UK Takes Back Spot As 3rd Biggest Music Market in the World

The UK has surpassed Germany and reclaimed it’s place as the number 3 music market globally, IFPI report reveals.

The IFPI released their global music report for 2015 last week, showing that the music industry was on the up for the first time in 20 years, thanks to digital music streaming and downloads. The report also revealed that the UK had re-entered the top 3 music markets in the world with a growth of 0.6%.

With revenues totalling $1.354 billion in 2015 the UK just slipped past Germany, who saw a drop of 0.3% with a total revenues of $1.310 billion from music, pushing Germany into fourth place. The US of course remains number 1 with unrivalled revenues of almost $5 billion, up 1% on 2014. Japan meanwhile also maintains it’s spot as the second largest market with a 3% rise equalling revenues of $2.447 billion. Japan was also revealed to be the biggest market globally for physical music sales.

Whilst the UK’s total music revenues rose they placed fourth in the sales of physical music, however came in second for revenues from performance rights and synchronisation. Meanwhile on the other side of the world the music market with the biggest growth in 2015 was China which grew an exponential 63.8% on 2014, thanks largely due to a crackdown on music legalities.

Behind Germany for overall revenues in the music industry was France at No.5, Australia at No.6, Canada at No.7, South Korea at No.8, Italy at No.9, and Brazil at No.10.

Gibson Support Music Students Partnering With Abbey Road Institute

Abbey Road Institute, a music education initiative from renowned London recording studio, have partnered with Gibson and affiliates to offer up their instruments.

Abbey Road Institute saw it’s first year of their new initiative last year with the objective of providing “students with the highest standard of theoretical teaching mixed with our unique approach to studio education”.

Now just over a year since their first students started on the 12 month course in March 2015, Gibson and their subsidiaries have partnered with Abbey Road to offer their quality music instruments and equipment to support education at their established institutes around the world. Gibson will offer up a range of Gibson and Epiphone guitars, NEAT Microphones, and KRK’s professional studio equipment.

Managing director at the Abbey Road Institute in London, Luca Barassi said: “We’re honoured to be working with a manufacturer of Gibson Brands’ quality and standing, and are delighted that our students are having the opportunity to use the very best instruments around.”

Gibson guitars

CEO and chairman of Gibson Brands, Henry Juszkiewicz said: “Gibson Brands is dedicated to developing and supporting programs that offer students the opportunity to further their musical education and skills. Our commitment to quality extends to all musicians, and we are pleased to be able to support Abbey Road Institute students in their aspirations of pursuing careers in the music industry.”

Meanwhile Giulio Rusconi, a student at London’s Abbey Road Institute, praised the partnership saying: “As a guitarist I always use a guitar riff as a starting point when composing, and having these wonderful Gibson Brands products in our school is simply the best way for me to develop my ideas. Even my classmates, who mostly play different instruments, are making amazing tunes with them!”

Abbey Road

Beyond the famous Abbey Road Studios in London they have set up Institutes in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Melbourne with sites in Sydney and Amsterdam planned to open later this year. They say on their website: “Our programme was designed by the industry for the industry. We maintain the highest educational standards, support ‘hands-on’ practical learning, provide the best professional lecturers and give students access to state of the art equipment.”

You can find out more about the 12 month course and the studios at abbeyroadinstitute.co.uk.

Google Play Music Is Getting Podcasts Next Week… At Last

Last October Google Play Music announced they would be adding podcasts, then in February a famous podcaster said it was coming that month, now another 2 months later podcasts are actually arriving on the streaming platform… probably.

Google revealed they were introducing podcasts last October and expressed a passion for making them work in their music streaming service – Google Play Music. 6 months later, and one false alarm from Bill Simmons, and we’re finally being treated to podcasts from Google, we hope.

Podcasts leak tweet
Bill Simmons tweet, deleted shortly after

This time the reveal comes from NPR, so still not Google themselves. However we remain optimistic, assuming NPR take their reputation a little more seriously than Simmons. Android Police got ahold of an email sent out by NPR to members, letting them know that their podcasts would be arriving on Google Play Music next week.

The email reads as follows:

Google will launch podcasts on Android and other platforms next Monday, April 18, inside of Google Play Music, a streaming service similar to Apple Music. Please note: this information is embargoed and should not be shared or promoted externally until Monday. NPR has worked with Google to ensure that public radio is represented in the Google Play environment.

It seems pretty legitimate, though delusional if they expected their members to keep it under wraps – they were tempting them by saying not to share it. A Google spokesperson said to The Verge: “That’s a story we’ll have to explore. Check back soon for our next episode.”

Fingers crossed for podcasts to launch next week on Google Play Music. If it’s true be sure to hear about it here.

CÜR Media Raise $2m To Launch Music Streamer For Casual Listeners

CÜR Media have raised $2 million in funding just weeks after missing their deadline for payments to major record labels, putting them back on track with their music streaming service.

After successfully raising $2 million in investment from Intuitive Venture Partners and Katalyst Securities, CÜR Media are back on track with their music streaming service. CÜR Music is currently in public beta and upon launch aims to be the service for the casual listeners, with prices starting at $1.99 a month. CÜR Music works like Pandora with a radio-streaming style format and has two tiers of subscription: Octo for $1.99 and Inked for $4.99 a month.

Founder and CEO of CÜR Media, Tom Brophy said: “I’m pleased to have completed this financing and to move our company one step closer toward the launch of CÜR Music. I’m grateful for my team who have worked diligently to prepare a terrific and competitive product for consumers at a price-point of $1.99 per month that works for the masses.”

Although their CEO seems assuredly optimistic at this point, their funding comes after CÜR Media missed $8 million in advance payments at the end of January. With their investment they have been able to pay $500,000 of their owings to labels but that still leaves a large $7.5 million of payments due by a new deadline of June 15, 2016. CÜR Music haven’t mentioned how they plan to find so much money in two months but they’re showing no signs of impending doom.

CÜR Music could provide a unique service with it’s low paywall drawing in all the people who are interested in streaming music but not ready to pay $10+ a month. Whether it will manage to attract enough people to make it out of this hole is another story but all the best to the startup streamers.

You can head to www.curmusic.com to find out more and sign up to be notified when CÜR Music launches.

Logitech Buy Headphone Devs Jaybird To Expand Audio Products

Logitech have bought Jaybird, a company known for their range of quality head/earphones, to expand their own presence in the industry.

Logitech announced the acquisition on Tuesday, after they bought the company for $50 million, with a reported potential earn-out of $45 million if they reach their growth targets. Logitech became a big brand name for their quality computer accessories at affordable prices and have since been exploring the world of audio, particularly with bluetooth speakers. After acquiring Ultimate Ears in 2008 the company started producing a variety of headphones and portable speakers.

So what do they plan to gain with Jaybird? Here’s what ex-Ultimate Ears senior vice president and now senior vice president of music at Logitech, Rory Dooley said in their official statement:

The way we consume music has changed radically over the past decade and will continue to do so as we look to the future. Music now goes with us everywhere and as both a shared or solitary experience, it can be integrated into pretty much all aspects of our daily lives thanks to the type of products that both UE and Jaybird have been inventing and commercialising over the last few years.

Since 2011, when I started running the music business, we’ve worked really hard to move beyond our PC speaker roots. We had to do this because the way people listen to music has changed dramatically. We were able to do it by making products that were truly mobile and fit the lifestyle of our target consumers. As we said at the time (and we still say), we want to “make music social” and offer ways for people to take their music anywhere and share it out loud. We bet big on a shift to wireless and this shift has happened big time. As we pursued this bet, we retreated to home base with our existing wearable business – the custom business for professional touring musicians – but all the while we nurtured desires to grow beyond our thriving but niche UE PRO business.

What’s Jaybird got to do with all this? Well, not all music gets to be shared out loud! We see it all around us everyday – people love to listen to music everywhere and sometimes in places where listening out loud would just not work. Jaybird hit on a great idea of making products for people actively engaged in sports and who wanted music to power their passion for their sport. With the right product (and Jaybird makes them), you can now pursue your sport with music. It’s a potent combination.

This common vision around amazing wireless products that bring great music to you whatever you are doing is really compelling. The Jaybird team will have all the scope to innovate they had before. They’ll continue to feed the Jaybird brand and design products like the latest X2 wireless buds. Check out also the Jaybird ambassadors on their website and you’ll really get a flavor for what I am talking about here.

As part of Logitech, we can help Jaybird take everything further, faster. Stay tuned for further updates in the weeks and months ahead.

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Records Techno Song With Jean-Michel Jarre

2016 is the year Edward Snowden’s first track drops as a feature on electronic music pioneer Jean-Michele Jarre’s next album.

Edward Snowden is the 32 year old responsible for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s controversial surveillance schemes and opened the eyes of our world. Snowden now lives at an undisclosed location in Russia to escape various American forces after him, including the FBI and CIA. But that didn’t stop him teaming up with the legendary music producer Jean-Michel Jarre for a track on his new album.

The track called ‘Exit’ will feature on Jarre’s upcoming album – ‘Electronica Volume II: The Heart of Noise’. The two were brought together by The Guardian, who have closely reported on Snowden’s activities and maintain contact with him whilst in hiding. When they interviewed Jarre last year the electronic music pioneer asked if they would put him in touch with Snowden, and they did.

Edward Snowden NSA whistleblower

Jarre said in a video with The Guardian: “The first time I heard about Edward Snowden I thought about my mum. She was a great figure in the French resistance and she went into the resistance more-or-less at the same age. I thought a lot about what she told me when I was a kid, saying that when society’s generating something that you cannot accept you have to stand up against it. Edward Snowden became a model hero by, not saying ‘Stop’ but saying: ‘Be careful regarding the use of technology’.”

For those wanting some crooning from the most renowned data-leaker of our time – you may be disappointed. Whilst he does feature on the track his part is spoken word and not singing, though for someone who is distinguished for his free speech it makes sense. (not that we wouldn’t love to hear him belt out some falsetto)

“Music is one the things that can connect the different days, and moments, and themes of your life into a coherent narrative”

Jean-Michele Jarre electronic music

Snowden spoke about the project in The Guardian’s video, saying: “I’ve always appreciated electronic music. The melodies that I remember with the most fondness are from video games where they’re sort of generated 8-bit music and those kind of chip tunes have really made a resurgence in modern musical culture today. I think people like Jean-Michel are the ones who really popularised that and made it possible for us to appreciate it as more than just sounds, as more than just background but as actual culture.

“Music is one the things that can connect the different days, and moments, and themes of your life into a coherent narrative. There’s always something that you’re listening to, something that unites you, something that guides you, something that makes you feel when you’re in an environment that in many ways would be considered un-feeling. Music is the thing that can humanise even the most abstract moment.”

Watch The Guardian’s full video on the partnership between two very different modern icons here. You can hear a small preview of the track in the video and will be able to hear the full version when Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise releases on May 6th, also featuring guest appearances from the likes of Gary Numan, Pet Shop Boys, Primal Scream and others.

Facebook Implementing Video Copyrights To Stop ‘Freebooters’

At last Facebook have put a Content ID system in place to stop ‘freebooters’ making money by uploading other people’s videos.

Facebook video has been a massive success since it launched with users getting millions of views on videos. The platform is perfect allowing you to easily share content and view it as you browse, generating easy ad revenue for creators. But until now Facebook have had no rights management for videos, meaning anyone could upload anything and, from that, profit from anyone’s video content.

This broken system resulted in an emergence of freebooters, users with large fanbases who reupload various content and profit from getting millions of views. Many content creators were rightfully angry, especially as Facebook videos now garner over 8 billion views a day and therefore generate a lot of revenue. That’s a lot of views and money lost to creators, considering how prominent freebooters are for view counts. Even crediting the original creator doesn’t give them back the views and money lost to them.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7tA3NNKF0Q?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Popular Youtuber Hank Green wrote in a blog post titled ‘Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video‘ about how their system was broken and worked in favour of content theft. On the importance of views, beyond ad revenue, Green said: “This might seem a little like a victimless crime, but it fundamentally devalues the #1 metric of online video . The view is the thing that everyone talks about and it’s the thing creators sell to advertisers in order to make a living.”

Another YouTuber, Casey Neistat, revealed to Adweek that he had lost more than 20 million views on his content after freebooters uploaded his videos to Facebook. After spending weeks planning and preparing his “Aladdin Magic Carpet Prank” he uploaded it to YouTube and gained a successful 10 million views. But over double those views were made by re-uploaders on Facebook – losing Casey views, money, and potential fans with no effort from the the freebooters.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqlrru1V69E?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

These reasons and more are why it’s so important that Facebook have now implemented a rights management system for videos. As the biggest social network and one of the biggest tech companies in the world it’s about time. Facebook’s rights management mirrors YouTube’s Content ID system which fingerprints content and then detects and strikes presence of the copyrighted content elsewhere on the site.

At the moment it seems like their copyright system isn’t automatic and you have to apply and add your videos at https://rightsmanager.fb.com, though this may be due to the majority of stolen content coming from other video hosts like YouTube.

Here’s what Facebook say their Rights Manager will do:

  • Easily upload and maintain a reference library of video content to monitor and protect, including live video streams.
  • Specify permitted uses of each video by setting match rules.
  • Identify and surface new matches against your protected content so you can review them and file a report if needed.
  • Allowlist specific Pages and profiles who have permission to use your copyright content.
  • Outsource management, monitoring and protection of your content by using our Rights Manager API.

Facebook say if you can’t apply for their Rights Manager system you can still report copyright on a video, information on both can be found here.

Technics SL-1200 $3,300 Turntable Re-run Sells Out In 30 Minutes

One of DJs’ and audiophiles’ most sought after turntables in the world, the Technics SL-1200 returnedwith a limited edition run of 300 and sold out in just half an hour.

The famed SL-1200 ended production in 2010 but there was such a demand for the quality vinyl player to return that just 5 years later they announced a re-run would come. Now the re-run has come and gone before anyone realised it was back, selling the 300 limited edition turntables in just 30 minutes. The player is a favourite of DJs and audiophiles for its solid build and consistent quality.

At $3,300 many criticised the high price tag but it clearly didn’t stop Japan’s customers, where the SL-1200 returned. Even Technics have said that they were surprised how quickly the players sold out. Parent company Panasonic abandoned the SL-1200 in 2010 saying that the ‘vinyl comeback’ wasn’t as prevalent as everyone thought, saying: “The turntable market is very small but it is a very important brand product.”

Since the success of this small re-release of the SL-1200 there have been rumours that another 900 limited edition tables will go on sale for international customers. If however you want the quality of Technics classic turntable but don’t have over $3,000 to spend there are reports that an affordable version will be released later this year.

Global Music Industry Figures Revealed – On The Rise

The IFPI have released their Global Music Report for 2016 and it shows music industry revenues are on the rise worldwide and music streaming is dominating the market.

The report, by IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), shows that the music industry is on the rise again with global revenues up 3.2%, the first increase in 20 years. It also reveals that in 2015 digital revenues made more money than physical copies of music for the first time ever. This means that music downloads and streaming now make up the largest source of revenue for music globally.

Streaming revenues are also up 45.2% as the main driving force behind the industry’s growth. In fact it showed that between 2010 and 2015 the streaming market has grown by 4 times the size. Digital revenues on their own have seen a 10.2% rise amounting to $6.7 billion in revenue from the digital music market.

Hypebot created a great overview of the figures, showing the highlight figures and why the music industry is on the up again:

Hypebot IFPI report figures music industry

 

You can read IFPI’s full report here.

Lauryn Hill and Tidal Hosting Surprise Charity Festival Right Now

Lauryn Hill of Fugees fame has teamed up with Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal to host ‘Diaspora Calling!’ a three-day event in Brooklyn celebrating African music and art.

It started last night with a private art gallery in Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre. Diaspora Calling! is a celebration and acknowledgement of the rich culture of African art in music and visual art hosted by singer Lauryn Hill. The event is happening right now where the gallery has been opened up to the public from 12-4 and will be open at the same time tomorrow.

The music starts tomorrow and has unfortunately been sold out already. However as Hill has referred to it in a tweet as “the 1st Diaspora Calling! Music Festival” there could be more to come. For those of you with Tidal subscriptions however you can stream the concert live tomorrow, featuring artists such as Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Machel Montano and Jojo Abot as well as Ms. Hill herself.

Hill wrote a statement for the festival, saying: “Intended to celebrate the rich tapestry of artists from the African Diaspora while also illumining persistent and irrepressible themes… Even if we work independently, we are a resounding collective voice, both reconciling and embracing our relationship to history, our origins, our future and to ourselves.”