✖️ Song Breaker Chart shows influencers' impact

And: Song streaming data gap; Demystifying NFT buying; OnlyFans investor problem; Venues adapting to Covid outbreaks; Tencent optimism; Livestreaming in a post-pandemic industry

Hi everyone,

No full article from me this week, because I’m working on something a bit more elaborate than usual and it’s not finished yet. Look out for that next week.

Instead, special attention this week goes to a new chart. In recent months, whenever I speak to people about how artists can gain recognition and get their music to a wide audience the answer is uniformly: TikTok. To get that break on TikTok you need others to pick up on your track and create videos with it. Now, the influencers doing this get recognition in a new chart called Song Breaker, compiled by Billboard and Logitech for Creators. To emphasize the importance of influencers, which can be musicians but don’t necessarily need to be, the number 1 spot is for Usim E. Mang, re-popularizer of Stromae’s Alors on Danse. What I like about the chart is how it showcases the need for a variety of ‘others’ to support your music. We’re at a point of social interaction online where it’s close to useless to tell people your music is good yourself. The only thing that works is when others do it. A TikTok video is the new record shop sales person telling you this or that song is what you need to listen to.


🥸 Serenade pledges to ‘demystify’ NFTs with eco-friendly platform launch (Jack Needham)

“Purchases are made with a credit or debit card via Serenade’s check out facility. This functions similar to a standard e-commerce cart, where the creation of a digital wallet and the transfer of traditional payments into cryptocurrency is handled directly by the platform.”

💵 UnitedMasters’ latest selling point: Cash advances and paying artists on time (Ethan Millman)

“Beyond the real time royalty access, UnitedMasters is now offering advances. Cash advances are already a staple of record label deals, giving artists larger sums of money immediately to be paid back from future royalty earnings. They’ve also become an oft-criticized point in younger artists’ contracts as they take label money upfront while losing longer term earnings. Artists will retain their ownership of the records after taking advances, and UnitedMasters says artists can set some of the terms of the advances as well. UnitedMasters joins other distributors like TuneCore in offering advances to clients.”

🎲 Levelling up the music industry: RCRDSHP innovates electronic dance music with new gamified digital collectibles platform (Akshay Bhanawat)

“These collectibles are dropped in packs, which can be unwrapped, and their content can be bought and sold, listened to, watched, or even combined using game mechanics to unlock cool, new premium collectibles and even in-real-life experiences.”

🧮 Tencent Music boss says regulator ruling will “impact” on the business, but remains optimistic (Chris Cooke)

“With respect to content, we will continue to broaden partnerships with music labels, and work with artists and content partners to develop more differentiated content while further strengthening our self-production capability. We also made strategic upgrades to the business model of TME Live, integrating online concerts with offline events to offer differentiated services and solutions for artists ranging from notable superstars to up-and-coming and indie musicians.”

Cussion Pang, Executive Chair Tencent Music

🤔 OnlyFans has tons of users, but can't find investors (Dan Primack)

“In short, OnlyFans has a porn problem, even though it never once mentions porn in its pitch-deck (something that multiple investors called "disingenuous.") … OnlyFans is one of the creator economy's largest and most successful platforms. And investors are content to watch its success from afar.”


🧼 Fighting against new variants: How venues around the world are adapting to surging Covid outbreaks (Nyshka Chandran)

“Until government laws come into effect, door policies will continue to determine where ravers spend their money. "The music should always inform our party selections but when going out in a group, many friends would rather skip the formalities and go to a spot with easy entry," said 34-year-old London resident Gharima. "It's not ideal but it's what happens."

☂️ How does livestreaming fit in a post-pandemic industry? (Gordon Masson)

“The relatively low cost to entry in the livestreaming sector means that hundreds of new enterprises have taken advantage of the demand for entertainment over the past year, with varying degrees of success.”

“But the pandemic has been a catalyst for people taking livestreaming really seriously, which is interesting because when you can’t tour, you suddenly realise that there was maybe a different way to do things, all along.”

Anthony Matchett, CEO MelodyVR

🕳️ Estimating the size of the global song streaming data gap (Ivors Academy)

“£500m per annum also presents a significant opportunity. lf a new music industry workflow were put in place, supported by new technologies and a programme of music creator education, the data gap could be closed significantly. Closing the gap will mean songwriters and rightsholders will be paid properly, but it would also mean that consumers would be able to explore music on streaming platforms more easily. lt would reduce the administrative burden for labels and distributors and would greatly reduce the matching task undertaken by collecting societies.”

🛑 The live events economy steps back (Courtenay Brown)

“The multibillion-dollar events industry — conventions, concerts and more — is rushing to salvage its restart amid rising coronavirus cases.”

Will we reach herd immunity for the new coronavirus? (David Spiegelthaler & Anthony Masters)

“Sars-CoV-2 is becoming endemic, meaning continued recurrent outbreaks, especially in communities with low levels of immunity. We shall all remain at some risk, which is a difficult message for those with extreme anxiety about Covid-19. But while herd immunity may be an unattainable goal, every step towards it helps.”


I’m a big fan of the Manchester Collective, a new kind of classical music group who are heavily invested in the visual. They perform different kinds of music, and often get composers to write music specifically for them. Today, I want to share a performance from the collective of one of my own favourite pieces of music: Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel.