A weekly update on all things music, entertainment and technology, coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic.
WARNER QUIETLY LAUNCHES FREE TUNECORE RIVAL FOR UNSIGNED ARTISTS
Warner has quietly launched its own digital distribution platform for self-releasing artists. Called Level Music, the platform rivals the likes of Tunecore, CD Baby, Ditto, Distrokid and Universal’s Spinnup.
The aggregation platform offers acts the ability to upload tracks to Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, TIDAL, Pandora, Deezer and Napster without any upfront charges.
So, why is Warner getting into the self-releasing artist sector?
A good guess would be for A&R advantage: by attracting independent artists to its platform at the outset of their careers, the major gains privileged access to data it can then use to monitor an act’s online popularity.
SELF-RELEASED ARTIST’S SECOND ALBUM BEERBONGS & BENTLEYS CERTIFIED PLATINUM IN 4 DAYS AND TOPS US BILLBOARD TOP 200.
Illustration by Nick Little (The New Yorker)
As legend has it, Post Malone uploaded his song “White Iverson” to his SoundCloud page on the night of February 4, 2015. When he went to sleep, he was anonymous and broke. Within a day, the song had changed his life. The song, which peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), landed Malone a recording contract with Republic Records. He put out his debut studio album Stoney in 2016, which debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200. The album, which featured the top-10 hit “Congratulations“, would soon become certified double platinum.
This typical modern “viral” story shows why Warner is migrating into digital platforms for self-releasing artists. This is the new way to stardom and the major labels are playing catch up.
NEW YOUTUBE SUBSCRIPTION MUSIC SERVICE TO LAUNCH NEXT WEEK – BUT ONLY IN 5 MARKETS
YouTube enters the music streaming war.
The audio-visual platform is actually a relaunch of the YouTube Music brand, as an app and desktop player which offer “streaming service made for music with the magic of YouTube”.
There is both an ad-supported free tier and a $9.99-per-month package called YouTube Music Premium.
Figures released in IFPI’s Global Music Report 2018 show total recording music revenues for 2017 rose to $17.3 billion, up 8.1 percent from the previous year. Of that $17.3 billion, streaming revenues grew 41.1% to become its largest revenue source, driven by 176 million users of paid subscription accounts.
When you look at those eye-watering numbers, it is pretty clear why internet behemoth YouTube, which is owned by Google no less, is entering the streaming war.
SPOTIFY TO TAKE ACTION ON ‘HATEFUL’ CONTENT AND CONDUCT
More action is taken against R-Kelly.
The streaming service has partnered with a number of rights advocacy groups to help identify content that violates its policy, and launched an internal monitoring system, Spotify AudioWatch.
Spotify AudioWatch will identify content that has been flagged as hate content on specific international registers.
R. Kelly, who has a number of sexual harassment and abuse claims against him, is one of the first artists to be affected by the changes which have seen his music removed from all playlists on the platform. Could this be linked to the #MeToo campaign?
Ed Note: Whilst the idea behind policing “hate content” is to be lauded, there are dangers in censorship. Who decides what “hate” means? Someone at Spotify? What makes that person qualified to decide what constitutes hate? According to the Beacon for Freedom of Expression, an international censorship database that tracks global information about historic and current censored media,”Censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” One only has to look back at the kinds of regimes that have used (and continue to use) censorship to manipulate the truth to remind ourselves how dangerous it can be: Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (during apartheid), and Nazi Germany. Surely the best way to prevent hate content is to allow the content maker to put the hate content online and let the viewers vote with their eyeballs whether that content is acceptable or not? Thoughts?
UNIVERSAL & THE ‘MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE’: WHAT AN IPO WOULD MEAN FOR THE WORLD’S BIGGEST RECORD COMPANY
This week, Vivendi’s management board will present its initial findings on a possible IPO for Universal Music Group – a potentially game-changing moment, both for the world’s biggest record company, and the music industry itself.
Financial experts suggest a spun-off UMG could actually be worth more than its parent company and – given the staggering IPO valuation of Spotify, a company that’s yet to make a profit – the prospect of highly-profitable Universal hitting the markets looks like a licence to print dollar bills. Will the artists benefit or will the cash be heading straight into hedgies’ off-shore accounts? TWIM will be keeping a close eye on this deal!
‘CLUBBED’ IS THE BOOK SHOWCASING CLUB CULTURE’S FINEST DESIGNS
Book that started off as a Kickstarter project is ready to land on your coffee table.
“Clubbed”, a visual history of UK club culture, hits the virtual stands this week. Inside, you will find a collection of club-focused graphic designs, from logos and flyers to cover art and tickets from the last 35 years. There are also stickers, lanyards and posters. For younger readers, one forgets that the UK was during the late 80s and 90s, the originator and epicenter of a club culture that spread across the globe. From underground venues like Shoom, that effectively kicked off the acid-house craze in London from the basement of the Fitness Centre in Southwark to larger clubs like the dance music mecca, The Haçienda in Manchester, the UK was where rave culture, dance music and EDM began. This book takes the reader on a trip (no pun intended!) down memory lane.
Buy the book here.