Deezer’s new ‘Black Culture’ channel shines a spotlight on black creators

Deezer’s new channel will feature hundreds of tracks and podcasts from black artists around the globe at a prescient time for black awareness.

The new ‘Black Culture’ channel is now available for Deezer users wherever their streaming service is available around the world. With recent events, particularly the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer, amplifying the conversations around contemporary race relations, Deezer say they are reinforcing their commitment to black artists and podcasters.

Their new channel features entirely black artists, from ‘100% playlists’ made up entirely of the music of some of the greatest artists like Nina Simone and Beyoncé to playlists full of iconic black artists – like the top 50 songs from black pop artists. Their Editors Picks selection will also feature the favourite new releases from Deezer’s tastemakers.

They’re looking to highlight the incredible artists outside of the US and Europe as well with playlists featuring some of the greatest Jamaican and African artists among other countries’ unique and brilliant musical outputs. Presenting the voice of black creators and producers, Deezer are highlighting podcasts like ‘Black Girl Podcast’ and ‘Pod Save the People’ among many others including podcasts revolving around anti-racist discussions and activism.

In an effort to change the language surrounding music created by black peoples Deezer ditched the term ‘urban’ as a classification last month. They say that the language is outdated and have banned the catch-all time in their internal discussions and particularly for use on their platform.

Junior Foster, Deezer’s Head of Global Artist Relations and the Global Editor for the new channel, says: “We support the BLM movement. Throughout history, black musicians have been making music the world loves. In more recent years, black podcast creators have hosted chart-topping shows. 

“Yet not all black creators are getting the attention and respect they deserve. We want to make sure that there is a permanent space on Deezer where we can highlight black talent globally.”

Discover the Black Culture channel on Deezer here.

Jeff Bezos doesn’t know if Amazon-owned company Twitch pays royalties to artists

When questioned in Congress about Twitch streaming but not licensing music, Bezos responded “I don’t know”.

For some context, Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. Twitch has since grown to be the world’s leading live streaming platform. Lockdown has only spurred their growth, with recent news that Logic has signed a seven figure deal with the company.

When a content creator on YouTube or Facebook uses copyright protected music, their system automatically determines the copyright status of the track and will place ads to monetise the video for the artist if necessary. As Twitch does not have the same Content ID-like system in place, using unlicensed music is illegal. This forces content creators to outsource for licenses from artists and labels or use royalty-free music. Twitch are therefore required to comply with DMCA takedown requests from copyright-holders. This lack of a music license system is increasingly frustrating artists and labels.

The 29th July saw Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust hearing.

Congressman Kelly Armstrong had some questions regarding Twitch’s use of music on the platform. “Music can be used to drive revenue. Obviously there’s a reason it’s important now. I wanna talk about Twitch for a second. News reports have indicated that Twitch users are receiving notice and takedown requests pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. My understanding is that Twitch allows users to stream music but does not license the music. Is that correct?”

Bezos responded: “I’m going to have to ask that I could get back to your office with an answer to that question. I don’t know.”

Armstrong continued pressing: “If Twitch is responding to DMCA notice and takedown requirements, should Twitch consider proactively licensing music instead of retroactively adhering to those notices?” “and primarily concered about small up-and-coming musicians different people that aren’t necessarily labels to make it as easy for them to at least get cease and desist notices out as well and as we continue to move forward there.”

Bezos responded with another nothing response: “Yes, Congressman, that is an important issue and I understand it. And I will get back to your office on that.”

Tencent’s Incentive Project pays out over $84m to indie artists

Tencent Music Entertainment has announced it has paid out 590 million yuan (over $84 million) to indie artists in their Tencent Musician Program.

Tencent Musician is the online service that promotes emerging independent artists on TME platforms including QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo. The project was launched three years ago and provides indie artists with music publishing, marketing, data management, copyright management and professional training. Tencent Musicians has also streamed 50 live concerts to 8 million viewers.

“The One Hundred Million Yuan Incentive Project has opened up a new model for musicians to generate, or increase, their incomes via a variety of incentive methods.” Over 40% of musicians on the project have seen their incomes double, while more than 80% saw incomes rise by over 50%.

TME is building a comprehensive social community to connect and benefit users, record companies, and talented musicians. In addition to Tencent Musician, all of the other programs and platforms under TME cooperate with each other and third-party music labels to support different types of musicians, illustrating the openness and inclusiveness for original music.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group

Upload your music to Tencent Music, QQ Music, Kugou, Kuwo and many more for free.

Spotify users LOVE podcasts, double the amount of podcasts being listened to

Spotify’s big push on making podcasts as much a part of their platform as music is working as streaming lovers mix up their listening with podcasts more and more.

Spotify have just revealed their Q2 earnings for 2020 showing that Coronavirus hasn’t impacted on continuous growth. As the streaming platform grows it has become clear that their last few years of focus in expanding podcasts on their platform is helping to solidify their growth and position in the competitive music streaming market.

After introducing podcasts alongside their huge music catalogue, 21% of Spotify’s Monthly Active Users (MAUs) now listen to podcasts on the platform. With 299 million MAUs globally the uptick from 19% in Q1 is a huge new crowd of users tuning in to Spotify’s 1.5 million podcasts – roughly 4 million people in one quarter.

Speaking of Spotify’s huge catalogue of 1.5 million podcasts available on their platform, half of those were added in 2020 alone. With huge new exclusive podcasts on the way including Michelle Obama’s new podcast and Joe Rogan’s hugely popular podcasts, Spotify seem to be cornering the podcast market.

Spotify are playing a very smart game by diversifying their value particularly after Apple heated up the competitiveness of the music streaming market when they launched Apple Music. With such a diverse and continuously growing catalogue of podcasts Spotify have effectively become a broad audio platform rather than competing solely on the basic of music streaming.

With triple digit growth on the amount of podcasts being consumed Spotify are clearly hitting the right mark with their user base. Expect podcasts to become an increasingly larger part of Spotify’s platform as the year progresses.

Spotify’s tips to prepare for your release day

Your music has been uploaded, it’s ready to go live on the release date you’ve set – now how do you maximise its performance whilst you wait for the release?

Spotify has a lot of experience in getting people’s music up and ready for the big day when it’s finally available for the world to stream. They’ve just given everyone 11 brilliant tips on maximising your reach and listeners before and after your upcoming release goes live.

When you upload your music through RouteNote for free or through RouteNote Premium then you can take advantage of all of these tips as well as getting your music on all of the world’s favourite streaming services and digital stores. Set your release date when you upload and give yourself enough time to make the most of this advice.

1. Pitch your release for playlist consideration
2. Refresh your Artist Profile
3. Keep building your Spotify followers
4. Create playlists to engage your audience
5. Consider a Marquee or audio ad campaign
6. Update your Artist Pick
7. Share your new music on social media
8. Track your real-time streams on the mobile app
9. Check back in a week to see your stats
10. Take advantage of the many resources Spotify for Artists has for you
11. Stay confident

Check out Spotify’s article for more details and tips for each step of making the most out of your upcoming release.

How has COVID-19 impacted Spotify’s growth in 2020? Q2 results reveal all

Spotify’s long-running global growth doesn’t seem to be slowing and with the huge success of their podcasts their 2020 seems to be unaffected by the global impact of Coronavirus.

Spotify have unveiled their second quarter results in perhaps the most dramatic and uncertain year since they launched over a decade ago. Following on from years of continuous growth it looks like their new markets and increased focus on podcasts have kept them sailing forward.

The Q2 2020 financial results show that their total Monthly Active Users (MAUs) grew by an incredible 29% year on year. Their total MAUs around the world is now 299 million and still growing at an impressive rate.

Spotify finished Q2 2020 with 138 million subscribers which was an increase of 27% year on year. A hugely positive result but notably shows that uptake in free users is still larger than paying subscribers. Closing the gap between free and paying subscribers to move towards a majority Premium user base has been Spotify’s ultimate goal in recent years.

There has also been an increasing focus on their podcast content which they introduced in 2017 and have focussed on hard in the last 2 years. Now 21% of Spotify’s total users are “engaging” with podcast content which is 2% higher than the first quarter of 2020. Spotify have signed high profile podcasts exclusively to their platform like The Joe Rogan Experience to grow with both podcast and music lovers.

Whilst the report shows that growth was slowed slightly, probably in relation to COVID, in April and May across Latine America and “Rest of World” – including an increase in failed subscription payments – June then saw a positive rebound across the world.

You can read the full report here.

Spotify Q2 2020 Results

Mexico is one of the world’s biggest music streaming lovers, around 20m streamers

Mexico has been in the eyes of streaming services for years as one of the world’s biggest populations of music streaming lovers.

The people of Mexico have taken to music streaming like many around the world. The ability to listen to all the music you could want in an instant naturally spreads in popularity throughout the nation, even more-so than much of the rest of the world. The latest reports show that roughly 20 million people are streaming music in Mexico.

They are tipped by streaming services and analysts as one of the most important markets for music streaming in the world. Speaking to MusicAlly, Warner Music Mexico’s Managing Director, Tomás Rodríguez says: “That number [20m] is roughly evenly split between paying subscribers and those using advertising-supported tiers.”

In 2018 a huge majority, 86.2%, of Mexico’s recorded music industry revenues came from music streaming – $180.8 million for the year, reports Amprofon. With music streaming making up such a huge majority of the music consumption in Mexico, services have their eyes on Mexico and Spotify have called Mexico City ‘the world’s music-streaming Mecca’ with the most Spotify listeners in the world at the time.

Mexico was recorded as the 16th biggest music market in the world and the 12th for streaming for 2018. It is clear that music streaming is beloved there and it will surely only become more popular.

LyricFind expands with new teams in India and South Africa

Lyric licensing service LyricFind open offices in India and South Africa to provide lyrics in many new languages.

LyricFind hold licenses with some of the top major publishers and clients such as Universal Music Group, Sony, Warner, Google, Amazon and Deezer. The new Indian team will provide lyrics in Hindi and Marathi. The South African team will be providing lyrics in Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa, Tsonga, Venda, Tswana, Northern Sotho, Swati and Ndebele, with more African languages coming later this year. LyricFind’s Vietnam team will also cover new languages including Cantonese and Mandarin.

Many music companies see these territories as very important due to a sharp growth in streaming activity recently and expected over the coming years.

We have the largest publishing team in the world, and the highest number of professional lyric editors in the business. The reason major partners like Google and Amazon turn to us as a primary lyrics provider is for the proven quality our process generates, and our focus on building a substantial local presence and expertise around the world to ensure that.

LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne

Listen together while apart with Spotify Group Sessions

Spotify Group Session is getting an update to allow multiple listeners to tune into the same playlist or podcast, rather than simply control the music.

Still in beta, Spotify first launched Group Session back in May earlier this year. This allowed multiple Premium users to queue and control music on one host device, by simply scanning the phone. Perfect for house parties, where there is one device hooked up to the sound system.

The new update to Group Session adds support for multiple devices to be listening at the same time, as well as controlling the music/podcast. This works whether you’re next to each other or opposite sides of the world, and supports 2-5 listeners.

It seems Spotify are still rolling out this aspect of Group Session, as it’s not present on either of the two Spotify Premium accounts I tested. Spotify say, simply head to the play screen, tap the Connect button in the bottom left corner, then scroll down to “Start a group session” and share the invite link in a message, on social media, or by having your friend scan your Spotify code if they’re next to you.

Similarly to Group Session previously, anyone can play, pause, skip and queue tracks. This will be reflected on all devices.

Note, Group Session is still in beta, so experiences may vary and new features may be added over time.

Resso was installed almost 3 million times in June

Sensor Tower reports social music streaming app from ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) gets nearly 3 million installs from India in June.

Despite only being publicly available in India since March 2020, Resso has managed to rack-up an estimated 10.6 million installs, with almost 3m coming from June alone.

The music streaming/social media platform was not banned by India during the culling of many Chinese-based apps, which saw TikTok removed from app stores and made unavailable in the country earlier this month.

Sensor Tower suggest the app saw huge growth in May and June, with a shortcut to Resso found in TikTok, to listen to tracks in full. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how TikTok’s removal affects Resso’s July figures.

Click here to get your music on Resso for free.