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THE MOST-STREAMED SONGS OF THE YEAR
You know it's not the same as it was. (12/2a)
HITS LIST: LABELED
WITH LOVE
Long live Hitsville USA. (12/2a)
2022 (NEARLY) FINAL MARKETSHARE
IGA and Republic are on top. (11/30a)
THE BIGGEST ALBUMS OF 2022
A Bunny, a Taylor and a Morgan walk into a bar... (11/30a)
SONG REVENUE:
XMAS IS COMING
It's the most wonderful time of the year. (12/2a)
GRAMMY SEASON
Artists sound off on the prospect of being nominated
CATALOG ECONOMICS
They're changing the game... for some.
VOTING AGAINST FASCISM
You're helping with the runoff, right?
IS IT CHRISTMAS YET?
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: STORMZY SCORES 
12/2/22

Stormzy has claimed his third Official U.K. Albums #1 with This Is What I Mean (0207 Def Jam). Over on singles, Taylor Swift makes it six weeks at the top.

This Is What I Mean emerged victorious in a tight battle with Cliff Richard’s Christmas With Cliff (East West/Rhino), which charts at #2 today.

A Family Christmas (Decca) by Andrea, Matteo and Virginia Bocelli jumps seven to a new peak at #4, while a reissue of The Cure’s landmark ninth album, Wish (Polydor/UMR), returns at #9.

Michael Bublé’s Christmas (Reprise) lifts back into the Top 20 at #13, as a Christmas edition of George Ezra’s Gold Rush Kid (Columbia) sees it climb 14 to #18. 

Following the death of Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac have two records in the Top 40 this week. Hits collection 50 Years–Don’t Stop (Warner Records) is a non-mover at #23, while the group’s 1977 #1, Rumours, lifts 18 spots to #24.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Swift’s “Anti-Hero” (EMI) tallies 4.9m streams to remain at #1. 

Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” (RCA) claims a new peak at #2, while Venbee, goddard. and ArrDee’s “Messy in Heaven” (Columbia) is up two to #3.

Anne-Marie and Aitch’s “PSYCHO” (Asylum/Major Toms) jumps into the Top 5 for the first time, at #5.

RAYE f/070 Shake’s “Escapism” (Human Re Sources) rises 26 places to #6; it’s her first Top 10 as a lead artist.

Two holiday classics enter the Top 10: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (Columbia) is #8 and Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (Epic) is #9.

ELTON TO GRACE GLASTONBURY
12/2/22

Elton John will perform the final U.K. date of his farewell tour at Glastonbury 2023. He headlines the Pyramid Stage on Sunday night.

John is the first headliner announced for next year’s festival, taking place 6/21-25. He'll perform on the final night of the event, culminating the U.K. leg of his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

“There is no more fitting way to say goodbye to my British fans,” said John. “They have been beyond brilliant, and have supported me through all the highs and lows of my career … I can’t wait to embrace the spirit of the greatest festival in the world.”

Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis added: “We will be closing the festival and marking this huge moment in both of our histories with the mother of all send offs. We are so very happy to finally bring the Rocket Man to Worthy Farm.”

Farewell Yellow Brick Road ended its US leg at Dodger Stadium in November. It continues in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and throughout Europe in 2023. John’s final show, as of now, will be in Sweden at the Tele2 Arena on 7/8. 

UMG BUYS INTO [PIAS]
11/30/22

UMG has acquired a minority share of the [PIAS] Group, expanding upon the “global strategic alliance” that UMG and [PIAS] forged in 2021. Under the new agreement, in which UMG has 49% of the company, [PIAS] remains fully independent with its founders, Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot, maintaining majority control.

UMG will have no seats on the company’s board. 

Sir Lucian Grainge praised “the boldly independent and music-centric culture” that Gates and Lambot have built over the last four decades, “which has provided a vital creative network to so many artists.” 

 “While much of the past was focused on ‘majors vs. indies,’ it’s clear that today, the important divide in our industry is about those committed to artist development versus those committed to quantity over quality,” he said. “We share Kenny and Michel’s passion for developing artists and moving culture, and we recognize that a healthy music ecosystem needs companies like [PIAS] who are committed to amplifying the best voices in independent music.”

Gates said the deal will allow his company to compete with finance and tech giants while providing support to enable growth. “Universal made it clear that they like us, they trust us and they need us, because they can’t do what we do and they value it highly,” he said.

“This move makes us stronger and secures the future of our brand, our staff and our partners while maintaining control of our destiny.”

Lambot added: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Universal Music Group team since we announced our strategic global alliance with them last year. Kenny and I are celebrating our company’s 40th anniversary this year and we are still as ambitious as we were when we started out about growing our global presence and providing a world class service to the independent music community.”

BUILDING AN EMPIRE
11/29/22

Fireboy DML, center, celebrates the success of “Peru” with, from left Alexander Okeke, Oluwaseun Fasehun, and EMPIRE’s Stephanie Adamu and Jay Jules.

EMPIRE is set to claim one of the best-selling songs of 2022 in the U.K. with Fireboy DML f/Ed Sheeran’s “Peru” which, as London-based Jay Jules tells us, is just the start of the company’s ambitions in the market.

At last count, “Peru” sat at #2 on the Official Charts list of best-selling songs year-to-date. The track—released via YBNL Nation and EMPIRE plus Island for the U.K.—has tallied nearly 1.2b streams globally, across its various different versions (including the feature with Sheeran and a remix with 21 Savage).

Its success in the U.K. is partly down to EMPIRE’s team on the ground, which includes Head of International Marketing Jules and Marketing Manager Stephanie Adamu.

 “We were perfectly set up for it in the U.K., having two African Diaspora marketing specialists on the ground,” Jules said. “We were able to plug into the cultural tastemakers in the U.K. and across key European markets.”

After a steady build following its release in July last year, Sheeran hopping on the song at the end of 2021 added the jet fuel needed to take the record to #2 in January. The late Jamal Edwards was hugely instrumental in making this happen: “He introduced Ed to Fireboy's music and told Ed that Fire was keen to get him on the song," Jules said.

The success with DML is just part of EMPIRE’s story with African music in the U.K. This year, the company had a number of sold-out gigs from its roster including Kizz Daniel, Black Sherif, BNXN, and Asake, who sold 15k tickets for his three December dates at O2 Academy Brixton in one day. DML, meanwhile, recently sold out the 12.5k capacity OVO Arena Wembley. 

Going forward, the plan for EMPIRE is to continue to grow the team and open its first official U.K./international base in London. “We want to keep building [our] domestic roster across the U.K. and Europe and have some exciting projects lined up for Q1 and beyond,” Jules said. 

Photo credit: Michael Tubes Creations

BRITS SET RISING STAR NOMS
11/29/22

The BRITs Rising Star 2023 nominees have been revealed: RCA’s Cat Burns and Island acts FLO and Nia Archives.

The winner will be announced on 12/8. Here’s the lowdown…

Burns, whose “Go” is the fourth biggest-selling single in the U.K. YTD, is signed to Since 93/RCA. Hailing from South London, she’s a former BRIT School student, following in the footsteps of Adele, Amy Winehouse and FKA Twigs. In 2016, she released her debut EP, Adolescent, which preceded her debut single, “Sober,” in 2018. “Go” went viral on TikTok toward the end of 2021, peaked at #2 in the Official Singles Chart this year and became Burn’s first platinum-selling hit. Her six-track EP, emotionally unavailable, arrived in May and Burns supported Ed Sheeran on the European leg of his Mathematics Tour this summer. Next up, she’ll support Sam Smith on their U.K. & Ireland headline tour next spring.

FLO—a British R&B girl consisting of 20-year-olds Renée, Jorja and Stella—released their debut single, “Cardboard Box,” earlier this year. They’ve since performed on Jimmy Kimmel and Later…with Jools Holland, and were nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBOs. The recent Happi remix of “Cardboard Box” took over TikTok after a Polynesian-creator’s dance routine went viral on the platform, leading to more than 400k creations a day at its peak. FLO released their debut EP, The Lead, this summer, which has now amassed over 70m global streams. They’ve gained fans in the likes of Brandy, JoJo, SZA, Victoria Monét, Missy Elliott, Kelly Rowland and Sugababes and have been tipped by The Guardian, i-D, Dazed, NME, Complex and Pitchfork.

Archives is described as making “soft-hearted lo-fi jungle for introverted extroverts.” She takes inspiration from her Jamaican heritage and the gospel music she was exposed to as a child. After working with other producers in her teens, Archives taught herself production. Her music channels influences such as Roots Manuva, Burial, Amy Winehouse, Radiohead, Erykah Badu, Kelis, Lemon D, Jennifer Lara and her jungle hero, Roni Size. Archives first EP, Headz Gone West, was made mainly in the early hours of the morning in her cramped bedroom studio in August. After moving to London from Manchester, she’s expanded her base of collaborators, working with IZCO, Jakwob, Wu-Lu, V Recordings and others.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: STORMZY VS. CLIFF 
11/28/22

Stormzy and Cliff Richard are battling it out for this week’s U.K. Official Albums #1 while Taylor Swift remains on top at singles. 

Stormzy’s third set—and first on 0207 Def JamThis Is What I Mean, is #1 today. Should it hold onto its lead by Friday, Stormzy will claim his third #1. Richard’s Christmas With Cliff (East West/Rhino) is #2. 

The Cure’s landmark ninth album, Wish (Polydor/UMR), could return to the Top 5 at #4 thanks to a reissue featuring 24 previously unreleased tracks.

Among the Christmas-related releases in today’s Top 20 are A Family Christmas (Decca) by Andrea, Matteo and Virginia Bocelli at #5 and Michael Bublé’s Christmas (Reprise) at #11. A special Christmas edition of George Ezra’s Gold Rush Kid (Columbia) gives the former #1 LP a boost back into the Top 20 at #15.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles chart, “Anti-Hero” (EMI) by Swift is tracking for a sixth week at #1, boosted by a new acoustic version. 

Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” (RCA) is set to claim a new peak on Friday, edging one place to #2 midweek. Venbee, goddard. and ArrDee’s “Messy in Heaven” (Columbia) is also on the up, rising two to #3. Anne-Marie and Aitch’s “PSYCHO” (Asylum/Major Toms) could jump into the Top 5 for the first time; it’s up two to #4.

With the release of his new album, Stormzy’s “Hide & Seek” and “Firebabe” look set to reach new peaks, at #6 and #7, respectively. 

A host of festive favorites are also on the ascent: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (Columbia) is #8; Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (Epic) is #10; and Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s “Merry Christmas” (Asylum) is #16.

U.K. CHARTS: DERMOT DOMINATES
11/25/22

Dermot Kennedy claims his second U.K. #1 on the Official Albums chart while Taylor Swift nabs a fifth consecutive week atop the singles chart.

Kennedy’s second major label album, Sonder (Island), is also his second set to debut atop the albums chart, following 2019’s Without Fear. Sonder also tops the Official Vinyl chart.

Elsewhere, André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra’s collection of Christmas classics, Silver Bells (Decca), opens at #4, becoming the Dutch violinist’s 13th U.K. Top 10 album. An eight-disc reissue of Queen’s 1989 album The Miracle (EMI) lands at #6; Nickelback’s 10th studio album Get Rollin’ (BMG), debuts at #8.

Mancunian rapper Meekz hits a career-best with mixtape Respect The Come Up (Neighbourhood) at #12; Disturbed’s Divisive (Reprise) becomes their fifth Top 40 album, coming in at #17. The 40th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (MJJ) is #18 followed by the soundtrack to the David Bowie doc, Moonage Dream (Parlophone), at #20.

At singles, Swift’s “Anti-Hero” (EMI) is once again the most-streamed song in the country, amassing more than 5.2m streams over the past seven days. It’s the longest running #1 from a female solo artists since Olivia Rodrigo spent five weeks at the summit with “good 4 u” in the summer of 2021.

Elsewhere inside the Top 10, Meghan Trainor’s comeback continues to steam ahead with full force as “Made You Look” (RCA) reaches another peak at #3. It’s among the contenders to be the Christmas #1.

The highest new entry of the week is North London rapper Clavish’s breakout hit “Rocket Science” f/D-Block Europe (Polydor) at #9. It’s Clavish’s first Top 40 hit.

The biggest hit from Kennedy’s Sonder, “Kiss Me,” is up six slots to a new high of #15. 

Christmas is starting early for a few holiday staples: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the week’s big gainer, up 18 places to #18; Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is #23 and Ed Sheeran & Elton John’s “Merry Christmas” is #40.

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
11/25/22

The contenders for the race for the Official Christmas #1 in the U.K. are in the starting gate. Among those vying for the coveted title are…

Charity singles from Ravi Adelekan & Friends’ “A Million Dreams” to benefit brainstrust and The Brain Tumour CharityThe Half Timers’ World Cup-themed Christmas trackComing Home For Christmas” for FareShareUK;  Basil Brush f/Mr Blobby & Rainbow’s “Boom! Boom! It's Christmas Again!” for Save The Children and Shooting Star Chase Children's Hospice; and Ruby Whittle’s “Getting Ready For Christmas” for Derian House Children's Hospice.

Among the new releases are Sam Smith’s “Night Before Christmas,”  Stormzy’s “Firebabe,” Cliff Richard’s “Heart Of Christmas,” JVKE’s “golden hour,” Meghan Trainor’sMade You Look,” Lauren Spencer Smith’s “Single On The 25th,” The Vamps’ “Seat At The Table,” Becky Hill’s take on Yazoo’s 1982 hit “Only You” and a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” by boxer  Tyson Fury.

Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds have reworked their soccer anthem with a holiday theme, “Three Lions (It's Coming Home For Christmas),” hoping to capture World Cup fever and holiday cheer in a single song. Another World Cup contender is Joel Corry f/Tom Grennan’sLionheart (Come On England),” which has been on the ascent up the Official Singles Chart for the past four weeks.

And don’t count out LadBaby, winner of four Christmas crowns including last year’s Christmas #1. They have yet to announce a new charity release for this year, but if they do, they’d be attempting to surpass The Beatles’ record of four Christmas #1s.

Of course, the winner could be a perennial such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or Wham!’s “Last Christmas” or, considering the current political climate in Blighty, an out of left field entry such as The K***s’  “F*ck The Tories” or Trickster & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Thank F**k It's Christmas.” 

The Official Christmas #1 race 2022 kicks off 12/16 with sales and streams counting up until midnight on 12/22.