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NEAR TRUTHS:
DEVELOPING STORIES
The kids are almighty. (8/3a)
LEADING OFF:
RON’S BIG RUN
Not your father's Columbia (8/3a)
ON THE COVER
Happier days are here again. (8/3a)
AN AUGUST HITS LIST
Look at the guns on these giants. (8/3a)
GRAMMY CHEW: SEEING BIEBER
It's high time for Justice in the Academy. (8/3a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS
From tender shoots to mighty oaks.
MARKETSHARE MANIA
Let's do the numbers.
DELTA VARIANT
It is not the name of a Henry Miller novel.
IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER ROCK STORY?
Could be. Dunno.
Blighty Beat
ALICE BEAL UPPED TO MD AT INSANITY 
7/23/21

Alice Beal has been promoted to Managing Director at Sony U.K. imprint Insanity Records. She will continue to report to Andy Varley, Founder and CEO of Insanity Group.

Beal joined Insanity Records as Label Manager in 2016 and has overseen the growth of the label’s roster and executive team, most recently as General Manager. 

Since Insanity Records’ inception in 2015, she has spearheaded campaigns for Tom Grennan, who achieved a #1 album in March with Evering Road, the comeback of Craig David, who achieved his first #1 album in 16 years in 2016, and BRIT-nominated Joy Crookes, whose debut album will be released later this year.

“Alice has played an integral role in establishing a vibrant and dynamic culture at Insanity, and the success that we have enjoyed is testament to her commitment to our artists and executive development,” Varley said. “We have an incredible roster and a phenomenal team, and this year is already shaping up to be our best yet.”

MERCURY PRIZE NOMS ARE IN
7/22/21

The 12 albums shortlisted for 2021’s Hyundai Mercury Music Prize have been revealed, with Wolf Alice (pictured), Laura MvulaArlo ParksGhetts and Celeste among nominees.

As usual, the shortlist is majority independent releases (eight in total) although Atlantic has two nods with Ghetts—for his third album, Conflict of Interest—and Mvula for her third, Pink Noise (her debut on the label). Sony counts Columbia signing Berwyn for his first mixtape, Demotape/Vega, and Universal has Polydor artist Celeste, who is recognized for her debut, Not Your Muse.

In announcing the shortlist, judges said: “It is testament to the strength of British music that, during a year which saw musicians face the toughest challenges of their lives, so many remarkable albums came out nonetheless. 

“There was an embarrassment of riches for this year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize judges to choose from, but the final 12 show how diverse, vibrant and far-reaching British music continues to be.”

The winner will be announced at the awards show on 9/9 in London at the Eventim ApolloBBC will be providing coverage of the event across TV, online and social media. 

Here’s the shortlist:

Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams (Transgressive

Berwyn Demotape/Vega (Columbia

Black Country, New Road For The First Time (Ninja Tune

Celeste Not Your Muse (Polydor

Floating PointsPharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra Promises (Luaka Bop

Ghetts Conflict of Interest (Atlantic) 

Hannah Peel Fir Wave (My Own Pleasure

Laura Mvula Pink Noise (Atlantic

Mogwai As The Love Continues (Rock Action

Nubya Garcia Source (Concord)

Sault Rise (Forever Living Originals

Wolf Alice Blue Weekend (Dirty Hit

MITS TO HONOR PETE TONG
7/21/21

Dance music legend Pete Tong MBE will be honored with the Music Industry Trusts Award in November. The ceremony will take place in London in aid of the BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins.

The award is in recognition of Tong’s contributions to the music and broadcast industries over his 30-year-plus career. The award will be presented on 11/1 at a gala ceremony in The Great Room of Grosvenor House Hotel. This year marks the 30th year of the MITS.

“I am delighted that the MITS has decided to honor Pete Tong and his pre-eminent reputation in the dance music scene,” David Munns OBE, chairman of the MITS Award committee, said. “For over 30 years he has been a pioneer in his field and is known worldwide for his commitment to build recognition for his music genre.”

Tong is an arena-selling artist, DJ, music producer, A&R, and the voice of BBC Radio 1’s dance programming. He has history at London Records, where he signed Run-D.M.C., and later established subsidiary FFRR, releasing music from Frankie KnucklesGoldieSalt-N-Pepa and others. 

He returned to the label business in 2019 as President of Three Six Zero recordings, working with established stars such as Paul Kalkbrenner as well as emerging talent Gerry Read and Franky Wah.

In 2008, Tong co-founded WME’s electronic music division alongside Joel Zimmerman, creating one of the first dedicated dance music booking agencies within an agency. He continues to sit on WME’s board.

Past honourees include Harry Magee and Richard Griffiths of Modest! ManagementRob Stringer and Sir Lucian Grainge.

GLASTONBURY CALLS OFF EQUINOX
7/21/21

Glastonbury organizers have called off their planned one-off concert Equinox in September for “a number of reasons,” according to organizer Emily Eavis, who didn’t divulge further details.

In lieu of what would have been its 50th-anniversary edition, canceled for a second year in a row due to the pandemic, Glastonbury was planning a one-day festival later this year. It was granted a license for up to 50k attendees.

...Read more

VACCINE PASSPORTS A GO FOR VENUES
7/20/21

The U.K. Government has done a U-turn and announced that vaccine certificates will be compulsory to enter venues and nightclubs beginning in late September, when a negative test alone won’t permit entry.

Earlier in July, health secretary Sajid Javid said businesses and large events would be encouraged to use vaccine passports but not legally required to do so. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed that decision in an apparent attempt to encourage young people to get vaccinations.

During a press conference, Johnson said that he is “planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.” The rule will come into play when all over-18s will have had the opportunity to receive both doses of the vaccine.

“Some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination,” he added.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, called the U-turn “an absolute shambles.”

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: KSI GOES ALL IN
7/19/21

KSI’s All Over the Place (BMG) looks set to top the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart, having outsold the rest of the Top 5 combined at the halfway point. Over on singles, Måneskin are heading for a personal best.

Elsewhere on albums, John Mayer is on course for his third U.K. Top 10 with Sob Rock (Columbia) at #3, while Pop Smoke’s second posthumous record, Faith (UMG), is new at #4 midweek.

Foo Fighters’ release for the second Record Store Day, Hail Satin (RCA), starts at #7, while Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair (Parlophone) could return to the chart at #13 thanks to a deluxe reissue.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Måneskin’s “I Wanna Be Your Slave” (Sony) has climbed four places to #3 following the arrival of the track’s video. The band’s cover of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’ “Beggin” also makes midweek gains, up two to #6.

Ed Sheeran looks set to claim a fourth week at #1 with “Bad Habits” (Atlantic), while “Heartbreak Anthem” (Atlantic) by Galantis, David Guetta and Little Mix ascends four places to #2.

Jonasu could break the U.K. Top 10 for the first time on Friday with summer hit “Black Magic” (3 Beat), which rises seven rungs to #4 midweek.

The release of KSI’s album sees his single “Holiday” rise five places to #5 and his “No Time” f/Lil Durk sitting just outside the Top 20 at #22. Becky Hill’s collaboration with David Guetta, “Remember” (Polydor), advances five places to #10.

The highest new entry of the week so far is “Demeanor” (Polydor) from Pop Smoke and Dua Lipa, which starts at #14.

REOPENING VENUES HAVE A REQUEST
7/19/21

Despite warnings from a host of leading scientists, the U.K.  officially reopens today, lifting all restrictions. The Music Venue Trust has launched a campaign urging music fans to self-test before attending gigs.

More than 1,200 scientists have signed a letter warning that the U.K.’s reopening strategy could mean new variants spread rapidly around the world. On Sunday, the scientist who helped shape the U.K.’s initial coronavirus lockdown strategy, Professor Neil Ferguson, told the BBC that daily cases could soon more than double, causing a significant strain on the National Health Service.

There’s already widespread concern over staff shortages due to the amount of people who are being asked to self-isolate via the COVID-19 app as a result of being exposed to someone who is infected. Still, the British Government has forged ahead with the plan, which relies on personal responsibility rather than rules.

As a result, MVT is urging gig-goers to take a voluntary lateral flow test ahead of attending gigs to keep themselves and those around them safe. Venues, artists and fans are being encouraged to share the campaign on social media under the hashtag #takeatest.

Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said: “We have spoken at length to our community about reopening venues safely as restrictions are lifted, and whilst there are differing opinions on some aspects of how we will achieve this there is a consensus about asking music fans to accept personal responsibility to keep themselves and others safe.”

U.K. CHARTS: INHALER DEBUT AT #1
7/16/21

Irish rock band Inhaler have hit #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with their debut, It Won’t Always Be Like This (Polydor), on 18k sales. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” (Atlantic) has a third week on top.

Inhaler are the first Irish act to top the U.K. chart with their debut album in 13 years; The Script were the last to do so, back in 2008. The majority of their sales were physical—92%—and the album is this week’s best-seller on vinyl.

There are two more new entries in this week’s Top 10: Tom Odell’s fourth record, Monsters (Columbia), opens at #4; and Muse’s 2001 album Origin of Symmetry (Warner Music) is at #6 following a 20th anniversary reissue.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Sheeran's “Bad Habits” scored 101k sales this week to remain on top, including 11.1m streams. The track continues to better its performance week-on-week since its release.

Dave and Stormzy’s first collaboration, “Clash” (NBR), is new at #3 today as the highest new entry of the week. The Kid LAROI’s collab with Justin Bieber, “Stay” (RCA), is also new in at #5, and the new single from BTS, “Permission to Dance” (RCA), charts at #16. Billie Eilish’s “NDA” (Polydor) debuts at #23.