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SONG REVENUE: HOPPED UP
Bad Bunny makes the most of his turn at bat. (5/20a)
TOP 20: KENDRICK
LEADS THE WAY
Another record-breaking debut week. (5/18a)
GREEN AS EVER
A think piece—cool! (5/19a)
FEET OF CLAY AND “TAPDANCING AROUND THE CONVERSATION”: KENDRICK LAMAR’S BREAKTHROUGHS
The K-Dot aesthetic examined (5/20a)
LNX BATHED IN STARLIGHT BY SHOF
23 with a bullet (5/19a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: HARRY TIES "BRUNO"
5/20/22

Harry Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) has secured the top slot on the U.K. Official Singles chart for a record-tying seventh consecutive week, fending off a fierce challenge from Sam Ryder’s Eurovision entry. Florence + The Machine and Kendrick Lamar have the top two albums.

Styles’ single, with more than 6.4m streams in the last week, ties with Disney’s Encanto sensation “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” for the longest-running #1 of the year. 

In the most exciting chart battle of the year, Styles started the week at #1 before Ryder’s “SPACE MAN” (Parlophone) rocketed into the lead, only to be passed by Styles as the clock on the sales week ran out. At #2, “SPACE MAN” is the highest charting U.K. Eurovision entry since Gina G’s “Ooh Ahh…Just a Little Bit” in 1996. “SPACE MAN” is the most downloaded song of the week.

Elsewhere, Lamar lands three new tracks in the Top 15: “N95” (pgLang/TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) is #6; “Die Hard” is #7 and “United in Grief” is #14.  

Tion Wayne has his eighth Top 20 hit in the U.K with “IFTK” f/La Roux (GDS/Atlantic) at #16; it’s La Roux’s first time in the Top 20 in 13 years.

Hitting new peaks are George Ezra’s “Green Green Grass” (Columbia) up nine to #22; Benson Boone’s at #24 with “In The Stars” (Night Street/Warner); and Benzz’s viral hit “Je M’appelle” (Heightless/Island) up eight to #26.  

On the Official Albums Chart, Florence + The Machine score their fourth U.K. #1 album with Dance Fever (Polydor). Lamar’s fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, is the most-streamed album of the week, giving him his  fourth U.K. Top 10 album to date.

The Black KeysDropout Boogie (Nonesuch) opens at #5, the same position last year’s Delta Kream opened in. Bear’s Den’s Blue Hours (Communion) is right behind them at #6; it was also the most-purchased vinyl in independent record shops this week.

One year after its release, Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR (Poilydor/Geffen) rises three to #10 giving it 52 weeks in the Top 20. 

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s The Smile hits #19 with their debut A Light For Attracting Attention (XL) and The Rolling StonesLive at the El Mocambo (Polydor) becomes their 53rd UK Top 40 record. 

IVORS HONOR DAVE, MVULA
5/20/22

Dave was named Songwriter of the Year at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards while Ed Sheeran, Sam Fender and Little Simz took home coveted prizes from The Ivors Academy

At a ceremony at Grosvenor House in London, Naomi Kimpenu received the Rising Star Award while Peter Gabriel, Shakira, Cocteau Twins and The Cure’s Robert Smith were recognized for their contributions to music.

The win for Dave is his fourth. His album We’re All Alone in This Together topped the U.K. chart and had three Top 10 singles.

Longtime host Paul Gambaccini announced his retirement and Lauren Laverne will be replacing him next year.

The winners:

ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP

Peter Gabriel

BEST ALBUM

Pink Noise, written by Dann Hume and Laura Mvula, performed by Laura Mvula

BEST CONTEMPORARY SONG

“I Love You, I Hate You,” written by Dean ‘Inflo’ Josiah Cover and Little Simz, performed by Little Simz 

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE

The World To Come, composed by Daniel Blumberg

BEST ORIGINAL VIDEO GAME SCORE

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, composed by Richard Jacques

BEST SONG MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY

“Seventeen Going Under,” written and performed by Sam Fender

BEST TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK

Landscapers, composed by Arthur Sharpe

OUTSTANDING SONG COLLECTION 

Paul Heaton

PRS FOR MUSIC MOST PERFORMED WORK

“Bad Habits,” written by Fred Again.., Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran, performed by Ed Sheeran

PRS FOR MUSIC ICON AWARD

Robert Smith and Simon Gallup

RISING STAR AWARD WITH APPLE MUSIC

Naomi Kimpenu

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR 

Dave

SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL AWARD WITH APPLE MUSIC

Shakira

VISIONARY AWARD

Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins)

A #1 SINGLE FOR THE QUEEN?
5/17/22

Warner Classics wants a #1 for the Queen. The. real one, not the band that Freddie Mercury led.

On 5/27, Warner will release a new recording of “God Save The Queen” by Sarah Brightman and Alfie Boe along with a remastered recording of the National Anthem sung at Her Majesty’s 1953 coronation service in Westminster Abbey.

Warner Classics will campaign to get Queen Elizabeth II to the top of the U.K. singles chart for her Platinum Jubilee weekend—6/2-5—and raise money for the British Red Cross. Brightman and Boe will call on the British public to download, buy and stream the single on the week of its release. Warner Music U.K. and iTunes U.K. will donate proceeds from the double A-Side single to the British Red Cross.

 “When I received the call to ask if I wanted to be a part of this adventure with Alfie, I was excited about the opportunity and the efforts behind the project,” Brightman said. “It means a lot to us both—we’d love to see the anthem get to the top of the charts and raise meaningful funds for the incredible British Red Cross during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.”

Brightman and Boe are backed by the NHS Voices of Care Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The release will be available worldwide on iTunes, Amazon Music and across select digital streaming platforms. The CD single will be available at select U.K. Asda stores and other retailers.

PPL PULLS IN THE POUNDS
5/17/22

U.K. music-licensing company PPL collected £252.8m in revenues in 2021, a 12% spike over 2020’s collections.

All three revenue streams—international, broadcast & online and public performance—rose while record amounts poured in at International (£94m) and Broadcast & Online Licensing (£86.7m).

A new record was set for the number of performers and recording rights-holders getting a check: 147k people received at least one payment in 2021, an increase of 31.3% over 2020.

Revenue from the playing of music in pubs, clubs and other public venues was up 25.4% to £72.1m,a spike largely owing to the reopening of the U.K.

“We achieved our second highest annual revenue total and saw our best ever year for both international revenue and broadcast & online revenue,” said PPL CEO Peter Leathem. “Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business. 

“PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rights-holders than 10 years ago when I became CEO and is collecting nearly double the revenue. We collect more international neighboring rights royalties than anyone else, and PPL PRS Ltd, our joint public performance licensing venture with PRS for Music, launched in 2018, is streamlining the collection of public performance royalties. Now then, anyone care for a cuppa?”

U.K. MIDWEEKS: FEVER PITCH
5/16/22

The fifth studio album from Florence + The Machine is on its way to becoming their fourth U.K. #1 while Harry Styles may have two challengers threatening his shot at a seventh week at #1 at singles.

Florence Welch & company’s Dance Fever (Polydor) has registered more than 26k chart sales and is the best-selling album of the week in the U.K., physically and digitally.

The most streamed album, though, is Kendrick Lamar’s first album in five years, Mr Morale & The Big Steppers (Interscope), which is set to debut at #2 Friday on the Official Albums Chart. The Black KeysDropout Boogie (Nonesuch), at #4, is on course to be their fifth U.K. Top 10. British folkies Bear’s Den may secure their highest-ever charting LP in the U.K. as Blue Hours (Communion) is now #5.

The Rolling Stones’ archival release Live At The El Mocambo (Polydor) is #7 and the debut from Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood’s The Smile, A Light For Attracting Attention (XL) is #9.

The re-release of Toyah’s 1981 live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (Cherry Red) sits at #11, potentially outperforming its original chart position of #22.

At singles, fewer than 2,000 chart sales separate Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) and Cat Burns’ “Go” (RCA) and at the midweek mark. Styles, currently #1, is vying for his seventh week atop the chart.

Three songs from Lamar’s Mr Morale & The Big Steppers (Interscope) are eyeing slots in the Top 10: “United in Grief” is #3; “N95” is #4; and “Die Hard” sits at  #6.

Sam Ryder’s second place finish at Eurovision Saturday has propelled his “SPACE MAN” (Parlophone) to #5. It would be the first U.K. Eurovision entry to crack the Top 10 since Scooch’s “Flying the Flag (For You)” in 2007. If it hits #1, it would be the first U.K. Eurovision #1 on the Official Singles Chart in 26 years.

My Chemical Romance’s surprise release “Foundations of Decay” (Warner) is heading for a #14 debut

U.K. CHARTS: ARCADE FIRE'S 4TH #1
5/13/22

It’s a double win for Columbia Records in the U.K.: Harry Styles continues to have the #1 single while Arcade Fire has registered their fourth chart-topper on the Official Albums tally.

The Canadian alt-rock group’s WE (Columbia) follows The SuburbsReflektor and Everything Now to the top slot and also is the week’s top seller on vinyl.

The second studio album from Scandinavia’s SigridHow to Let Go (Island), heads straight in at #2 while London-born rapper Knucks makes his Official Albums Chart debut at #3 with ALPHA PLACE (Nodaysoff)Jack Harlow makes it into the first Top 5 for the first time as Come Home The Kids Miss You (Atlantic) lands at #4.

Soft Cell’s first studio album together in 20 years, *Happiness Not Included (BMG) is #7 and Belle & Sebastian’s A Bit of Previous (Matador) is the Scottish indie group’s fifth Top 10 record, coming in at #8. Halestorm’s fifth studio album, Back from the Dead (Parlophone), opens at #9; Warpaint’s first record in six years, Radiate Like This (Heirlooms), is #21.

At singles, Styles’ “As It Was” enjoys its sixth week at #1, racking up over 6.8m streams to remain the most-streamed track in the country.

Harlow’s “First Class” holds onto #2 as another two of his album’s tracks enter the Top 40: “Churchill Downs” f/Drake at #19 and “Dua Lipa” at #33. 

Lizzo gains her second U.K. Top 10 hit as “About Damn Time” (Atlantic) rises 11 slots to a new peak of #4. “Crazy What Love Can Do” (Warner) by David Guetta, Ella Henderson and Becky Hill rises two to #15; Lauren Spencer-Smith’s “Flowers” (Island) hits a new peak of #18; and Kendrick Lamar gets his 17th Top 40 hit with “The Heart—Pt. 5” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) debuting at #24.

VENUES WIN THE LOTTERY, AGAIN
5/12/22

 

The National Lottery’s Revive Live Tour will return this summer in the U.K. Done in partnership with Music Venue Trust,  The National Lottery will again underwrite the full touring and production costs of artists participating as part of a commitment to the grassroots music sector.

Full details of all artists participating, dates of individual performances and the venues hosting shows will be announced in the near future.

“This is a fantastic partnership that has already delivered incredible support to new and emerging artists at a vital stage of their career,” MVT CEO Mark Dayvd said. “We are delighted to be working with The National Lottery again this summer to create even more brilliant opportunities to Revive Live and reconnect our communities to the music and musicians they love.”

Launched last summer, the National Lottery contributed £1M to directly underwrite  touring and production costs of 278 live shows at 138 grassroots music venues staged between June and September. In January, a second phase saw another 179 shows at 140 grassroots music venues supported by National Lottery Revive Live.

Nigel Railton, Chief Executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said, “The National Lottery is very happy to be able to work with Music Venue Trust again as we head into the summer.  The previous National Lottery's Revive Live Tours have been extremely successful and a new round of live shows will hopefully continue the much-needed support for the grassroots music sector, while bringing communities together again.”

The money for this initiative comes from a National Lottery promotional fund. It is not funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot.

DOWNTOWN BREWS DISTILLER DEAL
5/11/22

Downtown’s Mike Smith, left, gets a free lunch from Distiller CEO Sam Dyson and new hire Claire Bianchi after winning a Velvet Underground-themed round of Name That Tune.

Downtown Music Services will provide music publishing administration for London-based Distiller Music Publishing’s roster of songwriters and producers. In addition, Claire Bianchi has joined Distiller Publishing as Head of A&R, reporting to Distiller Music Group CEO Sam Dyson.

 “This new agreement with Downtown Music Services is a key move for Distiller Music Publishing, as it allows us to join forces with their incredible team who are immensely experienced and motivated towards getting the most from our roster,” Dyson said. “Their advice, support and introduction to a global network will be invaluable as we explore new opportunities for the songwriters and producers we represent. We are also excited to welcome Claire Bianchi who is a brilliant, creative A&R executive bringing expertise and experience to our team.”

Distiller’s roster includes Dimitri Tikovoi, Danny LaFrombe, Danny Goffey and The Ramona Flowers.

Bianchi joins Distiller from her previous position as A&R Manager at Stellar Songs where she worked with songwriters and artists such as Mike Kintish, TYLR Rydr and Cassyette.

Mike Smith, Global President of Downtown Music Services said, ““I am thrilled to be getting into business with Distiller as they celebrate a massive hit across Europe with Purple Disco Machine’s ‘In The Dark.’   Claire is one of the best music creatives out there and alongside Sam with his rich understanding of the music space, they are building an amazing business and we hope to maximise their presence around the world.”