👋 THE KNOWLEDGE: Get a weekly mix of the best news, analysis, and insider tips from across Music Ally's services. (Plus all the weird links and unusual music we find online each week.) It's FREE, fun*, and every Friday.

*actual levels of fun may vary

Posted inNews

PlayStation Plus and Disney+ both report subscription growth

We like to keep an eye on subscription-based entertainment businesses outside music, and yesterday two big companies’ financial results offered us some new data to consider.

Sony Corporation’s results included the announcement that there are now 44.9 million people paying for the PlayStation Plus service, up from 41.5 million a quarter ago.

PS Plus costs $9.99 a month, $24.99 a quarter or $59.99 a year, and enables people to play PlayStation 4 console games online, as well as getting two free PS4 games a month and various discounts. Sony’s wider PlayStation Network (a decent measure of PS4 owners) has 113 million monthly active users, so that’s a conversion rate of 39.7%.

Posted inNews

Report hails Twitch’s ‘skyscraper’ viewing hours in Q2 2020

Another Covid-19 lockdown trend is the sharp growth of viewing hours for livestreaming video services, particularly Twitch. Industry firms StreamElements and Arsenal·gg have published their latest ‘State of the Stream’ report quantifying this growth.

“Twitch’s 2nd quarter chart bars look like skyscrapers compared to Q1’s single floor dwellings,” it claimed, with a chart showing monthly viewing hours for Twitch in Q1 and Q2. “Twitch grew 56% in hours watched in Q2 compared to Q1 of this year surpassing the 5 billion mark.”

There’s also a stat on how the ‘Music and Performing Arts’ category on Twitch is doing. “The 16th most viewed category with a 268% increase in hours watched from January to June 2020 with a peak viewership of 25m hours watched in May,” according to StreamElements.

Posted inNews

HBO Max and Peacock are already losing big movies

Imagine if, a few weeks after you started paying for Spotify or Apple Music, some of your favourite artists’ back catalogues disappeared from the service?

There have been pullouts like this in the past (Taylor Swift, most famously) but in 2020, we take it for granted that the catalogues of music streaming services are both comprehensive and stable – stuff doesn’t suddenly vanish.

In the online video world, as has been well documented already, it’s a very different story. Not only are exclusives par for the course, but TV shows and films are regularly taken down from Netflix and its rivals, as the licensing deals that put them there elapse.

Posted inNews

Spotify now offers video podcasts as well as audio shows

‘Audio-First’ is how Spotify branded its push into podcasts last year. But as it turns out, even podcasts can be about more than audio: something recognised by Spotify yesterday when it launched “the first version of our new video podcast feature with select podcasts”.

People can play the video podcasts or just listen to the audio, with Book of Basketball 2.0, Fantasy Footballers, The Misfits Podcast, The Morning Toast and The Rooster Teeth Podcast among the first shows to get access to the new feature.

Posted inNews

Not retiring just yet: Logic signs a seven-figure Twitch deal

On 17 July, artist Logic announced his retirement ahead of the release of (seemingly) his final album ‘No Pressure’ a week later. “It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father,” he tweeted.

As it turns out, it’s also time to sign a megabucks exclusive deal with a livestreaming video service. That service is Twitch, which has made Logic the first musician to sign the kind of exclusivity deal that has traditionally been reserved for gaming streamers.

“I’m blessed enough to have millions of fans and followers. So it is a great partnership. I’m going to bring new eyes to their service, they’re going to bring new money to my bank account,” he joked to The Verge, before (not joking) saying the deal is worth seven figures. Logic already has more than 75,000 followers on Twitch ahead of a livestreamed premiere later today (21 July) of the new album.

Posted inSandbox

Sandbox Issue 256: PRIMAL STREAM 📱🎧 Making lockdown concerts work

Lead: Livestreams have moved to try and fill the massive hole left by the total cancellation of tours and festivals around the world. As more acts do them, however, it becomes incrementally harder to stand out and draw in big enough audiences to make them worthwhile. We speak to those building a whole new gig economy here […]

To access this post, you must subscribe. If you are already a subscriber, log in here.

Posted inNews

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda created his new album on Twitch

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of musicians have been thinking about doing more with live-video platform Twitch. But what should they do? Live performances, DJ sets (even though there are issues here), fan Q&As, playing games… All these have been tried.

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park has been using Twitch to broadcast his actual creation process: the music and artwork for his new album ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1′.

Earlier in the lockdown period, Shinoda began streaming live on Twitch every day at 10am PST, soliciting fans’ input with a system of ‘ShinodaBucks’ that they could spend on making suggestions like musical themes, with Shinoda improvising in real time to create tracks in response.

Posted inNews

YouTube tests TikTok-style segmented 15-second videos feature

YouTube is testing a new feature for people to upload videos that are 15 seconds in length. We can’t think where it got that idea from…

Okay, this isn’t a pure TikTok clone: there are some interesting aspects to it. “We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in the YouTube mobile app and upload as one video,” explained YouTube on its online support page.

“If you’re in this experiment, you’ll see an option to ‘create a video’ in the mobile upload flow. Tap or hold the record button to record your first clip, then tap again or release the button to stop recording that clip. Repeat these steps until you’re done capturing footage up to a maximum length of 15 seconds.”

It’s being tested in YouTube’s Android and iOS apps “with a small group of people” for now. It’s the latest TikTok-influenced new feature from a bigger company: Instagram’s ‘Reels’ feature being another.

Posted inNews

Microsoft shuts down its livestreaming video service Mixer

Mixer was tech giant Microsoft’s rival to Twitch and other livestreaming video platforms, focused squarely on gaming.

You may remember that in August 2019 it signed an exclusive deal with Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins (of ‘played Fortnite with Drake’ fame, although to many young people, it’s more Drake who’s of ‘played Fortnite with Ninja’ fame). More on that deal in a minute. 

Mixer is now shutting down: “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” announced Microsoft.