Latest Industry: Instagram Stories, The Orchard, Columbia Records, Merlin, BTS, Spotify, MSG, More…

Instagram Stories: Now with licensed major label music!

We first reported this rumor a few weeks back.  Now, it’s reality: after hitting 400 million users, Instagram Stories is now offering licensed tracks to accompany the action.  That includes tracks from Dua Lipa, Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, and a few other superstars you’ve heard of.

“When you tap to add a sticker to a photo or video in Stories, you’ll now see a music icon,” Instagram explains.  “Tap on it to open a library of thousands of songs — you can search for a specific song, browse by mood, genre or what’s popular and tap the play button to hear a preview.”

Blake Rayner named GM at The Orchard.

The Orchard has named Blake Rayner as General Manager of its Australia and New Zealand business.  He will oversee day-to-day operations in both countries, including artist and label management, acquisitions, physical and digital retail relations, and regional strategy.  Rayner will report to COO Colleen Theis.

Apple and Samsung Electronics settle a bitter seven-year lawsuit.

Apple and Samsung Electronics have reached a settlement.  Seven years ago, Apple had sued Samsung for allegedly copying the iPhone’s design — and that was the beginning of a vicious battle.  Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

Jon Borris becomes the latest casualty at Columbia Records.

Jon Borris, Senior Vice President of Pop Promotion, has left Columbia Records.  His exit is a part of CEO Ron Perry’s efforts to restructure the company.  Borris’ contract has reportedly expired.  His exit comes after A&R executive Mark Williams and EVP of Marketing Doneen Lombardi both left Columbia.

Should you prepare for an all-access digital subscription service from Apple?

Apple may have started work on developing a single subscription service to offer consumers access to original TV shows, Apple Music, and digital magazines.  The company will reportedly first launch a $9.99 digital news subscription service next year.  Apple has mulled bundling the service with Apple Music and video content, according to a source that spoke with The Information.

Streaming pushes Merlin payouts to $1.5 billion.

Merlin Network has paid out $1.5 billion to member labels.  $500 million came during the 12 months ending in June.  Merlin counted 14 billion streams for its members in March, up 57% from a year earlier.

Speaking on the impact of streaming on indie labels, CEO Charles Caldas, said,

“The emergence of these all-you-can-eat streaming services has democratized a huge amount of music.  You don’t have to walk into Tower Records and be bombarded with whatever’s being marketed that week.  Once you’re engaged with music, you’ll start to get recommendations that are actually based on your listening behavior.”

BTS’ latest single skyrockets in Mexico.

Following South Korea’s victory over Germany on Wednesday, soccer fans in Mexico have pushed BTS’ single ‘Fake Love’ up 31 spots on iTunes.  Fans have also started petitions for the South Korean boy band to tour in the country.  South Korea’s 2-0 victory against Germany helped Mexico secure a spot in the next stage of the World Cup.

Ontario toughens ticket laws.

The government of Ontario will overhaul ticket laws on Sunday, July 1st.  The Ticket Sales Act will completely ban computer bots from purchasing tickets, make it illegal to resell concert tickets at over 50% its original value, and force sellers to disclose the ticket’s face value along with additional charges and fees.

Spotify provides the date for its Q2 2018 results.

Spotify will announce its financial results for the second quarter of 2018 on July 26th, prior to the market’s open.  The company will hold a Q&A session at 8:00 am ET.  Spotify will also host a live webcast.

Madison Square Garden posits spinning off sports company.

Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) Board of Directors has unanimously voted to authorize the company’s management to consider spinning off its sports business into an independent entity.  The move would include the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.  If management advances with the idea, MSG would retain a 33% stake in the new company.

Music lessons will give your children a language boost.

A joint study from MIT and Beijing Normal University has revealed that music lessons help children improve their language skills.  Surveying 74 kindergarteners, researchers found that the kids had shown improvements in word discrimination.  Those who studied the piano showed the greatest improvement.

Pandora partners with Comcast to provide World Cup playlists.

Pandora has announced a partnership with Comcast.  The telcom conglomerate will feature several Pandora stations alongside World Cup coverage from Fox and Telemundo.

Kmart will phase out CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray.

Kmart Australia has confirmed that it will no longer stock DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Ray.  A spokesperson for the company said,

“At present, DVDs, CDs and Blu-ray products are currently on clearance as part of the transition, and we thank our customers and suppliers for their support.  We won’t be stocking these items online as our decision to exit is across both in-store and online.”

Australian chain Big W and Target will still sell these items.

Can ukuleles save Gibson?

Following the company’s announcement to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Gibson may start producing ukuleles.  CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has confirmed the company may consider capitalizing on the ukulele boom.  Gibson hasn’t produced a ukulele since the 1930s.

Live Nation acquires Red Mountain Entertainment.

Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in Red Mountain Entertainment, a concert and music festival promoter.  Red Mountain will continue to oversee operations for its events and projects.

Which sports teams do hip-hop artists mentions the most?

According to a new study analyzing sports mentions in hip-hop, the Lakers are the most popular NBA team in hip-hop.  The Yankees ranked as the team with the most mentions in the genre.

Hip-hop artists mention MLB the most, with 27% of all MLB caps worn in music videos featuring the Yankees.  37% of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time – courtesy of Billboard and Rolling Stone – feature sports-related gear in their music videos.  The information comes from Fanatics, which analyzed the top 300 hip-hop songs of all time.

Featured image by Concerttours (CC by 3.0)