“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”

Alphonse de Lamartine

iHeartMedia filed for an IPO this week on Wednesday (April 3), enlisting Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as its underwriters. The company recently laid out a bankruptcy reorganization plan months ago after accumulating more than $20 billion in debt and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. The maximum aggregate offering is priced temporarily at $100 million, and the company expects to use the net proceeds from the offering to pay off its debt.

In a recent report by the IFPI, global recorded music revenues increased by 9.7% in 2018 to $19.1 billion. This is the fourth consecutive year of growth, according to the report, and paid streaming made up 37% of the recorded music revenues last year. As a result, total streaming revenues grew by 34%, while physical revenue decreased by 10.1%. Latin America and the Asia and Australasia region showed strong growth, especially in countries like Brazil, Mexico, and South Korea.

And lastly, YouTube Music added a slate of new, emerging artists to its Foundry development program, which provides artists marketing tools and training sessions to grow their presence on the platform. Artists like psych-soul guitarist Omar Apollo and Chicago singer and rapper Ann Marie were added to the roster. The program, which started in 2016, began as a series of workshops and content creation sessions at YouTube Spaces in LA, NY, and London, and it has previously helped artists like Jacob Collier and Grammy winner Dua Lipa.

Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - April 05, 2019

iHeartMedia Files for IPO

Last year, iHeartMedia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after accumulating more than $20 billion in debt. Now, the company has filed for an initial public offering on Wednesday April 3, underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, with a maximum aggregate offering priced temporarily at $100 million. Trading in pink sheets, iHeartMedia has not yet disclosed a set number of shares it is offering nor a set price range, but the company did state that it would have two classes of shares, according to its IPO Form S-1 registration statement listing Class “A” common shares. iHeartMedia owns and operates more than 850 radio stations, as well as its own streaming radio and music service claiming over 100 million users. The company plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to pay off its debt. Under the terms of the bankruptcy reorganization plan that was approved in January, iHeartMedia must undergo an intensive restructuring of its balance sheet and fully separate the Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings business as its own independent public company. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler also extended their contracts in January by four years.

IFPI Reports 9.7% Rise in Global Recorded Music Revenues to $19.1 Billion

According to figures released on April 2 by the IFPI, the organization that represents the global recorded music industry, around 255 million people worldwide were paying for a subscription to a music streaming service at the end of 2018, which is up by 32.9% from 2017. Paid streaming, in fact, drove global music market growth of 9.7% in 2018, to $19.1 billion. The IFPI Global Music Report 2019 continued by stating that last year marked the global recorded music market’s fourth consecutive year of growth, and paid streaming accounted for 37% of total global recorded music revenue in 2018. Total streaming revenue, as a result, grew by 34% and accounted for almost half (47%) of all global revenue. On the other hand, physical revenue was down 10.1%, and download revenue declined 21.2%. Latin America was the fastest-growing region (+16.8%) with Brazil and Mexico growing strongly. The Asia and Australasia region (+11.7%) grew to become the second-largest region for combined physical and digital revenue, with especially strong growth in South Korea. North America grew by double digits again, increasing by 14%, slightly lower than in 2017, which saw growth of 17.1%.

YouTube Music Adds 11 New Artists to Foundry Development Program

With the addition of 11 new artists to its Foundry development program, YouTube Music is continuing to support independent acts with a plan to add more artists later this year. The company not only provides these artists with marketing promotion, but they also receive training in best practices for growing and engaging their audience on the platform. Foundry began in 2016 as a series of workshops and content creation sessions at YouTube Spaces in LA, NY, and London, in order to provide artists tools to grow their presence on YouTube. New artists include midwestern psych-soul guitarist Omar Apollo, Chicago singer and rapper Ann Marie, and more. Those who have already benefited from the program include Grammy winner Dua Lipa. SoundCloud has a similar emerging artist initiative called “First on SoundCloud” with six artists to receive support across its apps, playlists, social feeds, newsletters, as well as social and out of home advertising. Spotify also has the RISE program, which backs artists with promo on its owned and operated playlists, editorial channels, short form documentary films, and original recording sessions.

Troy Carter Launches New Music and Tech Company, Q&A

Not long after leaving Spotify as global head of creator services, Troy Carter is now teaming up with longtime friend and business partner J. Erving to form a “new, modern music and technology company” called Q&A. The two previously worked together in Carter’s Atom Factory company and will be joined by co-founder Suzy Ryoo and Tim Luckow. The announcement states that the company seeks to “empower the next generation of artists through technology, tools and services.” In order to expand, Q&A will merge with Human Re Sources, the digital distribution and label services company launched by J. Erving in 2018. This will enable the company to “build an integrated solution for artists via distribution, management, label services, and data analytics with a highly collaborative artist-driven approach,” with a goal of supporting entrepreneurial artists throughout their entire career. The first release is Philadelphia singer/songwriter Pink Sweat$.

Streaming and Physical Boost India to 15th Biggest Music Market in 2018

India was the 15th biggest recorded music market in 2018, up from 19th in 2017, according to industry body IMI in a new published report. The growth is “well positioning India to break into the top 10 music markets by 2022,” states IMI. In 2018, India’s recorded music revenues grew by 24.5% to $156 million in US dollar terms, including a 31% growth in streaming revenues and a 21.2% rise in physical sales. It is suggested by a recent study published by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) that YouTube generates around 40% of labels’ digital revenues in India, estimating that “around 250 million people watched music on YouTube” in India last year. Another new study by research firm CMR asked 2,500 Indian people about their music streaming app habits, and 25% said Gaana was their favorite app, ahead of Apple Music (20%), YouTube (20%), and Wynk (14%). Only 50% were aware of Spotify and 40% said they had tried it. However, the study did not reveal when the survey was conducted, as Spotify recently launched in India in February.

Pandora Testing Interactive Voice Ads Later This Year

Pandora is testing out “interactive voice ads” that let listeners speak directly to the advertisement, allowing them to choose whether they want more information about the product being advertised, or skip the ad entirely. The feature is being tested in partnership with Instreamatic, an ad tech company focusing on creative new ways to deliver more engaging advertising on the internet. Interactive voice ads could offer more measurable data around audio ad impact, and whether people actually heard the ad or sought more information about a product. According to Instreamatic, consumers are already accustomed to using their voices to interact with services, thanks to digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. By using voice AI that can understand natural language, Instreamatic can better gauge unser intent. Pandora says the interactive ad experiment is way to target people who listen, but may not be able to respond using conventional means. The company plans to support other third-party ads vendors like AdsWizz later this year. AdsWizz is also working on similar interactive voice ads for audio platforms.

India and Latin America Make Up YouTube’s Top 10 Artists Chart

YouTube’s “Global Top Artists” chart for the week of 22-28 March 2019 was entirely made up of artists from India and Latin America with the Top 10 generating 1.69 billion views between them. US and European artists did not even make any spots on the Top 10. At number one was Indian singer Alka Yagnik with 204 million weekly views, ahead of Neha Kakkar’s 202 million. Farruko, Ozuna, Kumar Sanu, Arijit Singh, Daddy Yankee, Udit Narayan, J. Balvin and Anuel AA made up the rest of the top 10. On the other hand, YouTube’s “Global Top Songs” chart reveals artists like Ariana Grande, Marshmello, Maroon 5, and Lady Gaga. But even then, the current top track on YouTube is Daddy Yankee and Snow’s “Con Calma,” which is now up to 519.3 million views since its release on January 23.

Spotify Piloting Premium Duo in Select Markets

Spotify is testing Premium Duo, a discounted subscription for couples, roommates, and other co-habiting duos in Columbia, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, and Poland. The plan costs €12.49 per month, cheaper than two Premium subscriptions, which currently costs €9.99 per month each. A Family plan, geared for households of up to six people, costs €14.99 a month. By signing up for Premium Duo, pairs originally paying for a solo subscription can save €3.75/month, and those originally splitting a Family plan can save around €1.25/month. Additional benefits include getting a personal Duo Mix playlist, which is regularly auto-generated based on music both people like. Users will also be able to share playlists, or their entire library, with their partner, and will also have access to Duo Hub, a single destination to manage accounts, edit your home setup, and view settings. Premium Duo, just like the Family plan, is intended for people living under the same roof only.

SoundCloud Releases All-New iOS Profile Experience

SoundCloud has recently launched  an all-new profile experience for iOS users on April 2. The new layout focuses more on SoundCloud’s social features, with a user’s identity, track uploads, likes, and reposts now front and center. The entire profile has been reconfigured to place creator and listener profile photos, header images, biographies, and spotlights at the top. In addition, a share profile button has been added to make it easier to share profiles between friends and fans. The new top tracks section of a creator’s profile displays the top played tracks over the past 90 days. SoundCloud states that this highlight feature will help instantly introduce new fans to a creator’s most popular tracks. There is not yet any information available on whether Android users will see a new profile update. The streaming service was founded in 2007 and now features over 200 million tracks from 20 million grassroots creators.

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