Twitch DJ Program Forges New Path for Live Streaming Music

Twitch is rolling out its licensed DJ Program to allow music live streamers to pursue their craft without having to deal with takedown notices. The popular gaming platform, owned by Amazon, has been dealing with copyright infringement complaints, and now offers what it calls a “first-of-its-kind” compliance solution that provides creators who opt-in with “millions of tracks” that will be legally safe to use. Participating DJs will be required to pay copyright holders a percentage of their earnings from the stream in which the music is used. Twitch did not disclose the percentage but said it would split the cost 50/50 with creators. Continue reading Twitch DJ Program Forges New Path for Live Streaming Music

Twitch Continues Its Push into Music, Adds Merlin as Partner

Amazon’s game-centric streaming platform Twitch has been going all-in on music. This week it made a deal this week with digital licensing agency Merlin to unlock live experiences worldwide and create revenue earning opportunities for the indie’s global membership. The agreement comes on the heels of last week’s expansion pact with Universal Music Group and a pact with Warner Music Group in Q4, when Twitch launched The Collective artist incubator for musicians. The Merlin deal offers members “an on-ramp to our devoted and engaged Twitch community,” said Twitch vice president and head of music Tracy Chan. Continue reading Twitch Continues Its Push into Music, Adds Merlin as Partner

Nvidia Goes Full-Stack, Touts Artificial Intelligence and Cloud

Nvidia is mapping out a customer service future populated with real-time avatars who use natural-language AI with real-world customers. The company, which has seemingly transformed from graphics powerhouse to AI authority (in just under 28 years since being founded by Jensen Huang, company CEO) used this week’s GTC conference to emphasize full-stack computing. The speed and flexibility of the company’s three GPU chips offer general purpose enterprise potential, thanks to Nvidia’s parallel-processing platform, CUDA. Huang backed this assertion with a slide indicating Nvidia has deployed more than 150 SDKs to industries generating $1 trillion. Continue reading Nvidia Goes Full-Stack, Touts Artificial Intelligence and Cloud

YouTube Debuts Would-Be TikTok Rival ‘Shorts’ in U.S. Beta

YouTube Shorts, intended to rival video-sharing social media platform TikTok, rolled out in beta to a small group of U.S. users, after debuting first in India last fall. Shorts project lead Todd Sherman said the company plans to experiment with advertising and monetization features for creators “later this year.” In beta, Shorts offers the ability to add text to points in the video and sample audio from other Shorts. Similar to TikTok, YouTube Shorts is focused on music. Shorts, however, integrates with the larger YouTube platform. Continue reading YouTube Debuts Would-Be TikTok Rival ‘Shorts’ in U.S. Beta

Indie Musicians Find Success with Digital Platforms and Apps

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed concert venues and halted touring for musicians but now some are achieving success via Spotify, YouTube, TikTok and apps such as DistroKid, SubmitHub and ForTunes.io. Previously, musicians depended on the big music companies — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group — to promote and market their work. Now, according to distributor AWAL, hundreds of independent musicians are making $100,000+ from streaming, and Jayda G and RAC even got Grammy nominations. Continue reading Indie Musicians Find Success with Digital Platforms and Apps

Facebook Teams with Top Publishers to Offer Music Videos

In a direct challenge to Google’s YouTube, Facebook introduced licensed music videos to its platform earlier this month. The videos are accessible by genre, artist and mood from a new section in Facebook Watch and are also available via Facebook artist pages. The social network is partnering with publishers including Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, BMG, Kobalt, Merlin and others with licensing deals similar to those already established with YouTube. Meanwhile, YouTube Music is expanding its features as Google gets ready to shut down its Play Music app. Continue reading Facebook Teams with Top Publishers to Offer Music Videos

20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

Researchers at 20th Century Fox published a paper to reveal how they are using artificial intelligence to analyze movie trailers. Published last month, the paper described Merlin, the code name for machine vision systems examining trailers frame by frame and labeling the objects and events. Then this data is compared to data from other trailers, with the idea that trailers with similar labels will attract similar kinds of people. Movie studios already cull similar data via interviews and questionnaires. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

Streaming Helps Indie Record Labels Rock Overseas Markets

Thanks to streaming services like Spotify, which works with more than 20,000 independent labels in 53 countries, independent record labels are experiencing an international revenue surge that would have been unimaginable years ago. Whereas foreign music markets used to be assessable only via local companies or major labels with global marketing capacities and strategies, worldwide digital streaming services have changed the music business landscape in a short period of time, changing the way independent labels make money.

Continue reading Streaming Helps Indie Record Labels Rock Overseas Markets

YouTube Readies Subscription-Based Music Streaming Service

According to sources, YouTube will debut a paid music service in March, marking the third attempt by parent company Alphabet to compete with Spotify and Apple. Warner Music Group has reportedly already signed on to the new effort and discussions are underway with the other two major record labels, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, as well as Merlin, an alliance of independent labels. Apple and Spotify’s paid streaming music services have helped the music business grow after two decades of decline. Continue reading YouTube Readies Subscription-Based Music Streaming Service

Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Sony Music Entertainment has agreed to a new licensing deal with Spotify, which should be finalized in the coming weeks. “The agreement helps to clear the way for Spotify’s long-anticipated public offering, which is expected later this year or early next year,” reports Variety. An inside source suggests the deal is similar to the current Spotify agreements with Universal Music Group and digital rights agency Merlin. A major component of the deal is a windowing option, “whereby artists can withhold their releases from its free, ad-supported service for up to two weeks.” Continue reading Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

Spotify will pay music labels more than $2 billion in minimum payments over the next two years. The company’s revenue has grown more than 50 percent, to $3.3 billion last year, so the big deals are a means to keep growing. Sources say the company has inked two deals recently, with Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, accounting for one-third of the market, and Merlin, which represents a group of independent labels. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Spotify plans to go public this year. Continue reading Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

With Sony Music Deal, SoundCloud Reaches 18 Million Artists

Streaming music service SoundCloud finalized a deal with Sony Music to increase the number of songs listeners can access via SoundCloud and also allow Sony Music Entertainment artists to make money from their tracks hosted on its service. The deal with Sony Music is just the latest in several that SoundCloud has inked with other music publishers including Merlin (representing 20,000 indie labels) in June 2015, Universal Music Group earlier this year, and Warner Music in 2014. Continue reading With Sony Music Deal, SoundCloud Reaches 18 Million Artists

Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

Warner Music Group, which has ownership stakes in streaming services, will now share revenue with artists if and when those services go public or are sold. Following Warner’s lead, Sony Music confirmed it would do the same. Analysts believe the move is an attempt to woo artists who receive miniscule returns from streaming. Two other trends leave musicians out in the cold: royalties are often not pegged to a specific song and record labels have traded more generous royalty rates for part ownership of streaming services. Continue reading Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

SoundCloud Strikes New Licensing Deal with Universal Music

Streaming music site SoundCloud will now have access to the Universal Music catalog, including songs from artists like The Weeknd, Sam Smith and U2. The licensing agreement allows Universal Music artists to make money from the advertising on SoundCloud when their songs are played. SoundCloud already has licensing agreements with other music companies, including Merlin and Warner Music Group. The company said it would also introduce a paid streaming subscription service this year. Continue reading SoundCloud Strikes New Licensing Deal with Universal Music

Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events

Pandora just bought ticketing company Ticketfly, a move that furthers the company’s goal to improve relationships with the musicians whose music it plays. Ticketfly will enable artists to promote live events and sell tickets to local listeners. Pandora’s move will likely nudge other streaming music services to follow suit. The Ticketfly purchase comes on the heels of Pandora’s development of its Artist Marketing Platform, AMP, a portal for artists. Pandora currently has 80 million monthly listeners, almost all in the U.S. Continue reading Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events