Music Ally http://musically.com Music industry consultancy covering digital music marketing and strategy Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:43:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=217 Meet Spotibear, the Spotify-playing teddy bear toy http://musically.com/2015/03/27/meet-spotibear-spotify-playing-teddy-bear-toy/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/meet-spotibear-spotify-playing-teddy-bear-toy/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:43:09 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56982 A 3D-printed teddy bear that plays songs from Spotify. If this was a Kickstarter campaign, we’d have our wallets out already. It’s not… yet. Instead, Spotibear is a prototype product from designer Andreas Lindahl, which has been showed off this week. It’s a teddy bear-shaped toy with a Raspberry Pi B+ computer inside, capable of streaming songs from Spotify as well as playing audio stories for children. Its individual pieces have to be 3D-printed then glued and sanded – a process that doesn’t sound quite ready for the mass market yet. Also, a streaming music teddy bear should probably be furry, no? Even so, it’s an interesting example of the kind of products that could be integrating streaming music services in the future.

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Former Mog boss launches his Chosen mobile talent-contest app http://musically.com/2015/03/27/former-mog-boss-launches-chosen-mobile-talent-contest-app/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/former-mog-boss-launches-chosen-mobile-talent-contest-app/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:38:52 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56981 David Hyman was the long-time CEO of streaming music service Mog, before departing (acrimoniously, as it turned out) when it was acquired by Beats Music. His new thing is Chosen, an American Idol-style talent contest with the twist of being hosted via a smartphone app rather than a TV channel. Hyman announced his plans last November when raising $5m to launch Chosen (Bulletin, 5-Nov-14), but now the app itself has launched. “We wanted to free the genre from the constraints of linear-based TV. Watching performers compete didn’t start with Idol. People have been doing this since the dawn of mankind, so how can we do something native for the mobile environment that’s much more meaningful?” he told Billboard yesterday. In this case, the talent is either singing or lip-syncing, with an 8,000-song catalogue available from EMI and Sony/ATV, while every user of the app can also be a judge, rating others’ efforts. Chosen will be free for a year, with plans to make money from in-app purchases and virtual items, although for now it’s invite-only.

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Vevo’s Jones sees UK music video age-ratings spreading globally http://musically.com/2015/03/27/vevos-jones-sees-uk-music-video-age-ratings-spreading-globally/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/vevos-jones-sees-uk-music-video-age-ratings-spreading-globally/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:34:55 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56980 The UK’s experiment in adding age-ratings to music videos on YouTube and Vevo entered its second phase this week, with the ratings displayed on videos uploaded by Sony, Universal and Warner. Vevo’s Nic Jones has been talking about the scheme, predicting that the UK could be a testbed for something that eventually becomes a global standard. “We’re very pleased that the process has now started, but I would stress that this is a first step, not a final step,” he told Music Week. “We like to think this is the beginning of a movement that will connect globally, some kind of age rating process subscribed to by all.”  The scheme is seeing videos assigned 12, 15 or 18 ratings when deemed necessary by ratings body the BBFC, with an emphasis on spotting “the sexualisation of girls and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence” according to its assistant director David Austin.

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Spandau Ballet singer thinks streaming isn’t so Gold http://musically.com/2015/03/27/spandau-ballet-singer-thinks-streaming-isnt-gold/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/spandau-ballet-singer-thinks-streaming-isnt-gold/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:31:32 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56979 GOLD! You’ve got the power to know, your royalties are destructible… Etc etc. It’s a good day if you’ve been wondering what the singer out of Spandau Ballet thinks of streaming music: Tony Hadley has been telling all in an interview with Mashable. “With streaming, I think the biggest problem you’ve got is how musicians make money. And asking the record company, ‘How does anyone make any money? How do the musicians make money?’ And no one can really tell me. And my worry is, certainly the young band, the up and coming bands, how do they make the money?” says Hadley. “So I actually thought what Taylor Swift did was a very good move by taking her album off of Spotify and saying, ‘No, I want people to buy this as a piece of work, as an album,’ and it got me thinking, I thought to myself, ‘Well wouldn’t it be great if everybody released an album and we were all unified and we only allowed the fully downloaded product to be downloaded, or the CD, or album or whatever to be bought in its entirety.’ To actually bypass Spotify and those streaming devices for three months — after three […]

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Beatport launches iOS and Android app for its streaming service http://musically.com/2015/03/27/beatport-launches-ios-android-app-streaming-service/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/beatport-launches-ios-android-app-streaming-service/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:27:50 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56978 Dance downloads store Beatport recently expanded into streaming with the beta launch of a free, on-demand streaming service without any ads (Bulletin, 24-Feb-15). One month on, and there are apps for that on iOS and Android. The apps launched yesterday as free downloads, including (in the US) a partnership with mobile operator T-Mobile to make them part of its Music Freedom initiative to remove data charges. Beatport is keen for the apps to be seen as more than just streaming though: “We’ve built the definitive home of electronic music in all forms and formats, including festivals and events, streaming, music downloads and news and information available on web and mobile,” said parent company SFX’s president Greg Consiglio. Also interesting: the beta launch of Beatport Live, which will stream video of DJ sets in high-definition audio and video. SFX has been talking about ambitions plans for Beatport’s evolution for some time now, but in 2015 we’ll get to see how the market responds. And also how the business model shapes up.

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Twitter launches Periscope as UMG invests in Meerkat http://musically.com/2015/03/27/twitter-launches-periscope-umg-invests-meerkat/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/twitter-launches-periscope-umg-invests-meerkat/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:24:05 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56977 The battle is on in the latest wave of live video-broadcasting apps, with Twitter’s recently-acquired Periscope launching yesterday on iPhone, to compete with SXSW-buzz Meerkat. Among Periscope’s differences are its ability to make broadcasts replayable for up to 24 hours, as well as a private feature to restrict access to selected Twitter users. Musician Aaron Paul is one of the app’s early adopters too – he was apparently showing beta viewers around his dwelling earlier this month – while we noticed Amanda Palmer sign up yesterday afternoon too. Just as Periscope launched, Meerkat revealed it had raised a new funding round – some reports say $12m while others say $14m – with VC firm Greylock leading the round. But the list of investors made for interesting reading: Universal Music Group, plus talent agencies WME and CAA Ventures, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, and actor/musician Jared Leto. How can Meerkat beat a rival owned by Twitter, though? We’re already hearing speculation that an acquisition by Facebook may be the logical endgame here.

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Taylor Swift outguns PewDiePie for YouTube subscriber growth http://musically.com/2015/03/27/taylor-swift-pewdiepie-youtube-subscriber-growth/ http://musically.com/2015/03/27/taylor-swift-pewdiepie-youtube-subscriber-growth/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:56:41 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56970 taylor-swiftTaylor Swift’s withdrawal from Spotify last year hogged plenty of headlines, but her rapidly-growing subscriber totals on YouTube has been more under the radar. Yet it’s well worth following, because Swift isn’t just signing up more new subscribers than her musical peers – she’s now outgrowing the biggest star of all on YouTube: gamer PewDiePie.

According to the latest monthly 100 Most Subscribed YouTube Channels chart published by industry site Tubefilter based on data from analytics firm OpenSlate, Swift’s Vevo channel added just under 725k new subscribers in February this year, ahead of PewDiePie’s 705k and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s 623k.

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EC taking aim at geoblocking as part of digital reforms http://musically.com/2015/03/26/ec-taking-aim-geoblocking-part-digital-reforms/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/ec-taking-aim-geoblocking-part-digital-reforms/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:57:47 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56974 “I am under no illusions: it will be an uphill struggle. It is harder to create a digital single market than a physical one.” Words from the European Commission’s digital single market commissioner Andrus Ansip, who nevertheless seems determined to press on with reforms that will create exactly that. And squarely in his sights is the process of geoblocking: limiting content to be watched or listened to in certain countries only, while blocking others. “Today’s situation is lose-lose: people are ready to pay, but we do not accept their money. There are two logics — geoblocking or the internal market. Those two cannot coexist,” Ansip told the Financial Times. “Deep in my heart, I hate geoblocking. It is old-fashioned and it is not fair. We do not have to use these instruments in the 21st century.” There’s a long road ahead to remove these instruments, but it will be fascinating to see how Ansip’s efforts go.

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Kickstarter shines Spotlight on successful projects http://musically.com/2015/03/26/kickstarter-shines-spotlight-successful-projects/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/kickstarter-shines-spotlight-successful-projects/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:54:07 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56973 Until now, if you ran a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding project, its page on the site would be effectively frozen in time from the funding deadline. Visit Amanda Palmer’s “The new record, art book and tour” page, and it looked the same as it did in 2012, for example. Now that’s changing with a new feature called Spotlight, which enables creators to replace their funding page with a new one – under their full creative control – to let fans know what happened next, present a timeline of the project, and direct them to an external website to buy or find out more. “We know a creator’s Kickstarter page is often core to the identity of the project they brought to life from our platform,” said a spokesperson. “It’s often a top search result for artists and entrepreneurs, so it’s an important part of how their audience interacts with them and the story they share about themselves and their work after funding.”

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Tidal planning to launch in six more countries next quarter http://musically.com/2015/03/26/tidal-planning-launch-six-countries-next-quarter/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/tidal-planning-launch-six-countries-next-quarter/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:48:44 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56972 Tidal, the streaming service now owned by Jay Z, is showing a countdown on its website that (at the time of writing) stands at just over four and a half days. Mark Monday, then, as the date for a full announcement of Roc Nation’s plans for Aspiro’s service. In the meantime, though, there’s some other news: plans for geographic expansion. Tidal announced yesterday that it’s now live in 31 countries, with six more to follow by the end of the second quarter. The six are Poland, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Tidal also continues to make its lossless-quality streams its main selling point, as well as its integrations with home and portable audio firms. We expect to find out more on Monday about its plans to develop deeper partnerships with artists.

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iTunes rumour update: the latest on ‘Spotify with Jimmy juice’ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/itunes-rumour-update-latest-spotify-jimmy-juice/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/itunes-rumour-update-latest-spotify-jimmy-juice/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:40:32 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56971 The technology reporting world isn’t finished with leaks from Apple’s iTunes relaunch plans, not by a long chalk. The latest report comes from the New York Times, which fills in some of the details around Apple’s plans. First, Trent Reznor is described as a “point man” for the revamp of Beats Music, “playing a major role in redesigning the music app”. Second, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine has been “leading aggressive talks to secure prominent album releases that will be exclusive to Apple” – this we knew, although the description of the plans by one source as “Spotify with Jimmy juice” is entertaining. Third, no free tier although iTunes Radio WILL be part of the new service in some form, possibly steered by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe with “a more geographically targeted approach that would bear some resemblance to a traditional radio station”. And finally, price: the NYT claims that Apple has been rebuffed in its efforts to lower the price of a monthly subscription below $8.

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Rihanna debuts ‘BBHMM’ track in Dubsmash app http://musically.com/2015/03/26/rihanna-bbhmm-dubsmash/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/rihanna-bbhmm-dubsmash/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:19:12 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56956 rihannaWe’ve written about Dubsmash a few times in recent months: it’s the lip-syncing social app that’s gone mainstream, with millions of people mouthing along to famous film and music clips before posting them on social networks.
Music labels have certainly noticed: Dubsmash is beginning to get some exclusive promotional content. This morning, for example, a push notification let Dubsmash users know that Rihanna was making clips from her new track ‘BBHMM’ available within Dubsmash on an exclusive basis for 24 hours.

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Facebook Messenger evolves: here’s what it means for music http://musically.com/2015/03/26/facebook-messenger-evolves-what-it-means-for-music/ http://musically.com/2015/03/26/facebook-messenger-evolves-what-it-means-for-music/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:05:34 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56954 facebook-messengerAs predicted, Facebook announced plans yesterday to turn its Facebook Messenger app into a bona-fide platform for external developers, while also confirming that the messaging app now has 600 million monthly active users.
(Or, to channel Xzibit: ‘Yo dawg, Facebook heard you like messaging apps, so it put some more messaging apps in your messaging app’.)

It's a strategy that makes sense, given the similar platforms and developer communities being developed by the likes of WeChat, Line and KakaoMusic in Asia.

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Mobile games firm Supercell’s revenues tripled in 2014 http://musically.com/2015/03/25/mobile-games-firm-supercells-revenues-tripled-2014/ http://musically.com/2015/03/25/mobile-games-firm-supercells-revenues-tripled-2014/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:40:21 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56969 Here’s some more data from the booming mobile games industry, which is being watched with interest by music firms. Finnish developer Supercell reported its 2014 financials yesterday, with its revenues tripling to €1.55bn ($1.69bn) and its profits doubling to €515m ($563m) year-on-year. This, from just three freemium mobile games – Clash of Clans, Hay Day and Boom Beach –  and with a headcount of just over 150 people. So around $11.3m of revenues per employee. Add this to the $2.3bn of 2014 revenues for Candy Crush Saga publisher King and $1.45bn for Puzzle & Dragons maker GungHo Online Entertainment, and the world’s top three mobile games firms made $5.44bn last year collectively. That said, read industry site Gamesbrief’s follow-up analysis on the costs of these businesses: “King is spending almost half a billion dollars a year on marketing. Supercell is spending, according to the Financial Times, €400 million a year marketing, and its operating costs are growing faster than revenues and profits.”

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Mobile tipped to take 72.2% of US digital ad spend in 2019 http://musically.com/2015/03/25/mobile-tipped-take-72-2-us-digital-ad-spend-2019/ http://musically.com/2015/03/25/mobile-tipped-take-72-2-us-digital-ad-spend-2019/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:20:31 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56968 Research firm eMarketer has published its latest predictions for the US digital advertising market – figures with significant importance for digital music firms like Pandora and Spotify, as well as social networks Facebook and Twitter. “In 2015, mobile ad spending in the US will increase 50.0%, reaching $28.72 billion and accounting for 49.0% of all digital ad spending. By 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $65.87 billion, or 72.2% of total digital ad spend,” claims the company’s report. It sees spending on desktop ads staying flat in the years ahead, while mobile advertising sees strong growth. The report also breaks down the mobile ad spending by format: $12.05bn of display banners, sponsorships and rich media ads in 2015, plus $2.62bn of video ads; $12.85bn of search ads; $0.24bn of SMS, MMS and P2P messaging ads; and $0.96bn of “other” ads. We suspect audio ads in digital music services fall into the first of these categories: rich media.

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