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Hi-res streaming service Qobuz raises €10m funding round

Qobuz is the hi-res music streaming service founded in France, which has expanded to 12 countries so far. Now it has a new funding round to fuel further growth.

The company has raised €10m ($11.7m) from existing investors Nabuboto (the holding company of CEO Denis Thébaud’s company The Thébaud Group) and Canadian telco and media corporation Quebecor Group.

Qobuz said that its revenues grew by more than 45% in its last financial year, and that it is “now pursuing a major development plan… setting up a new management team and launching a recruitment plan that is unprecedented in the company’s history”.

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What’s next for smart speakers? Metabait, Antitrust and ‘limitless’ discovery

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, 86.2m smart speakers were shipped in 2018, up from 32m the year before. Meanwhile, rival Canalys reckons that the global install-base will be 207.8m by the end of 2019. Oh, and the same company thinks that China has just overtaken the US as the biggest market for these devices.

So much for market stats, but what’s coming next in terms of the features for smart speakers, and what that means for how we interact with music and musicians through them? A panel at the Midem conference today offered some predictions.

The panelists were Scott Ryan, VP of Nielsen Music / Gracenote Music; Darryl Ballantyne, CEO of LyricFind; and Benoit Rebus, head of global innovative partnerships at Qobuz. Tag Strategic’s Ted Cohen moderated.

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Music-streaming trends, from A&R to global/local evolution

At today’s Midem conference in Cannes, a pair of afternoon sessions at the event’s ‘Streaming Summit’ focused on some of the evolving trends around the music-streaming world.

The first explored the question of whether streaming services are “the new A&Rs”, with a sparky (if, unfortunately, all-male) panel including Epidemic Sound CEO Oscar Hoglund; Playground Music Scandinavia A&R / label manager Patrik Larsson; 7digital deputy CEO Pete Downton and Mom + Pop Music co-president Thaddeus Rudd.

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Spotify, Deezer and SoundCloud launch European lobbying coalition

Music-streaming services Spotify, Deezer and SoundCloud are among the founder members of a new coalition that plans to represent the European digital music industry in Brussels.

Streaming service Qobuz, B2B firm 7digital and music-analytics startup Soundcharts are the other three founding members of Digital Music Europe. Its president will be Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, while its chairman will be Spotify’s director of EU regulatory affairs Olivia Regnier.

According to its launch announcement this morning, DME will “showcase and promote the success of the European digital music industry, it will serve as a resource for policy-makers, media and the digital music industry, and will advocate for policies that shape a favourable business environment for digital music”.

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Will music fans want to ‘stream the studio’ with hi-res audio? (#midem)

Major labels, a number of prominent artists, audio hardware firms and some streaming services are excited about the potential for ‘hi-res audio’. But will more than a niche of fans agree?

A panel session during Midem 2017’s ‘Streaming Day’ strand explored the issues from the point of view of supporters of hi-res audio, sponsored by industry body the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) and moderated by its senior director Marc Finer.

The panel included Pete Downton, deputy CEO of 7digital; Mike Jbara, CEO of MQA; Malcolm Ouzeri, CMO of Qobuz; Andre Stapleton, SVP partner development, global digital business at Sony Music; and Ty Roberts, CTO at Universal Music.

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What’s next for music-streaming services? (#midem)

This year’s Midem music-industry conference kicked off with the most logical of topics: music-streaming and subscription services.

The industry ended 2016 with 97 million people paying for a music subscription, according to the IFPI, which reported a 5.9% rise in global recorded-music revenues to $15.7bn.

A panel convened in Cannes to talk about more than past growth, though: the emphasis was on what happens next to keep the streaming market flourishing.

The panel included Darryl Ballantyne, CEO of Lyricfind; Virginie Berger, CEO of Armonia Online; Vincent Favrat, CEO of Musimap; Rishi Mirchandani, director of content acquisition at Amazon; and Malcolm Ouzeri, CMO at Qobuz. The moderator was veteran consultant Ted Cohen.