Latest Industry: J. Cole, Apple Music Nashville, BTS, Spotify, Live Nation, Tencent Music, PRS, Deezer, More…

Music Industry Latest: Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, BTS, Spotify, Live Nation, Tencent Music, PRS For Music, Deezer, More...
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Fans honor Avicii on Spotify.

Following the Swedish DJ’s tragic death, Avicii streams have surged on Spotify.  In Sweden, his music can be found in 20 spots on the streaming music service’s Top 50 list.  In addition, Avicii’s music now occupies 10 spots on Spotify’s Global Top 50.

Going IPO.

Following the successful debut of its European counterpart, Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has prepared to go public.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Tencent plans to interview potential underwriting banks over the next month.  According to sources, Tencent Music’s valuation could exceed $25 billion.  This represents a sharp increase over its $12.5 billion valuation in late 2017, when Spotify bought a 9% stake in the company.

Careful what you hear on Spotify.

Bekol, an Israeli organization for the hard of hearing, used Spotify’s recent launch in the country to raise awareness of hearing issues.  Organizers purchased AdWords on Google to promote a site with a similar domain name:  When clicked, the link takes users to a lookalike website that features the following message:

Spotify is now available in Israel, but not for the thousands of hard of hearing.

PRS for Music sets a new record.

UK collecting society PRS for Music has published its numbers for 2017.  Revenues rose to £717 million (just over $1 billion).  Setting a new record, payouts to members grew 14.7% to £605.1 million ($848.3 million).  The figures include a 5.2% increase in international revenue generated by PRS members’ music played abroad to £261.4 million ($365 million).  Broadcast revenues also rose to £134.6 million ($188 million).  At £198.1 million ($276.3 million), public performance income grew 8.1%.

The most-watched K-pop music video on YouTube.

BTS, a popular Korean boy band, has set a new record.  The music video for the group’s single, ‘DNA,’ has become the most-watched K-pop music video on YouTube.  It reached that feat yesterday when it surpassed the total views of Big Bang’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ music video.  ‘DNA’ now has over 348 million views on the platform.

J. Cole comes out on top on Apple Music.

J. Cole has broken Apple Music’s records for first-day streams.  Apple told The Verge that J. Cole’s fifth album, KOD, had 64.5 million streams in the first 24 hours of its release.

Separately, Apple Music is strengthening its presence in Nashville.  13-year Apple vet Jay Liepis has relocated to Music City to to beef up its country presence.

Publishing Prince’s handwritten poetry and lyrics.

Paisley Park Estates, the merchandising arm of Prince’s estate, has filed paperwork to produce printed content of the late singer’s work.  This includes Prince’s unpublished books of handwritten poetry and lyrics.  TMZ, which first published the report, claims that Paisley Park Estates may also release never-before-seen photos of the singer as well as his journals.

No more ticket bots in the UK.

A new law banning touts (ticket scalpers) from using bots will be introduced in Parliament this week.  If passed, the law would prohibit touts from using automated software to purchase bulk tickets for resale on secondary ticketing sites.  Offenders would face “unlimited fines” for each violation.  In a statement, Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, welcomed the law.

Music fans have been fleeced for far too long and we will continue to work with Government to ensure our fantastic live music industry continues to bring enjoyment to millions of people and to make over a £1 billion annual contribution to the UK economy.

Just doing business at Coachella.

Requests for all-access passes have dropped 70% on Coachella’s second weekend.  Music insiders claim that celebrity attendees usually show up during the popular music festival’s first weekend.  The noticeably slower second weekend has fewer distractions for music industry executives, thus allowing them to complete business deals.  Josh Rittenhouse, an agent at APA, explained to Variety,

We work in a people-relationship business, and it’s always good to get face-time with people you do business with, and don’t get to see all the time — the people you know through email.

Anna Calvi returns after four years.

English singer and songwriter Anna Calvi has announced her return, promising fans new music and a European tour.  Tickets for her first tour in four years will go on sale April 25th at 11 am.  Calvi released her last album, Strange Weather, in 2014.

A piano prodigy.

Seven-year-old Dublin pianist Claudius Tyacke has won first place in a music competition in Paris.  His teacher, Shakhnoza Umarova, had entered him into the competition due to his boredom with standard music exams.  Tyacke first started playing piano two and a half years ago.  In the competition, he reportedly beat out children several years older than him.

Supporting The Rolling Stones.

Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft, and Florence & The Machine are among the list of supporting acts announced for The Rolling Stones’ 2018 UK tour.  The eight-date stadium tour will take place between May and June.  The Vaccines, The Specials, Elbow, and James Bay will also participate.

UMG Inks Wu

Looks like Universal Music Group has signed Chinese superstar singer Kris Wu.  The deal covers an international expansion beyond China, excluding Japan and South Korea.  Wu recently became the first Chinese artist to top the US-based iTunes chart with “Deserve,” a collaboration with Travis Scott.

Slowly consuming the global live concert industry.

Live Nation has acquired a controlling stake in Rhythm and Vines, a popular New Zealand festival brand.  Three University of Otago friends, Hamish Pinkham, Tom Gibson, and Andrew Witters, founded the three-day, year-end camping musical festival.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Spotify partners with Live Nation.

Spotify has partnered with Live Nation to expand its live music event, Who We Be Live.  It will take place at the O2 Academy Birmingham on June 14th.  The line-up includes Jaykae, Mabel, Mist, Ms Banks, Sneakbo and Yungen.  Fans can purchase presale tickets on April 25th.  First launched last year, Who We Be Live will also return to the Alexandra Palace in London.

Riding the AR wave.

TheWaveVR, a digital VR platform, has announced that it has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round.  The platform enables users to create custom social music and visual-arts experiences in VR.  The company will use the money to improve its user-generated content tools and expand internationally.  The announcement brings TheWaveVR’s total funding to date to $10 million.

Going Purple.

Judas Priest and Deep Purple have announced a co-headlining North American tour.  The tour kicks off in Cincinnati August 21st and travels 25 cities before ending at the Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland, California on September 30th.  Live Nation will produce the North American tour.

Helping artist managers weather the turbulent music industry.

PRS Foundation will introduce new guidelines for Music Momentum Fund applications by artist managers.  Starting May, artist managers applying on behalf of artists to the fund – who are able to justify project management cost allocations – may include a fair sum under Artist Manager Project Management Contribution within the Expenditure Section of their Budget submission.  The move follows advice from the Music Managers Forum (MMF), which recognizes the significant barriers to entry and income uncertainty faced by many artist managers due to industry trends.

The writing on the wall for Vevo.

Music video platform Vevo has lost yet another key executive, CTO Alex Nunes.  This comes four months after the company lost its CEO.  In addition, Vevo has confirmed that it has fired multiple production and engineering personnel.  According to the company, the firings allow for “greater focus to drive increased growth in the promotional and commercial value of videos.”

Flow with Deezer.

Deezer has introduced a new tab on its streaming music platform: Flow.  The Flow tab will feature multi-Flow cards displaying personalized tracklists curated for each individual user.  The easy-to-swipe carousel format offers three “inspired by” tracklists grouped by similar artists.  It also features a “discover” tracklist for fans that want to hear new artists or tracks.

Featured image by Merlijn Hoek (CC by 2.0)