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In this newsletter:

Deezer lowered its revenue growth forecast for 2023 from double-digit to 7-10% YoY due to slower partnership and vertical growth.

Meta has announced a new tool that can generate high-quality, realistic audio from text prompts called AudioCraft.

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) launched the A2IM Artist Pro program, providing independent artists with health insurance and other benefits for a $99 annual membership fee.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - August 4, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Deezer Lowers Revenue Forecast For FY 2023, With No Net Global Subscribers Added In Latest Quarter

In April, Paris-headquartered streaming service Deezer told its investors that it expected “double-digit revenue growth, in excess of 10%” for the full year of 2023 vs. 2022. That’s no longer the case. In a trading update today (August 2), Deezer has lowered its official forecast for FY 2023 to 7-to-10% YoY revenue growth, as a consequence of what it called “a more gradual build-up of Partnerships and new Verticals”. Accompanying that change in forecast today are Deezer’s half-year results, covering the six months to the end of June 2023. In that six-month period, says the company, it generated EUR €233.2 million in overall revenue, up 6.5% YoY at constant currency. Most of that revenue was generated in Deezer’s home nation of France – €142 million, a figure that was up 7.2% YoY. Outside of France, Deezer saw a 5.3% YoY growth in revenues (at constant currency) in the half-year period to €91.3 million. The firm’s total global subscriber base at the close of Q2 stood at 9.3 million – down 100k from the 9.4 million subscribers it counted at the end of June last year. Deezer’s latest global subscriber figure means it failed to add any net global subscribers in Q2: The firm’s total global subscriber base at the close of Q1 2023, as announced in April, was also 9.3 million.

Meta Introduces AudioCraft — An AI Text-to-Audio Generator

The AudioCraft program features three AI tools called MusicGen, AudioGen, and EnCodec to build its prompts from scratch. The MusicGen model was trained exclusively on Meta-owned and specifically licensed music, while AudioGen was trained on public sound effects. The third component, the EnCodec decoder allows high-quality music generation with fewer artifacts. Meta says it is releasing its pre-trained AudioGen models, while sharing all of the AudioCraft model weights and code. The AudioCraft family of AI models can produce high-quality audio with long-term consistency—something current music AI generation models lack. Meta says it has simplified the overall design of generative models for audio compared to prior work in the field, while giving people the full recipe for people to play with its existing models. Meta says generating high-fidelity audio of any kind requires modeling complex signals and patterns at varying scales. “Music is arguably the most challenging type of audio to generate as it’s composed of local and long-range patterns, from a suite of notes to a global musical structure with multiple instruments,” the blog notes. AudioCraft works for music, sound, compression, and generation—all in the same place. The aim was to build a tool that is easy to reuse, so people who want to build better sound generators or algorithms can do so. “We see the AudioCraft family of models as tools for musicians and sound designers to provide inspiration, help people quickly brainstorm and iterate on their compositions in new ways,” the Meta blog shares. “We can’t wait to see what people create with AudioCraft.”

A2IM Launches Health Care Program for Artists

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has announced its new A2IM Artist Pro program, which includes access to health insurance and multiple other benefits. The program, with annual membership dues of $99, provides access to the A2IM Benefits Store, which includes health insurance programs and an array of a la carte insurance options, including dental, vision, personal items protection, renters and home insurance, legal services, pet insurance and much more, according to the announcement. “We are extremely excited to unveil the Artist Pro program as a testament to our unwavering dedication to empowering and uplifting independent artists,” said A2IM President/CEO Richard James Burgess. “Independent artists play a pivotal role in the recorded music industry, and our mission is to guide them towards success by offering invaluable resources and an array of exclusive benefits.” Building on last year’s launch of affordable health insurance for executive members, A2IM Artist Pro is designed to ensure that artists can tailor their coverage to suit their needs and priorities.

With 200 Billion Views Per Day on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s Reels Are Gaining on TikTok

It’s only been a few months since Meta laid off 11,000 employees, but the tech giant is showing signs of progress. It beat Wall Street projections during Q2 2023, and one of the highlights of its quarter was the growth of Reels. According to the most recent data, Meta’s answer to TikTok gets 200 billion daily views across Facebook and Instagram. That figure represents a marked increase over last October, when Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg said that Reels had reached 140 billion daily views. During Meta’s Q2 2023 earnings call, Zuckerberg cheered the financial returns Reels have generated. He put the format’s “annual revenue run rate” — i.e. the projection of its yearly revenue — at $10 billion. Meta’s Reels earnings rival those of TikTok. According to Insider Intelligence, the latter video service pulled in $9.9 billion of revenue in 2022. The same firm projected that TikTok will reach $13.2 billion in ad revenue this year. TikTok typically stays quiet about the total viewership across its platform. YouTube Shorts reached 50 billion daily views earlier this year. The rapid growth of Reels has been driven by the format’s growing ad infrastructure and Meta’s recommendation algorithms. “We can show Reels that we think you’re interested in based on our discovery engines,” said Meta Head of Online Sales, Operations, and Partnerships Justin Osofsky in an interview with Reuters.

Amazon Music Launches Merch Integration With Bandsintown

Amazon Music has launched a new merch integration with global concert discovery platform Bandsintown. It means that fans around the world can shop for merch items from acts while browsing their artist profile pages on the Bandsintown website and app. The genre-spanning selection of merchandise for touring acts includes apparel, physical music and accessories. The merch integration will enable over 590,000 registered acts with Bandsintown For Artists to access the suite of free marketing tools to promote their merch and music to their Bandsintown followers (and the followers of similar artists) via in-app notifications, email and social channels. “Amazon Music and Bandsintown are coming together to make it even easier for fans to find merch from their favorite artists,” said Sean McMullan, director of artist services for Amazon Music. “Merchandise and touring are uniquely intertwined and we’re making it easier than ever for artists and fans to connect.” The merchandise available on Bandsintown is drawn from the Amazon Music Artist Merch Shop, which is developed and curated by the Amazon Music team. "Merch is an opportunity to demonstrate fandom and a critical source of revenue at times when touring costs are rising, so we're proud to come together with Amazon Music to further our mutual goals of helping artists and their fans," said Fabrice Sergent, Bandsintown co-founder, and managing partner.

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