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JAY Z, BABYFACE, MAX MARTIN, CHICAGO IN SONGWRITERS HALL
Jay Z makes history. (2/22a)
TOP 15: FUTURE SHOCK (AND AWE)
The first of his two back-to-back album releases? Interesting... (2/22a)
SOME PRE-BRITS MUSINGS
Who are you rooting for? Pass the wine. (2/22a)
OSCAR SO ... WHAT?
Politics and pluralism at the Academy Awards.
Q1'S FIRST BIG SURPRISE
The return of a star.
PLAYLISTS AND POLITICS
How it really works.
DECLARATIONS OF INDEPENDENTS
How indie artists break through in the new reality.
Blighty Beat
SAM SMITH SIGHTING
1/26/17

Sam Smith has been spotted on social media hanging out with Calum Scott in Nashville haunt The Crying Wolf—the first sighting of the British star in a while after laying low for the best part of a year. Are the duo, both signed to Capitol in the U.S., working together?

The Brits are hoping Smith’s comeback is imminent after his global breakthrough debut in 2014. Scott, meanwhile, could be set for his own smash debut this year. Here's our favorite response to the new kinship on Twitter:

BBC RADIO 1 SETS SAIL FOR HULL
1/23/17

The first headliners for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2017 are Sony-signed Kings of Leon (Columbia), Little Mix (Syco) and indie act Stormzy. Held in Hull’s Burton Constable Hall on 5/27-28, the annual free jaunt will host over 50,000 music fans.

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U.K. MIDWEEKS: NEARLY TONG-TIED
1/23/17

There are two new entries in the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart midweek update: Veteran musician Mike Oldfield (Virgin EMI) is starting at #2 with his 26th album and hardcore independent Brit band Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes is at #4. Guess who’s #1?

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U.K. CHARTS: THE XX SEE #1
1/20/17

Indie band The xx have scored their second #1 on the U.K. Official Albums Chart with I See You (Young Turks) notching up an impressive 26.5k sales. Ed Sheeran, meanwhile, enjoys a second week of massive single sales.

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BBC RADIO 1 HOSTS FUTURE STARS
1/19/17

We were especially wowed by one standout star at BBC Radio 1’s Future Festival in London, where the station hosted sets from a diverse range of acts expected to have success over the coming year at its Maida Vale studios.

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U.K. MUSIC CHIEF STEPS DOWN
1/18/17

Chief of U.K. government lobbying trade body UK MusicJo Dipple, is to step down in June 2017 after five years as CEO. A replacement is currently being sought. Dipple joins a number of recent leadership changes across the British trade bodies.

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NEW SIGNINGS: POLYDOR, SYCO AND INFECTIOUS
1/18/17

There’s been three additions to the rosters of UniversalSony and BMG in Blighty of late as Hannah Jane Lewis joins Polydor5 After Midnight (pictured) sign to Sony and The Sherlocks join Infectious.

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BBC RADIO 1 PLEDGES MORE PLAYLIST SPACE FOR BRITS
1/16/17

After facing criticism for not playing enough homegrown acts, BBC Radio 1 has pledged a commitment to playlisting three singles for up to six new U.K. acts. The idea is by the third they’ll have risen the ranks to its A List. 

There was just one British act in BBC Radio 1’s Top 10 songs played last year (“I’m In Control” (Island) by Aluna George f/Popcaan), with another 17 in the Top 50, which was 36% British overall. Of those 18 U.K. acts, nine fall under the Beeb’s “new” category with no album yet released. 

“It’s no secret that the wider music industry, of which Radio 1 forms an important part, struggled to break any U.K. artists in 2016,” playlist boss Chris Price told British trade title Music Week. “This is about Radio 1 taking a leading role in trying to fix that issue. We should continue to play a part in breaking U.K. artists at home and on the world stage.”

The initiative joins efforts from the Official Charts Company, which has changed the streaming conversion rate for one sale on the singles chart to 150 streams from 100 in the hope of achieving less stagnancy after a rather boring 2016 for High Street Kensington.