Walmart Begins Metaverse Build-Out on the Roblox Platform

Walmart has planted its flag in the metaverse, launching Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play on Roblox, a virtual worlds game platform that emphasizes user-generated content. Roblox community members can check out the Walmart “isles” to collect “verch,” or virtual merchandise, “catch top music artists and unlock exclusive interactive content,” the company says. “Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there,” Walmart CMO William White said, citing the platform’s 52 million daily active users. Continue reading Walmart Begins Metaverse Build-Out on the Roblox Platform

YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

YouTube is beta testing Creator Music, a large catalog of songs creators can browse and purchase for use with their original longform content. YouTube announced the service at its Made on YouTube live event the same week its chief business officer Robert Kyncl was revealed as the incoming CEO of Warner Music Group, effective January 2023. “Creator Music is a new destination in YouTube Studio that gives YouTube creators easy access to an ever-growing catalog of music for use in their long-form videos,” YouTube said, explaining the service offers “affordable, high-quality music licenses.” YouTube also announced that Shorts creators can soon share ad revenue through the platform’s Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

YouTube Shorts is preparing to unveil a new creator revenue-sharing plan designed to bury TikTok, according to recent reports. YouTube has rewarded creators with more than $30 billion in advertising revenue in the past three years. By contrast, TikTok pays creators not through a percentage of ad revenue, but through a Creator Fund, announced in 2020, that now stands at $2 billion worldwide. YouTube is said to considering for Shorts creators a 45-percent ad revenue share from their clip views in a program more aligned with the 55 percent payout for long-form video creators in its Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

After a 12-year run that saw YouTube emerge as the dominant U.S. social video platform, chief business officer Robert Kyncl announced he is stepping aside. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that Google president of global customer solutions Mary Ellen Coe will assume the role of CBO, effective October 3, with Kyncl continuing as part of YouTube’s executive team until early 2023 during the transition. Known as YouTube’s Hollywood connection, Kyncl was ultimately unable to transition YouTube into the long-form streaming platform Google once envisioned, but he oversaw its rise to short-form video powerhouse. Continue reading YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

Twitter is testing a heightened presence in podcasting, offering a redesigned Spaces tab that includes a podcast option in an announcement that hints at a collaboration with Vox Media. Couched as an investment in audio creators, Twitter says the redesign includes personalized hubs (which it’s calling “Stations”) that group audio content together by specific themes such as News, Music and Sports. Integrating podcasts into Spaces, Twitter’s designated area for audio, is “a simple and intuitive way that allows listeners to simply hit play and go” and compile personal collections of live and recorded Spaces audio discussions. Continue reading Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

‘Fortnite’ Metaverse Build-Out Gets iHeartLand Music Venue

Epic Games is getting another major venue in its “Fortnite” metaverse with an iHeartMedia digital headquarters. The complex, iHeartLand, includes a main stage, recording studio and game park. An interesting example of how virtual reality is mapping IRL commercially, the concert venue struck a naming rights deal with insurance company State Farm. In addition to avatar concerts, State Farm Park features a large screen that can display 2D performances, the format chosen by inaugural guest Charlie Puth for his September 9 show. Continue reading ‘Fortnite’ Metaverse Build-Out Gets iHeartLand Music Venue

Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Free streaming media service Plex is testing a new community-oriented feature called Discover Together that lets users add friends and keep tabs on their favorite programs, viewing their ratings and bookmarks. In addition to enhancing engagement by prompting online discussions, Plex hopes the crowd-sourced community data can eventually help power its recommendation engine. The idea is for Discover Together to launch with a high degree of privacy, inviting users to fill out Plex profiles with their geographic location and Plex Pass status, extending individual friend invites using a Plex username or email. The feature is currently in beta for web, iOS and Android users. Continue reading Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

House Rep Plans to Update Streaming Revenue for Musicians

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) is working on new legislation to help musicians boost their share of the revenue pouring into streaming services, which currently sits at fractions of a cent per stream. Tlaib is working with the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) on a new royalty program that would increase the royalty rate per-stream model. Tlaib and her team are actively collaborating to draft the resolution. The Recording Industry Association of America says that streaming accounts for 83 percent of all recorded music income.  Continue reading House Rep Plans to Update Streaming Revenue for Musicians

Ticketmaster Teams with TikTok on Event Discovery Feature

Ticketmaster and TikTok have teamed up for an in-app event discovery feature that will let the short-form video app share live event information and direct users to Ticketmaster’s site for purchase. Influencers can now link relevant Ticketmaster events to their videos. Initially, the new feature will only be available to select creators, with plans to scale more broadly over time. Acts that have signed on to use the ticketing mini app at launch include Demi Lovato, OneRepublic, Backstreet Boys, Usher and more. WWE is also participating. The pact follows a similar agreement Ticketmaster made with Snapchat in February. Continue reading Ticketmaster Teams with TikTok on Event Discovery Feature

Warner Music Adopts SoundCloud’s Fan-Powered Royalties

Warner Music Group has become the first major music label to adopt SoundCloud’s fan-powered royalties payout model. Launched last year, the model is designed around what the music streaming service calls “the fan economy,” enabling artists to engage directly with fans for more control and increased monetization opportunities. The audio distribution platform allows every artist to be paid “based on fan listening behavior on SoundCloud,” with subscription and advertising revenue “distributed among the artists [the fans] listen to, rather than being pooled under the traditional pro-rata model the music industry has been using for over a decade,” explains SoundCloud. Continue reading Warner Music Adopts SoundCloud’s Fan-Powered Royalties

Google Launches New Advertising Tools and Creative Studio

Google is adding a host of new advertising features. The Alphabet-owned company has introduced an asset library that makes it easier to organize and access assets across multiple teams and campaigns, as well as a new video creation tool designed to make it simple for anyone to be able to create YouTube-worthy ads. In addition, the company announced that the Google Ads Creative Studio tool for churning out original ads at scale is out of beta and generally available to all advertisers. The company also debuted a new text-to-voice-over feature. Continue reading Google Launches New Advertising Tools and Creative Studio

Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Netflix has tapped Sennheiser to bring spatial audio its global subscribers. Netflix says its AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio will work with any speakers and device to help convey a cinematic experience. “Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by the immersive moments they create through sound,” Netflix said, citing “Eddie Munson’s epic guitar scene in ‘Stranger Things 4,’” the series used to premiere the new technology as part of its development with Sennheiser. “Red Notice,” “The Witcher” and “Resident Evil” are also among the first shows to get the AMBEO upgrade. Continue reading Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix