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ON THE BMM COVER:
RICO WADE
ATL legend (6/17a)
NEAR TRUTHS: THE HITS KEEP COMING (PART TWO)
Born in 1986 by mad scientists; still lurking. (6/17a)
HITS LIST GOES COUNTRY
Pairs well with grits and gravy. (6/14a)
SUMMERTIME ROLLS: FESTIVAL SEASON IS UPON US
The latest tidbits from the bustling live sector. (6/17a)
IS MCK ABOUT TO
MAKE A BIG MOVE?
This would be a great get. (6/17a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
Blighty Beat
BUILDING AN EMPIRE
11/29/22

Fireboy DML, center, celebrates the success of “Peru” with, from left Alexander Okeke, Oluwaseun Fasehun, and EMPIRE’s Stephanie Adamu and Jay Jules.

EMPIRE is set to claim one of the best-selling songs of 2022 in the U.K. with Fireboy DML f/Ed Sheeran’s “Peru” which, as London-based Jay Jules tells us, is just the start of the company’s ambitions in the market.

At last count, “Peru” sat at #2 on the Official Charts list of best-selling songs year-to-date. The track—released via YBNL Nation and EMPIRE plus Island for the U.K.—has tallied nearly 1.2b streams globally, across its various different versions (including the feature with Sheeran and a remix with 21 Savage).

Its success in the U.K. is partly down to EMPIRE’s team on the ground, which includes Head of International Marketing Jules and Marketing Manager Stephanie Adamu.

“We were perfectly set up for it in the U.K., having two African Diaspora marketing specialists on the ground,” Jules said. “We were able to plug into the cultural tastemakers in the U.K. and across key European markets.”

After a steady build following its release in July last year, Sheeran hopping on the song at the end of 2021 added the jet fuel needed to take the record to #2 in January. The late Jamal Edwards was hugely instrumental in making this happen: “He introduced Ed to Fireboy's music and told Ed that Fire was keen to get him on the song," Jules said.

The success with DML is just part of EMPIRE’s story with African music in the U.K. This year, the company had a number of sold-out gigs from its roster including Kizz Daniel, Black Sherif, BNXN, and Asake, who sold 15k tickets for his three December dates at O2 Academy Brixton in one day. DML, meanwhile, recently sold out the 12.5k capacity OVO Arena Wembley.

Going forward, the plan for EMPIRE is to continue to grow the team and open its first official U.K./international base in London. “We want to keep building [our] domestic roster across the U.K. and Europe and have some exciting projects lined up for Q1 and beyond,” Jules said.

Photo credit: Michael Tubes Creations