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From AI to the big numbers - WR #210
Weekly Roundups
April 19, 2024

From AI to the big numbers - WR #210

We have a few key topics this week; AI of course but also some big companies in Music sharing impressive numbers, whether it’s from Universal or Concord.

#1. The current mindset about AI in music

Let’s start things off with Music X’s take on the current mindset around AI. The current mindset around AI in the music industry is marked by a mix of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. While some express skepticism, others acknowledge the rapid developments in AI technology, such as the release of models like Suno and Udio (give them a try if you haven’t yet!).

However, concerns persist regarding copyright issues and the underlying training data used by these models. Despite the challenges, AI models like ChatGPT and Llama 2 are gaining traction, offering both closed and open-source options for building custom models. 

As the industry transitions from large language models (LLMs) to large action models (LAMs), there's a growing emphasis on interaction and collaboration among creators. There's clearly a call to embrace AI while advocating for higher-level licensing, regulation, and understanding among creators and consumers alike.

#2. AI-powered playlists on Amazon Music

Amazon Music is joining the AI playlist trend with its new Maestro tool, currently available in beta to select U.S. users. Maestro aims to simplify playlist creation by generating music lists based on moods, emojis, and other inputs. Users can choose from suggested prompts like 'music my grandparents made out to' or create their own.

While the technology is still in beta and may not always be fully accurate, Amazon has implemented measures to block offensive content. Maestro is rolling out to Free, Prime, and Unlimited Amazon Music customers on iOS and Android, with Unlimited subscribers able to save playlists instantly.

#3. TikTok helping out in ticketing sales

TikTok is keeping its presence in the live events space by partnering with ticketing company AXS to sell tickets for events worldwide. Initially launched in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, and Australia, users can purchase tickets directly from the app by tapping on highlighted events in videos or artists' profiles.

This collaboration follows TikTok's previous partnership with Ticketmaster in 2022, extending its reach to 20 additional countries in 2023. Certified artists can now promote their live events by including AXS event links in their videos, facilitating ticket sales through an in-app ticketing feature. Additionally, AXS's ticketing services are integrated with other platforms like Spotify and Bandsintown through its AXS Anywhere program.

#4. Universal Music’s takeaway from their annual report

Universal Music Group's 2023 annual report’s insights into the company's operations and strategies are out! First, without much surprise, over half of its recorded music revenues stemming from North America. Universal continues to assert its dominance in the region while also focusing on global expansion, evident through acquisitions and partnerships in MENA, Thailand, and China. Notably, catalog tracks comprised 62% of Universal's recorded music revenues, signaling the enduring value of its extensive catalog.

Moreover, despite the importance of top artists like Taylor Swift, Universal's top 50 artists collectively contributed less than a quarter of its recorded music revenue. Financially, Universal invested over $5 billion in artist costs and allocated around $250 million towards acquisitions and minority stakes in media brands.

Finally, while Spotify's influence is implied, Universal's revenue streams are diverse, encompassing recorded music, publishing, merchandising, and investments. The report underscores Universal's robust market position, commitment to catalog assets, and adaptability in navigating industry dynamics.

#5. After Round Hill, Concord goes for Hipgnosis

Concord has made a consequent bid of USD $1.4 billion to acquire the assets of Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF). That is coming after Concord's previous acquisition of Round Hill Music's assets. The HSF board has accepted Concord's offer, which represents a 32.2% premium to HSF's recent share price. The deal is expected to be finalized in Q3 2024 after shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM) holds a 'call option' that could allow it to acquire HSF if fired as its investment adviser, potentially complicating the acquisition process. HSF's board hopes for an amicable termination of its agreement with HSM to facilitate the Concord deal. Concord sees the acquisition as an opportunity to manage HSF's catalog in the interests of composers and performers, integrating it into its extensive portfolio.

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