TikTok Is the New Music Kingmaker, and Labels Want to Get Paid – Bloomberg | Anthony S Casey Singapore

They’re seeking a better deal after they missed the rise of the social video platform and sold music rights for a flat fee.

May 10, 2019, 4:00 PM GMT+8
Lil Nas X performs onstage during the 2019 Stagecoach Festival at Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif., on April 28, 2019. 
Lil Nas X performs onstage during the 2019 Stagecoach Festival at Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif., on April 28, 2019. PHOTOGRAPHER: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

Fitz and the Tantrums were wrapping up the tour for their third album last year when their label, Atlantic Records, told them that their song HandClapwas climbing the charts in South Korea. “We were shocked,” says Lisa Nupoff, one of the group’s managers. The Los Angeles-based pop band had never been there, or anywhere in Asia for that matter. But by April of 2018, HandClap had topped the international charts in the world’s sixth-largest music market, outperforming Camilla Cabello’s Havana, the most popular song in the world last year. A couple months later, the song surpassed 1 billion streams in China—even more than it had received in the U.S.

Nupoff credits much of the song’s success in Asia to TikTok, a social video app that allows users to record and share short clips of pranks, dance routines, and skits set to music. The song took off in South Korea after the 1Million Dance Studio troupe recorded a video set to the song, which other users replicated in their own videos. It went viral in China after a player of the video game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegroundsuploaded a film combining gunshots of a weapon from the game with HandClap to Douyin, TikTok’s China-only equivalent. “It was just fans listening to the song, posting videos, and doing dances in their homes,” Nupoff says.

TikTok and Douyin, both owned by the Chinese startup Bytedance Ltd., are propelling songs from obscurity to ubiquity overnight, rewriting the path to stardom for some acts. While Fitz and the Tantrums had already experienced success at home, the burst of fame on TikTok persuaded the band to focus on Asia as it rolls out its new album.

The list of acts that owe sudden success to TikTok grows by the day. Lil Nas X just scored a No. 1 song on the Billboard charts—and a record deal—after his song Old Town Road went viral on TikTok. And Supa Dupa Humble, a producer from Brooklyn, doubled his daily streams. “If you can get a song on Douyin, you suddenly get a viral impact,” says Simon Robson, the head of Warner Music’s Asian operations.

relates to TikTok Is the New Music Kingmaker, and Labels Want to Get Paid
Videos of web users dancing to HandClap became a phenomenon across much of Asia.

Musicians first met TikTok as musical.ly, a lip-syncing app founded in California and Shanghai in 2014 that had amassed more than 10 million daily users—mostly teens—by the middle of 2016. Music writers labeled it the new Vine, the now defunct short-form video app owned by Twitter Inc. Bytedance, which also operates one of China’s most popular news apps, saw enough potential in short music-enhanced video that it created its own service, Douyin, later that year. Douyin attracted 100 million users in less than 12 months; a separate app, TikTok, was created for outside the mainland.

Bytedance swooped in to acquire Musical.ly in November 2017 and folded it into TikTok, centralizing the pranks—and the music licensing—under one company. The app’s popularity has since surged. TikTok has been downloaded more than 1 billion times worldwide, and is available in more than 150 markets. It was the most downloaded free app in the world for a time last year.

The app’s sudden rise caught record labels off-guard and revived an old debate in the music industry: Is this new internet service giving artists free promotion, or simply getting rich off their work? Record labels have resisted hundreds of companies, including MTV and YouTube, that wanted to offer music for free and pay little in return. As paid streaming services Spotify and Apple Music have revived record sales in recent years, labels have tried to squelch any app that offers music for free.

TikTok, however, presented a new way to promote songs. Unlike YouTube, which features full songs, TikTok lets its users include only snippets of music in their 15-second clips. So record labels licensed TikTok the rights to music for a flat fee of only tens of millions of dollars, comparable to what record labels get from Spotify each week, to test what would happen. The growth of TikTok and the news app Toutiao has boosted the valuation of Bytedance to about $75 billion, making it one of the world’s most-valuable startups. That rankles the music labels, which are still being paid under the original low-priced deal. “When I left [last year], the industry said these deals are not going to work anymore,” says John Bolton, a music executive who helped Bytedance strike its previous deals with music companies. “It sounds like that still has not been figured out.”

Labels are now asking Bytedance for hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed licensing payments, and they’ve threatened to pull their music from the app’s library if they aren’t rewarded.

TikTok would be rather boring without music, says Yang Lu, the general manger of music for Bytedance, which is now planning its own paid music service. But he’s quick to add that the app has been beneficial to the music industry, by creating programs to support independent artists in China, Japan, and South Korea, and has teamed up with labels around the world to help promote releases. And there’s little question that Bytedance’s apps motivate music lovers: On any given day, as many as half the songs in the top 10 on Chinese music services have been made popular by TikTok or Douyin. “We are not a music promotion app,” Lu says. “But we did happen to have a huge impact on music promotion. We are a very positive force.”

Many artists agree. Supa Dupa Humble promoted his song Steppin on Instagram when he first released it in 2017. The track garnered more than 3 million streams, enough to earn Supa, whose real name is Tarique St. Juste, a deal with Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Supa had never heard of TikTok when he first learned his song was going viral, but daily streams of Steppin on music services more than doubled as soon as people started including it on videos on the app. The song has since been streamed more than 19 million times. “It’s a meme world,” he says. “TikTok exposed us to a whole new set of fans.”

The challenge for artists like Supa is figuring out how to capitalize on that growth. HandClap was a hit before it got to China, reaching the top five on the alternative and rock charts in the U.S. in July 2016; it’s Fitz and the Tantrums’ first song to go double platinum. But it didn’t start to gather fans in South Korea until almost two years after its U.S. release. Listeners in South Korea and China know HandClapfrom watching app clips, but many have never heard of Fitz and the Tantrums.

The band will now travel to Asia in conjunction with the release of its fourth album. Nupoff has been working closely with Warner’s labels in South Korea and China to build relationships with streaming services in the region. “2018 was the year China and Korea exploded,” she says, “and 2019 is when we hope to harness it.”

Premier League Inks Global Sports Betting-Data Deal With Genius | Anthony S Casey Singapore

Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk. Photographer: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

The English Premier League, which features global soccer brands such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, has selected Genius Sports Group to exclusively collect and distribute its data to betting companies worldwide.

Next season, Genius will replace Perform Group, which agreed last month to be sold to Vista Equity Partners by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s DAZN Group. Financial terms of the multiyear deal with Genius weren’t disclosed.

Through Betgenius, its sports-betting division, Genius will collect live data from inside stadiums at more than 4,000 games and distribute it in less than a second to hundreds of licensed gambling houses. The deal includes games in the EPL, English Football League and Scottish Professional Football League.

Fast, reliable data is at the heart of what drives sports betting. It’s an essential component of what’s called in-game or live betting — point-by-point, play-by-play gambles that drive most of the wagering. That same data may be used by media companies to improve programming and engagement, both of which makes the content more valuable.

“English and Scottish football is vital to any sportsbook,” said Adrian Ford, general manager of football at Dataco, the data rights holder of all competitions covered by the agreement.

Soccer’s Share

According to the U.K. Gambling Commission, soccer accounts for 46 percent of online betting revenue. The breakdown isn’t league specific, though the EPL is widely considered the most popular in the world. The wagering also helps expand the league’s presence in Asia, where the vast majority of gambling happens illegally.

Getting exclusive rights to the EPL is a coup for Genius, which was sold last year to private equity firm Apax Partners LLP. Genius Chief Executive Officer Mark Locke called the contract “transformational” for the company.

“This deal gives Genius Sports exclusive access to the most valuable sports-betting content in the world and reinforces our commitment to delivering the most competitive products and services for our customers,” he said.

Ajax Shares Fall 21% as Spurs Snatch Final Spot With Late Winner – Bloomberg | Anthony S Casey Singapore

Shares of AFC Ajax NV tumbled after the Dutch soccer team missed out on its first Champions League final since 1996 following an agonizing last-gasp defeat to England’s Tottenham Hotspur.

Brazilian Lucas Moura completed a sensational hat-trick in the ninety-sixth minute of play in Amsterdam to wipe out two first half Ajax goals and send the English Premier League side to the final by virtue of scoring more away goals, with the teams tied 3-3 across two games.

Ajax’s stock fell as much as 21% in early Amsterdam trading, erasing a rally of about the same amount that followed the team’s 1-0 win in London last week. Defeat cost the club at least an extra 15 million euros ($16.8 million) in prize money, equal to about 16% of its 2018 adjusted revenue.

But despite crashing out of the competition in the cruelest manner, Ajax shares remain up about 52% over the past year. In addition to an increased share of tournament revenue awarded by European governing body UEFA, the unexpected run to the semi-finals has put the side back among European soccer’s elite, which will likely give it added leverage when negotiating commercial deals with sponsors.

Stock pares recent gain as team misses out on Champions League final
It’s also fueled speculation of big transfer payments as other teams come scouting for Ajax’s young stars. FC Barcelona have already snapped up 21-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong for 75 million euros.

Football Philanthropists: Cristiano Ronaldo

The football world has many excellent philanthropists, as I detailed in a previous post. Let’s take a look at another great example; a footballer so successful, their star so bright, that their massive contributions are easy to overlook. I’m talking about none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano, despite his sometimes tiring dramatics on the pitch, is an accomplished philanthropist. The son of a gardener, Ronaldo has excelled at football’s highest stages for his current club, Real Madrid. And he has been rewarded handsomely. He takes down around £230,000 a week in salary alone. Add that to his numerous endorsement deals and we are talking about an extremely wealthy individual. To be fair, he has absolutely earned it. Ronaldo’s accomplishments are numerous, both with his teams and as an individual. He was with Manchester United from 2003 to 2009, contributing to 3 league titles, including a double winner when they took the Champions League in 2008. That same season, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or and a laundry list of other accolades. For Real Madrid, he has won La Liga, taken the Copa twice, and most recently personally sealed the Champions League victory in penalties (after a fairly tame 120 minutes of play). Add to that Portugal’s victory in the Europeans Championship this summer and Cristiano has really done it all. But what has he done for the world at large? As it turns out: a lot.

Ronaldo’s philanthropy started early. In 2004, when the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami devastated Indonesia, television cameras captured a child wearing the Portuguese number 7 shirt. The boy has survived for 19 days alone after his family was swept away. After seeing the footage, Cristiano traveled to Aceh, Indonesia to raise money for the rebuilding process.

After his mother battled and beat cancer at a hospital in Madeira, Portugal, Cristiano donated £100,000 to the institution to build a cancer centre. He returned to Madeira in 2010 after floods devasted the area to raise money in a charity football match.

After winning the Golden Boot in 2011, he sold the thing and donated the 1.5 million pound purse to pay for schools in Gaza. In 2013, Cristiano was named Save the Children’s newest Global Artist Ambassador. Recently, he launched an app called CR7Selfie which raises money for Save the Children.

He also joined Drogba and others in FIFA’s “11 against Ebola campaign”.

His latest gesture came after his club’s win in the Champions League in Milan. Cristiano netted the winning penalty, and then (after some celebrations, surely), donated his £600,000 bonus to charity, in its entirety.

Those are just a handful of the ways that Cristiano Ronaldo has given back. It’s no wonder that DoSomething.org named him atop their list of most charitable athletes in 2015.

 

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The Major Leagues of Giving Back

didier drogba final

We love stories of celebrities giving back to the communities that raised them or to the world at large. Bill Gates is an obvious example. The legacy created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may very well dwarf the legacy of Microsoft. People who made their fortunes in the public have a bit more scrutiny on them to give back. Especially for athletes or movie stars, we look for them to be philanthropic, in part because their fortunes exist thanks to the tickets purchased by fans, either to the cinema or the stadium. Sometimes we are left wanting, but there are plenty of stories of your favorite stars giving back in very significant ways. Let’s take a look at an example of such; when a star has done so much for their community that the rest of the world takes note. I am talking about none other than football star Didier Drogba.

Drogba is a veteran footballer, currently playing for the Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer in North America. However, he is best known as a striker for Chelsea. He played in London for the Blues for 8 years from 2004-2012 (he also signed for a season in 2014). His professional successes include winning the league numerous times, claiming all the cups you could carry, and even a game winner in the Champions League final (sure it was in the penalty shootout, but his equalizer in the dying minutes of the match got them there). And when he was not scoring against Arsenal, Drogba was playing for his homeland — the Ivory Coast.

His connection to the Ivory Coast is where his philanthropy grew from. The Didier Drogba Foundation has donated millions of dollars to projects benefitting children all across Africa. Most famously;

Drogba donated his entire £3 million signing fee from a Pepsi sponsorship to build a hospital his hometown of Abidjan.

Most significant, though, is Drogba’s direct contribution to returning peace to the Ivory Coast. In the mid-2000s, the country was embroiled in a bloody civil war, with violence threatening all Ivorians constantly. At the height of the violence, the White Elephants were trying to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. After a decisive victory, cameras flooded into the locker room to capture the rapturous celebrations from the squad. Presented with this opportunity, Drogba grabbed a microphone, dropped to his knees, and begged for peace. He pleaded for the rebel forces and the government alike to lay down their arms. No more than a week later, a ceasefire was declared.

 

Soon after, Drogba was again able to bring his country closer together. The Ivorian team was set to play Madagascar in an African Nations Cup qualifier. He used his considerable leverage to arrange for the match to be played in Bouake, a northern city in the heart of the rebel’s stronghold. It was the first time a match had been played in the north of the Ivory Coast since the civil war began. Drogba watched on as leaders from both the warring factions stood side by side for the national anthem. In an interview with the Telegraph, Didier said, “I felt then that that the Ivory Coast was born again.”

 

The White Elephants won that match 5-0. Following the landslide victory, government and rebel forces joined in the streets to celebrate. Afterward, the leader of the rebel forces was quoted, “The 5-nil scoreline represents five goals to erase five years of suffering. It would have taken months and even years for my ministry to achieve what Didier Drogba and his teammates have achieved in 90 minutes”

 

It was for these contributions that Time Magazine named Didier Drogba on their list of the 100 Most Influential People in 2010. Many athletes attach their names to civil centers, or donate to charities, but in terms of real-world benefits, few can match the Ivory Coast’s favorite son, Didier Drogba. Similar to Bill Gates, his greatest legacy may not be his professional accomplishments, but rather what those accomplishments allowed him to do.