Pandora now shows artists the playlists and stations their music is placed

Pandora are making it simple for artists to see all of the places that their music has been featured on Pandora by their team.

Pandora have added the ‘Programming Placements’ module into their AMP platform for artists. Found inside the Insights tab, the new section shows artists all of the playlists and stations where Pandora’s team of curators have selected their music to be promoted and placed in.

The top of the new section features a search bar where artists can look for specific tracks and see where they have been placed and featured. When artists see a feature in a playlist or station that they want to share with the world then there is a Share button just for that. Easily share the link on your socials with all your fans.

Please note that this module will only populate if your music has been programmed by Pandora’s curation programming team. If you’re looking for more information on where your music is being played, don’t fret – Next Big Sound shows the top play sources for artists in the Playlists & Discovery section including sources where Pandora’s Music Genome has deemed your music a good fit. 

Hoping to get noticed? The Profile Tab on artist profiles in AMP now includes an easy-to-share link to your station so you can point your fans to your profile on Pandora. The more activity and streaming data we have for your music, the more likely our curation programming team will see it.

Get a sneak peek at Spotify’s voice controlled mini gadget

Spotify’s ‘Car Thing’ is their first piece of hardware to come out and we finally know a bit more about the funny little device.

Last year Spotify announced their very first physical device, the enticingly titled ‘Car Thing’. A select set of Premium users got to receive the gadget and test it last year to see what it can do and if it’s worthwhile. Spotify said the test was a prototype and they had no plans for mass-production.

As Business Insider have noted, in September Spotify updated their FCC filing with photos of the Car Thing and user manual. It gave us more information on the device but also suggested that they may move forward with it eventually after all.

The small device plugs into the 12 volt outlet in cars, the slot where the cigarette lighter is, and uses Bluetooth to connect to cars and smartphones. The Car Thing is voice activated like a Smart device, responding to ‘Hey Spotify’ and then a request to play music from Spotify’s extensive streaming library.

Spotify’s Car Thing as shown in their FCC filing

The Car Thing connects to the user’s Spotify account so it can access their library and personal playlists to play from. There’s a small screen that shows what is playing and next to it are buttons to control the playback.

Spotify said that the limited test run last May was simply to “learn more about people’s listening habits and preferences to help create an unparalleled experience for our users”. They haven’t officially announced anything or spoken on it since.

Car Thing accessories including it’s car mount on the right

Spotify also said that they “might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, so don’t be surprised if you hear about ‘Voice Thing’ and ‘Home Thing'”. We haven’t heard about them yet, but perhaps soon we will.

GRAMMY’s CEO says the awards show nominations are rigged

Last year’s GRAMMY’s CEO says that the award show is rigged calling out one artist in particular.

The GRAMMY’s awards ceremony is under fire with a bunch of allegations at the moment – the latest being that the awards are rigged. Former president and CEO Deborah Dugan has spoken out against the recording academy.

Dugan was placed on administrative leave last week after taking over from Neil Portnow last August. Whilst the board accused Dugan of misconduct she has hit back with allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, and corruption including the rigging of the awards.

Dugan claims that the board have been selecting artists who are being considered for a nomination to sit on the voting committee for the category they’re nominated within. She says “one artist who initially ranked 18 out of 20 in the 2019 ‘Song of the Year’ category” was nominated regardless.

She claims that there artist or one of her nominated producers were able to sit themselves on the nomination committee for ‘Song of the Year’. Reddit user ‘laughmusic‘ has looked into the claims and seems to think that Dugan is referring to Brandi Carlile and her track ‘The Joke’.

Along with her attorney, Douglas Wigdor, Dugan has been tearing apart the awards show and recording academy. Wigdor says: “The GRAMMY’s really is on life support right now. The statements they’re giving about Ms. Dugan creating a toxic work environment, getting the executive board members to make statements – they are in panic mode right now.”

Previous GRAMMY’s CEO Neil Portnow has faced allegations of misconduct and rape from a female musician. Portnow has called these allegations “ludicrous” and “untrue”.

This year’s GRAMMY Awards ceremony starts this Sunday despite the controversy.

Amazon Music has over 55 million listeners

For the first time ever Amazon have shared details on just how many people are streaming music with them, because it’s pretty impressive.

Amazon have started 2020 by revealing for the first time ever how many people are streaming music on their services. They say that subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited grew by 50% last year, leaving them to close the year off with 55 million customers around the world.

Amazon have reported incredible growth worldwide, more than doubling their presence in France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico. They’ve grown nearly 50% in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan as well.

Amazon Music Vice President, Steve Boom said: “We’re proud to reach this incredible milestone and are overwhelmed by our customers’ response to Amazon Music. Our strategy is unique and, like everything we do at Amazon, starts with our customers. We’ve always been focused on expanding the marketplace for music streaming by offering music listener’s unparalleled choice because we know that different listeners have different needs.”

Talking on their future plans and tech consolidation, Boom added: “As we continue to lead in our investment in voice with Alexa, and in high-quality audio with Amazon Music HD, we’re excited to bring our customers and the music industry even more innovation in 2020 and beyond.”

Amazon technically offer 3 services now. Their longest running offering is Prime Music which comes included with Amazon Prime memberships and has helped them build a large listening-base. Compared to other streaming services however, Prime Music is very limited.

So Amazon launched Amazon Music Unlimited, a full and separate streaming service to rival the likes of Spotify. They now also offer a superior tier on Amazon Music HD for those who want to stream in the highest possible quality.

  • Starting at just $12.99/month, customers in the U.S., UK, Germany and Japan can stream the highest-quality audio on Amazon Music HD, and hear their favorite music the way the artist intended.
  • Prime members have access to two million songs at no additional cost to their membership, and for only $7.99/month or $79/year can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited.
  • With the Single device plan, customers can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited at $3.99/month to access more than 50 million songs on their Fire TV or Echo device.
  • The Family plan allows six family members to access Amazon Music Unlimited for $14.99/month, or $149/year for Prime members.
  • And, customers who do not yet have a Prime membership, or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, can listen to an ad-supported selection of top playlists and thousands of stations for free on their favorite devices.

Cringe along to this newly surfaced Apple company music video

Tongue-in-cheek videos are great fun to make but, as this uncovered Apple video proves, are horrific from the outside looking in.

An archive of Apple content has been collected online including old training videos, adverts, marketing material, and more. Some of it’s nostalgic of the various Apple eras of the past – remember the black outlines of people dancing?

However, thanks to The Verge we discovered something that should probably have remained hidden. But now it’s out there we can’t look away, like a car crash that is disastrous but you can’t peel your eyes from.

We introduce to you, the music video for Apple Easy Pay that was supposedly used to train staff with. Word has it, all staff trained by this video now have a chronic condition that leaves their face in a constant position of anguish.

Jokes aside, it’s some Apple employees having a bit of fun with a new feature. You can’t deny people joking around and having a good time every now and then at work.

Spotify look at adding ‘Stories’ for playlists

Spotify might follow in the steps of Instagram and YouTube  by letting influencers add video clips to their playlists.

Spotify are testing a feature that lets users add a short video clip to their playlists. They work the same as social media Stories so that listeners can simply tap the playlist picture to watch the clip promoting the playlist and its latest tracks.

The icon at the top of the playlist shows a small circular animated preview of the story to let you know it’s there. The feature is being tested for influencers with a large presence on Spotify to share with their followers when they update their playlists.

Multiple clips can be added to pack out the story with lines at the top of the screen showing how many videos there are, just like on social media versions. The clips can be recorded video or snippets of the songs featured in the playlist with the artwork.

The feature is being tested right now with popular YouTuber Summer McKeen. Spotify have selected her for her significant following on Spotify as well as her enjoyment in creating her own playlists of personally selected music.

Spotify intend to roll out the feature test to other ‘influencers’ in entertainment, lifestyle and hopefully also music. They are basing their initial group of testers on their presence on Spotify, particularly their follower count and tendency to create playlists.

Spotify don’t seem to have any intention on bringing this feature to artists. They want to use it as a promotional tool for discovering music, rather than promoting their own releases or for just general use like on social media.

The feature is currently only working on iOS and Android. In a comment to TechCrunch, Spotify said: “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of these tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”

This app is fantasy football for the next music hits

Predict the next big hits, sign the biggest artists, earn virtual royalties and make your way to the top in this fantasy football style music game.

FanLabel is an app that lets you invest yourself in the music industry as if you were a big label or manager. Invest in who you think will be the hottest artists and the tracks you think will chart big and compete in real-time as track’s real streaming performance measures your success.

In the same way that fantasy football leagues work; you create and customise your own record label in the app. Once you’ve established your label then you enter contests and pick the songs you think will do the best based on streams, popularity and wider metrics from the music industry.

Once your label has selected the artists and tracks that you want to bet big on then you start earning virtual royalties. You’ll compete against other people’s imaginary labels as you try to make your way up the leaderboard with the biggest hits.

The app covers all major genres, including: Pop, Hip-Hop, Indie, Rock, Alt, and Country. It looks like a really fun way to tap into the trends of music and test your knowledge of what’s hot.

You can even win real prizes if you end up topping the leaderboards. The app is available now on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Amazon Prime has 112 million users in the US

Amazon Prime have reportedly gained 112 million users in the US alone, a good sign for their music services.

New estimates from researchers Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that they reckon Amazon closed 2019 with 112 million members. They reckon that roughly 65% of shoppers who use Amazon are Prime customers.

What this also means is that roughly 112 million people across the US also have paid access to Prime Music. CIRP didn’t report on usage of all of the benefits included with Prime, simply how many people their analysis shows are subscribed.

Amazon Prime Music is a more limited offering than most other music streaming services, but as it comes packaged with Prime it has had a lot of natural uptake. Many users who want a full streaming service can use their fleshed out Amazon Music Unlimited service with a library matching competitors.

CIRP reported that Amazon Prime subscription growth has slowed in its uptake but is still moving steadily on up. Partner and co-founder for CIRP, Mike Levin said: “One factor in Prime membership growth seems to be how members pay.

“On the one hand, the monthly membership option makes it easier for customers to join, without committing to a significant annual fee. On the other hand, it allows members to stop and re-start a membership to match their shopping patterns. That may help explain some of the recent quarterly membership growth.”

Spotify finds new CFO in Paul Vogel

Spotify have hired their new Chief Financial Officer, plucking from their existing team someone they trust.

Spotify’s new hire for Chief Financial Officer comes internally. Paul Vogel will take the role on after 4 years as the music streaming service’s head of Investor Relations and leading their Financial Planning & Analysis.

Speaking on his progression, Vogel said: “I loved having the ability to understand the changes and the strategies that were going on in those industries. I was always excited to meet the executives who were running those companies and understand how they thought about growing their businesses and sharing my opinion on where things could go.”

Speaking on the massive growth of Spotify in recent years, Vogel said: “When I started, we had just passed 30 million subscribers and 100 million users, so to turn around and end 2019 with more than 100 million subscribers and about 250 million users, that’s insane growth.”

Speaking about the future in an interview with Spotify Vogel spoke about how they are creating opportunities for both artists and listeners. Vogel says: “There’s no reason why every smartphone in the world shouldn’t have a streaming music/audio service on it. And there’s no reason why that service shouldn’t be Spotify.”