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TASK FORCE DEMANDS CHANGES "WITHOUT ANY DELAY"
Academy in peril (1/24a)
GRAMMYS FINALIZE PERFORMERS LIST
All set...or as set as anything can be during this wild week. (1/24a)
UJA TO HONOR GREENSTEIN
XM marks the spot. (1/24a)
UMG U.K.'S CLASS OF 2020
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond... (1/24a)
SPOTIFY CELEBRATES BEST NEW ARTIST NOMINEES
Eight was enough. (1/24a)
OSCARS
More awards-season madness.
SUPERSTAR DROPS
Who's next?
THE GRAMMY SHOW
The lineup grows.
POLITCS
Oy vey.
Blighty Beat
U.K. CHARTS: STORMZY DOUBLES
1/10/20

Stormzy has scored a double on the U.K.'s Official Charts, sitting at #1 on both albums and singles with Heavy is the Head (Atlantic/Merky) and “Own It.”

Stormzy has climbed to the top with his second album in its fourth week of release, matching the peak his debut achieved in 2017. It was a close battle with Lewis Capaldi, who moves down to #2 with Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI).

Elsewhere on this week’s albums chart, two former chart-toppers rebound into the Top 10: Tom Walker’s What A Time To Be Alive (Relentless) to #8, and Hollywood’s Bleeding (Island) by Post Malone, which hops five to #9.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Stormzy remains at #1 for a second week with “Own It” alongside Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy.

Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” (Virgin EMI) scores the week’s highest new entry at #5.

…Read more

CELESTE IS BBC'S SOUND OF 2020
1/9/20

Polydor/Interscope’s Celeste has been crowned winner of the BBC Sound of 2020, adding another coveted accolade to a growing surge of recognition alongside her BRITs Rising Star crown.

It's also another win for Universal U.K. imprint Polydor, which has been on a hot streak lately. 

Celeste—a British/Jamaican soul singer—joins the likes of Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding in achieving the double-win of Sound Of as well as well as Rising Star (previously Critics' Choice). She was one of three Polydor artists in this year's BBC Sound Of Top 5 alongside Interscope’s British artist Yungblud, who came in at #3, and Irish rock group Inhaler, who were placed at #5.

Universal had four out of five acts in the shortlist as Island-signed band Easy Life was #2. London singer/songwriter Joy Crookes (Relentless) came in at #4.

…Read more

MILK & HONEY LANDS IN LONDON
1/8/20

Milk & Honey President & Founder Lucas Keller, left, greets client David Hodges, center, and new Head of Milk & Honey UK Ant Hippsley.

Lucas Keller’s boutique outfit Milk & Honey has landed in London with the appointment of Ant Hippsley as Head of its U.K. office.

Hippsley was most recently Creative A&R Manager at Bucks Music Group, where he also ran Bucks Music Management. He previously worked for Big Life and Spilt Milk.

In his new role, Keller will be bringing in his existing business of producers, writers and mixers to Milk & Honey, whilst representing the company’s 55-client roster for the U.K. and Europe.

A number of new signings have been announced, too: singer/songwriter Andrew Jackson, who has worked with Dua LipaEminemKygoAlicia Keys and Hailee Steinfeld; and British-German DJ and producer duo M22 are now management clients. 

The news was first reported by Music Business Worldwide.

“I’m excited to bring Milk & Honey to the U.K., and continue the great work our U.S. team is doing for writers and producers and our global DJ business,” Keller said. “Ant will be one of a variety of hires for M&H and I look forward to not only better servicing our American clients in London, but also representing more U.K.- and European-based talent with an eye at working them aggressively in the Los Angeles pop and urban market as well.”

Producers and writers Hippsley has  worked with include Jordan Riley (MabelNina NesbittOlly Murs), Katya Edwards (Noah Cyrus) and James Newman (Rudimental, Calvin HarrisJess Glynne).

Milk & Honey has already had a run of success in the U.K. with writers like Jamie HartmanNeil Ormandy, and Oliver Heldens. Hit tracks its writers have contributed to include Rag'n'Bone Man’s “Human,” James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go,” Calvin Harris and Rag'n'Bone Man’s “Giant,” and Lewis Capaldi’s “Hold Me While You Wait.”

U.K. MIDWEEKS: A BATTLE BREWS
1/6/20

Lewis Capaldi and Stormzy are battling it out for the U.K.’s Official Albums #1 this week with just 400 combined sales between them at the halfway point. Over on singles, Justin Bieber has the highest new entry at #8.

Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI) is #1, leading the way on physical sales; Stormzy’s Heavy Is The Head (Atlantic/Merky) is ahead on downloads and streaming.

The former chart-topper from Tom Walker, What A Time To Be Alive (Relentless), is up three to #7.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy remain at #1 with “Own It” (Atlantic/Merky). Bieber is on course for the highest new entry of the week with latest single “Yummy” (Virgin EMI) starting at #8.

...Read more

U.K. CHARTS: STORMZY'S THIRD #1
1/3/20

Lewis Capaldi has claimed the first #1 of 2020 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI). Over on singles, Stormzy climbs to the top with “Own It” f/Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy (Atlantic/Merky) on 57k combined sales.

Capaldi has now spent seven non-consecutive weeks at #1 with his debut, which has racked up 641k combined sales since its release in May.

Elsewhere on albums, Stormzy edges back up to #2 with Heavy is the Head, and D-Block Europe land their third Top 10 album in 12 months with latest self-released mixtape, Street Trauma, at #9.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Stormzy rises to #1 from #5 to claim his third chart-topper in 12 months. Those 57k combined sales included 6.6m streams.

The last British rapper to score three #1 singles in the space of 12 months was Dizzee Rascal more than 10 years ago, who landed a trio of chart-toppers with “Holiday” (Dirtee Stank), “Dirtee Disco” and “Shout” between September 2009 and June 2010.

…Read more

MUSIC RETAIL RISES FOR FIFTH YEAR
1/3/20

Spending on recorded music in the U.K. hit £1.4b ($1.9b) in 2019, rising 7.1% and marking a fifth consecutive year of growth. The streaming market exceeded the billion pound mark for the first time, according to preliminary stats from the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA), while vinyl has now surpassed the value of downloads.

Subscription streaming represents 71% of total spend on music at retail in Blighty after rising 23.5% year-to-year to reach £1b. The physical music market dipped 17% last year to £318m (representing 23% of the music retail market) while revenue from downloads declined 26.8% to £89.7m (6% of the market).

Vinyl sales again bucked the physical trend, increasing 6.4% to £97.1m (7% of the overall market). That means that, for the first time in the digital era, vinyl has surpassed the value of downloads—in 2018 the value of vinyl stood at £91.3m while downloads were worth £122.6m (6.9% and 9.2% of the market respectively).

…Read more

STREAMING DRIVES GROWTH IN '19
1/1/20

Music consumption in the U.K. rose by 7.5% in 2019 with streaming now counting for 74.4% of album equivalent sales (AES) after rising 26%, according to stats released by the BPI. Streaming now represents almost the same share as physical did in 2010.

Last year was the fifth consecutive year of growth in the consumption of recorded music in the U.K. with the equivalent of 154m albums streamed, bought or downloaded. December saw the highest weekly total of streams—2.7b—ever recorded. The 2019 total of 114b plays on audio streaming services marks the first time the 100b landmark has been surpassed in a single year.

CD and digital albums fell by just over 25% (26.5% and 28.2% respectively) to count for an 18.2% (CD) and 4.8% (digital) share of the consumption pie. Physical sales still make up a large proportion of sales for #1 albums—in the majority of weeks (29) in 2019, physical counted for more than half (50%+) of chart-eligible sales for the Official Charts #1 artist album. In the last quarter of 2019, there were 13 consecutive weeks where physical represented for the majority of chart-eligible sales, accounting for more than 75% in 12 of those weeks.

Vinyl LP sales rose for a 12th consecutive year by 4.1% to hit 4.3m, while cassette sales reached the biggest annual total in 15 years with 80k sold in 2019. (It remains just a fraction of total consumption at 0.1%).

…Read more

U.K. CHARTS: A SURRPISE VICTORY
12/20/19

For the second year in a row, YouTube blogger LadBaby has swept in last minute and claimed the U.K.’s Official Singles Christmas #1 with his charity novelty track, “I Love Sausage Rolls.” Over on albums, Rod Stewart racked up 71k combined chart sales with You’re In My Heart (Rhino) to remain on top.


“I Love Sausage Rolls” (a very British twist on Joan Jett’s classic “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”) shifted 93k combined chart sales this week. With 85k of those coming from downloads alone, the track is the fastest-selling digital download since June 2017’s Artists For Grenfell chart-topping charity single. Money raised will go to food back charity The Trussell Trust

LadBaby, who is Mark Hoyle along with his wife Roxanne and their two sons, is the first ever act to deliver two novelty Christmas #1s back to back. He beat Stormzy’s “Own It” f/Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy (Atlantic/#Merky), which holds at #2.


A festive sales surge for Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (Sony) sees the 35-year-old classic finish at #5. The track is the best seller of the week on vinyl, topping this Official Vinyl Singles Chart with just under 5k sales after being given a limited edition 7” release.

On this week’s U.K. Official Albums Chart, Rod Stewart fought off strong competition from Stormzy and Harry Styles to claim the Christmas #1 on 71k combined chart sales, including 68k physical. Stormzy lands at #2 with his second album (and first on Atlantic), Heavy is the Head, which was the most streamed set this week. 

Celebrating the win for Warner, Derek Allen, SVP of Commercial at Warner Music, said: “We’re delighted that Rod has once again topped the charts and given Warner Music a Christmas number one album for a second consecutive year. Rod, working alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has delivered a stunning record that’s breathed new life into his timeless classics.  

"It’s great to see Rod’s popularity is as strong as ever as he’s fought off stiff competition for two weeks to claim back-to-back number ones. In addition, we had a great first week with Stormzy’s incredible second album — Heavy Is The Head is a masterpiece that will go down as one of the great British records – and he’s also celebrating three tracks in the Top 10 singles chart too.”

Finally, Harry Styles is new at #3 with Fine Line (Columbia), which was the biggest seller on vinyl with 9.5k copies.