Swedish start-up Soundtrack Your Brand is looking to expand its geographic footprint and further develop its technology after successfully completing a $22 million investment round. The Stockholm-based firm, which boasts leading streamer Spotify as an investor, as well as a former Spotify business development head as a co-founder, boasts a streaming platform delivering custom background music to the likes of stores, eateries, hotels, bars and museums.
Live music experiences are set to be much more immersive, as audience members increasingly become part of performances, making live events significantly more multidimensional. And virtual reality along with augmented reality, could well be the technologies that enable these richer show elements going foward, according to the Music Trends 2017 report from Eventbrite.
There is a major need for a music streaming service that will cater to the lower end of the audio market as current mid-tier offerings from Spotify, Apple Music et al aren’t doing enough to expand the consumer base, argues MIDiA in its Streaming Music Pricing report. However, streaming pricing is inelastic so that any change in demand will be smaller than a drop in pricing – cutting the headline $9.99 price to $6.99 would simply result in reducing the size of the streaming market.
US consumers showed appetite for music cassettes last year, with album sales spiking 74%, according to Nielsen Music metrics. Justin Bieber’s Purpose,The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness and Prince’s Purple Rain were among the year’s bestsellers. However, the market remains pretty small beer at just to 129,000 copies sold, with audio tape having some ways to go to match US vinyl with 13 million unit sales in 2016, an increase of 10% year-on-year.
Those vinyl presses keep on rolling. Just last week, US-based SunPress Vinyl opened a new plant in Miami at the one-time Final Vinyl factory in the city’s northern Opa-Locka district, a location which saw the manufacture of output of reggae label Studio One. Among those featuring on Final Vinyl presses were the likes of the Skatalites, Dennis Brown, and Sugar Minott. SunPress had been looking to open its new plant in Brooklyn until it visited Final Vinyl on the lookout for short-in-supply vinyl presses. What it saw there made the company change plans.
Music industry A&R expenditure comes in at 16.9% of revenues, a metric which is higher than the equivalent spent on R&D by any other sector, says record industry association the IFPI in its Investing in Music report. Even investment-dependent pharma and biotech runs to just 14.4%, but that’s ahead of software and computer services’ 10.1% and technology hardware and equipment’s mere 8%, according to the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard 2015.
Artificial intelligence is set to transform how music is created, discovered, shared and enjoyed, while algorithms are beginning to influence the composition of music as artists embrace the tech to enhance their own creativity, says UK music association the BPI. And, according to the Music’s Smart Future: How will Artificial Intelligence impact the Music Industry? report from the BPI/MusicAlly, music’s DNA is now closely entwined with technology with record labels already exploring how AI can help bring artists and fans closer together.
UK record company association the BPI has launched its BPI Innovation Hub, a new platform aiming to bring technology companies together with music labels looking to deploy innovative tech solutions in their operations. The hub will stage a meet-up every three months with the BPI acting as matchmaker by inviting selected companies to present to each other and to foster new partnerships.