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HITS LIST: SIGNS OF A
WHOLE NEW DEAL
The sounds of a brighter day to come? (1/15a)
RAINMAKERS:
STEVE COOPER
Turnaround specialist becomes a music man. (1/15a)
BIG CHANGES AT RCA: EDGE UPS PITTS TO PREZ, FLECK TO COO; RICCITELLI TO EXIT
Recalibrating for changing tastes. (1/15a)
DANGEROUS TIMES: A CONVERSATION WITH MORGAN WALLEN
As his song says, "Livin' the Dream." (1/14a)
ACADEMY AND DUGAN
DUE TO SETTLE?
A messy divorce nears its resolution. (1/15a)
RAINMAKERS
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMYS: WHERE TO FROM HERE?
After the snubs, the show.
HOW TO FIND 11,780 VOTES
It's the way all the biggest mob bosses did it.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: "LICENSE" TO RULE
1/15/21

Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” (Polydor) set an Official Chart record this week, racking up 2.407m streams in a 24-hour period on its way to #1. On albums, Barry Gibb claims his first U.K. #1 as a solo artist with Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook, Vol. 1 (EMI).

“Drivers License” recorded 95k chart sales, including 10.9m streams, to outpace midweek leaders Little Mix’s “Sweet Melody” (RCA), which drops to #2, and Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow” (Atlantic), which finishes at #3. Rodrigo posted the biggest opening week for a #1 debut single since ZAYN’s “Pillowtalk” in February 2016.

The record “Drivers License” set was for the highest number of streams in a single day for a non-Christmas song. The previous record holder was Sheeran’s “Shape Of You.”

Back at albums, Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook, Vol. 1 finished the week with twice the chart sales of its closest competition with 83% of the album’s final made up of physical copies. Gibb’s previous chart peak as a solo artist was with 2016’s In The Now at #2.

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: REVISITING THE GIBBS
1/11/21

Barry Gibb is on track to claim his first U.K. Official Albums #1 as a solo artist with Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook, Vol. 1 (EMI). Over on singles, Little Mix and Ed Sheeran are neck and neck for #1.

Gibb leads this week’s midweek albums chart with a collection of country interpretations of classic Bee Gees hits, featuring the likes of Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John and Brandi Carlile.

Singer-songwriter Passenger is currently new at #2 with his 13th studio album, Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted (Cooking Vinyl). Following what would have marked his 74th birthday and the fifth anniversary of his passing, David Bowie’s greatest hits Legacy (Parlophone) rockets 21 places to #10.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweek update, Little Mix’s “Sweet Melody” (RCA) could claim a second week but Sheeran’s “Afterglow” (Atlantic) is just 250 sales behind at #2.

…Read more

MINISTRY OF SOUND UPS TWO
1/11/21

Sony Music U.K. has promoted Amy Wheatley to MD and Negla Abdela to GM at Ministry of Sound. Both execs report to label President Dipesh Parmar

Wheatley, left, who joined Ministry of Sound in 2017 as General Manager, has overseen the label's growth, expansion of the roster and the integration of playlisting and compilations with Parmar, who was promoted to President in June.

Abdela, right, started at Ministry of Sound in 2015 as a Social Media Channel Manager before being promoted to Head of Digital in 2018. She has led the digital strategy across the label’s roster as well as the prominent Ministry of Sound playlist brand. 

Parmar said: “Negla’s digital nuance has helped Ministry excel in the world of online engagement and Amy is a leader in every sense. Her drive and passion for both the roster and the team makes her one of the most respected and dynamic executives in the business. We all share the same vision for the label and the artists we want to sign.”

Last year, the team at Ministry of Sound achieved success with a string of hits including SAINt JHn's "Roses," which was the third biggest selling single of 2020, Regard’s double-platinum "Ride It" and follow up record "Secrets," Doja Cat's "Say So," Paul Woolford & Diplo’s "Looking For Me," Sigala and James Arthur's "Lasting Lover" and Tate Mcrae's "You Broke Me First."  

 

U.K. CHARTS: AND 'MORE AGAIN
1/8/21

Taylor Swift’s evermore (EMI) has topped the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart for a second week while RCA’s Little Mix have their fifth #1 single, “Sweet Melody.”

Elsewhere on albums, Harry Styles’ Fine Line (Columbia) is up eight places to #2 this week following the release of “Treat People With Kindness” and its accompanying video. 

Little Mix’s Confetti is up one to #3, followed by Pop Smoke also up one to #4 with Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon (Polydor). Dua Lipa completes the Top 5 with Future Nostalgia (Warner Records).

Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (EMI)—the U.K.’s biggest album of 2020—makes a return to the Top 10, up six places to #6, while rising star The Kid Laroi vaults 12 places to #10 with mixtape F**k Love (Columbia).

…Read more

MUSIC RETAIL UP 6.8% IN 2020
1/8/21

Retail spending on music in the U.K. grew by 6.8% last year to £1.55b, its highest total since 2006, according to preliminary figures from the Entertainment Retailers’ Association. Streaming grew by 15.5% to £1.21b, accounting for 78% of the total market.

Vinyl rose 13.3% to £110m, counting for 7% of the overall total or 40% of the physical music market where CD sales dipped 28% to £156.2m or a 10% share.  Download revenues dipped 19.5% to £72.2m and a 4.6% share of total revenues.

The overall growth is slower than the 7.1% achieved in 2019, when revenues from streaming rose 23.5%. In 2018, the U.K. music retail market rose 8.9% and streaming was up 37.7%.

2020's rise in revenues is also 1.4% lower than the rise in consumption. Last year, BPI figures report that recorded music consumption rose 8.2% while streaming was up 22% to count for an 80.6% share.

The overall entertainment market—music, video and games—rose 16.8% in 2020 to a record £9.05b. It’s the fastest growth rate since records began, driven above all by digital services, which saw revenues increase by £1.4b over 2019 to a new high of £7.8b.

“If there was ever a year in which we needed entertainment, it was 2020,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley said. “The trend towards an increasingly digital entertainment market may be long established, but no one could have foreseen this dramatic leap as digital services filled the gap left by shuttered cinemas, concert halls and retail stores.

“With much of the country shut down, ERA’s members provided a welcome revenue stream for thousands of musicians, actors, directors and countless backroom staff.”

SALIEU'S THE SOUND OF 2021
1/7/21

Warner Records U.K. rapper Pa Salieu has been crowned winner of BBC Music Sound of 2021. His debut mixtape, Send them to Coventry, arrived last year.

Managed by September Management, Salieu was born in Slough and spent his formative years in Gambia before moving to Coventry at the age of eight. His new home later became the inspiration behind his breakout track, “Frontline,” and his debut mixtape. He’s had widespread support at BBC Radio 1Xtra and Radio 1. Should touring be viable, he’s set to play a string of U.K. dates in May, including a show at London’s 700-capacity Village Underground.

…Read more

STATE OF PLAY: U.K. FESTIVALS
1/6/21

Several U.K. music festivals are considering canceling 2021 events, which could be ruinous in the long term, according to evidence heard at the first parliamentary inquiry into the future of British festivals on Tuesday.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed said festivals are rapidly reaching the point where a concrete decision on whether they can proceed with plans for 2021 will have to be made. With the U.K. in full lockdown now until at least mid-February, the summer season is looking precarious. 

At the inquiry, Boomtown Fair’s Anna Wade said festival organizers will be in “absolutely dire straits” financially should the season be canceled. Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife Festival said if the Government doesn’t help with cancellation insurance, “the vast majority” of festivals will disappear. Major festivals—Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury and Wireless among them—have all announced dates for 2021.

Similarly to the UK Music’s call for a Government plan issued Tuesday, AIF is calling for five key interventions from Government to support the festival sector’s safe return this year. The org wants a conditional start date, a reinsurance scheme and an extension to the reduced 5% cultural VAT on tickets. It also wants sector-specific financial support until the industry recovers and premises license fee rollovers from local authorities.

“Given that festivals take at least six months to plan, this is absolutely the right time to be having this conversation,” Reed said. “Key decisions do need to be made now to sustain the prospect of a U.K. festival industry this year and beyond.”

UK MUSIC ASKS: SAVE OUR SUMMER
1/5/21

UK Music has offered a six-prong action plan for the government to follow to get the live music industry back up and running in a report titled Let the Music Play: Save Our Summer.

Released on the day a new lockdown went into effect, the industry org has asked for an indicative date for full capacity restart; a Government-backed reinsurance scheme; targeted financial support; extension to the VAT rate reduction on tickets; rollover of the paid 2020 Local Authority license fees; and extension to business rates relief.

“The task for the music industry is therefore to first demonstrate that we can effectively manage the health risk by taking necessary measures to reduce the risk of transmission at live music events, and secondly to find a way to operate in the current landscape in a way that is financially viable,” UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin wrote in the report.

UK Music is asking the government to establish a taskforce that can advise, evaluate and validate the various innovations the industry plans to implement. They request that what was done with the Sports Technology and Innovation Group be applied to the live performing arts sector.

“The clock is ticking, and any day soon we could see major festivals and events start pulling the plug for lack of certainty,” Njoku-Goodwin told The Guardian. “There will need to be a concerted effort from industry and the government together.”

Read the full report here.