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Instrumental launches music venue in virtual world Avakin Life

We know British startup Instrumental best for its AI-powered A&R tools, which have attracted major labels as clients and Tencent as an investor. However, the company is also exploring the metaverse, via a new partnership with the virtual world Avakin Life.

MBW reports that Instrumental has launched a venue within the world called New Music Society, which will see musicians from Instrumental’s in-house label Frtyfve performing and chatting to fans.

Avakin Life has more than seven million monthly active users, and according to Instrumental there were more than 500k ‘attendances’ over the opening weekend of the new virtual venue. Singer/songwriter Leanna Firestone is the first artist to test it out, with a week-long residency in New Music Society.

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Tencent buys minority stake in A&R startup Instrumental

After early reports yesterday, it’s now been confirmed: Tencent Music (TME) and its original parent company Tencent Holdings have acquired a minority stake in Instrumental, the British startup focused on data-driven A&R.

The deal includes an “exclusive relationship with TME in China” for artists signed to Instrumental’s label services and publishing arm Frtyfve.

“Like us, Tencent have identified the power and potential of data science in the discovery and development of high potential new artists. I am looking forward greatly to collaborating with Tencent and TME, including the opportunity to expand our business into China,” said Instrumental CEO Conrad Withey in a statement.

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Startup Instrumental signs deal with Official Charts Company

British startup Instrumental has been winning plaudits for its data-focused A&R platform in recent months, with a $4m funding round, a feature from the Financial Times, and new clients across the industry.

Now it has a new partnership: with the UK’s Official Charts Company. Instrumental will now be pulling the OCC’s data in to its platform “to enrich data sets and enhance emerging talent discovery” for its clients.

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Music analytics in 2018: ‘Data will tell you what’s hot, but not what is good’

Tied to the publication of the new report from British industry bodies ERA and BPI (Magic Numbers: How Can Data & Analytics Really Help The Music Industry?) and written by Music Ally, an afternoon of presentations and panel discussion on the current state of music analytics / data and their future was held at the BPI’s office in London yesterday (9 July).

Lucy Blair, from the artist and label marketing team at Spotify UK, opened with a presentation on what the streaming service is doing in terms of data access to artists, labels and managers as well as where it is evolving next.

“There were more than 100 updates in a few months last year,” she revealed of the data tools Spotify opens to registered partners. Blair worked through the range of data sets open up to the music industry, giving tips on how best to read them and indicating what are the most accurate metrics of success and engagement.

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‘There will be a number one song that’s 100% AI-written’

The Great Escape in Brighton is one of the UK’s best showcases for new artists, but it’s also a chance for the industry to discuss some of the new technologies that could have an impact on those musicians’ careers. Yesterday, the focus was on artificial intelligence (AI) – particularly around AI that can create music or be used as a creative foil by human artists.

Organised by Complete Music Update (CMU) a day of panels kicked off with a spirited session of definitions from the academic world, in the shape of Margaret Boden from the University of Sussex – who has been involved in AI for decades – and Marcus O’Dair from Middlesex University.

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A&R’s data moment: Sodatone acquisition and Instrumental funding

Two separate announcements yesterday highlight the fact that big-data and machine-learning for A&R purposes are enjoying a bit of a moment – after years of being mostly seen as a controversial niche when they cropped up in the on-stage conversations at industry conferences.

Music Ally has been to countless panel sessions where A&R veterans scoffed at the idea that any kind of algorithm could ever rival the “gut feeling” of experienced human talent-spotters.

The counter-argument has always been that this isn’t the goal: but that these kind of systems can complement those skills, and perhaps also provide solid support for those talent-spotting guts.

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Midemlab 2017 pitches: marketing and data / analytics (#midem)

Every year, the Midem conference’s Midemlab startups contest highlights a new crop of music/tech firms hoping to make their name with a well-crafted pitch. Today’s third session saw marketing and data/analytics startups showing their wares.

Soundcharts, Rotor Videos, NPREX, The Bot Platform and Instrumental were the five finalists pitching to a panel of judges. The latter included Bansintown’s Fabrice Sergent; Marathon Artists’ Jimi Mikaoui; Station F’s Marwan Elfitesse; and OVH Digital Launch Pad’s James Mackenzie. Bluenove’s Martin Duval hosted.

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Music Ally report: 30 music startups worth watching in 2017

The state of the current music/tech startups scene was a big theme at the recent NY:LON Connect conference that Music Ally and the Music Business Association co-organised.

Six British startups pitched their technologies at the event, and we’ve since published our opinion on why we feel optimistic about the music/tech landscape in 2017.

If that’s not enough startup talk for you, try this: Music Ally has compiled a mini-report about 30 of the music and music-related startups that we think are worth watching in 2017 (and hopefully beyond).

Prepared for NY:LON Connect, we’re opening it up to our readers and the wider world. From music creation and live video-streaming to blockchain-based systems, chatbots and artificial intelligence, the 30 included startups are a snapshot of the innovation going on in and around music.

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