Music Ally Music industry consultancy covering digital music marketing and strategy Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:47:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Movie and music companies target Pirate Bay block in Norway Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:47:26 +0000 The latest front in the music and movie industries’ war on The Pirate Bay is Norway, where a group of studios and label bodies are trying to get the filesharing site blocked by ISPs. And as ever, the telcos are declining to take action without being ordered to do so by the courts. “We understand licensees’ struggle for their rights. For us it is important that the court must take these decisions, and that we do not assume a censorship role,” Telenor’s Tormod Sandstø told TorrentFreak. A decision by the Oslo District Court is expected within the next 10 days. The outlook is better for the rightsholders than it was in 2009 and 2010, when attempts to get The Pirate Bay blocked foundered in the courts. Since then, Norway has got new legislation to make ISP-level blocks possible.

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Ian Rogers’ next stop is luxury brand-owner LVMH Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:44:14 +0000 What could tempt former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers away from his berth at Apple? Yesterday, the destination of the outgoing executive was revealed: French luxury brand-owner LVMH, which counts Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy, Krug, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari and Hublot among its brands (or “houses” as they’re known within the group). Suffice to say, Rogers is going to have an inbox full of emails from former colleagues asking about freebies. Rogers will be LVMH’s chief digital officer. “He will build on the foundations laid by Thomas Romieu, take the Houses to the next level and explore new opportunities for the Group in the digital sphere,” said chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault in a statement yesterday. “ Ian will bring his extensive experience in high-end digital ventures and his innovation-driven spirit to develop LVMH leadership in the digital luxury field.” And perhaps some inventive music partnerships…

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Pandora holding ad-free ’Listener Love’ day for 10th birthday Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:40:44 +0000 Pandora turns 10 next week, and the streaming radio service is celebrating with a “Listener Love Day” during which it will get rid of all its advertisements. Although we can’t help thinking that this isn’t exactly an “Advertising Partners Love Day” as a result. The ad-free access will last from midnight to midnight on 9 September to celebrate the anniversary, with Pandora releasing some stats in advance to outline its growth: “Together, you have listened to 74 billion hours of music, thumbed up or down over 55 billion times and created 8 billion stations,” explained a blog post, pitching the ad-free day as “Our gift to you… a day of all music and zero ads as a thank you for listening and thumbing over the past decade”.

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Zvooq seals licensing deal with Sony Music Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:37:50 +0000 Russian digital music service Zvooq has inked a licensing deal with Sony Music, giving it a full set of global majors to add to its local agreements. “For a long time, Sony Music’s extensive catalog was what we missed, and now we’re glad to have begun working with that company,” Zvooq’s head of content Tanya Mulkidzhanova told Billboard. “Sony Music is the owner of one of the largest international catalogs, and our cooperation with that company will allow Zvooq to present the entire volume of international music to our users.” Zvooq continues to compete with Yandex Music in the nascent Russian streaming market, with rightsholders hoping that a crackdown on piracy in the country will fuel legal businesses – even if new rules on data storage are putting global services like Spotify off entering the market.

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Apple Music subscribers: 70% male but not just fanboys Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:34:31 +0000 Research firm Slice Intelligence has published some interesting data on Apple Music subscribers, based on a survey of more than 92,000 of them in the US. Among its findings: 70.2% of them are men, which Slice compares to the 74.9% on Google Play, 60.6% on Spotify and 49.7% on Pandora. The temptation would be to see Apple Music as one for the Apple fanboys, then – bolstered by the fact that the vast majority of signups happened in the days after launch. Yet according to Slice, only 39% of Apple Music subscribers have bought an Apple product online in the past two years, compared to 72% of early Apple Watch buyers and 75% of early pre-orderers of the last batch of new iPhones. Slice also notes that the highest penetration of Apple Music users by state is in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Minnesota: “Indicating that the appeal of the service extends beyond the West Coast and the most populous urban areas.” As with any research into this service, these numbers are based on early signups to a free trial. We’ll be interested to see how they shift once the paywall kicks in.

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What if Spotify followed Facebook by unbundling the big green app? Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:12:54 +0000 At the time of writing, Facebook has 17 different mobile apps available on Apple’s App Store, including its main Facebook app, and Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp – each with hundreds of millions of users.
But there are also apps like Facebook Groups (for faster access to the groups you’re signed up to on the social network); Slingshot (for sharing photos and videos); Rooms (a group-chat tool); and Riff (collaborative video-sharing).
There's also Facebook Mentions for verified users; Facebook Pages Manager and Facebook Adverts Manager for businesses and marketers; and several creative apps showing off Messenger’s API: Sound Clips, Stickered, Selfied, Strobe and Shout.

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Google regulatory scrutiny shifts to India – fuelled by rivals Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:08:42 +0000 Scrutiny of Google over potentially anti-competitive behaviour with its search-engine results has opened up in a new market: India. The Economic Times reported this weekend that the Competition Commission of India is investigating complaints by rival tech firms including Microsoft, Flipkart and MakeMyTrip, with Facebook also involved in the debate. As elsewhere in the world, the complaints focus on whether Google is “rigging” its search results, at the expense of some of those other companies – with the CCI able to levy a fine of up to 10% of Google’s income. “We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws,” said Google’s spokesperson. CCI’s investigation follows a similar debate in Europe, where the EC is preparing to lock horns with the company over similar issues.

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Apple tipped to make original TV shows and films Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:05:44 +0000 The tech and entertainment press is taking a break from speculating about Apple being a Spotify killer to focus on whether it could be a Netflix killer instead. Specifically, there’s a hubbub around Variety’s claims that Apple is “exploring getting into the original programming business” by making its own TV shows and films. “One high-level executive who talked with the company said the goal is to create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content to stream in a bid to compete with Netflix,” suggested Variety – which added the hair-raising claim that Apple was in the mix during the bidding process for the new show by the former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, before losing out to Amazon. The news has emerged as Apple remains in negotiations with TV firms over licensing deals to put their shows on its upcoming subscription TV service – a fact that hasn’t escaped some observers. “Apple original content rumors always surface when their negotiations for content stall. Hmmmmmm,” tweeted music/tech exec Ethan Kaplan this morning.

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Music stars get first dibs on Twitter’s new camera tools Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:51:24 +0000 Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean are among stars to have gained early access to some new camera tools from Twitter. All three were tweeting photos from MTV’s Video Music Awards this weekend, with text and digital stickers superimposed on the images. Meanwhile, Twitter’s director of entertainment talent, Lara Cohen, was tweeting excitedly about the fact that these were Twitter tools, not third-party photo-customisation apps. “OMG @taylorswift13 with these new photo tools,” for example, as well as “I see you w our new cam @Pharrell” and “Love @BigSean love him using our new camera tools”. What’s unclear for now is whether these tools are within Twitter’s main app, or are a new standalone photography app that would sit alongside Vine and Periscope in Twitter’s apps family. It looks like we’ll find out soon, with the VMAs test out of the way.

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Courtney Love settles Twitter defamation lawsuit (again) Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:47:59 +0000 Courtney Love must be wishing Twitter would introduce a feature to stop her ever tweeting at or about fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir. Love has just settled a second defamation lawsuit with Simorangkir for $350k, having previously paid her $430k to settle the first. “After Love paid to avoid becoming the first-ever celebrity to go to trial over tweets, she ended up back in trouble with Simorangkir after taunting the designer’s lack of followers on Pinterest and again accusing her of theft,” noted The Hollywood Reporter. Perhaps to avoid defaming her nemesis for a third time and sending her settlements above $1m, Love should spend some money hiring an intern to check her tweets before publication…

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Tech firms get extension on Russian data-storage headache Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:40:24 +0000 Technology firms have been told they have until January to comply with new legislation requiring them to store and process data about Russian users within Russia – even though the new laws come into effect today. The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook, Google and Twitter have been told that their compliance will not be checked until the start of 2016, giving them more time to decide whether to comply or pull out of the region. The new laws were already cited as one of the reasons why Spotify pulled its planned Russian launch early this year, with its head of Russia Alexander Kubaneishvili citing “the new laws governing the Internet” in his final interview.

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Google Play Music gets curated playlists in Germany Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:37:28 +0000 Germany is the latest market to get Google Play Music’s curated playlists – the legacy from its acquisition of streaming-radio service Songza in July 2014. Announced in Germany last week, the mood and activity-driven playlists are available for Google Play subscribers on iOS, Android and PC. As elsewhere, people are able to download the playlists for offline listening, as well as edit them by adding more songs according to their own tastes. Germany is the latest country to get the playlists, following their launch in the US in October 2014, then the UK that December. For now, both European markets have the playlists for paying subscribers only, although in the US, Google made them the core of its new free tier for the music-streaming service in June 2015. Licensing allowing, it’s looking like the UK and Germany may be the first non-US countries to get that free tier in the months ahead.

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BASCA bosses join criticism of SoundCloud ‘intransigence’ Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:33:25 +0000 British songwriting body BASCA has weighed back in to the debate about SoundCloud, following news that PRS for Music is suing the streaming service for copyright infringement. “We acknowledge that streaming is a fantastic means of listening to and enjoying music but Soundcloud’s intransigence in refusing to be licensed through PRS for Music means their model financially damages our members,” said CEO Vick Bain in a statement late last week that took aim at what BASCA and PRS see as abuse of safe-harbour legislation. “Platforms such as Soundcloud hide behind this legislation to deny responsibility for the amount of music that is illegally uploaded and shared on its site. But we know they are very much aware of how their platform is used.” Bain’s colleague, Michael Price, added his own thoughts: “I think a lot of people have missed SoundCloud’s evolution from a hosting service to a streaming service often driven by copyright material. The 175m unique visitors a month are definitely not there just for their friends’ bedroom demos.”

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Yandex takes action against music-downloading tool Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:28:28 +0000 Russian search engine Yandex isn’t happy at all about a tool enabling people to download MP3 files from its licensed music-streaming service. The company, which has deals with all three major labels, has taken action against a tool called Yandex Music Downloader, getting it removed from development site Github on the grounds of facilitating copyright infringement. The software has been removed from Github, but Yandex appears to have a battle on its hands on the wider web. As TorrentFreak noted: “A cursory Google search reveals plenty of alternative tools which provide high-quality MP3s on tap”. For so long, Russia’s music rightsholders have complained about the effect of unlicensed downloads on social network vKontakte. Now, it seems, the villain may shift to third-party tools ripping tracks from Russia’s newly-legal streaming services.

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Netflix loses Epix films – is this a glimpse at streaming music’s future? Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:24:05 +0000 Netflix’s content boss Ted Sarandos has been updating viewers about the streaming video service’s catalogue, in a blog post. “We have decided not to renew our agreement in the US with Epix, the cable network, which means that some high profile movies including Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and Transformers: Age of Extinction, will expire at the end of September in the US,” he said. “We know some of you will be disappointed by the expiration of the Epix movies…” Not least because a day after the news broke, Epix announced a new deal with rival service Hulu, which will now be getting all those films instead. It’s a glimpse at one possible future for streaming music, if it goes further down the exclusives route than time-limited availability of individual albums. Although thankfully for now, there does not seem to be an appetite for catalogue-wide exclusives from labels.

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