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Blighty Beat

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and its investment advisor, The Family (Music) Limited, have announced yet another acquisition, a music catalogue by U.K. indie band Kaiser Chiefs from B-Unique

The catalog consists of 100% of the worldwide ownership of the master rights to the band’s first four studio albums, EmploymentYours Truly, Angry Mob, Off With Their Heads and The Future is Medieval, as well as their greatest hits album Souvenir and their live audiovisual release Live at Elland Road

The Kaiser Chiefs’ 2005 debut album Employment, which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Album, is certified 6x Platinum in the U.K., and includes the Platinum-certified "I Predict a Riot," "Oh My God" which reached the Top 10 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and the U.K. Top 10 "Everyday I Love You Less and Less." With Employment the Kaiser Chiefs won three Brit Awards in 2006, an NME Award for Best Album and were short-listed for the Mercury Prize.

The band’s second album Yours Truly Angry Mob released in 2007 reached #1 in the U.K. Album Charts, is certified as 2x platinum in the U.K., and included the U.K. #1 and platinum-certified single "Ruby." The catalog also includes the U.K. Top 5 single "Never Miss a Beat" off the band’s 2008 #2 album Off With Their Heads

Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of The Family (Music) Limited and Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said:

“The Kaiser Chiefs have been one of the most successful English bands of the last 15 years and it’s no secret that it’s down to great songs, great albums and a terrific live show. They follow the very English tradition of The Who and Madness, and incredible hits like "I Predict a Riot" and "Ruby" just get better with time. I’m delighted that Mark, Martin, James, Nick, Ricky and the band have entrusted us with this special catalogue.”

Mark Lewis & Martin Toher of B-Unique said:

“We are delighted to be part of the Hipgnosis story, Merck managed the first band signed to B-unique, we know he is a proper music man. This deal will allow us to continue working with the Kaisers and James to keep this great catalogue growing. Martin and I shared such a commonality with the band, we both had a real underdog spirit and the fact that they are still having top 3 albums and selling more tickets than ever is a testament to their continued hunger.”

James Sandom at Red Light Management said:

“It’s great to be in business with Merck and Hipgnosis. We’re excited by the potential and fresh focus on Kaiser Chiefs classic catalogue in this new chapter, Hipgnosis’ modern thinking and resource will add value and presence to a catalogue that’s engrained in British culture.” 


The Who is on course to claim its first U.K. #1 album in almost 50 years with WHO (Polydor) leading the midweeks by 6k combined chart sales. Over on singles, Ellie Goulding has joined the race for the Christmas #1.

WHO is the band’s first collection of new material since 2006 and could be their first #1 since Who’s Next topped the chart in 1971. Today, it sits ahead of Robbie WilliamsThe Christmas Present (Columbia) at #2.

Liam Payne’s LP1 (Capitol) is the second highest new albums entry at #8.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles update, Goulding has shot 12 places to #2 with her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” (Polydor). The track sits less than 2k combined chart sales behind Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone) and is now in the running to claim the Christmas #1 at the end of next week.

…Read more


Tony Harlow will succeed Max Lousada as Chairman and CEO of Warner Music U.K. beginning in February. Harlow joined WMG in 2010 as MD for Australasia and most recently served as President of WEA.

Lousada, who has been on the hunt for a successor to look over the British business since his promotion to CEO of Recorded Music two years ago, said, “Tony has a depth and diversity of experience that few can match. Ever since his days behind the counter at a Beggars Banquet record shop, he’s been a true artist champion with a total passion for music. And as an entrepreneurial leader, he has a progressive and ambitious vision for where the business needs to go next.”

…Read more


Robbie Williams has topped the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with The Christmas Present (Columbia) on 53k combined sales. In doing so, he equals a record held by Elvis as the solo act with the most #1s in U.K. chart history.

Williams now has 13 #1 albums under his belt as a solo artist, and 17 including his releases with Take That. Elvis is the top solo act with 13, and the overall record is held by The Beatles with 15.

Rod Stewart’s You’re In My Heart (Rhino) moves up one place to #2, while Coldplay’s Everyday Life (Parlophone) moves down to #3.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Tones & I’s “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone) spends a 10th week at #1 with 75k combined sales (including 9.39m streams). That matches another chart record as the longest running chart-topper by a female artist, sharing the accolade with Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You” from 1992, and Rihanna's “Umbrella” from 2007.




Polydor signing Celeste has won the inaugural BRITs 2020 Rising Star Award, and is the first artist announced to perform at the BRIT Awards in February. It’s the second year in a row that UMG imprint Polydor has won the developing artist gong.

Celeste was up against Dirty Hit signing Beabadoobee and Insanity's Joy Crookes. Previously titled Critics’ Choice, the winner of Rising Star receives a performance slot on the main show for the first time in BRITs history next year.

Celeste signed to Polydor last year and has since garnered critical acclaim for a string of singles including “Lately,” “Father’s Son” and latterly “Strange,” which was heavily supported at Radio 1.

…Read more


The race is on for the U.K's Christmas #1 single with two weeks to go until the official winner is crowned on 12/20. Bets are currently being placed on tracks by Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi and Tones & I.

Unless a new release garners enough hype to go straight in at #1, which is getting rarer and rarer these days—there have been 11 #1 singles in Blighty so far this year—the Christmas top spot is likely to be nabbed by someone who has already gained traction.

With eight weeks at #1 already, Tones & I could very well hold on for the next two with "Dance Monkey" (Parlophone). Capaldi is currently 15k combined sales behind at #2 with "Before You Go" (Capitol), while Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy sit a close third with "Own It" (Atlantic). The bookies' favourite is currently Capaldi, followed by Stormzy, whose sales are likely to be boosted by the arrival of his second album on 12/13, and Tones & I.

Beyond that, there's a few classics currently making their way up the charts: "All I Want for Christmas is You" (Sony) by Mariah Carey sits at #8; "Last Christmas" (Sony) by Wham! is at #13; and "Fairytale of New York" (Warner) by The Pogues f/Kirsty MacColl at #22.

Will a surprise release or charity campaign disrupt the current status quo? Stay tuned.


Digital distribution and label services company Human Re Sources has announced its expansion into the U.K., with the appointments of A&R Amal Omari and VP of Creator Services Matt Ott. Alongside Founder & CEO J. Erving, as well as A&R and Creator Services executives Austin ThomasRay Kurzeka and Clarissa Reformina, these additions reflect the young company's continued growth. Human Re Sources also announced its newest signing and first U.K. artist, twenty-four-year-old East London rapper Lancey Foux.

Prior to joining Human Re Sources, Ott worked within the Spotify UK Artist and Label Marketing team, and before that at BBC Radio 6 Music and RCA. “The future of music can only be the artist. The best possible future for artists is a supportive, creative and patient team around them who value their art above all else,” said Ott. “To be bringing that artist-first vision to life in the UK is an honour, and something I’m humbled to be a part of.”

Before joining the team at Human Re Sources, Omari was part of the founding team of Radar Radio. She then joined the Warner Music Group ecosystem as a consultant for Asylum Records, and then progressed to head of A&R at Platoon, the now Apple-owned distribution services company, where she identified and developed artists in the UK and globally. “I’m really excited to be part of a company whose ethos aligns with my own when it comes to the well-being of independent artists and their development” commented Omari. “I’m here for putting artists first forever and always.”

In 2015, Lancey Foux was freestyling over YouTube beats in his bedroom. After finding his way to a studio, he released his PINK EP that same year, and two weeks later dropped his breakthrough single "About It." By 2018, he had released PINK II with singles "Starstruck," "Speed Demon" and "Dyed 2WICE" feat Grime legend Skepta, who Foux would join on his SK LEVEL European tour. With his new Friend or Foux album coming later this month, Foux is having his biggest moment to date with his first headline show at London’s O2 Academy Islington on 12/8.

Human Re Sources' Erving shared, “We’re proud to have expanded into London, to serve the music industry here and support local artists. Having signed Lancey Foux to join us at Human Re Sources is the beginning of much more, and we’re excited to have him on board.”

Human Re Sources partnered with Q&A in 2019. As co-founders of Q&A, Erving, Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo lead both Q&A and Human Re Sources as music and technology ventures dedicated to creating an ecosystem bolstering the notion of artist as entrepreneur.


Tap Music has emerged as one of the key players in management and artist development over the last few years, thanks in large part to huge successes with three-time BRIT Award winner Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey—who hit #1 in the U.K. and U.S. with her sixth studio album in September. Founders Ben Mawson and Ed Millett have added another superstar female to their roster with recent signing Ellie Goulding, while developing artist Dermot Kennedy is a top priority at UMG after hitting #1 with his debut in October. In addition, counterculture pop icon Neneh Cherry has recently joined the company, along with her manager, Robin Pasricha, from Giant Artist Management.

Dua Lipa is currently in the studio working on the follow-up to her debut on Warner Music, which has reached over 4m sales worldwide and, with Dua Lipa: Complete Edition, is the most-streamed album by a female artist, with 6b streams to date. Meanwhile, Polydor artist Goulding is gearing up for her fourth album. One of the reasons why Tap emerged victorious in the competitive battle to sign Goulding (who was previously repped by First Access), was Head of Marketing and Development Hannah Neaves, who has a strong relationship with Goulding after working on her first two albums at Polydor. Since joining the Tap roster, Millett tells us, Goulding’s monthly streaming numbers on Spotify have tripled.

Discussing the plan for her, he says: “Her last album came out in 2015, and a lot of that was written by, or co-written with, the Max Martin camp. Ellie is an amazing songwriter, and I think she felt slightly disillusioned at that point, so she sort of disappeared for a bit. When we started talking to her and she was looking for a new management situation because she wanted to restart things, for us there were two things that we needed to achieve for her. One is we needed to pump her streaming, and secondly, we needed to show that she’s relevant and still doing something that’s fresh and exciting. She’s had a history of doing collaborations so our first couple of big releases have been collaborations.” “Close to Me” with Diplo f/Swae Lee was her debut #1 at Top 40 radio in the U.S., and “Hate Me” with Juice WRLD was her second. Her fourth album is expected in Q1 2020.

From a business perspective, Tap, which encompasses management, records and publishing, is growing worldwide, with Millett recently relocated from the U.K. to a new, bigger L.A. office to help develop things stateside. There, they are on the search for “good independent entrepreneurial” managers looking for infrastructure to help develop talent. That’s where Wendy Ong joined as Head of U.S. Marketing from Roc Nation, and former AAM exec Chris Woo was hired as A&R at the end of last year.

Alongside U.S. artists Hailee Steinfeld, Annika Rose and Moby Rich, and Australian artist Eves Karydas, British developing artists on the Tap roster include singer/songwriters Grace Carter and Barny Fletcher and R&B singer Col3trane. It’s no secret that breaking new U.K. artists has been challenging over the past few years—does Millett have any changes he’d like to see that would make that easier? “U.K. radio is so out of step with how the rest of the world works, both in streaming and radio,” he answers. “From an artist-development perspective, it’s really hard, because you have to burn through so many singles to keep your momentum up at radio. Yet, one song will last you three to six months in streaming for it to develop, and for it to really percolate in the rest of the world, and you can’t go any faster than that, so it can take four years to build an artist’s campaign.”

He continues: “If you’re working on U.K. radio time, you’re ultimately releasing two albums worth of music, and they’ve all got to be radio songs. In what world do people write 10 or 15 hit radio songs when they’re still developing? So then what happens is, the U.K. zooms ahead of you, and the rest of the world hasn’t yet caught up, and you become a U.K.-only artist, irrespective of the style of music. The U.K. radio cycle has to change. If they programmed like the rest of the world does, that would make a big difference.”

For Mawson, the key to breaking artists globally is a country-by-country focus, and he points to opportunities in developing markets that help secure kudos in the U.K. and U.S. “We’re aware that Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia are huge streaming markets, for example, so they’re important territories because they can massively boost your numbers if you are doing well there. That’s also led to a lot of collaborations to assist you in particular territories. The detailed breakdown of stats we get from Spotify and Apple Music’s backend mean we can work out what we need to do and where the weak markets are.”

The ambition going into next year is to build on the strength of their U.S. operation and break the new acts signed to Tap Records. Along with Barny Fletcher and Annika Rose, those include British pop duo aboutagirl and French producer OkLou. “We´re focusing on a major expansion of the U.S. office so that it becomes more of an autonomous entity in itself for that market,” Millett explains. “The overall ambition for us is growth across everything—publishing, records and management.”