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GRAMMY PERFORMERS: WHO'S ON? WHAT'S UP?
The incremental rollout begins. (1/26a)
A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS:
JACK SUSSMAN
Nobody's got more experience in putting music on the tube. (1/25a)
RIHANNA, GAGA LEAD OSCAR SONG NOMS
David Byrne and Diane Warren have noms as well. (1/24a)
HIPGNOSIS NABS
BIEBER CATALOG
Merck's a belieber. (1/25a)
HITS' BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPECIAL: NOT EVERY WOMAN, BUT SEVERAL
Sisters doin' it for themselves (1/24a)
HIP-HOP AT 50
The astonishing first half-century of a world-rocking genre.
THE NEXT BIG PLAYER
in the catalog game is...
INDIE BREAKOUTS
More independent music rises at the DSPs.
THE GOP CONGRESS
At last, America can focus 24/7 on Hunter Biden's laptop.
Blighty Beat
PPL PAYS OUT £245M
1/26/23

U.K. PRO PPL paid out nearly £245m (about $300m) in 2022, up from £228.7m in 2021. The money went to 165k performers and recording rightsholders—the highest number ever.

Last year’s distribution, collected for the use of recorded music in the U.K. and internationally, marked a 7.1% increase year-on-year. It’s the second highest total paid out by PPL after £260.2m was distributed in 2020, thanks to record collections of £271.8m before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.

The 165k figure is up 12.2% from 147k in 2021, a rise that PPL says represents technological and operational investments, as well as a growing membership.

PPL Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem said the results are testament to “both the expert team we have at PPL but also to the efforts of the sector as a whole.”

STORMZY JOINS BRITS BILL
1/26/23

Stormzy has been added to the BRIT Awards performer lineup, joining Harry Styles, Lizzo, Sam Smith and Wet Leg on the bill.

Others set to perform on the night include Kim Petras with Smith, Cat Burns and David Guetta with Becky Hill and Ella Henderson.

Stormzy is up for three awards on the night: Mastercard Album of the Year for This Is What I Mean (0207 Def Jam), which hit #1 last year, Artist of the Year and Hip-Hop/Grime/Rap Act.

The ceremony takes place at London’s O2 Arena on 2/11.

MSG SPHERE MOVES FORWARD
1/25/23

London’s MSG Sphere has moved another step closer to fruition with the sign-off of its ambitious advertising strategy. AEG is “dismayed.”

MSG’s advertising proposal, which would see ads displayed across the venue exterior of more than a million LEDs, has been approved by the London Legacy Development Corporation’s Planning Decisions Committee.

This is despite the fact that, as a statement from AEG points out, the proposal was faced with multiple objections from the local council, neighboring boroughs, transport operators and local residents.

The decision was made at a meeting Tuesday where LLDC said the approval for the LED lights would be subject to a five-year review.

In response, AEG—which owns The O2 Arena, a competitor to the new venue—has called on the mayor of London to refuse the planning application.

“The advertising façade is at a wholly unprecedented scale for London and totally out of keeping with the surrounding area,” the statement reads. “The design was conceived for the heart of Las Vegas and has been transposed onto this east London site: it’s the wrong design, in the wrong location.”

Objections raised concerns over the impact the light display will have on local residents, as well as rail or road users. Should the project go ahead, the venue, located in Stratford, London, will have a capacity of 21.5k and mirror MSG’s development in Las Vegas.

BRITS LINEUP GROWS
1/24/23

More performers have been added to the BRIT Awards bill: Lizzo, David Guetta, Becky Hill, Ella Henderson and Cat Burns .

Lizzo will return to the BRITs stage following her debut performance in 2020. She’s up for two gongs: International Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “About Damn Time” (Atlantic).

Guetta will perform alongside Hill and Henderson; the trio collaborated for “Crazy What Love Can Do” (Parlophone), which hit #5 in the U.K. last year. This year, Guetta has one nomination for International Song of the Year for “I’m Good (Blue)” with Bebe Rexha. Hill, meanwhile, is up for Best Dance Act. Burns’ appearance was announced Monday.

Others set to perform on the night include Harry Styles, Wet Leg and Sam Smith & Kim Petras. The BRITs take place 2/11 at London’s O2 Arena.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: REYTONS RACE AHEAD 
1/23/23

Indie group The Reytons are leading this week’s U.K. Official Albums chart race with What’s Rock & Roll. Over on singles, Miley Cyrus is set for a second week on top.

The self-released What’s Rock & Roll is The Reytons' second set. It should land them a career best on Friday (their debut hit #11 in 2021).

Two further new entries are competing for the top spot: Wrong Side of Paradise (Earache) by Black Star Riders is #2 today, while Måneskin’s RUSH! (Columbia) starts at #3.

Dublin group The Murder Capital are #7 with Gigi’s Recovery (Human Season). Ladytron’s Time’s Arrow (Cooking Vinyl) is also new at #17.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Cyrus’ “Flowers” (RCA) remains at #1.

Rema’s breakout hit, “Calm Down” (Mavin), is on the rise, up two places to #6 today.

“Martin’s Sofa” (Relentless) by Headie One could be this week’s highest new entry at #9.

Also on the move are “10:35” (Atlantic/Ministry of Sound) by Tiësto and Tate McRae, up one to #15, and “I’ll Be Waiting” (Polydor) by Cian Ducrot, up three to #19.

CAT BURNS JOINS BRITS BILL
1/23/23

Cat Burns is the latest act added to the line-up for February’s BRIT Awards. She joins Harry Styles, Wet Leg and Sam Smith & Kim Petras on the bill.

Burns has three nominations: BRITs Rising Star, Song of the Year for breakout hit “Go” (RCA/Since 93) and Pop/R&B Act.

The performance will be a big look for Burns, who was one of last year’s breakout success stories in the U.K. She hit #2 in June with “Go,” which has since been certified Platinum, and released her EP, emotionally unavailable, in May.

Last summer, Burns supported Ed Sheeran on the European leg of his Mathematics Tour and was later named a Spotify Global RADAR artist. She will support Sam Smith on their U.K. & Ireland headline tour this spring.

The BRITs takes place at London’s O2 Arena on 2/11. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

U.K. CHARTS: "FLOWERS" POWER
1/20/23

While The Courteeners were making history on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart, Miley Cyrus was having her own personal record-setting week at singles.

Cyrus’s “Flowers” (RCA) becomes her third U.K. #1 after shifting 92k chart units with more than 9.9m streams. It’s her biggest opening week for streaming and the U.K.’s biggest first week for a single since Harry Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) reached the summit in May.

Elsewhere, Metro Boomin scores his first U.K. Top 10 single after “Creepin’” f/The Weeknd and 21 Savage (Republic) climbs four slots to #7.

Thanks to viral success on TikTok, Miguel’s “Sure Thing” (Jive) is up three to #11. Tiësto & Tate McRae’s “10:35” (Atlantic/Ministry of Sound) is also on the rise, moving two to #16, while Joel Corry & Tom Grennan’s “Lionheart (Fearless)” (Atlantic) rises six to #18. Mimi Webb’s “Red Flags” (Epic) is today’s second-highest new entry, starting at #23.

On the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart, Courteeners are at #1 with a 15th anniversary re-release of their 2008 debut, St. Jude (Polydor/UMR).

With 14 years, 9 months and 14 days between now and its original release, the album has the longest time between release and hitting #1 in Official Albums Chart history. The record reached the summit with more than 97% physical sales. Courteeners are also only the third band in Official Chart history to chart a re-issued album at #1.

The debut mixtape from rapper Clavish, the 28-track Rap Game Awful (Polydor), is new at #4.

Gaz Coombes’ fourth set, Turn the Car Around (Hot Fruit), secures him his first solo Top 10 at #6.

Circa Waves debut at #15 with Never Going Under ([PIAS]), while Scottish artist Joesef’s debut, Permanent Damage (AWAL), is new at #18.

WCM U.K. LANDS SAM TOMPKINS 
1/20/23

Warner Chappell Music has signed hotly tipped British singer-songwriter and musician Sam Tompkins to a publishing deal. The deal is global, excluding Australia and New Zealand.

Through the release of a number of singles and EPs, Tompkins, who is signed to Island in the U.K., has earned an army of fans, including support from Fred Again, Sam Smith, Bebe Rexha and Justin Bieber. Tompkins landed a support slot on Bieber’s summer shows last year, with the two duetting onstage.

A debut album is in the works.

“Sam is an incredible talent, with a huge career ahead of him,” said Emily Foreman, senior international A&R & Catalogue manager at Warner Chappell Music U.K. “He’s got real potential to become an international success and we’re really excited to be working with him as he continues to develop his songwriting.”

Tompkins secured his first U.K. Top 10 in early 2022 with the release of EP, Who Do You Pray To?. The record charted at #7 and included the singles, “Whole,” which has racked up almost 9m Spotify streams, and “Hero," which has 3m. He also had a viral hit in 2021 with “TO THE MOON,” his single with Jnr Choi, which currently has 207m Spotify streams and 2.1m TikTok videos.