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CROSSCURRENTS, PART THREE
The Motown story (3/25a)
SONG REVENUE CHART: "RING" IN THE IDES OF MARCH
The full Monte yet again. (3/22a)
NOT IN HITS LIST
We use only the highest-quality click bait. (3/22a)
COLUMBIA SPRINGS THE COUNTRY TRAP
A whole new wrinkle (3/22a)
THE ROOTS OF ROCK & SOUL, SONG BY SONG: THE LATE ’50S
The saga continues. (3/22a)
THE NEXT RECORDING ACADEMY HEAD IS...
(The envelope, please.)
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT MARKETSHARE
But it is, really. Isn't it?
WHAT IF I DON'T STREAM?
First of all, don't panic.
WHO ORDERED THIS PIZZA?
Seriously, come get it now or we're eating it.
Blighty Beat
BRITS UP ON DIGITAL, DOWN ON TV
2/28/19

The BRIT Awards ceremony on 2/20 had its highest online view count ever, with the YouTube live stream up 160% to 3.98m views. The TV broadcast, however, dipped by 900k to reach its lowest audience since 2006. 

The international YouTube broadcast added an additional 2.45m views on 2018’s figure, recording the highest viewing number since the show began live streaming in 2014.

Those tuning into British TV channel ITV reached 4.5m. It was the most-watched program for 16- to 34-year-olds this year with a 42% share of that age group.

All BRITs social accounts rose 12%, up to 3.37m from 3m thanks to a robust digital campaign that included the YT live stream, an online after-party, influencer program, Facebook red carpet live stream (5.9m views across five days), campaigns on Instagram (story views up 46% YoY) and Twitter (750k total tweets, up 224%), and hundreds of gifs thanks to GIPHY (helping to reach total views of 96.2m), plus partner activity with Snapchat, Jungle Creations and TikTok.

 

PENNIES ON THE POUND FOR HMV
2/26/19

Sunrise Records paid just £883k ($1.1m) for British retailer HMV, which owed more than £53m after falling into administration in December with creditors expected to face a shortfall of £25m. Meanwhile, deals have been struck with nine stores that were set for closure.

HMV first fell into administration in 2013 with £176m of debt, before restructuring firm Hilco saved it in a deal that was worth a reported £40m. The price Sunrise paid is mostly for stock and cash in the business, according to a report in the Financial Times.

When the deal was first announced, 27 HMV stores were set to be closed, including the flagship London branch on Oxford Street. Five of those 27 have since been reopened after striking deals with landlords, and four more are set to do the same while Sunrise owner Doug Putman continues negotiating with other landlords. 

U.K. MIDWEEKS: "GIANT" BATTLE AT #1
2/25/19

Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man and Lewis Capaldi are battling for the U.K’s Official Singles Chart #1 at midweek stage, while Giggs and Sleaford Mods are the highest new entrants on albums.

Harris and Rag'n'Bone Man’s “Giant” (Columbia) has risen four places to #1 on the midweek update, while Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” (Virgin EMI) is 1.6k combined sales behind at #2.

Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” (Island) and “Break Up With Your Girlfriend” have moved down to #3 and #4 respectively, while Mabel stays at #5 with “Don’t Call Me Up” (Polydor).

The most downloaded song across the weekend was Pink's “Walk Me Home” (RCA), which is new at #7, while BRITs Breakthrough winner Tom Walker has risen nine places with “Just You and I” (Relentless) at #10.

On the Official Albums midweeks, Ariana’s thank u, next is still #1, however, with a marginal combined sales lead of 540 ahead of The Greatest Showman (Atlantic) at #2, it all could change by Friday.

…Read more

 

YOUTUBE GETS FRIENDLY WITH BRITS
2/25/19

YouTube is launching its own studio at the U.K's BRIT School to help emerging music talent create videos with state of the art equipment, while providing mentoring and masterclasses.

It’s the second time YouTube has put its money behind emerging U.K. talent this year, following January’s launch of a funding program for new managers.

The BRIT School—which is free to attend—has nurtured a host of British stars including AdeleLoyle CarnerJessie JElla EyreKatie MeluaImogen Heap and Kate Tempest.  

The YouTube Music Studio will open its doors later this year, and is a refurbished version of The BRIT School’s existing TV, film and media production suite. Its equipment will include a 16-channel audio desk, three studio cameras, playback screens, and monitors. The initiative builds on the partnership between YouTube Music and The BRIT Awards, which raises funds for The BRIT Trust.

...Read more

U.K. CHARTS: ARIANA HOLDS AT #1
2/22/19

Ariana Grande has the #1 and #2 Official Singles Chart spots in the U.K. as thank u, next (Island) continues to rule albums. London collective D-Block Europe are the highest new entry among albums and Brits winners Calvin Harris, George Ezraand The 1975 see gains.

“7 Rings” has moved back up to #1, pushing “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” down to #2. That means Ariana is the first artist to replace herself at #1 for two consecutive weeks. “Needy” is her third Top 20 entry this week at #11.

UMG is enjoying a big chart week, with four out of five singles in the Top 5 thanks also to Lewis Capaldi’s  “Someone You Loved” (Virgin EMI) at #3 and Mabel’s “Don’t Call Me Up” (Polydor) at #5.

On the Official Albums Chart, Grande logs a second week at #1 thanks in part to 37.2m streams across thank u, next tracks.

D-Block Europe debut at #6 with self-released 19-track collaboration mixtape Home Alone, the first Top 10 release for the group, who debuted at #14 last year with Any Minute Now alongside Yxng Bane.

…Read more

THE BRITS: A VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
2/21/19

By Rhian Jones

The BRIT Awards, from an insider’s perspective, squabbles over who was the biggest winner Wednesday night at the O2 Arena and included a few questionable victories. 

Of the big awards handed out on the night, Universal had four and a half thanks to two big wins for The 1975 (shared with their label Dirty Hit) and success in the international categories with Ariana Grande, Drake and half a win for The Carters. Add in Critics’ Choice winner Sam Fender — announced earlier in December — and its tally rises to five and a half.

Sony enjoyed four wins for homegrown talent George Ezra, Tom Walker, Little Mix, half for British Single by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, and another half for The Carters.( Last year, Warner took six of the 11 trophies and the year prior, Sony rolled out with seven, adding two more in total for Critics' Choice and BRIT Icon.)

The confusion over who had the best night lies in the Outstanding Contribution to Music win for Sony act P!nk, and a Producer gong for Harris—an award that isn’t usually part of the ceremony. Perhaps it was included because, surprisingly, this year was the first time he won after years of nominations. Count those two in the mix and Sony’s tally rises to six. It’s interesting that Sony includes Female Solo Artist winner Jorja Smith within its list of winners—an artist who, while being distributed by The Orchard, has famously eschewed a major label deal. It’s safest to say that both majors did rather well.

After a clean sweep last year, Warner had a quiet one with Ed Sheeran the recipient of Global Success for the second year running, and Lipa taking half for British Single. 

So, any surprises? Jorja Smith or Anne-Marie would have been better suited to British Breakthrough, while Florence and the Machine is arguably a more deserving winner for British Female after releasing her fourth top-selling album last year.  Walker as Breakthrough Artist is an interesting one, having not yet released his debut album. Which begs the question, what classifies a “breakthrough” act in 2019?

In terms of the ceremony itself, it wasn’t one to remember. The big winners of the night, The 1975, played the wrong song — the downbeat “Sincerity is Scary” when they could have smashed it with “Love It If We Made It.” Frontman Matt Healy gave the most politically charged speech of the night off the back of the Ryan Adams revelations, referencing an article by Guardian journalist Laura Snapes, who wrote, “male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of difficult artists while women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art." Apart from that, the speeches were vanilla. 

A clunky collab between Harris, Lipa, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man wasn’t particularly captivating—at least from the arena floor—and the show opener from Hugh Jackman of The Greatest Showman was reflective of the soundtrack’s mass consumption, but not the best of the British music scene. Last year wasn’t particularly eventful, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the BRITs ceremony wasn’t either. 

But how many times have the same U.K. artists graced the BRITs stage? Here’s an idea: After making a pledge to showcase a bigger range of diverse talent, organisers could have used the opportunity to instead give a platform to a number of up-andcomer — Ella MaiSlowthaiMabel,  IDLES. If the rules over release strategy, breakthrough artists, and what classifies an album are bending, the BRITs might have a chance of remaining significant by thinking outside of a very rigid box, too.

BRIT AWARDS: THE WINNERS
2/21/19

The 1975 were the big winners at the 2019 BRIT Awards, taking home multiple trophies for  British Group and MasterCard British Album of the Year. Calvin Harris/Dua LipaDrakeAriana GrandeThe CartersJorja Smith and George Ezra, among others, also picked up gongs Wednesday night  at the O2 Arena in London.

...Read more

GENDER GAP WIDENS IN THE U.K.
2/19/19

While 2018 may have been crowned the year of the woman, research from the BBC reveals just how big the gender gap was on last year’s most successful songs in the U.K. Of the Official Chart Company’s Top 100 most popular tracks, 91 were credited to men, while just 30 were credited to women.

Those stats include crossover for collaborations. Despite the popularity of artists such as Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie and Ariana Grande, 13 songs were credited to female acts solely, compared to 35 in 2008, meaning the gender gap has widened over the last 10 years. While the number of Top 100 songs credited to women overall was the same in 2018 as in 2008, the amount credited to men has risen by 50% to 91 in 2018 from 59 in 2008, thanks to a rise in collaborations. From 2008 to 2018, the number of songs credited to both a female and male act rose to 25 from 10, so male/female collaborations have replaced female solo songs. The number of songs by a male act only has also risen to 54 from 49.

...Read more