Ricall’s valuable assets for sale after the music licenser liquidates

UK music licensing company, Ricall, have fallen into liquidation meaning that their major assets in music, film and TV are up for grabs.

Since it launched in 1998 Ricall has been licensing music for use in adverts, TV, and film working with major brands like Fiat, The Body Shop, Heathrow Airport and more. After almost 20 years, £12 million in investment and a catalogue of over 6,200 tracks the company was liquidated by Begbies Traynor LLP.

Now Metis, on behalf of Begbies Traynor, are selling Ricall’s valuable assets including music sync licensing brand assets and e-commerce software. Metis say that they are ambitious to create a new interest in music licensing and digital music downloads via the sale of these tools.

Metis Partners’ Morven Fraser said: “This sale is certain to attract a high degree of interest from these with a foothold, or looking to establish a foothold in the music licensing industry. The software developed by Ricall allows a significant degree of flexibility in the user and right-holder online experience. It will be an excellent asset for any market players considering e-commerce development as part of their online profile.

“The Ricall brand has been in existence since 1998, and is associated with one of the world’s largest online music research and licensing marketplaces. The company has a strong reputation on the world media stage, and its stories have been covered in The Verge, BBC News and Music Week. This, combined with a strong social media presence, makes the goodwill and reputation of the brand a highly desirable asset.”

Metis Partners will stop taking offers on September 28th.

Rolling Stone magazine up for sale just before 50th anniversary

The iconic music magazine Rolling Stone is going to the highest bidder after the founder decides to sell to someone with “lots of money”.

Just before Rolling Stone hits its 50th anniversary mark the massively popular music magazine is being put up for sale by founder Jann Wenner. Along with his son Gus, Jann has decided to move away from his ownership of Rolling Stone due to how different the industry is, and also likely having already had an incredible 50 year run with Rolling Stone.

Speaking to the New York Times, Wenner said: “I love my job, I enjoy it – I’ve enjoyed it for a long time.” However he concedes that moving on from the magazine was “just the smart thing to do”. Wenner also shared that he hopes the magazine can go to someone who understands and will continue Rolling Stone’s mission and legacy, but also has “lots of money”.

Son Gus admitted that: “There’s a level of ambition that we can’t achieve alone. So we are being proactive and want to get ahead of the curve. Publishing is a completely different industry than what it was. The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that.”

Wenner retains a 51 percent stake majority in the business after selling 49 percent last year to BandLab Technologies. Both Jann and his son Gus hope to continue their involvement with Rolling Stone after the sale but will leave that at the new owner’s discretion.

LiveXLive double down, acquiring Slacker Radio and Snap Interactive

Just days after LiveXLive bought Snap Interactive they’ve gone and purchased Slacker Radio to combine resources and assert their relevance.

On Monday LiveXLive media started their work week by acquiring video streaming company Snap Interactive. Now they’ve closed the week with the purchase of Slacker Radio, the internet radio streaming service, for $50 million.

The Slacker Radio acquisition was the first move made by new LiveXLive president Andy Schuon, yes it’s been a busy week for them. Schuon joins LiveXLive from a successful career in radio as well as having helped to found Revolt TV with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. Speaking on his hiring, LiveXLive CEO and Chairman Robert Ellis said: “Andy joins us at a perfect time to lead this latest acquisition of Slacker Radio and direct the company overall.”

LiveXLive plan to integrate their content programming teams with Slacker Radio’s to optimise each service and to build a network of audio and video channels across multiple platforms. Slacker will be able to offer up their knowledge and experience in audio streaming. Additionally Slacker have been creating hundreds of videos over the past year since introducing original shows last year, so LiveXLive will be able to take from that as well.

Newly appointed president, Andy Schuon said: “I walked into a radio station at 16, and it became who I am, not what I do. To continue to have the opportunity to shape the future of music streaming services and streaming radio with a leading platform like Slacker Radio is incredibly exciting.”

Deezer to face up to Spotify, including a potential SoundCloud buyout

A few months after SoundCloud were reported to be broke and likely bought out soon they have, so they say, recovered. But Deezer still have their eyes on the streamer.

It’s been a tough year for SoundCloud, having only just recovered from numerous reports claiming they didn’t have enough cash to make it past this year. In addition, since last year SoundCloud have lost 100 million users and went from offering themselves for $1 billion to a $250 million offer. The past few months they’ve been getting back on track, ditching founder and CEO Alexander Ljung and investors approving $170 million in emergency funding.

Before the drama and Ljung’s dismissal Deezer were in talks to potentially purchase SoundCloud “at the right price”. A “senior music source” spoke at the time, saying: “Deezer is making a serious run. There will be a lot of consolidation, if you are Deezer or Spotify. SoundCloud’s massive user base – one that is melting as it grapples with a shrinking pile of cash – lets you convert into a much bigger player.”

Deezer’s chief executive Hans-Holger Albrecht has recently revealed their plans to stand up against larger competitors like Spotify and Apple Music. As they’re struggling to make an impact beyond Europe where they started, Albrecht says they’re looking to target smaller markets that aren’t already overwhelmed by major streaming services.

Speaking to Reuters, Albrecht said: “I strongly believe in the localisation of content. While Spotify is mainly playlist-focused, we are betting on local differentiation, and this has helped us become number one in gospel in Brazil.”

Leaked documents reveal that SoundCloud don’t predict profitability until 2020, a long time to be stepping on shaky ground in the booming music streaming industry. This could make them more open to reducing their expectations and accepting a smaller buyout for their community-based music site. Deezer certainly have an interest, and standing up to the big guns is going to require something big.

Soundcharts get $3m+ in funding to track your music’s performance

Paris company Soundcharts just raised $3m+ to help them keep track of all the music activity and data for the industry.

Less than a year after officially launching, spending a year in beta until late last year, Soundcharts have gained some whopping funding in a Series A round. Raising a giant $3.1 million (€2.65 to them) their round of funding led by Alven Capital should help them to establish and expand their exponentially rising success.

Soundcharts keeps track of as much music data as they can, surveying streaming activity, music charts, playlists, radio airplay, and more, all in real-time. Their vast collection of information about the market is then utilised by executives from all across the industry, in particular marketing and A&R as well as being a useful tool for artists to track their own progress.

The funding will go towards strengthening their position in the industry, making sure they stand up to competitors, and will also be put towards expansion outside of Paris. Soundcharts appear to be looking to open up offices in Los Angeles, New York and/or London by 2018.

Soundcharts’ CEO and founder, David Weiszfeld says: “Soundcharts processes, analyses and archives a mass of information in real-time and gives meaning to this data thanks to an intuitive, personalised dashboard and automated reports. What is magical about Soundcharts is that we help artists, managers and product managers, digital marketers, sales team, radio programmers, playlist curators, brands as well as with the A&R discovery process.

“This puts Soundcharts at a central position within the ecosystem. We are thrilled to see that many industry leading companies chose us to power their daily workflow and we hope to keep building the platform for tomorrow’s usages and help our users execute their strategies more efficiently.”

Alibaba and Tencent precede $10bn IPO by sharing Sony and Universal music

Before embarking on Tencent’s rumoured, enormous $10 billion IPO they have secured a deal with Alibaba to share each others music.

Tencent are a giant investment company with their fingers in a multitude of pies, including deals with two of the world’s 3 major labels, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). This made up the majority of Tencent’s new deal with another Chinese company, peer-to-peer sales provider Alibaba.

The new deal will see Tencent provide Alibaba with the international rights to stream some music from their associated labels, including Sony and Universal. The deal announced on Tuesday will give Tencent rights access to Alibaba’s localised collection of Chinese and Japanese music.

It’s a sign of the shifting importance of digital music in China as local and international stores and streaming services catch up with the rest of the world in the country. We’re seeing growth in the music industry internationally as streaming pushes the best profit bumps in over 10 years. The effect should have an even more significant impact in China where their physical market has also been made up in large part by pirated music.

That growth is already being seen as the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry revealed that last year China’s online music market grew by 20%. That’s an incredible increase compared to the global average of 6% growth last year in online music. Alibaba’s ever-increasing library of music they can distribute to services, and Tencent’s multiple music apps, including QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo. Those 3 Tencent apps claim 526 million users every month which makes up a whopping 78% of the market revenue.

Those outstanding figures are just one big reason why Tencent is, rumoured to be, looking for such an incredible amount of investment in their upcoming IPO. Tencent recently merged their music business  with China Music Corp for an even larger place in their music streaming market which is expected to make 4.37 billion yuan, or $664 million. Tencent will reportedly put up 3% of its shares to raise the funding in their IPO.

SONGS, publisher behind Lorde, The Weeknd & more up for $160m+ sale

The independent music publisher SONGS is going up for sale, with the majors like Warner, Sony and Universal likely keeping their eyes peeled.

SONGS music publishing are responsible for some of the world’s biggest artists like Diplo, The Weeknd, and Lorde to name but a few. That’s why it’s major news to hear that they’re going onto the market with help from LionTree Advisors for bids of over $160 million.

Sources say that last year SONGS made $8 million in gross profit. The company’s value would normally be roughly 12 times their net publisher share (gross profit) but rising value has pushed it to around 15 times the company’s profits in the latest year. SONGS are feeling confident predicting a massive jump to $12 million in gross profits this year, hence why they aren’t giving themselves up cheap.

SONGS haven’t given an exact target of what they want in an offer but the quoted £160 million stands as a minimum, and they seem to be expecting much higher. With their impressive roster of high-profile artists the major labels will no doubt have a keen eye on proceedings and it will be interesting to see which, if any, make the first move on SONGS.

Rumours are suggesting that SONGS have decided to put themselves up for sale to test the waters after receiving an upfront buyout offer. With this in mind they may not even accept any others, on the other hand Universal might end up chucking 300 million their way and they end up rethinking their future. We shall have to see.

Unveiling the iPhone X: Everything we know so far

An artist imagining of what the new iPhone X might look like

Today is the big iPhone announcement day, and the device everyone’s waiting for is the 10th anniversary, feature-packed iPhone X.

The iPhone X is going to be a big one, and not just because it’s the first to break from their numerical tags, at least in Arabic numerals. Marking 10 years since the very first iPhone was released the iPhone X looks to be a much-needed departure from their slight model improvements with a bunch of actually exciting new features and software improvements.

Very little beyond its name has been leaked but here’s what the leaks suggest so far:

It’s not the iPhone 8: With the last iPhone being the iPhone 7 you’d think that logically the next iPhone would be the iPhone 8. The iPhone X does not replace the iPhone 8 and in fact the ‘8’ will be announced alongside the iPhone X later today.

No more home button: The famous center-circle button on iPhones and various iOS products is not making an appearance on the iPhone X. Instead they’re filling that empty space at the bottom with precious cm’s more screen space.

Full screen display: Apple are reportedly getting rid of the space at the top of the smartphone on the front as well. Their aim being an entire side of display for a whopping 5.8 inches of high-definition display.

Next-gen processing: Apple have developed new processors for their new phones. The new ‘A11 Fusion’ chip will be able to run 6 cores… SIX!

RAM-p it up: iPhone X will feature a whopping 3GB of ram under the hood.

Forget fingerprint recognition: With no home-button the iPhone X may not have fingerprint ID-ing capability.

Selfie Security: Whether it features fingerprinting or not the X will be able to recognise your face so it unlocks only for you using the front camera.

Wireless charging: It’s about time Apple got into wireless charging and apparently they are now! But you will also apparently have to buy a wireless charger separately to make use of it…

Make a move: With no front facing buttons anymore it’s expected that the iPhone X will feature a much higher understanding of gestures for seamless navigation through the smartphone.

Be sure to catch the live-stream on Apple’s website at 10am today.

Apple Update: New ‘iPhone X’ leaks & 1/5 iOS users stream on Apple Music

The next iPhone coming from Apple’s infinite smartphone factory has been leaked whilst, surprise-surprise, Apple Music is popular on Apple devices.

Today the name of Apple’s next product to come from their immensely popular iPhone line was leaked. The next in the multi-billion dollar company’s biggest earner’s evolution is reportedly the ‘iPhone X’, with leaks suggesting 2 other smartphones will join it – the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone X is an interesting departure from the numerical order of their phones so far but is likely marked to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. What is the most intriguing about the leaks is the mention of two full release models, the iPhone X and the iPhone 8; the iPhone 8 Plus follows recent iPhone’s ‘Plus’ options.

The iPhone 8 will follow a normal upgrade path from its predecessor with minor updates such as a glass panel on the rear, new processors, and the most interesting feature so far; wireless charging. The iPhone X however will mark a more considerable departure from the iPhone formula. According to leaks and rumours the iconic home button will disappear from the X, replaced by intelligent understanding of gestures.

The iPhone X features a 5.8 inch screen in high-definition which will extend almost across the entirety of the phone, with space remaining for a front camera of course selfie-fiends. Beyond that the most significant addition to leak about the iPhone X is a new identification system using the camera, essentially face recognition software for security. So essentially your iPhone becomes a safety deposit room in a spy film.

It is expected that Apple will officially announce the new product(s) at a product presentation in the Steve Jobs Theater on Tuesday. Regarding the leak, John Gruber of Daring Fireball said: “Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate malicious act by a rogue Apple employee. Whoever did this is the least-popular person in Cupertino. More surprises were spoiled by this leak than any leak in Apple history.”

The iPhone X is expected to be priced at roughly $1000 (but at least this time it seems like it will actually have new features).

Meanwhile in more positive news for Apple, Music Watch have reported that 1 in five users with an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) use their own streaming service Apple Music. Given that Apple have sold more than a billion iPhones in the past 10 years that is a lot of people using Apple’s streaming service. However the figures may be misleading as Apple Music now comes as the default music player in iOS products and comes with 3 free months to start with.

This puts Apple Music in first place for paid subscription streaming services on iOS with a massive 8% rise on last year. For 2017 this meant that 21% of iOS users we listening to music streaming via Apple Music whilst their largest rival, Spotify, holds 16% of listeners on Apple devices. Whilst that’s a decent chunk for Spotify their growth is slowing, seeing only a 3% increase on last year.

Despite Apple holding the most users Spotify triumphed in the dedications of its users with more listening hours. In fact Spotify had a massive 32% of the listening share on iOS paid music streaming apps, whilst Apple Music lagged way behind with 23%. Even without their success on iOS Spotify are dominating music streaming, reportedly now claiming 150 million active users listening to music via Spotify.

Spinnin’ Records go major, the independent label gets bought for over $100m

Massive Dutch dance label Spinnin’ Records has been bought in a giant $100m+ deal by major label Warner Music Group.

After a bunch of giant companies reportedly fought over Spinnin’ Records massively successful label for months the battle has been won. Warner Music Group are the proud victors of the Dutch dance collective that has attained massive global success since launching.

Spinnin’ Records established itself in 1999 thanks to the work of founders Eelko van Kooten and Roger de Graaf. In the 18 years since they grew label to one of the biggest players in electronic music today with over 18 million subcsribers on YouTube alone. They call themselves “the world’s leading record label”.

The giant $100 million deal is likely the largest deal for Warner Music since their monumental buyout of Parlophone in 2013 for $756 million. They faced up against rival major labels like Sony Music Entertainment and entertainment company Believe Digital in recent months to win the Spinnin’ Records acquisition.

The label is based in the Netherlands and has found success with major artists like Martin Solveig, Tiesto, Fedde le Grand and many others. They will make a large addition to Warner’s roster of music entities and globally famous artists.