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THE INSIDE STORY BEHIND ACM'S OUR COUNTRY
The trip from awards show to intimate performances. (4/3a)
AIRHEAD: KAREN'S HITS ODYSSEY
PoMo Goddess stuck inside of cesspool for 30 years now. (4/3a)
2020 THREE-MONTH MARKETSHARE SCORECARD
Deadlocks in the top tiers of the standings (4/3a)
HITS LIST WORKS
FROM HOME
Viewing the world through a webcam (4/3a)
POSTPONED: JAMES & JACKSON ON HOLD
Save your tickets. (4/3a)
WE FOUND SOME TOILET PAPER
Also known as back issues of HITS.
SOCIAL DISTANCING
We turn out to be pioneers.
STREAMING STORIES
The music doc shows new muscle.
ELECTION 2020
Not postponed yet.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: 5SOS TOPS LIPA...BARELY
4/3/20

5 Seconds of Summer’s Calm (Polydor) topped Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia (Warner Records) on the U.K.’s Official Albums chart fewer than 1,000 sales. Over on singles, The Weeknd claims a sixth week at the helm.

Calm hits the top on 35k combined sales, finishing 550 sales ahead of Lipa for 5SOS to claim their second #1 in the U.K. By  charting at #2, Lipa secured a personal best after peaking at #3 with her debut. The album is this week’s biggest seller on vinyl, shifting 3,000 copies.

Lipa also claims a Top 10 hat-trick at singles with “Physical” at #3, “Don’t Start Now” at #4 and “Break My Heart” at #6.

Skepta, Chip and Young Adz (from D-Block Europe) complete an all-new Top 3 with Insomnia (SKC M29) at #3.

Pearl Jam’s Gigaton (Monkeywrench) ended the week at #6, while Partynextdoor’s Partymobile (Warner Records) enters at #7.

Elton John’s greatest hits, Diamonds (Virgin EMI), rebounds nine places to #10 after the iHeart benefit concert.

…Read more

BLIGHTY'S BEST SELLERS IN Q1
4/3/20

The best-selling albums and singles in the U.K. of Q1 2020 have been revealed by the Official Charts Company, with releases by Lewis Capaldi, Stormzy, The Weeknd and Tones & I topping the lists.

Universal and Warner rule the Top 5 singles chart with two and three entries respectively (The Weeknd, Lewis Capaldi and Tones & I;  Roddy Ricch and Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy).

The two labels also dominate the albums Top 5, with three releases for UMG (Lewis Capaldi, Eminem, Billie Eilish) and two for Warner (Stormzy, Ed Sheeran).

Sony counts two Top 10 selling singles (from SAINt JHN and Arizona Zervas) and four Top 10 albums (Harry Styles, J Hus, BTS, Tom Walker).

In the Top 10 singles chart, just one release arrived this year—“The Box” (Atlantic) by Ricch. On albums, there are three entries from 2020: Music to be Murdered by from Eminem, Big Conspiracy by J Hus and Map of the Soul—7 from BTS. There are four British acts on singles and six on albums.

Official Singles Chart 2020 Q1

  1. “Blinding Lights” The Weeknd (Island)
  2. “Dance Monkey” Tones & I (Parlophone)
  3. “Before You Go” Lewis Capaldi (Virgin EMI)
  4. “The Box” Roddy Ricch (Atlantic)
  5. “Own It” Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy (Atlantic)
  6. “Don’t Start Now” Dua Lipa (Warner Records)
  7. “Someone You Loved” Lewis Capaldi
  8. “Roses” SAINt JHN (HITCO/Ministry of Sound)
  9. “Roxanne” Arizona Zervas (Columbia)
  10. “Everything I Wanted” Billie Eilish (Polydor)

Official Albums Chart 2020 Q1

  1. Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent Lewis Capaldi (Virgin EMI)
  2. Heavy is the Head Stormzy (Atlantic)
  3. Music to be Murdered by Eminem (Polydor)
  4. When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? Billie Eilish (Polydor)
  5. No.6 Collaborations Project Ed Sheeran (Atlantic)
  6. Fine Line Harry Styles (Columbia)
  7. Big Conspiracy J Hus (Black Butter)
  8. Map of the Soul — 7 BTS (Big Hit)
  9. Hollywood’s Bleeding Post Malone (Island)
  10. What a Time To Be Alive Tom Walker (Relentless)

 

SMITH LEAVES WARNER CHAPPELL
4/2/20

Warner/Chappell U.K. boss Mike Smith is stepping down from his role after four years for family reasons. A replacement will be announced in due course, according to a statement from global chiefs Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall.

Smith was named MD of the British company in 2016 by Jon Platt after spending time at Virgin EMI as President of Music. The exec described his stint at the pubco as "hugely rewarding."

 “I want to thank all of my colleagues around the world, and the amazing songwriting talent I’ve had the privilege to work with for their love and support,” he said. "These past few years have been a very special time for the company, culminating with four of our artists — Celeste, Dave, Foals and Stormzy — picking up awards at this year’s Brits. As I leave the company for family reasons, I know that things are in good hands under the guidance of Guy and Carianne, and I wish them and everyone at the company the very best moving forward.”

…Read more

CHRYSALIS BOLSTERS SENIOR TEAM
4/2/20

Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of John Leahy to the newly created position of SVP Marketing and Strategy. Leahy has a long history in the British music biz working with artists including Robbie Williams, Pink Floyd and Noel Gallagher.

In his new role, Leahy will report directly to CEO Jeremy Lascelles and begins the job immediately. 

He will work across the entirety of the Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group including artist management, publishing, catalogue and new frontline releases, leading on all areas of marketing. 

In addition, he will bring with him artists Steve Mason and She Drew The Gun as well as The Mysterines (co managed with Alfie Skelly) and continue to manage them as part of Blue Raincoat Artists.  

 “John provides us with the missing link in the Blue Raincoat set up—an experienced and hugely successful marketing mastermind, who is equally at home putting together a strategy for a new front line release as he is in finding ways of extracting value and opportunities from our great catalog,” Lascelles said. 

“As an added bonus he brings with him in a management capacity three fantastic artists who will all be a welcome addition to Blue Raincoat Artists. And, for a Manchester United fan, he is actually a great bloke.”

Leahy has come full circle—he started his career in music and marketing at Chrysalis, before becoming a product manager at Parlophone in 1995. After a 12-year stint at the company, during which time he moved to the EMI label, he oversaw the meteoric success of Williams alongside campaigns from Pink FloydDoves and Kate Bush. From there, he joined Domino Records as General Manager, running successful campaigns for Franz FerdinandLast Shadow Puppets and Wild Beasts.  

He then moved to Polydor Records as Marketing Director, leading on major campaigns for Lady GagaEminemThe Maccabees and Snow Patrol. In 2010 he joined Ignition Records, taking on marketing responsibilities for Noel Gallagher, who achieved three #1 albums, The Stereophonics, who also scored a #1 album, and others including Primal ScreamCourteeners and The Coral.

CONHEADY'S MARATHON MOVE
4/2/20

Marathon Music Group has appointed Ophelia Conheady as Head of A&R for its main label imprint, Marathon Artists. Based in London, she joins the company from her previous position as Senior A&R Manager at Columbia Records U.K.

Her appointment is effective immediately and she reports directly to Marathon co-founder and CEO Paul-Rene Albertini, who said: “Ophelia’s creative vision, acuity for current and future trends and understanding of the artist development process has revealed her to be a forward-thinking musical innovator. She also brings great insights about the importance of analytics and tech in the decision making process and will be an important, senior team player at Marathon Music Group.”

MUSIC MAKERS DEMAND SUPPORT
3/31/20

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition have called for greater assistance from the U.K.’s largest music businesses and organizations, especially as Government support measures for the self-employed—who make up 72% of the music business, according to UK Music research—will not pay out until June, and won't be applicable to everyone.

A survey conducted by the MMF and FAC found that managers and artists have already lost £50m in earnings due to the coronavirus. This includes £3.1m lost by music managers in commissions.

Survey findings detail the impact of more than 2,100 cancelled shows, delayed campaigns and lost earnings.

”Artists and music makers are faced with a short term crisis and a longer-term catastrophe,” MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said. “This MMF and FAC survey is only a snapshot, but it highlights that millions of pounds have already been lost through canceled shows and campaigns. We need the biggest record labels, music publishers and licensing organizations to act. We need them to do more, and we need them to do so now."

…Read more

GRASSROOTS VENUES UNDER THREAT
3/31/20

More than 550 grassroots music venues are at risk of permanent closure in the U.K. over the next three months as a result of coronavirus restrictions, according to the Music Venue Trust. The org is calling for donations to a £1m fund to help turn the tide.

The Music Venue Trust has launched a Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund to place its existing emergency response service, which prevented 91 closures in 12 months last year, on a crisis footing.

...Read more

WATSON STEERING UK MUSIC
3/30/20

British Government lobbying trade org UK Music has appointed former Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson as Chair. He succeeds Andy Heath CBE and will start in April.

After almost two decades as an MP, including roles as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a Government Minister in two departments, Watson stood down from Parliament at the General Election in December 2019.

In his new role, Watson said his top priority would be fighting to secure maximum support for the music industry to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and help return the sector to growth as soon as possible.

 “UK Music speaks with a powerful voice for the whole of the U.K. commercial music sector,” he said. “And at the heart of the sector are the songwriters and musicians, many thousands of whom stand ready to serve in the national effort against the coronavirus.

“The cancellation of live music events has devastated the sector. Thousands of jobs are now in peril and threaten the long-term bottom line of the U.K. economy. Our urgent task is to work with our colleagues and partners in Government to support the national effort to defeat coronavirus, whilst protecting the jewel in the crown of British culture—commercial music."

…Read more