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OSCAR LOVE FOR GAGA, STAR, RHAPSODY
The Oscars and Grammys will have lots in common this year. (1/23a)
THE BRITISH
ARE COMING
New music on the 2019 schedule. (1/23a)
GREIN ON GRAMMYS: SONGWRITING BY COMMITTEE
Tunesmithing becomes a team sport. (1/22a)
A FUTURISTIC TOP 20
WIZRD is a true star. (1/23a)
ARIANA GETS INTO ALBUM MODE
Grande sets a date: 2/8. (1/23a)
THE NEW PUB WORLD
Serious musical chairs.
CURATING GRAMMY PERFORMANCES
The calculus of awards, ratings and moments.
THE FIRST BIG RELEASE OF 2019
...is not what you'd expect.
THE NEW SUPERSTARS
The old pop rules just don't apply.
Blighty Beat
RCA'S JAKE WITH BUGG
1/2/19

British troubadour Jake Bugg has switched to Sony’s RCA  from Universal label Virgin EMI  ahead of the release of his fifth album. The news was reported by U.K. tabloid The Sun, and reunites Bugg with the team that worked on his hugely successful launch at MercuryJason Iley and Adrian Jolly.

Bugg released his #1 debut in 2012, hit #3 with the follow-up in 2013, then #4 with the third and #7 with the latest in 2017, after which his deal at Universal came to an end.

RCA is where Jolly, who first signed Bugg as A&R Manager at the now defunct Mercury, presides as Head of A&R. Sony U.K. President Iley also played a key role in Bugg’s success during his time as Head of Mercury.

According to The Sun, Bugg is working with producer Andrew Watt (Post Malone, Cardi B) for his new material.

 

U.K. CHARTS: BABY SNAKES TO #1
12/21/18

Well, this is a surprise. The U.K. Official Christmas #1 single has been claimed by YouTube personality LadBaby with his charity version of Starships' “We Built This City” shifting 75k combined sales, a huge 93% of which were downloads.

Proceeds from the sales of “We Built This City”—which references British "delicacy" sausage rolls instead of rock & roll—will go to food bank charity The Trussell Trust. The remaining 7% of sales were made up of audio and video streams. It’s the first novelty song to claim the festive spot since Bob the Builder did so with “Can We Fix It?” in 2000. 

Over on albums, The Greatest Showman (Atlantic) records its best sales week yet. 

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: MAX LEADS RACE
12/18/18

The race for the U.K.’s Official Christmas #1 single is a battle between Ava Max, Ariana Grande… and a novelty song by YouTube personality LadBaby. Over on albums, Bruce Springsteen has the highest new midweek entry at #2.

Max is currently leading the way on singles with “Sweet But Psycho” (Atlantic) ahead by just 978 combined sales. At #2 is LadBaby—a dad of two from Nottingham who has built up a sizeable following on YouTube with his videos documenting parenthood. His track is a northern version of Starship’s “We Built This City,” but dedicated to sausage rolls instead of rock & roll, naturally. It’s all in the name of charity with proceeds going to food bank network The Trussell Trust. 

Ariana Grande is just 508 combined sales behind at #3 with “thank u, next” (Island) and she's also new at #4 with “Imagine.” While LadBaby is #1 on iTunes, the track is nowhere to be seen on Spotify’s U.K. Top 50 where Mariah Carey is top with “All I Want for Christmas is You” (Columbia), which is #5 on Monday’s Official Chart update.

…Read more

U.K. TRADE ORGS SHUFFLE LEADERSHIP
12/18/18

Paul Clements is exiting PRS for Music to join The Music Publishers Association Group as CEO;  Vick Bain, Chief Officer at The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), is leaving for pastures new; and Alison Wenham is stepping down as Chief Exec of independent network WIN.

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: GRANDE FOR XMAS #1?
12/14/18

The race is on for the U.K.’s Official Singles Christmas #,1 which could very well be Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” (Island) as it clocks up a sixth week at the top. Over on albums, The Greatest Showman has its highest sales week to date.

The Christmas #1 will be crowned next week, and could be a battle between Ariana, Ava Max with “Sweet but Psycho” (Atlantic), which finishes 9k sales behind at #2, and Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” (Columbia) rising six places to #4 today.

Halsey stays at #3 with “Without Me” (Virgin EMI) and Mariah Carey breaks into the Top 5 at #5 with her chestnut “All I Want for Christmas is You” (Columbia). 

On the Official Albums Chart, The Greatest Showman (Atlantic) has clocked up its best-selling week yet one year since release, with 57k combined sales. Today is its 22nd non-consecutive week at the top of the Official Albums Chart.

...Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: THE SHOW GOES ON
12/10/18

The Greatest Showman has returned to the top of the Official Albums chart in the U.K. at this week’s halfway stage, with The Carpenters currently claim the highest new entry. Over on singles, Ariana Grande and Ava Max are competing for #1.

Should The Greatest Showman soundtrack (Atlantic) hold on to its lead, Friday will be its 22nd non-consecutive week at #1. Its closest competitor is Roy Orbison and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Unchained Melodies (Sony Music CG) rising four slots to #2.  The Carpenters start at #5 with another album recorded with the RPO, Carpenters (UMC). Coldplay’s Live in Buenos Aires (Parlophone) is also new at #7.

On the Official Singles midweeks, Grande is heading for her sixth week at #1 with “thank u, next” (Island). The track is 3.8k combined sales ahead of Max’s “Sweet But Psycho” (Atlantic) at #2.

…Read more

BBC TIPS SOUND OF 2019 TOP 10
12/10/18

The BBC has unveiled its Sound of 2019 longlist featuring 10 acts tipped for big things next year, with British names Grace Carter (Polydor), Slowthai (Method) and Octavian (Drilla) sitting alongside international acts Rosalia and King Princess, who are both signed to Columbiain Blighty. 

Five acts from today’s list will be shortlisted in January, before one winner is announced on 7/1. The acts are chosen by 136 critics, broadcasters and DJs. Universal has three names on the list with Carter, fellow Polydor signing Ella Mai and Irish singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy (Island). The two Sony acts are King Princess and Rosalia, who is the first Spanish-speaking artist to appear on the list. Warner has one with Atlantic signing Mahalia. The four independent acts are rappers Flohio, Octavian and Slowthai, and the only band in the top 10 — London four-piece Sea Girls (Almanac). Check them all out in the video below.

MERCK BUYS ANOTHER CATALOG
12/7/18

Merck Mercuriadis has splashed out again with his Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquiring the catalog of British hitmakers, TMS. The deal includes 10 Top 5 U.K. singles and five #1s performed by the likes of Jess GlynneLittle MixEmeli Sandé and Paloma Faith.

Hipgnosis has acquired a 100% interest in 121 songs, except for the writers’ share of performance income. TMS is the songwriter and production trio of Thomas “Froe” BarnesBenjamin Kohn and Peter “Merf” Keller

 “Having watched what Merck, Nile [Rodgers] and Hipgnosis have been building, we’re extremely impressed by all they’ve achieved in a very short space of time,” TMS said. “The catalogs already acquired speak volumes about their ambition and it’s nice to know that our songs will be sitting in some very esteemed company.”

…Read more