Music streaming market in the UK to be probed by competition regulator

Big music companies watch out – the CMA is considering competition in the music industry. How fair is music streaming?

Do the biggest UK record labels control music streaming? We might be about to find out. Off the back of this year’s UK streaming inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority watchdog is planning a market study of fairness in music streaming in the UK.

The CMA’s ultimate goal is to increase competition in the digital music industry – a market that economically hasn’t moved with the times since the age of CDs, and seems to be dominated by the biggest record labels in the UK and around the world: Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music. The study won’t look directly at streaming services like Spotify, however.


What happens now?

Last we checked, the UK government had referred major music groups to the CMA, requesting a market study. The board has now agreed the findings warrant further scrutiny, and the next steps will be laid out for the study to get going.

The study will look at whether or not the Big Three labels and other major music groups have an unfair monopoly over the music industry in the UK at the expense of independent artists and consumers. The key will be to make sure they operate “in a way that promotes innovation and the consumer interest.”

The CMA is giving the project priority and it will be the next market study they launch. After all, as the music streaming industry continues to grow, any problems will only get worse.

Chief Executive of the CMA Andrea Coscelli informed the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee of the decision in a letter. The DCMS started the parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming late last year.

In a statement Coscelli said: “The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists. We want to do everything we can to ensure that this sector is competitive, thriving and works in the interests of music lovers.

“Over the past decade, the music industry has evolved almost beyond recognition, with streaming now accounting for more than 80% of all music listened to in this country. A market study will help us to understand these radical changes and build a view as to whether competition in this sector is working well or whether further action needs to be taken.”


Will the study change the UK music industry?

The market study will look for and flag up any issues with competition between music companies. Unless the study finds the industry to have a “clean bill of health,” the CMA said it could wind up recommending changes in policy to the government, or push for music businesses to regulate themselves.

Other outcomes might involve taking competition law enforcement action against music firms, or simply using the findings to build evidence for a new, deeper investigation.

Any changes could affect not just the UK music industry but the global music world.


Whilst it’s still early days, this is the next step on a journey we’ll be keeping a close eye on, hoping the balance tips in favour of the independent artists and labels we work with at RouteNote.

New cheaper Apple Music Voice Plan only works with Siri

Image Credit: Apple

The Apple Music Voice Plan is a completely hands-free subscription, and it’s only $5.

Apple has announced a new Apple Music subscription that’s only $4.99 a month. The catch? You’ll have to ask Siri – for everything.

Voice Plan is completely hands-free, meaning you ask Siri to play tracks from the complete Apple Music catalogue. The app has all the normal playback controls for songs, as well as Apple Radio stations and playlists, except you can only use your voice.

Working with all Siri-enabled devices like AirPods, iPhone, CarPlay, Apple Watch, Apple TV or HomePod, the new plan also gives subscribers suggestions based on the Siri queue of recently played songs and on the user’s favourite tracks.

Image Credit: Apple

Once the plan officially launches, you won’t even need to use your hands to sign up – just say “Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial” to sign up to a free seven-day trial within the app. Thereafter the subscription cost is $4.99, which is substantially cheaper than the $9.99 Apple Music subscription.

The plan is completely built around Siri. Oliver Schusser, Vice President of Apple Music and Beats, said: “Apple Music and Siri are natural partners and already work seamlessly together. With Siri actively used on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, we are thrilled to add this new plan that delivers an effortless music experience just by using your voice and makes Apple Music accessible to even more people around the world.”

However, as you would expect with a drop in price, Voice Plan doesn’t have all the features of an Apple Music plan. There’s no music videos, lyrics, Lossless playback or Spatial Audio. You can’t create your own playlists either.

Meanwhile, Apple is creating playlists that have been optimized for voice requests, available for all Apple Music subscribers. That’s things like dinner party playlists which you simply ask Siri to play.  

Voice Plan is dropping in 17 territories later this year. The countries include Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Thinking about releasing your own music? Put your songs onto Apple Music for free with RouteNote. Send your songs worldwide for free, without giving up the rights to your music or getting trapped in a record contract.

Sign up today here.

Latin music is the fastest growing in the world

Image credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Latin American music is getting more popular with the fastest revenue growth in the world.

Latin music’s recorded music revenues have grown a huge 37% first in the first six months of 2021 for the U.S.. This is according the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) mid-year Latin revenue report which reveals that Latin music generated $407 million in the U.S. market in the first half of the year.

This means that Latin music was the fastest growing sector in the entire U.S. music market, growing faster than the overall recorded revenues. The overall music market in the U.S. grew by 27% in the first half of the year, compared to the results in the first six months of 2020.

Overall, Latin music makes up 5.8% of the total U.S. music market. RIAA reveal that 96% of the overall $407 million music revenues for the U.S. were made from music streaming.

Latin music has been surging in popularity in recent years with artists like Daddy Yankee, Camila Cabello, Luis Fonsi, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin hitting the charts regularly. The genre – which largely refers to music spoken in Spanish and originating from Latin America – grew from $250 million in the first half of 2019, to $298 million in the first half of 2020, to an incredible $407 million in the first half of this year.

RIAA COO, Michele Ballantyne said: “It’s incredible to see continued double-digit growth in Latin music — outpacing the already strong performance we’ve seen across other music segments and categories and powering new opportunities and greater diversity across our business. This sustained and accelerating expansion speaks to a rising openness to new artists, music and ways of listening — with younger fans now spending 20% of their time listening in languages other than English.”

RouteNote Artists’ sales statistics for August 2021 are now available

You can now view your Sales and Streaming Statistics for June 2021 on your account at www.routenote.com.

Log-in to see your earnings, with full breakdowns of your streams and sales across all stores and platforms in your Statistics page.

Payments will be made between now and the 20th if your earnings have reached the $50 threshold.

If you have any questions or issues then please create a ticket or send an email to support@routenote.com and our friendly support team will be happy to help.

RouteNote’s New Music Releases 15th October 2021: Eleven songs to get the weekend started

Here are 11 of the best new songs from RouteNote artists to brighten your Friday – turn that music up loud!

Hello, weekend! It’s Friday and that means a whole load of new music going onto our RouteNote playlists.

RouteNote’s in house playlists are crammed full of great tracks. Every week we hand-pick songs for our four playlists – HookedCatalystLo-Fi, and Tranquilize.

Each mix captures a different mood to suit however you’re feeling and whatever mischief you’re getting up to this weekend. Below are 11 of the best tracks hitting the playlists this Friday.

All these fabulous featured artists chose RouteNote to distribute their music. For the chance to get your music on our in house playlists, upload your songs with RouteNote today – it’s free.


Lorenz Koin, Bromage – Pulling Me Under

The first pick from our Hooked playlist of high-tempo tracks is “Pulling Me Under,” featuring catchy melodies and a motivational beat.


SP3CTRUM, Stephen Geisler – The Way

Next up from Hooked is “The Way.” Handclaps keep the pace up whilst the ominous bass builds the excitement to push you into the weekend.


Rydhen, Pold Castin – C90

Rydhen and Pold Castin are ready to help you prepare for the club with a build that’ll get your blood pumping. Turn up the bass to embrace that pulsing synth hook.


Marin Hoxha – Particle

Heading into our Catalyst playlist now for some House gems. The shimmering loops of “Particle” would be a great soundtrack for your leisurely weekend jog.


Pawoh – Sunset

Next, loosen up with the swinging beat and chill vibe of Pawoh’s “Sunset,” the next tune from our Catalyst playlist.


Rolipso, PYASTA, imallryt – Show Me

Get everyone up and moving with the final selection from our Catalyst mix. Those vocal layers and haunting harmonies contrast cleverly with the charged upbeat flow.


creamy, untrusted, 11:11 Music Group – spooky, scary skeletons (lofi mix)

Didn’t you hear? Spooky season’s here, and the children’s tune “Spooky, Scary Skeletons” has been reshaped into a funky and jazzy lo-fi track. Taken from our Lo-Fi playlist. Hallowe’en, but cute.


simmerdown – stabs duty

The final track chosen from our Lo-Fi playlist comes from one of the RouteNote team! Yep, lots of us are musicians too. But we’re not playing favourites by including rising female producer simmerdown this week – hit play and you’ll understand why “stabs duty” made the cut.


Vannorte – Lotusland

Last up, three tracks from our Tranquilize mix. Press play on “Lotusland” on Monday and let the graceful guitar set you on a relaxed course for the week ahead.


Ace Gordon – MohicanNIGHTS (Chillout Mix)

Next, Ace Gordon’s track has a good groove but also an easy listening feel that fits right in on our Tranquilize playlist.


Seyu, Padre Tóxico – For A Real One

And lastly on Tranquilize, the captivating “For A Real One” opens with a shuffling drum rhythm before heading down twisting avenues of RnB, soul and hip-hop.

One of the best free effect plugins Softube Saturation Knob just got even better

Image Credit: Softube

Softube’s Extended Features give free VST Saturation Knob gain control – and now it’s perfect.

Saturation Knob is a very popular free VST plugin – it’s simple, it works, and it’s free. You can use the saturation effect plugin to add warm distortion and body to your tracks.

The one negative was the increase in volume that happens when you apply the saturation. Good news! Softube’s latest update adds gain control to the free plugin.

The changes are part of the Extended Features update from Softube, which adds a touch more sophistication to its plugins in the form of extra panels. The plugin stays the same – there’s three modes to choose from, adjusted by one large knob – but you get more control by using the new features.


The updated Saturation Knob VST includes:

  • The classic three saturation modes – Keep High, Neutral, Keep Low
  • Full customization – configure or hide the extra controls
  • Phase invert feature
  • Control over input and output gain, and headroom
  • Peak, True-Peak, RMS and LUFS metering modes
  • High-pass filter

The plugin is available as a free VST, AU, or AAX. You’ll need free Softube and iLok accounts.

Download Saturation Knob for Windows or Mac here.

From next month LA indoor music venues will ask for proof of vaccination before entry

New rules for the city of Los Angeles will require proof of COVID vaccination before allowing entry to indoor venues, cinemas and restaurants.

From November 4th, proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will be required before people can enter indoor venues, restaurants, museums and other spaces in LA. There are forthcoming restrictions on outdoor events, too. The move, which is designed to persuade more people to get the vaccine, will affect indoor concerts in the city.

Businesses in Los Angeles city will have to enforce the rules, risking fines for not policing the policy. The penalties would increase in amount with each further breach.

There’s some exemptions, including on religious or medial grounds, which would mean the person in question could use outdoor facilities – and if none are available, a negative coronavirus test will allow them to enter the venue.

Vaccine “passport” rules for events and venues vary between countries. New York has already implemented a similar rule to LA. In the UK meanwhile, proof of vaccination is required to enter large events and nightclubs in Wales and Scotland, but not in England or Northern Ireland.

Also in Los Angeles city from 4th November, attendees of outdoor events with more than a 5,000-person capacity will need to show proof of negative test or vaccination.

The indoor and outdoor requirements will be removed only when Los Angeles ends the emergency declaration put in place during the pandemic.

Google launches an instrument tuner – online, free, and it works

Image Credit: Google

Google has just introduced an instrument tuner online that’s right there built into the top of your Google search.

Google’s new super useful guitar tuner, free online, is just a search away. The instrument tuner works with anything, whether that’s an acoustic guitar or a flute.

Just type “Google tuner” into the search engine and the guitar tuner with mic will appear at the top of the page. Hit the mic and watch the colourful dial inform you whether you’re in tune or not. No more searching for a free way to tune guitar online only to find you need to download an app, with in-app purchases.

Image Credit: Google

The free instrument tuner works on any device – computer or mobile – and is pretty accurate for a free chromatic tuner. Mobile devices do seem to pick up the sound of the instrument more accurately though, presumably because you can get the microphone closer to your guitar.

The Google tuner joins other nifty free tools, including the Metronome, Flip a coin and Colour picker, as well as the Google Hum to Search feature in the app.

Spotify sells SoundBetter – back to SoundBetter

Image Credit: SoundBetter

Spotify has sold SoundBetter music marketplace back to its founders, two years after buying it from them.

SoundBetter has been part of Spotify for Artists since Spotify bought it in 2019 – and it’s now been sold back to the team that originally founded it.

SoundBetter had been part of Spotify’s creation and collaboration toolset, along with Soundtrap. The platform is an online music production marketplace where artists and producers can network and swap services for a fee. Producers can search by genre or instrument to invite an artist to collaborate, exchanging stems and files to make a finished product, which is when money exchanges hands and SoundBetter takes a commission fee.

A statement from the no longer involved companies didn’t shed too much light on why the sale had occurred.

Shachar Gilad, one of SoundBetter’s founders alongside Itamar Yunger, said: “Spotify accelerated SoundBetter’s trajectory, helping us reach hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world. SoundBetter today has a larger community of amazing artists creating more and higher quality music, and a wider array of expanded services.”

Spotify was cordial, too. Its Global Head of Creator Marketing, Dom Sanya, said: “Together, Spotify and SoundBetter benefited from many synergies, but as SoundBetter continues to evolve, both parties agreed that the company is best positioned for the next stage of growth by returning to the founders that have been committed to shepherding it from the beginning.”

Spotify still owns Soundtrap, its online recording studio and DAW.