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A #1 SINGLE FOR THE QUEEN?
5/17/22

Warner Classics wants a #1 for the Queen. The. real one, not the band that Freddie Mercury led.

On 5/27, Warner will release a new recording of “God Save The Queen” by Sarah Brightman and Alfie Boe along with a remastered recording of the National Anthem sung at Her Majesty’s 1953 coronation service in Westminster Abbey.

Warner Classics will campaign to get Queen Elizabeth II to the top of the U.K. singles chart for her Platinum Jubilee weekend—6/2-5—and raise money for the British Red Cross. Brightman and Boe will call on the British public to download, buy and stream the single on the week of its release. Warner Music U.K. and iTunes U.K. will donate proceeds from the double A-Side single to the British Red Cross.

 “When I received the call to ask if I wanted to be a part of this adventure with Alfie, I was excited about the opportunity and the efforts behind the project,” Brightman said. “It means a lot to us both—we’d love to see the anthem get to the top of the charts and raise meaningful funds for the incredible British Red Cross during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.”

Brightman and Boe are backed by the NHS Voices of Care Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The release will be available worldwide on iTunes, Amazon Music and across select digital streaming platforms. The CD single will be available at select U.K. Asda stores and other retailers.

PPL PULLS IN THE POUNDS
5/17/22

U.K. music-licensing company PPL collected £252.8m in revenues in 2021, a 12% spike over 2020’s collections.

All three revenue streams—international, broadcast & online and public performance—rose while record amounts poured in at International (£94m) and Broadcast & Online Licensing (£86.7m).

A new record was set for the number of performers and recording rights-holders getting a check: 147k people received at least one payment in 2021, an increase of 31.3% over 2020.

Revenue from the playing of music in pubs, clubs and other public venues was up 25.4% to £72.1m,a spike largely owing to the reopening of the U.K.

“We achieved our second highest annual revenue total and saw our best ever year for both international revenue and broadcast & online revenue,” said PPL CEO Peter Leathem. “Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business. 

“PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rights-holders than 10 years ago when I became CEO and is collecting nearly double the revenue. We collect more international neighboring rights royalties than anyone else, and PPL PRS Ltd, our joint public performance licensing venture with PRS for Music, launched in 2018, is streamlining the collection of public performance royalties. Now then, anyone care for a cuppa?”

U.K. MIDWEEKS: FEVER PITCH
5/16/22

The fifth studio album from Florence + The Machine is on its way to becoming their fourth U.K. #1 while Harry Styles may have two challengers threatening his shot at a seventh week at #1 at singles.

Florence Welch & company’s Dance Fever (Polydor) has registered more than 26k chart sales and is the best-selling album of the week in the U.K., physically and digitally.

The most streamed album, though, is Kendrick Lamar’s first album in five years, Mr Morale & The Big Steppers (Interscope), which is set to debut at #2 Friday on the Official Albums Chart. The Black KeysDropout Boogie (Nonesuch), at #4, is on course to be their fifth U.K. Top 10. British folkies Bear’s Den may secure their highest-ever charting LP in the U.K. as Blue Hours (Communion) is now #5.

The Rolling Stones’ archival release Live At The El Mocambo (Polydor) is #7 and the debut from Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood’s The Smile, A Light For Attracting Attention (XL) is #9.

The re-release of Toyah’s 1981 live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (Cherry Red) sits at #11, potentially outperforming its original chart position of #22.

At singles, fewer than 2,000 chart sales separate Styles’ “As It Was” (Columbia) and Cat Burns’ “Go” (RCA) and at the midweek mark. Styles, currently #1, is vying for his seventh week atop the chart.

Three songs from Lamar’s Mr Morale & The Big Steppers (Interscope) are eyeing slots in the Top 10: “United in Grief” is #3; “N95” is #4; and “Die Hard” sits at  #6.

Sam Ryder’s second place finish at Eurovision Saturday has propelled his “SPACE MAN” (Parlophone) to #5. It would be the first U.K. Eurovision entry to crack the Top 10 since Scooch’s “Flying the Flag (For You)” in 2007. If it hits #1, it would be the first U.K. Eurovision #1 on the Official Singles Chart in 26 years.

My Chemical Romance’s surprise release “Foundations of Decay” (Warner) is heading for a #14 debut

U.K. CHARTS: ARCADE FIRE'S 4TH #1
5/13/22

It’s a double win for Columbia Records in the U.K.: Harry Styles continues to have the #1 single while Arcade Fire has registered their fourth chart-topper on the Official Albums tally.

The Canadian alt-rock group’s WE (Columbia) follows The SuburbsReflektor and Everything Now to the top slot and also is the week’s top seller on vinyl.

The second studio album from Scandinavia’s SigridHow to Let Go (Island), heads straight in at #2 while London-born rapper Knucks makes his Official Albums Chart debut at #3 with ALPHA PLACE (Nodaysoff)Jack Harlow makes it into the first Top 5 for the first time as Come Home The Kids Miss You (Atlantic) lands at #4.

Soft Cell’s first studio album together in 20 years, *Happiness Not Included (BMG) is #7 and Belle & Sebastian’s A Bit of Previous (Matador) is the Scottish indie group’s fifth Top 10 record, coming in at #8. Halestorm’s fifth studio album, Back from the Dead (Parlophone), opens at #9; Warpaint’s first record in six years, Radiate Like This (Heirlooms), is #21.

At singles, Styles’ “As It Was” enjoys its sixth week at #1, racking up over 6.8m streams to remain the most-streamed track in the country.

Harlow’s “First Class” holds onto #2 as another two of his album’s tracks enter the Top 40: “Churchill Downs” f/Drake at #19 and “Dua Lipa” at #33. 

Lizzo gains her second U.K. Top 10 hit as “About Damn Time” (Atlantic) rises 11 slots to a new peak of #4. “Crazy What Love Can Do” (Warner) by David Guetta, Ella Henderson and Becky Hill rises two to #15; Lauren Spencer-Smith’s “Flowers” (Island) hits a new peak of #18; and Kendrick Lamar gets his 17th Top 40 hit with “The Heart—Pt. 5” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) debuting at #24.

VENUES WIN THE LOTTERY, AGAIN
5/12/22

 

The National Lottery’s Revive Live Tour will return this summer in the U.K. Done in partnership with Music Venue Trust,  The National Lottery will again underwrite the full touring and production costs of artists participating as part of a commitment to the grassroots music sector.

Full details of all artists participating, dates of individual performances and the venues hosting shows will be announced in the near future.

“This is a fantastic partnership that has already delivered incredible support to new and emerging artists at a vital stage of their career,” MVT CEO Mark Dayvd said. “We are delighted to be working with The National Lottery again this summer to create even more brilliant opportunities to Revive Live and reconnect our communities to the music and musicians they love.”

Launched last summer, the National Lottery contributed £1M to directly underwrite  touring and production costs of 278 live shows at 138 grassroots music venues staged between June and September. In January, a second phase saw another 179 shows at 140 grassroots music venues supported by National Lottery Revive Live.

Nigel Railton, Chief Executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said, “The National Lottery is very happy to be able to work with Music Venue Trust again as we head into the summer.  The previous National Lottery"s Revive Live Tours have been extremely successful and a new round of live shows will hopefully continue the much-needed support for the grassroots music sector, while bringing communities together again.”

The money for this initiative comes from a National Lottery promotional fund. It is not funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot.

DOWNTOWN BREWS DISTILLER DEAL
5/11/22

Downtown’s Mike Smith, left, gets a free lunch from Distiller CEO Sam Dyson and new hire Claire Bianchi after winning a Velvet Underground-themed round of Name That Tune.

Downtown Music Services will provide music publishing administration for London-based Distiller Music Publishing’s roster of songwriters and producers. In addition, Claire Bianchi has joined Distiller Publishing as Head of A&R, reporting to Distiller Music Group CEO Sam Dyson.

 “This new agreement with Downtown Music Services is a key move for Distiller Music Publishing, as it allows us to join forces with their incredible team who are immensely experienced and motivated towards getting the most from our roster,” Dyson said. “Their advice, support and introduction to a global network will be invaluable as we explore new opportunities for the songwriters and producers we represent. We are also excited to welcome Claire Bianchi who is a brilliant, creative A&R executive bringing expertise and experience to our team.”

Distiller’s roster includes Dimitri Tikovoi, Danny LaFrombe, Danny Goffey and The Ramona Flowers.

Bianchi joins Distiller from her previous position as A&R Manager at Stellar Songs where she worked with songwriters and artists such as Mike Kintish, TYLR Rydr and Cassyette.

Mike Smith, Global President of Downtown Music Services said, ““I am thrilled to be getting into business with Distiller as they celebrate a massive hit across Europe with Purple Disco Machine’s ‘In The Dark.’   Claire is one of the best music creatives out there and alongside Sam with his rich understanding of the music space, they are building an amazing business and we hope to maximise their presence around the world.”

MERCK PUSHES FOR DIGITAL BILL
5/10/22

The U.K. will take steps toward creating a new Big Tech watchdog that has at least one fan in Hipgnosis Song Management’s Merck Mercuriadis.

The government plans to introduce a Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill in draft form to Parliament, which means updated competition rules are possible but will take awhile.

“Today’s announcement in the Queen’s Speech to bring forward the legal framework for the statutory Digital Markets Unit is a huge opportunity to redress the current imbalance in the music streaming market which favors digital platforms over songwriters and artists,” said Mercuriadis, Chief Executive and Founder of Hipgnosis. “By including digital music platforms, this new draft law and the new powers it grants to the CMA will pave the way for a major boost to songwriters, the U.K.’s music industry, British tech innovation and its creative potential. This would be great news for songwriters and music lovers alike.”

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill is one of 38 bills included The Queen’s Speech that  Prince Charles delivered today.

The DMU was set up last year but has yet to have been granted power to create policy that would curb abuses by major tech companies.

U.K. MIDWEEKS: A RAGING FIRE
5/9/22

Arcade Fire leads the way at the Official Albums Chart at the mid-week with an all-new Top 5 possible come Friday. At singles, it’s still Harry Styles’ domain.

Win Butler and company’s WE (Columbia) looks set to become their fourth U.K. #1 following 2017’s Everything Now, 2013’s Reflektor and 2010’s The Suburbs.

Behind them at #2 is Sigrid’s second album How to Let Go (Island), Soft Cell’s first album in over 20 years, *Happiness Not Included (BMG) at #3, London rapper KnucksAlpha Place (Nodaysoff) at #4 and, finally, Halestorm’s Back from the Dead (Parlophone).

Another three titles are eyeing Top 10 debuts: Belle & Sebastian’s 10th studio album A Bit of Previous (Matador) at #6; Jack Harlow’s Come Home the Kids Miss You (Atlantic); and Warpaint’s first album in six years, Radiate Like This (Heirlooms).

Sharon Von Etten’s We’ve Been Going About this All Wrong (Jagjaguwar) is #11 and a limited-edition vinyl release of Kylie Minogue’s Infinite Disco (BMG) could enter the Top 40 for the first time; it’s #12. At #13, Emeli Sande may nab her fourth Top 40 album with Let’s Say For Instance (Chrysalis); Boyzlife’s Old School is #15.

Neil Young has three releases from his Official Bootleg Series on Warner that could wind up in the Top 40: Citizen Kane Jr Blues; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 1971; and Royce Hall, 1971.

At singles, Styles is again racing ahead of the competition, looking to secure a massive sixth consecutive week at #1 with “As It Was” (Columbia).

Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” (Nice Life/Atlantic) is poised to be this week’s big climber, up 11 to #4. Taylor Swift’s surprise release “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” (EMI), currently #12, is set to become this week’s highest new entry. Harlow may secure two new entries in the Top 40: “Churchill Downs” f/Drake and “Dua Lipa.”

LUKANZ TO LEAD AMAZON TEAM
5/9/22

Laura Lukanz will take over as Amazon Music’s new Head of Music Industry for the U.K., Australia & New Zealand, beginning 5/30. 

The former First Access Entertainment EVP will lead the U.K., Australia & New Zealand industry teams, oversee label relations, artist relations, programming and editorial for the streaming service.

“There are moments that stand out in one’s career, and having Laura join the team will be one for me,” said Amazon Music Director Jillian Gerngross. “I have endless faith in her and the impact that she will have. She has an incredible track record of delivering for artists and creators across the music industry and her knowledge of U.K. audiences is second to none.”

While at FAE GRP, Lukanz was EVP of Artists, Writers and Producers and was responsible for record, publishing and management signings, label release campaigns and talent management in the U.K. Prior to that, she was the first female Head of Music at a national BBC digital network, BBC Radio 1Xtra. She launched her broadcast career as a pirate radio DJ in Manchester.

U.K. CHARTS: 3RD #1 FOR BLOSSOMS
5/6/22

Blossoms have scored their third U.K. #1 album as Ribbon Around the Bomb (Virgin EMI) edges out Future’s  album I Never Liked You (Freebandz/Epic). The rapper lands a single inn the Top 10 behid Harry Styles, whose “As It Was” (Columbia) hits five weeks at #1.

The Stockport group’s effort is also #1 on the Official Vinyl Albums Chart, as physical formats accounted for 90% of its total sales.

Future has registered a career-best #2 with his ninth studio album I Never Liked You; it’s his third U.K. Top 10 album. Rammstein’s eighth studio album Zeit (Virgin/Capitol) follows at #3. Dopamine (Thunder/BMG), the 14th studio album from Thunder, is #5.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Bloc Party’s first record in six years, Alpha Games secures #7 and The Weeknd’s Dawn FM (XO) rises 33 places to #9 following its vinyl release. Reef’s sixth studio album, Shoot Me Your Ace (Raging Sea), lands at #20, their highest chart position in 22 years.

On the Official Singles Chart, Styles’ “As It Was” holds onto the top slot, racking up 7m streams.

Future f/Drake and Tems’ “Wait for U” heads straight into the Top 10 at #8. It’s his second U.K. Top 10 single to date.

Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” (Atlantic) rises 52 places to #15 in its third week, becoming her fifth U.K. Top 40 single. Ed Sheeran’s “2Step” (Atlantic) hits a new peak of #12 as does Latto’s “Big Energy” (Streamcut) at #28.

Warner’s Benson Boone secures his first Official Singles Chart entry with “In the Stars” at #21.