Music Ally http://musically.com Music industry consultancy covering digital music marketing and strategy Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:33:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=311 YouTube and Facebook reveal end-of-year charts http://musically.com/2014/12/20/youtube-facebook-reveal-end-year-charts/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/youtube-facebook-reveal-end-year-charts/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:33:19 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56229 Strange though it is for end-of-year charts to have been coming out since the start of December, that’s the pattern. YouTube launched its Rewind charts yesterday, for example, breaking out separate charts as usual for music and non-music videos. Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ was the top trending music video globally this year, according to YouTube, using a mysterious metric blending views with comments, likes, shares and parodies to produce its list. Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Bailando’, Shakira’s ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ and ‘La La La’, and Jason Derulo’s ‘Wiggle’ made up the top five. Meanwhile, Facebook published its list of the 10 most talked-about entertainers in the US, with music to the fore: Beyonce was top, followed by Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Jimmy Fallon in the top five.

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MC Hammer turns to Twitter to distribute new music http://musically.com/2014/12/20/mc-hammer-turns-twitter-distribute-new-music/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/mc-hammer-turns-twitter-distribute-new-music/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:30:46 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56228 MC Hammer successfully reinvented himself as a tech entrepreneur in recent years, even if the actual startups he founded weren’t that successful. But now he’s combining tech and music in the campaign for his latest release, ‘Don’t Go’. Hammer’s 3.4m Twitter followers have been offered early access to its video, through a system that involves the star following them to distribute the link to the video. Billboard has an interview with Hammer where he talks about the benefits of direct distribution. “There are more competing [music distribution] platforms every day but at the end of the day, they’re still not the best use-case for the artists,” he says. “[Artists are] not getting the analytics, data, relationships with their fanbase for the art that he or she created. There’s some other intermediary that’s the overall beneficiary of the content created through the gifts and talent of the artists.” Hammer is advising artists to look for “partners” rather than labels: “I have a plethora of strategic partners, and each one does their own thing…”

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Twitter now helps brands target ads based on app installs http://musically.com/2014/12/20/twitter-now-helps-brands-target-ads-based-app-installs/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/twitter-now-helps-brands-target-ads-based-app-installs/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:27:09 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56227 Twitter caused a minor kerfuffle last month when it emerged that its mobile app was tracking other apps installed by users. Now it’s explained what that means for advertisers, with the launch of “tailored audiences from mobile apps”. Basically, this means companies booking ad campaigns on Twitter can now target them at users who’ve installed specific apps, as well as those who’ve used the company’s own apps but not yet “signed up or made a purchase”. We suspect this may lead to an increase in the number of digital music firms running ad campaigns on Twitter: for example, Spotify targeting people who’ve installed its app but not yet signed up for a premium subscription. Or perhaps even digital music services targeting one another’s users through Twitter ads. Note: people can choose to turn off the app-scanning feature on their smartphones.

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Midem, Pepsi and Deezer team up for ‘artist accelerator’ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/midem-pepsi-deezer-team-artist-accelerator/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/midem-pepsi-deezer-team-artist-accelerator/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:23:24 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56226 We’re used to the idea of accelerators as programs for startups to hone their products and businesses, but how about for artists? That’s the idea behind the Midem Artist Accelerator, announced yesterday by Reed Midem as one of the new features at its newly-summerised industry conference in 2015. The company is working with Pepsi and Deezer on the project, which will choose 10-15 emerging artists to play at the Midem Festival, as well as getting access to the conference, coaching sessions with industry mentors, and networking opportunities. Pepsi will provide media training, while Deezer will record a session for each artist, and offer a workshop. BandPage and legal body the IAEL are also involved, with the committee choosing the artists to include promoters Harvey Goldsmith and Rob Hallett; management exec Will Botwin; and festivals boss Fruzsina Szep.

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Bop.fm takes streaming aggregation to iOS with first app http://musically.com/2014/12/20/bop-fm-takes-streaming-aggregation-ios-first-app/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/bop-fm-takes-streaming-aggregation-ios-first-app/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:20:35 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56225 Bop.fm is one of the startups trying to build bridges between the various streaming music services, helping people share links with friends that automatically play tracks from whatever services they have access to. Now it’s gone mobile, with the launch of its free iOS app. The app currently pulls songs from Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube, offering users a feed of songs including new tracks, based on their listening history. The app will also provide access to playlists curated by the likes of Tiesto, Lil Wayne, Keith Urban and Depeche Mode for the service, with verified artist profiles part of its mix. The free nature of its app may give Bop.fm a shot at building a mobile audience, although it’s unclear how popular the web version is: the wider industry figure from Nielsen of 70bn songs streamed on-demand in the first six months of 2014 was given more prominence in the announcement than Bop.fm’s own figure of 50m tracks streamed since its launch a year ago. How will it make money? “Long term, it’s a data play,” its CEO tells Billboard, promising “an Echo Nest-like recommendation product” in the future.

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Next Big Sound shakes up its profile page http://musically.com/2014/12/20/next-big-sound-shakes-profile-page/ http://musically.com/2014/12/20/next-big-sound-shakes-profile-page/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:16:45 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56224 Analytics firm Next Big Sound has announced a redesign of its profile page for creators, with what it says is a “dramatically simplified” design, with more data on view rather than buried behind dropdown menus. But there are also new data insights: Metric Trends, Overall Audience Reach, Overall Audience Engagement and Artist Stages. They make it easier for artists to understand whether their social stats are spiking, and compare the size of their online fanbase to the general community in terms of both size and engagement. “Although this summer’s star, Ariana Grande, lands at the 100th percentile for Audience Reach (earning her Enormous reach), her Audience Engagement ranks at the 71st percentile, a Moderate level of engagement,” explained Next Big Sound, as an illustration of the latter metric. Overall, the changes reinforce Next Big Sound’s status as a useful resource for artists of all sizes: grand(e) and small alike.

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Ronson / Mars single released early after X Factor success http://musically.com/2014/12/19/ronson-mars-single-released-early-x-factor-success/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/ronson-mars-single-released-early-x-factor-success/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:42:01 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56223 The big moment in the UK X Factor this weekend – in fact, the biggest moment from the last few series of it – was contestant Fleur East’s cover of the as-yet unreleased Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars song ‘Uptown Funk’. Cue a surge in downloads of her version from the iTunes Store, and the decision to bring the Ronson track’s release forward a month from its planned January debut. Yesterday, that was duly topping the iTunes chart, with East’s cover in second place – something we can’t remember happening in recent memory. X Factor sceptics, of which there are a few, are already wondering whether this wasn’t part of the plan all along, with East’s version drumming up excitement for the “rush released” original. Even so, it’s a sign of X Factor’s continued clout – for all the limpness of much of the current series – to drive sales. Interesting side-note: the Mars track is available to stream as well as to buy.

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SoundCloud tipped for $150m funding round http://musically.com/2014/12/19/soundcloud-tipped-150m-funding-round/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/soundcloud-tipped-150m-funding-round/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:33:13 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56222 It may be less than a year since SoundCloud took $60m in new funding, but according to the Wall Street Journal, it may be returning to VCs for an even bigger round. In fact, it suggests SoundCloud is in talks to raise $150m in its new round, valuing the company at $1.2bn – up from $700m in January. No surprises to see the company’s ongoing negotiations with major labels Universal and Sony referenced in the piece, with only Warner Music having so far struck a licensing deal with SoundCloud. But there are other pressing reasons for more funding: SoundCloud is preparing to launch a subscription service in 2014, entering into the battle between cash-rich Apple and Google, and VC-cash-rich Spotify. With SoundCloud’s advertising business in its infancy, if VCs are willing to up their investment, it is hardly surprising that SoundCloud is in talks. Of course, the other impact of Wall Street Journal chatter about new funding and a rapidly-growing valuation may be to flush more potential acquirers of the company out into the open…

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Hachette tests selling books via Twitter http://musically.com/2014/12/19/hachette-tests-selling-books-via-twitter/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/hachette-tests-selling-books-via-twitter/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:28:53 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56221 We’ve seen a few artists experiment with selling music directly from tweets through companies like Chirpify and Gumroad. Now the idea is spreading to the book publishing world. Major publisher Hachette announced plans yesterday to sell books on Twitter, starting with a familiar name: musician Amanda Palmer’s book ‘The Art of Asking’. It’ll be followed by astronaut Chris Hadfield’s ‘You Are Here’ and satire compilation ‘The Onion: Magazine: The Iconic Covers that Transformed an Undeserving World’. Hachette is working with Gumroad on the campaign, which will see the books – and these are physical books, not e-books – sold with “bonus” items including original manuscript pages (Palmer), signed photos (Hadfield) and note cards (The Onion). “With so much of our book marketing done socially now, in-stream Twitter purchasing is a natural next step,” said Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch.

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Publisher Hal Leonard launches ‘PlayAlong’ iPad app http://musically.com/2014/12/19/publisher-hal-leonard-launches-playalong-ipad-app/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/publisher-hal-leonard-launches-playalong-ipad-app/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:24:12 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56220 The latest digital sheet-music app comes from publishing company Hal Leonard, for iPad. Hal Leonard PlayAlong is a free download from the App Store, combining “interactive sheet music, pro-quality audio backing tracks and powerful practice/performance tools along with premier songs from the Hal Leonard music library”. The idea being that musicians can learn songs, record their performances then share them from within one app. 15 songs are included for free, with an in-app store selling sheet-music and songs for $4.99 each, or just the audio for $0.99 each. The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Elton John, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Adele, Eagles, Bruno Mars, Pink Floyd and Queen are among the artists whose music is available.

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Grooveshark launching $0.99-a-month Broadcasts radio app http://musically.com/2014/12/19/grooveshark-launching-0-99-month-broadcasts-radio-app/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/grooveshark-launching-0-99-month-broadcasts-radio-app/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:21:14 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56219 Streaming service Grooveshark has been seen as down and out for the count following its copyright court battle with major labels. But to mix sporting metaphors, the company may have one last hail-mary pass in it: a standalone app for its Broadcasts social radio service. The company says its “first compliant app”  will launch in January, costing $0.99 a month to stream personal radio channels curated by other users, with text chat built in. It’s Pandora meets WhatsApp, in other words: something CEO Sam Tarantino tells the Wall Street Journal could “change the ballgame”. Not least because Grooveshark’s new app will be licensed from the get-go without the need for individual deals with labels and publishers, through statutory rates. “We’re trying to show that we’re doing everything we possibly can to be a legitimate player here,” said Tarantino. Our question here is less about whether Grooveshark can go legit, and more about whether post court battle, it has the funding to make Broadcast a success, against competition from Pandora, iTunes Radio and the free mobile tiers of Spotify and Rdio among others.

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Why tech giants create their own programming languages http://musically.com/2014/12/19/tech-giants-create-programming-languages/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/tech-giants-create-programming-languages/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:17:06 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56218 There’s a really good piece on Medium about why some of the biggest technology firms are creating their own programming languages. “Google has Go, first conceived in 2009. Facebook introduced Hack last spring. And Apple unveiled Swift not long after,” explains Scott Rosenberg. “In war, as George Orwell had it, the winners write the history books. In tech, the winning companies are writing the programming languages. The Internet was built on open standards and code, but the era of social networks and the cloud is dominated by corporate giants. And they are beginning to put their unique stamps on the thought-stuff of digital technology — just as inevitably as William the Conqueror and his Normans imported tranches of early French into the nascent English tongue, in ways that still shape our legal and financial language.” The piece notes that this isn’t a new trend – “FORTRAN emerged from IBM, and COBOL was largely based on Grace Hopper’s Flow-matic, created for Remington Rand’s Univac. In the 1990s, Sun gave us Java; in the 2000s, Microsoft gave us C#” – but presents an even-handed view of what it means in the current technological context.

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Parklike festival fined £70k for spoof texts from ‘Mum’ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/parklike-festival-fined-70k-spoof-texts-mum/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/parklike-festival-fined-70k-spoof-texts-mum/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:13:21 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56217 See if you can spot the Really Bad Idea in this marketing campaign as we describe it: the organisers of the Parklife festival sent tens of thousands of text messages to people who’d previously registered to buy tickets, with the messages seeming to be from “Mum” with a message “Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your [sic] going, make sure your [sic, again] home for breakfast! xxx” with a URL to buy tickets. Spotted the fail? No, not just spelling: with no way to check whether recipients’ mothers were still alive – or worse, had only died recently – the campaign inevitably freaked out a number of fans. Now Parklife’s organiser has been fined £70,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK. “This was a poorly thought out piece of marketing that didn’t appear to even try to follow the rules,” said head of enforcement Steve Eckersley. “It made some people very upset in an attempt to sell tickets to a club night, and that is not acceptable.”

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Paul McCartney talks digital music (a bit) http://musically.com/2014/12/19/paul-mccartney-talks-digital-music-bit/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/paul-mccartney-talks-digital-music-bit/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:09:17 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56216 Paul McCartney has written a song for console game Destiny, which led to a day of promotional interviews – even though McCartney is happy to admit he’s not a gamer. “There are other things I like to do in my spare time. I’m just … I’m just not a gamer,” he told the Guardian. But he did talk about digital music a bit. “In an ideal world, they listen to what you’ve recorded in the way that you have presented it. But it’s their choice. If they want to read a novel and not finish it, that’s their choice, not mine. I’d just be pleased they were reading it,” he said. “It’s all changed so drastically. A lot of kids listen to music on their smartphones through these tiny little speakers. I’m pulling my hair out thinking, ‘Argh, I spent hours making that high-fidelity sound! Get a decent set of headphones! Please!’” Still, he was fairly relaxed about it all. “I’ve come through vinyl, tape cassettes, CDs, digital downloads … all along, the constant was that a song is required. The delivery system isn’t important… it’s the difference between looking at a painting in a gallery and looking at a […]

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Taylor Swift on Spotify: ‘There’s nothing more to elaborate on’ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/taylor-swift-spotify-theres-nothing-elaborate/ http://musically.com/2014/12/19/taylor-swift-spotify-theres-nothing-elaborate/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:03:37 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56215 Does Taylor Swift like iTunes? Of course she does. In an interview to celebrate being named Billboard Woman of the Year, she talks about how she discovers music. “I buy it on iTunes. Things I see trending online, friends on Twitter who tweet about new music. iTunes has really good recommendations – “You like Lorde, you’ll probably like Broods.” Well, I do like Broods! Thank you, iTunes.” Apple will be thanking Swift for rare public praise of its recommendation algorithms. But Swift’s answer sparked the obvious follow-on question about Spotify, the service where Swift’s music remains unavailable. “I wrote an entire op-ed piece [for The Wall Street Journal] back in the summer that was essentially foreshadowing this decision. I’ve talked about it openly and directly, and there’s nothing more to elaborate on. Until Spotify starts to fairly compensate the creators of music, I’m not going to be a part of it.” We wish she’d been given more space to elaborate on how that compensation should get fairer, though: the now-familiar ‘what, more than 70% of revenues, which is what iTunes pays too?’ question would have been on our lips at this point.

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