“Everybody sees me as this sullen and insecure little thing. Those are just the sides of me that I feel necessary to show because no one else seems to be showing them.”
ByteDance-owned TikTok recently inked a new licensing deal with Merlin, the global agency that represents independent music labels and artists. According to the announcement, the deal covers any music from those labels to be used legally on the TikTok platform anywhere that the app is available. Sources suggest that it also covers the company’s upcoming music subscription service Resso.
Amazon Music now surpasses 55 million customers globally across all its streaming offerings, which include Prime Music, Prime Music Unlimited, and its free ad-supported tier, which launched last year. Subscriptions to its premium Amazon Music Unlimited service grew by more than 50% over 2019. Currently, the streaming service is available in more than 40 countries around the world.
A recent TechCrunch report announced that Spotify is testing a Stories feature in 2020 for influencers rather than artists with YouTube star Summer Mckeen as the first influencer to try it out. The company is expected to “roll the new feature out to other notable names across the entertainment, lifestyle and music industries in the near future.”
In this newsletter:
- TikTok Inks Licensing Deal with Merlin to Use Music from Independent Labels in Videos and New Resso Streaming Service
- Amazon Music Surpasses 55 Million Customers
- Spotify is Testing a Stories Feature for Influencer Playlists
- What iHeartMedia’s Layoffs This Week Mean for Listeners and the Industry
- Thailand Has 3.5M Music Streamers Including 700K Subscribers
- Michael Jackson Estate and BMI Extend 41-Year Publishing Pact
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - January 24, 2020
TikTok Inks Licensing Deal with Merlin to Use Music from Independent Labels in Videos and New Resso Streaming Service
User-generated video app from China’s ByteDance, TikTok, announced on January 23 that it recently signed a licensing deal with Merlin, the global agency that represents tens of thousands of independent music labels and hundreds of thousands of artists, for music from those labels to be used legally on the TikTok platform anywhere that the app is available. This is the first major music licensing deal announced by TikTok as part of its wider efforts in the music industry, though the company has secured other major labels, but has been restricted from going public on the details. A source close to TikTok has confirmed to TechCrunch that the licensing deal also covers its upcoming music subscription service Resso. The company recently opened an office in Los Angeles this week.
Amazon Music Surpasses 55 Million Customers
Amazon Music now counts more than 55 million customers globally across all its streaming offerings, while subscriptions to its premium Amazon Music Unlimited service grew by more than 50 percent over 2019. The new metrics were shared in a blog post on January 22, further stating that Amazon Music has also grown nearly 50% year-over-year across the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, while its customer base has more than doubled in countries where the service was only recently added, like France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico. Currently, the streaming service is available in more than 40 countries around the world. Amazon Music offers Prime Music, Prime Music Unlimited, and a free, ad-supported tier, which launched last year. A Financial Times report in July named Amazon the fastest-growing music streaming service globally, with more than 32 million subscribers worldwide at the time.
Spotify is Testing a Stories Feature for Influencer Playlists
According to a report from TechCrunch, Spotify is testing a Stories feature in 2020 for influencers rather than artists, intending to be a discovery tool rather a promotional one. YouTube star Summer Mckeen is the first influencer to try it out. Last year, Spotify tested a similar feature for its Playlists to allow artists to interact with fans. TechCrunch further reported that Spotify plans to “roll the new feature out to other notable names across the entertainment, lifestyle and music industries in the near future”.
What iHeartMedia’s Layoffs This Week Mean for Listeners and the Industry
Layoffs of hundreds of employees at iHeartMedia this week has been described as a move to modernize the company, meaning two things: A shift in emphasis from AM-FM airwaves to apps, streaming, and podcasts; and an increase in centralized, syndicated programming rather than live, local DJs. iHeart reps would not comment on the number of layoffs or discuss strategy, other than releasing a statement that says in part, "This is another step in the company's successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future." Listenership for iHeartMedia’s more than 850 stations remains strong, but traditional radio advertising revenue has declined, and the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, cutting its debt from $16 billion to $6 billion. A label source suggests that iHeart is trying to move into the “Spotify and Pandora side,” by structuring its business more like a digital or streaming service than a traditional radio station.
Thailand Has 3.5M Music Streamers Including 700K Subscribers
Warner Music Thailand MD Karl Kongkham spoke at Music Ally’s latest Country Profile, stating that around 3.5 million people in Thailand use a music streaming service at the moment (excluding YouTube), with approximately 700,000 paying to subscribe to one of the three major streaming services: Apple Music, Spotify, and Joox. With Thailand’s population around seven times that of Sweden, that would mean up to 21 million potential music streaming subscribers, a vast number for a country where digital has only recently turned around years of decline in recorded music revenue. Streaming income in Thailand has increased from $20.7 million in 2017 to $28.7 million in 2018, helping overall music income jump 17.5%, according to local Music Ally sources. “Access to the internet has increased, the Ministry of Digital Economy installed Wi-Fi receptors in 24,700 villages around the country to provide Wi-Fi access in 2017 for example,” Gautam Talwar, managing director of Spotify, Southeast Asia, explains.
Michael Jackson Estate and BMI Extend 41-Year Publishing Pact
BMI and Michael Jackson’s estate have renewed their pact for the publishing rights organization to represent the late singer’s songwriting catalog, as it has since 1979. The length of the new deal was not announced, but it was last reupped in 2014. Jackson had a writing hand in most of his hits, with a catalog of more than 150 co-writes that includes songs like “Billie Jean,” “We Are the World,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Bad,” “Black or White,” and “Smooth Criminal.” BMI reported that on-demand streams of his songs increased by 23% last year, a bigger jump than the one experienced by the industry at large. He has racked up an estimated 6.5 billion streams, a medium that was barely underway when Jackson died in 2009.
- Engagement over sales: YouTube's new impact on Billboard’s album charts.
- Nina Simone: Her art and life in 33 songs.
- Using machine learning to create music.
- Selena Gomez earns her first No. 1 on Australia's ARIA Albums Chart with third solo studio album, "Rare".
- My Chemical Romance drops a new video teaser of the band’s upcoming show this year.
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