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UMG'S $4.5 BILLION
FIRST-HALF HAUL
The rich get richer. (7/30a)
SPOTIFY TOPS 165M
PREMIUM SUBS (UPDATE)
The dominant platform keeps growing. (7/29a)
A KID-FRIENDLY TOP 20
Thunder from Down Under (7/29a)
NYC HOMECOMING CONCERT SETS LINEUP
A day in the park (7/28a)
JAZMINE SULLIVAN ON THE POWER OF R&B
Perpetuating a grand tradition (7/28a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS
From tender shoots to mighty oaks.
MARKETSHARE MANIA
Let's do the numbers.
DELTA VARIANT
It is not the name of a Henry Miller novel.
IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER ROCK STORY?
Could be. Dunno.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: DAVE SETS A '21 RECORD
7/30/21

British rapper Dave has scored the biggest albums opening week of 2021 in the U.K. with We’re All Alone in This Together (NBR) topping the chart on 76k sales. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran remains at #1.

Dave, who claims his second Official Albums #1 today, beats the record set by Olivia Rodrigo, whose SOUR (Polydor) picked up 51k first-week chart sales in June. The British rapper has the biggest opening week since November 2019, when Coldplay’s Everyday Life (Parlophone) opened on 81k.

Fifty-six percent of We’re All Alone’s sales came from physical and downloads; the album’s 12 tracks racked up 38.5m streams.

Elsewhere on albums, Anne-Marie is new at #2 with Therapy (Atlantic), while KSI’s All Over The Place (BMG) drops to #4.

Two albums enter this week’s Top 10: The Kid LAROI’s F*ck Love (RCA) rises 46 places to #6 following the release of the collection’s final chapter, Over You. Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (Island) is up 29 places to #7 following the 10-year anniversary of her death.

Further down, Paul McCartney is new at #13 with McCartney III Imagined (EMI), a duets-filled remix of his chart-topping collection, McCartney III.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles chart, Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” (Atlantic) extends its run at #1 for a fifth week with 85k sales, including 9.95m streams.

Dave has two entries in the Top 10 following the release of his second album: “Verdansk” is new at #4 and “The Fire” opens at #6.

Two new releases land in this week’s Top 20: Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow’s “Industry Baby” (Columbia) at #13, and Anne-Marie & Little Mix’s “Kiss My (Uh Oh)” at #17.

ITV AXES X FACTOR
7/30/21

Simon Cowell’s The X Factor isn’t returning on ITV in the U.K. anytime soon, sparking rumors that 2018’s 15th series would be its last.

An ITV spokesperson has confirmed that “there are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage.” Cowell still owns the brand so he could take it to another channel although its decline in popularity could spell the end of its time on screen in the U.K. In 2018, viewing stats for the final hit an average of 5.3m—down from 17m for the same episode in 2010. 

A source close to the show told The Sun: “Globally, it is still a phenomenon and rakes in millions every year. But in the U.K., there is no question it has become slightly stale. Simon remains at the top of his game and knows how to make a hit. He owns the rights to the show, and it’s his call—not ITV’s—whether or not he drops it.”

Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent will still run on ITV and he’s soon to launch a music game show for the channel, Walk the Line.

 

QUARANTINE RULE SCRATCHED
7/29/21

 

The U.K. Government has announced that travelers from the U.S. and most of Europe who have been double-vaccinated will be able to avoid quarantine when arriving in England. The new rule goes into force beginning Monday (8/2) at 4am.

The go-ahead for the exception was given on Wednesday and is applicable to those who have had a vaccine approved by U.S. and EU medicine regulators. Those in Europe will need to show a digital COVID certificate while those in the U.S. can show the paper card they were given after being vaccinated. The only exception is France, which remains under the previous rules.

The previous rule said that only those vaccinated by the U.K.’s National Health Service were able to avoid isolation if travelling from a country on the Government’s amber list, have tested negative for COVID-19 before departure and again on day two of arriving.

The development will make playing shows in the U.K. a lot easier for those who have been vaccinated and arrives just as the live industry opens up again. As of 7/19, live shows at venues and festivals were able to go ahead without capacity limits although Covid passports are expected to become compulsory in late September. Then, full vaccination will be the condition of entry to nightclubs and venues—a negative test alone won’t suffice.

TRADE ORGS IMPROVE GENDER GAP
7/28/21

Female representation within senior positions at U.K. music industry trade bodies has improved over the last year, according to a new report from Women in CTRL, which celebrates the progress while noting that improvements could still be made.

The report, titled Seat at the Table, found that across 12 organizations, 42% of board members are now women, which is up from 34% on 2020. Organizations surveyed include PPL, AIM, ISM, The Ivors Academy and BPI.

Last year, just 9% of Chairs were women, a figure that has since risen to 27%. CEOs remain unchanged at 27%, or three women. The share of board seats held by black women has doubled to 6% from 3% in 2020.

“Our work is far from done, the stats are still stark, and a far way off true equality,” said Nadia Khan, Women in CTRL Founder and Chair of AIM. “True diversity goes beyond female representation to minority groups, disability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and education.

"Let’s try to fix the system and have real conversations. What is it about the system that doesn’t allow underrepresented groups to reach the top? Why don’t we see more women in Chair or CEO positions? Let’s identify the barriers and work together to break them down.”

IVORS REVEAL 2021 RISING STARS
7/27/21

 

The Ivors Academy has announced the five nominees for its Rising Star Award with Apple Music: Allegra, Holly Humberstone, Kamal., Rachel Chinouriri and Willow Kayne.

Singer-songwriter Allegra has worked with Grammy-winner Tim Fagan and Paul O’Duffy and performed on BBC’s The One Show and Jools Holland. Her debut single, “Spectacles,” and new single, “Excuse Me,” which was released earlier this year, both received airplay on BBC Radio

Polydor signing Humberstone amassed more than 120m streams for her debut EP, Falling Asleep at the Wheel, and was named runner up in the BBC Sound of 2021. She was also chosen as Apple’s Up Next Artist last year. This summer, Humberstone will perform her first-ever headline shows, including four sold-out nights in London at Omeara.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kamal. ended 2020 at #5 in GQ's Best New Artists, with the Daily Telegraph acknowledging him as “U.K. music's answer to Billie Eilish.” Prior to him releasing his debut EP, war outside, on NBR last month, he featured alongside label-mate Dave on his track "Mercury." The collab landed Kamal. his first entry on the U.K. Top 40 and a spot on BBC Radio 1’s A List. 

Singer and songwriter Chinouriri, who is signed to Parlophone, has had music featured in the TV series I May Destroy You and Netflix original series Dare You. She was named as one of the most influential young people in London by the Evening Standard as a part of their Progress 1000 list and has supported the likes of Celeste, Sam Fender and Lianne La Havas

Sony artist Kayne’s latest single, “Don’t Wanna Know”—a fast-paced riposte to online trolls—follows her debut release, “2 Seater.” Her forthcoming EP fuses references from the rave and punk subcultures with elements of retro-futurism and Gen Z issues and experiences.

Each nominee will again receive a year-long mentorship from a well-established Ivors Academy member, who this year include Nile Rodgers and award-winning songwriters Fiona Bevan, Cathy Dennis, Jamie Hartman and Jamie Scott.

This year's ceremony will take place at Grosvenor House in London on 9/21.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: DAVE'S THE DRIVER
7/26/21

British rapper Dave looks set to top the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart on Friday with his second release, We’re All Alone in This (NBR). Over on singles, he has three entries in the Top 5.

At the midweek point, Dave is outselling the rest of the albums Top 5 combined and has so far racked up the most physical, downloads and streaming-equivalent sales of the week. In the first three days of its release, We’re All Alone in This has already surpassed the first-week sales total of Dave’s 2019 #1 debut, Psychodrama, and is poised to post one of 2021’s biggest opening weeks.

Anne-Marie is on the cusp of a new personal best with her second set, Therapy (Atlantic), opening at #2—one place higher than her debut peaked at in 2018.

Paul McCartney’s McCartney III Imagined (EMI) starts at #4, and The Kid LAROI’s F*ck Love (RCA) mixtape is on track for #6.

…Read more

U.K. CHARTS: KSI HAS A PLACE AT #1
7/23/21

KSI has scored his first chart-topper on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with All Over the Place (BMG) opening on 34k sales. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” (Atlantic) scores a fourth week at #1 with 101k sales.

Of All Over the Place’s 34k sales, 54% were physical and the album is this week’s best-seller on vinyl. The 16 tracks that make up the set notched up 20.9m streams.

Two more new releases land in today’s Top 5: Pop Smoke’s second posthumous record, Faith (UMG),which  opens at #3, and John Mayer’s Sob Rock (Columbia)  at #4.

Further down, Foo Fighters’ release for Record Store Day, Hail Satin (RCA), charts at #17, and on the 10-year anniversary of her death, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (Island) returns to the Top 40 at #36.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles chart, Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” outperformed its closest competitor by more than double, racking up 11.4m streams this week.

The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber’s “Stay” (RCA) jumps three places to #2, while “Heartbreak Anthem” (Atlantic) by Galantis, David Guetta and Little Mix rebounds three places to its previous peak of #3. Jonasu charges seven spots to #4 with summer hit “Black Magic” (3 Beat).

KSI’s “Holiday” rebounds three places to #7 following the arrival of his new album, which is one of four tracks from the set to appear in today's Top 40.

Pop Smoke claims the highest new entry this week with “Demeanor” f/Dua Lipa (Polydor) at #14.

ALICE BEAL UPPED TO MD AT INSANITY 
7/23/21

Alice Beal has been promoted to Managing Director at Sony U.K. imprint Insanity Records. She will continue to report to Andy Varley, Founder and CEO of Insanity Group.

Beal joined Insanity Records as Label Manager in 2016 and has overseen the growth of the label’s roster and executive team, most recently as General Manager. 

Since Insanity Records’ inception in 2015, she has spearheaded campaigns for Tom Grennan, who achieved a #1 album in March with Evering Road, the comeback of Craig David, who achieved his first #1 album in 16 years in 2016, and BRIT-nominated Joy Crookes, whose debut album will be released later this year.

“Alice has played an integral role in establishing a vibrant and dynamic culture at Insanity, and the success that we have enjoyed is testament to her commitment to our artists and executive development,” Varley said. “We have an incredible roster and a phenomenal team, and this year is already shaping up to be our best yet.”