Twitch and Wasserman Music partner for free indie music livestreams

Image Credit: Wasserman Music

New Twitch channel “There is Light” will focus on indie bands and musicians, with a lineup of free livestreamed gigs.

A new channel devoted exclusively to live indie music, There is Light, has launched on Twitch. The livestream channel, the result of Twitch teaming up with Wasserman Music agency, will host a series of free concerts by indie musicians.

The livestreamed gigs will take place in venues in the US and UK with full professional production and multi-camera shooting. There are 20 shows planned, the first having already taken place on 4th May with Perfume Genius streaming from the Lodge Room in Los Angeles.

Featured indie musicians include Orla Gartland and Jade Bird. Each show will have a 30-minute support act, and an artist Q&A.

Will Farrell-Green, Head of Music Content at Twitch, said: “Independent artists have created some of the strongest and fastest-growing communities on Twitch. These artists deeply understand the impact of building and connecting with a loyal fan base. Our partnership with Wasserman Music will give indie artists a dedicated home on the service where they will have the opportunity to introduce their music to Twitch’s global audience and interact with fans on a more personal level. We are thrilled to offer new ways to support music artists as well as the reopening of several prominent indie venues.” 

For now, the gigs will have to remain as livestreams but there’s the possibility for live audiences should local coronavirus restrictions lift. Music views on the livestreaming platform have ballooned in the past year, with music channels on Twitch seeing year-on-year growth of 428% in January 2021.

Trey Many, Senior Vice President at Wasserman Music, said: “Twitch is such an exciting platform for live music, and they’re the perfect partner for There is Light. Fans will tune in to see these shows happen, live in real time. They’ll get to interact with each other and with the artists.

“They’ll get to see some amazing established bands, along with some super exciting new acts. Immediacy, community, discovery, and hope are all the things we want our There is Light channel to embody, and we can’t wait to share these shows with the world!”

Each 90 minute concert will air on Tuesdays in the US at 8pm ET / 5pm PT and on Sundays in the UK at 8pm, running from now until 28 September on the exclusive Twitch channel.

There is Light headliners announced so far:

May 4             Perfume Genius        Lodge Room             Los Angeles
May 11           Best Coast                 Lodge Room             Los Angeles
May 18           Two Feet                    Lodge Room             Los Angeles
May 25           JPEGMAFIA            Lodge Room             Los Angeles
June 15           Porches                      Sultan Room             New York
June 27           Jade Bird                    Lafayette                    London
June 29           Cautious Clay           Sultan Room             New York
July 25           Creeper                      Lafayette                    London
August 1        Orla Gartland            Lafayette                    London
August 8        The Snuts                   Lafayette                    London

More Than A Quarter Of UK Music Festivals Have Been Cancelled Over Insurance Fears

Image credit: Kieran Webber

AIF finds that the UK Government’s inaction on event insurance has lead to more than a quarter of festivals cancelling.

More than a quarter of UK music festivals that were to take place this year have been canceled as a result of Government inaction on event insurance, research has found. 

According to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), which has tracked that 26% of all festivals with a capacity of more than 5,000 people have been canceled by organisers. 

The AIF has projected that more than three-quarters (76%) of the remaining festivals could be canceled if action regarding insurance policies of large-scale vents is not reviewed, something that Boomtown organisers have been calling for since early this year. 

Also worth noting is that 72% of AIF members have also said that if their festivals do not take place this year, they will require financial support if they are to return in 2022. 

Large-scale festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Download, and BST Hyde Park have all canceled due to insurance uncertainty as well as operating before the government roadmap easing dates. However, Reading & Leeds, Boardmasters, Bestival, and a few more are currently going ahead. Although the AIF had previously warned the government that festival organisers will need assurances to financial help, as events taking place on the cusp of the easing dates (which are subject to review) will need to commit to non-refundable costs by the end of May. 

Speaking on the situation the Chief Executive of AIF, Paul Reed said: “For months now, we have been warning the government that the UK’s 2021 festival season would be quickly eroded if they failed to back their own roadmap out of lockdown and act on Covid-related cancellation insurance. That danger is now coming to pass, with over a quarter of festivals having canceled already this year.” Adding: “Without a safety net, independent promoters cannot begin to confidently invest in their events. They currently have no protection should a Covid-related issue result in the cancellation of their festival. If government-backed insurance is off the table, festival organisers deserve to know what government proposes as an alternative to prevent the widespread collapse of the festival season.”

Recently there has been a series of pilot events ran by the Government in Sefton Park, Liverpool, which saw Blossoms play to a crowd of 5,000 people. These events will lay down the groundwork for events to go ahead throughout the summer and beyond.  

A spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “As part of our roadmap for reopening all sectors in a phased and safe way, we held an outdoor test event for live music at Sefton Park in Liverpool last week to explore how we can reopen festivals.” Adding: “We are aware of the wider concerns about securing indemnity for live events and are exploring what further support we may provide.”

73% Of Music Fans Have Bought Tickets To Shows Since March, According to LIVE

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A survey of 25,000 music fans carried out by UK live music organisation LIVE has shown that 73% of music fans have purchased gig and festival tickets.

According to a recent report by the UK live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE more than 50% of music fans would attend a live show right now, while 73% have purchased a gig or festival ticket since March. 

Although it’s clear that music fans are eager to get back to it, if allowed, 25% said they would return once they felt the mitigations are in place. However, 41% of respondents said they would not attend a show if they had to wear a face mask. 

Other key findings by the report found that 75% of those who responded would be happy with the idea of a Covid certification to attend events. By July, if the UK’s lockdown easing plan continues 63% would have attended a show. 

Encouragingly, the report found that 85% of fans are planning on attending either the same or a higher number of live music events, once they reopen. 64% of respondents stated that attending live music events boosted their mental health. 

Interestingly the survey boasted the popularity of online events, with 70% having watched live music online during the pandemic. It also stated that 1 in 4 respondents will still engage with live-streaming and online events after live music returns. 

Speaking on the report LIVE CEO Greg Parmley said: “After a devastating year for the live music industry it is fantastic to see the strength of feeling from fans across the UK who are desperate to get back to live music events. The industry has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can return as quickly and safely as possible.” Adding: “It is notable that fans are willing to live with short-term mitigation measures in order to get back to live music as quickly as possible, with three quarters saying that they would be happy with a Covid-certification system as part of those measures.”

Spotify Hits One Billion Android Installations

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Spotify has passed one billion downloads on Android, doubling in two years.

Spotify is dominating the android landscape as it surpasses an impressive one billion downloads. A massive factor for this is their long-term partnership with Samsung, whose Galaxy devices come with Spotify as the default music player. When the partnership was first announced Spotify also offered a six-month free trial with their service for all Samsung customers. 

Although other options (such as Deezer, Amazon Music, and Apple Music) are available on their devices Spotify continues to be the most used. 

It’s also worth noting that 40% of Spotify Premium users hail from Europe, where Android is the most popular operating system outside of the United States. The streaming service reported that they had 356 million monthly active users in Q1 2021, and boasted a three million increase in paid users. 

Spotify’s service has expanded and diversified in recent years by boosting its podcast portfolio, rivaling Apple Music & Podcasts. As well as announcing their Hi-Fi Streaming tier that will be arriving later this year. 

Apple Music Hi-Fi Tier Rumoured To Appear Within Weeks and Will Launch With AirPods 3

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Apple Music are planning to launch their high-fidelity audio streaming tier in conjunction with the AirPods 3.

There are strong rumours that Apple Music is planning to launch a lossless, his fidelity audio streaming tier, at no extra cost. In addition to this, they are apparently aiming to launch the AirPods 3 at the same time. The rumour comes from MacRumors, a trustworthy source when it comes to Apple news. 

According to Hits Daily Double, another reputable Apple news and rumor source explained that Apple Music’s Hi-Fi will be a new tier but will still be $9.99 a month, the same price as the current plan. This suggests that the extra Hi-Fi quality will be a free upgrade for users. 

Spotify recently announced their own version of this called Spotify Hi-Fi, but it would come at an extra cost, similar to Amazon Music’s Unlimited. Other streaming services that already offer this are Deezer, Tidal, and Qobuz

Apple Music streaming currently maxes out at 256kbps AAC, which is very clear but is still compressed. If you’re an audiophile with high-end speakers or headphones, you’ll be able to notice the difference between that and CD/studio quality. 

If Apple Music has this tier at no extra cost it would put them above their competition and bring more users to their platform. It’s a massive marketing win where the company and the listener benefit. Either way, it’s exciting for music fans who use streaming, the competition between the streaming services will hopefully bring high-quality audio to the forefront. Also if this can come at no extra cost, even better. 

It’s likely that Apple will announce their new streaming tier and AirPods 3 at this year’s WWDC 2021 software showcase, which takes place at the start of June.

Apple also recently announced in an open letter that they will be paying artists 1p per stream.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers Sell Entire Music Catalogue For Upwards of $140 Million

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The Californian funk rockers Red Hot Chilli Peppers are set to sell their entire catalogue to Hipgnosis for an impressive $140 million.

The gold rush for music rights continues as Hipgnosis is set to purchase the Californian band’s entire catalogue for a staggering $140 million. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who are known for their hit singles ‘Californication’, ‘Can’t Stop’, and ‘Under The Bridge’ are the latest band to sell their music rights, joining the likes of Bob Dylan, Mick Fleetwood, and David Crosby (to name a few). 

The band’s catalogue was written largely by singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante, who recently returned to the band after a hiatus. It’s reported that the band’s catalog generates $5 million to $6 million in net publishers’ share. 

Out of all the companies looking to snap up music rights, Hipgnosis has been one of the most notable. They’ve secured music rights from artists such as Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, Timbaland, RZA, Blondie, Barry Manilow, and many many more.  

As the year goes on it’s likely we will see more artists selling their publishing rights and they’re likely to start getting younger. Recently a Concord Music affiliate purchased 145,000 owned and co-owned publishing rights from Downtown Music Holdings, this included rights for artists such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Jay Z. 

Warner Music Group Invests In Virtual Concerts platform Wave

Image credit: John Legend

Warner Music Group invests into more virtual concert spaces, solidifying the idea that livestream and virtual concerts will survive post-pandemic.

WMG (Warner Music Group) has been investing into the digital realm recently with an eight-figure sum into Roblox and an investment into tech company Genies. Now they are looking to take things further by putting money into the virtual concerts platform Wave. WMG now joins other investors such as Tencent, Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. 

The exact amount WMG invested is yet to be confirmed but they have taken a minority equity position in the company as a result. 

The LA-based company Wave blends broadcast technology and real-time gaming graphics to transform artists into digital avatars in a virtual world. These can then be streamed for fans to watch and interact with. 

Warner said that Wave will “develop virtual performances, experiences, and monetization opportunities” for its artists, including “new forms of ticketing, sponsorship, and in-show interactions for fans.” Adding: “Through Wave, WMG will be able to forge more powerful artist activations, incorporating new and fan-favorite features into their shows to fuel audience engagement.”

To this day Wave has hosted more than 50 events for several popstars, DJs, and artists, including The Weeknd, John Legend, Dillon Francis, and many more. 

Watch the a recent livestream by Wave with John Legend here:

MF Doom’s Estate To Release Alternate Version Of ‘Dead Bent’ Video As An NFT

Image credit: Adam Bhala Lough via YouTube

MF Doom’s estate jumps in with the NFT hype as they list alternate version the late rappers ‘Dead Bent’ video as an NFT.

The late rappers estate has listed an alternate version of the music video to the 1999 MF Doom track ‘Dead Bent’.

Director Adam Bhala Lough, who directed the original video told Pitchfork that only he and the colorist has seen the alternate version. The video was filmed in New York City in November 2000 and was shot using 16mm
Kodak 7231 Plus-X negative black and white film.

The NFT is currently up for auction with a reserve of 99.00 Ether, roughly £190,590. Fifty percent of the money will go to the late rapper’s estate.

This isn’t the first NFT to be auctioned since MF Doom’s passing in October last year. There were also augmented reality versions of his iconic mask being auctioned off early last month.

NFTs or Non-Fungible-Tokens is a way to purchase art digitally using cryptocurrency and have been gaining popularity among artists. Musicians such as Kings of Leon, Grimes, and Calvin Harris have all sold music and art as NFTs in the last year.

Watch the original video for ‘Dead Bent’ here:

Concord Affiliate Buys Over 145 Thousand Copyrights Including Work By Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and More

Image credit: Kevin Mazur via The New Yorker

An affiliate of Concord Music Publishing has purchased 145,000 owned and co-published copyrights from Downtown Music Holdings.

The gold rush for music rights is still in full effect as an affiliate of Concord Music Publishing has purchased 145,000 owned and co-published copyrights from Downtown Music Holdings

However, unlike previous copyright purchases, which focused on artists from the ’60s and ’70s, there included a wide range of younger musical talent such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Jay Z. The deal also includes work from older artists such as Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

Rolling Stone reports that Downtown sold its copyrights in order to focus on its other services such as publishing, sync licensing, and its songwriter royalties platform, Songtrust. 

Downtown’s Founder and CEO, Justin Kalifowitz said in a statement: “Concord is an excellent home for this extraordinary catalog that we’ve had the unique privilege to build over the past 14 years.” Adding: “Not only does Concord recognize the value of these works, but this transaction further demonstrates the true strength of the modern independent music sector.”

The acquisition was finalised with a staggering price tag of $300 million, however, it is believed that more money may be involved by the time the transaction is complete. The terms and conditions of the deal between the companies have not been made public. 

Concord has also previously purchased other notorious music houses in the past year, including KIDZ BOP and Fearless Records. 

Sony’s Profits Driven By Music, According To Financial Report

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The music sector’s strength helps sony’s profits at the end of Q4.

Sony Group Corporation’s fourth-quarter net profits rose due to the recoveries of its music, electronics, and financial business despite its gaming leg having slower earnings. 

The Japanese entertainment and electronics company recently said that the net profit for the quarter ending in March rose to ¥107.00 billion ($984.1 million) from ¥12.64 billion Yen the previous year. 

The music side of Sony’s enterprises saw the largest profit, rising 34% to ¥40.62 billion. Operating profit at its financial business more than doubled to ¥27.07 billion from ¥12.08 billion. Operating losses at its electronics business narrowed to ¥11.47 billion from ¥59.51 billion. 

Profits for its gaming business fell by 28% to ¥33.04, likely due to issues with the production and distribution of PS5’s due to the coronavirus.

It’s no surprise that Sony Music led the profits at the end of the Q4’s due to the massive music consumption across the world due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Hopefully, the increase will continue and provide a stronger music scene when normality returns.