Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What Is It That Makes A Song Catchy? | hypebot

1Sleuthing out what exactly it is that makes a song "catchy" has been a goal of songwriters since time in memoriam, and in this piece by Hunter Farris, he meshes the worlds of music theory and psychology to determine just what it is that gives some music the ability to grab at our brains and not let go.


Guest post by Hunter Farris of Soundfly's Flypaper

“Why do we like the music we like?”

That has been the overarching question of all of my musical studies for the past few years. I’m constantly seeking to figure out why some songs just stand out among an ocean of others, to help people understand the music they love, and how to write music that other people will love.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to cover “catchiness,” but after pursuing some avenues of thought, and asking a lot of people why they consider their favorite songs to be catchy, most of my responses turned out to be… well, pretty shallow (and no that’s not a Lady Gaga reference). So I decided to approach the subject from the intersection of music theory and psychology. 

A group of researchers at the University of Amsterdam got there first. In studying “catchiness,” they defined it as the following:

“From a cognitive point of view… we define catchiness as long-term musical salience, the degree to which a musical fragment remains memorable after a period of time.”

That definition mostly stays in the realm of psychology, so let’s explore the question from this angle first: Psychologically, what makes a song memorable? And psychologically, what makes a song catchy?

There are as many answers to that question as there are catchy songs, and we can’t discuss all of them in one article. But let’s start by explaining the step-by-step process of how our brains remember a song — from encoding, to retrieval, to continuation — and how simplicity helps with all of that. I’ll provide some ideas to prime the pump, and you can fill in the gaps with other ideas of your own.

What makes a song memorable?

For a song to be memorable, it’s not enough for you to just hear the song. You have to get that song lodged into your memory. This process is called “encoding,” it’s the process of putting a memory into storage so you can pull it out later.

Your brain has a few different types of storage where it can encode memory. Today, we’ll only talk about two of them: episodic memory and procedural memory.

Episodic Memory

Episodic memory is the memory of the episodes of our lives — the experiences we’ve had, the events in our lives, whether it’s your first date, your first gig, or your first time watching Star Wars. So how can you help people encode songs in their episodic memory? Well, episodic memory is all about how these events connect to you.

When people talk about 9/11, they often say, “I remember exactly where I was when the towers fell.” That’s the kind of internalizing connection to self that I’m talking about. So one way to do this musically would be to reference melodies, chord progressions, and rhythms that people already know and have experienced. Familiarity is one of the many ways you could get your song into someone’s episodic memory.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory, on the other hand, is more about remembering procedures, things that you unconsciously do. When “We Will Rock You” by Queen comes on, you’re not thinking about how to stomp-stomp-clap along. You just unconsciously do it. That’s procedural memory, and the song is a trigger.

There are plenty of other things we do unconsciously, from skills we’ve previously mastered and basic motor skills, to speaking and humming. After all, you don’t think about how to move your lips when you speak. You just speak.

So how can you help encode your song in someone’s procedural memories? Firstly you could try writing lyrics that are physically easy to sing — words that roll off the tongue smoothly and don’t trip up your lips or your tongue. A second idea would be to make the words mentally easy to remember — by using simple words, common words, words with which your audience would be familiar.

There are plenty of other ways to get someone to encode your song in your listener’s procedural memory, and I’d love for you to come up with other ways. Whichever strategy you choose, getting someone to encode your song in their memory is the essential step 1 to writing a memorable song.

But step 2 is to provide ways for your listener’s brain to pull your song out of storage, put in on their mental turntable, and drop the needle. And that process is called “retrieval,” and it’s what we usually think of as remembering something. There are a few different forms of retrieval. In this article, we’ll only talk about two of them: recollection and recognition.


Recollection is the process of filling in a partial memory. When you remember a few words of a song and you’re trying to remember the next line, that’s recollection. So how can you help people to recollect your song? You could make sure people will have a reminder of the melody or lyrics somewhere in everyday life.

For example, whenever I go to a Chase ATM, the machine reminds me to take out my debit card with an ascending minor third, which is how “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding begins. Whenever I hear that, I’m presented with a partial memory of “Love Me Like You Do” and my brain starts to recollect the rest.


Recognition is exactly what it sounds like: realizing you’ve been exposed to certain information before recognizing something. So how could you use that in your music? One of your options could be to make your song vaguely echo another song your listeners may have heard. For fans of Fall Out Boy, the film The Greatest Showmansounded recognizable when a certain vocal riff would appear in the film. Multiply that by hundreds of thousands of hit songs over the years and some well-positioned melodic and timbral writing, and you’ll for sure connect some of those wires in your listeners’ brains at some point.

Now, obviously, these aren’t the only ways to help someone retrieve your song from their memory, and with so much music around us every day, it’s difficult to plan those moments. There are other ways to use recollection and recognition, and there are other forms of retrieval. But whatever method you choose, your audience needs a reason to retrieve your song from storage and put it into their conscious thought. A song that is never remembered is not a memorable song.

So, how do songs get stuck in our heads?

A song is in someone’s head if they’ve heard it enough times that they’d recognize it if they heard it again. But how do you actually get it stuck in their heads? How do you keep people from swatting your song out of their consciousness like a cognitive mosquito?

I’m going to call that process “continuation,” because it all boils down to making it natural for your audience’s brains to continue thinking about that memory, even if it’s in the back of their minds. Some songwriters do this by writing notes that lead smoothly to the next.

Sticking with one of the artists whose music just naturally seems to get stuck in people’s heads these days, Ellie Goulding’s “Close to Me” with Diplo and Swae Lee is a textbook in voice leading and diatonic melody writing for the sake of memory recall. Once we hear a few notes of her chorus, we subconsciously pick up on the chorus’s patterns of walking down the scale, so we expect the melody to keep walking down the scale as we subconsciously sing along.

During the words “close to me,” the melody emphasizes the 7th scale degree, which leads smoothly to the resolution of the next note, the 8th, or the octave. Then every time Goulding sings the word “animal,” she starts on the 4th scale degree, which leads smoothly to the next note of that progression. Almost every note of the chorus leads smoothly into the next so that when you start remembering the melody, it’s just feels natural to keep playing the song on your mental turntable.

Other songwriters encourage people to continue the song in their heads with repetition and vamps, by repeating lines and phrases over and over again. Whether it’s The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and their repeated “na-na-na-nas,” or Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” with its repeating “I want it. I got it,” repetition of course helps our brains lock on to the stimulus in a cognitive loop, never knowing when to stop.

Once you take advantage of continuation, whether by melodic phrase predictability or verbal repetition, or some other way, then your song will have a good chance of getting locked in someone’s head, and easily recalled. In other words, your song will be catchy.

Simplicity versus Complexity

It’s easy to read this and think, okay, so just make it really simple: “All catchy music is just simple music.” In a way there’s some truth to that statement, since so much of this revolves around creating familiar and predictable sounds, but that doesn’t inherently mean it needs to be simple.

Some songwriters might be tempted to shy away from the simple, and attempt to venture towards complexity. Remember: Simplicity is not always bad and complexity is not always good.

Simplicity has its virtues, and one of its virtues is that simplicity can more easily take advantage of the psychological processes of encoding, retrieval, and continuation. But I’m not talking about cognitive exploitation, or about writing songs to annoy people or just to make money. I’m talking about writing songs that will be memorable enough to mean something to your listeners.

Someone could care about your song enough to play it at their wedding. Your song could help set the tone of the space inside of someone’s small business. Your song could inspire someone to live out their dreams. People could sing their hearts out to your song at a party. Your song could bring people joy, or help them get through a tragedy. All of that can only happen if they can remember your song enough for it to matter to them.

Maybe that’s why songwriter Felix McGlennon said:

“I would sacrifice everything — rhyme, reason, sense, and sentiment— to catchiness.”

Hunter Farris runs the Song Appeal podcast, which focuses on the psychology behind why we like the music we like. His podcast on music theory and music psychology has appealed broadly enough for Hunter to speak at Comic-Con 2018, and is instructive enough to be used as homework by a Music Theory professor. He currently teaches people to play piano by ear and make their own arrangements of other people’s 


Big Deal Music Group names Jamie Cerreta, Casey Robison Co-Presidents, Kenny MacPherson upped to CEO | Music Business Worldwide

Big Deal Music Group has named Casey Robison and Jamie Cerreta as Co-Presidents.

In addition, Kenny MacPherson is assuming the new role of Chief Executive Officer.

All three executives will continue operating out of the company’s Los Angeles HQ.

Founding partners MacPherson, Cerreta and Dave Ayers formed Big Deal Music in 2012, after the three had built Chrysalis Music US into an independent powerhouse prior to its sale to BMG in 2010.

Cerreta recently engineered an alliance with Diplo’s Mad Decent, joining My Morning Jacket, Blake Mills, Local Natives, Weyes Blood, FIDLAR, and SWMRS among those he’s brought to the company.

After beginning his career in major label A&R, he first joined MacPherson at Chrysalis in 2002.

Robison joined Big Deal Music in 2012, moving over from his post at BMI to helm the company’s pop/songwriting division, signing the likes of John Ryan, Julian Bunetta, Joe London, Jake Sinclair, Teddy Geiger and Danny Parker.

A string of chart success that included hit singles for Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, One Direction, Jason Derulo and Pitbull saw him ascend to Partner in 2015.

Recent chart success includes hits for Panic! At the Disco, Shawn Mendes and Maroon 5. Casey will also continue to serve as co-CEO with Damon Bunetta of Big Family Music, a venture with Family Affair.

“These promotions recognize their achievements, as well as the faith that Dave and I have in them as forward-thinking executives.”

Kenny MacPherson

MacPherson’s career has seen him work with the artists ranging from Radiohead to OutKast, from Dan Wilson and Daniel Lanois to Underworld.

Ayers will continue heading Big Deal’s east coast office in New York, where the Co-Founder/Executive Vice-President has signed the likes of St. Vincent, Kamasi Washington, Sylvan Esso, Sharon Van Etten and Sleater-Kinney.

The company’s remaining Partner, Senior Vice-President/General Manager Pete Robinson heads up the Big Deal Nashville office.

MacPherson said: “Jamie and Casey have made critical contributions to establishing Big Deal

“It’s clear to us that they’re not only vital to our continued growth, but to the future of the industry generally.

“These promotions recognize their achievements, as well as the faith that Dave and I have in them as forward-thinking executives.”

“I’m thrilled to be trusted with this opportunity by my partners. And I’m very excited to be entering this next phase with Casey.”

Jamie Cerreta

Cerreta added: “I’m thrilled to be trusted with this opportunity by my partners. And I’m very excited to be entering this next phase with Casey.

“I’m so proud to be one of the leaders of an independent company, started by friends, who share the belief that we can do something special by always putting the artists and writers first.”

“Stepping into this leadership role with Jamie is an honor, coming with great responsibility and challenge.”

Casey Robison

Robison said: “It’s unique to be part of such a special team, founded on common beliefs and trust.

“The aim is to create a structure and community for writers and artists that’s both supportive and sustainable.

“Stepping into this leadership role with Jamie is an honor, coming with great responsibility and challenge. We truly believe we’re building one of the great music companies of the future.”

Photo credit: Meg GogginsMusic Business Worldwide


Op-Ed: The Sounds That Shaped My Life ft. Simon Curtis | AWAL


Singer. Songwriter. Actor. Author. Over the last decade, Simon Curtis has flipped just about every medium he can find into a chance to touch lives. Tall ambitions betray a long road to artistry.


'Ties That Bind' Celebrates A Year Of Telling Rock & Roll Recovery Stories | hypebot

1Sponsored by the drug and alcohol treatment center Cornerstones of Recovery, The Ties That Bind Us launched as a weekly interview series designed to shed light on some of the more negative byproducts that can result from a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. We look back on one year of the blog sharing insights on the depths of addiction and the triumphs of sobriety.


A year ago, the East Tennessee-based drug and alcohol treatment center Cornerstone of Recovery launched The Ties That Bind Us, a weekly interview series with musicians in recovery. Designed to shed light on an often-overlooked byproduct of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, the stories are both harrowing and poignant examples of addiction's depths, as well as the triumphs of sobriety.

It’s been a year since The Ties That Bind Us opened a new avenue of conversation about the intersection between addiction and creativity.

The blog, sponsored by the drug and alcohol treatment center Cornerstone of Recovery, features weekly interviews with artists from across the musical spectrum. They vary by age, race, sex, sexual orientation and genre, but whatever differences might divide them are wiped away by one overwhelming common denominator: recovery from addiction and/or alcoholism.

It was conceived by Cornerstone content developer Steve Wildsmith, who served as a music journalist for publications in South Carolina and East Tennessee before leaving print journalism after a 25-year career.

“I’ve worked off and on with Cornerstone since 2004, and coming to work here full-time was an honor,” Wildsmith says. “There aren’t many drug and alcohol treatment programs that have been consistently producing positive results for three decades, so to be a part of the legacy of this facility is rewarding professionally and to my own recovery.”

An active member of the East Tennessee recovery community, Wildsmith contributes a twice-monthly column on addiction and recovery issues for The Daily Times newspaper of Maryville, Tenn., the same paper for which he worked for almost 17 years. As a music writer, he interviewed everyone from East Tennessee-based bands to artists like Taylor Swift, Merle Haggard, Billy Corgan and Wayne Coyne, among others. Inevitably, interviews with musicians in recovery often made a lasting impression.

“When you’re in recovery, you tend to recognize your own ‘kind,’ so to speak, in the language that they use,” Wildsmith says. “There were numerous times when I would pick up on little phrases or clich├ęs that I know by heart, because I’ve seen them on the walls and in the readings of 12 Step meetings since I got clean and sober in 2002.”

With that in mind, Wildsmith suggested the idea of a stand-alone blog that would highlight the recovery stories of musicians who had grappled with addiction. The stereotype of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” is still a pervasive one, but for those prone to addictive tendencies, it can also be deadly.

2“Most music fans have been sold a bill of goods that doesn’t always mirror reality,” Wildsmith says. “The debauchery of addiction may seem like a lot of fun when you’ve got a major label record deal and money at your disposal, but misery doesn’t care about those things. Even the most famous of musicians can find themselves in such despair that death seems like a preferable alternative — Chris Cornell and Kurt Cobain are unfortunate examples.

“The reality is that addiction often leads to bitter ends no one wants to talk about: jails, institutions, dereliction, degradation and death. And given that the music industry has changed so much over the past decade, most working musicians are doing it without the support of major labels and million-dollar contracts. Those are the artists who fall through the cracks, because when you’re struggling to keep your head above water, a drug or alcohol habit can ruin a career fast.”

The Ties That Bind Us features dozens of such examples — along with respective redemption arcs that demonstrate the power of recovery in its many facets. From the beginning, Wildsmith didn’t want to limit the recovery stories featured on the blog to those that follow a traditional 12 Step path; as a result, there are numerous artists who have found a model of recovery that works for them, and through them, they’ve transformed into the best versions of themselves they can be.

“My personal journey took me down the traditional 12 Step path, and that still works for me today, but I’m of the opinion that everyone’s story is different,” Wildsmith says. “I’m honored to share anyone’s recovery story, because what matters most is that these individuals found themselves at their lowest points, recognized what had brought them there and decided to do something about it.”

The Ties That Bind Us launched on May 31, 2018, featuring interviews with Clint Lowery of Sevendust and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Julie Christensen. A week later, Lowery shared the interview on his Facebook page, and the feedback was illuminating, Wildsmith says.

“Clint’s a member of an incredibly popular band, and when his post of the interview got close to 1,000 ‘likes’ and more than 160 shares, we knew we were onto something special,” Wildsmith says. “We’ve come a long way in the past decade or so, but addiction is still heavily stigmatized. To have these musicians whose work affects so many people on an emotional level come out and say, ‘I had a problem, and here’s what I did about it’ — that’s powerful, and that’s inspiring.”

While the focus remains on musicians, The Ties That Bind Us has also included features on recovery-related festivals, events and organizations — like MusiCares, a nonprofit arm of the Recording Academy, which helps place struggling members of the industry into treatment. And while the blog has featured chat with several marquee names — Edwin McCain and Jim “Soni” Sonefeld of Hootie and the Blowfish, for example, or blues harp legend Charlie Musselwhite and country star T. Graham Brown — Wildsmith is interested in telling stories from across the spectrum of popularity.

“Some of the most popular interviews proved to be ones with musicians right here in East Tennessee — Michael ‘Crawdaddy’ Crawley and Davis Mitchell, for example,” he says. “I think more than anything else, music fans are just looking for some hope — in the songs they love, and in the artists they follow. Nothing is more powerful than a recovery story, and the individuals who take the time to share them with me, and by proxy the readers of this blog, are nothing short of heroes.

“Besides, as someone in recovery, interviewing these men and women gives me a shot of hope every time I do it. It’s a little selfish, I admit, but I don’t think they mind. The heart of the recovery process is that we get to keep what we’ve found by sharing it with others, so I hope they know that their stories are helping whoever gets a chance to read them.”


Google partner LyricFind responds to Genius lyric lifting accusation | Music Business Worldwide

Google’s lyrics partner LyricFind has responded to Genius’s accusation that its lyrics have been copied and published in Google search results.

A Wall Street Journal article on June 16 suggested that Google has been publishing lyrics taken directly from Genius.

Genius knows this, explains the article, because it inserted a sequence of punctuation into its lyrics that spelled out “Red Handed” when converted to Morse code.

Ben Gross, Genius’s Chief Strategy Officer, told the WSJ: “Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius.”

Now LyricFind has addressed the claim in a blog post published on Monday (June 17) that seeks to “address the inaccuracies in the initial article and the reporting that followed”.

LyricFind explains that the lyrics it uses are taken from multiple sources before being edited, corrected and then published.

As a result, it concedes that its team may have “unknowingly” taken lyrics from a source that originally copied them from Genius, but that it “offered to remove any lyrics Genius felt had originated from them, even though we did not source them from Genius’ site”.

Genius allegedly declined that offer.

“It should be reiterated that Genius themselves have no ownership of the lyric rights – music publishers and songwriters do.”


“Some time ago, Ben Gross from Genius notified LyricFind that they believed they were seeing Genius lyrics in LyricFind’s database,” writes LyricFind.

“As a courtesy to Genius, our content team was instructed not to consult Genius as a source. Recently, Genius raised the issue again and provided a few examples.

“All of those examples were also available on many other lyric sites and services, raising the possibility that our team unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location.”

Adds LyricFind: “It should be reiterated that Genius themselves have no ownership of the lyric rights – music publishers and songwriters do.

“Genius sources lyrics from user submissions, and those users may not be transcribing from scratch.”

As reported today (June 19) by Music Ally, Google published it’s own blog post yesterday (June 18) denying the allegations.

“We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics.”


“We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics,” writes Google.

“The lyrics that you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis.”

“We’ve asked our lyrics partner to investigate the issue to ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach.

“We always strive to uphold high standards of conduct for ourselves and from the partners we work with.”

Google adds that it will start including attribution to third parties that provide lyrics text, to make it clearer where they come from.

Adds Google: “We will continue to take an approach that respects and compensates rights-holders, and ensures that music publishers and songwriters are paid for their work.”

New York-based Genius was founded in 2009 as ‘Rap Genius’ focused on “annotating clever rap lyrics”.

The company says that it currently serves lyrics to over 100 million people each month and boasts a network of 2m contributors, editors, and musicians.

Genius closed a $15 million funding round in March last year.

Genius made Apple Music its official music player in October continues to power Spotify’s ‘Behind the Lyrics’ feature.

You can read the full statement from LyricFind below, and Google’s blog post can be found here.

Recently, a Wall Street Journal reporter proceeded with an article accusing Google of scraping lyrics from Genius and placing them in Google’s search results, despite clear responses from both LyricFind and Google that this was not the case. To address the inaccuracies in the initial article and the reporting that followed, we would like to correct the record in this matter.

The lyrics in question were provided to Google by LyricFind, as was confirmed to WSJ prior to publication. Google licenses lyrics content from music publishers (the rightful owner of the lyrics) and from LyricFind. To accuse them of any wrongdoing is extremely misleading.

LyricFind invests heavily in a global content team to build its database. That content team will often start their process with a copy of the lyric from numerous sources (including direct from artists, publishers, and songwriters), and then proceed to stream, correct, and synchronize that data. Most content our team starts with requires significant corrections before it goes live in our database.

Some time ago, Ben Gross from Genius notified LyricFind that they believed they were seeing Genius lyrics in LyricFind’s database. As a courtesy to Genius, our content team was instructed not to consult Genius as a source. Recently, Genius raised the issue again and provided a few examples. All of those examples were also available on many other lyric sites and services, raising the possibility that our team unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location.

As a result, LyricFind offered to remove any lyrics Genius felt had originated from them, even though we did not source them from Genius’ site. Genius declined to respond to that offer. Despite that, our team is currently investigating the content in our database and removing any lyrics that seem to have originated from Genius.

Genius claims, and the WSJ repeated, that there are 100 lyrics from Genius in our database. To put this into perspective, our database currently contains nearly 1.5 million lyrics. In the last year alone, our content team created approximately 100,000 new lyric files. The scale of Genius’ claims is minuscule and clearly not systemic.

It should be reiterated that Genius themselves have no ownership of the lyric rights – music publishers and songwriters do. Genius sources lyrics from user submissions, and those users may not be transcribing from scratch. LyricFind has a fifteen-year history of proper licensing and payments to rightsholders, and we’re extremely proud of our role in creating this valuable revenue stream for songwriters. We’ll continue that mission.Music Business Worldwide


Merlin Paid Indie Labels $1 Billion In Last 18 Months | hypebot

Merlin-logo-one-with-strapline-copyGlobal independent digital rights agency Merlin announced the findings of its 2019 Membership Report & Survey at A2IM Indie Week on Tuesday, The report revealed 63% year-on-year increase in member payments to $845 million.

The total includes over $130 million in revenues generated from one time settlements and other non-royalty income such as proceeds from the sale of Spotify shares.

Since launching in 2008, Merlin has paid in excess of $2 billion to its independent members. "To put that in context, it took us 9 years to pay independents the first $1 billion," said Caldas speaking Tuesday afternoon at Indie Week, "and just 18 months to pay them the second $1 billion."

"Over the past 12 months, Merlin has welcomed its biggest influx of new members since launch," said Caldas, "adding another 141 companies to its membership - and now represents independent music businesses across 63 countries."

Later in the day, Caldas announced that he was leaving Merlin at the end of 2019.
Also included in the report are in-depth interviews with Merlin members, including Secretly Distribution, Absolute Label Services, Armada Music, Altafonte Network, Eleven Seven Label Group, Heroic, HIP LAND MUSIC CORPORATION, mtheory, Sub Pop and Zebralution.
Key Findings

More Merlin members are growing their overall business.

An unprecedented 81% of respondents stated their overall business revenues had increased in 2018 - with 30% stating that overall business was up by more than 50%. This marks a significant increase on previous member surveys, where an average of 67% of respondents said their total business revenues had increased the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, Merlin’s “optimism index” also hit an all-time high in 2019. 85% of respondents say they are optimistic about the future of their business - compared to 78% in 2018.

Audio streaming continues to drive digital income. Digital income dominates overall business revenues.

More than half (54%) of Merlin members report that digital income currently accounts for more than 75% of their overall business revenues. In our 2018 survey, only 39% reported this was the case.

This growth continues to be primarily driven by audio streaming. Half of respondents (49%) state that audio streaming is responsible for over 75% of their digital income - up from 37% in 2018.

Percentage of digital income from video streaming remains static (with potential green shoots)

By comparison, the dynamics around video streaming appear static - with 79% of respondents saying that video accounts for less than 25% of their digital income. A percentage that is practically unchanged from member surveys stretching back to 2014. 

However, there are positive signs. 

Income increases from video streaming are at least keeping pace with audio streaming - the money received is still going up. Meanwhile, respondents who said video accounts for less than 10% of their digital income dropped from 63% (2018) to 55% in 2019. Those who said video accounts for less than 5% of their digital income dropped from 37% (2018) to 31% (2019). 

Merlin members look to China for global expansion

Outside their home territory, 32% of non-US members believe the USA offers the greatest potential for increased digital consumption of their repertoire.

15% of respondents believe that China offers the greatest potential, despite fewer than 0.5% of Merlin members having their primary business based in mainland China.

In 2018, Merlin agreed landmark non-exclusive partnerships with Chinese DSPs NetEase, Alibaba and Tencent. Meanwhile, the affinity for Merlin members’ repertoire across Latin America continues, with Brazil currently Merlin’s fifth most valuable territory and Mexico inside the Top 10. 

The report can be downloaded here.

MORE: Merlin CEO Charles Caldas To Step Down



Penny Fractions: There is No Career in Memes (Sorry Lil Nas X) | Penny Fractions

Welcome to Penny Fractions, your weekly newsletter about music streaming and occasional missives on labor concerns within the music industry. I’m still recovering from a lingering summer cold, but hopefully, I’ll be all better soon. Before I dive into this week’s topic, I’d like to request that if you enjoy this weekly newsletter, please send a friend this link and maybe even check out the Patreon. Otherwise, let’s talk about memes and Lil Nas X!