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News W/C 22/04/24

#1 TikTok's Music and Ticketing Innovations

TikTok unveils two significant music-related updates: a partnership with AXS for in-app ticket sales and its inaugural live music event, the ‘LIVE Music Pop-up’. The collaboration with AXS enables certified artists to directly sell tickets on TikTok, initially available in the US, UK, Sweden, and Australia. Meanwhile, the ‘LIVE Music Pop-up’ event in London will feature emerging artists and will be livestreamed on TikTok. These announcements underscore TikTok’s commitment to supporting artists and enhancing user experiences through immersive music-related initiatives.

#2 Amazon Music Introduces Maestro, an AI Playlist Generator

Amazon Music launches Maestro, an AI-powered playlist generator, following in the footsteps of Spotify. Maestro allows users to create personalised playlists using text prompts, though initial results may vary. Amazon ensures content safety by blocking offensive language. The introduction of Maestro aims to deepen user engagement and foster music discovery within the evolving streaming landscape by providing a tailored listening experience to its customers.

#3 Live Nation Faces Antitrust Allegations

Live Nation faces scrutiny from the US Department of Justice for alleged monopolistic practices in live event ticketing. Despite asserting defences, including claims of market misconceptions, Live Nation braces for a potential legal battle, highlighting the intricate dynamics within the live music industry and the regulatory landscape surrounding it.

#4 Rise of Independent Music in the UK - Indie’s Accounted for 29.2% of Music Consumption

Independent labels assert a significant share of the UK music market, comprising 29.2% of album equivalent sales in 2023. Leading indies like BMG and Beggars Group challenge major labels, reflecting a diverse and thriving music ecosystem. The growing prominence of independent music underscores the industry’s evolving landscape and the increasing opportunities for artists outside the traditional major label structure.

#5 Spotify Empowers User Creativity With a Potential New Remix Tool

Spotify is reportedly introducing tools for music remixing and customization, aiming to deepen user engagement and diversify revenue streams. By compensating rights holders and exploring premium subscription models, Spotify adapts to changing music consumption habits and seeks to provide a more interactive and immersive experience for its users. The move towards empowering user creativity reflects Spotify’s commitment to innovation and enhancing the platform’s appeal to a broader audience.

News W/C 15/04/24

#1 TikTok Diversifies with TikTok Notes and TikTok Lite

Amidst policy challenges, TikTok unveils plans for expansion with TikTok Notes, a photo-sharing app, and TikTok Lite, featuring a unique rewards system. While Notes provides a dedicated space for creative expression, Lite introduces a new engagement model, currently exclusive to Spain and France. These ventures mark TikTok’s commitment to innovation and could potentially reshape user experiences across its ecosystem, hinting at a broader strategy to enhance engagement and monetization avenues.

#2 Netherlands Music Streaming Soars

The Netherlands witnesses a surge in music streaming, with nearly 10 million regular users despite price hikes. Streaming revenue climbed by 11% in 2023, reaching €239.9m, contributing to the country’s overall music market growth. Increased prices by major platforms like Spotify drove this growth, signaling positive consumer perception of music value.

#3 PPL Records Growth Amidst Challenges

UK’s PPL achieves record revenues of £283.5m in 2023, despite international revenue decline and industry challenges. Public performance revenues soar, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, attributed to innovative tariffs like ‘Specially Featured Entertainment’. However, international revenue dips due to past collection declines and Covid-19 disruptions, reflecting ongoing industry complexities.

#4 IMS Ibiza Unveils Dynamic Lineup

IMS Ibiza presents a diverse program for its upcoming electronic music summit, featuring industry stalwarts and thought-provoking sessions. Highlights include insights on industry values, a keynote from Tomorrowland’s founder, and discussions on superfandom. With Pete Tong and Jaguar at the helm, the event promises enriching discourse and networking opportunities. More information can be found here.

#5 GEMA Reports Record Year Amid Streaming Concerns

German collecting society GEMA celebrates a landmark year with record revenues and distributions in 2023. Despite global streaming growth, concerns arise over streaming’s impact on member payouts. While streaming revenues increased, GEMA highlights a comparatively modest rise, sparking discussions on compensation in the streaming era.


News W/C 08/04/24

#1 Spotify Diversifies it’s Content with Video Learning

Spotify broadens its offerings with video learning content, encompassing music alongside podcasts and audiobooks. Testing the waters in the UK, they’ll provide select courses from partners like BBC Maestro and SkillShare. Users can sample two lessons per course before deciding to purchase, with prices ranging from £24.90 to £239.99. Spotify cites the popularity of educational podcasts among its 118 million Premium subscribers, anticipating a receptive audience for learning content.

#2 Recorded Music Booms in Australia and Italy: Subscription Streaming Leads the Way

Australia and Italy see substantial growth in recorded music revenue, with Australia experiencing a 10.9% increase to A$676m. Subscription streaming dominates, comprising 69% of the market. In Italy, revenue surged by 18.8% to €440m, propelled by a rise in streaming and vinyl sales. Italy’s ‘Culture Bonus‘ contributed significantly to music spending. Both countries rank among the top 12 global music markets. 

#3 Danish Man Jailed for Music-Streaming Fraud

A Danish man faces consequences after being convicted of music-streaming fraud, resulting in an 18-month sentence. The defendant’s scheme, which generated $635k, highlights the severity of stream manipulation challenges. The verdict underscores the efforts of rights holders and authorities in combating such fraud. Despite the defendant’s significant earnings, justice prevailed, marking a milestone in addressing fraudulent practices in the music industry.

#4 Spotify's Royalty Changes and Updates

Spotify implements changes to its royalty payout structure, including measures to combat fraud and ensure fair compensation for artists. As of April 1, tracks must accrue at least 1,000 streams in a year to earn royalties. These adjustments aim to redirect $1bn to professional artists over five years. However, European indies express concern, cautioning that the new criteria may disproportionately impact independent artists and labels.

#5 Meta Expands Transparency in Labeling AI-Generated Content

Meta plans to expand labeling for AI-generated content in response to industry demands for transparency. The company will now mark a broader range of material, including video, audio, and images, as ‘Made with AI’. This policy shift, starting in May, follows criticism from Meta’s Oversight Board. The move aims to address concerns about manipulated media. While music isn’t the primary focus, this change may benefit music rights holders, despite uncertainties regarding AI music indicators. 

News W/C 18/3/24

#1 Apple under new pressure from Meta, Microsoft and Match

Amidst criticism from Spotify and Epic Games, larger tech firms including Meta, Microsoft, X (formerly Twitter), and Match have joined the fray against Apple’s App Store policies. According to The Wall Street Journal, these companies filed a joint amicus briefing supporting Epic Games’s legal battle against Apple’s restrictive payment methods on iOS devices. Spotify filed its own briefing, arguing that Apple fails to comply with a federal court order to open up its app ecosystem. Additionally, the European Commission’s antitrust boss, Margrethe Vestager, warned Apple about its plans to charge companies for iOS app distribution outside the App Store, a move protested by Spotify.

#2 US Department of Justice aims to split TikTok US and ByteDance

Political pressure to force ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations or face a ban has escalated, drawing attention from the US Department of Justice. Bloomberg reported that senior officials from the Justice Department and other agencies are discussing legislation in the Senate to allow TikTok to continue operating in the US under new ownership. Meanwhile, TikTok refutes claims that its data on American users is accessible to Chinese authorities, as potential buyers circle around the app.

#3 Spotify updates Loud & Clear website with 2023 payout stats

Spotify unveiled its 2023 payout stats on its Loud & Clear website, disclosing that it paid over $9 billion to the music industry last year, with approximately half going to independent music. The update highlights the growth in the number of artists earning significant payouts, with 66,000 artists generating over $10k from Spotify, up from 57,000 the previous year. Furthermore, Spotify detailed the rise in non-English language music’s popularity, with Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, and Korean leading the way, reflecting Spotify’s expanding global reach.

#4 Deezer has removed 26m tracks to 'declutter the platform'

Deezer announced the removal of over 26 million tracks from its platform, aiming to enhance user experience and prioritise valuable content after striking a deal with Universal Music Group. CEO Jeronimo Folgueira clarified that the removed tracks included noise, mono-track albums, fake artists, and rarely listened-to songs. While this move aligns with Deezer’s shift towards an ‘artist-centric’ model, questions about transparency regarding track removal decisions remain. You can see the content guidelines here

#5 Recorded music trade revenues in the UK experienced an 8.1% growth throughout 2023

In 2023, the UK’s recorded music trade revenues surged by 8.1%, totaling £1.43bn ($1.83bn). Streaming income notably soared by 8.4%, comprising 67.4% of total revenue and marking a significant increase from a decade ago. Paid subscriptions contributed £826.8m, growing by 8.1%, while ad-supported audio and video revenues increased by 12.4% and 6.9% respectively. Vinyl sales continued their resurgence, recording £141.6m in revenues, up 18.6% year-on-year. Even CD sales saw a 5.4% growth to £97.2m. The report also highlights 2,245 artists surpassing 10m audio streams in the UK in 2023, despite concerns of revenue growth slightly lagging behind consumption.

News W/C 11/3/24

#1 CNM Counters Spotify's Subscription Price Increase in France

France’s Centre National de la Musique (CNM) has responded to Spotify’s decision to increase subscription prices in France, which is part of Spotify’s opposition to a financial budget that imposes taxes on music services to support CNM’s work. In a translated statement published by CMU, CNM accuses Spotify of misrepresentation regarding the €15m raised from Digital Service Providers (DSPs). CNM clarifies that none of this revenue directly funds CNM’s operations; instead, it supports financial aid programs for artists and music companies, fostering the diversity and international growth of French music. CNM emphasises solidarity and industry-wide consultation in designing the levy. It criticises Spotify for suggesting that the price increase solely stems from new solidarity contributions, aligning it with previous decisions.

#2 US Lawmakers Target TikTok with New Legislation

A group of US lawmakers has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives targeting TikTok and its parent company ByteDance. Named the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, it aims to sever ties between such apps and entities controlled by foreign adversaries, specifically targeting TikTok’s alleged connections with Chinese authorities. Supported by politicians from both parties, the bill’s proponents express concerns over national security and data privacy. Representative Mike Gallagher emphasised severing ties with the Chinese Communist Party, while others criticised TikTok as “Communist Chinese malware.” TikTok responded, accusing the bill of being an outright ban and infringing on First Amendment rights, noting its importance for millions of American users and small businesses. Despite bipartisan support, the bill’s passage may face challenges amid political dynamics and upcoming elections.

#3 Tidal Unifies HiFi Tiers, Redefines Premium Music Streaming

Tidal has merged its HiFi and HiFi Plus tiers into a single subscription plan priced at $10.99 per month, offering access to FLAC and Dolby Atmos music previously exclusive to the higher-priced tier. The move follows industry trends after Apple Music introduced lossless audio without extra charges in 2021. Tidal’s decision aims to provide a wider audience with high-quality music, aligning with its global expansion strategy. The company emphasises offering a premium listening experience across its extensive catalogue to music enthusiasts worldwide. With this pricing adjustment, Tidal aims to stay competitive in the streaming market while meeting consumer demands for quality audio. Attention now turns to Spotify, which has yet to launch its own high-fidelity tier announced in 2021, setting the stage for potential shifts in the streaming landscape.

#4 Streaming Industry Reacts to European Commission's Apple Fine

Following the European Commission’s €1.8bn fine on Apple over App Store policies, Spotify, Deezer, and Epic Games have responded to the decision. Spotify applauded the ruling, emphasising its significance in curbing Apple’s alleged abuse of power. However, it stressed the need for further action to address Apple’s ongoing unfair practices. Deezer welcomed the Commission’s stance against anti-competitive behaviour, urging scrutiny of Apple’s proposed App Store changes in light of the ruling. Epic Games, a vocal critic of Apple, criticised its response to the fine, accusing it of denial and highlighting the need for fair app marketplace practices. As attention shifts to Apple’s promised appeal and ongoing regulatory discussions, the impact of the ruling on app ecosystems and competition remains a focal point for stakeholders across the industry.

News W/C 4/3/24

#1 UK Music Advocates VAT Reduction to Revitalise Struggling Music Venues

UK Music urges the government to slash VAT on ticket sales to support struggling music venues. The body advocates for reducing the current 20% VAT rate to 10%, aligning with the EU average. This call comes amidst a distressing trend where 125 grassroots music venues shut down in 2023 due to escalating energy expenses and a concertgoers’ cost-of-living squeeze. UK Music’s interim CEO, Tom Kiehl, emphasises that halving VAT on tickets could be instrumental in preserving cherished music venues, vital for local economies. The Association of Independent Festivals echoes this sentiment, launching a campaign for a similar VAT cut on festival tickets. Such measures aim to alleviate financial burdens on both venues and attendees while safeguarding the cultural vibrancy of the music scene.

#2 Deezer's Financial Upsurge and CEO Departure: A Tale of Growth and Transition

Deezer sees a 7.4% revenue increase in 2023, but its CEO steps down unexpectedly. Jeronimo Folgueira, who guided the company through its transition into a public entity, resigned to pursue personal endeavours. Despite this, Deezer reports growth with 10.5 million subscribers by the year-end, marking a gain of 1.1 million over the year. Annual revenues reach €484.7 million, with France contributing significantly. Although Deezer remains unprofitable, it managed to narrow its operating losses from €166.7 million in 2022 to €64.4 million in 2023. Notably, subscriber growth through B2B partnerships outpaced direct subscriptions. While the departure of Folgueira brings uncertainty, Deezer’s financial performance underscores resilience and potential for future growth strategies under new leadership.

#3 NetEase Cloud Music Surpasses 44 Million Paying Users Amid Revenue Surge

NetEase Cloud Music achieves 44.1 million paying users in 2023, as its parent company reports robust revenue growth. With revenues reaching RMB 4.4 billion, the streaming service experiences a 17.6% year-on-year surge, primarily fueled by subscription upticks. NetEase Cloud Music’s monthly active users surpass 205.9 million, with paying users rising from 38.3 million to 44.1 million. Notably, the service expands its offerings beyond digital albums, venturing into physical releases, evident from its successful collaboration with artist Chenyu Hua. Additionally, NetEase Cloud Music ventures into AI music with innovative tools like NetEase Tianyin and X Studio. These developments underscore the platform’s commitment to enhancing user experience and diversifying revenue streams.

#4 Spotify, Deezer, and Epic Games Unite Against Apple's App Store Policies

Spotify, Deezer, and Epic Games join forces to challenge Apple’s policies ahead of the implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU. The alliance opposes Apple’s proposed changes to its App Store, particularly its plans to levy charges on app downloads. Spotify, in particular, voices concerns over potential escalation in customer acquisition costs. The group urges the European Commission to scrutinise Apple’s actions, emphasising the need to uphold competitive digital markets. Despite ongoing regulatory battles, Spotify anticipates a favourable ruling in its 2019 complaint against Apple. Meanwhile, Apple defends its position, accusing Spotify of seeking unwarranted benefits without compensating for the value provided by Apple’s tools. As the confrontation unfolds, both sides gear up for further engagement with European regulators.

#5 Billboard Unveils Impact of TikTok's UMPG Takedowns on Top Tracks

Billboard examines the repercussions of TikTok’s removal of music affiliated with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). Following TikTok’s earlier removal of UMG recordings, this action further impacts popular songs on the platform. Billboard’s analysis reveals that UMPG’s ownership interest extends to 61 of the top 100 tracks in the US. Interpolations, samples, and numerous credited co-writers contribute to the list too. Despite previous estimates suggesting a lesser impact, the current scenario highlights the importance of connections between music creators and platforms. 

News W/C 26/2/24

#1 Reprezent Radio Takes to Crowdfunding to Secure Future Growth

Reprezent, the pioneering London radio station, is turning to crowdfunding to address its current challenges. With over 20 years of influence, Reprezent has not only shaped the music landscape by championing emerging artists but also by nurturing talent in broadcasting. As it transitions into a registered charity to access broader funding avenues, it faces a financial gap. Enter its crowdfunding campaign, which has already exceeded its initial £50k goal on Crowdfunder within days and now aims for a stretch target of £100k. The funds raised will be pivotal in shoring up infrastructural gaps caused by years of budget constraints. While donors contributing over £250 will receive an exclusive Reprezent hoodie, the true reward for all supporters lies in ensuring the station’s survival and eventual flourishing as a charity.

#2 SoundCloud's New Innovative Mood Targeting Advertising

SoundCloud is embracing mood targeting in its latest advertising innovation. This new feature enables advertisers to align their campaigns with specific music moods, reflecting what users are currently listening to. Initially introduced in the US and now expanding across the European Union, it offers nine targetable moods, including Angsty, Celebratory, Chill, Energetic, Focused, Happy, Soothing, Love, and Relaxed. SoundCloud positions this launch as a means for advertisers to enhance campaign precision without relying on individual user data. By leveraging this unique service, SoundCloud aims to boost ad relevance, ensuring advertisers effectively reach their desired audiences while providing the community with relevant advertisements.

#3 Apple's Vision Pro Headset Set to Redefine Music Production with RipX DAW

Apple’s Vision Pro headset, priced just under $3,500, enters the premium segment of mixed-reality headsets. Despite the price tag, anticipation surrounds the potential music experiences it will offer, including music-making capabilities.Hit’n’Mix, the developer behind the RipX digital audio workstation (DAW), has announced a version of its software tailored for the Vision Pro. RipX DAW for Apple Vision Pro is set to launch soon, boasting a user interface optimised for the wearable device. This innovative DAW promises a unique experience: imagine a 3D display presenting all audio, whether live recorded, MIDI, or stem separated, as fully editable notes, with instruments distinguished by distance. It’s a departure from traditional waveforms, offering pure sound immersion. Users can even expand the music to fill their surroundings, interacting with melodies as if they were physically present.

#4 TikTok Expands 'Add to Music App' Feature Globally Amidst Licensing Challenges

TikTok continues its global expansion with the rollout of its ‘Add to Music App’ feature to 163 additional countries. Initially launched in the US and UK, this feature simplifies the process of adding discovered songs to libraries and playlists on popular DSPs like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify. This move not only benefits TikTok users but also underscores the platform’s value proposition to the music industry, facilitating the transition from short clips to full-length track consumption. However, complications arise as Universal Music Group (UMG) removes its catalogue from TikTok, potentially affecting recordings released by other labels. Despite licensing challenges, TikTok remains committed to enhancing user engagement with music content.

#5 Apple Music Introduces Monthly Replay Recap and Streamlines Music Transfer Experience

Apple Music introduces a monthly iteration of its Replay recap feature, providing users with regular insights into their listening habits. Alongside the existing annual recap, which compiles top songs, albums, and artists, the monthly updates offer real-time milestones and encourage social sharing. Additionally, Apple Music is testing a feature to simplify music and playlist transfers for users switching streaming services, highlighting its commitment to user convenience and platform accessibility.

News W/C 12/2/24

#1 UK music-streaming reaches 57% of the population and continues to expand

The UK boasts approximately 39 million monthly active users of music streaming services, constituting around 57% of the population, with this number steadily rising.  The growth in streaming is fueled in part by music fans across the generations who are subscribing to streaming services for the first time. This includes young adults transitioning from family plans to individual subscriptions, as well as newcomers to streaming who previously relied solely on physical products. In January 2024, BPI announced a 10% increase in music consumption in the UK, totalling 182.8 million “album equivalent sales” in 2023, with British consumers streaming 179.6 billion audio tracks, marking a 12.8% year-on-year rise.

#2 Spotify enhances concert listings with Bandsintown data

Spotify has enriched its concerts feature with data from Bandsintown. Users will now find Bandsintown’s event listings integrated within Spotify, appearing on artist pages, the ‘Live Events’ feed, and the ‘Now Playing’ screen. Spotify introduced the live events feed in 2022, replacing its previous ‘Concerts Hub,’ initially sourcing listings from ticketing platforms like Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite, and See Tickets. The addition of Bandsintown data expands coverage to include many more concerts by independent artists, enhancing discoverability within Spotify. Artists can keep their upcoming concerts updated through Bandsintown’s dashboard. This partnership aligns with Bandsintown’s growth trajectory, with over 150,000 additional concerts listed on its platform in 2023 compared to 2022.

#3 YouTube introduces music video remix feature for shorts

YouTube introduces a new feature allowing users to “remix” music videos into their short-form videos, aiming to compete with TikTok. As part of its ongoing development to rival TikTok’s features, YouTube now enables users to integrate music videos, leveraging its extensive library, into Shorts. This update arrives amid Universal Music Group’s decision to withdraw its catalogue from TikTok, positioning YouTube to capture more attention in the music video segment. To incorporate a music video into a Short, users can select the ‘Remix’ button on any eligible video and utilise various tools:

  • The “Collab” tool displays the music video alongside the user’s content, ideal for dance videos.
  • The “Green Screen” feature sets the music video as the background for the user’s video, popular for reaction videos.
  • The “Cut” tool allows users to extract a five-second clip from a music video for their Short.
  • The “Sound” tool extracts audio from a music video for incorporation into Shorts.

#4 Electronic music's £2.5 billion contribution to the UK economy in 2023

In 2023, the vibrancy of electronic music shone brightly as it made a significant £2.5 billion contribution to the UK economy, according to a comprehensive report commissioned by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). This illuminating report, an integral part of the ‘Electronic Beats, Economic Treats 2024’ music report, delved deep into the multifaceted economic influence of electronic music. This contribution not only underscores the creativity and innovation within the electronic music scene but also highlights its amazing impact on the economic landscape of the UK.

#5 Reportedly, Apple is set to encounter a $539 million fine in response to Spotify's antitrust complaint

According to a report from the Financial Times on a Sunday morning, Apple is facing a €500 million (approximately $539 million USD) fine following an investigation into a complaint filed by Spotify regarding antitrust concerns. The complaint alleges that Apple’s policies restrict iPhone apps from informing users about cheaper alternatives to Apple Music. This issue revolves around Apple’s control over its App Store payment system, which Spotify argues stifles competition. The European Union began investigating the complaint in 2020, focusing on Apple’s refusal to allow developers to link to their own subscription sign-ups within their apps. Although the fine of $539 million may seem substantial, the EU had initially considered imposing a much larger penalty of close to $40 billion.

News W/C 6/2/24

#2 YouTube's CEO outlines 2024 priorities: AI and Shorts

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan recently outlined the company’s priorities for 2024, following the announcement of reaching 100 million premium subscribers. Mohan detailed YouTube’s current focuses, beginning with the integration of AI, particularly in the realm of YouTube Shorts, which is experiencing an average of over 70 billion daily views. He emphasized the growth of Shorts channels by 50% year over year and expressed confidence that AI innovation will enable even broader participation in content creation.

#3 Apple achieves an all-time revenue record for its services in Q4 2023

Apple’s latest financial report reveals a 2% year-on-year increase in revenue, reaching $119.6 billion in the final quarter of 2023. Notably, the company sets a new quarterly record for services revenue at $23.1 billion, up 11% year-on-year. Despite CEO Tim Cook’s mention of record revenue across various services, there is no explicit reference to Apple Music, suggesting it may not have set records in Q4 2023.

#4 Meta's financial report unveils Threads with 130 million monthly active users

Meta’s latest financial disclosure includes significant figures, with its family of apps now boasting 3.19 billion daily active users. CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlights the growth of Threads, indicating it has surpassed its initial launch peak with over 130 million monthly active users, up from nearly 100 million the previous quarter.

#5 Spotify's Record-breaking $9 Billion Payout

Following Spotify’s financial results release, the company unveiled a staggering payout to the music industry, exceeding $9 billion in 2023, nearly tripling over six years. The analysis revealed that Spotify allocated approximately 63% of its €13.25 billion ($14.27 billion) revenue to the music sector last year.  Furthermore, Spotify disclosed that 200,000 artists generated 95% of its payouts, averaging $42,750 annually per artist. This disclosure not only sets a benchmark but also intensifies competition among streaming platforms.

News W/C 29/1/24

#1 TikTok's usage is beginning to experience a decline:

Despite TikTok claiming the top spot for global app downloads and consumer spending in 2023, its dominance did not extend to actual user engagement. Facebook maintained its leading position in monthly active users, with other Meta-owned apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger outperforming TikTok and securing the fifth position. Recent data suggests that TikTok’s growth is showing signs of slowing down, raising questions about whether the platform’s foray into ecommerce via TikTok Shop is a contributing factor.

New insights from market intelligence firm Sensor Tower reveal a positive but decelerating growth trend for TikTok. While the platform experienced a robust 12% average year-over-year increase in monthly active users per quarter in 2022, this figure dwindled to 3% year-over-year per quarter in 2023.

#2 Spotify Wrapped saw a threefold increase in first-day ticket sales in 2023:

The annual year-end promotion by Spotify made a significant impact, not only creating buzz but also translating into notable sales for merchandise and concert tickets. According to an email from the Spotify for Artists team to musicians, the number of artists making at least one merchandise sale on Wrapped launch day increased fourfold compared to the previous year. Additionally, concert ticket sales on the launch day surpassed last year’s figures by nearly three times. While specific numerical data was not provided, Spotify, historically, has not disclosed the exact dollar amounts for merchandise and ticket sales on its platform. The observed growth aligns with the platform’s recent emphasis on promoting merchandise and ticket sales in the Wrapped experience, with artists encouraged to update their stores and listings before the promotion, and links to merchandise and tickets taking a more prominent place in the Wrapped experience for fans over the last two years.

#3 Amazon Music for Artists Unveils 'Hype Deck':

Amazon Music for Artists introduces ‘Hype Deck,’ a new promotional tool aimed at assisting musicians in amplifying their music and the streaming service on their social media platforms. Described as “an easy way to promote big moments for your music,” Hype Deck allows musicians to create shareable cards highlighting significant events such as new releases, anniversaries, or playlist features. According to the introductory Instagram post, these cards can be used on various marketing channels, including social media and email. The tool is accessible to anyone on an artist, distributor, or label team with access to the artist’s profile on Amazon Music for Artists. With similar promotional boosts proving successful for competitors like Spotify, especially during events like its annual Wrapped promotion, it comes as no surprise that Amazon Music is encouraging artists to showcase their accomplishments on its platform.

#4 Apple Music Confirms 10% Royalty Boost for Spatial Audio Streams:

Apple has officially confirmed its plan to boost royalty payouts for spatial audio streams on Apple Music by 10%. The increase, outlined in a memo to label partners, employs a factor of 1.1 for spatial audio plays, while maintaining a factor of 1 for non-spatial plays. The aim is to recognize high-quality content and ensure fair compensation for artists investing in spatial mixing. Apple shared that over 90% of subscribers have experimented with spatial audio, with total spatial audio plays tripling in the past two years. However, concerns arise about potential exclusion of artists with limited budgets for spatial mixes.

#5 BeReal Unveils Global Expansion with RealPeople and RealBrands, Targeting Brands and Celebrities:

BeReal is gearing up to unveil enticing features aimed at luring in brands and celebrities to its platform. On February 6, the social media powerhouse will globally introduce official accounts for both individuals and companies, labelled as RealPeople and RealBrands.

Unlike RealBrands, which is a fresh revelation, RealPeople had its initial beta launch in the UK back in May 2023 and is now poised for expansion into various other markets.

This strategic move carries weight for BeReal, as it gained traction in 2022 among the youth seeking a more authentic social media experience, steering clear of the increasingly staged atmosphere of Instagram and the entertainment-centric realm of TikTok. Despite currently boasting 23 million daily active users, the company has encountered a gradual deceleration in its growth trajectory.

News W/C 19/1/24

#1 South Korean Album Sales Skyrocket to 115.1 Million Units in 2023, Fueled by Traditional Metrics Amid Streaming Growth:

South Korean album sales surged to 115.1 million units in 2023, marking a 49% increase from the previous year. Despite the ongoing discussions on streaming growth, the country’s music industry is celebrating the traditional metric of album sales. The report, sourced from Allkpop, notes the rapid ascent, with sales below 25 million in 2019. The rise is attributed to factors like pre-sales and bundle sales, where albums come with chances to win event tickets or band photos, encouraging multiple purchases. However, the article raises concerns about environmental impacts tied to the surge in physical sales.

#2 Steady Growth: Bulgarian Recorded Music Industry Thrives with Annual Streaming Subscribers Surge:

The Bulgarian recorded music industry is experiencing steady growth, with 210,000 subscribers to premium music streaming services among its 6.8 million inhabitants. Ruth Koleva, founder of the Sofia Live Festival and the So Alive Music Conference, reports a 15% annual increase in subscription numbers. In our latest country profile, focusing on the 54th biggest music market globally in 2022, it’s revealed that 2022 marked the eighth consecutive year of growth for Bulgaria’s recorded music industry, showcasing a remarkable 24% increase in recorded music revenue.

#3 Expansion of Apple Music Classical to Include China, Japan, and South Korea:

Apple is gearing up to launch its Apple Music Classical streaming app in more Asian countries, including Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The app is available for pre-order on the App Store in these regions, with a planned release date of 24 January. Originally launched on 28 March 2023 in most countries where the parent service operates, the Classical app was notably absent in China, Japan, and South Korea until now. The app, which requires an Apple Music subscription, has been steadily expanding its presence, with Apple’s recent acquisition of the Swedish classical-music label BIS Records in September 2023. The integration of BIS Records into Apple Music Classical and the subsidiary Platoon reflects Apple’s commitment to growing its business around the new app. While user numbers for Apple Music Classical remain undisclosed, the company continues to strengthen its position in the classical music streaming market.

#4 Apple Announces 2 February Launch for Vision Pro Headset in the U.S.:

Apple’s much-anticipated Vision Pro headset is set to debut on 2 February, with the initial launch exclusively in the United States. Pre-orders for the device, unveiled last year, kick off on 19 January and will be available through both Apple’s online store and its U.S. retail locations. Apple touts compatibility with over 1 million apps, primarily from the iPhone and iPad, for use with the Vision Pro headset. Additionally, new native experiences and games are expected to enhance the mixed-reality offering. A standout feature, ‘Apple Immersive Video,’ delivers 180-degree 8K video paired with spatial audio. Priced at $3,499, the Vision Pro is positioned as a high-end product. With Meta’s heightened focus on music for its Quest headsets, the industry eagerly anticipates the musical experiences that Vision Pro will introduce at its launch.

#5 Report: SoundCloud Set to Be Sold for $1 Billion:

SoundCloud, among the world’s leading music streaming services, is gearing up for a potential sale exceeding $1 billion. Raine Group and Temasek Holdings have initiated talks with investment banks for a prospective auction of the company. Founded in 2007, SoundCloud provides a platform for over 40 million artists to release 320 million tracks, marking a significant turnaround in recent years under CEO Eliah Seton’s leadership.

News W/C 8/1/24

#1 Apple Music Considering Higher Royalties for Spatial Audio Tracks:

Apple Music, a staunch advocate for spatial audio, is exploring ways to encourage labels and artists to embrace Dolby Atmos technology. Reports suggest that, beginning next year, the company plans to assign greater importance to streams of songs mixed in Dolby Atmos. While the sources cited by Bloomberg humorously mention ‘people with knowledge of the matter,’ the news signifies a potential adjustment in Apple Music’s royalty model. This move follows recent modifications by Deezer and Spotify. The emphasis on higher payments for spatial audio songs aligns with Apple’s dedication to the format. In January, the company revealed that 80% of its global subscribers were engaging with spatial tracks, witnessing a monthly play increase of 1,000%.

#2 Latin Music Dominates: Over 20% of Spotify's Top 100 Songs in 2023:

Over 20% of Spotify’s top 100 songs in 2023 were Latin, marking a decade since its launch in Latin American markets. Latin beats have grown by 28% annually, making Latin music a dominant force on global charts. The genre’s widespread appeal is evident, with more than one in five songs on the global Top 100 being Latin. Spotify reports a 986% growth in Latin music listeners since 2014. Additionally, five of the platform’s top 10 editorial playlists focus on Latin music, and 21% of its global users reside in Latin America, with the user base growing from 54.6 million in September 2019 to 120.5 million in September 2023.

#3 Spotify Trials AI-Driven Playlists with Text Prompts:

Spotify is currently testing a new feature that involves prompt-driven playlists, as initially reported in October and discovered in the mobile app’s code. The testing phase includes some users, with one showcasing the feature in a TikTok video. Found within the playlist-creation mechanism, the + button on the top-right of the ‘Your Library’ screen now offers a third option for an ‘AI playlist,’ generated using text prompts. Spotify responded to the leak by stating, “We routinely conduct a number of tests. Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader experience and others serve only as an important learning.”

#4 PPL Achieves Record £48.7m Distribution in December:

UK music-licensing company PPL has disclosed its December quarterly distribution, setting a new year-end record of £48.7m ($62.1m). This marks a 13% increase from the corresponding distribution last year. PPL highlighted the inclusion of revenues allocated to members from 63 different collective management organisations (CMOs), showcasing the expansion of its global agreements. The distribution reached over 137,000 performers and rights holders, illustrating significant growth compared to the final quarter of 2020, where £42.8m was distributed to more than 112,000 members. Notably, despite the overall increase, the average payout per member in Q4 2023 decreased to £355.47 from £382.14 in Q4 2020, reflecting a rise in beneficiaries.

#5 YouTube Maintains Lead as Primary Online Platform for U.S. Teens:

According to the latest report from the US-based Pew Research Center, YouTube remains the top online platform for teenagers in the United States. A significant 93% of US teens report using YouTube, although this is a slight decrease from the 95% recorded in the previous year’s research. TikTok takes the second spot, being used by 63% of US teens (down from 67% in 2022), while Snapchat (60%) surpasses Instagram (59%) for third place. Notably, the decline in reach for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram raises interesting considerations. Additionally, Pew measured Discord for the first time, revealing that 28% of US teenagers use it, surpassing WhatsApp (21%), Twitter (20%), and Twitch (17%). 

News W/C 11/12/23

#1 Spotify Expands Discovery Mode to Include Mixes and Unveils Global Campaign Kit Innovations:

Spotify is set to broaden the scope of its Discovery Mode by incorporating mixes. In a recent announcement, the platform consolidated its artist-marketing tools into a comprehensive ‘Campaign Kit.’ Notably, the expansion of Spotify’s ‘Discovery Mode’ initiative is a focal point, initially introduced to promote tracks in radio and autoplay modes at the expense of reduced royalty rates. Starting January 3, 2024, Discovery Mode campaigns will encompass Daily Mix playlists, followed by inclusion in artist, decade, mood, and genre mixes. This development has ignited considerable discussion and criticism, with some labelling it as a contemporary form of payola. Spotify has countered by regularly releasing case studies showcasing instances where artists achieved audience growth through the feature. As the expansion reaches various facets of the company’s service, anticipate renewed debates on the controversial subject. Additionally, Spotify is extending its ‘Showcase’ paid campaigns tool to the UK, Canada, Australia, and France, while introducing ‘Marquee’ ads in France for the first time.

#2 Sped up Tracks Dominate TikTok's 2023 Hit List:

TikTok has just released its comprehensive year-end report for 2023, featuring charts showcasing the most popular songs on the platform. In a reflection of an ongoing trend on TikTok, three of the top 10 global tracks were accelerated versions. The K-Pop group Fifty Fifty’s ‘Cupid – Twin Ver – Sped Up Version’ claimed the top spot, gauged by creations – the number of videos it featured in, surpassing 20 million. Simultaneously, Justine Skye’s ‘Collide (more sped up)’ secured the third position globally with over 13 million creations and topped TikTok’s music chart in the US. Notably, the original recording of this song dates back to 2014. Closing the list, thuy’s ‘girls like me don’t cry (sped up)’ ranked as the eighth biggest track globally on TikTok in 2023. Additionally, TikTok unveiled its list of the 10 most popular artists this year, led by Mexican artist Kimberly Loaiza, followed by Selena Gomez, Blackpink, BTS, and Feid. Enhypen, Karol G, Le Sserafim, NewJeans, and Shakira completed the chart, revealing the dominance of four Latin American artists and five K-Pop artists in the top 10, underscoring the cultural impact of these regions in today’s music industry.

#3 Apple's Shazam Surpasses 300 Million Monthly Active Users:

Apple celebrates a notable achievement with its Shazam music-identification app, revealing a user base exceeding 300 million globally. This marks a substantial increase from the 225 million reported in August 2022, demonstrating a consistent monthly growth of five million new users. Originally launched in 2002 in the UK as a service allowing users to identify music via shortcode, Shazam experienced a transformative surge with the advent of Apple’s App Store in 2008. A decade later, Apple acquired Shazam for a reported $400 million. This milestone coincides with the release of Shazam’s 2023 chart of the most-tagged songs, featuring Afrobeats sensation Rema’s ‘Calm Down’ at the top, followed by Miley Cyrus’s ‘Flowers’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Bloody Mary.’ 

#4 Tidal, the streaming service, is implementing a workforce reduction, with plans to let go of 10% of its staff:

Tidal, the streaming service, is undergoing a workforce reduction, shedding more than 10% of its employees, equivalent to approximately 40 individuals, as confirmed by Variety. This move follows Spotify’s recent announcement of a 17% staff reduction. The downsizing at Tidal is part of broader cutbacks at its parent company, Block, aimed at reducing the overall headcount to below 12,000. Tidal’s spokesperson stated, ‘We can confirm that, as part of Block’s recent initiative to limit the company’s workforce and focus on business growth, Tidal has carefully assessed the necessary adjustments to our team to ensure continued development and investment in key areas of the business.

#5 TicketTok: TikTok and Ticketmaster Expand Collaborative Efforts:

TikTok and Ticketmaster are strengthening their alliance to facilitate ticket sales and boost the promotion of live events directly within the TikTok app. After launching in beta in the US last year, the partnership is expanding to over 20 additional countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and Australia. Artists holding ‘certified’ status on TikTok within these countries can enhance the promotion of their upcoming concerts by incorporating Ticketmaster links into their videos.

Fans can seamlessly tap on these links to make purchases directly from their phones. Since its beta introduction in the US, this feature has garnered over 2.5 billion views across videos involving musicians, sports teams, and event organisers. Notable artists such as Niall Horan, Burna Boy, Shania Twain, and The Kooks have already leveraged this functionality. TikTok is gearing up for its inaugural branded live concert, TikTok In The Mix, scheduled for December 10 in Arizona. While is the partner for this event’s pre-sales, TikTok’s collaboration with Ticketmaster remains a significant expansion for facilitating global ticketing and event promotion.

News W/C 4/12/23

#1 Major: Spotify Announces 17% Workforce Reduction in Latest Job Cut Initiative:

In an effort to streamline operations and cut costs, Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has announced a 17 percent reduction in the company’s workforce, impacting over 1,500 employees. Ek cited a combination of slowing economic growth and escalating operational expenses as the driving factors behind the decision, emphasising the need for Spotify to become a more agile and efficient organisation. This move represents the third significant round of layoffs for Spotify in the current year, following a 6 percent staff reduction in January and the elimination of 200 roles in June. Despite historically prioritising growth, Spotify is now under increasing investor pressure to achieve profitability. Ek aims to realise this goal by 2024, even though the company reported losses of €462 million in the first nine months of the current year.

Moving forward, this means that listening sessions and editorial meetings will be cancelled. They’ll also be a smaller editorial team reading through pitches & updates. 

#2 Google Unveils 'Instrument Playground'

Google has introduced a new ‘AI-powered experiment’ in the realm of music. Developed by the Google Arts & Culture Lab team, the initiative named ‘Instrument Playground’ utilises the MusicLM model, launched by Google earlier this year. Users can select from over 100 instruments worldwide, and MusicLM generates a 20-second sound clip based on their choice. Users can also enhance their prompts by adding adjectives like moody, happy, or romantic to manipulate the resulting sound clip. Instrument Playground is part of Google’s broader collection of AI-driven experiments, including the ‘Viola the Bird’ project and the entertaining ‘Blob Opera’ experiment introduced a few years ago.

#3 Potential Launch of Instagram's Threads in the European Union This Month:

Regulatory challenges initially prevented the launch of Instagram’s Twitter competitor, Threads, in the European Union earlier this year. However, it seems that Threads might finally debut in the EU this month, according to The Wall Street Journal. To comply with regulations, Meta plans to offer EU users the option of using Threads solely for consumption without the ability to create their own posts. Despite a slow start, Threads garnered nearly 100 million monthly active users globally by October, just three months post-launch. With Twitter facing challenges, including advertisers pausing spending, Threads sees an opportunity to attract users, potentially including more artists.

#4 Longer TikTok videos are working….

It’s time to rethink TikTok’s classification as merely a ‘short’ video app, considering its recent transformations. Beyond brief clips, TikTok began experimenting with a 10-minute video duration early in 2022, and the ‘Creativity Program Beta’ this year emphasised a shift towards longer-form videos exceeding one minute. Recent insights from The Information reveal that users on TikTok now spend half their time engaging with content surpassing one minute. Moreover, creators adopting videos longer than a minute experience a remarkable fivefold growth in their audiences, according to TikTok. The platform is reportedly testing a maximum video length of up to 15 minutes, prompting comparisons to YouTube. 

#5 SoundCloud Unveils Updated Official Charts in the US and UK

SoundCloud has reimagined its official charts in the US and UK, introducing a weekly refresh on Thursdays to provide an early glimpse before other charts typically release on Fridays. The revamped charts feature a new addition called ‘Next Pro,’ spotlighting unsigned and independent artists. The flagship ‘New & Hot’ chart is also undergoing enhancements. Utilising data from its AI subsidiary Musiio, SoundCloud is ensuring genre charts for rap, pop, R&B, and electronic music are free from inaccuracies like white noise. Moreover, SoundCloud is intensifying security measures to combat fraudulent streaming. The platform has also revamped its search page and introduced Spotify-style daily playlists, ‘Your Mix’ and ‘Your MegaMix,’ powered by Musiio’s technology, following SoundCloud’s acquisition of the startup in May 2022.

News W/C 20/11/23

#1 Apple Music links up with PlayStation:

Apple Music is targeting gamers with its latest promotion, offering PlayStation 5 owners up to six months of subscription at no extra cost. This exclusive deal, available in 68 countries, is valid until November 15, 2024, and applies to both new and “qualified returning” Apple Music subscribers. New subscribers enjoy a complimentary six-month access, while returning users receive five months free. The offer capitalises on the availability of Apple Music on the PlayStation 5, introduced through its app launch in October 2021. With relatively few music-streaming apps on the PS5, including Spotify and YouTube, this collaboration aims to boost Apple Music’s presence in the gaming community. This marketing initiative aligns with Apple’s efforts to expand its music service, following recent financial results indicating a peak in revenues for Apple Music in Q1 2023, with subsequent declines in subsequent quarters.

#2 TikTok launches “Add to Music App” feature:

TikTok has officially launched its ‘Add to Music App’ feature, now including Spotify as its third partner alongside Apple Music and Amazon Music. The feature allows users to save tracks from TikTok videos to playlists on these platforms. Rolling out in the UK and US initially, Apple Music is included but not emphasised in TikTok’s announcement. YouTube’s music service is notably absent, possibly due to its connection with YouTube Shorts. Questions remain about data access for labels and artists to track the impact of TikTok’s feature on streams and playlists.

#3 Tencent Music has grown massively, surpassing 100 million subscribers:

Tencent Music has reached a significant milestone, with 103 million users now paying for its online music services, up from 85.3 million a year ago. This growth includes subscribers to Tencent Music’s QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo, as well as those purchasing digital albums and content. In Q3, subscription revenues specifically surged by 42% year-on-year to RMB 3.19 billion ($438 million). However, the company’s overall financial performance reflects a tale of two business lines. Online music (streaming) revenues increased by 32.7% to RMB 4.55 billion ($624 million), while Tencent Music’s ‘social entertainment’ business (live streaming, karaoke, etc.) experienced a sharp decline, with revenues dropping by 48.8% to RMB 2.02 billion ($276 million). This marks a significant shift from 2018 when social entertainment constituted over 70% of Tencent Music’s revenues, and online music made up just under 30%. Five years later, social entertainment now represents 30.6% of the business, with online music dominating.

#4 YouTube introduces new chart “Top Songs on Shorts”:

YouTube has introduced a new music chart, ‘Top Songs on Shorts,’ dedicated to tracks featured on YouTube Shorts. The chart includes both daily and weekly rankings and is initially available in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Mexico, along with a global chart. Notably, the global chart is currently dominated by Indian artists, with the majority of the top 20 entries originating from India. YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, emphasises that these charts reflect global music culture and celebrate artists’ success. In conjunction with this announcement, YouTube is revamping its existing charts website, where the new Shorts rankings reside, to enhance functionality on both desktop and mobile. Additionally, there will be ‘share cards’ for tracks making the Shorts chart, enabling artists to share their success on social media.

#5 Apple Music introduces “Listening Now” features:

Apple Music has introduced a new feature for artists called ‘Listening Now,’ providing real-time data on the number of fans currently streaming their music. This feature is accessible through a new widget within Apple Music’s dashboard. Artists can select the widget to view detailed Listening Now trends from the past 48 hours. The metrics include ‘Maximum Listeners,’ highlighting the highest number of listeners within that period, and ‘Average Listeners,’ indicating the average number of listeners. Additionally, artists can see a snapshot of their top-six most played back songs under ‘Top Songs Now.’ It’s important to note that the feature has an unspecified minimum listener threshold, and artists may experience gaps in data reporting when this threshold is not met, according to Apple.

News W/C 6/11/23

#1 Deezer undergoes branding and marketing changes:

Deezer’s recent rebranding and redesign mark its transition into an “experience services platform” while maintaining its core identity as a music-streaming service. This transformation centres around the principles of expression and connection, aimed at enabling artists, fans, and partners to foster a sense of belonging through music. The rebrand includes the introduction of a new purple-heart logo and a comprehensive overhaul of the company’s app, along with a redefined positioning in relation to its larger competitors. CEO Jeronimo Folgueira also provided an update on Deezer’s ‘artist-centric’ payout plans, highlighting their positive impact on artists and labels, especially independent ones. 

#2 Spotify's shift to a 1,000-stream minimum for royalties:

Reports indicate that Spotify is considering a significant change to its payout model that is sparking discussions within the music industry. The latest information reveals that starting early next year, Spotify’s ‘minimum annual threshold’ for tracks to begin generating royalties will be set at 1,000 streams. Currently, less popular songs receive 0.5% of the total artist earnings across the platform. The proposed change aims to shift tens of millions of dollars from the less popular songs (the 0.5%) to the more popular ones (the other 99.5%). “In 2024, Spotify expects this will move $40 million that would have previously been paid to tracks with fewer than 1,000 streams to those with more than 1,000 streams” (Music Business Worldwide). 

#3 Kaiber's new app helps artists make AI music videos:

Kaiber, a startup based in the United States, has launched a new app designed to assist artists in creating AI-generated music videos. In the past, Kaiber collaborated with artists such as Kid Cudi and Linkin Park, integrating AI-generated visuals into their music videos. This app, now available on both Android and iOS platforms, extends its technology to a broader range of musicians.

The app provides various tools, including text-to-video, image-to-video, and video-to-video features, allowing artists to craft their visual content.

#4 Amazon Music launches +44 performance series for Black British artists:

Amazon Music is expanding its video offerings, with a specific focus on +44, a playlist and broader brand dedicated to Black British music. The newly introduced ‘+44 Performance Series’ features artists delivering live performances on specially designed sets. This project involves collaboration with director Otis Dominique and set designer Jade Adeyemi. The inaugural performances feature rappers Giggs and Potter Payper, who present ‘P.A.D (Pistols At Dawn)’ from Giggs’ latest album. 

Amazon Music has already provided glimpses of other artists scheduled to participate in the series in the coming months, including NSG, Sainté, and Unknown T. This launch represents Amazon Music’s latest effort to elevate +44 into a brand as it continues to expand the playlist’s presence

#5 Tidal's new innovative tool for artist collaborations:

Tidal has unveiled its latest artist-centric feature, named “Tidal Collabs,” with the aim of assisting musicians in discovering potential collaborators. This new feature is integrated into the Tidal Artist Home portal and comes at no cost for users. Tidal Collabs is designed to suggest artists who are creatively compatible and registered on the platform. When artists identify a promising collaborator, they can initiate direct communication through Tidal to propose a musical partnership. To use collabs artists need to log in or sign up for TIDAL Artist Home

We’ve also created a resource on TIDAL Artist Home which you can find here.

News W/C 30/10/23

#1 Spotify is introducing a dedicated hub for Afrobeats on its platform, named 'Afro’:

This hub offers a diverse range of content, including playlists, podcasts, articles, and videos. It prominently features Spotify’s key playlists within the Afrobeats genre, such as ‘African Heat,’ ‘Afropop,’ ‘Motive,’ ‘We Everywhere,’ and ‘Essence.’

Additionally, it provides a platform for new releases and extends its reach to encompass various genres and scenes, including Bongo Flava, Gengetone, Kwaito, and more. The launch of this hub comes after Spotify’s earlier announcement that Afrobeats tracks had garnered an impressive 13.5 billion streams on its service in 2022. 

#2 Spotify is introducing a new tab-based design for artist profiles within its mobile app:

This updated design divides the artist profile into three distinct tabs, each serving a specific purpose: one for music, one for events, and one for merchandise.

The revamped design aims to highlight essential offerings like concert tickets and merchandise in dedicated tabs. This facilitates a more convenient shopping experience for fans while providing artists with opportunities to generate additional revenue through Spotify.

Furthermore, Spotify encourages artists to personalise their profiles to maximise the benefits of the new design and features

#3 Meta's ad-free subscription services are coming to Europe:

The premium subscriptions, available for Facebook and Instagram, allow users to opt for an ad-free experience. However, this service is limited to the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland, in response to recent European regulations. The subscription will cost €9.99/month on the web and €12.99/month on iOS and Android, varying depending on the platform.

Initially, the single fee will cover all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts within a user’s Accounts Center. Starting March 2024, an extra fee of €6/€8 per month will be applied for each additional account. The impact on those in the music industry will depend on the popularity of these new subscriptions and the extent to which Meta promotes them.

#4 Amazon’s Amp is coming to a close:

Amazon’s Amp, which made its debut in March 2022 as an innovative attempt to establish a live music-radio network where listeners could double as DJs, is now coming to a close.

During its launch, Amazon secured artists like Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker, and Lil Yachty as hosts, and Amp began with licensing agreements in place with all three major record labels and prominent independent music entities.

However, a year and a half later, Amp is being discontinued, mirroring Spotify’s venture into the world of live audio and streaming experiments. This could mean that they’re putting more focus on playlisting and editorial.

#5 Meta Updates:

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and content distribution, musicians are now presented with new opportunities and challenges, thanks to Meta’s latest updates. 

Meta are now unveiling a range of features and tools designed to empower musicians to connect, engage, and expand their fan base in unprecedented ways.

More on our resource page. 

News W/C 16/10/23

#1 AI music startup Riffusion has secured a $4 million seed funding round:

Riffusion, an AI-driven music startup that surfaced just a year ago, has successfully secured $4 million in seed funding. Riffusion empowers individuals to generate original music through brief, shareable audio clips. Users are required to describe the lyrics and specify a musical style, and Riffusion’s model swiftly produces riffs that include singing and custom artwork within a matter of seconds.

In conjunction with this funding announcement, Riffusion has unveiled an updated version of its platform, introducing novel features. It now enables users to craft brief musical segments, referred to as “riffs,” by simply inputting lyrics and specifying their desired musical elements, such as genre, vocal style, or mood.

#2 Spotify has introduced a dedicated Artist Merch Hub within its mobile app:

Spotify has launched a new Artist Merch Hub within its mobile app to boost music merchandise sales. This move follows Spotify’s growing involvement in merchandising, including merch links in artist profiles and special offers to super fans. The Merch Hub offers personalised recommendations based on a listener’s favourite artists, making it easier for users to find and purchase artist merchandise through the artist’s Shopify-powered Spotify store.

#3 TikTok introduces a specialised hub in collaboration with Disney, featuring music and a variety of content:

TikTok has unveiled an exciting collaboration with Disney by launching a dedicated hub to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. This month-long activation brings together over 48 distinct handles and brands under the Disney umbrella, spanning from Pixar and Star Wars to National Geographic and ESPN. Included in this Disney extravaganza is Disney Music, offering a specially curated ‘Disney100’ playlist on TikTok featuring music from Disney’s extensive catalogue. All of this content is conveniently housed in a Disney-themed hub on TikTok.


#4 Hook secures $3 million in funding to support the creation of licensed fan-made remixes for social media platforms:

Startup Hook has secured $3 million in funding to support fan-made music remixes on social media while respecting licensing requirements. This burgeoning trend, where fans remix and mashup music for social platforms, can sometimes pose licensing challenges. Hook aims to bridge this gap, offering a service that allows fans to create and share their favourite songs legally and seamlessly. They’ve established partnerships to ensure that rights holders receive compensation for these fan remixes

#5 Artists are being urged to "prepare" for Spotify Wrapped 2023:

Spotify is now reaching out to artists with guidance on how to get ready, which involves four key steps.

Firstly, artists now have the opportunity to record a 30-second video message to express gratitude to their top fans. These messages need to be submitted by November 15 to be included in the promotion. Secondly, artists in the US and Canada can offer special merchandise discounts to their top fans this year, with the setup deadline also set for November 15. Artists outside these regions are encouraged to update their merch stores on Spotify by the same date for inclusion in Wrapped.

The third and fourth steps revolve around housekeeping. Artists are advised to ensure that their tour dates are accurate and that their profiles include social handles, fan support links, and playlists, all in readiness for the promotion.

News W/C 2/10/23

#1 TikTok Explores the Idea of Ad-Free Subscription:

A significant stride in TikTok’s monetization strategy has emerged: the introduction of monthly subscriptions. Android Authority has brought to light intriguing findings embedded in TikTok’s app code, hinting at trials for an “Ad-free plan” priced at $4.99 per month. TechCrunch took a deeper dive into this revelation and substantiated TikTok’s ongoing experiment, albeit within a sole English-speaking market beyond the borders of the United States, despite the dollar sign being used in the pricing.

#2 Mandopop Music hits 500 million monthly streams on Spotify:

In the streaming era, non-Anglo music genres like Reggaeton, K-Pop, and Afrobeats have surged globally. Spotify is now highlighting Mandopop, which combines elements from Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese music in Mandarin-language songs. While already popular in Asia, Mandopop’s streaming growth has been remarkable, with more than 500 million monthly streams on Spotify, representing a nearly 45% increase in the past year. This marks a significant milestone for Mandopop as it continues to capture a global audience.

#3 Spotify Introduces 'Jam' Feature:

Spotify has introduced its newest feature, called ‘Jam.’ This feature provides a personalised, real-time listening experience for groups to enjoy collectively. In a Jam session, a group of listeners can add songs to the existing playlist and receive song recommendations customised to suit the combined preferences of all participants. While starting these sessions is exclusive to premium subscribers, free users are encouraged to partake in them.


#4 Spotify potentially developing AI generated playlists:

Spotify, having successfully introduced an AI-driven DJ feature and support for AI-translated podcasts, appears to be delving further into AI integration. Clues within the app’s code hint at the development of AI-powered playlists, generated through user prompts.

These findings were revealed by tech genius Chris Messina, who shared screenshots of the app’s code referencing “AI playlists” and “prompts-based playlists.” It is speculated that these playlists might find their place within the Blend genre, where user preferences converge to create playlists that cater to collective tastes.

#5 Songtradr acquires Bandcamp from Epic Games:

Songtradr, a Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company, is assuming control of Bandcamp from Epic Games. Songtradr’s dedication lies in preserving Bandcamp as both a thriving marketplace and vibrant music community, with a strong emphasis on an “artist-first revenue sharing” philosophy.

News W/C 25/9/23

#1 web3 music startup Sonorus reached 160k users in six months:

Sonorus, a web3 music startup, has grown rapidly, reaching over 200,000 users, with 160,000 new users joining in just six months. Sonorus stands out by using NFTs and web3 technology for music discovery.

In essence, Sonorus reimagines the concept of a platform where users nominate and vote for their favourite songs. Past attempts like Thesixtyone, TheNextBigSound, and others struggled to gain similar traction.

#2 Afterparty Secures $5 Million in Funding for Its Superfan Platform

Afterparty is part of the growing wave of startups providing platforms for creators, including musicians, to engage with their superfans and monetize their relationship. The company has recently completed a $5 million funding round, with Blockchange Ventures leading the investment.

Currently, Afterparty offers creators the ability to host livestreams and engage in one-on-one conversations with their fans. However, the platform has ambitious plans to expand its offerings, including incorporating AI voice, photo, and video messaging, as well as integrating blockchain and NFT technology into its services. 

#3 Deezer Raises Prices Once Again Across the UK and Europe.

The Paris-based digital streaming platform (DSP), Deezer, has taken the lead in increasing subscription prices, a move that CEO Jeronimo Folguiera had previously emphasised as crucial for bolstering revenue growth in the recorded music industry and ensuring fair compensation for artists.

Following Deezer’s initiative, other DSPs have followed suit in raising their prices. This marks a significant shift after a decade of price stability.

In its most recent price adjustment, Deezer has raised the cost of individual subscriptions to €11.99 per month (up from €10.99) in key European markets, including France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. France had already seen a hike to €10.99 in early 2022, along with a similar adjustment in Germany.

#4 US Music Industry Achieves Record-Breaking Revenue

The US music industry has attained its highest-ever revenue levels since the inception of record-keeping, as stated in the mid year revenue report by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Streaming revenue saw remarkable growth, with a 10.3 percent increase from the previous year, totalling $7 billion. Notably, streaming now constitutes 84 percent of the music revenue generated in the United States. The RIAA points out that while revenue from paid subscriptions experienced an 11 percent growth, reaching $5.5 billion, the overall number of paid subscriptions only grew by 6 percent. This phenomenon is likely attributed to Spotify’s introduction of its first-ever price increase for its premium subscription service.

News W/C 11/9/23

#1 Universal Music Group provides details on the mechanics of Deezer's 'double boosts.'

UMG and Deezer have introduced “double boosts” in their new artist-centric streaming payout model. Artists with 1,000 monthly streams from 500 unique listeners or songs actively chosen by fans will receive this boost. Concerns were raised about this potentially inflating Deezer’s payouts beyond its revenues. However, a report from MBW clarified that the total distribution will always match the royalty pool’s size. Double-boosted artists will see a boost in their stream volume share, not the total royalty amount.

#2 Spotify is preparing to introduce a feature that allows you to share songs with friends as "Audio Surprises."

Spotify is developing a new sharing feature entitled “Audio Surprises.” This feature allows users to share a song with a gift-wrapped presentation instead of traditional album art. If shared, when a listener taps the “Play on Spotify” button, the song will be revealed. Whilst it’s unclear whether the feature will stay on the platform, it’s certainly an interesting marketing development.

#3 Spotify CEO Says ’30-Second’ Trick for Royalty Payments Doesn’t Work

JP Morgan financial analysts projected that an individual could potentially earn $1,200 in monthly royalties by repeatedly playing a track they owned for at least 30 seconds, around the clock. Disproving the report, Daniel Ek tweeted, “If that were the case, my playlist would simply consist of ‘Daniel’s 30-Second Jam’ on constant replay!” In reality, the payment model operates on a pro rata basis, where all the monthly revenue is pooled together and subsequently distributed based on the number of streams and various other factors (such as label contract deals).

#4 SoundCloud is launching its clips-focused music discovery feed, similar to TikTok-style previews

This feature, previously in testing, is now available to all mobile app users within the ‘Discovery’ tab. SoundCloud explained that it recommends songs based on users’ listening history and preferences, with clear explanations for each recommendation. These clips are 30 seconds long, and unlike YouTube, SoundCloud allows artists to choose their preferred 30-second snippet, although automatic selection is available.

#5 Pixelynx introduces the BeatKOR AI music collection in collaboration with Beatport.

Pixelynx, the music metaverse platform co-founded by deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin, has unveiled the BeatKOR AI music collection in collaboration with Beatport. As an integral component of Pixelynx’s KORUS music platform, BeatKOR enables creators and fans to engage in remixing music from both established and emerging artists through innovative interactive modes.

The BeatKOR collection is set to launch on September 13th, featuring officially licensed stems and tracks from artists like Jitwam, Elle Shimada, Brux, and more.

News W/C 29/8/23

#1 YouTube gives more details on how its Shorts algorithm works

A new video featuring YouTube Shorts product lead Todd Sherman has just been released. Topics such as video length, thumbnail design and the relevance of hashtags were just some of the talking points within the conversation. 

Sherman emphasised that individuals shouldn’t aim to meet a specific video quantity threshold when uploading to Shorts. Instead, he advocated for creating a smaller number of high-quality clips. He also highlighted the value of iteration – posting a video and then learning from its successes and shortcomings.

Sherman also cautioned against the practice of deleting videos and reposting them to gather more views. He emphasised the potential risk of this being perceived as spam within their systems, drawing a parallel to certain growth hacking tactics on platforms like Twitter.

#2 LimeWire launches AI-focused 'Creator Studio' including music

In 2022, the well-known file sharing brand LimeWire has made a comeback in a new form – a music NFTs marketplace. This resurgence was marked by a successful token sale that raised $10.4 million. Following this, LimeWire secured a licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. More recently, LimeWire expanded its offerings to include artist-level subscriptions akin to Patreon. Building upon this, they’ve now introduced an ‘AI Creator Studio’ designed for the generation of AI-created images, audio, and video content. 

#3 Spotify gives more detail about “Blend“

In the dynamic world of music streaming, Spotify has always been at the forefront of innovation. In 2021, they took the art of bonding over music to an entirely new dimension with the introduction of “Blend.” This feature transforms music listening into a shared social experience, merging the musical preferences of friends, families, fans, and even artists themselves together. You can now use Blend within your music marketing campaigns, Cygnus has gathered some top tips here.

#4 SymphonyOS, the marketing platform infused with AI capabilities, has secured an impressive $1 million in funding

SymphonyOS, an innovative AI-driven marketing platform catering to artists, creators, managers, and independent labels, has successfully concluded a pre-seed fundraising round, securing an impressive $1 million. The investment comes from a consortium of strategic backers from both the music and technology industries. 

Highlighted in a recent press release, Symphony’s fundraising initiative boasts participation from notable entities such as Spice Capital, GoldHouse Ventures, LVRN Records, and Guin Records. 

#5 YouTube Music has introduced new feature “Samples” to help boost engagement

YouTube Music is ramping up its music discovery capabilities by taking inspiration from TikTok. The platform has introduced its “Samples” feed, which mirrors TikTok’s approach to short-form video content. Similar to TikTok, Samples offers a personalised feed of short videos that give users a sneak peek into recommended songs and artists. Each snippet within the feed provides a quick glimpse into the musician, the music video, and the essence of a suggested song. 

News W/C 21/8/23

#1 US District Court Judge Affirms Human Necessity in Copyright

A US federal judge, Beryl A. Howell, has ruled on the question of whether AI-generated art qualifies for copyright protection. The ruling supports the US Copyright Office’s decision to deny copyright protection to AI-created artworks. 

The core of the ruling is that copyright law does not extend to safeguarding works generated by new technologies without human involvement. Judge Howell emphasised that human authorship is a fundamental requirement for copyright protection, and this principle has remained unchanged even as copyright laws have evolved.

#2 Media group SRMG invests $5m in streaming service Anghami

Anghami, established in November 2011 in Lebanon, stands as the first lawful music streaming platform and digital distribution enterprise in the Arab world. It offers an extensive collection of both Arabic and international music for unlimited streaming and offline downloading. Anghami has gained a fresh supporter: the venture capital division of media conglomerate SRMG. They’ve invested $5 million into the platform to ensure its growth. 

#3 Amazon Raises Subscription Price for Prime Members on 'Music Unlimited'

In the previous month, we witnessed announcements of price increases from YouTube Music, Tidal, and Spotify – notably, the first-ever rise in the premium subscription fee for Spotify’s individual plan across multiple markets.

Adding to this trend, Amazon Music has disclosed a price adjustment for its Prime members in the United States, affecting Amazon Music Unlimited, the paid music streaming service offered by the online retail and media firm.

Starting September 19, Amazon Prime members will experience a monthly fee increase for Music Unlimited, shifting from $8.99 to $9.99. Additionally, new Prime members enrolling after Tuesday (August 15) will be subject to this new elevated price.

See Cygnus’s Amazon pitching tips here.

#4 The British government is reaching out to the creative industries to gather insights on the risks posed by AI.

The British government is actively seeking input from the creative sectors, including the music industry, regarding the potential risks associated with AI. There’s a strong desire within the creative and media fields to communicate their perspectives on the regulation of AI technologies.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), responsible for previous investigations into topics such as streaming economics and misogyny in music, is now engaging with industry executives to gather their insights.

#5 Sony Music and Triller Resolve Copyright Dispute as TikTok Competitor Readies for Public Debut

Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and short-form video platform Triller have reached an agreement to resolve their legal dispute over the unapproved use of Sony’s music on the platform.

In a joint statement submitted on Friday (August 11), Sony Music and Triller announced the conclusion of the copyright case with prejudice, preventing any future possibility of reopening the case. The terms of the settlement were not immediately revealed.

The lawsuit, initiated by Sony Music against Triller the previous year, alleged that the Los Angeles-based company had both failed to meet payment obligations as per a licensing agreement and had engaged in extensive copyright infringement by streaming Sony’s music without proper authorization after the contract’s breach.

News W/C 14/8/23

#1 Instagram presents a new feature

Introducing a new feature that lets you infuse music into your photo carousels, just as you can with your reels, stories, and individual feed images.

No matter which format serves your narrative best, you can now enhance it by incorporating a musical backdrop that captures the desired mood.

For photo carousels and individual feed images: Begin by uploading your images. Then, within the sharing options, simply click on “Add Music” and choose a song to accompany the viewing of your photos. Please note that carousels containing videos will not include the “Add Music” feature.

For reels: During the creation of your reel, access the Audio button to explore and select a song from our extensive music library.

For stories: When crafting your story, tap the Stickers button located at the top, and opt for the Music sticker to seamlessly integrate a musical element.

#2: Beatport issues NFT on Polkadot (blockchain platform and cryptocurrency)

Beatport is introducing its fresh marketplace named on the Aventus parachain (built on the Polkadot network). Centred around electronic music, offers enthusiasts the opportunity to acquire, vend, and exchange NFTs with a techno-centric flair. The platform will showcase NFT art releases titled “Music+,” a fusion of cultural treasures curated by music creators, potentially encompassing video components as well. This will allow artists to find new ways of monetization within their music. 

#3: Apple Music for Android gets fantastic new features

The most recent beta iteration of Apple Music for Android (v4.3.0) incorporates all the significant novel attributes that Apple introduced in the iOS rendition of the application for the upcoming operating system. Notably, it unveils the fresh Now Playing interface, which not only displays animated renditions of album artwork but also extends the cover visuals to the edges of the screen, generating a notably more immersive appearance for the player.

Furthermore, a dedicated segment has been introduced for song credits. Beyond showcasing the artists, this section comprehensively highlights credits for songwriting, lyrics, production, and engineering. This affords users an expansive list of contributors involved in creating the track. 

#4: Spotify's AI DJ is currently engaging listeners with insightful hip-hop commentary

Spotify is of course enthusiastic about this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. To celebrate this, they’ve decided to launch a ‘Hip-Hop Turns 50’ hub, a dedicated space featuring playlists, artists, and albums spanning the last five decades, accompanied by pertinent podcast episodes. Beyond the virtual realm, Spotify is also taking the celebration to the streets by commissioning murals and billboards in notable locations such as New York, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, and Mexico, all in honour of significant hip-hop icons.

#5: Patreon collaborates with Spotify to facilitate podcasters offering exclusive content

The direct-to-fan platform, Patreon, has recently launched an integration with Spotify, streamlining the process for podcasters to provide premium content to their supporters.  With this fresh integration, podcasters can seamlessly deliver both premium and free content to Spotify. However, the premium content will be exclusively accessible to listeners who financially support the podcaster on Patreon. This exclusive content will be presented on a distinct page within the Spotify app, ensuring clear differentiation. This is a fantastic development for any labels/artists with a podcast. 

News W/C 31/7/23

#1: According to Meta's latest financial results, Reels videos are now being watched a 200 billion times across Facebook and Instagram.

The battle for supremacy in the short-video realm between TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Meta’s Reels is driving these companies to regularly announce their growth figures. The remarkable growth figures for both YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are not just a testament to the popularity of short videos but also a reflection of how aggressively both companies are promoting this format within their apps and services. Avoiding Shorts or Reels is challenging for users of either platform due to their prominent placement.

This surge in short-video growth should undoubtedly pique TikTok’s interest, possibly prompting them to release new metrics in response. Furthermore, the increasing success of short-video platforms puts added pressure on rights holders during the renegotiation of licensing deals for the use of music in these videos.

#2 Spotify for Artists has introduced a fresh study delving into the listening behaviours of dedicated fans, who they refer to as "super listeners."

This report draws insights from Spotify’s data, primarily focusing on the habits of these highly engaged fans. The analysis becomes more relevant as Spotify recently launched audience segmentation within the Spotify For Artists app, with one segment dedicated to these enthusiastic listeners. The study offers valuable information about the preferences and patterns of these committed music enthusiasts.

#3 YouTube's ad revenue reached an impressive $7.67 billion

In Q2 2023, YouTube’s ad revenue reached an impressive $7.67 billion, surpassing Wall Street analyst expectations of $7.43 billion, showcasing a growth of 4.4% compared to the previous year. Contributing to this success is the popularity of YouTube Shorts, with over 2 billion monthly users engaging with the platform. This figure marks an increase of half a billion compared to the reported monthly active users of YouTube Shorts in 2022.

#4: TikTok’s new music platform could be a game changer

The upcoming launch of TikTok Music’s premium-only streaming platform has the potential to make a significant impact on the music industry. Unlike free access platforms like Spotify and YouTube, TikTok Music will require users to pay for access. While ad-supported platforms generate substantial revenue through advertisements, the value of streams from these accounts is not as lucrative for companies like Spotify.  

In contrast, paid subscriptions on platforms like TikTok Music inject more revenue into the music industry, which has led the industry to support and promote these higher-paying options, recognizing their enhanced value and potential to boost earnings for artists and music creators.

#5: Twitter invests $70m into SoundCloud

Twitter has recently infused approximately $70 million into SoundCloud Ltd., a Berlin-based music streaming company, as part of its efforts to support the expansion of SoundCloud’s paid services. This investment forms a significant component of a larger financing round, anticipated to reach around $100 million, consequently valuing SoundCloud at approximately $700 million.

NEW Cygnus Partner With Talentir

Vienna/Cheltenham, Jul 25, 2023 – Talentir’s co-ownership model for YouTube videos makes it the first platform worldwide to create a new revenue stream for artists and fans by trading music videos. The Austrian start-up is excited to announce its strategic partnership with Cygnus Music, a renowned digital music distributor and label service provider. This latest collaboration aims to alter the music industry. Leveraging Cygnus Music’s extensive network and label tools, Talentir’s co-ownership model for music videos advances significantly.

Talentir’s innovative digital ecosystem empowers music creators by providing complete control over their work and introducing a fair and transparent revenue stream. With the co-ownership model, artists and fans can now benefit from trading music videos, creating a unique revenue stream for all stakeholders.

Through smart contracts on the Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution, Arbitrum, music, and content creators can convert their YouTube video rights into shared assets. This process allows artists to actively engage their fanbase and involve them in their success stories. Fans, in turn, gain a share of the advertising revenue and become integral parts of their favorite artists’ communities.

“The partnership with Cygnus Music brings an added layer of value to Talentir’s platform. Cygnus Music’s reputation for providing innovative label tools and outstanding customer support complements Talentir’s vision,” said Lukas Steiner-Sticksel, CEO of Talentir.

With its vast network of stores, streaming platforms, social media sites, and content ID systems, Cygnus Music ensures precise evaluation, monetization, and reporting of every video view. This, in turn, guarantees regular monthly payouts for all users involved.

“Our mission has always been to prioritize customer service and offer cutting-edge technology to our users. Teaming up with Talentir allows us to push the boundaries of music video ownership and distribution, benefiting artists and fans alike,” stated Lewis Sinclair, the founder and Managing Director of Cygnus Music.

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This partnership marks a significant step forward for Talentir and Cygnus Music, promising to reshape the music and content industry and open new opportunities for artists and fans worldwide. The combined expertise of these two companies is set to change how music videos are created, shared, and monetized, making it a win-win situation for all involved.

For more information about Talentir and its co-ownership model, visit

About Talentir

Talentir is a Vienna-based Austrian start-up that has developed a co-ownership model for YouTube videos, introducing a new revenue stream for artists and fans through trading music videos. With its blockchain-based digital ecosystem, Talentir empowers music creators and rewards fans for their active support.

The Platform:

The Message (Video):




Newsletter W/C 10/7/23

#1 Juice Music to provide brands with licensed short-video music.

Rich Sica, a former TikTok creative licensing executive, has joined forces with Jack Bradley and Aleena Bissett, seasoned professionals in the commercial music industry, to launch Juice. Juice is a music company that places a strong emphasis on social media and short-form online content for both brands and creators. Collaborating with Juice could provide some valuable sync opportunities. 

#2 Threads?

Threads has been absolutely everywhere recently. We at Cygnus thought we’d provide you with five reasons to join the app as a musician (read here). 

#3 TikTok Music has arrived.

TikTok Music has recently debuted as a premium-exclusive music subscription service in Indonesia and Brazil. This service has obtained licences from and incorporates the extensive catalogues of all three major record companies: Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music. Whether the app will include independent artists’ music is currently unclear… 

#4 Twitch are adding huge new additions to the platform

Twitch have started to push out their new engagement features. Taking inspiration from YouTube shorts and TikTok, the platform aims to increase user engagement through the use of user generated content. Twitch streamers will now have the capability to share temporary video clips, photos, text updates, and polls with their audience. They have the flexibility to decide whether these posts are exclusively visible to their paying subscribers or accessible to all their followers. This new feature will allow streamers to engage and interact with their community in dynamic ways (read more here). 

#5 Kits AI are tackling AI music licensing issues

Several initiatives are in progress to assist musicians in creating and licensing their own AI voices, granting them greater control over processes. ‘Kits AI’ by Arpeggi Labs, is a web3 music startup that is sure to make a difference. The tool allows artists to upload voice clips and utilise them for technology training. When the platform recognises the voice it can subsequently be licensed to fellow musicians. This empowers artists to maintain ownership and exercise control over their voice representation while exploring new avenues for collaboration and revenue generation (read more here).

Newsletter W/C 3/7/23

#1 YouTube has published their Culture & Trends Report

As of this month, YouTube has published their Culture & Trends Report. It’s relatively clear to see that the audience on YouTube is changing dramatically, and it’s important to take note. 

Key takeaways:

  • 47% of Gen-Z have “watched videos made by fans of specific content, artists, or public figures.” This showcases the power of user-generated content. Just like TikTok, audience engagement on YouTube is starting to be measured by the amount of user-generated content available. This in turn means that artists should make visual content engaging to allow reciprocal videos to be created. 
  • Furthermore: “82% say they’ve posted video content online (e.g., to Instagram Stories, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat) over the past 12 months.” Therefore reciprocal content is very much needed. 
  • “87% of people surveyed say, across any streaming services, they watched at least 4 content formats YouTube offers over the past 12 months.” This means that usability is key. Creating content that can be shown in reel, portrait and landscape formats could be key for more engagement and accessibility. 

#2 Apple Music previews new app features

The future of Apple Music seems to be steeped in features involving collaboration. With addition of collaboration playlists friends will be able to share music to each other, which in turn means that they’re more likely to listen to the recommendation as it comes from a “trusted source.” The new updates are meant to encourage more active listening through the use of emojis and reactions to tracks (see here). 

#3 Utalise Instagram notes?

Instagram Notes have been introduced on the app for a while (see here), however you can now share a 30-second clip of a song in your note. Whilst it comes as a small marketing trick, it does offer you another chance to push out material to those who follow you, in a place within the app that many visit regularly.  

#4 New streaming service “Soundtrack Your Brand” raises $15m funding

“Soundtrack Your Brand” isn’t a normal streaming service. It’s a B2B company that offers retail establishments with licensed playlists. Based on genre, mood, and business type, the company’s playlists will provide curated background soundtracks for business use. Certainly as the company grows, there’ll be more tools and tricks to pitch and gain access to placements on these playlists, and landing on a store’s playlist can be very beneficial. (See more information here).

#5 Tackling streaming fraud across the board.

Key DSPs such as Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify (to name a few) have emphasised their desire to eradicate streaming fraud. This point just acts as a slight reminder to labels and artists to pitch to legitimate curators and through Spotify for Artists only. If a company/individual asks money for placement, or if an artist pays for fake streams (streams through the use of a bot) then this goes against Spotify’s (and every other DSPs) terms and conditions (see here).