Rihanna’s ANTI Goes Platinum After Selling… 460 Albums?

Worldwide superstar Rihanna released her eighth studio album last week and according to Nielsen has sold 460 albums or more than a million if you ask RIAA.

Despite Nielsen only counting 460 album sales Rihanna’s new album has already gone platinum and ranked no. 27 for the weeks Billboard charts. You’ll get a different result depending on which source you use, because the lines for sales in the music industry have become incredibly blurred.

That’s not to say the industry is dwindling, as music consumption is at a steadily increasing high, rather that the formats aren’t straightforward anymore. For example under RIAA’s new rules to certify an album platinum it must reach 1 million album sales, or 1.5 billion streams, or a combination of the both. But wait, there’s more: Thanks to the ability to stream or download individual songs now, an accumulation of the songs in an album reaching those marks can also count.

So how does RIAA count over a million album sales (or equivalent) whilst Nielsen count 460? Well apparently Nielsen were only including physical album sales in the US and yes, 460 was confirmed in the New York Times to be the actual number of Rihanna’s physical album sales. It may be a testament to the power of digital downloads and streaming that despite that number, ANTI still went platinum – or it might be that Samsung pre-purchased 1 million copies of the album for an exclusive promotion. You see, nothing is simple in the music industry.

As sales from one party to another they count towards it’s ranking and therefore probably explain it’s platinum ranking. For whatever reason however these statistics too were ignored by Nielsens gathering of data on the album.

Meanwhile, beyond all of the ranking confusion as these insight companies come to terms with the constantly evolving industry, Rihanna’s ANTI is showing success. Physical sales may be at an all time low for the singer but Tidal, Jay Z’s music streaming service, announced that they had reached sales of 484,833 album downloads. Tidal are also claiming roughly 5.6 million streams of the entire album in it’s first week.

SoundCloud Introduce Stations For Music Discovery

“Sit back, tune in and discover. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Stations on the SoundCloud app for iOS and Android.”

SoundCloud have launched a new feature for their mobile apps on iOS and Android that creates an auto-generated playlist of music tailored to your tastes. An upgrade to their Related Tracks feature, Stations bring you a stream of music from SoundCloud based on your likes.

Stations can be created from a number of sources. Tap on a track for a station based around that one track or create streams from a search term, content stream and from your collection. Creating a Station on SoundCloud couldn’t be easier, just open the menu for one of those four bases and select “Start Station” and SoundCloud will generate it’s best recommendations out of their 100 million+ tracks for an endless stream.

If you’re listening to a station that you’re really liking you can find it again in your collection under “Recent Stations”. Amongst your Likes and Playlists this ensures any great new music you discover on SoundCloud isn’t lost.

Stations are ready for you to start discovering on SoundCloud for iOS and Android.

SFX Entertainment EDM Event Producer File For Bankruptcy

SFX Entertainment, the company responsible for major EDM festivals such as Tomorrowland have filed for bankruptcy amidst $300 million in debt.

SFX Entertainment are responsible for the massive Tomorrowland and Tomorrowworld festivals and also own a selection of important EDM companies including Beatport – the large, digital music store for electronic music. The electronic music event production company have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy to wipe away $300 million of debt and take the company private.

The deal offers bondholders equity in exchange for the debt and provides $115 million of bankruptcy financing so that the company can continue operations throughout the process. The deal will also see a new CEO for SFX Entertainment, replacing current chief executive and Chairman Robert Sillerman.

The company suffered troubles last October when Tomorrowworld was devastated by weather and the company came under fire for their lackluster treatment of attendees. Earlier this month it was then reported that SFX were “considering filing for bankruptcy”. SFX CEO Sillerman reportedly attempted a go-private transaction offering $4.75-a-share and then $5.25 a share, however it was challenged by the Delaware Court of Chancery and ultimately fell through.

It’s been a rocky month for the company overall as weeks ago they missed out on a $3 million interest payment to bondholders who then declared the company in default on the $5.8 million balance of the bond. SFX Entertainment say that they hope to complete restructuring and exit chapter 11 bankruptcy within six months.

SFX Entertainment grew out of SFX Broadcasting, founded by Sillerman in the 1970s. When he sold the broadcasting company in 1998, which owned 71 radio stations by then, he held on to their event promotion business and created what became SFX Entertainment. He later sold the business for $4.4 billion in stock and debt assumption before reviving it with a focus on electronic music in 2011.

Pandora Improve Music Discovery With New Browse Feature

Pandora have introduced ‘Browse’ a feature that serves you up artists and stations you’re already interested in as well as aiding your discovery of new ones.

Pandora’s new feature looks to not only improve the music streaming’s service, but also to rival frontrunners Spotify whose discovery features, such as Discover Weekly, have won them a lot of dedicated users. Unfortunately the new feature is currently only available on iPhone’s in the US, Australia, and New Zealand however an Android version is reportedly coming “soon”.

Pandora’s chief product officer, Chris Phillips said: “Finding new music should be a simple and enjoyable experience. The new Browse feature makes it easy to find the music you love, whether you know what you want or need a little help discovering music you didn’t know existed.”

Up until now personalisation on Pandora has featured specific artists and songs based on a users thumbs up and down on tracks. Now with Browse personalised recommendations will be extended to stations. Phillips added: “Sometimes you have no clue what you want to listen to and based off of your musical tastes, we can now recommend artist, genre, or mood based stations that we know you’ll love as a result of all your thumbs.”

Browse also introduces new analytics data so that you can see how many people listen to your favourite artists or subscribe to individual stations. This will also help Pandora themselves as it easily shows what artist, genre, mood etc. is trending and helps them make recommendations based on that.

Browse isn’t the only addition to Pandora as their mobile app has had a re-design to keep it in line with the simple navigation of competitors and to improve it’s discovery capabilities with simpler music browsing. With the new design listeners can easily look at what’s playing by tapping the screen, ideal for their new discovery playlists. It also features a new menu which you can bring out from the top left corner of the screen and show you Stations, Your Feed, Profile, and Settings. Artist pages have also been designed to be more intuitive and provide a nicer aesthetic.

Phillips said of the design: “Simplicity is a feature. The mobile app refresh that accompanies Browse elevates simplicity so that the addition of Browse doesn’t disorient listeners or crowd the experience. Moving the navigation to the fly-out menu makes room for the mini player, which we feel is essential while Browsing. But in the process we were careful to be sure that navigation remains strictly optional – any listener can play music, change stations, search and discover new music without having to navigate.”

These new features come two months after Pandora acquired Rdio to use it’s assets in their own music streaming service. Although Phillips denied they used Rdio’s technology to assist their new Browse feature he did say: “We do see tremendous opportunities to unlock the combined value of Ticketfly, Next Big Sound, and Rdio in our listener products.”

Shazam Experimenting With Exclusive Song Releases

The popular music discovery and identification application Shazam is testing distributing new music on the app.

Shazam have expanded their service a lot since their foundations in 1999, with movie partnerships, exclusive advertising campaigns, visual scanning and special offers/features with artists. However as a primarily music based company Shazam have never been a platform for actually releasing new music on – up until now.

Shazam are now experimenting with a feature whereby certain users will gain access to a QR code, which they scan on their smartphone’s camera using Shazam. They will then be taken to an exclusive, early release of a track(s) by an artist before it’s released anywhere else. Not just a promotional tool, this could bring a whole new dimension to the already globally used application.

Mick Management, an artist management firm, recently partnered with Sony’s RCA Records to send out 500 postcards to certain fans of the folk singer Ray LaMontagne. LaMontagne’s new album, Ouroboros, is set to release March 4th but, with these exclusive postcards, fans could scan a QR code using Shazam and gain early access to a song from the upcoming album, before anyone else.

Shazam’s Chief Revenue Officer, Greg Glenday said: “I think this will give people an idea on how to use us as an egagement tool.” According to Wall Street Journal‘s report another postcard has since been sent out.

Shazam reports use by over 120 million users a month and has come a long way from it’s early foundations of call and text functionality to become a billion dollar company and one of the most widely used apps in the world.