Music Ally http://musically.com Music industry consultancy covering digital music marketing and strategy Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:40:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Nicki Minaj has a new branded twerking app. Yes, we’ve tried it. http://musically.com/2014/11/24/nicki-minaj-branded-twerking-app/ http://musically.com/2014/11/24/nicki-minaj-branded-twerking-app/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:38:43 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56065 screen322x572If, like us, you’ve been eagerly waiting for a time when there’d be an iPhone app to measure just how well you could twerk to the sounds of Nicki Minaj… well, we have good news.

US startup AmplifyBuzz has released Nicki Minaj’s MYX Fusions Twerk-a-Lot, a free iPhone app that does exactly that. “Got buns, hun?” asks its App Store listing.

“Think you can shake it like Nicki? Show off your twerking skills with Nicki Minaj’s MYX Twerk-A-Lot and her hit single ‘Anaconda’. All you gotta do is put your phone in your back pocket and shake your money maker. The longer you go, the higher you rise on the #TwerkBoard.”

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European Parliament mooting break-up of Google http://musically.com/2014/11/24/european-parliament-mooting-break-google/ http://musically.com/2014/11/24/european-parliament-mooting-break-google/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 07:25:26 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56064 googleIt’s rare to see the word “brazen” in a Financial Times story, but that’s how the newspaper is describing plans afoot in the European Parliament to call for a break-up of Google, including unbundling its search engine from its other commercial services.
“One of the most brazen assaults so far on the technology group's power,” as the article puts it, suggesting that two of the main political groups in the Parliament are supporting the plan.

Although the European Parliament cannot split up companies, it can influence the European Commission, which is involved in a long-running investigation into Google’s business.

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YouTube Music Awards will return in March http://musically.com/2014/11/22/youtube-music-awards-will-return-march/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/youtube-music-awards-will-return-march/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:18:47 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56061 Last year’s YouTube Music Awards were very strange – mostly in a good way – with a livestreamed event that seemed to be surprising its hosts as often as its audience. Now the awards are coming back for a second time, but seemingly without the event. “This March, YouTube will celebrate and award the artists to watch in 2015 as determined by our fans. For one special day, music will be the headline act on YouTube,” explained YouTube yesterday, noting that Vice Media will produce again, with last year’s sponsor Kia Motors also returning. “We’ll take this moment to celebrate the biggest and emerging artists through new and unique music video collaborations with top directors and creators. And fans will be involved in every step along the way, guiding and creating these videos.” So, no actual ceremony seemingly, but YouTube is promising “some surprises this December, and much more news to announce in January”.

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Taylor Swift’s YouTube views rise sharply http://musically.com/2014/11/22/taylor-swifts-youtube-views-rise-sharply/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/taylor-swifts-youtube-views-rise-sharply/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:13:04 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56060 Mashable’s headline that “Taylor Swift’s YouTube views doubled after pulling music from Spotify” will be raising eyebrows within the music industry, but we think there’s a lot more to the story. It’s based on stats from the US – via Nielsen Music Connect – showing that in the week ending 9 November Swift’s views doubled, and then spiked again by 72% the following week. It notes that Swift’s albums were pulled from Spotify on 3 November. Cause and effect? The trouble is that these kinds of spikes are not unknown around the release of new albums and videos – 10 November marked the online debut of Swift’s ‘Blank Space, for example. We’ve been digging for some more details on global stats for Swift’s YouTube views, using the Tubefilter/OpenSlate weekly top 50 YouTube chart. In the week of 31 October, Swift’s Vevo channel was the 22nd most popular YouTube channel in the world with 33.3m views. The following week (7-Nov) it climbed to 19th with 35.1m views, but then in the week of 14-Nov it shot up to 4th with 59.2m views – the Blank Space effect more than the Spotify effect, we suspect. Which doesn’t invalidate the theory that fans […]

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WME’s Marc Geiger criticises free on-demand streaming http://musically.com/2014/11/22/wmes-marc-geiger-criticises-free-demand-streaming/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/wmes-marc-geiger-criticises-free-demand-streaming/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:07:25 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56059 It’s pile-on time for the notion of free, unlimited on-demand streaming, in the wake of Taylor Swift’s dispute with Spotify. Latest to bundle into the debate is William Morris Endeavor (WME) head of music Marc Geiger. “I think it’s insane that the industry is so scared of the digital consumers that they have to give away all the content for free,” he said in a keynote speech at Billboard’s Touring Conference this week. “Give me a f***ing break. I think the whole thing is ridiculous… The all-you-can-eat for 30 days, everything-on-the-menu thing is crazy.” Geiger’s support for paid subscriptions isn’t a surprise to anyone who saw his Midem keynote earlier this year though, when he pitched the vision of future “music service providers” charging a minimum of $10-$15 a month plus add-ons for family members, higher-quality streams and exclusive content. “The history of subscriptions say they start cheap and go up. Always,” he said then.

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Technics launches high-def downloads store with 7digital http://musically.com/2014/11/22/technics-launches-high-def-downloads-store-7digital/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/technics-launches-high-def-downloads-store-7digital/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:01:03 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56058 Audio hardware brand Technics is getting into the digital music space with the launch of Technics Tracks, a FLAC-quality music downloads store due to go live in the UK and Germany in January. The company is working with 7digital on the store, with plans to make it accessible from PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices. The service will include cloud locker features so that buyers can download their purchases to multiple devices, as well as WiMP-style editorial features. “Technics Tracks is a platform, where listeners can not only download their favorite tracks in stunning 24-bit quality but will also be a rich source of news and editorial content on hi-res audio releases,” as the company’s head of brand strategy in Europe, David Preece, put it. The service will sit alongside existing HD stores like HD Tracks and Naim’s Hi Definition Download Store, as well as the about-to-launch PonoMusic. But competition will also come from streaming (plus cacheing) services like Tidal and Qobuz.

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Free apps are no longer “free” on Apple’s App Store http://musically.com/2014/11/22/free-apps-longer-free-apples-app-store/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/free-apps-longer-free-apples-app-store/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:54:03 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56057 Apple made a small but more-significant-than-you’d-think change to its App Store yesterday, changing the wording on its download buttons for free apps from “free” to “get”. Meanwhile, its Top Free Apps section has been renamed as “Top Apps” and its Top Free Games section as “Top Games” across Europe. The latter point suggests the reasoning: this is mainly about regulators rumbling about how many free apps aren’t really free at all – they’re free to download, but make their money from in-app purchases (IAP). After controversies focused on children and IAP in particular, the “free” wording became something of a hot potato, under the reasoning that while adults might understand that “free” means “freemium”, young children may not. “Games advertised as ‘free’ should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved,” as the European Commission put it in July.

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The Kids Are Alright (with Pink Floyd on Spotify) http://musically.com/2014/11/22/kids-alright-pink-floyd-spotify/ http://musically.com/2014/11/22/kids-alright-pink-floyd-spotify/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:46:44 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56056 Well, we say ‘kids’ – under-35s, anyway. Which in the context of usual perceptions of the Pink Floyd fanbase, are pretty much babes in arms. But yes, Spotify has published some data on the response of its users to the new Pink Floyd album ‘The Endless River’, and overall demographics for their streaming listeners. The album was streamed more than 3.15m times in its first week alone in the US – note, that’s streams of individual tracks, which with its 21 (!) tracks means around 150,000 equivalent album plays. One fun hint at how fans are progressing through the album is the fact that individual (global) track plays start at a high of 1.24m for its first track ‘Things Left Unsaid’, and decline steadily to 470k plays for its last track ‘Nervana’. Anyway, it’s the demographics that are interesting: more than 60% of Pink Floyd’s listeners are under 35, with the strongest listening among 18-22 year-olds. Which, of course, plays into Spotify’s pitch to legacy bands of this kind: that streaming is a way to find a new, younger audience.

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Time’s Spotify calculator misses one big point http://musically.com/2014/11/21/times-spotify-calculator-misses-one-big-point/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/times-spotify-calculator-misses-one-big-point/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:23:15 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56054 “See How Much Every Top Artist Makes on Spotify” reads the headline to Time’s latest article about the streaming service. Well, no. “One central mystery in the drama: just how much do artists make when their songs are played on the service? We used Spotify’s stated payout range – $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream – to calculate how much the top 50 songs streamed globally earned artists in 2014,” explains the piece, with a chart outlining the top-earning songs on Spotify from each month this year, as well as for 2014 as a whole. And it’s interesting data: Calvin Harris’ ‘Summer’ has generated a payout of between $1.2m and $1.7m by those calculations, with Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ and John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ close behind on $1.2m – $1.6m. But anyone involved in the music industry will have spotted the flaw in how the data is being presented: these aren’t payouts to artists, they’re payouts to rightsholders: labels and publishers, who’ll then pass them on to artists and songwriters according to their contractual terms. That’s the central mystery, and it remains mysterious.

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Streaming service 8tracks ‘We’re still profitable!’ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/streaming-service-8tracks-still-profitable/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/streaming-service-8tracks-still-profitable/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:15:11 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56053 A streaming music service that’s profitable on a global basis? What financial witchcraft is this? But yes, streaming playlists service 8tracks remains in the black. “We’re still profitable!” said CEO David Porter in an interview with the Guardian, in which he talked about the service’s demographics: 8m people listening to 30m hours of music a month, and “squarely in the college demographic. 50% of our audience is 18-24, and 75% is 18-34″ according to Porter. “We have a much more youthful audience than most, and we skew very indie – almost two thirds of our streaming comes from independent labels and artists.” 8tracks is trying to forge stronger relationships with those labels now, including at some point direct licensing deals. “Some indie artists discover their traffic has blown up on SoundCloud, then find 75% of the new plays came from 8tracks. So their label will often send us a note: ‘this artist is resonating with your audience, so how can we work more closely with you?” he said.

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Spotify France was profitable in 2013 http://musically.com/2014/11/21/spotify-france-profitable-2013/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/spotify-france-profitable-2013/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:08:13 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56052 We’re still waiting eagerly for Spotify’s group financial results for 2013, which will show how the whole company fared that year in terms of growth and profitability. But results for individual countries are being published every so often: following recent news on Spotify UK’s profitability in 2013, now it’s the turn of France. According to French newspaper L’Express, Spotify France’s revenues grew by 66% last year to €18.75m, as the company reported a net profit of €311k. The company confirmed that the number of premium subscribers in France increased by 76% in 2013, with claims that Spotify now has 35% of the streaming market in France, up from 21.6% in 2012. It’s more data suggesting that in its more mature markets, Spotify is able to move out of the red. But as we said, the group results will give a wider picture of how its aggressive global expansion is affecting the company’s bottom line.

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Viber and WeChat get new media-focused features http://musically.com/2014/11/21/viber-wechat-get-new-media-focused-features/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/viber-wechat-get-new-media-focused-features/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:01:27 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56051 There are three main future paths that messaging apps are wandering down at the moment: doubling down on communications with features like voice calls and encryption; getting into mobile payments; and adding more media, like games, music, videos and news. Some interesting news on the latter path from Viber and WeChat yesterday. Viber has a new “Public Chats” feature which it envisages as a way for celebrities to post messages that their fans can follow. “There could be geographies that lets say Taylor Swift doesn’t have a big following in. That’s a great opportunity to engage wtih fans and drive buzz,” suggests analyst firm Forrester’s Julie Ask. Meanwhile, Chinese messaging app WeChat has a deal with BuzzFeed, which will have its own account on the service sending out updates and content. WeChat has 468m monthly active users, by the way. “As a media company, we have to be very sensitive to the changes in how people are consuming content online. There are so many people using messaging apps,” says BuzzFeed’s Scott Lamb. “To get involved early and figure out how users share these things is really important for the future of BuzzFeed.”

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Ericsson predicts 6.1bn smartphone subscriptions by 2021 http://musically.com/2014/11/21/ericsson-predicts-6-1bn-smartphone-subscriptions-2021/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/ericsson-predicts-6-1bn-smartphone-subscriptions-2021/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:50:30 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56050 If you’re tracking the growth in smartphones around the world, we recommend the latest Mobility Report from Ericsson, which combines current stats with predictions for the years ahead. It claims that there’ll be 800m new smartphone subscriptions this year, taking the total to 2.7bn, out of 7.1bn total mobile connections across feature phones, smartphones and other devices. But by the end of 2020, it expects there to be 6.1bn smartphone subscriptions, at which point more than 90% of the world’s population – at least those over six years old – will have a mobile phone. The report also notes that China and India are driving the takeup of new mobile devices at the moment, and makes other predictions for what this growth means: a tenfold increase in video calls, for example.

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Patreon now paying out $1m a month to creators http://musically.com/2014/11/21/patreon-now-paying-1m-month-creators/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/patreon-now-paying-1m-month-creators/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:46:26 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56049 Continuous crowdfunding service Patreon just hit a new milestone: $1m of payouts every month to the musicians, YouTubers and other creators raising money from their fans using its site. “It confirms a massive cultural shift that we all felt but had trouble describing. It’s a restless movement, developing simultaneously right now in arts communities around the world,” claimed the company in a blog post. “The public is demanding to pay creators. As the cost of consuming digital media drops to zero, the masses are beginning to visualize the peril on the road ahead for creatives, and now they’re doing something about it… In less than a year and half, over a 125,000 people have become patrons of creators on Patreon, paying them over a million dollars every month.” The company raised $15m from more conventional sources – VCs and talent agencies – earlier this year to fuel its growth (Bulletin, 24-Jun-14).

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How many streaming royalties are paid out for skipped songs? http://musically.com/2014/11/21/many-streaming-royalties-paid-skipped-songs/ http://musically.com/2014/11/21/many-streaming-royalties-paid-skipped-songs/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:34:08 +0000 http://musically.com/?p=56048 Rockonomist David Touve has published his latest blog post, questioning whether “greater than half of the money paid out in royalties may be used to pay for music we would rather skip over than for that music we would rather listen to”. His workings come from a blog post earlier this year from The Echo Nest’s Paul Lamere, who noted that Spotify users skip 14.65 tracks per hour on average. Touve suggests that with a four-minute average song length, there’s only enough time to listen to around this many tracks in full per hour – and thus half the royalties paid may be for skipped songs. It’s a very interesting point, although it all hinges on how Spotify pays out for tracks that are skipped. We’ve seen it suggested that Spotify songs only generate a royalty if they’re played for more than 30 seconds, and according to Lamere’s figures, 35.05% of songs are skipped within 30 seconds, while another 13.55% are skipped between 30 seconds and the end of a track. That would suggest that only 20.8% of Spotify royalties are paid for skipped tracks, but we’re open to suggestions on how our workings are wrong.

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