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BLIGHTY BEAT
MANAGERS GROUP PREXY WEBSTER DEPARTS TO PEN MEMOIR
5/25/17
President of the U.K.’s Music Managers Forum, Jon ‘Webbo’ Webster, is stepping down from the post after 10 years at the organisation to write what is sure to be an anecdote-filled memoir about his time as MD of Virgin Records in the ‘80s. Annabella Coldrick replaced Webster as CEO of the MMF last year. “Much of the MMF’s current success and vitality must be attributed to Jon,” Coldrick said. “The organisation now represents more than 500 artist managers around the U.K., and has gained a hard-fought reputation as a body that stands up for artist rights and promotes greater education and transparency throughout the music business. “No one has battled harder than Webbo to get us to this position and to galvanise the management community—and while we sadly accept his decision to step down, the MMF remains as committed as ever to build on his years of work.” Webster started his career as a record shop assistant, joining Virgin as Sales Manager in 1981, and was named Managing Director in 1988. During that period, he was instrumental in devising the best-selling Now! That's What I Call Music brand. In 1992 he struck out on his own, working closely with acts such as Genesis, Peter Gabriel, UB40, Mike & The Mechanics, Baby Bird, Die Toten Hosen and Erasure, as well as founding the Mercury Music Prize. After moving into artist management (D*Note, Francis Dunnery), Webster joined the BPI as Director of Independent Member Services in 2005, and two years later, received his appointment to the MMF.  
TOP TIPS FROM THE GREAT ESCAPE
5/22/17
The British answer to SXSW, The Great Escape, took place in rainy Brighton last week and our London correspondent Rhian Jones was there to hear some new musical talent. Queues kept her away from the most hyped acts (although you’ll find the critics’ verdict of Sigrid within) so she went off the beaten track to find a number of talented baby acts. ... Read more
U.K. CHARTS: STYLES HITS #1
5/19/17
Columbia’s Harry Styles has hit #1 in the U.K. with his debut album on 57k combined sales. For anyone who’s counting, that’s more than double the amount former bandmate ZAYN did with Mind of Mine (RCA) in March 2016. Styles’ sales include 3k on vinyl, meaning he’s #1 on Official Vinyl Albums Chart, too, ahead of Paul Weller’s A Kind of Revolution (Parlophone). At singles, Styles' "Sign of the Times" rebounds to #6. ... Read more
skepta
SKEPTA WINS BIG AT IVOR NOVELLO AWARDS
5/18/17
Looks like grime has gone legit. One of the genre’s most influential practitioners, Skepta, took home both Songwriter of the Year and Best Contemporary Song for the hit single “Man,” at London’s Ivor Novello Awards Thursday. Repped by Warner/Chappell Music UK, Skepta’s victory came in recognition his landmark Konichiwa release, which has already earned him the 2016 Mercury Prize. Overall, it was a big night for Warner/Chappell, as Michael Kiwanuka won for Best Song Musically & Lyrically with “Black Man in a White World” and Dario Marianelli took top honors for Best Original Film Score with Kubo and the Two Strings. Jon Platt, Chairman & CEO of Warner/Chappell, said: “Skepta is a groundbreaking songwriter, and we're thrilled to see his exceptional talent acknowledged with two of the Ivors’ biggest honors. This is also a great moment for Amber Davis, the A&R executive who had the vision to support the grime community very early on, and bring many of its leading lights to Warner/Chappell.” Added Mike Smith, Managing Director of Warner/Chappell UK: “I’m so proud that Skepta has been named Songwriter of the Year at the Ivors.  It’s well-deserved recognition for an artist and songwriter who spearheaded the development of the grime scene and marks a significant coming of age for the most exciting genre of music in Britain today. I also congratulate Michael Kiwanuka and Dario Marianelli who’ve been recognized today for their amazing talent.”
U.K. MUSIC BIZ ESCAPES TO BRIGHTON
5/17/17
The British music biz is heading down to catch some more rain at the seaside for MAMA's annual new music jaunt The Great Escape this week where over 450 artists will perform across 30 venues. In between soggy fish and chips and as many free drinks as we can stomach, we’re excited to see Sigrid,The Japanese House, Joe Fox, Isaac Gracie, Marika Hackman and Raye....Read More
BBC AMPLIFIES NEW ARTIST CAREERS
5/12/17
BBC Music’s new talent strand Introducing is celebrating its 10th anniversary by hosting a three-day event in London where a host of top industry execs will offer career advice for aspiring artists. BBC Music Introducing Hosts Amplify will take place 10/6-8 at the Excel Centre and is being planned in partnership with events organizer SME London. The event will also offer music-master classes and recording workshops, a feedback clinic, showcases, a vinyl market and brands exhibition. Industry sessions spread across 10 theatres will include panels on stories of artists who’ve made it, a heads of label masterclass, and a guide to management, radio play, live, songwriting, streaming, sync, social media and self-releasing.  During its 10 years in existence, Introducing has helped launch the careers of Ed SheeranFlorence and the Machine and The 1975. Across the 200k acts the Beeb has promoted with playlist spots, local radio shows and festival stages, 21 have hit #1 with an album, with 47 appearing in the Top 10, while eight boast #1 singles.  The guy who helmed the programme from its beginnings in 2007, Jason Carter, recently exited for a top job at Amazon where he's looking after its new Prime Live Events initiative. His successor at the Beeb has yet to be announced.
WARNER MUSIC U.K. SHAKES UP
FIREPIT LEADERSHIP
5/11/17
Warner Music U.K. has poached top Channel 4 creative team Chris Bovill and John Allison to lead its year-old creative content and production studio, The Firepit. The duo will be developing a host of visual content for Warners’ roster of artists, while Brian Murnin joins from Vice as SVP, Business Development.  ... Read more  
BMG ACTS PRIMED FOR AMAZON'S
U.K. CONCERT SERIES
5/9/17
Amazon has indeed ventured into promoter territory with the launch of Prime Live Events. The new initiative is helmed by former BBC boss Jason Carter and will see a number of BMG-signed artists play intimate shows in London for Prime subscribers over the next few months.  Each event is being shown on Prime Video globally. The first gig is Blondie at the 750-capacity Round Chapel on 5/23, marking the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut U.K. show. Alison Moyet is playing the same venue on 6/12, followed by Texas at the Porchester Hall on 6/16 and Katie Melua at Cadogan Hall on 7/25-26.  Depending on the success of its U.K. launch, the programme could be rolled out globally—much in the same way Amazon Tickets arrived.    
MIDWEEK CHARTS: COULD
KASABIAN TOP SHEERAN?
5/8/17
Kasabian’s sixth studio album For Crying Out Loud (Columbia) is more than 20k combined sales ahead of today’s #2, Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Atlantic). Unless the tables turn, the band will have their fifth consecutive #1 by Friday and Sheeran's nine-week consecutive stint will come to an end. On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, the Justin Bieber-featured version of “Despacito” (Polydor) by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee is heading to #1 in its fourth charting week, while Niall Horan enters at #12 with “Slow Hands” (Virgin EMI).  ... Read more
DECCA UPS ALLEN TO PRESIDENT
5/8/17
Rebecca Allen has been promoted to President of UMG U.K.'s Decca Records after 17 years of service to Universal Music and a string of recent success with releases from Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Dame Vera Lynn and Imelda May. The exec has been MD of the label since 2014 and is described by boss David Joseph as a well-loved "exceptional leader" with "steely determination." ... Read more
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