Latest Industry: Sonos, Spotify, the EU, Lyor Cohen, Spinal Tap, Blockchain, EMPIRE, UMG, More…

Music Industry Latest: Sonos, Spotify, the EU, Lyor Cohen, Spinal Tap, Blockchain, EMPIRE, UMG, Royal Wedding Music, Nintendo Switch, More...
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Spotify arrives on Sky Q.

Sky has announced that customers can now access Spotify on their Sky Q boxes.  On the homepage, Sky Q customers can find the streaming music service app.  They can stream music on Spotify’s app-supported tier or log into their accounts to stream Spotify Premium.

The EU gives smaller companies a much-needed break from Apple, Amazon, and Google.

The European Union has proposed new rules for tech giants including Apple, Amazon, and Google.  Under a proposed law, the EU would require them to be more transparent on how they rank search results.  The tech giants would also have to explain why they delist some services.  The EU’s proposal would also give smaller companies the right to collectively sue online platforms.  The new rules specifically target app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites, and hotel booking websites.

Lyor Cohen’s out of the Music Business Conference.

Organizers for the Music Business Conference in Nashville have announced a last minute change to the event’s lineup.  For the conference’s keynote, Pandora CEO Roger Lynch has replaced YouTube’s Head of Global Music, Lyor Cohen.  Lynch will engage in a “candid discussion” about the explosive growth in connected and voice-activated devices.  Organizers didn’t explain why Cohen had withdrawn from the event at the last minute.

Building an EMPIRE.

Universal Music Group has announced a multiyear deal with EMPIRE, an independent distributor.  The agreement will cover global distribution for select artist projects.  EMPIRE has previously distributed Kendrick Lamar’s indie album, Section.80, among other popular works.

Jack White joins Spotify Singles.

Guitarist Jack White has become the latest artist to participate in the Spotify Singles series.  He picked out a song off his latest album, Boarding House Reach.  White also covered Modern Lovers’ single, ‘Pablo Picasso.’

A new hire at UMG.

Universal Music Group has announced that Dave Rocco has been named to the newly created position of Executive Vice President of Creative.  He most recently served as Spotify’s Global Head of Artist and Label Marketing.  Based at UMG’s global headquarters in Santa Monica, Rocco will report to Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s Chairman and CEO.

Lining up behind a hero.

Nashville’s music community has raised funds in support of the victims of the shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House.  James Shaw Jr., the man who stopped the gunman, country singer Brantley Gilbert, and Chris Carraba launched the campaign.  Musicians will sell T-shirts featuring the words ‘I Believe in Heroism’ and a photo of Shaw’s injured hand at their upcoming May shows.  Shaw had suffered burns when he grabbed the gun from suspect Travis Reinking.

Score the fabled ‘$1 Million ticket.’

The Summer Solstice festival has announced the dates for this year’s event.  The event will take place for 96 hours straight on June 21st to the 24th in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Slayer, Stormzy, and Gucci Mane are among the artists that will headline the Summer Solstice festival.  Organizers have also announced that they will sell six $1 million tickets.  The costly tickets will include private jet transportation, a helicopter tour, and access to a VIP yacht party.

Hiring in Georgia.

Pandora has announced that it will hire 250 people in Atlanta has it wraps up a move from California to Georgia.  The company will fill the positions over the course of 3 years.  Current positions available include jobs in engineering, sales, client services, legal, and human resources.

Nic Warner joins Milk + Honey Management.

Milk + Honey Management has appointed Nic Warner as General Manager.  He’ll now work with a roster of writers and producers, including Sir Nolan, David Hodges, Lil Aaron, Jamie Hartman and Andrew Cedar.  Warner will also provide creative support to Milk + Honey’s clients and managers across business and creative.  He has worked with Milk + Honey since the company’s inception in 2014.  Warner previously served at Ozone Entertainment.

Promoting female indie record label founders.

As part of Soho Music Month next June, the Independent Label Market will curate an all-female line-up.  Female indie record label founders will take over Soho’s Berwick Street from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday, June 16th.  They’ll set-up stalls and sell music from their best artists, with records ranging from limited edition to colored vinyl.  Participants will include Sarah Bolshi’s Sunday Best, Nik Void’s OGenesis and H/O/D Records, Cherish Kaya and Katy Partridge’s Kaya Kaya Records, Hannah Holland’s Batty Bass, Sarah Howells’ Seahorse Music, Brit Jean Williams’ Blak Hand Records, and Yvonne Page’s Dig Vinyl.

Enjoying royal wedding music on Spotify and Apple Music.

Decca Records has announced that it has been chosen as the official recording partner for The Royal Wedding.  The recording of the Royal Wedding Ceremony on May 19th will be available on multiple streaming music services hours after the ceremony.  On May 25th, Decca Records will release the recording in retail stores around the world.

Yet another label wants to disrupt the music industry with blockchain.

Singapore-based RECORD Foundation has announced its reward-based platform and /RCD blockchain token.  According to the company, it will provide both established and independent music artists an alternative to problems with copyright, royalty payments, and artist agreements.  When artists upload their music to RECORD’s audio blockchain platform, users can purchase music with /RCD tokens.  Smart contracts will instantly delegate royalty payments to proper copyright holders.  The platform will also compensate fans who curate music by voting, sharing, and commenting.  RECORD believes that this will convince fans to “leave the music platforms they are already familiar with.”

“Can you give us $10 million more to build a town hall music hub?”

Former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast has spearheaded an initiative to raise $30 million ($21.2 million USD) to build a world-class center of musical, cultural, and educational excellence in Wellington, New Zealand.  Local taxpayers have been asked to contribute $10 million ($7.1 million) towards the proposed music hub in Wellington’s Town Hall.  They have already paid close to $90 million ($63.6 million) towards renovations of the 114-year-old Town Hall building.

IMPEL goes indie.

IMPEL has formally re-launched as an independent organization.  Now called IMPEL Collective Management, it aims to become the publishing equivalent of Merlin.  Previously part of UK mechanical rights collecting society MCPS, IMPEL was originally set up when major music publishers started licensing digital services directly.  The independent organization has also announced an alliance with French collecting society SACEM.

Sonos’ Hail Mary pass.

Preparing for an IPO, Sonos has confidentially filed paperwork with the Security and Exchange Commission.  The company would likely have a valuation of around $2.5 billion to $3 billion.  Analysts expect Sonos to go public in June.

Investing in artist-owned companies.

Nashville startup RootNote has announced its inaugural investments into artist-owned companies.  It has a third investment planned for the third quarter of 2018.  In addition, the startup announced the opening of its first round of capital raise.  RootNote will raise $400,000 to expand its team and make four additional artist investments in 2019.  The startup works with entrepreneurial artists helping them build companies around their music, investing in them for equity, and supporting their long-term growth.

Fairness does indeed rock.

Coinciding with World Intellectual Property Day, Spinal Tap re-launched their Fairness Rocks website.  The site promotes a campaign to benefit creators.  Leading the campaign, intellectual property rights expert Amanda Harcourt explained,

The ‘Fairness Rocks’ campaign was born out of the Spinal Tap creators’ knowing that they were not singled out for special treatment.  In fact, only a select few highly successful creators actually receive a fair share of the benefits arising from the exploitation of their work.

Sexual discrimination in the UK.

In a new study, the Incorporated Society of Musicians has found that 60% of respondents experienced sexual abuse.  Surveying 600 professional musicians, the study shows a culture of sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination in orchestras, bands, and music education across the UK.  Respondents experienced sexual harassment from superiors, including conductors, teachers, and established musicians, as well as peers in musical groups.

The Nintendo Switch gets a music production studio.

Korg Gadget, a popular Mac and iOS app, has arrived on the Nintendo Switch.  The popular music production software lets users play several different instrument sounds using virtual synthesizers.  Easy-to-read squares replace traditional notation in this version along with multiplayer music creation.  Veteran Korg Gadget users have already complained about the version’s limited features.  Most notably, it lacks support for MIDI instruments and exporting your creations online.

Featured image by Richard Revel (CC by 2.0)