Microsoft Look To Acquire Deezer As It Looks To Beat Spotify

French based music streaming service Deezer has swiftly risen to meet the pace of Spotify, its main competitor, in recent months. It recently announced it had reached 5 million paying subscribers, more than double the amount it had last year and a figure that closes the gap on Spotify’s 7 million figure if it keeps up at the current rate. The figures are doubly impressive considering that Deezer is not yet available in the massive American market. Despite being available in 180 countries, the streaming service is yet to make its splash in the US, but that is set to change, with Microsoft rumoured to be unrolling the red carpet.

According to industry reports, the IT giant are in discussions to buy up Deezer, which recently launched a music app within Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console, signalling their ties with the company, which has indicated that its American roll out is set for January 2014. “They aren’t in deep negotiations at this point,” a source told Digital Music News, “but it’s definitely on the table.” It’s possible that Deezer will go it alone, largely thanks to the $120 million investment of Warner Music Group owner Len Blavatnik, who used his fortune to buy up Parlophone last year. In any case, Spotify is set to have some fierce competition on its hands. (via Digital Music News)

Rdio Undergo Huge Staff Layoffs

Streaming service Rdio has reportedly undergone massive staff layoffs, cutting somewhere between a fifth to a third of its workforce as an estimated 35 people find their jobs made redundant. A quote from a Rdio spokesperson reveals that “Rdio confirmed making across-the-board workforce reductions today to improve its cost structure and ensure a scalable business model for the long-term.” The streaming service, launched by Skype co-founder Janus Friis, has reportedly cut deepest into its engineering department, with no word if the layoffs have affected the associated Vdio streaming service as staff members tweeted that they were losing their jobs. (via TechCrunch)

Universal Music Group Revenue Up 21.9%

Vivendi, the owners of Universal Music Group, has reported that thanks to the sales success of the major record label’s artists, it’s revenue was up 21.9% to €3.398 billion (Australian $4.893 billion) between January and September this year. Universal Music Group’s biggest selling artists this year include Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Imagine Dragons, Drake, and Taylor Swift, as well as French acts Stromae and Vanessa Paradis. But around 20% of the revnue boost however is credited to revenue from Universal’s acquisition of EMI Recorded Music, in September 2012, which has also meant for an increase in digital sales, now accounting for 53.9% of the UMG’s revenue compared to 47.6% from the same period last year. (via The Music Network)

Major Layoffs At Sony Likely In $100 Million Cuts

Consultancy firm Bain & Co have been hire to make operating cutbacks of $100 million at Sony Entertainment, including at label Sony Music and Sony ATV music publishing. Sony has been under pressure from top brass at its hedge fund group, Third Point, to raise profits and reduce spending, specifically from major Sony stakeholder Daniel Loeb who has previously complained of the “famously bloated” Sony entertainment division, with its “high salaries for underperforming senior executives.” The $100 million cutback has not been publicly confirmed but a Sony spokesperson says “as part of a nearly four-year process of increasing fiscal discipline, Sony Pictures is conducting a review of its business to identify further inefficiencies.” Adding that : “our objective is, and always has been, to operate an efficient studio that is uniquely positioned to capitalize on future growth opportunities.” (via HypeBot)

I Killed The Prom Queen Sign To Epitaph, Prep 3rd Album

Trailblazing Australian metalcore outfit, I Killed The Prom Queen have signed a worldwide deal with Epitaph Records. After a six year album hiatus, the band will release their long-anticipated, third studio LP in 2014, with the return of songwriter and guitarist Jona Weinhofen (following his departure from Bring Me The Horizon). “We are absolutely ecstatic to join the Epitaph Records family,” says the Aussie-born guitarist. “Having worked with the label previously with Bring Me The Horizon, I knew exactly what Epitaph was capable of and that it would be the perfect home for I Killed The Prom Queen.” Recording on the new album was finished in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordström and Weinhofen says the band “are dying to get this album out and into the hands of old and new I Killed The Prom Queen fans everywhere.” The band are set to tour Australia this November/December, playing as part of the West Coast Rampage lineup and additional dates. For dates and details head to

$1.3 Million In Arts Funding Handed To 84 Regional Projects

Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis has announced over $1.3million for the August 2013 round of the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund will be distributed to 84 projects across regional and remote communities across the country. The funding will support sustainable cultural development across Australia, coordinated by Regional Arts Australia and delivered by the regional arts organisations in each state and territory. Among the many arts projects is Tasmania’s QTASQueer Narratives – from Story to Song. A project in which narratives from the Tasmanian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community will be turned into a unique repertoire of original works commissioned from Tasmanian songwriters, poets, composers and arrangers. As well as being performed by QTas choir, the works will be released online and publicised using free postcards and using social media. In this round, 25% of funding will facilitate 12 Aboriginal and Torres Islander focussed projects while 20% of projects will be targeted at engaging children and young people in the arts. At 42% of applications, the Community Capacity Building category was also a key theme amongst applications across regional Australia this round. (via Regional Arts Fund)

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