Kids’ audio platform Yoto, which is behind the screen-free Yoto Player and Yoto Mini, signed an industry-first agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) to bring music titles and artists from its labels and catalogs to the platform for the first time. Founded by Ben Drury and Filip Denker, Yoto allows children to access music without being exposed to advertising or unsuitable content. The UMG partnership kicked off this month with the launch of Queen’s Greatest Hits: Volume 1 as a “Yoto Card.” That will be followed in the coming months by releases from artists like Bob Marley & the Wailers and labels including Motown Records and Disney Music Group. The Queen cards will be available on Yoto webstores in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union; Yoto Amazon stores in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada; and the Queen online store.
Round Hill Music acquired Linus Entertainment, the Canadian independent music company that includes the recording and publishing catalogs of Borealis Records, Mummy Dust Music, Solid Gold Records, Stony Plain Records, The Children’s Group and True North Records, as well as the distribution company Independent Digital Licensing Agency Inc (IDLA). The acquisition encompasses over 3,000 songs and more than 20,000 master recordings. It includes recordings from Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot and Taj Mahal, among many others.
Reservoir Media and PopArabia jointly acquired the catalog of Cairo-based content production and distribution company RE Media, encompassing sub-labels Moseeqa and Moseeqa TV and several of RE Media’s owned and operated YouTube channels. The acquisition includes more than 6,000 recordings and compositions from artists such as Amr Diab, George Wassouf, Dalida and Mohamed Mounir. Reservoir and PopArabia additionally acquired the master and publishing rights for the catalog of Egyptian rap duo El Sawareekh.
Timbaland acquired a stake in lifestyle and vinyl brand 12on12, where he will serve as a strategic partner and curator. According to a press release, 12on12 allows “cultural icons” to curate soundtracks of 12 songs “that have inspired, affected and influenced them,” which are then pressed on 12″ vinyl. Timbaland is currently working on his own 12on12 release that will drop at the beginning of next year. His Verzuz partner Swizz Beatz previously acquired a stake in the company in February 2022; since then, 12on12 has expanded into releasing limited edition fine art prints and lifestyle pieces featuring co-curators’ artwork. The company has already collaborated with Run DMC, Swizz Beatz and Travis Scott x Saint Laurent, among others.
Apple Podcasts added several new hosting providers that will support Delegated Delivery, which allows creators to publish subscriber episodes directly from their participating hosting provider dashboard. The new partners are Audiomeans, Captivate, Podbean, Podspace and Transistor, all of which will support Delegated Delivery by the end of 2023. Elsewhere, the company revealed an exclusive integration with Linkfire, which is expanding into podcasting this fall with a toolkit built specifically for podcasters. Using that toolkit, podcasters on Apple Podcasts will have the ability to generate an unlimited number of smart links with landing pages for their podcasts and measure how listeners engage with them using the Linkfire Insights dashboard.
The Salzburg Festival is making its operas, orchestral concerts, lieder recitals and chamber music exclusively available on the recently launched Apple Music Classical streaming platform. More than 100 such recordings are already available at launch.
Matthew Berry‘s fantasy sports and sports betting media company FantasyLife closed a $2 million dollar friends and family round from investors including John Legend, YouTube co-founder/former CEO Chad Hurley and Wasserman Media Group chairman/CEO Casey Wasserman, among many others. Hurley, Wasserman and The SpringHill Company co-founder/CEO Maverick Carter (also an investor, with LeBron James’ LRMR Ventures) will also join the FantasyLife advisory board. Fantasy Life additionally announced new partnerships with brands including Epic Seats, Webex by Cisco and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Believe‘s global dance and electronic imprint b:electronic signed Berlin-based house and techno label mobilee records and Feathers & Bones, the new label from electronic artist Rodriguez Jr.
The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University and E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt’s TeachRock education program announced they would team up to help teachers bring American popular music into the curriculums of classrooms across the United States. Future collaborations will include teacher workshops, student internships, seminars and conferences, curriculum development and joint research activities. The efforts between the two organizations will begin at Asbury Park Middle School and High Schools in New Jersey with the Harmony Student Wellness Program, which uses “popular music as a springboard” for lessons around self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making and social awareness, according to the TeachRock website.
Absolute Label Services partnered with Prestige Management for the release of Busted’s forthcoming Greatest Hits 2.0 compilation. Absolute will provide a range of services for the release, including distribution, marketing and project management. The album compiles newly-recorded versions of all of Busted’s biggest hits, fan favorites and live staples, with deluxe formats featuring a number of previously unreleased collaborations with artists including McFly, James Arthur, You Me At Six, The Vamps, Bowling For Soup, Dashboard Confessional, Deaf Havana, Wheatus and Charlotte Sands.