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BATTLE OF THE
HITS LIST STARS
Celebrity faceoff (6/24a)
CHART FINAL: DRAKE'S DANCE VICTORY
Drizzy's fox trot (6/24a)
SOULFUL NOIR
Today's quiet storm (6/24a)
COOPER PLANS TO DEPART WMG IN '23
See ya later, alligator. (6/23a)
NEAR TRUTHS: FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS
I.B. Bad surveys the landscape. (6/22a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
Blighty Beat
U.K. MIDWEEKS: CHART DOUBLE #2?
6/6/22

Harry Styles is in line to register his second chart double—#1 on the Official Albums and Singles charts—as Post Malone eyes the week’s highest debut at albums and a couple of decades-old singles are Top 5-bound.

Should Harry’s House (Columbia) return to #1, it would be the first record to score a second week at #1 this year. “As It Was” is still #1 as it vies for a 10th consecutive week at the top.

Malone’s fourth studio album, Twelve Carat Toothache (Island), sits at #2 midweek and is positioned to be his fourth consecutive U.K. Top 10 LP.

Other contenders for Top 10 debuts are Prince & The Revolution–Live (Sony Music CMG) at #6, a 10th anniversary edition of You Me at Six’s Sinners Never Sleep (Virgin) at #7, and Angel Olsen’s Big Time (Jagjaguwar) at #10, which would be her first ever U.K. Top 10 record. Queen’s Greatest Hits (Parlophone), fresh off their record-setting chart week, is up to #11.

At singles, two tracks that first charted many decades ago headed for Top 5 landings this week. Kate Bush’s 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill” (Fish People) is eyeing a six-slot jump to #2 thanks to its use in Netflix’s Stranger Things. The Sex Pistols’ two new vinyl pressings of “God Save The Queen” (UMC) has Johnny Rotten & company eyeing a return to the Top 5 for the first time in more than 40 years. “God Save The Queen” hit #2 back in 1977.

Sam Ryder’s Eurovision anthem “SPACE MAN” (Parlophone), up two to #9 following his performance at the Platinum Party at the Palace concert during the Queen’s Jubilee.

Malone’s “I Like You (A Happier Song)” is most likely the week’s highest new entry, currently #19.

PRS FOUNDATION CUTS OPPOSED
6/6/22

More than 50 arts and music organizations are asking PRS for Music to reconsider its proposed 60% cuts to its PRS Foundation talent development program.

In an open letter, the group wrote, “PRS for Music’s track record and the music industry itself will be damaged for the foreseeable future if its unprecedented cutback of Foundation funding is enacted. We stand together to urge PRS for music to halt its proposed cuts to PRS Foundation and reverse a decision that could set the fragile post-COVID music economy back by decades.”

The group noted that the PRS Foundation, the U.K.'s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, backed nearly 500 new music initiatives. Sam Fender, Dave, Glass Animals and Little Simz are among the acts that have benefitted from the foundation.

“With 60% less investment, there will be 60% fewer successes,” reads the letter in the campaign #HALTCUTSTOPRSF led by Punch Records CEO Ammo Talwar. “We do not believe a drastic rollback to 2000-levels of investment is fair, reasonable or even justifiable.”

The #HALTCUTSTOPRSF letter can be read here.

U.K. CHARTS: LIAM'S 11TH #1
6/3/22

Liam Gallagher has secured his fourth #1 on the Official Albums Chart as the U.K. charts are full of tidbits related to Harry Styles, Queen and Kate Bush.

Gallagher’s C’Mon You Know (Warner) becomes his 11th #1 album across his career, with more than 70k chart sales shifted in its opening week. C’Mon You Know is also the highest-selling vinyl this week, selling 29k LPs. Right behind it on the vinyl chart is his live album Down By the River Thames, which debuts at #4 on the overall chart.

Elsewhere, Def Leppard score their first Top 5 album in 26 years with Diamond Star Halos (UMC), Will Young’s 20 Years – The Greatest Hits (Sony Music CG) hits #6, and the debut album from Tate McRae, I Used to Think I Could Fly (RCA) zooms in at #7. ABBA’s Gold – Greatest Hits (Polydor) is back in the Top 10 at #9 following the launch of their ABBA Voyage show in London.

A two-LP vinyl edition of Doja Cat’s Planet Her (RCA) pushes the set up to #17 and a new Sex Pistols package, The Original Recordings (UMC), pops in at #19.

Between those two rookies sits Queen’s Greatest Hits (Parlophone), which becomes the first album by a British act with 1,000 weeks on Official Album Chart. Only two other albums have topped 1,000 weeks on the chart: Bob Marley & The WailersLegend (Island) and ABBA’s Gold – Greatest Hits.  The Queen collection was released in 1981, more than 2,000 weeks ago.

On the singles chart, Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) hits nine weeks at #1, the longest streak since Ed Sheeran’s 11-week reign with “Bad Habits” last year. The most-streamed song in the country—7.4m during the stanza—it registered more than 65k chart sales

Continuing to trail Styles are Cat Burns’ “Go” (Since 93/RCA), which hits a new peak of #2, and Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” (Atlantic), which hits a personal peak for her at #3. Tion Wayne & La Roux’s “IFTK” (Atlantic) rises to a new peak of #7 and Sheeran’s “2step” (Atlantic) enters the Top 10 for the first time, hitting #9.

Reaction to the fourth season premiere of Netflix’s Stranger Things has resulted in Kate Bush returning to the Top 10 of the Official Singles Chart for the first time in a decade as “Running Up That Hill” races to #8 on 48k chart sales. Running Up That Hill” was last in the Top 10 in 2012 when a new mix of the song was featured in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Originally released in 1985 as the lead single from Hounds of Love, “Running Up That Hill”  peaked at #3, becoming Bush’s second highest-ever charting single in the U.K., behind the chart-topper “Wuthering Heights.”

DIVERSITY OF INDIES STUDIED
5/31/22

IMPALA has released the results of its first diversity and inclusion survey of the independent music sector, finding that race and ethnicity are the biggest issue facing the biz, followed by gender and socio-economic factors.

The survey, which can be read here, had two key aims: Map best practices, local developments and projects regarding diversity and inclusion; and second, start building a basic picture of the sector’s diversity and key issues faced. It was directed to businesses and associations.

Keith Harris, adviser to IMPALA’s equity, diversity and inclusion task force, said: This is a learning process for the sector, and it’s encouraging to see the independents pushing on with their commitments. The most important thing is always to get started. One question we could add in the future would be if respondents feel that is there a business benefit in having a diverse workforce, or if they feel it is just the right thing to do. I encourage IMPALA to continue working on this and this report provides IMPALA with useful information to move forward.”

Funding and other support for projects emerged as a key need and IMPALA intends to ask the EC to develop more EU diversity-related funding opportunities to allow the sector to initiate change. IMPALA will also spread awareness on EU funding and make sure members know what is available.  The report also asks national associations to check if there are national funds and share the news, as well as push for more support. The sharing of best practices was also highlighted as a priority.

The results will serve as a good baseline to measure progress in the future as we do the work to foster a more diverse and inclusive music sector,” said Paul Pacifico, AIM CEO and IMPALA’s equity, diversity and inclusion task force’s co-chair.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: WILL LIAM TIE NOEL?
5/30/22

Liam Gallagher is on course to tie his brother Noel with 11 U.K. #1 albums while Harry Styles is eyeing a ninth consecutive week at #1 at singles.

Gallagher’s third solo studio album, C’Mon You Know (Warner), is #1 on the Official Albums Chart at the midweek mark. He’s hit #1 seven times with Oasis and three times as a solo act, most recently with 2020’s MTV Unplugged. Gallagher’s live set, Down By The River Thames, a recording of his December 2020 lockdown livestream also released on Friday, sits at #3 midweek.

Meanwhile at #4,  Def Leppard’s 12th studio album, Diamond Star Halos (UMC), is on track to give them their first Top 5 album in 26 years. Will Young’s 20 Years: The Greatest Hits (Sony Music CG) is #5 and is likely to become his 10th Top 10 album.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Tate McRae’s I Used to Think I Could Fly (RCA) looks set to debut at #7, and Sex PistolsThe Original Recordings (UMC), a collection of 1976-1978 works, eyes a #8 entry. The release precedes this Friday’s re-release of 1977’s “God Save The Queen” and Pistol, Danny Boyle’s biopic of the group’s guitarist Steve Jones, on Disney+.

The vinyl release of Doja Cat’s Planet Her (RCA) pushes the set up 11 places to #10 and the debut of the ABBA Voyage show in London has led to Gold: Greatest Hits (Polydor) rising to #11 and 2021’s Voyage (Polydor) to #28.

At singles, Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) appears to not be leaving its perch. Right behind it is Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” (Atlantic) at #2 and Cat Burns’ “Go” (RCA) at #3. Ed Sheeran’s newest, “2 Step’ (Atlantic), could enter the Top 10 for this first time this Friday; it’s currently #9.

Ella Henderson may be in the Top 20 twice this week: “Crazy What Love Can Do” (Warner) with David Guetta and Becky Hill is #12 and “21 Reasons” (Warner) with Nathan Dawe is #16. “Potion” (Columbia) from Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa f/Young Thug is the highest new midweek entry at #14.

U.K. CHARTS: HARRY'S HOT HOUSE
5/27/22

Harry Styles Harry’s House is the hottest property on the U.K.’s Official Charts. The Columbia superstar’s third album is the fastest-selling record of 2022, the top vinyl seller of the week and home to the week’s Top 3 singles.  

It's the biggest first week of album sales since Adele’s 30 (Columbia).

Harry’s House, Styles’ second U.K. #1, doubles his previous personal best by tallying more than 113k chart sales. His debut, Harry Styles, which is #29 this week,  managed just under 57k chart sales in its first week; his second album, Fine Line, which registered 49k, is #8 on this week’s Official Albums Chart.

On the vinyl list, Harry’s House outsold the rest of the Vinyl Top 40 combined. 

Meanwhile at singles, Styles’ “As It Was” becomes the longest-running #1 of the year, topping the chart for the eighth consecutive week on 80k chart sales, its most successful week on the chart since its first. It was streamed 8.9m times, putting it ahead of his “Late Night Talking” at #2 and “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” at #3.

He’s the first artist of 2022 to land a chart double—#1 at albums and singles. Ed SheeranAdele and Olivia Rodrigo did it last year.

Back at albums, Everything Everything secures their third Top 5 with Raw Data Feel (Infinity Industries) at #4. The debut from U.K. trap wave rapper M HunchoChasing Euphoria (Island), drops in at #5, and the 2011 Greatest Hits collection (Around the World/Island) from the recently reunited N-Dubz rises 28 slots to a new peak of #10. (N-Dubz’ comeback single, “Charmer” (Xploded), enters at #32).

xPropaganda’s debut collective album The Heart is Strange (ZTT) is #11 and the special 40th anniversary edition of The Clash’s  Combat Rock  (Sony Music CG) calls in at #20.  

On the singles chart,  Tion Wayne & La Roux are up eight to #8 with “IFTK” (GDS/Atlantic), and Camila Cabello and Ed Sheeran’s “Bam Bam” (Epic) returns to the Top 10 at #9.

David GuettaBecky Hill and Ella Henderson’s “Crazy What Love Can Do” (Warner) hits a new peak of #14, George Ezra’s “Green Green Grass” (Columbia) is up eight to a personal best of #16, and LattoMariah Carey and DJ Khaled’s remix of “Big Energy” (Streamcut/RCA) hits #21. 

YES, THEY WERE IN NEW YORK, BUT TEA WAS SERVED
5/26/22

Backstage at James Arthur’s sold-out  New York’s Pier 17 show, Columbia and Legacy team members presented the artist and his band with a lovely plaque noting 2 billion Spotify streams of his hit “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Seen just before being informed that if James earns 10 such plaques, the 11th will be free are (l-r) Luke Higgins, Drew Campbell, Arthur, Daniel Bingham and Rick Ahir.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: HOUSE ON FIRE
5/23/22

Harry Styles has taken a commanding lead on the U.K. Official Albums and Singles charts with Harry’s House (Columbia) on track to be the fastest-selling album of 2022. He has the top three singles to boot.

Harry’s House has racked up more than 61k chart sales at the midweek mark, the highest tally since Adele’s 30 (Columbia) in November. He has already topped the full week sales of his first two albums—2017’s Harry Styles totaled just under 57k chart sales and 2019’s Fine Line chalked up 49k.

At singles, his As It Was” is on track to become the longest-running #1 of 2022 at seven weeks, overtaking “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto. He could also be the third artist to claim all Top 3 spots on the Official Singles Chart—Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber did it previously—with “As It Was” on top, “Late Night Talking” at #2 and “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” at #3.

Besides Styles, there are other new arrivals looking to make Top 10 debuts.

The Heart is Strange (ZTT), the debut album from  German synthpop group xPropaganda, consisting of Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag, is #2 at midweek. An expanded edition of The Clash’s 1982 set Combat Rock (Sony Music CG) is currently #3, one slot below its chart peak four decades ago.

The sixth studio album from Mancunian alt-rockers Everything Everything, Raw Data Feel (Everything Everything) sits at #5 followed by trap wave artist M Huncho’s Chasing Euphoria (Island) at #6.

A 35th anniversary edition of Rick Astley’s 1981 chart-topper Whenever You Need Somebody (BMG) rolls into #9 and Europiana Encore (EMI), an expanded edition of his Jack Savoretti’s 2021 chart-topper Europiana, is on course for #10. New releases from Beach House, Van Morrison, Porridge Radio and Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever are eyeing Top 30 debuts.

N-Dubz’s Greatest Hits (Around the World/Island) from 2011 rises 27 slots and is eyeing a new peak of #11 following the release of comeback single “Charmer” (Xploded), which is currently #15.