10th March 2017 was a busy news day for 7digital:
Firstly, we released our preliminary financial results for the full year of 2016.
We also announced that we are negotiating with MediaMarktSaturn to acquire 24-7 Entertainment, a digital music provider based in Copenhagen and Berlin.
Finally, we announced a placing and open offer to raise up to £3m from new and existing shareholders.
For full details, visit our Investors section and choose ‘Latest RNS’.
Smooth Operations, Unique the Production Company and Above the Title to cease operating as distinct brands and instead consolidate under the 7digital brand
7digital, the global leader in end-to-end digital music solutions, today announced a major shake-up that sees its portfolio of entertainment production teams cease operating as individual brands and unify instead under the 7digital name and brand.
Since acquiring three leading independent production teams in 2014 through its merger with UBC Media (Unique Broadcasting Company), a business previously co-founded and led by current 7digital CEO Simon Cole and Tim Blackmore, 7digital has been responsible for the output of some of the country’s best-loved and most famous radio shows. The company creates over 1,000 hours of content every year.
Smooth Operations is the award-winning production company which delivers high quality music programming and live events as well as running its own record label, Delphonic. Notable work includes the daily production of the Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC Radio 6 Music and the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Unique The Production Company – which has operated for over 25 years – is known for working on (and devising formats for) a variety of radio and television shows for the likes of BBC Radio 2 (Pick of the Pops, Sounds of the Sixties) and BBC Radio 3 (Jazz Now), whilst Above the Title specialises in spoken word programming across entertainment and factual genres.
As of today, all three will now operate as one production team under the 7digital name.
Meanwhile, Entertainment News – the largest syndicated showbiz provider in the UK with an audience of over 9m people weekly* – will remain a distinct brand and part of 7digital’s Creative function. In addition to production capabilities for radio, TV, live and online, the group also includes in-house expertise in creative services for digital music services, such as editorial, merchandising, playlist creation and music recommendations.
7digital’s Creative division has grown in recent years to over 25 employees (and a network of freelancers) based across both London and Salford, dedicated to delivering innovative solutions in creative content across radio, TV, events and online. One of 7digital’s teams in Northern England, currently based in Delph (Greater Manchester), will be moving in the coming weeks to a new office in Salford’s MediaCityUK.
Kellie While, Head of 7digital Creative, commented on the move: “This is just one of the ways that 7digital is reacting and adapting to a fast-changing industry with evolving – and increasingly demanding – production needs. Combining our production teams and their individual expertise will allow us to take an even more holistic approach to our clients’ briefs and ensure that they have the creativity and innovation needed to keep today’s audiences coming back for more. It is very much a positive move and arguably an overdue one for the company – we look forward to building the 7digital brand further over the coming years.”
Simon Cole, CEO of 7digital, added: “Our radio heritage and creative content is a key differentiator for 7digital – it puts our leading technology platform at the heart of a business which understands the importance of the way content is curated and presented to an audience. Bringing together our creative and technology capabilities under one banner demonstrates our real value to clients, whether they are traditional broadcasters requiring our production skills or companies that need to enhance their digital music services with bespoke content.”
Find out more about 7digital’s creative services at: https://vimeo.com/203839222
*9.34 million listeners per week (Source: RAJAR Q4 2016)
Youth Music, the charity that supported Rizzle Kicks, Laura Mvula and rising grime star Elf Kid along the path to success is now calling on music lovers, musicians, promoters and venues across the nation to put on a fundraising gig between 24-31 March 2017.
‘Without Youth Music we wouldn’t have got to where we are today, honestly! We’re supporting Give a Gig ‘cause we want others to have the same opportunities for making music that we did.’ Rizzle Kicks
Youth Music is a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances, including poverty, homelessness, bullying and mental health issues. The charity supports more than 350 projects across England each year. That’s around 75,000 children and young people regularly making music.
But there’s so much more to do.
Give a Gig is Youth Music’s flagship fundraising initiative. In March 2017, it’s your big chance to make a difference. It’ll be a nationwide music-making extravaganza, with the charity aiming to have 100 gigs happening in this one week.
Gigs can take place anywhere: living rooms, local pubs, legendary music venues or more unusual spaces. One band, The Monotones, plan to stream gigs live from all Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Pennines!
Getting involved is easy – Youth Music offers a useful support pack with advice on planning and promoting gigs, as well as an online poster generator for creating publicity materials. Sign up at www.giveagig.org.uk
“We’re really excited about Give a Gig Week,” says Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music. “The money raised from the 100 gigs across the country will ensure that young people experiencing challenges in their lives can regularly make music. Musicians, bands and those making music for fun know first-hand the personal and social benefits of music-making and how it can help overcome really difficult situations. I urge you to get involved and put on a gig so that many more young people have that opportunity too.”
“We all know what a positive impact music can have on young people and Youth Music really do change lives by providing fantastic opportunities to make music. At 7digital, we’re proud to support Give a Gig Week and the next generation of performing artists that Youth Music helps on their way” – Simon Cole, CEO, 7digital.
The EFG London Jazz Festival, currently in its twenty-fifth year, has been dubbed by many as one of the best jazz festivals in the world. With over two thousand artists playing in more than fifty venues across the city, the London Jazz Festival plays host to some of the industry’s most renowned jazz artists and best new talent. 2016’s event has been no exception to the rule, featuring the likes of the esteemed Joey Alexander, jazz heavyweight Wayne Shorter and MOBO award-winning Binker and Moses, to name just a few.
On the opening night, teams from the BBC and 7digital Creative took over the infamous Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, for the live recording of BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now, hosted by the award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch, broadcaster and trumpeter Al Ryan and jazz singer Emma Smith. The show was simulcast across BBC Radio 3 and BBC Music Jazz, the pop-up station from BBC Music and JazzFM.
Emma Smith, Soweto Kinch and Al Ryan – Jazz Now presenters
We asked Kerry Luter, our Group Production Manager at 7digital Creative, for her thoughts on this year’s festival:
For me, the best part of the London Jazz Festival is the variety, not only in the style and presentation of the performances, but also across the different locations throughout the city. From concert halls to intimate venues, there truly is something for everyone. It makes the festival accessible at every level and appeals to such a wide audience. Whether you are just starting your love affair with jazz or you are a lifelong devotee, everyone is welcome.
Michael Wollny and Vincent Peirani at Pizza Express Jazz Club. Photo credit: Ravi Chandarana
Heather Wall, who was part of the team on the ground at this years festival had this to say:
This is my first time at the London Jazz Festival as more than a spectator and it’s been a very exciting experience. It really feels like we are at the forefront of contemporary jazz, especially as we get to see so many fantastic up-and-coming and well established musicians side by side. Jazz is reaching a younger audience, and it’s inevitable – with artists like Joey Alexander and Binker and Moses coming through – that the fresh style they have shakes up the typical associations people may have of the genre.
The festival runs until the 20th November, so there isn’t much more time to watch some fantastic performances live, but if you don’t fancy leaving the comfort of your own home you can catch up on the action on BBC Radio 3 – Jazz Now or tune in to the show every Monday at 11pm to get your weekly jazz fix.
Joey Alexander Trio at Pizza Express Jazz Club. Photo credit: Ravi Chandarana
The Radio Festival, hosted by The Radio Academy, was held at the iconic British Library for its 2016 annual conference on 26th September – and what a fantastic day it was!
Bright and early on a Monday morning, guests piled into the auditorium to enjoy a day filled to the brim with lectures, sketches and demos from the world of Radio. This year’s theme was ‘Disruption’, meaning attendees were in for a truly varied day, featuring a high-octane session led by the typically opinionated Katie Hopkins, a special sketch from the Dead Ringers troupe, and a keynote speech from Matt Hancock MP (Minister for Digital and Culture) on the Government’s view of the Digital Future.
Behind the scenes were our very own 7digital Creative team, ensuring the day went off without a hitch. Smooth Operations, one of our production companies under the 7digital Creative umbrella, have been event producing the Radio Festival for the past seven years, and have seen the event evolve into what it is today. Kellie While, who heads up our 7digital Creative team, had this to say on our ongoing involvement:
‘We are in a very privileged position to be working with the Radio Festival as it enables us to get an insight into what is current and exciting in the world of radio. It’s a fantastic day where we get to be at the heart of topical discussion, surrounded by the best people at the forefront of modern radio.’
— Photo of Jo Whiley copyright bellanova photography —
Georgia Matthew, from our Smooth Operations team, was part of the crew on the ground at this year’s Radio Festival:
‘The Radio Festival is always a great experience for us, working with the ‘best of the best’ in radio, seeing the great work of the industry throughout the year and getting a glimpse into what the future holds. Running the tech, AV and staging for the event is such a rewarding job as we see all the sessions come to fruition through producers’ and guests’ hard work, while also learning more about the industry we love. RadFest means we get to work with fantastic people, ensuring a smooth production for those who attend – and all while having an absolute blast!’
— Photo of Dermot O’Leary paying tribute to Sir Terry Wogan copyright bellanova photography —
For now the Radio Academy is focusing on its next event – the ARIAS (Audio & Radio Industry Awards to you and me) which take place in October, but for the 7digital Creative team the action doesn’t stop here. Watch this space!
It is regarded as Europe’s ‘most prestigious folk festival’, and this year it certainly did not disappoint! Cambridge Folk Festival takes place over the last weekend in July, set in the grounds of the picturesque Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge.
A festival that showcases some of the biggest talent (such as the multi-platinum selling singer KT Tunstall) and features some of the best newcomers on its increasingly popular ‘emerging talent stage’, Cambridge Folk Festival truly has something for everybody with an interest in the genre to enjoy.
The 7digital Creative team set off from our Shoreditch, London HQ on a sunny Thursday afternoon, armed with as much equipment as they could possibly carry, ready to capture all the action taking place over the weekend.
One of our producers, Ian Callaghan, had this to say on 7digital Creative’s presence at the festival:
“The last two years have been interesting and more challenging as we’ve shaken things up. Last year, we created a daily podcast with live music and interviews with musicians. This year, as we have some fancy new video toys to play with, we took it all to Cambridge and made some short-form videos which Francine from our Entertainment News team fronted. We got some great stuff, including videos with KT Tunstall, Graham Coxon, Glen Hansard and Imelda May, among others.”
Smooth Operations, part of 7digital Creative, have been providing coverage for the Cambridge Folk Festival for two decades, so they certainly know what they’re doing!
This year, the team was busy recording two highlight shows for Sky Arts, interviewing artists and recording live sets ready to be featured on The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2.
Ian had this to say on the atmosphere at the festival:
“Cambridge is always a pleasure to work at. The vibe is friendly. The weather usually good. The infrastructure and organisation is great. And the music (even if you’re not a folkie) is always intriguing and eclectic. Having covered the festival in different ways for different broadcasters and formats, it’s comfortably familiar. Next year, we’ll continue to push the envelope a little bit more and see what else 7digital Creative can cook up.”
Although the fun has only just finished for 2016, the organisers at Cambridge Folk Festival are already busy planning next year.
Stay tuned for more from the world of folk with 7digital Creative!
It was announced last week that Warner Music Group has agreed a long-term licensing deal with music technology specialists MQA. The agreement – the first between MQA and any major music company – will significantly increase music fans’ access to hi-resolution music globally. The agreement paves the way for recordings from WMG’s diverse roster of acclaimed artists and its world-renowned catalogue to be made available in studio master quality through MQA distributors.
Over the past year, we’ve listened to some of our favourite music in MQA, we have heard consumers’ glowing reactions to the experience and as an industry, we’ve started to make the case that quality doesn’t need to suffer for convenience. For these reasons, we are thrilled to share the news of this fantastic achievement for MQA and Warner Music.
MQA is a revolutionary technology, which delivers master quality audio in a file small enough to stream or download. By delivering the sound of the studio masters from WMG’s iconic labels, MQA will enable the listener to step into the magic of the artists’ original performances. MQA music is currently available via High Res Audio, onkyomusic, e-Onkyo, 7digital, 2L and Technics Tracks. Over the coming months, MQA will expand to more streaming platforms and into download stores worldwide.
Bob Stuart, Creator of MQA, commented: “This collaboration is a giant step forward for MQA and music fans everywhere. We have been working tirelessly to ensure labels, studios, artists, services and playback partners understand the potential of our technology and the responses have been overwhelming. MQA is about bringing the most authentic sound to music lovers all over the world and WMG is our first major partner to help drive this mission forward.”
Craig Kallman, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s Atlantic Records division, noted: “The digital music era has been all about convenience. It is fantastic that we can listen to virtually any song, anywhere, any time. In that process, however, convenience has trumped sound quality, and we have gotten further away from the sound that artists work so hard to create. MQA makes hi-resolution music easy to stream or download to any device. Music fans will love it when they hear it, and WMG is thrilled to be partnering with MQA to take the next step in bringing hi-resolution music to consumers across the globe.”
7digital became the first B2B platform provider to offer MQA earlier this year through our own site and onkyomusic. We have been working with the creators of MQA from early stages of the technology and we remain the only B2B provider capable of offering MQA.
7digital, the B2B digital music and radio services company, is today pleased to announce it has signed a contract with musical.ly, a fast-growing social media platform based around video and music with a strong international footprint.
The deal will contribute to 7digital’s revenues for 2016.
7digital is also pleased to update that its client i.am+, the technology company founded by musician and entrepreneur will.i.am, has announced it is now taking pre-orders in the UK for the Dial wearable ‘smartcuff’ device ahead of its launch on 13 May. The Dial’s innovative model allows access to millions of tracks without the need for any additional subscription.
Simon Cole, CEO of 7digital, commented:
“The musical.ly contract win highlights 7digital’s continued global expansion as the Company increases its reach into further territories, while availability of the i.am+ Dial for pre-order marks a significant moment in this long-term partnership. We’re delighted to be working with both clients on innovative products that take full advantage of the ways in which people around the world now consume, discover and share content online and on the move.”
We are back with our month in music. Have a look at some of the highlights from our content team!
We started our year with the news that we had won the tender to produce BBC Radio 3’s Monday Night jazz programme. Unique, one of our production teams at 7digital, will take on the production duties for the established slot dedicated to jazz. We were incredibly proud of our team, it was a competitive tender!
In light of their win, the production team will be attending the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz/ They will be recording exclusive interviews and filming some exciting sessions for the jazz programme on the website. Stay tuned for updates!
The Folk Show
The Folk Show team traveled up to Kendal to host this year’s Young Folk Award residential weekend. Ten shortlisted acts were invited up for the weekend to take part in workshops and sessions, all leading up to a concert in front of a public audience and judging panel. From this concert, four of the acts have been nominated for this year’s Young Folk Award, the winner being announced at the Folk Awards in April.
This year, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan were tutoring the young musicians throughout the weekend.
The 10 acts were:
Causeway Trio, Alice Dillon, Katie MacFarlane, Jack Patchett, Benammi Swift, Jack Cookson, Becky Hill & Charlie Stewart, Gnoss, Brighde Chaimbeul and Holly Clarke.
Interviews & Features with our Music Editor, Gemma Samways.
Grammy-approved singer-songwriter Foxes talks Taylor Swift and touring with Pharrell, and explains why writing her second album, All I Need, was a “therapeutic experience.”
Three years on from Slow Dance In The Cosmos, Aaron Maine is back with his debut for Domino. Here, the NYC-based singer-songwriter discusses how being branded “bummer-pop” by a music blog helped inspire the lyrically-abstract, synth-led pop on latest LP Pool.
After over a decade living in California, Lissie Maurus is leaving L.A. to set up home on her newly-purchased smallholding in the Midwest. We caught up with Illinois-born folk-rocker to hear how a bout of soul-searching inspired both the move and her third studio album, My Wild West.
Ra Ra Riot
Refreshed from some much-deserved time off, New York-based indie-pop outfit Ra Ra Riot are back with their fourth studio album. Here, frontman Wes Miles explains how both a newfound sense of freedom and working with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij helped shape Need Your Light.
For the pop fans across the UK, it doesn’t get much bigger than the BRITs. This year’s ceremony took place on the 24th February, and featured performances from Rihanna and Justin Bieber, plus a moving Bowie tribute from Lorde. Adele was the big winner on the night, walking away with four awards. Last year’s Critics’ Choice James Bay won British Male and Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala took home the title of International Group. See the winners below.
In Entertainment News
Our entertainment team attended several award ceremonies this month, they began February by attending the Music Producers Guild Awards, where they spoke to Ace from Skunk Anansie and FKA Twigs. The team were also at the NME Awards and spoke to artists including Yoko Ono, Bring Me the Horizon and Wolf Alice. They represented us at the BRIT awards and were lucky to rub shoulders with the likes of Adele, One Direction, James Bay, Tame Impala and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
The team interviewed several high profile characters over the past month. Here are a few highlights:
What a great start for the year! We are looking forward to sharing more news about our work with music editorial, coverage and creative.
To kickstart 2016, 7digital launched a charities group with the aim of increasing our charitable activities to support musical projects across London. We are pleased to announce that we will be working closely with Youth Music Network in order to support various organisations, two of which include Raw Sounds and Reprezent FM. We’re aiming to not only carry out action-packed fundraising drives but also to provide hands-on support sharing our technical expertise and musical knowledge to assist the projects. We recently visited Brixton and caught up with Adrian Newman, Station Founder at Reprezent FM. He gave us the lowdown on the roots of the organisation and how we can help support them and the young people involved.
Hi Adrian, lovely to meet you. We firstly wanted you to introduce yourself and the station- what does Reprezent do?
Hi I’m Adrian and I’m the station manager for Reprezent 107.3FM, also on DAB and a high quality stream for online listening. Reprezent is the only youth-led radio station in the UK. All of the young people are responsible for their shows, for the creative output of the station, for the the playlists and the music, and for broadcasting their opinions and their tastes across London to other young people. What Reprezent as a company does is provide this platform for young people, providing all the training that they need to be able to be a youth-led radio station. With all of the training we give, there’s an extra-curricular accredited training, as well as one-to-one aspirational career-training. We run it as a drop-in, and at the moment we have about 80 presenters, 40 broadcast assistants and and 30 trainees at our training space in Peckham.
How do young people go about getting involved with Reprezent?
There are a number of different ways. The first is through our website via a subscriptions page where young people sign up and tell us what they would like to do. If there’s training applicable to them, their age and their area, then we get in touch with them, invite them in and they can start a training course. When they’re doing the training, after 10 sessions if they’re still committed and enthusiastic, then there’s the opportunity is to come and volunteer at the station. They’ll start shadowing the Broadcast Assistant (BA), then we’ll start dripping through small tasks for them to do. A lot of them realise it’s not for them, because they don’t all get to meet Stormzy in the first week! Then they get to become a BA and even some of the BAs after a while realise it’s not for them, because within six months, they still haven’t met Stormzy yet. But that’s the media industry- you don’t get to meet pop stars everyday. But when the young people have done really great work, then we’ll make sure they get access to the more glamorous side of what we do. For example, when So Solid Crew come to do their show, we know that there will be a few spaces in the studio, and there are about 12 young people in our playlist group, who come in and do three hours every two weeks. There’s no glamour in that, so they’re the ones who get access to that opportunity.
The second way is word of mouth. If somebody is beginning to get on the radar of our presenters and producers, they’ll let us know and we’ll reach out to them. There are some young people who have never heard of Reprezent, but they’re doing specific things which would really benefit both us and them by them becoming involved.
The third way is pure talent scouting. We try to keep a balanced schedule, and if it’s all just unknown young people then we’d flop as a station, so we have to have a few presenters who are beginning to get a bit of profile and we can then act as a catalyst by getting them up to the next stage.
When a presenter’s been with us for a couple of years and they know the ropes back to front, then they start mentoring other young people. The BAs who come in are being mentored constantly by the presenter in the seat, and they become really good friends. Usually after about six months the BA will then get a show.
There definitely seems to be a strong sense of community within the station. We know that it’s increasingly difficult for young people to get into the creative industry these days. Could you share your thoughts on why you think this is, and what you feel the station does to give them avenues?
There’s a whole tier of young people who will find it very difficult getting into the media industry because the pathways that are there at the moment tend to suit young people from more economically-advanced backgrounds. For example, you’ll have a production house or a PR agency that requires you to do six months low-paid or even voluntary full-time work. And there are young people who just can’t afford to do that. There’s a real lack of opportunity based on socio-economic status which is really hard. Getting the voluntary jobs is very difficult for young people to do, and we’re not a full solution to that: it’s a real problem across the industry. We’ve got people from very privileged backgrounds here – very few of them, but we have to have a balance, then we’ve got people from sink estates in Walworth. By coming to Reprezent and learning the ropes here, they get basic skills and volunteering behind them before they are even 16, which puts them in a much better position when it comes to the university age. A lot of them don’t go to university but have enough volunteering hours behind them to make them quite marketable.
Do you think media organisations have begun to pick up on what you’re doing?
I think we’ve earned our stripes over the last few years as some of the organisations that do recruitment are beginning to understand that Reprezent does carry a certain reputation. If you look at the BBC, for example, there are a lot of Reprezent kids who’ve gone there.
How long do young people usually stay?
It can be a really long time; sometimes it takes a long time for a young person to get to where they want to be. We have a turnaround of around 400-500 young people a year; a lot of them come from different funded training programmes. The core of Reprezent is very difficult to fund, because some of them are over-18 and there are lots of funds that won’t deal with over-18s. Some of them are here for a while because they’re great on air, so they bring us listeners, and they are people who other young producers aspire to be.
Neptizzle who does a Friday night is now 26; he’s a Vietnamese Afrobeats DJ and he’s one of the most successful in the UK. I know that a lot of the young people who sign up have referenced DJ Neptizzle, so he’s become a sort-of role model. It would be foolish to get rid of successful presenters like him. Again, Reprezent is about balance.
How is Reprezent funded, and how do you benefit from companies like us getting involved? How can we help?
It’s a difficult question. There’s the first and primal need for money, and we’re not going to shy away from that, but there’s also the support network we get from the organisations, exposure and business advice, which we’ve been getting from Ministry of Sound. We get a lot of support from the radio industry, all the different pluggers and different agencies know that we’re both really skint and really ambitious and that we work with young people. So they’ll bend over backwards to help us out. We get support from a lot of people, it’s very small, but it is absolutely essential. Some of our technology or some of the ways we do our “listen-agains” or our streaming service, or the ways we log our work, you’d probably look at and go, “oh god, I can’t believe you’re using a weird piece of free-ware!”
Well we’ve got a wealth of experience on the technical side. One of the things we have talked about is coming down and volunteering, being a little more hands on, rather than just signing a cheque. We want to get people involved because we have an entire tech team.
I’d be really intrigued for somebody to come in and look at what we do and tell us how we should be doing things. We were really lucky, and we got a philanthropic donation of £10,000 about a year and a half ago, which all went on a server. The way we run our playout software, and how we store our data is now really strong. But the way that we stream and the way we log, we’d be really interested in some help there. And also for music- we spend a fortune on music and it’s difficult because when I was a DJ, I had to go out and buy records. Then something happens like David Bowie dies, and we’re here and I haven’t got access to my Bowie CD at home, and we need a track now.
Do you have a specific success story?
Martha going to the BBC was a really great moment. She was the first one and she really deserved it. For her to be headhunted to go to the BBC from Reprezent, where she’d been doing an internship for six months, was a win. The moment when the sound of 2015 came out and both Stormzy and Novelist were on it, that was really great. Having Slaves to come in and do a live session was hilarious.
Everyday there are little things you get proud of, but they’re generally really tiny. People getting their gigs at 1xtra is really great, but also Nathan getting a job at Ministry Of Sound. He was 22, working a really rubbish admin job, really unhappy, so us brokering him a job there was great. Some kids have ended up at uni when even their teachers had written them off. We did one programme a few years ago that was about kids excluded from school, and now Maria and Diana are not just at school but at college, and also the head of events. These things really make it worthwhile.
What are your hopes for the future?
I would like a revenue stream which comes from brand alignment and advertising. That’s an ambition. We’d like to get the perception and the profile of the station really high, so that we get something that brings in enough money, then we can actually pay some of the presenters a little bit, have more interns, and just grow. We’d also like to have more production staff, because for the young volunteers themselves, mentoring is great. It would be great to employ a couple of producers because the kids would benefit massively, the shows would benefit and thus the station would benefit massively. I think to be more financially secure is always the goal.
Thank you to Jim and Dan for co-ordinating interview and photography.
Our 2015 Music Highlights
What an interesting year 2015 has been for the music industry. We’ve seen an increased demand for streaming, along with a subsequent drop in physical sales, which we both predicted and were well positioned for. Thanks to our resilient platform and hard working team, we were able to provide high quality streaming, radio services and download stores to an unprecedented number of great new customers along with a list of exciting new functionalities.
The industry has been carefully preparing for this year, a year where curated playlists and radio-style services were making their way to the forefront. We have an incredible team of music, entertainment and production experts, ready to serve to the new demands of lean back customers and the industry. Before embarking on our big year ahead, we thought we would highlight some of the the things we are most proud of from 2015.
This year we achieved a number of milestones in the RAJARs (Radio Joint Audience Research) which highlighted listener figures from shows produced by our teams Smooth Operations & Unique Production. These two production groups have programmes across BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, here is a breakdown of some of our shows.
[Source: RAJAR Q3 2015]
Why stop at audio when there is a world of visually stimulating references and video storytelling opportunity at our fingertips? Last year we began bringing 7digital software clients the benefits of production expertise by creating compelling artist interview videos for Technics TRACKS. These videos have featured incredible artists such as James Lavelle, Nick Mason, Martin Taylor, Pauline Black, Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Steven Wilson. The videos have these artists expressing inspiring moments in the series titled ‘My Life In Tracks’ where they showcase their prefered playlists and ‘My listening Space’ where they discussed their favorite ways of listening to music.
An example of one of these videos is with the legend Nick Mason, a founding member of the band Pink Floyd, who has sold an estimated 250 million records. It was an honour to work with such a legend and provide exclusive content for one of our clients. Have a look at our video here to see what inspired him.
A very different ‘Technics Spotlight’ shed light on singer James Lavelle. The founder of the record label Mo Wax and early collaborator of DJ Shadow. James Lavelle has been a productive remixer, band leader, soundtrack consultant, conceptual artist and Meltdown curator.
We were proud that our series Unreliable Evidence presented by Clive Anderson was a runner up in the broadcast in the 2015 Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards. BBC Radio 2 commissioned a two part radio musical in collaboration with Michael Morpurgo – his first since WarHorse – about Forced Child Migration between 1850 and 1970.
One of our biggest projects that involved all of our teams was the Cambridge Folk Festival. We provided radio and TV coverage of the whole of Cambridge Folk Festival for BBC Radio 2 and Sky Arts. Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowler presented interviews and video content for Sky Arts, while Mark also presented a three hour programme for Radio 2 from inside a truck on site. On top of this, our music team created a dedicated feature page, which included artist interview streams and an exclusive Bella Hardy track – both recorded live at the festival – plus profiles of artists and curated back catalogue selections. A great effort all round from an array of teams.
In 2015 our music team focused largely on the fabulous hi-res catalogue we have. It was initially launched at the end of 2014 and a year on, 25% of all music sales now come from hi-res albums and tracks. With this in mind we successfully launched two hi-res stores for our clients Technics TRACKS and Onkyo and announced we are powering the innovative OpenLIVE service, which records live performances and makes them available in hi-res audio formats.
We were extremely happy to install our new listening room in our UK headquarters. Our strategic partner, Meridian Audio supplied us with the perfect speakers and system to experience the true velocity of how high quality audio should be heard. This allowed us enjoy studio quality music in our own office and demo the revolutionary new MQA format to our clients and contacts. It was just announced this January that we are now happy to have premiered MQA indie label content in our own service as well as through Onkyo.
The industry itself has had some surprises with the return of Adele, who broke the U.S. record for most album sales in the first week of release. 7digital was delighted to be supporting this milestone (and in hi-res audio too) and will continue to promote her fantastic album.
Our brilliant editor, Gemma Samways, had a great year of interviews and feature writing. Here is a glimpse of the editorial for 2015:
Best of 2015:
Whether it was tear-stained confessionals by Björk and Sufjan Stevens, love-struck pop bangers from Carly Rae Jepsen, or Kendrick Lamar’s outpourings of politically-focused fury, our favourite albums of 2015 have run the gamut of human emotions. Enjoy the highlights from our editor.
Probably the UK’s most coveted musical accolade, the Mercury Prize honours the best British album of the previous twelve months. This year’s winner was Benjamin Clementine, with his debut album, At Least For Now. Delve into the rest of the shortlist in the link.
Bestival festival guide:
Billed as “a salute to the original muses: Music, Freedom, Peace, Love and Euphoria” this year’s Bestival is based around the theme “Summer Of Love”, and boasts a line-up specifically designed to facilitate blissed-out fun, including The Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala and Jamie xx.
Wolf Alice interview:
After two and a half years, and a whole heap of acclaim, Britain’s best young guitar band are finally ready to unveil their first full-length release. We rang Wolf Alice’s lead singer Ellie Rowsell to hear the story behind their brilliant debut album, My Love Is Cool.
EL VY interview:
EL VY is a new collaboration between The National’s Matt Berninger and ex-Menomena man Brent Knopf. We met up with the duo to discuss the roots of the project and to hear how Minutemen and the musical ‘Grease’ helped inspire their debut, Return To The Moon.
During 2015 Entertainment News grew the portfolio of radio stations they supply content to, with GTN signing a deal with Celador Radio Group. Entertainment News now supplies radio content to more than 140 commercial radio stations in the UK and Ireland.
Across the year, the team interviewed hundreds of celebrities and were present at events including the BRIT Awards, BAFTAs, National Television Awards, British Summertime Hyde Park events, Fusion Festival, the Ivor Novello Awards, X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing launches, Britain’s Got Talent, Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere and James Bond: Spectre premiere, to name but a few.
We gained great traction on social media, with support for our content from celebrities including a retweet from YouTubers Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee, which then received 1594 likes, and hit 159k impressions. Duran Duran tweeted a link to our audio content during the MTV European Music Awards, and The Apprentice candidates also tweeted links to our content.
Entertainment News were once again signed as the MTV’s worldwide radio partner for the MTV European Music Awards, held in Milan. In total Entertainment News produced 241 pieces of content made available to partner stations in the UK and around the world (including 38 radio stations overseas) – this included edited ready-for-broadcast interview clips, raw interviews, video packages and special audio packages. 35 videos were featured on Yahoo’s UK website and were made available to Yahoo internationally.
Creating videos, engaging in interviews and curating playlists are just a few of the endless talents our content teams have. We feel extremely lucky that we can provide such skills for our clients and look forward to seeing how our teams continue to grow in 2016!
London, UK and Las Vegas, US, January 7 2016 – 7digital, leading B2B digital music and radio services company, announces their first content available in MQA, a new revolutionary end-to-end technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download.
Following the announcement of their global strategic partnership as the leading platform provider of MQA, from January 11, 7digital will for the first time have indie label content available in this higher quality format on their platform for B2B clients. This content will also be available for download by customers of both the 7digital D2C web store and mobile apps, with the company becoming the first digital music platform provider to offer MQA for both download and streaming.
In addition, Onkyo – one of the world’s foremost creators of innovative home entertainment products – is working with 7digital to include the new MQA technology into its high resolution audio store, onkyomusic. From January 8, users will be able to access indie label MQA content in onkyomusic, a store powered by 7digital (branded e-onkyo music in Japan). Onkyo, and its subsidiary Pioneer, are also launching digital audio players with MQA playback capability.
Currently, 7digital has 46 B2B clients running digital music services accessible to consumers in 33 countries around the world. The company also has licensing rights in 82 countries, to enable quick time-to-launch for prospective new client services throughout the world.
Pete Downton, Chief Commercial Officer of 7digital, commented:
“Our existing reach, coupled with the proposed acquisition of French B2B digital music provider Snowite, gives us an unrivalled footprint for enabling future growth in the digital music streaming market globally. A great deal of work has gone into making MQA ready for our commercial partners and we are excited to be serving up this advanced and necessary technology to our existing and prospective clients. 2016 will be the year that 7digital and MQA offer master quality, high resolution music to the world’s digital services, thereby eradicating the need for music fans to sacrifice quality for convenience.”
Bob Stuart, creator of MQA, added:
“MQA transforms music listening by delivering every nuance and subtlety of the original studio performance. 7digital’s commitment to excellence and sound quality has made the team a natural partner for MQA as we’ve prepared for the launch of this revolutionary technology. We are delighted to be working together to expand the MQA music library and bring the experience of the studio to the masses.”
Hiroshi Izutani, President, Onkyo USA, commented:
“Customers of Onkyo are passionate about audio quality, and our mission is to ensure they are able to listen to their favorite music, in the highest fidelity, on their chosen device. With our partners 7digital, we are proud to be providing consumers the option to listen in master quality with MQA – whether at home or on the move.”
Included in this MQA premiere is catalogue from Nordic label 2L, nominated for 23 GRAMMYs over the last decade for its innovative sound recordings.
Morten Lindberg, owner of 2L and GRAMMY-nominated balance engineer and recording producer, remarked:
“2L is a premium brand music label with very high production values. It’s important to us that all our output maintains the flawless standards we are known for throughout the industry. Collaborating with both 7digital and MQA enables us to use the best in new technology to share with music fans exactly what we experience live at recording venues and in our mastering studio, which is hugely exciting.”
MQA has also announced support from a range of playback partners including AURALiC, Aurender, Bluesound, Berkeley Audio, dCS, Kripton, Ixion, Meridian Audio, Mytek, Onkyo and Pioneer. In addition, HTC will demo a prototype device – the One A9 smartphone – with MQA playback capability at CES in Las Vegas this week.
7digital CCO Pete Downton will be appearing on the CES International News Stage on Friday January 8 (1pm, PST) and will also be available to meet with press at the event upon request.
7digital is a B2B digital music and radio services company. The core of its business is the provision of robust and scalable technical infrastructure and extensive global music rights used to create music streaming and radio services for a diverse range of customers – including consumer brands, mobile carriers, broadcasters, automotive systems, record labels and retailers. 7digital also offers radio production and music curation services, editorial strategy and content management expertise.
7digital fosters industry growth and innovation by simplifying access to music for clients such as Onkyo, Guvera, OpenLIVE, and The Overflow. From years of being the largest independent producer of programming for the BBC, launching Radioplayer in multiple territories, and powering services for partners like HMV, Panasonic and ROK Mobile, 7digital is perfectly positioned to lead innovation at the intersection of digital music and next-generation radio services.
Using pioneering scientific research into how people hear, the MQA team has created a technology that captures the full magic of an original studio performance. MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. It is backwards compatible, so will play on any device and because it’s fully authenticated, the listener can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the studio. MQA is the first technology to capture this crucial timing information – to transport the listener to the original performance.
7digital PR Contacts:
MQA company contacts:
MQA (UK) press contacts: