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WALLEN FOR THE WIN
"Dangerous" nudges "SOUR." (12/1a)
CHART FINAL: 2021'S BIGGEST BOW
Big numbers for 30. (11/29a)
IGA UPS MORRIS
good 4 him (12/1a)
ADELE IS HEADING TO LAS VEGAS
Viva, Ms. Adkins (12/1a)
PUTTING THE POP
IN POPCORN
Putting the audio into audio-visual. (11/30a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
Blighty Beat
NEEDLE & BRYER KEEP THE HITS COMING FOR SONY PUBLISHING
12/1/21

Sony Music Publishing is placing bets on its songwriter and producer clients, Mike Needle and Dan Bryer, who’ve enjoyed hits this year with Tom Grennan and Calvin Harris and have recently been working with a host of new talent.

The duo co-wrote Grennan’s “Little Bit of Love,” which hit #7 on the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart earlier this year and came in at #16 on the Top 40 biggest songs of 2021, as of October. In addition, Needle co-wrote “By Your Side” by Harris and Grennan, which reached #4 on the U.S. Dance Radio Chart in September and #6 on the Dance/Show Mix airplay chart. 

They are signed via a JV with Catherine Songs (a pubco set up by songwriter Jamie Scott and his manager, Rick Wilson). David Ventura, President and Co-MD U.K. and SVP International at SMP, says Needle and Bryer are “true talents, gifted by a natural understanding of artists and songwriters.”

Recent co-writes for Needle include “Careless War” with new British talent Tom Gregory and “Unbreak” by New York-based artist (and Republic signing) Camylio. Bryer, meanwhile, has worked on “Thorn” by British talent BEKA and “Searching” by EMI-signed band, Kawala. Look for upcoming releases with Sam FeldtJP Cooper and Bow Anderson

Felix Canetty-Clarke, A&R Manager in the U.K. at Sony Music Publishing, promises global success for the duo. “Having already proved themselves as some of the best songwriters in the U.K., I look forward to seeing Mike and Dan continue to collaborate writing songs for significant international artists as well as writing songs separately.”

RISING STAR NOMS SHINE FOR UMG
11/30/21

Universal is home to all three of this year’s BRITs Rising Star nominees; Bree Runway (EMI), Holly Humberstone (Polydor) and Lola Young (Island) will battle it out for the award.

The winner will be announced on 12/10. In the meantime, here’s a brief lowdown:

Runway is a multifaceted talent who started building a following by posting videos online, garnering millions of views and finding fans in the likes of Rihanna, Missy Elliott and 6lack. She self-released a few EPs before signing to EMI, which is where her first mixtape, 2000and4Eva, landed last year. Her sound has been described as “destructive pop”; accolades include a BBC Sound Of shortlist spot, a BET Award and two MOBO nominations. Most recently, she was featured on Lady Gaga’s Dawn of Chromatica Remix album and has collaborated with Glass Animals, Elliott, Maliibu Mitch and Rina Sawayama. In the U.S., she's signed to Motown.

Humberstone’s debut EP, Falling Asleep at the Wheel, was released independently last year before she signed a deal with Polydor, Darkroom and Interscope in 2021. To date, Humberstone has garnered more than 200m global streams, received an Ivor Novello Rising Star nomination, was runner up in the BBC Sound Of 2021 and has had support from YouTube and Deezer. Her latest EP, The Walls Are Way Too Thin, arrived early November. Expect a debut album in 2022.

Young is a BRIT School graduate who has spent the past few years gigging around London. Her debut EP, After Midnight, arrived in August. Radio support has come from BBC Radio 1 and she’s had press from The Independent, Vogue, Hunger and others. Young has been working with producer Paul Epworth—who produced her latest single “FAKE”—the results of which will be rolled out via two EPs. Young also just released a cover of Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder’s “Together in Electric Dreams” for the John Lewis Christmas ad campaign. Expect more singles next year and an album in Q4 2022.

Incidentally, Runway, Humberstone and Young are all featured in the up and coming acts section of our recently published U.K. Special issue. You can read more about them here.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: ADELE REMAINS #1
11/29/21

 

Adele is heading for a second week atop the U.K.’s Official Albums and Singles Chart with 30 (Columbia) and “Easy on Me.” Westlife and Gary Barlow have new albums in the Top 5.

At the halfway point, Westlife’s Wild Dreams (East West/Rhino) looks set to debut behind Adele at #2, while Barlow starts at #4 with The Dream of Christmas (Polydor).

Rebounding seven places to #6 is Rod Stewart’s The Tears of Hercules (Warner Records), while Michael Buble’s festive Christmas (Reprise) rises 10 spots to #7. Elton John’s former chart-topper, The Lockdown Sessions (EMI), could also rise back into the Top 10 this week, currently vaulting six to #8.

Outside the Top 10, David Bowie’s posthumous box set compilation, Brilliant Adventure (Parlophone), is eyeing up a debut at #12. Coldplay’s latest set, Music of the Spheres (Parlophone), lifts nine spots to #13.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Adele’s “Easy on Me” remains #1 and her “I Drink Wine” uncorks at #2 after rising two places.

“Flowers (Say My Name)” (Island) from Brighton rapper ArrDee is eyeing a new peak, jumping four to #3. Sam Fender’s “Seventeen Going Under” also looks set for a new high after rising two to #7.

Meanwhile, a number of Christmas classics have entered the Top 10: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” (Sony) is up 18 to #6 and “Last Christmas” (Sony) by Wham! has risen 19 places to #9.

WARNER TAPS HUNNICUTT 
11/29/21

Phebe Hunnicutt has been appointed to the newly created role of SVP, Warner Recorded Music. She joins from subscription-based streaming service, hayu.

Reporting to Simon Robson, President, International at Warner Recorded Music, Hunnicutt will help drive the evolution and innovation of Warner Music internationally.

Hunnicutt, Robson, said, “combines invaluable international experience in the fast-changing media sector with a passion for music, so is a perfect fit for this role.”

She will work closely with WMG’s business development team, as well as division, label and territory heads across the business.  

At hayu, Hunnicutt led global expansion projects, new territory launches, and commercial strategy to drive subscriber growth in established markets. She started in the media industry in the U.S., working in editorial roles for fashion magazines and websites such as O The Oprah Magazine and StyleList.com. 

Hunnicutt moved to London to help launch AOL’s MyDaily.com and The Huffington Post, where she served as Managing Editor, before becoming Digital Director at ELLE UK and then Director of Content and Editorial at Hearst Magazines International.

STREAMING BILL RUFFLES FEATHERS
11/29/21

A new bill that recommends legislative changes to “fix” music streaming in the U.K. has ruffled a number of feathers, including those of former EMI Chairman and CEO, Tony Wadsworth.

In an op-ed for The Times, Wadsworth, who is also former chairman of record label trade body BPI, says the bill (which can be read through here) poses a threat to the music industry’s renaissance.

Wadsworth says the proposals would “cripple the amount of investment labels are able to make in new artists, especially at smaller independent companies.”

“If adopted,” he writes, “these proposals would create huge uncertainty, a mountain of red tape and make the U.K. a terrible place for investment in music.”

…Read more

AWAL UPS TWO
11/29/21

AWAL has promoted Charlotte Birch and Nathan Liddle-Hulme to joint Heads of Marketing for the U.K. They replace Aaron Bogucki, who was recently upped to Global Head of Audience Development.

Birch and Liddle-Hulme, who report to GM Paul Trueman, will be responsible for overseeing the U.K. marketing teams and campaigns.  They will each run a team but work closely and collaboratively as one marketing department.

Paul Hitchman, President of AWAL, said: “Charlotte and Nathan are both smart, progressive, strategic executives whose skills and experience create an incredible combination.”

Liddle-Hulme joined AWAL in 2015 and has managed globally successful campaigns for artists such as LauvDadi FreyrKim PetrasRex Orange County and Everything Everything

Birch joined AWAL from Island Records in 2019, where she ran marketing campaigns for SigridEasy Life and JP Cooper. At AWAL, she has recently managed campaigns for girl in redJoesefBruno Major and CMAT.    

U.K. CHARTS: MORE ADELE RECORDS
11/26/21

Adele’s 30 (Columbia) has scored the biggest opening week of 2021 and registered the most first-week sales for an album in four years on the U.K. Official Albums chart. Her domination of the charts continues at singles where she has #1 (“Easy On Me”), #2 (“Oh My God”) and #4 (“I Drink Wine”).

30—Adele’s fourth #1 album—registered 261k sales, topping ABBA’s Voyage, which sold 204k. It’s the biggest first-week for an album since Ed Sheeran’s Divide (Atlantic) in 2017. The last time a female artist had bigger numbers—no surprise here—it was Adele’s 25 in 2015.

More than two-thirds of the sales were physical and 30 is both the week’s biggest seller on vinyl—16,700 copies—and the most-streamed album of the week—55.7m plays for its 12 tracks.

Adele is the first female to hit #1 in the U.K. with her first four albums and the previous three titles all return to the Top 40: 25 is #15; 21 is #18 and her debut, 19, lands at #31.

On singles, “Easy On Me” hits a personal best of six weeks at #1 with more than 101k chart sales and 11.5m streams.

There were other new collections that debited in the Top 10 this week.

OasisKnebworth 1996 (Big Brother) is #4, their first U.K. Top 10 album in 11 years; Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ second collaboration, Raise The Roof (East West/Rhino) lands at #5; D-Block Europe’s mixtape Home Alone 2 (Virgin) breaks in at #6; Elbow’s Flying Dream 1 (Polydor) soars to #7; and James Blunt’s greatest hits collection The Stars Beneath My Feet (2004-2021) debuts at #9. Bruce Springsteen’s live album The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts (Columbia) is #11.

At singles, Sheeran has the two Top 5 slots not filled by Adele: “Shivers” at #3 and “Bad Habits” at #5. D-Block Europe f/Central Cee’s “Overseas” is new in the Top 10, opening at #8.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: 30 'S BIG NUMBERS
11/22/21

Adele’s 30 (Columbia) has outsold the rest of the U.K. Official Albums’ Top 40 combined as her fourth full-length eyes a shot at the year’s biggest opening week. Three of 30’s singles have a bead on #1 as well.

At the midweek mark, 30 has logged 167k chart sales, 37k shy of the record set by ABBA’s Voyage (Polar), 204k two weeks ago.

Behind Adele at #2 is Oasis’ live recording of their historic Knebworth 1996 gig (Big Brother) and the second collab between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raise The Roof (East West/Rhino) at #3.

Elbow could score their eighth U.K. Top 10 album as Flying Dream 1 (Polydor) is #6. Other possible new Top 10 entries are James Blunt’s greatest hits collection The Stars Beneath My Feet (2004-2021) (Atlantic) at #7, Bruce Springsteen’s live album The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts (Columbia) at #8, and D-Block Europe’s mixtape Home Alone 2 (Virgin) at #9.

At singles, Adele’s three-way battle with herself pits “Easy On Me” at #1 vs. “Oh My God” at #2 and “My Little Love” at #3. If “Easy” holds on, it will be its sixth week at the top, surpassing “Someone Like You” to register a personal best.

Elsewhere, Niall Horan and Anne-Marie’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” (Atlantic) for the Children in Need charity is currently #6. D-Block Europe f/Central Cee’s “Overseas” is #10.