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Team Lipman doubles up. (11/26a)
Season's bleatings (11/23a)
Deck the Grammys with boughs of Holly. (11/24a)
Rolling out our U.K. Special print issue (11/24a)
Olivia, the Biebs, H.E.R., Doja Cat, Billie and Jon Batiste lead the way. (11/24a)
Stuffing (in face).
Blighty Beat

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.


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.


The BRIT Awards has scrapped its female and male categories to make the show as inclusive and relevant as possible. In addition, there will be four new genre awards for 2022’s ceremony.

Artist of the Year will replace the British Male Solo Artist and British Female Solo Artist awards, while International Artist of the Year will replace the same gendered international categories. The four new genre awards are: Alternative/Rock Act, Pop/R&B Act, Dance Act and Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act.

“It is important that The BRITs continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible,” Tom March, BRIT Chair and Co-President of Polydor Records, said. “It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender."

In March, Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary, highlighted the issue with gendered awards by not being eligible for inclusion in them. The BRITs responded saying the categories were very much “under review.”

In addition, Breakthrough Artist has become Best New Artist and “British” has been removed from categories including Group of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year. There will also be honorary awards given for Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.

The BRIT Awards 2022 will take place on 2/8 at The O2 Arena in London. Nominations will be announced in December.


Taylor Swift has secured her eighth U.K. Official Albums #1 with Red (Taylor’s Version) (EMI) on 72k sales. Over on singles, Adele triumphs for a fifth week.

Red (Taylor’s Version) has overtaken Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR (Polydor) to claim the biggest sales week for a female artist this year. The set surpasses the first week sales of the original Red album, which debuted at #1 in November 2012 on 62k.

Swift now matches Kylie Minogue for solo artists with eight Official U.K. #1 albums; the only female artist to have more is Madonna with 12. Swift is also the first and only female artist to have eight U.K. #1 albums this century.

Little Mix finish at #4 with their greatest hits collection, Between Us (Columbia), and Rod Stewart’s The Tears of Hercules (East West/Rhino) is also new at #5.

Idles score their third Top 10 with Crawler (Partisan) at #6, followed closely by Damon Albarn’s The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows (Transgressive) at #7.

…Read more



Elton John and David Furnish were honored with the Artist and Manager Partnership Award at a ceremony in London Thursday night, where the star paid tribute to his “genius” manager and husband for bringing his career into the 21st century.

Furnish, who is CEO of Rocket Management and Chairman of his and John’s AIDS Foundation, took over management duties seven years ago, when he set about creating less reliance on touring.

“Before I had children, I was going to die on stage, a bit like Eric Morcambe or Tommy Cooper,” John told the audience at the Artist and Manager Awards. “Then David sat me down and said, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ I said, ‘Things have to change. I would like to do a farewell tour and then retire from touring but carry on with music.' He put together an amazing five-year plan, which he shared with the record company and touring people, and he delivered on every point.”

The duo have worked together on securing John’s Rocket Hour Apple Music show, the award-winning 2019 biopic Rocketman, the best-selling memoir Me and this year’s U.K. #1 single, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)” with Dua Lipa, and top-charting album, The Lockdown Sessions. John’s ongoing (and final) Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour has also been a focus.

Furnish also helped educate John about social media and streaming (“I thought Spotify was something you got on your face”) in order to continue his legacy, and helped increase his Spotify monthly listener count to over 50m from 9m.

“That’s the genius of the man on my right," John continued. "Not only is he a great husband and a great father, he’s also a genius manager and we love working together. We have our fights, we have our issues, but he’s always right, which is really annoying. I’d love to pay tribute to him for being my rock and I’m deeply grateful for this award.”

…Read more


The touring situation in Europe for British acts has just got a little easier with Spain announcing that it no longer requires visas for short-term engagements, thanks in part to months of lobbying from trade orgs.

Spain has been a big problem for British touring parties in recent months due to a host of onerous rules. Previously, artists and promoters had to make applications for short-term visas entirely in Spanish, provide itinerary details prior to getting the green light for the tour to proceed and give proof of applicant earnings of up to nearly £1k.

Costs were prohibitive, amounting to more than £10k for an orchestra to visit Spain for up to five days. Touring artists and their production teams were also required to wait over a month for a decision, making long-term scheduling difficult.

Thanks to work done by trade body LIVE, the Association for British Orchestras (ABO) and Spanish counterparts Asociación Promotores Musicales, the visa requirement is no longer in place.

Challenges still remain: There’s a three-stop limit to U.K. touring vehicles before they have to return to home and an expensive goods passport (a “carnet”), including a bond for instruments and equipment. A host of complications are also still in place in other EU touring states.

As such, Craig Stanley, Chair of the LIVE Touring Group, celebrated the news but called on the U.K. Government to "follow our lead and urgently work to fix the rules with the remaining member states so that we can continue to tour across the entirety of the European Union.”


European trade org IMPALA has honored veteran music executive Keith Harris with the Outstanding Contribution Award, recognizing his career and work advocating for equity and change.

Harris, who was appointed an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honors, started his career at then-independent label Transatlantic Records more than 40 years ago. Since then, he’s represented artists such as Stevie WonderLynden David Hall and Omar, as well as working as promotion manager for EMIMotown and Transatlantic.

In addition, Harris has held strategic roles at PPLUK Music and as Chairman of the Music Managers Forum. In 2020, he wrote an open letter to music industry leaders as his contribution to Blackout Tuesday, detailing his experience of racism in the business and urging the industry to make equality a priority for generations to come.

Harris has since joined IMPALA’s task force on diversity and inclusion, which led to the publication of its Diversity and Inclusion Charter alongside guidance for members, a training program and surveys to measure best practice and diversity. 

“This award honours Keith’s career, both as an incredibly successful music executive and as an advocate for equity,” IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith said. “His work as advisor to IMPALA’s inclusion and diversity task force has proved invaluable. Keith's advice will help the European independent music sector move toward a more balanced future.”


Taylor Swift and Little Mix are engaged in a fierce battle for the U.K.’s Official Albums #1 on Friday with less than 10 sales separating the two. Over on singles, Adele and Ed Sheeran are also in a close competition.

At the halfway point, Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) (EMI) is #1 with Little Mix’s Between Us (Columbia) sitting at #2.

Rod Stewart is also new at #5 with The Tears of Hercules (East West/Rhino), followed by the fourth album from  Idles, Crawler (Partisan), at #6.

The Wanted’s greatest hits collection, Most Wanted (Island), is on track to debut at #7, while Damon Albarn’s latest solo effort, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows (Transgressive), starts at #8.

A Guest List Edition re-release of Kylie Minogue’s Disco (BMG) has sent the former chart-topper back into the Top 10 at #9, followed by Anderson .Paak and Bruno MarsSilk Sonic project at #10 with An Evening With (Atlantic).

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Adele’s “Easy on Me” (Columbia) leads by 1k sales over Sheeran’s “Shivers” (Atlantic).

Swift could claim this week’s highest new entry with her re-recorded “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” starting at #7. She has a further two entries in the Top 20: “State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)” at #9 and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” at #18.

Becky Hill and Topic’s “My Heart Goes (La Di Da)” (Polydor) could finally ascend to the Top 10—it’s at #10—and Silk Sonic’s “Smokin’ out the Window” looks set to jump 17 places to a new peak of #11.