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Alamo adds a COO. (1/13a)
A feast for the senses (1/14a)
Vegas, baby. (1/12a)
The poster has been printed. (1/13a)
Agency reshuffles the deck. (1/14a)
I just wanna bang on my drum all day.
I like to call it "2021."
My Zoom backgrounds are all outdated.
When's the next holiday that involves eggnog?
Blighty Beat

Ed Sheeran’s = (Atlantic) is heading for a third week at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart while labelmate Gayle could score her first top-charting track with “abcdefu.”

Sheeran looks set to rule the first chart week of 2022 with =, which also scored the final #1 spot of 2021 last week. Adele is down to #2 with 30 (Columbia) at the halfway point, followed by ABBA’s  Voyage (Polar/UMG) at #3.

At #8, ABBA’s Gold is one of a few greatest hits collections in today’s midweek Top 10. Little Mix’s Between Us (RCA) is up one to #4, Elton John’s Diamonds (Virgin EMI) is #6 and Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Years—Don’t Stop (Warner Records) is eyeing a jump of five to #10.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles midweeks, with Christmas songs vacating the charts, Gayle is heading for the top thanks in part to success on TikTok.

DJ Acraze could score his first Top 10 with “Do It To It” f/Cherish (Thrive Music) up 41 places to #2, while ArrDee’s “Flowers (Say My Name)” (Island) and Sam Fender’s “Seventeen Going Under” (Polydor) could claim new peaks; they’re on track for #3 and #4, respectively.

Sheeran currently has three tracks in the Top 10: “Shivers” is #5; “Bad Habits” checks in at #7; and new track “Peru” f/Fireboy DML is up 18 to a new peak at #10.

A track from Disney’s Encanto, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” that’s gone viral could be this week’s biggest climber, tracking to ascend 54 places to #12.


Adele’s 30 (Columbia) topped the U.K.'s Official Charts best-selling albums in 2021 list while Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR (Polydor/Geffen) was the U.K.’s most streamed album last year. Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” (Atlantic) ruled singles.

30 shifted more than 600k sales to emerge the year’s best-seller with more than 500k pure sales (448k physical and 53k downloads). Sheeran’s = took second place on the Top 10 with 432k sales, followed by ABBA’s Voyage (UMG) with 400k.

Streams of Rodrigo’s SOUR accounted for 83% of its 395k sales figure. There are eight British releases in the albums Top 10: UMG claims five, Warner four and Sony one. Five of the albums were released in 2021.

On the Official Charts singles Top 10 for 2021, “Bad Habits” is #1 on 1.7m sales, including 204m streams and 142k sales. Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” takes second place on 1.39m, including 167m streams, and she also claims the third best-selling single with “Drivers License,” which has been streamed nearly 156m times in the U.K.

British artists claim four entries in the singles Top 10 and five of the 10 releases arrived in 2021. UMG has five entries, Warner three and Sony two.

Official Artist Albums Chart 2021

  1. Adele 30 (Columbia)
  2. Ed Sheeran = (Atlantic)
  3. ABBA Voyage (UMG)
  4. Olivia Rodrigo SOUR (Polydor/Geffen)
  5. Queen Greatest Hits (UMG)
  6. Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia (Warner Records)
  7. Ed Sheeran Divide (Atlantic)
  8. Elton John Diamonds (Virgin EMI)
  9. Fleetwood Mac 50 Years: Don’t Stop (Warner Records)
  10. Dave We’re All Alone In This Together (NBR/UMG)

Official Singles Chart 2021

  1. Ed Sheeran “Bad Habits”
  2. Olivia Rodrigo “Good 4 U”
  3. Olivia Rodrigo “Drivers License”
  4. The Weeknd “Save Your Tears” (Island/Republic)
  5. Lil Nas X “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” (Columbia)
  6. Dua Lipa “Levitating”
  7. The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber “Stay” (Columbia)
  8. Glass Animals “Heat Waves” (Polydor)
  9. The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”
  10. Tion Wayne & Russ Millions “Body” (Warner Music U.K.)

Music consumption in the U.K. rose by 2.5% in 2021 with individual audio streams up 5.7%. The rise, although good news, is considerably down from recent years.

According to BPI figures, 159m albums or their equivalent were either streamed or purchased across all formats last year in the U.K. Consumption was primarily made up of streams—147b audio streams, which count for 83% of the total.

CD sales dropped 10.5% last year to 14.4m to count for 9% of the total while vinyl sales rose 10.6% to 5.3m—the highest figure in three decades—or a 3.3% share. Despite an overall 5.5% decline in physical album sales, which count for 12.5% of the consumption total, in the vast majority of weeks (40) in 2021, physical counted for over half of chart-eligible sales for the #1 artist album. Digital download albums dipped 23.1% to 4.6m units sold.

In 2020, consumption was up 8.2% and in 2019, it rose by 7.5%.

The BPI, which has been lobbying against any change in U.K. law that could see artists paid more from streaming, says that the number of artists earning meaningful royalties from streaming is on the up. In 2021, the trade body reports that more than 1.9k artists were streamed more than 10m times in the U.K., up from 1.8k in 2020 and 1.5k in 2019.

BPI Chief Exec Geoff Taylor said: “The rise of streaming has empowered more artists than ever—from all backgrounds and eras—to build new fanbases around the world and to forge successful careers in music, while record labels have continued to provide the investment and support needed for British talent to thrive and reach a truly global audience.”


Adele’s 30 (Columbia) has claimed a fourth consecutive week at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. Over on singles, Ed Sheeran and Elton John remain on top for a second week.

30 has spent the most consecutive weeks at #1 for an album this year and has nearly double the sales of its closest rival today, Sheeran’s Equals (Atlantic).

This week’s highest new albums entry goes to Paul Weller’s An Orchestrated Songbook (Polydor), which debuts at #4.

Elton John’s former chart-topper, The Lockdown Sessions (EMI), is up two to #7, while Juice WRLD’s posthumous Fighting Demons (Interscope) enters at #8.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s Barn (Reprise) debuts at #16, and Doja Cat’s Planet Her (Kemosabe/RCA) soars six places to #22 following its physical release.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, Sheeran and John’s “Merry Christmas” (Atlantic) remains at #1 and is now a front-runner to claim the coveted Christmas top spot next week.

The track has competition from YouTubers LadBaby, who have hit #1 at Christmas for the last three years in a row with a charity release in aid of The Trussell Trust. This year, they’ve enlisted the help of Sheeran and John for their comedy track, “Sausage Rolls for Everyone.”

Elsewhere, a new record has been set for the most Christmas songs to land in the Top 40 a week prior to the #1 race, with 24 in the chart. Inside the Top 10, hits by Wham! (#3), Mariah Carey (#4), Shakin’ Stevens (#6) and The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl (#7) all hold steady from last week, while Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (MCA Nashville) is up two to #8.

The sole non-festive gainer in the Top 10 this week comes courtesy of Sam Fender, who rebounds six places to #9 with “Seventeen Going Under” (Polydor).


Warner Chappell Music U.K. has renewed its global deal with the estate of George Michael. The agreement covers Michael’s solo work and the songs he wrote as a member of Wham! 

The global publisher will continue to curate and nurture the legacy of Michael, who, over the course of his career, sold more than 125m records worldwide. The agreement extends upon a deal that was originally signed in the early ‘80s.

Calling Michael "one of the greatest songwriters of all time." Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall, Co-Chairs of Warner Chappell Music, said, "We all still miss his engaging personality, but he’s left the most incredible legacy in the form of his songs and performances. We take our responsibility to curate and promote his catalog incredibly seriously, because even the greatest songs still need energetic champions.”

The pubco says that its "strategic approach" offers opportunities to introduce Michael’s timeless classics to even more music fans.

Chris Organ, Michael’s lawyer and Co-Executor of the George Michael Estate, said interest in, and competition for, the catalog was "fierce."

"We strongly believe that George’s legacy as a songwriter, and the protection and enhancement of this stellar catalog of songs, is best served by a traditional, hands-on day-to-day relationship with an established music publisher,” he said. “Warner Chappell Music’s current structure and management is ideally suited to achieve those goals.”


The U.K.’s grassroots music venue sector is once again facing crisis, according to a statement from the Music Venue Trust, which says attendance to shows has dropped 23% since the announcement of new restrictions last week and the growing threat of the Omicron variant.

MVT cites a “catastrophic drop” in attendance, advance ticket sales and spend per head from 12/6-13, which it says places the sector back on red alert for the risk of permanent closures.

A survey of 284 respondents shows that 86% of venues have been negatively impacted by the public’s response to the Omicron variant.

During the same period, 76% of grassroots venues saw a decrease in their gross income, which declined 27% on average. In addition, 79% reported a rise in no-shows, with the average increase sitting at 23%, while 74% saw a decrease in advance ticket sales by 27%, on average.

Nearly 70% of venues had to cancel at least one event during the same time period, which was primarily due to a performer or member of the touring party testing positive for COVID-19 or poor sales. The amount of estimated gross income that’s been lost during the week sits at £1.9m.

…Read more


UMG U.K.'s Decca Records Group has two new co-Presidents in Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, who have spent the last 19 months as co-MDs. 

During their time as Managing Directors, Lewis and Monks have overseen a broadening of the label's creative output, which includes the breakthrough success of British musician Jacob Collier, who made Grammy history by becoming the only artist in the show’s history to win an award for each of his first four albums. 

At the same time, they've worked on the emergence of Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora while enjoying ongoing success with Gregory PorterLudovico Einaudi, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Andrea Bocelli, among others. 

“Laura and Tom complement each other brilliantly,” David Joseph said. “They are perfectly placed to steer the legendary label into this exciting new chapter with both their creative vision and fearlessness to do things differently.”

Lewis joined Decca 19 years ago as Label Manager for the jazz division before moving into A&R. He later became VP of Decca, A&R and artist strategy and has twice won MBW’s Adult Contemporary A&R of the Year award.

Monks, who is approaching her 10th year at Decca, previously held roles at the label encompassing digital, commercial and marketing before becoming General Manager in 2018.


Tion Wayne and Russ Millions' “Body” (Atlantic) is TikTok’s most popular U.K. song used in videos on the platform in 2021. Tracks by Sam Smith and PinkPantheress also make the Top 10.

All in all, the Top 10 racked up over 219b video views on 131m creations. Over 40 trending TikTok songs took the top spot on the U.K. Official Chart this year, up from 10 in 2020.

Warner fares excellently in the list: Besides claiming the #1 spot, the label has five more tracks by PinkPantheress, Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Central Cee, who is distributed by ADA.

UMG counts four entries with releases from Sam Smith, Nathan Evans, ArrDee and Wes Nelson.

Top TikTok tracks by U.K. artists

  1. "Body (Remix) [feat. ArrDeeE1 (3x3)ZT (3x3),Bugzy MaloneBuniFivio Foreign and Darkoo]" Tion Wayne and Russ Millions (Atlantic)
  2. "Like I Can" Sam Smith(Capitol)
  3. "Just for me" PinkPantheress(Parlophone)
  4. "Unlock it (Lock It) [Jeff Prior Mix]" Charli XCX(Atlantic)
  5. "Levitating" Dua Lipa(Warner Records)
  6. "Obsessed With You" Central Cee(ADA)
  7. "Wellerman - Sea Shanty / 220 KID x Billen Ted Remix" Nathan Evans220 KIDand Billen Ted (Polydor)
  8. "Bad Habits" Ed Sheeran(Atlantic)
  9. "Oliver Twist" ArrDee(Island)
  10. "Nice To Meet Ya" Wes Nelson(EMI)