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MORE FUTURE IN THE
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AMAZON GETS RICH
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Polydor U.K. has bolstered its A&R team with the appointment of Universal Music Sweden exec Mikael Wadström as Senior A&R Manager. Wadström will use his nous in the world of streaming, which first exploded in Sweden where Spotify launched, to sign and develop artists.
Acts he has been involved with during his time at Universal include superstar DJ Avicii and Swedish house duo Vigiland, who just surpassed 250m streams worldwide.
After joining Universal in 2011, Wadström helped launch Universal’s Swedish Recordings imprint. The label has cultivated the careers of local acts including Veronica Maggio, Rebecca & Fiona, Ken Ring, Näääk, Nause and Panda Da Panda.
Prior to that, Wadström co-founded Pope Records and JuJu Records. He joins Polydor U.K. under the new leadership of Ben Mortimer and Tom March.
Columbia's breakthrough Rag’n’Bone Man has had a smashing first-week for his debut album, Human, which, after selling 117k combined copies, has become the fastest-selling male debut album of the decade.
There were a number of shiny happy faces at Thursday night’s Music Producers Guild Awards in London, where Paul Epworth (pictured at right) was named U.K. Producer of the Year for the fourth time fresh from his sixth Grammy win, this time for Adele’s 25. In addition to Adele, Epworth was honoured for his work with Usher and The Stone Roses.
Tony Visconti took home the Outstanding Contribution to U.K. Music, as well as International Producer of the Year, thanks to collaborations with artists such as David Bowie (including swan song Blackstar), Marc Bolan, Morrissey, Angélique Kidjo and others. Bowie’s Blackstar (Columbia) won U.K. Album of the Year.
Tim Dellow and Toby L of indie Transgressive were honoured with the A&R Award, while Mandy Parnell was named Mastering Engineer of the Year (Bjork, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno). Check out the full list of winners here, and a few smiling faces below.
Transgressive co-founders Tim Dellow, left, and Toby L celebrate an MPGA win with Aliou of Mali band Songhoy Blues, artist Marika Hackman and AIM Marketing and Events Director Lara Baker.
Tony Visconti, left, and PPL boss Peter Leathem.
Elbow went head and shoulders above the competition in the U.K. this week, securing #1 on the Official Albums Chart with 40k combined chart sales. Ed Sheeran, meanwhile, set a new U.K. record with “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill.”
Richard Thompson, center, calls out “who knows ‘The Lark in the Morning’ in G? Let’s do it’ at the second U.K. Americana Awards at St John at Hackney in London.
Margo Price and Lewis & Leigh were among the award winners at the second U.K. Americana Awards that took place at the end of Americana Music Association U.K. conference in London last week.
Richard Thompson received a Lifetime Achievement Award and performed along with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sam Outlaw, Yola Carter, William the Conqueror, Peter Bruntnell, Danni Nicholls, Lewis & Leigh and Ethan Johns.
To mark the first anniversary of the launch of the Official Americana Albums Chart, Jools Holland joined Martin Talbot, CEO of the Official Charts Company, in presenting Van Morrison with the award for Best Selling UK Americana Album of 2016 for Keep Me Singing, which spent 10 weeks at #1 on the chart.
Awards went to Ghost by Lewis & Leigh (UK Album of The Year); Angeleno by Sam Outlaw (International Album of the Year); Yola Carter (UK Artist of the Year); Sturgill Simpson (International Artist of the Year); "The 4:19" by Lewis & Leigh (UK Song of the Year); "Hands of Time" by Margo Price (International Song of the Year); and Chris “CJ” Hillman (UK Instrumentalist of the Year).
Guitarist Albert Lee received the Trailblazer Award and Wildwood Kin took home the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award.
Kylie Minogue—that's her in the center—drops in on the BMG offices right about tea time, bringing scones for the entire staff.
BMG U.K. has bolstered its roster with Kylie Minogue, who leaves behind 15 years on WMG label Parlophone, while Imagem Music U.K. has signed Swedish songwriting and production duo Goldfingers.
Minogue released seven studio albums on Parlophone, which joined WMG U.K. in 2013 as a result of the Universal/EMI merger. Her new deal marks somewhat of a return to BMG: Minogue released two albums on Deconstruction in the ‘90s, which was acquired by BMG in ’93.
The Aussie singer will release a new album later this year on the label President Alexi Cory-Smith helms.
Elsewhere, Chimene Mantori, A&R Manager at pubco Imagem Music U.K., has signed Goldfingers to a global publishing deal. Managed by Raw Kingdom, the duo, Frank Nobel and Linus Nordstrom, are based in London.
Having quietly made a buzz in Scandinavia, in 2016, Nobel enjoyed success working with Max Martin-signed artist Laleh in their native Sweden, which resulted in two #1 singles (which spent over 25 weeks at the top of the Swedish airplay chart), and have garnered four Swedish Grammi Nominations (Best Song, Best Pop, Best Producer, Best Composer).
They are currently writing and producing with John Newman, Camille Purcell, Two Inch Punch, Chris Loco, Mr Hudson, and Black Butter’s latest signing, H Block Inc.
Kim Frankiewicz, MD of Imagem Music U.K., said: “Linus and Frank have a fantastic pop sensibility. We’ve had our eye on them for a while and their proposition as both writers and producers is getting stronger with each move. 2016 was a great year for them in Sweden and we are looking to replicate that this year in the UK and beyond.”
Ted Cockle’s leading British imprint Virgin EMI has tapped Karma Artists founder Jordan Jay as Senior A&R Manager, marking his return to Universal after a nearly five-year run in artist management.
Jay joined UMG U.K. in 2006, where he spent seven years at Geffen and Polydor/Fascination. During that time he was instrumental in 40 global hits, four U.K. #1s and the success of Girls Aloud, The Saturdays and The Wanted.
In 2012 Jay left to form Karma Artists Management, which he'll continue to run alongside his new role, looking after a stable of songwriters and producers including Red Triangle (James Arthur, 5 Seconds of Summer, Charlie Puth), Tre Jean-Marie (Craig David, Kaytranda, MNEK) and Sam Preston (Olly Murs, John Newman, The Vamps).
As a consultant, Jay worked on the last four series of The X Factor for Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment. He also teamed with Virgin EMI on British pop band The Vamps, A&R-ing their Top 10 album Wake Up and new single “All Night,” which is their highest-streaming track to date.
Jay reports to Virgin EMI’s SVP of A&R Nick Burgess, who said: “Jordan enjoyed great success with Universal during his first spell here and since then he has enhanced his reputation as a great pop A&R through Karma Artists, blending writers, producers and artists into a consistently winning formula. We’re excited about the music he will bring to the label.”
Jay added: “I’m now looking forward to discovering more amazing new artists and bringing together the best possible combination of talents to create great music and big hits.”
Last year, Virgin EMI came top of the leaderboard in AES marketshare figures in Blighty with 11%. Its roster includes Jake Bugg, Emeli Sande, Bastille and James Bay. The label also looks after a number of U.S. stars such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Rihanna.
Alongside Cockle and Burgess, Jay joins MD Clive Cawley, Jason Ellis, who is A&R Director at the label’s dance imprint Positiva, Senior Marketing Manager Ian Carew and radio promo man Bruno Morelli.
The La La Land soundtrack (Polydor) is heading for #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart at midweek stage, while Deaf Havana’s fourth album All These Countless Nights (So Recordings) is the highest new entry at #3. There’s no prizes for guessing who’s #1 on the Official Singles Chart.
Pete Tong’s Classic House (UMG) is down one place to #2, while Little Mix’ Glory Days (SYCO) moves down to #4.
The second highest albums entry is another independent release—I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing (CTRL02) by British singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan at #5. Train are set for their fourth U.K. Top 10 with 10th collection A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat (Columbia) currently at #6.
Over on the Official Singles midweek update, in a non-moving Top 5, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (Atlantic), bolstered by the release of its accompanying video, holds at #1 while “Castle on the Hill” does so at #2.
Further down, Dua Lipa could crack the Top 10 with two singles as Sean Paul collaboration “No Lie” (Island) rises one place to #10, while her current solo hit “Be The One” (Warner Bros) has leapt ten spots to #11.