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HITS LIST:
HOME RUN DERBY
Going yard (7/11a)
SONG REVENUE:
SCHLEMIEL, SHABOOZEY
Th epitome of new country (7/11a)
GRAMMY PRE-CHEW:
THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIG 4
On your Marks, get set, go. (7/8a)
TOWARD A FRUITFUL GRAMMY SEASON
Our editurr in chief has something on his mined. (7/10a)
SABRINA TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS WITH TOUR MERCH?
Her table's stacked. (7/10a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
Blighty Beat
HOWELL UPPED TO VP AT WARNER CHAPPELL
5/28/24

Andrew Howell has a new title as VP of Sync at Warner Chappell Music U.K. starting 6/1. He joined the company in 2016.

In this role, Howell will continue to report to Rich Robinson, EVP and Global Head of Sync at WCM, and Shani Gonzales, MD of WCM U.K. and Head of International A&R at WCM.

Gonzales praised Howell’s “collaborative spirit” as well as his “encyclopedic knowledge of our songbook and an unrivalled instinct as to what placements will work.”

Robinson added, “Andrew embodies Warner Chappell’s proactive approach to sync, with a forward thinking mindset that sees his ideas prevail in an often saturated space.”

Howell joined WCM U.K. after a career at Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV. Since then, he and his team have delivered multiple placements with gaming companies, including EA and Space Ape, as well as successful campaigns with Lexus, Persil, Cruzacampo and other brands. They’ve also contributed works to key film and TV projects, such as One Day, The Crown, Saltburn and Back to Black.

Recent standout wins include working with WCM France to create a Dua Lipa cover of George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90" for Yves Saint Laurent; securing a cover of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from the musical Annie in Dove’s 2024 Super Bowl spot; and working with David Bowie’s estate to place multiple songs in global Paco Rabanne campaigns.

WCM INKS TOBY DAINTREE
5/23/24

Warner Chappell Music has inked a global publishing deal with songwriter/producer Toby Daintree.

Having worked with the likes of Devin Workman, FKA Twigs, Jesse Fink, Joy Crookes, Matilda Mann, Two Inch Punch and more, the multi-instrumentalist recently made a name for himself as Artemas’ main collaborator, co-writing and co-producing his #1 hit “i like the way you kiss me,” viral single “if you think I’m pretty” and his mixtape pretty.

Since its March release, “i like the way you kiss me” has amassing 400m+ streams and topped Spotify’s global chart for three weeks. The track hit #1 in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, #3 in Australia, Denmark and the U.K. plus more.

Through this new partnership, Daintree—managed by Virgo Management’s Fin Kemp—will work closely with WCM U.K.’s managing director, Shani Gonzales, and head of A&R, Amber Davis.

“Toby is a world-class songwriter and producer. His recent hits have showcased he can write songs that connect with a global audience, and we want to help replicate this success by partnering him with the world’s biggest artists and writers,” said WCM U.K. A&R Manager George Baker.

“I’m looking forward to working with George and the wider Warner Chappell team who have shown a passionate interest and understanding in the music I’ve been a part of and I'm excited to see what opportunities and new relationships come from the partnership,” added Daintree.

Seen hoping we stay on this side of the pond are (l-r) attorney Sharon-Rose Mensah, Kemp, Daintree, Baker, Davis and WCM U.K. VP, head of legal and business affairs, Darren Young.

 U.K. CHARTS: SABRINA CARPENTER RULES SINGLES, TAYLOR SWIFT RECONQUERS ALBUMS
5/17/24

We’ve exhausted every possible coffee and caffeine pun, so we’ll just state the fact: Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” is the U.K.’s #1 pop song for the third week.

“Espresso” was streamed 8.5 million times during that week. Carpenter held off a bid by Post Malone and Morgan Wallen, whose multi-genre hit “I Had Some Help” came in at #2 and trailed “Espresso” by less than 2,000 chart units.

“I Had Some Help” is the ninth Top 10 single for Malone and the first for Wallen, who is crossing over in the U.K. much as he has in the U.S.

In other chart action, Kendrick Lamar’s diss track “Not Like Us” moved up four spots to #6, and “Belong Together” by Mark Ambor elevated to #11.

And on the album chart, Kings of Leon’s Can We Please Have Fun rocketed to #2 in its first week, giving the KoL their ninth U.K. Top 10 album.

You’ll never guess who’s #1: Taylor Swift. As the Eras Tour voyages to Europe, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT rises one spot, spending its third non-consecutive week at the top.

In non-Taylor album action, Gunna’s One of Wun sits at #4, Dua Lipa drops from first to third with Radical Optimism and the 20th anniversary re-release of Keane’s Hopes and Fears lands at #3.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: KINGS OF LEON SET FOR #1
5/13/24

Kings of Leon are heading towards #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with Can We Please Have Fun (Polydor). Over on singles, Post Malone and Morgan Wallen are headed for the top with their debut country collaboration.

If Can We Please Have Fun holds on to its lead by Friday, it will be Kings of Leon’s seventh U.K. #1 album.

Meanwhile, Keane are celebrating 20 years of their debut, Hopes and Fears (Island/UMR), which has re-entered at #3 thanks to a deluxe anniversary reissue.

Gunna could have his fourth Top 10 with One of Wun (300) at #5, while Queen’s Rock Montreal (UMG) is at #6 following a reissue.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, “I Had Some Help” (Republic) by Malone and Wallen is on track for #1. It would be Malone’s third U.K. #1 single and Wallen’s first.

Tommy Richman’s “Million Dollar Baby” (ISO Supremacy/PULSE) is up two to #5, while Kendrick Lamar’s “Not Like Us” (Interscope) is expected to jump three to #7.

“Stargazing” (Sony) by soul singer Myles Smith could debut as his first U.K. Top 20 entry at #11.

We are still at #1 for most jokes made about Liam Gallagher.

DARCUS BEESE: THE INSIDE STORY
5/10/24

The story of respected British music exec Darcus Beese, formerly president of UMG U.K.’s Island Records, will be told in his upcoming book, Rebel With a Cause.

Rebel With a Cause details how Beese went from apprentice hairdresser to work his way up from being the ‘tea boy’ to the President and first black CEO of a U.K. record company at Island.

The memoir covers him signing and nurturing seminal British artists including Amy Winehouse, Mumford & Sons, Dizzee Rascal and Florence and the Machine, to him moving to New York to run Island in the US but ‘becoming despondent at what he saw and encountered,’ according to a press release.

Beese, who is now EVP at Warner Music U.K. where he runs his own JV label, said: “As a kid I never thought or dreamed that one day I would be writing my story, let alone having it published. But now I think why not me? Growing up in a family of activists, a mother and father who fought to change British society, I’ve always understood the importance of using your voice, always felt a duty to speak my mind and stand up for what was right.

“Writing the book, looking back over my 50-plus years, I really appreciate how blessed I am to have such a strong beautiful family and to have enjoyed the most amazing experiences working alongside some of the greatest musical talents. Hopefully there’s plenty more to come. If this book inspires one kid to believe in themselves, to stay true to themselves, then it’ll be worthwhile.”

Published by Nine Eight Books, Rebel With a Cause will be available in hardback, ebook and audiobook versions from 8/15 in the U.K. It is set to land in the US in due course.

THE U.K. STILL LOVES "MR. BRIGHTSIDE"
5/9/24

U.K. listeners are still looking on the "Mr. Brightside" of life, as the Killers' song of that name has overtaken “Wonderwall” by Oasis as the most commercially-successful hit to never reach #1.

The Island track has tallied combined sales and streams of 5.57m since its release in 2003. “Mr. Brightside” originally peaked at #10, but has since become the longest-running Top 100 hit in Official Chart history, with nearly eight years on the list.

Despite its advanced age, "Brightside" is still being streamed an average of 1.8m times a week by British music fans. It’s the third biggest song of all time in the U.K., based on sales and streams.

In 2023, "Brightside" scored a career-best 79.7m plays, and so far this year, its average combined weekly sales and streams are up 23% year-on-year.

The song’s biggest week to date in the U.K. was in July 2019, when it racked up 17.7k chart units after The Killers headlined Glastonbury. Its biggest year of pure sales was 2012, when it was bought and downloaded 125.2k times.

"Mr. Brightside" was originally released with a 500-CD single run via U.K. indie record label Lizard King. It picked up steam following the release of 2004’s #3 single, "Somebody Told Me" (and the release of an updated mix), catapulting it back into the Official Singles Chart at #10 in May 2004, still its highest position to date, before dropping out only a few weeks later.

Liam Gallagher declined to comment, but did offer to punch us in the face.

MUSIC WEEK AWARDS CROWN BEST OF THE U.K. BIZ
5/3/24

Girls Aloud manager Peter Loraine was honored with a prestigious Strat award at last night’s Music Week Awards in London, where UMG U.K. labels EMI and Island Records were also big winners.

Loraine was honored for a three-decade career in which he’s worked with a wealth of British pop greats, including Girls Aloud (who presented him with the award in the above photo), S Club 7, ABBA, All Saints, Jessie Ware and Goldfrapp.

EMI took home Record Company of the Year, as they also did last year, making it a second win for label leaders Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington, who took the helm in 2022. The win followed a successful 2023 in which the EMI team tallied #1 U.K. albums by Lewis Capaldi, Take That and Taylor Swift, plus a #4 debut from Olivia Dean and a successful breakthrough for Mae Stephens, who peaked at #13 with her viral hit, “If We Ever Broke Up.” EMI were also honored with Promotions Team of the Year.

The Island Records squad, led by President Louis Bloom, took the A&R Award after enjoying a major breakthrough with BRIT Award Rising Star winners The Last Dinner Party, whose debut, Prelude to Ecstasy, hit #1 in the U.K. in February. The label also released #1 albums from indie rock act The Lathums, plus U2 and Hozier last year.

UMG had another win for Catalog Marketing Campaign for UMR’s work on The Beatles Now and Then release. It’s about time someone gave an award to that quartet from Liverpool!

In other categories, Central Cee manager Bello was named Manager of the Year; Publisher of the Year went to Warner Chappell; and EGA Distro took Independent Record Company of the Year.

Warner Music U.K. claimed two gongs for International Marketing Team of the Year and Sync Team of the Year, Sony Music U.K. took Sales Team of the Year and the Label/Artist Services award went to AWAL. Other winners included Young Songs for Independent Publisher of the Year, CAA for Live Music Agency, Live Nation U.K. for Live Music Promoter and RAYE and The Orchard for Artist Marketing Campaign.

Congratulations to all the winners. We look forward to hearing more about it when you take us out for chicken and chips.

RCA U.K. TAPS DAVIES TO HEAD A&R
4/18/24

Harri Davies, former senior director of A&R at Concord Music Publishing, has joined RCA Records U.K. as head of A&R.

In his new role, Davies will be responsible for steering the Sony label's A&R strategy and signing talent. He reports to RCA Co-Presidents Glyn Aikins and Stacey Tang.

"Harri embodies the globally minded, creative spirit that has always been at the heart of RCA U.K.,” Aikins and Tang said. “His understanding of the music landscape and passion for nurturing artists will undoubtedly have a positive effect, steering our team and artists towards further global success.”

Notable artists and producers Davies has signed include Krept & Konan, BRIT Award-winning Chase & Status and Grammy winners Imanbek, Alex Metric and Flowdan. He also facilitated the signing of 2023’s global breakout star, Tyla. Prior to Concord, Davies helped shape the roster at Bucks Music Group.