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BIG RED'S BIG THREE
How's this for a power trio? (10/26a)
HITS LIST, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Grammy-themed, just like our latest print magazine. (10/26a)
NEAR TRUTHS: ROLLING IN
THE STREAMS
Audiences embrace Adele regardless of the platform. (10/26a)
KAREN KWAK TO LEAD
WARNER A&R
Aaron's latest hire. (10/26a)
ON THE COVER:
OLIVIA RODRIGO
Can you hear the Grammy buzz? (10/26a)
ADELE ADELE ADELE
Adele; Adele Adele?
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
A... dele?
ADELE ADELE
Adele Adele; Adele.
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
(Adele.)
Blighty Beat
RADIO LISTENING HOLDS STEADY
10/28/21

Overall radio listening in the U.K. hasn’t been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to RAJAR figures, which show that commercial radio is reaching 36.8m people across the country—the biggest audience ever recorded.

That figure is boosted by audiences tuning in digitally and online, which represents 65.8% of all radio listening for Q3 2021. DAB counts for the vast majority of this at 43% while online (including smart speakers) reps 18.1%. The remaining 4.7% takes place on digital TVs while analogue platforms of FM/AM still account for 34.2% of listening time.

The total combined audience for all U.K. radio, across BBC and commercial, sits at 49.5m or 89% of the adult population. BBC Radio 2 takes the highest share of listener reach with 26% of the U.K. population, followed by Radio 4 with 20%, Global’s Heart brand with 18%, BBC Radio 1 with 15% and Global’s Capital with 14%. 

As the Guardian notes, while overall figures are positive, the one place radio has been hit over the last year is on breakfast shows. Radio 2’s Zoe Ball program is down 8.9% to 7.2m in Q3 2021 from 7.9m listeners per week in Q3 2019. Others who experienced drops include Radio 1’s Greg JamesVirgin Radio’s Chris Evans and Magic’s Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott

This quarter’s figures are the first to be released by RAJAR since March 2020, when market research stopped due to face-to-face coronavirus restrictions. Since then, the research body has revised its methods to include panelist and MediaCell technology for the first time, alongside face-to-face interviews, therefore including listening from diaries as well as audio matching technology from mobile devices (this is why comparison with previous figures is unreliable). 

KARMA ARTISTS, MOGWAI HONORED
10/28/21

More winners have been announced for the upcoming Artist and Manager Awards, with Karma Artists set to receive the Writer/Producer Manager gong while Mogwai will take home the Pioneer honor.

Karma Artists, founded by Jordan Jay and Ross Gautreau in 2011, will be celebrated for its work in shepherding the careers of creators who’ve contributed to more than 10 U.K. #1 albums and 400m sales.

This year, Karma clients have been credited on hits including “One Too Many” (Keith Urban & P!nk), “Lighter” (Nathan Dawe & KSI), “See Nobody” (Wes Nelson & Hardy Caprio), “Patience” (KSI f/YUNGBLUD & Polo G) and “Way Too Long” (Nathan Dawe, Anne-Marie & MoStack).

Glasgow band Mogwai will be celebrated for 25 years in music and the release of their 10th album, As the Love Continues, which hit #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart in February. The set was shortlisted for the 2021 Mercury Prize and claimed the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Alongside their own musical output, which includes multiple film soundtracks and series, Mogwai have been chosen winners for their work developing other artists through Rock Action Records. They’ll embark in a world tour in January, visiting Europe, Mexico, North America and Canada.

All winners will be celebrated at a ceremony in London on 11/18. Previously announced honorees include Elton John and David Furnish, Little Simz, Amy Morgan, Grace Ladoja and The Black Music Coalition.

NEW VACCINE PASSPORT CONCERNS
10/26/21

Further concerns have been raised over the use of vaccine passports in the U.K., this time via a leaked Government report that says the measure could cost venues millions and fuel the spread of COVID-19.

The report, compiled by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and published by The Telegraph, says requiring vaccine evidence for entry into venues could encourage people to go to poorly ventilated pubs instead. In addition, venues would need to hire thousands of new stewards (as they have been pointing out), plan for longer entry times, and turnover could drop between £345m and £2.07b.

As of now, the British Government hasn’t introduced the measure but it is in reserve if COVID infections continue rising and place “unsustainable pressure” on the National Health Service. Nightclubs, indoor settings with 500 or more attendees, outdoor crowded settings with 4k or more attendees, such as festivals, and any settings with 10k or more people, such as large sports stadiums would be affected.

In Scotland, the scheme was introduced this weekend and branded an “unmitigated disaster” by the Scottish Hospitality Group. Some venues closed early, foot traffic was reported to be down by 40% and 550 people were refused entry, reports the BBC.

The DCMS report also points out a number of positives of the scheme, including increased consumer confidence around safety and the potential avoidance of capacity caps or closures.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: 4-WAY BATTLE FOR #1
10/25/21

Elton John, Duran Duran, Lana Del Rey and Biffy Clyro are locked in a four-way battle for #1 on the U.K.'s Official Albums midweek chart. Over on singles, Adele’s “Easy on Me” (Columbia) is set for a second week at the top.

At the halfway point, John’s The Lockdown Sessions (EMI) is leading the way on albums but with just 4.5k sales separating the Top 4, the top spot is in play.

Duran Duran’s Future Past (BMG) is close behind at #2 while  Del Rey opens at #3 with Blue Banisters (Polydor). Biffy Clyro’s The Myth of the Happily Ever After (Warner Music U.K.) sits at #4 while Coldplay’s chart-topping Music of the Spheres (Parlophone) drops to #5 but continues to lead the way on streaming.

Three more new releases could land in this week’s Top 10: a 40th anniversary expanded edition of The Rolling StonesTattoo You (Polydor) at #7, Prioritise Pleasure (Universal) by Self Esteem at #8, and A View From The Top Of The World (InsideOutMusic) by Dream Theater at #9.

…Read more

POLS BACK ARTISTS IN STREAMING
10/25/21

A group of 44 British politicians has backed a bid for increased revenue from streaming for artists in the form of equitable remuneration—one idea that was tabled during the economics of streaming debate earlier this year.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and reported by The Telegraph, the group of Conservative MPs argue for a change in law that would serve artists with a greater proportion of streaming income.

MP Esther McVey, who organized the letter, said that for musicians to recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, “big international corporations who have benefited from the Government’s help during the crisis should start paying musicians properly for the music they use.”

As has been put forward by the DCMS committee, which delivered the damning economics of streaming report in July, the group is calling for a two-word amendment to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act that would see artists and record labels split streaming revenue 50/50, as is the case for U.K. radio. 

Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge welcomed the support. “For too long, streaming platforms, record labels and other internet giants have exploited performers and creators. We must put the value of music back where it belongs—in the hands of the music makers.”

The support arrives hot on the heels of news that the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority is launching a study on music streaming, which will see it scrutinize whether competition within the sector is "working well."

U.K. CHARTS: ADELE'S NEW RECORD
10/22/21

Adele’s “Easy on Me” (Columbia) has set a new record for streams as it hits #1 on the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart while Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres scores the top spot on albums.

With 24m streams in the U.K. this week, the track breaks a record set by Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” (Island), which racked up 16.9m on release in 2019. “Easy on Me” has the biggest week of digital download sales in 2021 so far with 23.5k.

With 217.3k total chart sales, “Easy on Me” has registered the highest week one sales figure since Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (Atlantic) hit the top on 226.8k sales in January 2017.

All the Adele excitement has sent two of her previous hits back into the Top 40: “When We Were Young” (XL) lands at #25 while “Someone Like You” bows at #34. On albums, her 25 jumps three places to #3, 21 is up eight to #6 and 19 rises 39 places to #15.

Elsewhere on singles, Coldplay’s BTS collaboration, “My Universe” (Parlophone), is up 10 places to #5 while their “Let Somebody Go” with Selena Gomez enters at #24 and “Higher Power” rebounds to #26.

On the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart, Music of the Spheres claims the fastest-selling album of 2021 with 101k sales, becoming Coldplay’s ninth consecutive #1 album.

The set is the first to surpass 100k sales in a week since Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project scored 125k in July 2019. Of Coldplay’s total sales, 85% were physical and download, including 12.4k on vinyl.

The Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be (UMG), returns to the Top 10 for the first time in 50 years at #2, and Daniel O’Donnell’s celebratory 60 (Demon) debuts at #4.

That's followed by the debut from South London newcomer Joy Crookes, Skin (Insanity), at #5, while Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes earn their third Top 10 album with Sticky (AWAL) at #8.

A&M AWARDS CROWN LITTLE SIMZ
10/22/21

British rapper Little Simz will be crowned Artist of the Year at the upcoming Artist and Manager Awards in the U.K., while Grace Ladoja MBE, co-manager of Skepta, Sarz and co-founder of Metallic Inc., will be given the 2021 Entrepreneur Award.

Simz is being honored for her self-released fourth album, Sometimes I Might be an Introvert (Age 101), which hit #4 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart in September. As part of a European tour, she plays three dates at London’s 5k capacity Brixton Academy in December.

Ladoja will be honored for her work in building bridges between Nigeria and the U.K. while developing Metallic into a global studio that specializes in music, culture and brands. Ladoja has fostered partnerships with Nike and Supreme, as well as delivering campaigns for her artists and founding the annual Homecoming Festival in Lagos.

…Read more

TAP SETS SIGHTS ON EUROVISION
10/21/21

The U.K.’s dire reputation at Eurovision could turnaround in 2022, when TaP Music, which reps Dua LipaLana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding, will be leading the search for a talented contender. 

TaP will act as consultants on the search for the U.K.’s representative for next year and is calling on the music industry to submit ideas for experienced live performers. The song performed at Eurovision will be released commercially through a partnership with a major label.

“For many years, we’ve witnessed the United Kingdom not doing as well as we would’ve liked [at Eurovision], when pop music is something we usually excel at,” Ben Mawson, co-Founder of TaP Music, said. “The simple fact is it’s time to show what we can do and the wonderful musical talent we have—ultimately we can’t blame politics.”

Noting the success of 2021 winners from Italy, Måneskin, TaP’s plan for the Eurovision campaign is to pull together an A-Team committee spanning artists, songwriters, creatives and media. TaP co-founder Ed Millett said, “Rather than viewing Eurovision as just a bit of fun, let's look at it for what it is; the world’s biggest live music event—200m viewers at last count, with an audience skewing younger each year. Win or lose or somewhere in between, we’re going to go for it.”

Despite its performance in recent years, the U.K. has had success at Eurovision historically. The country was crowned winner in 1997 with "Love Shine a Light" by Katrina and the Waves, in '81 with "Making Your Mind Up" by Bucks Fizz, in '76 with "Save Your Kisses For Me" by Brotherhood of Man, and was involved in a four-country tie in '69 with Lulu's "Boom Bang-a-Bang." Its first win was in '67 with Sandie Shaw's "Puppet on a String."