Qobuz raise €10 million to take their hi-res music service global

Qobuz have been taking on the big streamers for a few years now with a focus on Hi-Res and their latest funding pushes them even further globally.

French music streaming service have been operating for a few years now, but compared to the rest of the streaming scene they are the fresh faces. Last year they made two big moves: launching in the U.S. and ditching MP3 to focus entirely on high resolution music.

Following a new round of funding, Qobuz are poised to expand even further around the globe. They have raised €10 million following their previous round of capital earnings last August which raised them €12 million.

The company states they are “now pursuing a major development plan” with significant funding and over 45% growth in their last fiscal year. They are now planning an “unprecedented” recruitment drive for the year.

Qobuz chairman and CEO, Denis Thébaud says: “We are very proud of our latest fundraising milestone of 10 million euros, which shows our historical shareholders’ confidence in our model. The end of the year promises to be full of exciting projects for Qobuz.”

Qobuz is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. It will be exciting to see where they go next.

Apple’s deeper Shazam features will have it scanning music all the time

iPhones and iOS devices will be able to turn Shazam on to tell them what music is playing around them and in their apps constantly.

Apple have only just updated devices with iOS 14 but as developers have got their hands on another update it seems to bring some enhanced features. Notably, Apple seem to be capitalising on their ownership of Shazam in iOS 14.2 with some seriously deep integration.

In the upcoming update, the music recognition app will be added to the ‘Control Center’ on iPhones. From there users will be able to switch it on to identify music constantly in the world around them so you never miss out in the time it takes to open the app.

The new always-on feature will scan for music when you’re using apps as well, so it can tell you the songs playing on your applications. It will scan apps internally so it will be able to pick up music whether you’re playing it out loud or through headphones.

Apple bought Shazam in late 2018 but promised not to restrict the app’s availability. It’s still available on other devices, but clearly Apple are making use of their ownership in other, unique ways. It’s a question of whether people will want their phones constantly listening, however.

Whilst iOS 14.2 is available for developers at the moment, Apple haven’t revealed when they might launch the update to general iPhone users.

Amazon launch their HD music streaming service in Canada

Amazon Music Unlimited is expanding its high definition streaming service to offer top quality music to Canadians with their first 90 days free.

Amazon have announced that Canadians can now sign up to Amazon Music Unlimited HD. The streaming service offers Amazon’s full streaming catalogue in their best possible quality with millions of songs in CD quality HD and more than a million in 24-bit, 192 kHz Ultra HD quality.

It’s great news for audiophiles in Canada who may be upset at the compressed sounds of standard streaming services. To let users decide whether they feel that the HD upgrade is worthwhile, Amazon are offering a huge 90 day trial to new sign ups in Canada.

If you’re looking to sign up to Amazon Music Unlimited HD, it is best experienced with a good pair of headphones or speakers with a compatible amplifier. Amazon recommend speakers from Sonos, Sennheiser, Polk Audio, among others to get the most out of HD streaming at a decent price.

Amazon Music Unlimited HD costs $12.99 a month after the free trial or $8 a month for Prime members. As well as Canada, it is available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, Japan, France, Italy, and Spain.

Kanye West calls for a music revolution… RouteNote is already providing one

Kanye’s recent Twitter outburst speaks to many artist around the world trapped in label and publishing deals. But the solution he calls for is already here in independent music distribution.

Kanye’s no stranger to going on huge Twitter rants, and we think he’s hit on some hugely important points this time. Over anger at his lack of ownership over his music which, whether you like it or not, he has dedicated much of his life to creating and perfecting he’s attacked the big label-based music industry and its structures.

His series of tweets describe the many ways in which artists should have more control and rights over their music and we totally agree! The thing is, RouteNote have already been providing these opportunities to artists for years.

The artist always has 100% control and rights to their music on RouteNote, forever.

We split it even more, 85/15 in the artist’s favour and 100% goes to artists on Premium.

It’s important to understand exactly what you’re doing to fully launch your music career but it’s also hugely valuable to create a music community that all looks out for each other.

We make our terms easy to read and understand and are happy to answer any questions you have. There are no smoke screens on RouteNote.

Don’t be dependent – be independent! You have full control over what you do with your music on RouteNote and we provide you full streaming and sales statistics so you can look as in-depth as you like at how your music performs and what you are receiving.

Yes, when you are in control of your music distribution you want to know exactly what’s happening with it. Our dashboards give you in-depth analytics and control over your music.

So Kanye, we’ve been helping to transform the industry in a world where artists have the power and capability to take the reins of their own music careers.

If you want to have a chat, Kanye, get in touch – and to all the rest of you too, we are here for you to make a world of music that works for the musicians and creators in a new digital world that makes it possible.

Warner Music are in trouble over their hacked website

Warner Music Group’s commercial websites were recently affected by huge hacks and now they are named in a class-action lawsuit over the issue.

Earlier this month it was discovered that Warner Music Group’s commercial websites had been hacked. A major data breach had compromised the credit card details of an unspecified number of accounts across a number of websites.

Warner Music Group apologised to their impacted customers after discovering the hack, which had reportedly been going on for months. With any number of personal details potentially stolen, WMG paid the cost of Kroll, an identity-monitoring service, and encouraged victims to use it within 12 months for free.

It seems that for some customers, that isn’t enough from one of the 3 biggest record labels in the world. Digital Music News have received a copy of a newly filed lawsuit which names WMG over the two plaintiffs reporting unapproved changes to their banking details.

This follows another lawsuit facing Warner Music Group over the hacks. The previous lawsuit specifically targets Warner Music Group for failing to “secure and safeguard personal identifiable information”. That lawsuit states that potentially millions of transactions are now available to hackers with the potential to be sold on.

It’s a huge breach in data from one of the biggest industries in the world. We are yet to see the true fallout of this potential information theft.

New Twitch charts shows the top music used in streams each week

Twitch streams are more popular than ever and Chartmetric have launched a series of new charts to track all of the popular music that finds its way onto the biggest streams.

Twitch had already become huge before 2020, with millions tuning in to people’s streams. This year it has exploded in lockdown with musicians and personalities heading to Twitch to connect with fans and with that music has boomed on Twitch as well.

In particular the amount of music played as gamers stream has increased massively and shows how well the two go hand in hand. To keep track of just how popular certain artists and songs are doing on Twitch, Chartmetric have launched four new charts.

  • Weekly Top Users by Viewer-Hours
  • Monthly Top Users by Viewer-Hours
  • Weekly Top Users by Followers
  • All-Time Top Users by Followers

Chartmetric founder and CEO, Sung Cho says: “We feel these charts give a great overview of who’s gaining traction, as well as what level and kind of engagement they’re getting on Twitch. We think these charts will prove valuable to music professionals of all sorts as they try to see how livestreaming fits into the business.”

The uptake in both streamers and viewers on Twitch has seen notorious music presences appear. Monstercat have gained nearly 800k followers on their 24/7 stream of their label music. deadmau5 has also gained a following of almost half a million on Twitch amongst many other musicians and music organisations.

You can find all four of Chartmetric’s new Twitch charts at chartmetric.com.

Spotify may finally be streaming on Apple Watch with Series 6

Spotify are looking to build their app up after 2 years of limited offerings on their prime competitors electronic wristwatch device.

Spotify launched a music app on Apple Watches in 2018. The much requested official arrival of the music streaming service on Apple Watches wasn’t quite what people were after, however, as it allowed you to control playback through other devices but not stream music directly from it.

It now seems that, with Apple Watch Series 6 on the way, Spotify are working on their app to stream music straight from the device. The news comes from Germany where a number of users have reported a recent update bringing streaming to their Spotify app on Apple Watch.

Those who claim to have received the update say that they have been able to connect to Bluetooth headphones to stream from their Apple Watch. Spotify can now be streamed straight out of the Apple Watch’s in-built speaker for those with the update, however I can’t imagine it’s very enjoyable listening to music through it.

Spotify seem to be looking to build their music streaming services with a bunch of potential new features coming soon. A new job advert seems to show they’re looking to build their own audiobooks whilst a recent update seems to hide the potential for a karaoke function and music downloads for free users.

Discover Spotify’s new global RADAR hub for discovering new artists

Spotify want to break new and rising artists around the world with the release of their RADAR hub around the world.

It’s been half a year since Spotify launched their new RADAR initiative to put up-and-coming artists on people’s radars (get it!). Since launching in March they’ve promoted 115 artists through their program and their new global hub will bring their efforts from all over the world into one exciting place for music discovery.

The new hub will be integrated onto the Spotify platform to show off all of their emerging artists. So far Spotify claims over 2 billion streams, and more than a million hours listened to the artists they have helped to promote through their RADAR programs.

Spotify’s Head of Global Hits, Ned Monahan said: “The launch of the Global RADAR Hub is the perfect illustration of how our editorial teams collaborate to build up-and-coming artists from all over the world. We hope this will be an easy new way for fans to discover artists from outside of their home countries and for artists to begin to develop a global fanbase.”

With the launch of their new RADAR hub around the world, Spotify have also announced a new artist partnership in the UK. beabadoobee is the latest to join their roster, a 20 year old from London who has been building a strong following since 2017.

By partnering with her, Spotify are offering her the production of an immersive fan experience through Storylines, a printed zine offered exclusively to her top fans on Spotify, as well as features across Spotify’s top playlists and pages.

beabadoobee said: “I’m really excited to be picked for Radar: Spotify have been so supportive of me from the very start. From recording my first Spotify Singles at Abbey Road to my debut album, it’s been a crazy journey with them. We’ve worked on something really cool together that I hope people will love!”

Find Spotify’s hub for their RADAR artists and discover amazing new artists from around the world.

Deezer’s new Selector lets you pick the country your music, podcasts, and audiobooks are from

Whether you’re learning a new language, interested in another culture, or visiting somewhere but want your home country’s recommendations back: Country Selector lets you pick.

Deezer have added a new toggle for users to select the region their content is based around. The Country Selector lets you choose the content that Deezer presents to you on their homepages and in recommendations by region.

The feature can be used in all 180 countries where Deezer is available on their web and mobile apps. Once you choose a country Deezer will tailor its music, podcasts, and audiobooks to content from the region you’ve selected. It’s ideal for language learners, particularly with Deezer’s large podcast library.

Deezer’s Chief Product and Growth Officer, Stefan Tweraser said: “We want our listeners to be able to hold onto a piece of their home or immerse themselves in a different culture, even if they’re a thousand miles away. It’s also a good way to pick up a new language, as our curated playlists and channels will introduce you to the best selection of tracks from any chosen country.”

All Deezer users can change their content using the Country Selector form their settings now. Your language preferences will still stay the same, it’s only the content that will be tailored to a new culture.

The Chainsmokers are launching an investment firm

Moving away from the controversy of their recent not-so-socially distanced gig, the DJ duo have raised money for a new venture capital firm.

The Chainsmokers, an electronic music duo made of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, have raised $45 million in funds for their new firm Mantis. The duo began raising funds at the start of this year and have even started making investments as well.

The operations will be managed mostly by UCLA graduate and investor Milan Koch alongside record label founder and creator of TigerConnect (formerly TigerText) Jeffrey Evans. The Chainsmokers themselves have been investing in startups themselves for years, according to a report by TechCrunch.

According to Taggart, they hope that their funding will in some way benefit their young audiences. In particular they want to use their celebrity status to help lend credibility and attention towards ventures they feel are particularly promise. As the highest paid DJs in the world, that’s a decent testimony!

Taggart says: “When we started eight years ago, our fans were primarily all in college. Now they are dealing with paying back their college loans, and they’re probably applying to buy their first house, so a company like LoanSnap feels like one of those startups whose services our fans have grown into needing.”

The Chainsmokers were recently at the centre of some dispute over a concert at the Hamptons they’d played. With good intentions to adhere to social distancing guidelines and use proceeds from the gig to go towards multiple charities, the event was shared on social media looking a little less than distanced. Old habits die hard when you’re dancing to EDM…