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BLIGHTY BEAT
KICKING UP A STORMZY
1/22/18
Last year’s independent breakout star in Blighty, Stormzy, has signed a deal with Atlantic Records U.K. for himself as an artist as well as acts on his own #MERKY imprint. Stormzy’s debut, Gang Signs & Prayer, was distributed by Warner’s ADA last year and hit #1 on the charts in February. The set is nominated at the BRITs for Album of the Year, while Stormzy is also up for British Male Solo Artist. ... Read more
A GAME OF JAX
1/19/18
BRIT-nominated, eOne-managed U.K. DJ/producer/songwriter Jax Jones (Polydor) has the #1 most Shazamed track in Blighty with "Breathe" f/Ina Wroldsen. His earlier songs (including "You Don't Know Me" f/Raye, nominated for a British Single Brit trophy) have scored nearly 1 billion streams with little U.S. action; could the third time be the charm? Take a breath and listen.
BBC REVAMPS NEW ACTS SHOWCASE
1/16/18
A host of rising stars from the U.K. will play the newly named BBC Music Sound of 2018 Live gig in London on 1/30 at Maida Vale Studios. Alongside Sound Of winner Sigrid (Island), names on the bill include Not3s (Relentless), Pale Waves (Dirty Hit), Rex Orange County (Kobalt) and Yxng Bane (Disturbing London). Years & Years (Polydor), who were crowned Sound Of winners in 2015, will also perform. BBC Music Sound of 2018 replaces Radio 1’s Future Festival, which had showcased new acts tipped for big things at the start of every year. DJ Annie Mac will host the event broadcast live on BBC Radio 1.
U.K. MIDWEEKS: CAMILA SITS AT #2
1/15/18
Camila Cabello is currently #2 on the U.K.’s Official Albums midweeks with Camila (Syco) sitting 5k combined chart sales ahead of last week’s #1, The Greatest Showman (Atlantic) soundtrack. Will she move ahead by Friday? Camila was set up in Blighty with “Havana” f/Young Thug, which spent five weeks at #1 in November. The album is currently top of the iTunes Chart and it has three tracks in Spotify’s U.K. Top 50: “Havana” at #3, “Never Be The Same” at #6 and “She Loves Control” at #48. ... Read more
U.K. CHARTS: SHOWMAN HITS #1
1/12/18
The Greatest Showman (Atlantic) becomes the first soundtrack to hit #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart since La La Land (Polydor) did so in February 2017. Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran remains at the top of singles with “Perfect,” where “Barking” (Polydor) by new rapper Ramz has climbed into the Top 5 at #4. There are no new entries in the albums Top 40 this week with labels still kicking back into gear after the Christmas break. Camila Cabello, though, is atop the iTunes chart today with her solo debut, Camila (Syco). Will Cabello better the highest position her former group, Fifth Harmony, hit—#6 with 7/27 in 2016? ... Read more
BBC CROWNS SIGRID SOUND OF 2018
1/12/18
Island-signed Norwegian rising star Sigrid has been tipped by the BBC for great things this year after being crowned winner of the annual Sound of 2018 poll. Rex Orange County (Kobalt) came second place, followed by IAMDDB (Union IV), Khalid (Columbia) and Pale Waves (Dirty Hit). Island U.K. President Darcus Beese and Senior A&R Manager Annie Christensen signed the 21-year-old in 2016. She released her debut EP, Don’t Kill My Vibe, in the summer and it has since amassed over 100m global streams. Its lead single was a Radio 1 Hottest Record in February 2017, and she’s had support from DJs Annie Mac, MistaJam, Scott Mills, Huw Stephens and Greg James. Latest single, “Strangers,” is on 8.5m Spotify streams to date and sits on the A List at BBC Radio 1. She has more than 72kYouTube views, 22k Twitter followers, 37k Facebook fans and 99k Instagram followers. More new music is expected from her this year, which could very well include a debut album. She plays a sold-out date at London’s 2k capacity Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 3/13 as part of an eight-date sold out U.K. tour. ... Read more
MCCARTNEY BACKS VENUE BILL
1/11/18
Sir Paul McCartney has put his weight behind a campaign to preserve the future of the U.K.'s grassroots music venues, as a number of music figures lobby parliament to introduce a bill that makes it harder for property developers to shut down pubs and clubs that host live music. “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different,” Macca said. “If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.” A number of musicians have joined McCartney, including Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Craig David, Ray Davies, Billy Bragg, Chrissie Hynde, Sandie Shaw and Feargal Sharkey, in backing the bill. ... Read more
FOO FIGHTERS JOIN BRITS BILL
1/10/18
The Foo Fighters have joined those lined up to perform at February’s BRIT Awards in Blighty, making their first-ever performance at the annual ceremony. Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Stormzy will also take to the stage at The O2 Arena on 2/21. The nominations will be revealed on Saturday. Already announced winners include BRITs Critics’ Choice star Jorja Smith and Best British Producer Steve Mac, who has recently worked on #1 singles by Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit, as well as Top 10 singles by P!nk, Rita Ora and Liam Payne.
WBR U.K. UPS IVORY TO GM
1/9/18
The transformation of Warner Bros. Records U.K. into a proper frontline label has been further bolstered by the promotion of marketing exec Jennifer Ivory to General Manager after success with Dua Lipa and Royal Blood. She reports to label President Phil Christie. Ivory joined Warner Music in 2009 and was named VP, Marketing, for Warner Bros. in 2014. She previously worked at Sanctuary for eight years where she helped start the frontline record label as VP, Marketing. Over the last 18 months, Ivory has directed marketing campaigns that have seen Dua Lipa become the most-streamed female artist of 2017 and Royal Blood land their second consecutive U.K. #1 album. She also ran marketing efforts behind the return of Liam Gallagher. ... Read more
U.K. MIDWEEKS: ATLANTIC'S COOKING
1/8/18
Ben Cook's super hot WMG label Atlantic has four entries in the U.K.'s Official Singles midweek Top 10 chart, and the top two spots on albums. Elsewhere, Liam Payne and Rita Ora's new track "For You" (Capitol) enters at #4 and Justin Timberlake's "Filthy" (RCA) is at #13. Recorded for the soundtrack of Fifty Shades Freed, “For You” is the second UMG-released duet from a Fifty Shades film: ZAYN and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from Fifty Shades Darker hit #5 in 2016. Will Payne and Ora do one better by Friday? The track has yet to break Spotify's Top 50 but could win on downloads—it's #1 on the iTunes chart. Elsewhere on today’s midweek update, the Atlantic entries are: Ed Sheeran still at #1 with “Perfect" and Rita Ora at #3 with “Anywhere." On the Official Albums midweek chart, Atlantic has the top two spots thanks to The Greatest Showman soundtrack rising two places to #2 as Sheeran remains at #1 with ÷. Further down, Phil Collins’ retrospective, Take A Look At Me Now (Atlantic), is on course for a Top 40 comeback, currently at #21. ... Read more
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