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IS ANOTHER CHUNK OF UMG BEING SOLD?
IPO set for 9/27. (5/18a)
OLIVIA ROCKS
THE STREAMS
Coming-out party for a rockstar (5/17a)
WE’VE LOOKED AT CLIVE FROM BOTH SIDES NOW: GRAMMY PARTY PART 2
He's ageless and tireless. (5/17a)
WANT FRIES WITH
THAT HITS LIST?
It's a metaphor. (5/18a)
NEW RELEASES: STILL A COLE WORLD
Dude, that's some vertical leap. (5/17a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
Blighty Beat
U.K. MIDWEEKS: RETURN OF WELLER
5/17/21

J. Cole is duking it out with Paul Weller for the top slot on Friday’s Official Albums Chart while three songs from his latest Interscope release are headed for Top 20 debuts.

Weller’s 16th studio album Fat Pop (Polydor) is #1 at the midweek mark, having notched up the most CD and vinyl sales of the week; he’s got a 13k chart sales lead over Cole’s The Off-Season (Interscope), the week’s top streamer.

If it holds, Fat Pop would be Weller’s sixth U.K. #1 and second in less than 12 months—On Sunset topped the 7/10 chart.

The current #1, Rag’n’Bone Man’s Life By Misadventure (Columbia) drops to #3 but is the week’s most downloaded album.

At Singles, Cole has three tracks angling to be the week’s top new arrivals. Leading the way is “9 5 . S O U T H” at #9, which would be his second U.K. Top 10 single, followed by “M Y . L I F E” f/21 Savage & Morray at #10 and “A M A R I” at #11.

…Read more

 

KENTISH TO HEAD WARNER UK
5/17/21

Joe Kentish, who has been with Warner Records U.K. since 2014, will be promoted to President of the label on 6/1, taking over from Phil Christie.

Kentish, who discovered and signed Dua Lipa and Griff while overseeing the expansion of the roster as Head of A&R, will report to WMUK CEO Tony Harlow. He also joins the WMUK leadership team, where he will have a say in the strategic direction of the broader U.K. company.

“Joe truly is one of the most talented and instinctively brilliant execs out there, and his track record speaks for itself,” Harlow said. “Not only is he an incredibly talented A&R, but he’s someone with a comprehensive understanding of what great artist development takes. He can spot distinctive British talent in its infancy and nurture it into a successful career that resonates in the UK and on the global stage; his unique creative relationship with Dua is a testament to that.”

…Read more

O2 READY TO FILL THE SEATS
5/17/21

Full-capacity events at The O2 arena in London will resume in August, AEG has announced. The expansion to the full 20k capacity follows last week’s Brits Award in front of a live audience of 4.5k.

The series of Welcome Back events will be announced soon; the first ones confirmed are a Madness/Squeeze double bill on 12/18 and U.K. comedian Mo Gilligan with The Black British Takeover on 12/8. HAIM is booked for 9/30, a rescheduled 2020 show.

“We have created a truly spectacular program of events to reopen the venue, and 2022 looks set to be our busiest ever,” O2 arena VP & GM Steve Sayer said.

The Welcome Back Shows will run from August forward and the venue promises to showcase a diverse line-up.

U.K. CHARTS: RAG'S ROAD TO RICHES
5/14/21

On his way to #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart, Rag’n’Bone Man’s Life By Misadventure (Columbia) outsold the rest of the Top 5 combined to claim the biggest opening week for a British act in 2021.

Life By Misadventure registered 42k sales including 33k on physical formats, making it the fastest-selling album by a solo artist this year. It’s Rag’n’Bone Man’s second album and second #1 following 2017’s Human, which clocked 1.2m U.K. chart sales and returns to the Top 40 this week at #35.

In second place in the all-new Top 5 is Michael Ball’s 24th Top 40 album, We Are More Than One (Decca). Two debut full-lengths are next: Dodie is new at #3 with Build A Problem (Doddleoddle) and Squid’s Bright Green Field (Warp), the week’s best-seller on vinyl, enters at #4. Van Morrison’s Latest Record Project Volume 1 (BMG) rounds out the Top 5.

Weezer claim their first Top 40 album in 13 years with Van Weezer (Crush/Atlantic) at #30.

On the singles chart,Body” (Atlantic) by Tion Wayne & Russ Millions  claims a second week at #1, scoring 81k chart sales in its biggest week yet.  It had 11.8m streams—double the plays of its closest competition—to hold off Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” (Columbia) at #2.

Several acts who performed at this week’s BRIT Awards enjoyed a post-show uplift. The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears” (XO/Republic) rose three slots to a new peak of #5; Rag’n’Bone Man & P!nk’s “Anywhere Away From Here” rocketed 22 places to #9; and Coldplay’s show opener, “Higher Power” (Parlophone), opened at #12.

LIPA LEADS THE BRITS
5/13/21

Dua Lipa won a pair of Brit Awards Tuesday, while Little Mix became the first female ensemble to win the British Group Award in its 41-year history and Billie Eilish was named International Female Artist for the second year in a row.

Warner Records’ Lipa took home the evening’s big prize, Mastercard Album of the Year, as well as the Female Solo Artist title. She also provided the evening’s first full-scale performance, working her way from the tube to the O2 Arena stage with an army of dancers as she high-stepped through a medley of “Physical,” “Hallucinate” and “Don’t Start Now.”

The ceremony was the first major event at the O2 Arena in more than a year, presented to a socially distanced audience of frontline workers.

Impressive performances came from young British acts such as Headie One (“Ain’t It Different”), with AJ Tracey as his guest, and Breakthrough Artist Arlo Parks (“Hope”), plus Olivia Rodrigo, who did “drivers license.”

But it was a surprise performance from Elton John and Years and Years’ Olly Alexander that had the audience buzzing. 

…Read more

BEN JACKSON-COOK INKS WITH SMP U.K.
5/12/21

Sony Music Publishing U.K. has inked songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Ben Jackson-Cook to an exclusive global pub deal. 

The South London native is known for his work with Rag’n’Bone Man as his musical director and primary collaborator, having co-written and co-produced his album, Life By Misadventure, including his latest single, “Crossfire.” 

Released on 5/7, the album has outsold the rest of the Top 5 combined on the U.K. Official Album Charts dated 5/10, with approximately 30k units over the weekend.

Jackson-Cook has also collaborated with various artists, such as Mike Elizondo, Natalie Hemby, Allen Shamblin & Mike Reid, Wendy Melvoin, Daru Jones, Jamie Lidell, Simon Aldred, Wayne Hector, Tom Grennan, JP Cooper and more.

“Ben is an exceptional talent. I love that he is instinctive, taking time with artists to dig deeper. I am thrilled that we are a part of this creative journey with him,” said Sarah Lockhart, Head of A&R, SMP U.K.

“With songwriting credits on every single track on Life By Misadventure, Ben has launched his career with a bang. I am excited to work closely with Ben, Chris Woo and Jill Hollywood as Ben continues to take his creative genius to new heights,” shared SMP Senior Director, A&R Research & Analytics, U.K. & International, Felix Canetty-Clarke

“Felix, David, Tim and Sarah have been overwhelmingly welcoming and praising of my work. I can tell they share the same love of songs that I do and we’re definitely going to make some great things happen together. Felix is a force to be reckoned with and I’m honoured to be on the journey with him and Sony,” said Jackson-Cook.

Prior to his time as a musical director at Disney, Jackson-Cook began his music career at Olympic Studios. He’s previously played for acts like OMI, Little Mix and Ella Eyre, as well as performing with Rag’n’Bone Man with Jools Holland and his orchestra on multiple late-night shows.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: RAG 'N' #1 MAN
5/10/21

The second album from Columbia’s Rag’n’Bone Man is outselling the rest of the Top 5 combined on the Official Albums Chart midweek report while Coldplay is set for their first Top 10 single in four years.

Rag’n’Bone Man’s Life By Misadventure sold just shy of 30k units over the weekend and is on course to be his second UK #1. His debut, 2017’s Human, was the fastest-selling debut album of the 2010s by a solo male artist.

His collaboration with P!nk, “Anywhere Away From Here,” is on its way to becoming his fourth Top 20 single. The two will perform the song Tuesday on The Brit Awards.

Behind Rag’n’Bone Man is Michael Ball’s 27th album, We Are More Than One (Decca), which is in line to be his sixth Top 3 entry in the last five years.

After landing two EPs in the Top 10, Dodie’s debut album Build A Problem (Doddleoddle) is eyeing the #3 slot, a career best. Another debut, Brighton post-punk group Squid’s Bright Green Field (Warp), is #4.

Van Morrison’s collection of rants, Latest Record Project, Volume 1 (BMG), is #5; New Order’s live album Education Entertainment Recreation (Rhino) is #7; and Weezer, at #10, may secure their highest-charting album with Van Weezer (Atlantic).

Coldplay’s new single, “Higher Power” (Parlophone) is currently #3 on the Official Singles Chart midweek report. It’s their first time in the Top 10 since 2017’s collab with Chainsmokers, “Something Just Like This.

Looking to hold onto the top slot for a second week is “Body” by Tion Wayne & Russ Millions (Atlantic), which was the U.K.’s most-streamed song over the weekend. The remix of Kid Laroi’s “Without Youwith Miley Cyrus (Columbia) is up 17 spots to #13.

BRITS TO HONOR TAYLOR
5/10/21

Taylor Swift will receive the BRITs Global Icon award, making her the first female artist to receive the honor.

The U.K’.s biggest-selling artist of 2021, will receive the award at Tuesday’s ceremony for her impact on music across the world and achievements to date. Previous winners were Elton John, Robbie Williams and David Bowie.

Like all winners on the night, Taylor will be presented with two trophies that make up this year’s BRIT award. It’s the BRITs’ first collaborative double-trophy design, created by Es Devlin OBE and Yinka Ilori MBE. Each winner is encouraged to award the second trophy to someone else—a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, fellow artist, key worker, or another person important to them.