Latest Industry: UMG’s IPO, A$CAP, Festival Plastic Ban, Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, Amazon, More…

Vivendi isn’t ‘pulling a Sony’ — but UMG might be going public.

Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine stated that his group is a “strategic partner of Spotify.” He clarified that Vivendi has no intentions of selling its stake in the streaming music platform.

But, the Vivendi chief did concede that a Universal Music Group IPO could be ahead.  “We have started work that will allow us to present the benefits of a potential listing of UMG to the supervisory board,” de Puyfontaine noted, according to the Financial Times.  UMG’s revenue crossed a record $6 billion in 2017, accounting for nearly half of Vivendi’s total annual revenues.

ASCAP distributions surpass $1,000,000,000

That’s the first time ASCAP’s performance royalty distributions has crossed the $1 billion-mark.  Actually, that’s $1.007 billion to be exact, a 10% yearly gain.  Also worth noting:  revenues hit $1.144 billion, up 8%, all of which shows that revenue distribution is becoming leaner and more efficient.  ASCAP counts roughly 660,000 members.

Want to know more on ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and other PROs?  Check out DMN’s comprehensive comparison of performance rights organizations in the US.

UK-based indie festivals are banning single-use plastic — entirely!

The UK-based Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is taking a huge step forward to clean up the plastic problem.  Starting immediately, the group of 60+ indie festivals are banning straws.  By 2021, all single-use plastic items like cups and wrappers will be banned.  The effort starts in earnest on Earth Day, which is this Sunday.  Now, it’s time for the biggest festivals — in the UK, EU, US, and beyond — to follow suit.

Spotify continues its global dominance.  But, SoundCloud has the Middle East and Africa locked down.

According to GlobalWebIndex, 64% of internet users around the world use at least one streaming music service.  In Europe, 22% of users stream their favorite music on Spotify.  8% use SoundCloud, and 7% Deezer.  Spotify also emerged as the leader of the Latin American streaming music market.  It has a 46% share.  SoundCloud has 16%, and Deezer 12%.  Pandora has a higher share over Spotify in North America, 28% to 25%, respectively.

In Asia, QQ Music and KuGuo dominate the market with a 33% and 28% share, respectively.  SoundCloud has a 43% share in the Middle East and Africa.  The figures are based on data compiled by GlobalWebIndex in Q4 2017 from 80,267 internet users aged 16-64.

Getting to know the US through music.

Brand USA has announced the launch of a global campaign that uses music as a cultural lens to showcase the possibilities for travel in the United States.  The marketing organization worked with Mustache, a content agency, which features the diversity of American culture as heard through the local music scene of five US cities.  Brand USA has also partnered with Spotify to enhance discovery and exploration options with customized US city soundscape playlists.

Megablast Spotify into your eardrums.

Ultimate Ears has announced new features for its Megablast and Blast portable speakers.  Features include enhanced controls on the Ultimate Ears app, voice control on Spotify, and a better way to listen with Spotify Connect.

Surpassing the 1 million mark.

Pepsi ambassador DJ Cuppy’s 2017 single, ‘Green Light,’ has passed the 1 million mark on Spotify.  On her Instagram page, she wrote,

Woooo!  Cupcakes, I just hit over a MILLION Spotify streams!  Thanks for your support on my debut single #GreenLight??? Now it’s time for #VYBE #ToCuppyThisTune.

Apple Music may become the streaming music leader, but don’t expect a lot of revenue — says this analyst.

According to Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter, Apple Music could grow to upwards of 110 million paid subscribers over the next three years.  He believes that the streaming music service could boost Apple’s revenue — but not its profits.  Schachter noted that the margin of these services “is generally quite slim.”  Apple Music has a gross margin of around 15%, noticeably lower than Spotify’s 23-25%.

Amazon now has over 100 million paid Prime members…

Amazon has announced that it now has over 100 million paid Prime members around the world.  According to CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon shipped over 5 billion items globally with Prime last year.  India, where Amazon recently launched its Prime service, is currently the company’s largest growing market.

…but, Apple has over a quarter of a billion paid subscriptions.

Apple now has a customer base of over 250 million paid subscribers across its Services, including Apple Music, iCloud, and App Store continuing payments.  According to Apple Insider, the company also adds around 30 million new subscriptions every quarter.

Beyoncé who?

Female rapper Cardi B has broken two Guinness World Records previously held by Beyoncé.  She broke the records for ‘Most simultaneous Billboard US Hot 100 entries by a female’ as well as ‘Most simultaneous Billboard US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10 entries by a female’.

A classical deal with Idagio.

Warner Music has signed a licensing deal with classical music streaming service, Idagio.  Under the agreement, the entire catalogs of Warner Classics and Erato Records will appear on the platform.  The deal also encompasses recordings originally released on EMI Classics and Teldel (now Warner Classics) and Virgin Classics (now Erato).

Streaming music services lift up yet another international music industry.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the Indian music industry grew to Rs 725.6 crore ($109.7 million) last year, up 21.3% from 2016’s Rs 570.7 crore ($86.3 million).  Digital revenue last year totaled Rs 665.6 crore ($100.7 million), up 37.26%.  Revenue from digital music accounted for over 91% of the entire Indian recorded music industry revenue.  Digital music consumption has skyrocketed thanks in part to increased data consumption due to cheaper data rates and greater smartphone penetration.

Despite distributing music for two anti-Semitic rappers, don’t blame BMG, apparently.

Music group BMG has donated €100,000 ($123,465) to combat anti-Semitism in German schools.  The move came after rap duo Kollegah and Farid Bang won an award for best hip-hop album.  The group’s lyrics in their latest album features the lyrics, “My body is as defined as an Auschwitz iname” and a call to fans to “make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov.”  BMG distributed the album in December.

Hiding ecstasy in your underwear at music festivals and other oddities. has released their study showing how festivalgoers introduce hardcore drugs and alcohol into music festivals.  Among the oddities:

  • More than 1/2 of men and women hide ecstasy in their underwear, and as many say they put cocaine in their socks or shoes.
  • Only 5% have been caught with prohibited drugs or alcohol — 85% asked a friend to smuggle it in for them.
  • Marijuana and hard liquor are the most popular contraband — almost 72% and 65% of music festivalgoers sneak them in.

A revolutionary wearable audio AR platform.

Aaptiv, a popular workout app, has announced a partnership with Bose to develop Bose AR, a revolutionary platform.  It combines data from embedded motion sensors and the GPS from an iOS or Android device to deliver a layer of information and experiences via wearable audio.

Say hello to the Weeknd’s Starboy.

EW has unveiled the first look at The Weeknd’s graphic novel, Starboy.  The project is a collaboration between Marvel Comics and the R&B singer.  It features the titular character battling a cannibalistic criminal mastermind known as Jack “The Chef” Smiley.  The Weeknd wrote the novel, with art by Eric Nguyen and Guru-eFX.

New faces at Sony/ATV Nashville.

Sony/ATV Nashville has added four members to its A&R team.  Dane Schmidt joins Sony/ATV as Creative Director, Katie Kerkhover joins as Creative Manager, Stephen Denninger joins as Creative Coordinator, and Laura Castillo joins as A&R Assistant.  The four new additions will report to Senior Vice President Josh Van Valkenburg, who oversees the A&R team in Nashville.  In a statement, Van Valkenburg said,

Dane, Katie, Stephen, and Laura bring another level of energy, excitement, and experience to our team.  They are passionate about songwriters, and we are thrilled to have them join our family!

Featured image by Cardi B (YouTube screengrab)

2 Responses

  1. Lest it be overlooked...

    Did the major label performing artists (and others) consult their contracts as I strongly suggested to see whether or not they would benefit if the three major labels (and the Merlin Network) did not sell their stakes in Spotify as predicted?

    There is a better way; better than the fuckery of the status quo.

    Major labels (and the Merlin Network) take notice: We won’t be ignored!!!