WMG set for $338m acquisitions (and possibly revenue decline)

It was a busy day for Warner Music Group yesterday, with several interrelated announcements. First, there was news of the company raising $250m of new funding through a ‘senior secured notes offering’ to be spend to “fund a portion of the aggregate cash consideration for certain acquisitions”. Later that day, a US regulatory filing offered more information on those […]

The US music market isn’t yet at ‘peak streaming subscriptions’

Is the biggest recorded-music market in the world nearing ‘peak streaming subscriptions’ for music? In an article for Billboard, former Spotify chief economist Will Page offers some reasons for optimism, even though there are now 110 million music subscribers in a country with 110m households. For example, he notes that there were worries that Sweden and […]

PearPop helps fans to pay for screen time with TikTok stars

There’s a price on everything in the influencer world, and with a startup called PearPop, that includes collaborating with your favourite TikTok stars. The company has announced a marketplace for TikTokers to charge fans for collab posts, and according to TechCrunch it already has more than 25,000 fans signed up. The fees are public: a duet, stitch or […]

Instagram promises crackdown on ‘hidden advertising’ in the UK

Since 2018, UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been running an investigation into whether influencers on social media are disclosing their endorsements properly. In January 2019, that included eliciting ‘formal commitments’ from 16 British celebrities to be fully transparent, including musicians Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding. This week, the investigation has put Instagram in the […]

Defected to hold three-part ‘We Dance As One’ livestream

Dance label Defected Records did a great job earlier this year with its ‘Virtual Festival’ series of livestreams, raising $1.2m for the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 relief fund over 10 weeks. Now it’s coming back with a new event called ‘We Dance As One’ spread over three dates: 30 October, 27 November and a finale […]

Reshape Music report outlines challenges for disabled musicians

UK charity Youth Music has published a new report, Reshape Music, which explores the challenges facing disabled musicians ‘in education and beyond’. It’s the result of interviews with hundreds of musicians, music educators and retailers. “Disabled people make up over a fifth of the population and yet they are hugely under-represented in the music industry […]

British parliament launches inquiry into economics of music streaming

For several months, the #BrokenRecord campaign in the UK has been calling for the government to step in to the debate about musicians’ streaming royalties. Today, there’s been a significant announcement on that front. No, not legislation (yet). The British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee has launched an inquiry into the economics […]

Spotify’s new format puts music in podcasts – and pays royalties

Podcasters regularly complain about the difficulty and/or cost of licensing commercial music for their shows. With hundreds of millions of people now listening to podcasts globally, there’s a big opportunity for the music industry, if good licensing models can be worked out to put music in podcasts, while ensuring that rightsholders and musicians get paid. […]

Livestreaming startup Moment House raises $1.5m from starry seed investors

Scooter Braun, Troy Carter, Patreon CEO Jack Conte, actor Jared Leto and artist Kygo’s Palm Crew Investments are among the investors in the latest ticketed livestreams startup, Moment House, which announced its $1.5m seed funding round today. The round was led by Forerunner Ventures, with Sequoia Capital partner Jess Lee also among the angel investors, […]

Motive Unknown launches sister company Positive Subversion

Digital marketing agency Motive Unknown is spinning off a new company called Positive Subversion, which it describes as a “project and label management consultancy for independently-minded artists, managers and record labels”. It’s a partnership with former !K7 exec Siofra McComb, and has already signed up Run The Jewels (already a Motive Unknown client) and label Innovative […]

Monstercat goes ‘hyper-casual’ with Amanotes mobile games deal

Electronic music label Monstercat has always been keen to get its music into games, with a series of inventive licensing deals and partnerships. Its latest is with Amanotes, the Vietnamese developer of ‘hyper-casual’ mobile games. The deal has already made some of Monstercat’s catalogue available within Amanotes’ biggest mobile game, Tiles Hop (350m downloads and counting) […]

Feeling Good: free report on music, fitness, wellbeing and technology

Earlier this month, Music Ally teamed up with British industry body the BPI for an online event called ‘Feeling Good’ about the intersection of music, fitness/wellbeing and technology. Now we’ve published a tie-in report, which you can download for free here. In it, we’ve explored some of the companies who’ve been innovating in these areas, from […]

Report: Triller could go public with shell-company merger

Remember those July reports that short-video app Triller was raising a funding round of up to $300m? Whatever happened to that? Reuters has an update, claiming that the company has “so far secured around $100 million in that round at a $1.25 billion valuation” according to unnamed sources “familiar with the matter”. However, the report claims that […]

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 […]

US gets new #SaveLiveEventsNow campaign to support live music

We’ve written about the #SaveOurStages campaign in the US to support independent music venues, launched by their representative body NIVA. Now there’s another campaign, #SaveLiveEventsNow, which expands the remit to larger venues and the people who work on concerts and festivals using them. It’s backed by a who’s who of the industry: the RIAA, Recording Academy, Live Nation, […]

Round Hill Music confirms plans for $375m Royalty Fund IPO

The rumours were right: music publisher Round Hill Music is planning to take its songs fund public. The Round Hill Music Royalty Fund has announced plans to raise $375m through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. You can read its announcement here. The company says it has already identified more than 40 catalogues containing more than 120k […]

SongShift says Spotify won’t let it transfer people’s playlists

Almost as long as there have been a number of popular music streaming services, there have been apps and websites designed to help people transfer their playlists between them (for example when leaving one service to join another) or to maintain playlists across several of them (aimed at curators more than regular users). Nobody’s found a […]

Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the price of musical ambition (book extract)

‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ is a new book by Sally Anne Gross and Dr George Musgrave, with its roots in a study of the same name commissioned by charity Help Musicians UK in 2017, about mental health in the music industry. Gross and Musgrave have shared an excerpt from the book with Music Ally, […]

Report: TikTok now more popular than Instagram with US teens

Investment bank Piper Sandler publishes a semi-annual study of US teenagers – 9,800 of them for its latest drop. It covers all kinds of topics, from social and political issues to favoured brands, but digital habits are also included. The big news from the latest study is the claim that TikTok has just overtaken Instagram to become the […]

Spotify adds ‘promo cards’ feature for artists and podcasters

Spotify’s now traditional end-of-year Wrapped promotion sees artists and listeners alike flooding social media with branded graphics on their stats. Now the streaming service is extending that idea for artists (and podcasters) with a feature called ‘Promo Cards’. It’s an online tool that they can use to create promotional graphics for songs, albums and artist […]

Major labels target Apple in Russia over iOS piracy apps

It’s been a while since we’ve seen public tensions in the west between music rightsholders and Apple over piracy apps – Apple’s involvement being as the owner of the store through which those apps are distributed. According to TorrentFreak, it’s all kicking off in Russia over this issue though, following a new law cracking down on piracy […]

Livestreaming startup Mandolin raises $5m in seed funding

Six months ago, livestreaming was in many quarters seen as a temporary sticking plaster for the shutdown of physical concerts, likely to return to a niche once the latter returned. A lot of people have changed their tune since then: physical concerts aren’t returning anywhere near as soon as we had hoped, and successful livestreaming […]

US Latin music revenues grew by 18.6% in first half of 2020

US trade body the RIAA has published its mid-year figures for Latin music in the US, and once again it has outperformed the overall market. The body recently reported that the US recorded music market grew by 5.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, but revenues from Latin music grew by 18.6%. At $296.1m, it accounted for […]

Radio Tools tracks music plays on radio and TV stations

The ‘will streaming kill radio’ debate rumbles on, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet: radio airplay remains important for many artists, and tracking it globally remains a challenge. We’ve written about startups like World Airplay Radio Monitor (Warm) in the past, and now there’s a new contender: Maltese startup Radio Tools. It’s analysing the music played on more […]

BPI launches its equality and justice advisory group

British music industry body the BPI has launched an equality and justice advisory group, which it says will “advise and challenge the BPI on matters initially focused on race and gender in order to further support and promote equality and inclusion in music alongside other industry initiatives”. It’s an expansion of the existing Brits Diversity Advisory […]

Ascap Lab Seed Project reveals first projects from its teams

The more music industry entities working hands-on with startups and developers the better, as far as we’re concerned. The latest example is US collecting society Ascap, whose innovation arm Ascap Lab has been running an 11-week ‘Seed Project’ challenge for graduate students in New York. Five teams were involved, exploring new ways to interact with […]

Oda connected speakers have their own season of concerts

Oda is a startup making a pair of speakers (also called Oda) that look very nice indeed – “made of wood, glass, cotton, and steel: materials that are humble and human, not technological” as the blurb puts it – with as much attention to detail paid to their audio innards. However, what interests us about the $299 […]

Deezer commissioned covers for its new ‘InVersions’ album

Like its streaming rivals, Deezer is experimenting with commissioning original music that won’t put labels’ noses out of joint. The latest example is a compilation album called ‘InVersions’, which is a collection of cover versions by 10 independent artists. Fontaines DC, Arlo Parks, Dream Wife, Alfie Templeman and Chloe Moriondo are among the artists chosen […]

Spotify for Artists has a new boss, joining from Patreon

Camille Hearst was the head of product, creator and general manager, merch at crowdfunding platform Patreon, until now. As of today, she’s joining Spotify as its first head of Spotify for Artists. Hearst announced the news in a series of tweets this afternoon. “In this new role, I’ll lead a cross-functional team including product, tech, design, […]

How should artists use Twitch to connect with fans?

Live video streaming service Twitch has been one of the (unwitting) beneficiaries of the global pandemic, as musicians scramble to find a way to compensate for the near-total shutdown of live music. In their recent “State of the Stream” report, StreamElements and Arsenal.gg claimed that Twitch’s Q2 2020 chart bars “look like skyscrapers compared to […]

Tools: IsItAGoodPlaylist.com. Analyze Spotify playlists to know if they’ll increase your stream count

According to Chartmetric, Spotify boasts over 270k+ curators, 1.1m+ playlists and 8.6k+ self-curated playlists, providing a fertile ground for playlist pitching. While editorial playlist placements on Spotify are notoriously competitive and dealt with exclusively via Spotify for Artists, figuring out how to get an artist’s independent playlist strategy right (e.g. by brands, labels, curators or […]

Lyte tests ticket reservation tool for return of physical gigs

A lot of physical concerts have been cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s been heartening how many fans have held onto their tickets for the ones that have been postponed – even those delayed for a year or more. Now ticketing firm Lyte has developed a tool that capitalises on this loyalty in a different […]

Nearly 1.2m people attended Ava Max’s party in Roblox

Last month we wrote about the plans to hold an album launch party for artist Ava Max in gaming platform Roblox. So how did that go? Well, according to the public stats, the ‘Ava Max Heaven & Hell Launch Party’ has generated more than 2.4m visits from Roblox players, with nearly 49,000 people marking it as a favourite. […]

Smule adds Snapchat lenses to its AutoRap music app

Music apps firm Smule is the latest company to use the Snap Camera Kit launched by Snapchat’s parent company. Smule has integrated it into its AutoRap app, which lets people choose beats, rap over the top and share the results. Now they can add Snapchat’s augmented-reality lenses (filters) to their videos in AutoRap’s iOS app, with Android […]

African streaming service Mdundo has 5m monthly active users

Mdundo is one of the established music streaming services in Africa, and its CEO Martin Nielsen has been talking to Nigerian news site Pulse·ng about its latest figures, and the wider African music market. According to the piece, Mdundo currently has more than five million monthly active users across Africa, including 3.5 million in its key markets […]

Ascap thanks Spotify for accelerated payments during Covid-19

Spotify has taken plenty of flak from songwriters over its history, and with its appeal against new royalty rates in the US still not settled, there’ll be more to come we’re sure. However, the streaming service will at least have enjoyed the latest letter to members of US collecting society Ascap from its president and chairman Paul […]

Mixcloud adds ticketing for audio and video livestreams

Audio streaming service Mixcloud launched a livestreaming feature in April this year, enabling people to stream live audio or video on its platform. Today, it’s announcing an expansion of ‘Mixcloud Live’ to add ticketing. Several artists will be testing the new feature out, including Flying Lotus, Róisín Murphy and Nas (who recently invested in Mixcloud, which […]

Spotify and YouTube double down on their music charts

The charts of digital music services having clout with consumers and the industry alike isn’t a new trend for anyone who remembers the heyday of Apple’s iTunes rankings around the world. We’re interested in the current burst of activity around streaming services’ charts though. Both Spotify and YouTube Music had announcements this week shedding more […]

Scooter Braun on the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic

Manager and investor Scooter Braun appeared at the Fast Company Innovation Festival this week, and had plenty to say on the music industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “With all this time, we are creating new lanes that didn’t exist before. When you talk about your work life, I always tell people . . . build time […]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek outlines his leadership style

The Observer Effect has published a long interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, focusing on his management style and processes. So, there aren’t many news lines for the likes of us to pick out on Spotify’s business, but lots of food for thought for anyone wondering what they can learn from the way its CEO runs […]

Dua Lipa launches TikTok-assisted ‘Levitating’ music video

In August, Dua Lipa launched her #DuaVideo challenge on TikTok, inviting fans to submit videos based on makeup, animation or dance using her ‘Levitating’ single. The promise was that the best creators would make it into a music video for the track. TikTok says that the contest generated more than 150k videos which were watched more […]

AiR Show augmented-reality concerts app acquired for $300k

This might just be a record for the shortest gap between a startup being first covered by Music Ally, and being acquired. We wrote about Trick 3D and its ‘AiR Show’ app a couple of weeks ago: it promised to beam artists into fans’ living rooms using augmented reality technology, for performances. It had a partnership with […]

Charli XCX to kick off Oculus and Tidal’s VR concerts series

We knew that Tidal and Facebook’s Oculus were working together on plans for some virtual reality concerts. Now we know who’s playing the first one: Charli XCX, who’ll be performing within the Oculus Venues app this Friday (9 October). It’s the first of a series of six concerts organised by the companies, each of which will see […]

Fender Play nears 1m subscribers thanks to free lessons

Instrument maker Fender is extending a promotion offering three months of free access to its Fender Play digital guitar-lessons service. The promo launched in April, shortly after Covid-19 lockdowns began in many countries. Fender says that the Fender Play user base has grown from 150,000 to 930,000 subscribers since then. With the promo extended until the end […]

Gema warns of ‘even more difficult’ 2021 for many musicians

Germany collecting society Gema held its annual general meeting last week – online, of course, with around 1,000 of its songwriter, composer and publisher members taking part. The event included some blunt words from CEO Dr Harald Heker on why Covid-19 relief measures taken by the society this year can only go so far. “We are […]

Triller denies new allegations of inflated user numbers

Short video app Triller has found itself at the centre of another controversy around its public user numbers. A report by Business Insider citing ‘six former Triller employees’ claimed that when Triller said in October 2019 that it had 13 million monthly active users, the true figure was “closer to two million”. The details are important here: […]

Roli boss talks Lumi keyboard and music education’s evolution

Music Ally first came across Roli in 2013, when it was named as a finalist in the SXSW Music Accelerator startups contest, before we reported on its $12.8m funding round the following year from investors including Universal Music Group. The company was focused on music instruments, with its first being the Seaboard Grand, a keyboard […]

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 […]

TikTok creator fund reportedly paying 2-4 cents per 1,000 views

TikTok’s Creator Fund started as a $200m commitment in July to be distributed among US-based TikTokers trying to build careers on the platform. It quickly expanded to a promised $1bn over three years, with a European fund following in September aiming for $300m over three years. Beyond those big headline numbers, though, details of how […]

ShareChat’s Times Music deal includes short-video app Moj

Moj is one of the short-video apps making hay in India in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Launched in July, it grew to 50 million users within a month, then 80 million by late September, when its parent company ShareChat raised $40m of funding to continue the momentum. ShareChat said then that partnerships with music labels would […]

Triller gets a licensing deal with pan-Euro licensing hub Ice

Triller has been making the most of TikTok’s recent troubles, poaching creators, trumpeting its user growth and even pitching itself in the US as “a form of patriotic capitalism”. But with that higher profile has come scrutiny of Triller’s licensing status, not least from US publishing body the NMPA. On the other side of the Atlantic, […]

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 […]

Rewind and remix radio with Teenage Engineering’s new OB-4

Teenage Engineering’s pocket-sized synthesizers are marvellous, but now the Swedish company is applying its innovation skills to radio. Its latest device, the OB-4, is pitched as a “magic radio” – a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also receive FM radio broadcasts. The twists being that, well, owners will be able to twist the audio itself. “OB–4 continuously […]

Baidu’s smart devices and voice assistants arm is worth $2.9bn

Smart speakers and voice assistants are increasingly popular, but what’s their value in corporate terms? It’s hard to tell given that many of the companies making them – Apple, Google and Amazon included – don’t split out their revenues from this technology, and the companies’ market caps are based on their entire businesses. But here’s […]

Spotify adds video for ‘Written by’ songwriter playlists

In February this year, Spotify launched a beta ‘Songwriter Pages’ feature offering more visibility for songwriters on its service, including their own profile pages and playlists of recordings of their works. Today, it’s expanding that with video on some of those pages. Songwriters Mike Dean, Raye and Cautious Clay are the first to get the treatment, with videos in their ‘Written By’ […]

Rockifi streaming service will focus on hard rock and metal

Scottish startup Rockifi isn’t brand new: back in 2018 it was being hailed as ‘Tinder for rock fans’ with an app that helped rock and metal fans find likeminded fans to go to concerts with. However, it’s relaunching this month with a bigger ambition: to be a fully fledged streaming service for hard rock and heavy metal. […]

Boomy expands free tier and adds vocals to its AI music

Boomy is the startup that lets anyone sign up and create music using its AI tool – and then release it to streaming services. We’ve covered the company regularly (this profile for example), and now the company has launched a major update to its platform. That includes an expansion of its free tier: “Starting today, […]

Deezer still pushing for user-centric payouts: ‘We will continue fighting…’

Just over a year ago, music streaming service Deezer announced its desire to launch a pilot of a ‘user-centric payment system’ (UCPS) by early 2020. You can read our primer on the user-centric model here, but in a nutshell, it ensures that the money from your streaming subscription only goes to the music you listen […]

Soundtrack by Twitch offers licensed music to streamers

Livestreaming platform Twitch is launching a new feature, Soundtrack by Twitch, with a catalogue of licensed music for its community of creators to use in their streams. The Amazon-owned company has licensed more than 1m tracks from more than 30 independent labels and distributors for the beta launch, in what’s its second attempt at an […]

Amuse / Midia report explores Covid-19 lockdown trends for musicians

Distributor Amuse and consultancy Midia Research have teamed up for their second report on the independent music community. One of the headline figures from Independent Artists: Pathfinding Through a Pandemic – that the ‘artists direct’ sector grew by 32% to $873m in 2019 – isn’t a new stat, having originally been published by Midia in March this […]

Four Tet gets his own looping chillout stream on YouTube

Channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music can do it. Hollywood star Will Smith can do it. Even Pepsi can do it. So why can’t Four Tet? He can! The ‘it’ in question being ‘looping lo-fi chillout music streams on YouTube’ of course. Electronic artist Four Tet has what appears to be a 12-hour loop that began streaming on his YouTube channel […]

YouTube Music tests Spotify Daily Mix-style ‘My Mix’ playlists

Spotify launched its Daily Mix playlists in 2016 as a collection of personalised playlists based on different ‘clusters’ of a listener’s musical tastes. Now it looks like YouTube Music is launching a similar feature. Tech blog Android Police reported on some users seeing up to seven new ‘My Mix’ playlists, each seemingly based on a different genre or […]

Michelle Obama Spotify podcast spreads to other platforms

‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ is perhaps the most high-profile show that’s exclusive to Spotify. Well, it was until today. Spotify has announced that the show, co-produced with the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground, will now be available on “a number of additional platforms”. It didn’t say which platforms, but there’s already a listing for the show on Apple […]

As Trump stews, TikTok launches an in-app US elections guide

We’re still waiting to find out what the Trump administration will do in response to a judge blocking its ban of TikTok in the US. We suspect the president won’t be too keen on its latest feature though: an in-app guide to the 2020 elections. It will provide TikTok users with information about candidates; explain how […]

YouTube singalong to celebrate Oasis album’s 25th anniversary

It’s about to turn 25 years since the release of Oasis’s second album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’, which several members of our editorial team are in firm age-related denial about. The band remains on hiatus thanks to ongoing tensions between its founding brothers, but celebrations are afoot on YouTube. This Friday (2 October) there’s […]

Spotify could face an Apple-style payments fight with Google

With recent app store controversies involving Spotify and Epic Games, the focus has been squarely on Apple and its App Store, even though the Fortnite publisher also has issues with Google and its Google Play store. Spotify’s relationship with Google has been much friendlier: the companies have teamed up on smart-speaker giveaways, and Spotify has […]

Tools: Fanaplay. Digital Collectibles For The World’s Biggest Fans

The coronavirus pandemic has forced artists and their teams to focus even more on the digital space, where fans are spending the majority of their time. Fanaply – a company that creates digital collectibles and fan engagement tools for artists – suggests that it’s now crucial to think about products that allow fans to express […]

Tools: Zebr. Send Music to Influencers

Zebr originally started out as a new music discovery channel on Instagram and TikTok – and is now making an interesting move into influencer marketing. Zebr’s new app allows artists and their representatives to submit music to influencers and content creators, using a streamlined and affordable pricing structure, and ensuring each song is credited in […]

Marvel goes K-Pop with SM Entertainment / SuperM collab

Korean music company SM Entertainment has announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment, with K-Pop group SuperM first to benefit – just in time for the release last Friday of their debut album ‘Super One’. There’s a range of dual-branded merchandise available from the SuperM online store: t-shirts, hats, luggage stickers, and special packages with the album and various […]

J-Lo and Maluma’s #PatiChallenge races to 1.2bn TikTok views (but…)

Well, it sort of has, and sort of hasn’t. We’ll explain. Last week we reported on the marketing campaign around Jennifer Lopez and Maluma’s new singles ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, including a #PatiChallenge on TikTok launched with influencer Charli D’Amelio. Her video has been watched 24.4m times so far, but videos using the challenge’s hashtag have racked […]

Apple Music adds Defected and Glitterbox DJ mixes and live sets

The latest external playlist curator getting some love from Apple Music is independent dance label Defected Records, including its Glitterbox brand. It’s providing Apple Music with some exclusive DJ mixes and live sets, kicking off with a selection including sets from Ibiza in 2019 (Roger Sanchez, Gorgon City, Sam Divine) and from the recent Glitterbox Virtual […]

300k listeners voted on the songs for Tencent Music’s new compilation

In China, Tencent Music has plenty of history as a direct distribution channel for independent musicians, which is now concentrated in its Tencent Musician arm. Its latest project is interesting. ‘Root Music’ is a collection of Chinese folk tracks in local dialects, with its lineup chosen by listeners rather than by Tencent Music’s own curators. […]

Judge blocks Trump administration’s TikTok app stores ban

Wake up, take a look at the US app stores (if you can) and see that… TikTok remains available to download. That’s because a US District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction last night to prevent the Trump administration’s proposed ban on new downloads of the app from taking effect. The judge’s written explanation of the ruling […]

The evolution of podcasts: ‘I hope that the industry diversifies’

“I remember looking for podcasts hosted by Black people. I think I found four in the UK!” Renay Richardson is the CEO of podcast production company Broccoli Content, and also a prime mover behind the ‘Equality in Audio Pact’, an initiative encouraging the industry to tackle “the lack of opportunities for minority talent both in […]

Music marketing tips: the pros share their best advice at Sandbox Summit

The final day of Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference had a practical focus on music marketing, with two panels of experts offering their advice. First was a ‘tips from the top’ session picking the brains of Sarah Ismail (regional marketing director, Greater China and South East Asia, Warner Music Group), Negla Abdela (head […]

Making the most of Twitch: tips for artists from its music team

Amazon’s livestreaming video platform Twitch was already looking to do more with music before Covid-19 struck, but the pandemic has fuelled a moment where lots of musicians are also suddenly keen to do more with Twitch – and livestreaming more generally. At Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference this week, Twitch’s VP of music […]

M to the B, Bella Poarch, and a tale of TikTok virality

“If you don’t know me I’m M to the B / Coming in hard, you better watch it Sophie…” If those lyrics mean nothing to you, then you clearly aren’t an aficionado of the mid-2010s Blackpool grime scene, nor do you have a tweenage TikTok fan in your household. The lyrics are from a 2016 […]