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…

Spotify and Anchor put their foot down on stolen podcasts

Spotify’s podcast platform has unwittingly become a hub for stolen content and so they’ve announced that they are cracking down in the name of creators.

Recently Spotify’s podcasts have been at the centre of a controversy. Their huge library of podcasts has suddenly been invaded by copycats who have been stealing podcasts and then uploading them through the Spotify-owned Anchor.

Anchor’s co-founder and head of podcasts at Spotify, Mike Mignano, has confirmed that they’re cracking down on the issue. They are expanding their detection system for podcast uploads, adding new rules and measures for monetised podcasts when they’re uploaded, and have made it easier for creators to report other podcasts.

The issue has only arisen recently after fraudsters found a workaround that let them upload existing content and get it through Anchor’s current systems. Mignano says: “This is definitely a new type of attack for Anchor. We’re working right now to ensure that our copycat detection and creator outreach continues to improve to keep pace.”

He continues: “The good news is that so many creators are using Anchor, and that growth has been far more than I think we projected, which is great, but I think the downside in this case is that, with any rapidly growing platform, that has brought on some growing pains and we need to do a better job of anticipating things like this.”

It’s especially important for Spotify that a big issue with their podcasts do not arrive. The divergence from purely music streaming has been a huge success for them in growing and consolidating their user base.

Since focusing on podcasts they have nabbed top names like Joe Rogan and Michelle Obama for exclusive podcasts on their platform. They now seem to be looking to audiobooks as their next addition to expand their platform, seeing the success on becoming more than just a traditional streaming service.

Music streaming leads impressive 2020 growth in audio despite COVID’s drawbacks

A year that has seen drops in sales and music consumption has defied the odds with continued growth thanks to the boom in music streaming.

In the last few years the music industry has been growing considerably with increasing revenues for the first time in over a decade in some countries. After the devastation caused by music piracy early in the millennium, streaming has been coming to the rescue.

Despite years of growth, thanks in large part to streaming, this year could have seen that boost undone by the impact of Coronavirus. Thankfully it seems streaming is still on the up so much that it’s bringing the whole music industry with it, Neilsen Music and MRC Data’s midyear report shows.

Their report shows that overall audio consumption in the US has grown 9.4% for the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Audio streaming was up an incredible 20% at the very start of the year.

Things changed after March and the report takes that into consideration. Whilst plummeting sales/revenues were seen across the board, especially in physical music, streaming maintained 13.8% growth in the most difficult period between March and June.

The effects of the Coronavirus have had an impact on people’s listening habits. For example, many fewer people are driving to work or for travel meaning that listening to music on the commute and in the car has been reduced. But that hasn’t stopped people listening at home or wherever they are.

In fact, Nielsen and MRC asked people about listening to music during such a troublesome year and 73% of people said that they “would go crazy without entertainment during this time”.

So streaming isn’t only boosting an injured industry, it’s giving people a much needed outlet and escape during these difficult times through the power of music.

Elsewhere vinyl records have seen impressive growth, starting the year with an impressive 20% rise in sales. Since March they have slowed down but are still growing in spite of setbacks to the point where they are now a bigger industry than CDs for the first time since the 1980s.

Vinyl records are making more money than CDs, first time since the 1980s

For the first time in 4 decades vinyl records have reclaimed their place as the most valuable physical form of music in the US.

It’s been a shaky year for the music industry. After a phenomenal start, business fell rapidly after March but in spite of the impact of COVID streaming and vinyl are still growing at an impressive rate, reveals Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s Midyear Report.

After 14 years of continuous growth vinyl records are back at the top of physical sales, beating CDs in the US for popularity. At the start of the year vinyl was growing by an incredible 45%.

After the sales slowdown from March physical album sales dropped overall to -35.4% where they were for the same period last year. That’s after they grew by a reasonable 4.6% at the start of the year.

Vinyl however continued it’s growth in the wake of reduced sales for an overall 11.2% increase on last years sales. 9.2 million vinyl records have been sold in the US so far this year.

Whilst more and more people switch to streaming services every year as their source of music, vinyl is coming back as a relic for those who don’t want to lose touch with the physical side of music.

It has become a much more romantic form of media, it’s large artwork sleeves and the process of holding a big record making them more appealing than plain CDs which have been plummeting in sales in the last decade.

The midyear report shows that total audio activity is up 9.4% so far for the year. The growth in streaming and vinyl has helped keep the industry growing even in the wake of the effect of Coronavirus.

The GRAMMY’s have a new subscription service launching this week

The GRAMMY Museum are the latest to launch their own subscription service offering exclusive interviews, performances, and livestreams from global artists.

COLLECTION:live is a brand new subscription service from none other than the GRAMMY Museum. The worldwide-renowned recording academy are offering a bunch of musical content to earn money towards their initiatives in music education.

The subscription service launches on the 17th and a bunch of content featuring some of the world’s biggest artists, like Selena Gomez, BTS, Sparks, and many more, will be available for free, without a subscription. These free shows will no doubt act as promotion to draw in new uesrs as well as a 3-day trial for the full package.

Content that has been announced includes a recent interview with Billie Eilish and her producer brother, Finneas. Hans Zimmer talks about his recent production on the new James Bond movie, discussing his original song No Time To Die.

Grammy Museum President, Michael Sticka says: “COLLECTION:live represents another phase of the Grammy Museum’s continued success with delivering music and museum-related content in a new and accessible way for our members, students, and music lovers,” said Michael Sticka, President of the Grammy Museum.

“Creating a streaming option for our programming was always a part of our strategic approach, but COVID-19 brought it to the forefront. We look forward to continuing to grow this platform, even after we re-open our doors to the physical Museum.”

You can sing up to a 3-day free trial in advance of the launch here. After which a subscription costs $2.99 / £2.24 a month.