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THE GRAMMY NOMS: A PRELIMINARY CHEW
"Uh-huh" vs. "huh?" (11/21a)
AND THE NOMINEES ARE...
The list. (11/21a)
A TOP 20 OF TITANIC PROPORTIONS
Best enjoyed with a good belt. (11/21a)
SONY'S BIG WEEK
And that was before the Grammy deluge. (11/20a)
DABABY IN GERSON'S CRIB
Talk about pub crawling. (11/20a)
THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
They're here. What do they mean?
U.K. SPECIAL
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
WHAT'S GOING ON BENEATH OUR WINDOWS?
The latest in Hollyweird.
WEED!
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.
Blighty Beat
U.K. MUSIC BIZ KEEPS GROWING
11/20/19

The British live music industry grew by 10% in 2018 to contribute £1.1b Gross Value Added to the U.K. economy, according to a report by trade body UK Music. Growth is in part attributed to a 23% rise in festival attendance, despite it being Glastonbury’s fallow year.

The recorded music sector contributed £568m GVA in 2018. Label revenues rose 3%, reflecting a third year of consecutive growth.

According to the report, money generated by the U.K’s live music sector last year rose by £109k. Festival attendance was down 4.9m people, which includes a 10% increase in overseas visitors to 888k from 810k in 2017. Festivals in Scotland, including TRNSMT and Sunday Sessions, particularly boosted the numbers with music tourists in the country rising by 38% (1.1m). Total concert attendance stayed the same at 24.9m.

Overall, the music industry contributed £5.2b GVA to the British economy last year. That's up from £4.5b in 2017 with one caveat—the report has been produced with revised methodology this year, and includes retail for the first time, which makes some direct comparisons to previous data unreliable.

…Read more

STREAMING HAS ROOM TO GROW
11/20/19

A new report on music streaming in the U.K. suggests the market could double in value over the next five years to £1.6b, according to consultants OC&C, who say that key to the growth is new premium tiers and a variety of entry points.

The U.K.’s streaming market was worth £829m in 2018 and, left as it is, the report predicts that number to reach £1b-£1.1b in 2023—a compound annual growth rate of 5%-7%. Inflation aside, that's a value growth rate of 33%, which is in line with a slowing pattern of growth over the last few years (65.1% in 2016, 41.9% in 2017 and 37.7% in 2018).

However, by targeting committed music fans with super-premium and add-on services and finding ways to tempt current non-subscribers, the report says the market could grow to a range of £1.25b-£1.6b. That's a compound annual growth rate of 12%-18%, and a value growth rate of up to 93% (which is just under the 104% rise in value streaming has experienced in the U.K. from 2016 to 2018).

The Entertainment Retailers’ Association commissioned the report compiled by OC&C, who have expertise advising on subscription models in sectors like mobile telephony, gyms and hotels.

…Read more

STORMZY HEATS UP DECEMBER
11/19/19

British rap superstar Stormzy has announced his second album, Heavy Is the Head, which is due out 12/13 on #MERKY Records/Atlantic. Can he compete with Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi to claim the biggest opening sales week in the U.K. of 2019?

Stormzy released his debut, Gang Signs & Prayer, independently in 2017. It topped the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart on nearly 70k combined sales. Since then, he’s signed with Atlantic and increased his cultural cache with a Glastonbury headlining slot, and won multiple awards including two BRITs and one Ivor Novello. The first single from Heavy Is the Head, “Vossi Bop,” reached #1 in the U.K. in May on 94k combined sales and broke the record for the biggest week one streams for a British rapper with more than 12.7m.

This year’s fastest selling album is currently claimed by labelmate Sheeran, whose No.6 Collaborations Project shifted 125k combined sales first week in July. Virgin EMI breakthrough Lewis Capaldi claims the second with his debut, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, shifting nearly 90k in May.

The 16-track Heavy is the Head  features guest vocals from Aitch, Burna Boy, Ed Sheeran, Headie One, H.E.R., Tiana Major9 and YEBBA with production from Fred Gibson, Fraser T Smith, T-Minus and others.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: WESTLIFE RETURNS
11/18/19

Westlife are heading toward their first #1 in more than a decade on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart with Spectrum. It’s the band's debut release under a new deal with Universal's Virgin EMI. Over on singles, Billie Eilish has the highest new entry at #3.

Spectrum has already shifted 50k combined sales at the halfway stage and is currently outselling the entire Top 10 combined. The deal with Universal follows 10 albums on Sony and BMG.

At #2, Celine Dion’s Courage (Columbia) is angling to become her highest charting album in Blighty since 2002. Take That’s new live album, Odyssey: Greatest Hits Live (Eagle Rock), is #3 with Kidz Bop KidsKidz Bop 2020 (Kidzbop) at #5.

Three more albums are heading for this week’s Top 10: football pundit Chris Kamara scores at #8 with Here’s To Christmas (Silva Screen); The Police’s career anthology, Every Move You Make: Studio Recordings (UMC), sallies to #9; and Love Like This (BMG) from musical theater group Collabro starts at #10.

…Read more

GLASTONBURY BOOKS MACCA
11/18/19

Paul McCartney is the first headliner officially announced for next year's Glastonbury festival, where he'll play the Saturday night show on the Pyramid stage.

McCartney last played the festival in 2004 and in June he'll return for the event's 50th anniversary. As previously announced, Diana Ross will play the Sunday afternoon Legends slot. Other names in the ring for the two remaining headline slots include Taylor Swift, The 1975, Spice Girls, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John and Foals.

A record 2.4m people signed up to  secure one of the 135k tickets for next year's event, which sold out in 34 minutes in October—the second fastest sale in history.

ARTIST AND MANAGER AWARDS 2019: ALL THE WINNERS
11/15/19

The artist and management community was out in force Thursday night at the A&Mas in London, where winners included Stormzy (pictured) and his #Merky team, Nile Rodgers, and Liam Gallagher’s manager Debbie Gwyther.

On the artist side, Rodgers was honoured with the Artists’ Artist gong for his wide-spanning career, and Lewis Capaldi was Artist of the Year. Neneh Cherry received the Pioneer Award, and Aitch took home Breakthrough Artist.

Stormzy made a surprise appearance to pick up the Team Achievement Award alongside his #Merky collective, who have launched a record label, book publisher, clothing brand and scholarship scheme.

The Managers’ Manager honour went to Rebecca Boulton and Andy Robinson of Prime Management, who were presented with the award by longtime clients New Order.

Breakthrough manager was electronic music specialist Sophie Bloggs of YMU Music and Writer/Producer Manager of the year went to Sandy Dworniak of This Much Talent.

Insanity Group founder Andy Varley took home Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Fanfair Outstanding Contribution to Music went to Sam Fender and his manager Owain Davies for their work fighting ticket touts.

U.K. CHARTS: SCRIPT SCORES FIFTH #1
11/15/19

The Script have their fifth U.K. Official Albums chart-topper as Sunsets & Full Moons (Columbia) opens on 32k combined chart sales. Over on singles, J Hus has the highest new entry at #5 with “Must Be” (Black Butter).

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe third joint release, Back Together (Decca), are new at #2 their followed by Snow Patrol’s Reworked (Polydor) at #3.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ self-released Ghosteen has re-entered the chart at #4 following its arrival at DSPs; it’s this week’s best-selling release on vinyl.

Simply Red’s Blue Eyed Soul (BMG) is new at #6, and a deluxe edition of Tom Walker’s chart-topping debut, What a Time To Be Alive (Relentless), rises 58 places to #9.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone) spends a seventh week at #1 on 83k combined sales, including 9.6m streams. Tones & I now has the longest-running British chart-topper by a female lead since 2007.

…Read more

W SONGS GOES BEYOND SYNC
11/12/19

 

London band Stereo Honey are the first act to sign a long term publishing deal with W Songs, the in-house publishing arm of Warner Music U.K.'s sync team. The agreement expands upon their distribution deal with ADA and will see Warner offer sync opportunities as well as access to marketing, distribution, and other resources within the major's global network.

“Our relationship will allow us to work with them on sync but also help them grow and develop as artists,” said Tim Miles, VP of Sync at Warner Music U.K. “Sync has become an incredibly important part of the music business. For us to be able to adapt, evolve and be nimble enough to create bespoke deals like this only adds to value that Warner Music can offer artists.”

W Songs has traditionally offered short-term deals, typically three to six months, with a heavy focus on securing sync placements.

…Read more