Big news for one of the major labels! Universal Music Group (UMG) and Berlin-based generative AI sound wellness startup, Endel, have embarked on a "first-of-its-kind strategic relationship". Endel is making history by becoming the first algorithm to sign a distribution deal! The duo will employ Endel's exclusive AI technology to allow UMG artists to "reimagine" their music and create "science-backed soundscapes designed to enhance listeners' wellness". This innovative approach will result in new music as well as new editions of existing catalog music. According to Endel, functional music for tasks such as sleep, running, and relaxation is globally one of the most popular subcategories of music and boasts around 15 billion streams each month.
Endel uses artist-provided stems to create soundscapes that are backed by scientific insights into music's effects on our mind-state. This not only provides audiences with new and exciting ways to focus, relax, and sleep but also presents a unique opportunity for artists to generate additional revenue. Its unique technology collects personal inputs such as the user's movement, time of day, weather, heart rate, and location to create personalized soundscapes. With over a million monthly users and almost a million and a half hours of listening per month, Endel's ecosystem of soundscapes is on the rise.
The new partnership between UMG and Endel follows Endel's collaboration with Republic Records' James Blake, whose ambient Wind Down soundscape-turned-album came out in May 2022. The deal also comes on the heels of Amazon Music's collaborative playlist with Endel.
Later this year, UMG will launch the first series of soundscapes, created through the new agreement with Endel. The soundscapes, which "provide artists and rightsholders new opportunities to generate additional revenue for their catalogs," are "driven by scientific insights into how music affects our mind-state" and include previous collaborations with the likes of Miguel and Grimes. Endel is teaming up with Warner in order to release 20 albums over the course of this year. Quite an ambitious undertaking!
With this new service, artists can access AI technology that has been created ethically to expand and reimagine their work. This not only respects artists' copyrights, but also provides a new platform to enhance their creative expression. Michael Nash, Universal Music Group’s EVP and Chief Digital Officer, expressed his enthusiasm for the potential of ethical AI to support and enhance the creativity of their artists, labels, and songwriters. He commends Endel's patented AI technology and its scientific innovation for creating a new category of music that is just as artist-centric as it is audience engaging.
Oleg Stavitsky, Endel's CEO, is similarly thrilled with the project, calling the evolution of functional music a "dream come true." With unlimited potential for collaborative growth with labels like UMG, Endel is revolutionizing the way creative expression can evolve through AI.
Ultimately, the new partnership between Endel and Universal Music Group serves as a testament to the limitless potential of AI to enhance and improve our everyday experiences. This groundbreaking offering shows that, with purposeful intent and ethical innovation, technology can elevate humanity to unexpected heights.
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