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UMG chief is sitting on top of the world. (9/20a)
Let's be Frank. (9/17a)
Stars across the board (9/20a)
Will she be able to clean up the mess? (9/17a)
WMG snags a cornucopia of sound and vision. (9/16a)
A chronicle of the inexplicable.
We make yet more predictions, which you are free to ignore.
2022 TOURS
May we all be vaxxed by then.
Power pop, global glam and the return of the loud.
Blighty Beat

Lil Nas X could top the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart on Friday with Montero (RCA), as long as he holds off stiff competition from Bob Dylan. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran’s “Shivers” (Atlantic) remains on top.

While Montero was the most downloaded and streamed album of the past weekend, Dylan’s Springtime in New York – Bootleg 16 (Sony Music CG) is just 400 sales behind Lil Nas X at #2 and leads on physical.Just 2.5k sales separate the Top 5.

Drake’s Certified Lover Boy (Island) holds at #3, followed at #4 by Genesis hits collection, The Last Domino (UMC).

Rising British rapper Tion Wayne rounds out the Top 5 with his debut, Green With Envy (Atlantic).

Canadian metal band Spiritbox could also score a Top 10 entry with their debut, Eternal Blue (Rise Records), at #8, and a new self-titled album from former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham on East West is #10.

Birmingham drill rapper M1llionz starts at #11 with his self-released debut mixtape, Provisional License.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Lil Nas X’s “That’s What I Want” is the highest new entry at #10. His “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow is up five places to #4 and further down, “Scoop” f/Doja Cat starts out at #34.

Behind Sheeran’s “Shivers” at #1, Elton John and Dua Lipa’s “Cold Heart” (EMI) could hit a new peak on Friday, up two to #2.

Also heading for a new peak this week is the dance floor anthem from  Joel Corry, Jax Jones and Charli XCX, “Out Out” (Asylum), which could break the Top 5 for the first time on Friday; it’s up two places to #5.


Manic Street PreachersThe Ultra Vivid Lament (Columbia) claims this week’s top spot on the U.K. Official Albums Chart with  27k sales. Ed Sheeran replaces himself at #1 at singles.

Of Manics’ total sales, 91% were physical, including 6.3k copies on vinyl. Steps finished just 2k sales behind at #2 with What The Future Holds Pt. 2 (BMG).

Last week’s #1, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy (Island), drops to #3, and there are two more new entries in the Top 5. The StranglersDark Matters (Coursegood) lands at #4 and The VaccinesBack In Love City (Super Easy) is #5.

Universal’s 30th-anniversary reissue of Metallica’s self-titled fifth set lands at #8 and Kacey Musgraves claims her second U.K. Top 10 with star-crossed (UMG) at #10.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Sheeran’s new single “Shivers” (Atlantic) knocks his “Bad Habits” off the top spot. “Shivers” opens with 59k sales, including just over 9k on CD, to become his 11th #1 single.

Elton John and Dua Lipa’s “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” (EMI) leaps seven places to #4 and Central Cee’s self-released “Obsessed With You" is new at #5—his highest peak to date.

Glass Animals’ viral hit, “Heat Waves” (Polydor), is up two places to #8 and Drake scores another Top 40 entry with “Way 2 Sexy” featuring Young Thug and Future at #11.


A new report on U.K. radio airplay finds that male artists counted for 44% of tracks in the Top 50 while female acts took a 20% share in the year between August 2020 to 2021,. 

It’s a slight improvement from 2019-2020: male acts are down 7%, while the share of female acts has risen by 1%. There were 34% mixed-gender collaborations, which is up 4% year-on-year, and 2% non-binary acts.

The ethnicity stats are as follows: 60% white artists; 36% white and POC collaborations; and 4% POC. Artists and bands signed to major labels counted for 96% of the Top 50.

Behind the scenes, male songwriters and composers counted for 76.4% of those credited in the Top 50 and female songwriters and composers counted for 23.3%. Non-binary songwriters and composers, which was one entry, Sam Smith, took a 0.4% share.

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Atlantic Records U.K. has launched a new imprint focused on dance music, SIGNAL >> SUPPLY. Tristan Parsons will lead the label after wbeing upped to Head of Dance Marketing from Senior Marketing Manager. 

The imprint, which officially arrives Friday, follows success from Atlantic signings Fred Again.., Joel Corry and Nathan Dawe, as well as international artists including GalantisTiëstoSam Feldt and Skrillex, who have all gained global momentum under the guidance of the newly formed SIGNAL >> SUPPLY team. 

Parsons, who has been with Atlantic Records U.K. since 2015, has managed campaigns for Corry, who is currently on a run of five consecutive Top 10 singles, as well as for Dawe, Rudimental, HONNE and Fred Again.. in addition to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Working alongside him are Senior A&R Managers Joe Barbe and Kevin Christian-Blair

“Dance music has been a dominate gene in music culture for decades and today feels as influential as ever, so we’re excited to develop a dedicated arm within the Atlantic U.K. stable in SIGNAL >> SUPPLY,” Atlantic U.K. co-Presidents, Ed Howard and Briony Turner, said. “This new imprint will be a breeding ground for Tristan, Kevin and Joe to create a truly subversive roster for a new generation of dance music fans.” 

The first release on the new label is "Joy" from Manchester-based producer salute. This will be followed by music from Ali StoryChapter & Verse, James iD and Richie Blacker before the end of November.


MOBO Founder and CEO Kanya King CBE was honored with the Music Week Strat Award Tuesday night at a shindig that saw the great and the good of the British music industry gather together, many for the first time since lockdown hit.

King was recognized for building MOBO into a globally respected brand and transforming the landscape for black artists, taking talent from the margins of British popular culture into the mainstream across a career that spans nearly 25 years. 

Max Lousada, Jason Iley and David Joseph were amongst those who paid tribute to King, alongside artists SkinRay BLKRapman and Krept & Konan as well as Darcus Beese and Jonathan Shalit

“I just want to say your dream came true, you had the idea, you shifted culture and you changed the lives of so many people,” Joseph said.

Lousada praised King for her “passion, execution and championing of British black music.” “Your energy, verve and determination has always been outstanding and this is a right and overdue accolade.”

Iley called King a “trailblazer.” “You’ve never taken ‘no’ for an answer, you’ve always pushed the boundaries and you’ve always reached for the stars.”

King, who was presented with the award by Craig David, dedicated it to “all those who have gone before me and whose shoulders I stand on and to the younger generation who will be making their own mark.”

The MOBO Organization has recently been bolstered with the launch of MOBOLISE—a digital platform to connect black talent with career opportunities within forward-thinking organizations. It also owns the MOBO Awards, the MOBO Help Musicians Fund, which offers financial and business support to emerging talent, and the MOBO UnSung competition that provides opportunities to unsigned artists. 

Other winners at the Music Week Awards, which took place at Battersea Evolution in London, included Polydor Records in the Record Company category, Warner Records for A&R, UMPG for Publisher and TaP Music was crowned Manager of the Year. 


The British Government has revealed details of its plan for requiring vaccination proof in order to enter venues and nightclubs, which although shelved for now, may come into effect if COVID cases rise.

Nightclubs, indoor settings with 500 or more attendees, outdoor crowded settings with 4k or more attendees, such as festivals, and any settings with 10k or more people, such as large sports stadiums would be affected.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advised businesses to make contingency plans as the measure, which health secretary Sajid Javid said wouldn't be brought in imminently on Sunday, could be introduced at short notice. It forms part of an autumn and winter ‘plan B’ that could come into force if the National Health Service comes under “unsustainable pressure.”

Plan A focuses on five pillars that Government hopes will prevent further restrictions. These are: an enhanced vaccination program covering 12- to 15-year-olds and a booster dose for over-50s; isolation for those who’ve tested positive or come into contact with someone who has; restrictions on travel (although some testing requirements are expected to be eased for low-risk countries soon); a £5.4b cash injection into the NHS; and encouraging self-protection measures.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, isn’t happy with the vaccine passport reserve plan and is urging the Government to scrap it completely. “The idea that a vast and logistically challenging policy can be kept in ‘reserve’ and implemented at one week's notice, as has been reported, is absurd,” he said. “It is no way to treat a sector that has already been so badly hit. Sometimes it feels like ministers have no idea what it is like to run a business, let alone the types of businesses we represent.”


Sony Music Publishing U.K. has extended its global pub deal with James Vincent McMorrow, who is pictured after enjoying some edibles and pondering catalog valuation.

The platinum-selling singer/songwriter is best known for tracks like “If I Had a Boat,” “We Don’t Eat,” “Get Low,” “Rising Water” and a cover of “Wicked Games” featured on HBO’s Game of Thrones. His new album, Grapefruit Season, arrives on 9/17. He’s also gearing up for his 2022 U.K. and EU tour, with more dates to come.

“Sony Music Publishing has been my home since I was literally a kid on MySpace uploading songs, the first people to believe in my songwriting,” said McMorrow. “So having someone like David Ventura ready to take some of the songs I'd written and find homes for them has been fairly amazing.”

SMP U.K. President & Co-Managing Director Ventura hailed McMorrow as “a complete artist and unstoppable songwriter” and called Grapefruit Season “a masterpiece.” Senior A&R Manager Saul Fitton agreed, and also wondered if there were any more edibles.

In addition to releasing his own work, McMorrow has co-written tracks for TvvinsDvsnThe Japanese PopstarsClaptoneRudiemtnal and Kygo, on whose “I’m in Love” he also performed.


Manic Street Preachers and Steps are battling it out to claim this week’s U.K. Official Albums #1 with the former currently leading the way. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran looks set to replace himself at the top.

The Manics’ 14th studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament (Columbia), is #1 at the midweek stage with a margin of 3k sales. Steps, whose What The Future Holds Pt. 2 (BMG) is the most downloaded album of the week so far, sits at #2.

The first album in nine years from  The Stranglers, Dark Matters (Coursegood), is new at #3 and The Vaccines are heading toward their fifth consecutive Top 5 album with Back In Love City (Super Easy) at #4. Drake’s Certified Lover Boy (Island) has dropped to #5.

Universal’s reissue of Metallica’s self-titled fifth set—which includes a companion covers album featuring the likes of Miley Cyrus and Elton John—starts at #6.

Kacey Musgravesstar-crossed (UMG) is new at #7, and a deluxe edition of prog-rock group Marillion’s 1978 release, Fugazi (Parlophone), starts at #9.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Sheeran’s new single “Shivers” (Atlantic) is 10k sales ahead of his long-running #1, “Bad Habits,” and looks set to steal the top spot on Friday.

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