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MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, PART 9: WHAT MADE CHARLIE GREAT?
GOAT? We sing of a promo giant (in a major key). (5/22a)
DYANA WILLIAMS, EBONY MOONBEAMS AND THE BIRTH OF BLACK MUSIC MONTH
The Mother of Black Music Month tells it like it was. (5/22a)
REASONS TO LOVE
THE "RAIN"
Why the new Gaga/Ari jam gives us the feels. (5/22a)
MEDIA: THE NEXT-GEN GLOBAL DISRUPTORS
ByteDance and other potential world dominators. (5/22a)
VIDEO SUPPLY & DEMAND IN THE
COVID-19 ERA
How to fill the pipeline when everyone's isolated. (5/22a)
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
We're having a BBQ in the hallway.
BLACK MUSIC MONTH
Celebrating the music that fuels the biz.
INSTACART
Dammit, we said DILL pickles!.
TRUMP SAID WHAT, NOW?
Just wondering if you still give a fuck.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: CAPALDI BACK TO #1
5/22/20

Lewis Capaldi is celebrating the first anniversary of his debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI), with a return to #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. Over on singles, DaBaby remains on top with 57k combined chart sales.

Capaldi’s debut, which has racked up more than 900k sales so far, spends a 10th non-consecutive week at the summit this week. The record has yet to exit the Top 10 since its release this time last year; its lowest point was #7 in November.

Elsewhere, six new releases feature in today's Top 40, led by Future with High Off Life (RCA) at #5. Polo G is right behind at #6 with The GOAT (Columbia).

Despite peaking at #1 midweek, Sleaford Mods end at #10 with retrospective, All That Glue (Rough Trade).

On the U.K.’s Official Singles chart, DaBaby f/Roddy Ricch ’s “Rockstar” (Polydor) has its strongest week of sales and streams yet. The track’s 57k sales included 7m streams, fending off competition from Doja Cat, whose “Say So” (Ministry of Sound) remains at #2.

…Read more

TIKTOK PARTNERS WITH MANAGERS
5/21/20

A partnership between the Music Managers Forum in the U.K. and TikTok will provide training and education for its 850 manager members. The aim is to open new opportunities on the platform for the thousands of music makers and creators they represent.

Activities planned under the partnership include access to best practice resources on TikTok for MMF members, virtual training sessions co-hosted by TikTok and leading U.K. managers, and an in-person event in London, likely to be in the fall once social distancing measures are eased.

MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said: “Watching artists and music makers pick up and experiment with new technologies is always fascinating, but TikTok’s impact has been truly phenomenal. I believe this partnership will deliver deep and lasting value to our membership and the talent they represent.”

TikTok, downloaded more than 2b times globally, and is playing an increasingly key role in U.K. artist campaigns. Notable 2020 campaigns that have helped bring songs to new audiences include the Young T & Bugsey #dontrushchallenge (2K Management), Aitch #rainchallenge (NQ), Robyn #onmyown (DEF Management), Låpsley #womenwhowow (September Management), Years & Years #breathechallenge (YMU Group) and Little Mix #BUSStayHome (Modest! Management).

“We’re looking forward to working with the MMF to help managers make the most of our platform and connect artists with TikTok’s global audience, expanding the ways in which they can continue to creatively engage with fans, create lasting connections and drive success in all areas of their work,” Paul Hourican, Head of Music Operations U.K. at TikTok, added.

ROYALTY DEBATE RAGES ON
5/21/20

A debate over streaming royalty pay-outs is raging in the U.K. under the hashtags #BrokenRecord and #FixStreaming, where musicians, songwriters and composers are questioning fair remuneration. ERA CEO Kim Bayley is the latest to weigh in on the conversation. 

In defense of streaming services, which have been receiving widespread criticism, "You don’t mend a #BrokenRecord by smashing the record player," Bayley said.

The conversation started with a campaign titled Keep Music Alive from The Musicians' Union and The Ivors Academy earlier in May. In light of live income lost as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the two orgs urged stakeholders to create an “equitable, sustainable and transparent” model for royalty distribution in the streaming era.

While Bayley has welcomed the debate, she warns that the debate is being distorted by misleading claims. “The streaming revolution saved the record business,” she said. “It would be short-sighted and self-defeating if in attempting to #FixStreaming, we ended up undermining it.” 

…Read more

#LOVERECORDSTORES TOUTS TITLES
5/21/20

A number of special edition releases from the U.K. have been revealed for the #loverecordstores event taking place on 6/20. Amongst those confirmed are new editions of albums from Oasis, Radiohead and The Libertines.

The #loverecordstores campaign was launched in March to encourage music fans to shop online with record stores during the coronavirus pandemic. It aims to fill a gap in the music retail calendar left by the postponement of Record Store Day, which will now take place later this year.

A range of labels have pledged to make special limited edition releases available via the online platforms of more than 130 independent U.K. record stores on the day. The first of these to be confirmed include an Oasis Definitely Maybe picture disc, a Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool white vinyl re-press and an orange and yellow marbled vinyl re-press of The Libertines debut, Up The Bracket.

…Read more

U.K. UNVEILS NEW VISA RULESĀ 
5/19/20

International musicians looking to tour and work in the U.K. will be required to apply for a Tier 5 visa beginning in January. It is expected to cost £244.

The visa will cover performances, auditions, workshops, festival appearances, talks and events. In addition, musicians from the EU and worldwide who are travelling to the U.K. for work must show that they have nearly £1k in savings 90 days before applying for the visa, in order to prove they can support themselves (unless they are already “fully approved”). 

At the moment, it doesn’t cost anything for international musicians and their teams to enter the U.K. for work purposes—all that’s required is a Certificate of Sponsorship form (CoS).

The measure goes against what music organisations have been lobbying for. The Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) have asked for a free or cheap Musicians’ Passport that lasts for at least two years and covers all EU member states. 

Last week, ISM also called for a two-year extension to the Brexit transition period, which is due to end on 12/31 as a result of the coronavirus crisis. 

“Going straight from COVID-19 to the end of the transition period without ensuring enough time to negotiate new trading agreements will be devastating for the music profession and the wider music and creative industries,” Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of ISM, said.

The news was first reported by NME

140 VENUES OFF "CRITICAL" LIST
5/19/20

Here's some good news: 140 grassroots music venues in the U.K. have been removed from the Music Venue Trust's “critical” list as a result of £1.5m in fundraising. The venues were among 500 at risk of imminent closure due to the coronavirus crisis.

 The #saveourvenues campaign, launched by MVT three weeks ago, has received donations from music fans, music industry companies and other organiaations, alongside intervention from public bodies such as The London Mayor’s Office, Creative Wales and Arts Council England. Funds join work done by the MVT crisis intervention team in providing legal and planning advice, liaising with landlords and helping venues navigate through the bureaucratic process to access help.

…Read more

U.K. MIDWEEKS: MODS GLUED TO #1
5/18/20

Sleaford Mods are leading a tight race on the U.K.’s Official Albums midweeks with retrospective, All That Glue (Rough Trade). Over on singles, DaBaby f/Roddy Ricch’s hit “Rockstar” (Polydor) is set for a second week at #1.

There are just 1,100 chart sales separating the Top 5 today with Sleaford Mods battling Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI) at #2 and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia (Warner Records) at #3.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit are new at #4 with Reunions (Southeastern), followed by Future’s High Off Life (RCA) at #5.

Metal band Paradise Lost could secure their first Top 40 album since 1995 with Obsidian (Nuclear Blast) at #6, while Polo G could make his first U.K. chart appearance: His second studio album, The Goat (Columbia), is #10.

…Read more

STATE OF PLAY IN THE U.K.
5/18/20

As the U.K. music industry grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, how are those within the business being impacted? What might recovery look like and when? A few weekend reports in The Times and The Guardian offered some further insight.

Speaking to The Guardian, UK Music estimates that the live industry will take four to five years to reach its pre-pandemic state. CEO of the trade body, Tom Watson, urged for more help from the British Government—specifically, rent-free periods for music venues from landlords. CEO of the Music Venue Trust, Mark Davyd, noted: “If the government took action on rents, you could stop the live music infrastructure from collapsing. Once these venues close, they won’t come back.”

Over at The Times, Isle of Wight Festival founder and big-league promoter John Giddings raises the specific issues faced by older musicians, who will be among the last to safely travel and perform. “Musicians over 65 are vulnerable because your immune system deteriorates, however old you are,” he points out. “Then there is the audience. Harry Styles’ autumn tour of Australia just sold out in 10 seconds because his fans are young and they don’t care, but I have U.K. tours of older artists in the autumn. Will people turn up in the face of this virus? Certainly, right now, nobody is buying tickets.”

…Read more