Drake dominates both Spotify and Apple Music’s 2018 stats

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Drake dominates both Spotify and Apple Music’s 2018 statsDrake Getty

2018 was undoubtedly the Year of Drake. The Toronto-native rhymer managed to plant himself in the headlines all year long, from rap beef and juicy drama to the year’s most ubiquitous album, and a handful of broken records to boot. Now, as the year draws to a close, Apple Music and Spotify have both released their top album and artist statistics, and unsurprisingly, Drake occupies both lists with a dominating presence.

Apple’s official rankings for top songs of the year include three Drake cuts, the inescapable “God’s Plan,” New Orleans bounce anthem “Nice For What,” and viral sensation “In My Feelings.” Drake’s Scorpion also deservedly took home the top album designation, beating out Cardi B, Post Malone, and Travis Scott‘s hugely successful LP drops this year. Spotify’s official year end numbers mirror Apple’s, with Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran in contention as well. Spotify’s year end totals also claim Drake’s music was streamed a cumulative 8.2 billion times on the platform this year.

That’s a wrap on another marquee year for Drake.

Apple Music launches Preferred Distribution Program, could signal independent artists uploads underway

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Apple Music launches Preferred Distribution Program, could signal independent artists uploads underwayApple Music Interface

Apple Music has officially ushered in its Preferred Distribution Program, which will see the streaming platform work with music distributors CD Baby, The Orchard, and Kontor New Media, to extend premium Apple Music and iTunes privileges like advanced analytics and early access to “Sales and Trends features,” to clients of the three designated distributors.

To qualify for “Preferred Plus” partnership with Apple, distributors must meet a 40,000 songs per quarter expectation. The tracks that count towards this minimum should have a low Apple Music “rejection rate.” A step below “Preferred Plus” tier, the “Preferred” partnership rank, requires a distributor to produce 10,000 songs each quarter.

Apple Music launches Preferred Distribution Program, could signal independent artists uploads underwayScreen Shot 2018 11 12 At 11.57.22 AM

While Apple has yet to reference the longer term potential of its newly established Preferred Distribution Program, it is possible that the function could precede an Apple-supported feature that would allow independent artists to act as their own distributors in sharing their music directly to Apple Music and iTunes, akin to Spotify‘s similar model. Spotify instituted its own “preferred” group of digital distributors, and is notable for doing so prior to Apple.

H/T: DJ Mag

Anderson .Paak launches new Beats 1 radio show, ‘.Paak House Radio’

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Anderson .Paak launches new Beats 1 radio show, ‘.Paak House Radio’Anderson Paak Dancingastronaut

Anderson .Paak is on a roll, and he’s ready to continue his winning streak with the launch of his own aptly titled new Beats 1 show .Paak House Radio on Apple Music. Ahead of the ultra-anticipated release of his forthcoming Oxnard LP, the R&B star will grace the internet airwaves with four episodes of interviews, jam sessions, freestyle cyphers, and more — all with his stellar live band The Free Nationals riding shotgun.

The first episode landed, and the free-wheeling format of the show will continue to give .Paak an extra platform get fans in the groove ahead of his November 16 album drop. The album will be the first solo Anderson .Paak project since 2016’s critically lauded Malibu LP, and the hype is currently at an all time high with a fresh new single and music video for the Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Tints.” With a radio show on air, and album up his sleeve, and a steadily successful promotion junket in the rearview mirror, its safe to say Anderson .Paak is riding quite the wave right now.

New study shows music is an integral part of our lives

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New study shows music is an integral part of our livesEric Ward 250010 Unsplash

According to a new consumer report, music listeners devour nearly 18 hours of music per week on average — about half of a full-time job.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is the non-profit institution that represents the recording industry worldwide. They recently released their annual music consumption report, noting the 17.8 hours a week consumers listen to music mostly happens in the car. This makes sense when thinking about daily routine commutes back and forth without audio, which sounds like torture.

The report also showed 86 percent of the listeners tested use an on-demand streaming service such as Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube. Fifty-seven percent of users who pay for these streaming services are between the ages of 16 and 24 years old, suggesting it’s mostly young drivers listening to Spotify, Apple, or YouTube on their commute to school or work.

IFPI CEO Frances Moor says the report “tells the story of how recorded music is woven into the lives of fans around the world. As it becomes increasingly accessible, it continues to be embraced across formats, genres and technologies.”

H/T: DJ Mag

Photo credit: Eric Ward/Unsplash

Research shows music industry losing $2.6B a year due to retail stores’ improper streaming

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Research shows music industry losing $2.6B a year due to retail stores’ improper streamingSpotify Enterprise

According to a Nielsen Music study, the music industry is missing out on $2.65 billion annually due to businesses using personal music accounts in their storefronts. The culprit is mostly small businesses that are using consumer accounts not intended for commercial use.

This report was paid for by Soundtrack Your Brand, who offer music streaming for businesses starting at $26.99 a month. They surveyed 5,000 small business owners in the US, US, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Germany, and France. The data found that most of these businesses simply use an employee’s streaming account.

When music is played to benefit a business, a business licenses is needed. These rights are not included in the standard consumer streaming accounts that most small businesses use. Results estimated 21.3 million businesses are using the consumer streaming account instead of obtaining the proper business license.

80.3 percent of the small businesses surveyed mentioned music is important to their business, and 86 percent said they were willing to pay a bit more for the proper license. More than half the businesses were unaware their methods of playing music was illegal. In the US, 71 percent of businesses were unaware.

Co-founder and chairman of Soundtrack Your Brand, Andreas Liffgarden (formerly Spotify‘s global head of telecom business development) said, “Lack of innovation has driven small businesses to choose consumer services, as they are far more accessible and easy-to-use than most business alternatives. We need a new generation of B2B streaming services, attractive to business owners, that make sure music makers get fair compensation.”

H/T: Billboard

Photo Credit: Mia Shanley/REUTERS

Apple acquires music analytics platform that professes ability to discover new artists before they chart

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Apple acquires music analytics platform that professes ability to discover new artists before they chartJess Watters 500955 Unsplash

Apple‘s recent acquisition of music analytics company, Asaii, appears an investment in the impending improvement of Apple Music‘s in-app, user-specific musical recommendation feature. Apple’s purchase of Asaii reportedly cost the tech giant a figure just under $100 million USD, but the company’s acquirement of Asaii’s recommendation algorithm could benefit Apple Music tenfold, given the algorithm’s potentiality to sharpen the streaming service’s ability to make in-app song suggestions. Asaii’s algorithm could allow Apple Music’s recommendation function to compete with Spotify’s.

Asaii’s value, however, extends beyond the analytics entity’s algorithm. A self-professed “automated A&R” platform, Asaii lays claim to an intricately developed dashboard that collects and displays data from music services and social media. Asaii posits that the technology enables the company to discover artists “10 weeks to a year” before the prospective up-and-coming artists would chart, a capability that could lend Apple an edge in new artist identification. Asaii comprises Apple’s second musically oriented purchase; Apple previously completed its acquisition of Shazam for $400 million USD in September.

H/T: Hypebeast

Photo credit: Jess Watters

The Chainsmokers release new original, ‘This Feeling,’ duo talk shifting career direction in new interview with Zane Lowe

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The Chainsmokers release new original, ‘This Feeling,’ duo talk shifting career direction in new interview with Zane LoweChainsmokers Side Effects Remi Pack

The Chainsmokers‘ string of releases off of Sick Boy continues with a new sultry tune called “This Feeling.” The release is a stark contrast from the previous track they dropped from the album, which came by way of a style-departing dubstep effort alongside NGHTMRE titled “Save Yourself.”

Vocalist Kelsea Ballerini fuels the track, serving as the focal point of the release with The Chainsmokers’ subtle electronic undertones anchoring the backdrop. “This Feeling” is definitely another radio-ready product from the “Closer” duo, and adds an interesting dynamic to the collection of versatile releases on Sick Boy.

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart sat down with Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 slot for Apple Music to discuss the release, and had some interesting insight for fans wondering what the duo’s path forward looks like. Pall notes,

“The fact that we can just write a new song today, and it’s not like ‘Oh shit it doesn’t fit into the album, we have to wait like ten months to put this out or something.’ You know I mean, now we just swap something out swap it around, do whatever. I think what we’re doing right now, and where our music goes, is going be the most challenging part of our career. The world is changing so fast, and trying to find your identity and write something that connects with people, that you’re proud of is right now the most challenging thing.”

Despite playing 200 shows a year, the duo also spoke about a studio session they recently had with emerging emo rapper Juice WRLD, in which they wrote not one but three tracks. “This Feeling” is a dynamic addition to the duo’s collection of hit releases, but it seems that we should be expecting plenty more to come from Pall and Taggart in the near future.

Apple to finalize acquisition of Shazam after EU closes investigation

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Apple to finalize acquisition of Shazam after EU closes investigationShazam App Apple Acquisition Dancing Astro

After almost one full year of buyer’s anticipation, Apple will now move to finalize its $400 million dollar acquisition of music-identification application, Shazam. A European Union-enacted investigation originally stalled Apple’s ability to complete the transaction, after a group of European countries including Austria, France, and Spain expressed concern that the tech goliath could endanger fellow competitors in the streaming service market if Apple were to use Shazam as a vehicle for the presentation of new features that would function in tandem with their rapidly growing streaming platform. “After thoroughly analyzing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market,” European Commission leader Margrethe Vestager said.

Vestager also affirmed that Apple’s “access to Shazam’s data would not materially increase [their] ability to target music enthusiasts and any conduct aimed at making customers switch would only have a negligible impact,” signifying that Apple’s newfound ownership of Shazam would not constitute a staggering advantage of any sort for Apple. Apple Music boasts a current 50 million subscribers, while Shazam reportedly represents more than 120 million monthly users. Apple Music’s association with Shazam will, however, represent growth for the tech monolith as it obtains Shazam’s sizable user base’s data, and with it, Shazam’s illustrious audio recognition technology patents.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Tom Morello, Big Boi, and Killer Mike speak out against police brutality on Bassnectar-produced ‘Rabbit’s Revenge’

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Tom Morello, Big Boi, and Killer Mike speak out against police brutality on Bassnectar-produced ‘Rabbit’s Revenge’Tom Morello Live Credit Associated Press 1

In anticipation of his forthcoming solo album, The Atlas Underground, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, has aligned himself with hip-hop associates Big Boi and Killer Mike, as well as ubiquitous bass producer, Bassnectar, for “Rabbit’s Revenge.” The track takes a staunch look at an incredibly volatile topic as of late, addressing police brutality in its messaging.

The track assumes an aggressive stance toward the issue, with fierce, thrashing guitar chords, and assertive lyrics to match, which allude to some of the most prominent and hotly-debated subjects of police brutality in the last decade: “Fight for my life like I’m mother****ing Mike Brown / cause I refuse to be the next ni**a shot down.” The official video for the track, released through Apple Music, commemorates more of the most pronounced subjects of recent police brutality cases, including Bernard Bailey and Neville Johnson Jr.

“Rabbit’s Revenge” and its crew of individually outspoken creators follow a towering list of artists throughout history who have used their platform and following to take stances on the ruling issues of the day, from The Beatles‘ “Revolution” to Beyonce‘s 2013 Super Bowl performance—the latter also a blast to the police force. “Rabbit’s Revenge” is not Morello’s first police force critique, either. In 1992, Rage Against The Machine released the hotly-contended “Killing In The Name” following the LAPD’s beating of Rodney King the previous year. The track was crafted in response to the officers’ subsequent and controversial acquittal of all charges.

Spotify partners with Samsung to compete with Apple

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Spotify partners with Samsung to compete with AppleSpotify Samsung Daniel Ek Photo Cred Spotify Newsroom

On Aug. 9, music streaming giant Spotify announced a monumental partnership with Samsung.

The deal makes Spotify the official music provider for all Samsung phones, televisions, tablets, watches, and speakers. The application will be pre-installed on many new Samsung devices, much like Apple does with Apple Music on its devices. Spotify will also be integrated into Samsung’s voice assistant program and will work with Samsung’s smart-home applications.

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, said in a company Q&A that this new partnership “reduces the friction for users to get Spotify up and running on multiple Samsung devices once the accounts have been linked.” He also noted that the partnership “allows us to create a seamless music listening experience together for the user that would be hard for either of us to build alone. We believe that this significant long-term partnership will provide Samsung users across millions of devices with the best possible music streaming experience, and make discovering new music easier than ever — with even more opportunities to come.”

While Ek didn’t mention any competitors in the Q&A, the partnership would allow Spotify to bolster its figures against Apple Music, which recently surpassed Spotify subscriber numbers in North America.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Featured photo: Spotify Newsroom