TikTok creator agency TalentX Entertainment has signed a global partnership with Sony/ATV, which will provide publishing and A&R services to TalentX’s songwriters and artists while also supporting their creative projects. The deal represents a major step in the agency’s plans to build out a thriving music division that will focus on launching stars like TikTok influencer Jaden Hossler, who recently signed with Travis Barker’s DTA Records under the performance alias jxdn.
“TalentX have proven themselves as leaders of the TikTok movement with their influencers breaking some of the biggest songs on the platform,” said Sony/ATV senior vp, creative Jennifer Knoepfle and director of A&R Nicholas Bral in a joint statement. “Their pivot into music with jxdn as their first breakout artist has been incredible to see, and we are excited to be in the trenches with them in developing their next wave of stars.”
Added TalentX vp of music Gavin Rudolph, who spearheaded the Sony/ATV deal and A&R’ed jdxn’s recent streaming hit “Angels & Demons”: “‘Influencer music’ has become a bad word, and our partners and I have and will be working hard to ensure that everything we release is of the best possible quality. Simply put, we want to change the narrative. The partnership with Sony/ATV will help us continue to achieve that goal.”
South African rapper Sho Madjozi has signed with Epic Records, which will work in collaboration with Sony Music Entertainment Africa to develop the MC’s burgeoning career.
Madjozi, who scored a crossover hit with the track “John Cena” last year, independently released her debut album, Limpopo Champions League, in 2018 and performed at the Global Citizen Festival the following year. She recently won Favorite African Star at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and Best New International Artist at the BET Awards, where she was nominated again this year in the Best International Artist category. She has also won two South African Music Awards.
Madjozi has received added publicity from wrestler/actor John Cena himself, who walked out to the song at a match and also danced to it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in September. The two later met during an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show.
As Spotify continues its aggressive push into podcast content, the streaming service and Omnicom Media Group have announced a new global, strategic podcast advertising partnership worth $20 million.
Under the deal, which runs through the end of 2020, clients of Omnicom Media Group ad agencies Hearts & Science, OMD and PHD will be provided entry to Spotify’s ad tech and audience intelligence and will be given first-mover access to the streaming company’s exclusive podcast content. The deal also includes the development of joint research and best practices across targeting, reporting and measurement capabilities, as well as custom audio solutions produced by Spotify’s creative solutions team.
“This partnership is a breakthrough moment for the podcast industry and audio advertising at large,” said Spotify vp/global head of advertising business Lee Brown in a statement. “We couldn’t be more ecstatic to have an agency of Omnicom Media Group’s global influence and imprint recognizing the value of podcasts for their clients in such a significant way. We look forward to partnering with OMG to unlock the creative possibilities of audio and building rich connections with listeners worldwide.”
Managing roughly $35 billion in global media spend annually, Omnicom Media Group clients include P&G, AT&T, Activision, McDonald’s and State Farm.
Digital music distribution service TuneCore has expanded to India, with industry veteran Heena Kriplani serving as country manager.
In addition to allowing Indian artists to collect revenue from streaming services and digital download stores in their local currency, the expansion will allow them to distribute their music to TuneCore’s network of over 150 digital stores and streaming services, including Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and the Indian store JioSaavn (three other Indian stores, Gaana, Hungama and Wynk, will also be added to the network soon). They will additionally enjoy access to TuneCore’s portfolio of artist services, including the YouTube Sound Recording Revenue collection service, Facebook/Instagram Music and TuneCore Fan Reviews.
Tunecore India will additionally feature local content that caters independent artists in India, including guides written by Indian music industry veterans Achille Forler and Mae Thomas.
Since its founding in 2006, TuneCore artists have collectively earned more than $1.8 billion, retaining 100 percent of their sales revenue and rights in exchange for a flat annual fee. As an introductory offer, Indian artists will get 50 percent off TuneCore’s regular distribution costs.
TuneCore India is the eighth international expansion for the Brooklyn-based service provider, after previous moves into the U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada.
Universal Production Music, a division of Universal Music Group, has launched an Alexa Voice Skill, which will allow users to search and discover music from the company’s catalog using voice commands.
Alexa Voice Skill will tap into Universal Production Music’s search engine, enabling Alexa users to discover and listen to more than half a million songs using the voice command “Alexa, ask Universal Production Music to…” followed by any audio request, including for specific tracks and albums. The dedicated UPM Alexa Voice Skill is now available via the Alexa Skills Store on Amazon.com.
In a release, Universal Production Music president Michael Sammis noted a Gartner Study estimate that “nearly 30%” of all browsing sessions in 2020 will include voice search.
Columbia Records has signed singer-songwriter Koe Wetzel, whose first release under the label is the new song “Sundy or Mundy.”
The Texas-born Wetzel – whose music is described as a blend of “grunge, country, Americana and more” – released his debut album Noise Complaint in 2017, followed up in 2019 with Harold Saul High. He has racked up over 100 million streams and views across platforms, with songs including “February 28, 2016,” “Austin” and “Something to Talk About.”
Commercial music marketplace SyncFloor has partnered with Africa-based Mavin Records to bring the label’s catalog to more potential sync buyers. The new partnership includes a dedicated Mavin Records “SyncSite,” which will allow the label to present customized blocks of tracks to potential licensors. Its catalog will also be featured in SyncFloor’s podcast-focused marketplace SongsForPodcasters.
Founded in 2012 by Afrobeats producer Don Jazzy, Mavin Records has produced such top-tier African artists as Wande Cole, Tiwa Savage and Reekado Banks and boasts a current roster that includes Korede Bello, Johnny Drille, Di’ja, D’Prince and Dr. SID.
Tencent Music Entertainment has reached a strategic partnership with Japanese animated movie studio and distributor CoMix Wave Films, known for films such as 5 Centimeters per Second and The Garden of Words.
Under the deal, the original soundtracks from 17 of CoMix Wave’s films will go live on Tencent platforms including QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing, which collectively boast over 800 million monthly active users.
The announcement follows Tencent’s recent deal with Japanese record label Being, which owns the music copyrights to popular animated content including Detective Conan, Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball and Chibi Maruko-chan.
Composer Christopher Tin has signed a recording deal with Decca Gold ahead of the release of his new album To Shiver the Sky.
Tin, who composed the Grammy-winning Civilization IV video game theme “Baba Yetu” – making him the first artist ever to win a Grammy for video game music – previously released two albums independently. To Shiver the Sky is slated for release on August 21.
Ultra Records has signed Italian production and songwriting duo Gioli & Assia, who will release a five-track EP under the label later this year. The first single under the deal, “For You,” is slated for July 24.
Gioli & Assia’s previous tracks include “Inside Your Head,” “Something Special” and “Feel Good,” as well as covers of “These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra and “Fever” by Peggy Lee. Their music is described as a blend of “techno, house, indie, and pop.”