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 SONY MUSIC U.K.'S TIPS FOR 2016

After ending the year with the Elvis phenomenon (that’s still very much continuing its remarkable sales performance), Jason Iley’s Sony Music U.K. began 2016 with four newly signed acts in the iTunes Top 10 in Blighty. The company has started as it means to go on as a wealth of artist projects Iley’s labels signed during his first tenure as CEO come to fruition.

Sony U.K.’s albums market share in 2015 stood at 22.6% over the Atlantic (with Sony Music CG - the label that boasts the Elvis If I Can Dream album - at 11.9%), while Sony released singles held 23.3% to reach second place behind Universal. So what new names will we be keeping tabs on this year?

For Mark Terry and Alison Donald’s Columbia imprint, Snakehips, currently at #5 on iTunes U.K. (and #9 in the Official Charts midweeks) with Tinashe and Chance the Rapper track “All My Friends,” will have more music in the pipeline over the next 12 months after releasing a well-received EP in March last year. BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac has long been a fan and the station’s support continues, with “All My Friends” currently sitting on the A List.

 Also new at Columbia is soul/blues singer Rag’n’Bone Man, whose music is exceptional, says Iley, and is a favorite of BBC 1Xtra DJ MistaJam. Nigerian but British-born singer Samm Henshaw has also picked up fans in 1Xtra and features on their Hot for 2016 list. He’ll be opening for Tori Kelly on her U.K. tour at the end of February.

Colin Barlow’s RCA had two artists playing last night’s Future Festival at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London, and both went down exceptionally well. First up was high-energy neo-soul singer Nao, who came third in the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll, followed by young and delicate singer/songwriter Billie Marten—both names we’ll be hearing much more of in the very near future.

The Nothing Else Matters RCA imprint, led by Danny Howard and Nigel Harding, has been making its mark recently as “The Girl Is Mine (feat. Destiny’s Child & Brandy)”—the debut single from house act 99 Souls—is currently sitting at #6 on the U.K. iTunes chart. As well as boasting a prime spot on the BBC Radio 1 A List, it has been certified silver (200k sales).

Meanwhile, London-born singer/songwriter Izzy Bizu—signed by Epic U.K. boss Dougie Bruce in 2014 after he heard her “brilliant” independently released Coolbeanz EP—only just missed out on the BRITs Critics’ Choice gong at the end of last year. Bizu's debut album A Moment of Madness is out May 2016.

Relentless boss Shabs Jobanputra has soul man Tom Walker—currently recording his debut EP—and Swedish export MY, who has a debut single on the way.

Henry Village and Joe Gossa have been two young execs on the rise over the last few years with the success of their label Black Butter, which is now housed at Sony’s London HQ after partnering with Iley to become one of his standalone imprints in 2014. Rapper J Hus and singer/songwriter Leo Stannard are two acts they’ll be focusing attention on this year.  

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