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NEAR TRUTHS: REVOLUTIONS AND ROCKET SHIPS
IB Bad weighs in on the "youthquake." (11/19a)
GRAMMY SHOWDOWNS
In the red corner... (11/19a)
ARIZONA GOES TO COLUMBIA
Bring on the remixes! (11/15a)
NEW RELEASES: LE RETOUR DE CELINE (UPDATE)
Nothing lost in translation. (11/18a)
WILL REI AMI BE THE NEXT ACT TO POP?
Pass the popcorn. (11/18a)
THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
U.K. SPECIAL
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
WHAT'S GOING ON BENEATH OUR WINDOWS?
The latest in Hollyweird.
WEED!
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.
Blighty Beat
STORMZY HEATS UP DECEMBER
11/19/19

British rap superstar Stormzy has announced his second album, Heavy Is the Head, which is due out 12/13 on #MERKY Records/Atlantic. Can he compete with Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi to claim the biggest opening sales week in the U.K. of 2019?

Stormzy released his debut, Gang Signs & Prayer, independently in 2017. It topped the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart on nearly 70k combined sales. Since then, he’s signed with Atlantic and increased his cultural cache with a Glastonbury headlining slot, and won multiple awards including two BRITs and one Ivor Novello. The first single from Heavy Is the Head, “Vossi Bop,” reached #1 in the U.K. in May on 94k combined sales and broke the record for the biggest week one streams for a British rapper with more than 12.7m.

This year’s fastest selling album is currently claimed by labelmate Sheeran, whose No.6 Collaborations Project shifted 125k combined sales first week in July. Virgin EMI breakthrough Lewis Capaldi claims the second with his debut, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, shifting nearly 90k in May.

The 16-track Heavy is the Head  features guest vocals from Aitch, Burna Boy, Ed Sheeran, Headie One, H.E.R., Tiana Major9 and YEBBA with production from Fred Gibson, Fraser T Smith, T-Minus and others.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: WESTLIFE RETURNS
11/18/19

Westlife are heading toward their first #1 in more than a decade on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart with Spectrum. It’s the band's debut release under a new deal with Universal's Virgin EMI. Over on singles, Billie Eilish has the highest new entry at #3.

Spectrum has already shifted 50k combined sales at the halfway stage and is currently outselling the entire Top 10 combined. The deal with Universal follows 10 albums on Sony and BMG.

At #2, Celine Dion’s Courage (Columbia) is angling to become her highest charting album in Blighty since 2002. Take That’s new live album, Odyssey: Greatest Hits Live (Eagle Rock), is #3 with Kidz Bop KidsKidz Bop 2020 (Kidzbop) at #5.

Three more albums are heading for this week’s Top 10: football pundit Chris Kamara scores at #8 with Here’s To Christmas (Silva Screen); The Police’s career anthology, Every Move You Make: Studio Recordings (UMC), sallies to #9; and Love Like This (BMG) from musical theater group Collabro starts at #10.

…Read more

GLASTONBURY BOOKS MACCA
11/18/19

Paul McCartney is the first headliner officially announced for next year's Glastonbury festival, where he'll play the Saturday night show on the Pyramid stage.

McCartney last played the festival in 2004 and in June he'll return for the event's 50th anniversary. As previously announced, Diana Ross will play the Sunday afternoon Legends slot. Other names in the ring for the two remaining headline slots include Taylor Swift, The 1975, Spice Girls, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John and Foals.

A record 2.4m people signed up to  secure one of the 135k tickets for next year's event, which sold out in 34 minutes in October—the second fastest sale in history.

ARTIST AND MANAGER AWARDS 2019: ALL THE WINNERS
11/15/19

The artist and management community was out in force Thursday night at the A&Mas in London, where winners included Stormzy (pictured) and his #Merky team, Nile Rodgers, and Liam Gallagher’s manager Debbie Gwyther.

On the artist side, Rodgers was honoured with the Artists’ Artist gong for his wide-spanning career, and Lewis Capaldi was Artist of the Year. Neneh Cherry received the Pioneer Award, and Aitch took home Breakthrough Artist.

Stormzy made a surprise appearance to pick up the Team Achievement Award alongside his #Merky collective, who have launched a record label, book publisher, clothing brand and scholarship scheme.

The Managers’ Manager honour went to Rebecca Boulton and Andy Robinson of Prime Management, who were presented with the award by longtime clients New Order.

Breakthrough manager was electronic music specialist Sophie Bloggs of YMU Music and Writer/Producer Manager of the year went to Sandy Dworniak of This Much Talent.

Insanity Group founder Andy Varley took home Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Fanfair Outstanding Contribution to Music went to Sam Fender and his manager Owain Davies for their work fighting ticket touts.

U.K. CHARTS: SCRIPT SCORES FIFTH #1
11/15/19

The Script have their fifth U.K. Official Albums chart-topper as Sunsets & Full Moons (Columbia) opens on 32k combined chart sales. Over on singles, J Hus has the highest new entry at #5 with “Must Be” (Black Butter).

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe third joint release, Back Together (Decca), are new at #2 their followed by Snow Patrol’s Reworked (Polydor) at #3.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ self-released Ghosteen has re-entered the chart at #4 following its arrival at DSPs; it’s this week’s best-selling release on vinyl.

Simply Red’s Blue Eyed Soul (BMG) is new at #6, and a deluxe edition of Tom Walker’s chart-topping debut, What a Time To Be Alive (Relentless), rises 58 places to #9.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone) spends a seventh week at #1 on 83k combined sales, including 9.6m streams. Tones & I now has the longest-running British chart-topper by a female lead since 2007.

…Read more

W SONGS GOES BEYOND SYNC
11/12/19

 

London band Stereo Honey are the first act to sign a long term publishing deal with W Songs, the in-house publishing arm of Warner Music U.K.'s sync team. The agreement expands upon their distribution deal with ADA and will see Warner offer sync opportunities as well as access to marketing, distribution, and other resources within the major's global network.

“Our relationship will allow us to work with them on sync but also help them grow and develop as artists,” said Tim Miles, VP of Sync at Warner Music U.K. “Sync has become an incredibly important part of the music business. For us to be able to adapt, evolve and be nimble enough to create bespoke deals like this only adds to value that Warner Music can offer artists.”

W Songs has traditionally offered short-term deals, typically three to six months, with a heavy focus on securing sync placements.

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: SCRIPT EYES #1
11/11/19

The Script are on course to top the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart on Friday with Sunsets & Moons (Columbia) leading an all-new Top 3. Over on singles, British rappers J Hus and Dave claim the highest new entries.

The Script are currently 8k combined sales ahead of the #2 album, Snow Patrol’s Reworked (Polydor), an album of reinterpreted versions of their greatest hits. Michael Ball and Alfie Boe are new at #3 with their third joint release, Back Together (Decca).

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ self-released Ghosteen looks set to re-enter the chart at #4 following its arrival at DSPs, while Simply Red’s Blue Eyed Soul (BMG) is new at #5.

A deluxe edition release sees Tom Walker’s chart-topping debut, What A Time To Be Alive (Relentless), rising 60 places to #7, and Last Christmas (Sony Music)—the soundtrack to the movie of the same name featuring the music of George Michael & Wham—lands at #8.

…Read more

10 FOR '20 FROM TICKETMASTER
11/11/19

Ticketmaster U.K. has chosen 10 acts set to take the live scene by storm in 2020 after packing out grassroots venues over the last year. On the list are a number of buzzy British acts, including Celeste (pictured), JC StewartArlo Parks and Beabadoobee.

The list has been chosen by Ticketmaster's Artist Services team, who have been taking artists' tours to the next level for the past decade.

Andrew Parsons, MD at Ticketmaster U.K., said, "Our list is more than just soulful ballads and unpredictable rap—it's a diverse celebration of artists who've been here all along but are only now getting to be heard."

…Read more