Music Ally Music industry consultancy covering digital music marketing and strategy Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:12:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Financials Watch: Google, Amazon, Microsoft Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:55:44 +0000 Yesterday was a big day for financial results from tech giants, with Google, Amazon and Microsoft all reporting their latest earnings. A summary follows. Google reported $17.3bn of revenues for the first quarter of 2015, up 12% year-on-year. Its net profit dipped from $3.59m to $3.45m in the same period, though. Microsoft, meanwhile, saw its revenues rise 6% to $21.7bn, with bright spots including 8.6m Lumia Windows Phones sold during the quarter, and $713m of revenues from the much-maligned Surface tablets. Finally, Amazon posted $22.7bn of revenues for the first quarter of this year, up 15% year-on-year, but the company posted one of its regular net losses – $57m – for the quarter. There were no music stats of note to report, with the company keener to trumpet revenues from its Amazon Web Services cloud division: “A $5bn business and still growing fast,” according to CEO Jeff Bezos.

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Facebook debuts ‘Anthology’ video scheme with Vice, Vox and more Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:52:17 +0000 Get ready for some more #native #branded #content on Facebook, as the social network unveiled a new initiative called Anthology that aims to pair video producers with brands in need of some social buzz. As Facebook described it: “A new group of leading video publishers, who, together with the Facebook Creative Shop, will work with brands to produce outstanding advertising content for Facebook.” The publishers being Vice Media, Vox Media, Electus Digital, Funny Or Die, Oh My Disney, The Onion and Tastemade. “In addition to offering creative and production services, each is trained on how to get the most out of the Facebook platform to drive business results,” explained Facebook. Brands are being invited to submit “briefs” to the partner they’d like to work with using an online form, with more publishers expected to be added in the coming months. These partnerships were happening already – ‘native’ content is one of the key money-spinners for many of the partners – but Facebook’s backing is an interesting development.

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Victorious launches apps for YouTubers – with music deals ahead Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:48:21 +0000 It’s selling US startup Victorious a bit short to describe it merely as ‘Mobile Roadie for YouTubers’, but that’s a good starting point. The company has a platform to make iOS and Android apps with a mixture of social feeds, video, exclusive content and community features, and was co-founded by former YouTube head of creator development Bing Chen. Its first two apps went live yesterday for comedian Ryan Higa and news channel The Young Turks, with more to follow for lifestyle star Michelle Phan, filmmaker Freddie Wong and boy band Boyce Avenue among others. Victorious is looking beyond digital stars in the longer term though. “Later this summer, we will be announcing a slate of different TV, film and music partnerships,” Chen told the Guardian. “For now, we are really focused on these digitally-born stars. This whole industry has been called ‘new media’ for the last decade, but the reality is we are the new mainstream.”

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Ne-Yo tears into streaming services over songwriter royalties Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:41:07 +0000 Ne-Yo is the latest musician to criticise streaming music royalties, and like Aloe Blacc and others before him, he’s focusing on the income made by songwriters. His real beef, though, is with the US system of setting royalty tariffs via federal regulations rather than free-market negotiations. “This regulatory system was created over 70 years ago and has not been updated since 2001, before the introduction of the iPod, and before streaming music was made popular,” wrote Ne-Yo. “More people are streaming more music today than ever before – and this is a good thing. I want fans to enjoy my music on whatever platform they choose.  But I don’t want my music, and the music of my peers, to continue to be devalued by the streaming companies that reap the benefits of our work at our expense.” His claim that “it takes about 1 million streams for a songwriter to see $90” is already sparking some discussion on his op-ed article, with questions about bundling Pandora in with Spotify and other on-demand services. But his basic points tally with existing debate within the publishing sector nonetheless.

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Pitchfork’s YouTube channel joins MCN Collective Digital Studio Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:34:52 +0000 Music website Pitchfork has been steadily building up its official channel on YouTube, which now has nearly 380,000 subscribers and 142m lifetime views. Now it’s looking to boost the channel through partnership, joining multi-channel network (MCN) Collective Digital Studio. According to Tubefilter, the companies will both sell advertising for the channel, with Collective responsible for optimising its performance on YouTube. “Pitchfork is popular across a wide range of music genres and we look forward to boosting their reach and connecting brands more closely with their loyal audience,” said the MCN’s vice president of music Dana Shayegan. Pitchfork’s channel is interesting: it does have original documentaries and shorts, like its Over/Under interview series. But it’s also somewhat reliant on official music videos from artists, which labels grant Pitchfork the right to host on its channel.

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Pandora revenues grew year-on-year, but so did its losses Fri, 24 Apr 2015 05:12:26 +0000 pandora-miniPersonal radio service Pandora’s latest quarterly financial results tell a familiar story of revenue growth, but still no profitability.

The company’s revenues were up 18.8% year-on-year to $230.8m in the first quarter of 2015, with ad revenues jumping 27% to $178.7m, but subscriptions dipping slightly from $53.7m to $52m during that period. Pandora’s net loss for the first quarter was $48.4m though, up from $28.9m a year ago.

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The hottest 30 music tech startups of 2015 (according to Midemlab) Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:30:08 +0000 midemIs 2015 a good year for new music tech startups? In June we'll get a good chance to find out with Midemlab.
The annual startup pitching contest takes place during the Midem music industry conference in Cannes, and the 30 finalists for this year's event have just been announced.

It's a good chance to take the pulse of the current crop of music and music-relevant startups, with a competition that has in the past brought the likes of SoundCloud, Songkick and The Echo Nest to wider attention.

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Facebook financials reveal 1.44bn active users and video growth Thu, 23 Apr 2015 05:02:16 +0000 391259-facebook-logoFacebook announced its latest quarterly financial results last night, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg describing them as “a strong start to the year” despite falling just short of its prediction for revenues in the first three months of the year. The company claimed that was more about currency fluctuations than any problem with its business, and the numbers do seem to support that.
Facebook had 1.44bn monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of March, including an average of 936m daily active users (DAUs) that month. The social network also reported mobile MAUs and DAUs: 1.25bn and 798m respectively – with 581m people ONLY accessing it from mobile devices. Facebook’s revenues rose 42% year-on-year to $3.54bn in the first quarter, with ads accounting for $3.32bn of that, and mobile taking a 73% share of the latter figure. Facebook posted a net profit of $512m in Q1.

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Spotify is out-grossing Candy Crush Saga in the App Store in several countries Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:12:28 +0000 brazilThere's a lot of debate online today spurred by a report showing streaming music service Tidal's app has plummeted down Apple's US App Store charts over the past fortnight – and the comparison of that ranking with Spotify and Pandora.

The main line on this has been "Tidal is dead already" or at least doomed. But we think there's something much more interesting to take away: Pandora (in the US) and Spotify (there and in other countries) are doing well. Very well. In fact, in several major western markets, Spotify is making more money than some of the most lucrative mobile games, which have traditionally hogged the App Store revenues.

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Sandbox 131 – Twitch-Finder General Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:01:56 +0000 Front coverLead: Prodigy, Skrillex, Steve Aoki and more are all piling onto Twitch, hailing it as an exciting new gaming platform that connects them to an otherwise-unreachable audience. They are also licensing music to the service so it can be used in gaming playback; but soon the labels and publishers will be seeking to turn this into a revenue stream. We look at how it works, show where acts are using it best and consider what the push towards monetisation will mean for the platform.

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]]> 0 partners with Facebook to play songs within news feed Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:13:39 +0000 bop-fm-facebookDigital music startup's key feature is its ability to make playlists playable on a range of streaming services, but now it has another feather in its cap: a partnership with Facebook to play songs directly in the social network's news feed.

"Sharing with your music buddies on Facebook is easy, but having them open another tab is not as fun for them. Solution? We partnered with Facebook to let you and your friends listen to music from any music service directly in Facebook," explained the company in a blog post.

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Guvera has now signed up 10m users around the world Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:06:12 +0000 Streaming music service Guvera has announced a new milestone: 10m users. That’ll be registered users as far as we can tell, given CEO Darren Herft’s “As a young brand, we welcome the 10 millionth user to the Guvera platform with a real sense of pride and delight” statement. The company hasn’t said how many of those users are active, but has provided more details on growth and location: it’s up from 1.5m users last October; 2.5m came from its acquisition of UK service Blinkbox Music in January; and 3m are in India. “ We believe our growth is also testament to the success of our unique non-disruptive ad-funded model, which allows our users to discover and play the best expert curated music,” said Herft. Like Spotify and other freemium providers, Guvera is courting brands with the promise of a young, engaged music audience, having launched branded channels on its service: “Branded channels are a great example of how users are able to engage with brands in a less disruptive manner,” said Herft. “Guvera is putting the consumer in charge of the advertising experience.” But those brands will be getting more data, surely, on how many of the 10m users are still […]

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Music Messenger app raises $30m from starry investors Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:01:44 +0000 We’re pretty nerdy when it comes to spotting new music-related apps, but we have to admit we missed the launch of Music Messenger last year. It’s on our radar now though: the Israeli startup has raised a $30m funding round from investors including Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Abba’s Benny Andersson, David Guetta,, Aviici, and Nicki Minaj’s manager Gee Roberson. The company claims to be valued at $100m, and says it is attracting 1m new users every month, although it hasn’t said how many active users it has in total. The app itself promises the ability to create playlists from a catalogue of “over a hundred million songs” (!) as well as sending and receiving full music tracks to friends accompanied by photos and text. There are no ads and no in-app purchases, so its business model remains in the works. That’ll be what the $30m is for at least.

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Leaked documents hint at EC’s approach to copyright Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:57:13 +0000 The European Commission may be poised to “loosen” geo-blocking so that more people within the EU would be able to buy digital content from outside of their home countries, while stiffening up copyright enforcement across the region. That’s according to news site Politico, which has happened across a leaked version of the EC’s digital single market strategy document and its supporting evidence file ahead of their release on 6 May. Here’s how it portrays the deal being cut with the EC by the creative industries: “The industries would loosen geo-blocking, meaning they would allow more consumers in other countries to buy products or access apps and websites. In exchange, the Commission would more aggressively enforce copyright.” On the latter front, that could include harmonising rules for the removal of copyright-infringing material online across the EU: “The leaked Evidence file points to one option being something like the unpopular “porn filter” used in the UK. Another option could be forcing internet service providers and platforms such as search engines and social media to do more to remove illegal content.” Expect controversy if and when these moves take place.

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Tidal Discovery aims at artists, but App Store rank slides Wed, 22 Apr 2015 05:19:25 +0000 tidal-artists_edited-1Tidal has – finally! – been talking about its plans to provide a better experience for musicians using its platform, after a launch press conference that attracted widespread criticism for its emphasis on famous artists rather than grass-roots creators. “I think it’s a little unfortunate there’s been a rush to judgment, but ultimately we’ll be judged based upon our actions,” Tidal’s chief information officer Vania Schlogel told Smashd, before outlining exactly what those actions will be.
Tidal Rising we know about: a section of Tidal devoted to emerging artists – including independent musicians – which we reported on earlier this month. But Tidal Discovery is the next initiative: a way for artists to upload music themselves which seemingly will cut out (optionally) distributor middlemen. “When it comes to the distribution of music, I want to get a point where there are no blockades for artists in order to be able to easily do that for themselves,” said Schlogel.

Tidal will also launch an artist dashboard to provide access to analytics, while promising to pay every label – whether indie or major – a 62.5% revenue share. “I think indie artists who come on to Tidal through their label can at least have the piece of mind that their label is not being paid less of a percentage just by virtue of being indie,” said Schlogel. Beats Music famously made a similar flat-rate-fits-all promise, although that did not necessarily include parity for advance payments or equity stakes.

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