All the news from the world of music, tech and more...
Hello everyone -

The main news today relates to Spotify and its latest financial results. With 113m premium subscribers and a 31% year-on-year lift in premium subs overall, I think its safe to say things are looking pretty rosy for now. The advertising side appears to have underperformed, though hardly to a dramatic level. As a generally bullish update - which also made a point of getting digs in on both Apple Music and Amazon Music - it will be interesting to see how stock value shifts in coming days.

One article (and indeed newsletter as a whole) worthy of your time is Dan Runcie's latest Trapital instalment, which lists the 10 most influential business moves in hip hop. Ironically the one that continues to catch my interest - specifically Nipsey Hussle's $100 mixtape - sits in the 'honourable mentions' section, but the whole list is a fine reminder of those out there daring to think differently. Perhaps one notable aspect of the list is that only 3 entries relate to albums or recorded music in general. Take what you will from that in the age of streaming.  

Have a great evening,

Spotify now has 248m listeners including 113m premium subscribers
Spotify says that ‘developing regions’ played a role in its MAU growth outperforming expectations. “Growth in Latin America accelerated sequentially for the 2nd consecutive quarter as retention among newer users continues to improve. Southeast Asia remains our fastest growing region (excluding India),” explained the company. And India? “India outperformed our forecast by 30% this quarter,” reported Spotify, citing the launch of its first ‘broad-based’ marketing campaign there since its launch in February. Spotify took a swipe at its two biggest rivals in its financials announcement. “We continue to feel very good about our competitive position in the market. Relative to Apple, the publicly available data shows that we are adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as they are,” announced the company.
Spotify hits 113m subscribers, up 5m in three months
The subscriber numbers were confirmed in a Q3 financial update today (October 28), in which SPOT confirmed that its premium subs count was up 31% year on year (on the same three months, to end of September, in 2018). The 113m is comfortably within the firm’s guidance range of 110-114m for Q3. The average paying Spotify subscriber across the world (ARPU) in Q3 2019 paid €4.67, down 1% YoY, but actually down 3% excluding the impact from foreign exchange rates. SPOT’s global Q3 Monthly Active User count (248m) was up 30% year-on-year, and up by 16m people quarter-on-quarter.
Caffeine signs streaming deal with rapper Offset
Caffeine, the live streaming service founded by former Apple designers Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts, has signed an exclusive streaming deal with Offset. The startup has been relatively quiet since raising nearly $150 million in funding last year, but Keighran (who previously co-founded Chomp and then served as product design lead for Apple TV) told me that’s going to start changing as the company prepares to leave beta testing.
Deezer launches standalone music app for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format
As of today (October 28), artists including Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye and Miles Davis are available on the 360 app. Listeners will find featured albums in the new format, along with a 360 editorial playlist in the new app’s recommendation page. Deezer’s regular app also syncs with 360 by Deezer, enabling music fans to easily access their favourite songs without having to switch over.
Tracklib uses artificial intelligence to find perfect loops to sample in every song
Tracklib, one-stop service for sample licensing, is introducing a ground-breaking new feature on its platform: Tracklib Loops. It’s part of a larger plan for lowering the entry bar for sampling. The Stockholm-based music startup will launch Loops today, 24 October. Loops’ easy interface allows you to find a sweet spot in any track from Tracklib’s pre-cleared catalog, click on it, and the loop will start playing instantly – making it much easier to find great parts of a song that’s suitable for sampling. It’s like bringing an automatic sampler to a dusty record store.
Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy to exit company in January
Spotify has announced its Q3 results (more on those soon). Perhaps the bigger news today: the firm’s CFO, Barry McCarthy, will be leaving the firm in January. According to a financial release, Spotify said: “After playing a pivotal role in Spotify’s listing and helping to establish Spotify as a public company, Barry McCarthy will retire from Spotify on January 15, 2020, stepping down as the company’s CFO. Barry will be replaced by Paul Vogel, who is currently Spotify’s VP of FP&A, Treasury and Investor Relations.
The 10 Most Influential Hip-Hop Business Moves of the 2010s
These are the ten most influential hip-hop business moves of the decade. There are no hot takes here designed to drive traffic. If I get fewer page views because I didn’t troll you by saying “Soulja Boy’s bootleg video game console is the second-most influential move of the decade,” I’m fine with that. To make the list, a business move had to do two things: Change the trajectory of the artist, mogul, businessperson, or company involved Influence others by changing the landscape or following their lead
After Spotify songwriter fallout, Apple Music inks 3-year deal to support UK's Ivor Novello Awards
Collecting an award that afternoon, Big Deal Music boss Kenny MacPherson said from the Ivors stage: “Remember that, as songwriters, you haven’t had a [US] raise for 110 years. F**k Spotify.” This is all interesting context to heed when you learn about a new announcement today (October 25): The Ivors Academy, the body representing British songwriters/composers that puts on the ‘Ivors’ each year, has inked a three-year deal with Apple Music to “bring greater awareness within and outside the UK of the organisation, its activities and its incredibly talented members”.
Why Artists Who Don’t Cultivate Sustainable Lifestyles Stop Making Music
What I mean by “sustainable lifestyle” is building a life that makes room for making music, but also things like relationships, health, and a career that might not have anything to do with creativity. Contrary to what you’ve heard, a musician isn’t selling out if they make money in non-musical ways, and that hardcore all-or-nothing attitude is exactly the sort of thing that discourages us into quitting. “If I can’t have a life making music, then I guess I’ll just give it up,” is the gist of what musicians tell themselves before ending their careers.
Spotify tests sponsorship of full-screen album recommendations
For one, its blog post today stresses to listeners that “these recommendations will continue to be powered by your music taste, so you will only hear from artists that you frequently listen to or follow”. It seems Spotify has learned its lesson from its controversial Drake takeover in July 2018, when his new album was heavily promoted on the service, even to non-fans. Another sensitivity is showing a sponsored ad unit to listeners who pay for a Spotify subscription that explicitly promises “no ad interruptions” as one of its benefits. That’s why the blog post today stresses that “we hope you enjoy these recommendations — but if you’re not into them, Premium subscribers can turn them off”.
Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault
Now, Fox classics are going into the vault as well, for reasons the company won’t publicly explain or justify. And Disney’s vaultification of Fox titles is bad news for movie theaters that depend on repertory screenings to shore up their increasingly shaky bottom lines. The decision to broaden Disney’s artificial scarcity tactic to include thousands of movies released by a onetime rival is a wounding blow to a swath of theatrical venues that used to be able to show them, and where film buffs were able to see them with an audience.
Why the Facebook News tab shouldn’t be trusted
About 200 publishers are already aboard, including The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed News, and some will be paid. None seem to have learned the lesson of platform risk. When you build on someone else’s land, don’t be surprised when you’re bulldozed. And really, given Facebook’s flawless track record of pulling the rug out from under publishers, no one should be surprised. I could just re-run my 2015 piece on how “Facebook is turning publishers into ghost writers,” merely dumb content in its smart pipe. Or my 2018 piece on “how Facebook stole the news business” by retraining readers to abandon publishers’ sites and rely on its algorithmic feed.
TikTok defends itself against accusations of Chinese influence
In an earlier statement, TikTok maintained that its moderators receive no input from the Chinese government, and used Thursday’s blog post to further push back against these allegations. “We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period,” the blog post reads.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says “hell no” to joining Facebook’s Libra ‘cryptocurrency’
The CEO, who also founded well-known payments company Square and several months ago shared his cryptocurrency plans with TNW, also questioned the tech giant’s intentions to issue its own ‘cryptocurrency‘: “I don’t know if it’s a gimmick…but a cryptocurrency wasn’t necessary to make that work,” he said in allusion to Facebook‘s purported plans to democratize the financial system. “It’s not an internet open standard that was born on the internet,” Dorsey said.
Twitter Q3 misses big on revenues of $824M and EPS of $0.05 on the back of adtech glitches
Twitter today reported its earnings for the quarter that ended September 30, and the numbers delivered a big surprise, falling on both sales and earnings per share. Revenues came in at $824 million, and EPS at $0.05. That represents sales up 9% year-over-year but far below what analysts had been expecting: (non-GAAP, diluted) EPS of 20 cents per share and revenues of $874.03 million (or higher, $883 million, depending on which group of analysts you’re following). The stock is down around 20% in pre-market trading.
Still looking for more? Here's five other articles worth a read:
‘Cuddlebots.’ Space-age masks. How future technology will help us sleep.
The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time
Walking as Creative Fuel
Why Isn’t There a Diet That Works for Everyone?
4 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign