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News of the Week 10/26 Selected music industry news

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Financing 

Tencent Set to Acquire Minority Stake in A&R Startup

On October 28th, we learned that Tencent Holdings will acquire a minority stake in Instrumental, an A&R startup, as part of its strategic partnership plan. Instrumental uses AI technology to assist in A&R scouting.

According to Music Business Worldwide, Instrumental has sold minority shares to two companies: Tencent Holdings and Tencent Music Entertainment.

JP Morgan Chase Rated Spotify Overweight With a Target Price of $305

On October 27th, JPMorgan Chase reiterated Spotify’s (SPOT.US) “overweight” rating with a target price of $305, citing Spotify’s successful expansion into the EU and Russia, as well as strong growth in MAU and paid users.

LiveXLive Acquires Personalized Merchandise Company CPS for $6 Million Dollars

On October 29th, LiveXLive, a Los Angeles-based digital media company specializing in live entertainment, acquired Illinois-based company CPS (Custom Personalization Solutions) for $6 million dollars.

LiveXLive will partner up with CPS, which has extensive social media and marketing reach in the music entertainment industry, to design and distribute limited-edition merchandise, including personalized clothing, accessories, toys, and virtual merchandise.

 

Labels

Sony/ATV Subsidiaries Two Extreme Music and EMI Production Music Merges

On October 26, Sony/ATV, the music publishing arm of Sony Music Group, has merged two subsidiaries, Extreme Music and EMI Production Music. Extreme Music founder Russell Emanuel was appointed the president and CEO of the new company. Russell Emanuel worked at Abbey Road studio in his early years. He has been Hans Zimmer’s business partner in recent years.

Grimes Launches AI Music Project in Collaboration with Technology Company Endel

On October 29th, singer-songwriter Grimes and technology company Endel launched a sleep soundscape, AI Lullaby. AI Lullaby creates different sleep-inducing sounds for users according to their environment.

Sony Music’s Revenue Estimated to Reach 8 Billion US Dollars Next Year

On October 29th, Sony released its revenue forecast for the fiscal year 2020. The revenue of the music segment is estimated to reach 850 billion yen, about 8 billion U.S. dollars. Sony attributed the projected revenue growth to the expanding streaming sector and games.

 

Live Entertainment

 

Rock Band The Wild Cooperative Adds One Stop in its 2020 Tour

On October 27th, The Wild Cooperative announced that they are adding one stop in their tour “How In the Wind” at MAO Livehouse in Beijing on December 26th. The pre-sale ticket will be 150 RMB and the regular price will be 180 RMB.

TME Live Announces Plan to Broadcast Billie Eillish China Special Online Concert

On October 27th, TME Live announced that it will be streaming Billie Eilish “Where Do We Go” Tour China Special online concert for free on major TME platforms including QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing. Three promotional videos of this concert have already been released.

The Coming One Announces National Tour Plan

On October 28th, The Coming One, a popular music competition variety show produced by Tencent Video, has officially announced its  “Super Class One” National Tour. Top contestants in the show will perform in eight cities across the country. Early bird tickets are 299 yuan, full-price tickets are 399 yuan, and VIP tickets are 559 yuan. Tickets are only sold through the All Together Now mobile app.

The Lineup for the first Anaya Garage Life Music Festival is Announced

On October 29th, the first Anaya Garage Life Music Festival announced its lineup. Sixteen bands including Mercader, Nocturnes, The Wile Cooperative, and IZ will perform there. In addition to band performances, the festival will also have silent film soundtracks exhibitions, music documentary screenings, night markets, tattoo parlors, skateboarding, and other activities. The festival will be held on November 20th and 21st.

Panda Eye 2020 National Tour Officially Starts

On October 31st, the 2020 Panda Eye’s “How Long Can You Be Happy” national tour kicked off in Shenzhen. They will also perform at fourteen other cities including Wuhan and Changsha. The tour will end in Beijing on January 9th, 2021.

Thailand 808 Electronic Music Festival Official Announcement

On October 25th, Thailand’s 808 Electronic Music Festival has officially announced that it is set to be held on December 11th and 12th.

Harry Styles Invests in Music Venue in Manchester

According to the Associated Press, Harry Styles invested in Co-op Live, a new performance venue in Manchester, UK. The project received a total of 350 million pounds in funding with the goal of creating the biggest indoor performance venue with a capacity to hold 23,500 people. The venue is projected to open for business in 2023.

Recording Service Company Zylia Develops VR Classical Music Live Technology

Recording service company Zylia has recently developed a new VR technology for live classical music performance. The technology enables the audience to walk to every performer on stage virtually and experience the charm of instrumental music performance from different angles.

iHeart Jingle Ball Concert Announces This Year’s Lineup

On October 31st, iHeart announced the line up for the Jingle Ball Concert this year. Sam Smith, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes, Lewis Capaldi, Doja Cat are among the performers. The concert will be streaming online on December 10th, local time in the United States.

 

Musicians

Evan Lin’s New Single Removed After Plagiarism Accusation

On October 27th, Evan Lin’s New Single “Winter Without You” was accused of plagiarizing lyrics from Lu1’s “Can’t Take You”. Mingtang Records, Lu1’s record label, issued a statement saying that they never authorized Evan Lin to use the lyrics. Evan Lin later posted an apology on Weibo. His label Sony Music also issued a statement stating that Evan Lin was not responsible for the alleged plagiarism and immediately removed the song.

Rock Band Miss Hormone Signed with Modern Sky, New Releases in Preparation

On October 29th, Modern Sky announced that they signed the Chengdu-based all-girls band Miss Hormone. The band was formed in the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in 2013. Their first new single under Modern Sky will be released soon.

Kris Wu Sets Up his Own Hip Hop Label

On October 29th, Kris Wu revealed the name of his Hip Hop label, 20XXCLUB. At Rap of China’s final last year, he announced his plan to set up his own label and invited rappers to join.

JJ Lin Collaborates with Steve Aoki

On October 31st, JJ Lin announced that he will cooperate with Steve Aoki on the Remix version of his single “Not Tonight.” The official trailer of the song has already been released and the full single will be released soon.

SM Debuts New Girl Group Aespa

On October 26th, SM Entertainment released images of their new girl group on Aespa’s official accounts and announced its official debut in November. The group is also rumored to have virtual members in addition to four human ones.

Kanye’s Says He Will Acquire Universal Music Group

Recently, on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Kanye West claimed that he would not only buy back the rights to his masters but also acquire Universal Music Group. Universal Music Group is currently valued at 33 billion US dollars. And Kanye’s current net worth is around 5 billion US dollars.

 

Copyright

Tencent Music Renews Licensing Agreement with Merlin

On October 27th, Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) and Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent labels, have updated their multi-year licensing agreements. According to the statement from the company, TME and Merlin will “extend their long-term strategic partnership, explore more ways to create value with music, and enhance the experience for TME users.”

According to the agreement, Merlin will also authorize TME’s karaoke platform WeSing to provide online karaoke services in China in addition to letting users stream Merlin songs on all TME’s streaming services, including QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music.

HIFIVE Reached Licensing Agreement with Many Companies

Hifanwu Technology Co., Ltd. (HIFIVE) announced multiple licensing agreements this week, including deals with Sichuan Dingyue Culture Communication Co., Ltd., Shanghai Hard Candy Culture Communication Co., Ltd., and Ruiming Music.

KTV partially owned by Jay Chou Sued for Copyright Infringement

Recently, Xi’an True Love Fantasy Catering and Entertainment Co., LTD was sued by China Audio-Video Copyright Association, for playing unlicensed songs. The court ruled against the company and ordered it to pay the plaintiffs 9100 RMB. According to company information provider qcc.com, Jay Chou owns a 15% minority stake in True Love Fantasy.

Jay Chou’s label JVR Music issued a statement claiming that Jay Chou exited the company in 2017 and that they respect the decision of the court.

RIAA and Other Music Institutions Criticize Twitch’s Copyright Policy

Mainstream music organizations like RIAA, National Music Publishers’ Association, and the Recording Academy expressed criticism towards the Soundtrack service launched by Twitch at the beginning of the month. In a co-signed letter addressing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the organizations condemned Twitch’s inaction on music copyright issues. Twitch responded saying that it will deal with it as soon as possible.

Kendrick Lamar Signs Exclusive Global Publishing Deal with Universal Music Group

On October 27th, rapper Kendrick Lamar signed an exclusive global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group. Kendrick Lamar is a 13 time Grammy winner, including 3 Best Rap Songs and 2 Best Rap Albums.

CISAC Projects Global Royalty Revenue to Decrease by Nearly 3 Billion Euros This Year

On October 28th, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) released the “Global Copyright Report 2020”. According to the report, the Coronavirus pandemic caused global copyright revenue to decrease by 1.8-3.1 billion euros in 2020, a 20%-35% decrease YoY.

Spirit Music Group sells B-Unique music library to Concord

On October 29th, Spirit Music Group sold the catalog of British independent label B-Unique to Concord. The catalog contains songs by James Bay and John Newman. When asked about why it sold its catalog to a competitor, Spirit responded saying it was a strategic move for tax purposes.

 

Streaming

TME Appoints Adrian Yau Kee Mak as Independent Director

On October 26th, PR Newswire reported that TME appointed Adrian Yau Kee Mak as an independent director on the company’s board, effective October 26th, 2020. Mak will also serve as a member of the Audit Committee on the Board of Directors.

Music Video Platform VEVO Partners up with Smart TV provider Foxxum

On October 26th, VEVO, the music video platform announced that it has reached a strategic partnership agreement with Foxxum, a smart TV provider, to enable VEVO’s video to be played on devices that enables Foxxum. At the same time, VEVO’s music videos will also enter smart TVs in North America, Europe, Australia, and South America through Foxxum.

Dragonfly FM and SMG jointly launch the “Sound Project”

On October 29th, the 2020 China Sound Conference was held in Shanghai. SMG and Dragonfly FM have reached a strategic agreement to launch the “Sound Project” with Putuo District Government, Shanghai Broadcasting Company, and Archimedes FM.

Deezer Sends Warning Emails to Users of its Pirated Software

Recently, Deezer sent warning emails to users of its pirated app. In the email, Deezer’s security team says that it will not take any actions against piracy, but warned users that they might face information security risks and urged them to subscribe to the service.

Musician’s Union Demands Spotify to Reform the Royalty Payment Model

On October 27th, The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, which consists of more than 6,000 music industry practitioners, signed a petition listing ways Spotify can fix its royalty payout model.

Spotify currently pays musicians a percentage of the royalty pool of subscription fees and ad revenue. The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers demands that Spotify pay at least one cent for each stream, and pay the copyright owners directly.

SoundCloud Adds Sharing to Snapchat Function

Songs on SoundCloud can now be shared on Snapchat. Soundcloud will also support sharing to Facebook Stories in the near future.

Tik Tok to Collaborate with Canadian E-commerce Platform Shopify

On October 28th, Tik Tok announced that it has reached a new global partnership agreement with the e-commerce platform Shopify. The collaboration aims to help more than 1 million merchants on Shopify reach Tik Tok’s young audience. The two companies believe that the partnership will eventually be expanded to include other in-app shopping features.

Ticketing and Concert Streaming Platform DICE Launched in India

Ticketing and live streaming platform DICE has recently landed in the Indian market. DICE was founded in 2014. Users can watch exclusive performance videos and purchase tickets on DICE platforms on phones, PCs, and TVs. It also introduced a live stream function in April this year.

Spotify’s Q3 Revenue Increased by 14% YoY

On October 29th, the music streaming platform released its third-quarter financials, which posted quarterly revenue of $2.32 billion, an increase of 14% year-on-year. However, its quarterly loss is $118 million. In Q3 last year, the company recorded a profit of $282 million.

In addition, Spotify had 320 million monthly active users and 144 million paid subscribers this quarter, up 29% and 27% year-on-year respectively.

 

Variety Shows

The Coming One Announced Season 5

On October 27th, Tencent Video released its 2021 variety show list. The list revealed that there’s going to be a season 5 for The Coming One. Contestants will be co-ed and the theme will be folk songs.

JelloRio won the Rap of China 2020 Championship

Rap of China ended on the evening of October 30th, with JelloRio(李佳隆) as the champion for this season.

Music Marketing

Converse Collaborates with Lay to Launch New Sneaker Line

On October 27th, Converse and Lay(张艺兴) revealed that they will design a new Chuck 70 model sneaker together. The new line will be launched on November 7th in Converse’s offline stores, designated retailer locations, and online store with a price of 799 RMB.

Troye Sivan Becomes Perfect Diary’s New Brand Ambassador

On October 27th, internationally renowned singer-songwriter Troye Sivan officially became the brand ambassador of China’s cosmetic brand Perfect Diary.

Alibaba Tmall to Collaborate with UMG subsidiary BRAVADO

On October 28th, Alibaba announced that it has reached a partnership with Bravado, a commodity and brand management company under Universal Music Group. BRAVADO will open an online store on Tmall to bring merchandise of iconic artists to Chinese consumers.

Bonjour Records launches “bonjour’s Icons” Project

On October 29th, Japanese concept record store Bonjour Records launched a new project “bonjour’s Icons”, using iconic musicians as themes. The theme of the first series is Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. As part of this project, themed graphic long-sleeved T-shirts and hoodies will be sold online starting October 31st.

Physical/Hardware

Huawei FreeBuds Studio Headset Released, Priced at 1999 RMB

On October 30th, Huawei held its Annual New Product Launch during which Huawei released its first headset, FreeBuds Studio. FreeBuds Studio is said to be the world’s first smart dynamic noise reduction headset. It is priced at 1999 RMB and will go on sale at 12:00 am on November 11th. In addition, Huawei also released Sound, the HiFi smart speaker, priced at 999 RMB.

BLACKPINK’s “THE ALBUM” Became the First Kpop Girl Group Album that Sold Over a Million Copies

On October 26th, YG Entertainment announced that BLACKPINK’s “THE ALBUM” has sold 1,209,543 copies, breaking the record as the first Kpop girl group album sold over one million copies.

DigiTimes: the Removal of Earphones in iPhone Packaging Boosts Sales of Apple Wireless Headphones

According to DigiTimes, the removal of earphones in iPhone packaging significantly increased sales of apple wireless earphones. Beats Flex neck-mounted headset has become a new fan favorite due to its stylish look and low price.

B&O Launches Beolit 20 Speaker That Can Wirelessly Charge iPhones

Bang & Olufsen launched a suitcase-style Beolit 20 speaker that can wirelessly charge the iPhone, introducing an improved grille and more intuitive buttons. The product is sold on the B&O official website for 500 US dollars (about 3357 RMB).

Apple Promises to Replace Deficient AirPods Pro for Free

On October 31st, Apple confirmed that a small number of AirPods Pro have sound quality problems. The product produced before October 2020 might have this deficiency. Apple and Apple authorized service providers will repair the affected AirPods Pro for free.

Music Organizations

Nominations for the 20th Southern Music Festival Announced

On October 31st, the 20th Southern Music Festival hosted by the Southern Metropolis Daily has announced the nominations. Sandee Chan is leading the shortlist with 7 nominations for her album “Juvenile A”. Peggy Hsu received 6 nominations and Wu Qing-feng received 5.

2020 Taiwan Golden Indie Music Awards Ceremony Ends

On the evening of October 31st, the 2020 Taiwan Golden Indie Music Awards announced the winners for this year. Metal band FUTURE AFTER A SECOND won three awards and became the biggest winner of the night with J. Sheon.

MIDiA: UGC Content Will Bring in 6 Billion US Dollars for the Music Industry in the Next Two Years

On October 28th, the London-based research institute MIDiA Research released a report titled “The Rising Power of UGC” in collaboration with Audible Magic. MIDiA estimates that UGC related revenue will reach US$4 billion in 2020, of which US$2.2 billion will be attributable to potential music copyright holders.

Berklee College of Music Appoints Erica Muhl as New President

On October 31st, Berklee College of Music announced that Erica Muhl will become the new president of the college, and will take office in July 2021. A successful composer and conductor herself, Muhl will become the first female president of Berklee and the fourth president of the college in its 75-year history.

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