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U.K. CHARTS: 5SOS, SAM SMITH HIT #1
9/30/22

5 Seconds of Summer has squeaked out a last-minute victory to claim the #1 slot on the U.K. Official Albums Chart while Sam Smith and Kim Petras ascend to #1 at singles.

5SOS5 (BMG), the fifth studio album from the Australian four-piece, saw 78% of its tally come from physical sales; it was the most physically purchased and downloaded record in the U.K. this week. It’s their third #1. 

A mere 1.3k chart units behind at #2 is Lap 5, the self-released second studio album from London hip-hop collective D-Block Europe. It’s their third Top 5 collection.

Rounding out the all-new Top 3 is Sports Team’s second studio album Gulp! (Island). The set is #1 on the vinyl and record store charts.

Take That’s Mark Owens scores a career personal best at #5 with Land Of Dreams (BMG). ABBA’s Gold - Greatest Hits (Polydor) jumps five to #6 following the release of a special 30th anniversary edition; EditorsEBM (Play It Again Sam) is #10, their seventh Top 10 record in the U.K. Beth Orton now has six Top 40 albums as Weather Alive (Partisan) dawns at #27.

At singles, Smith and Petras’ “Unholy” (EMI) racked up 5.9m streams to give Smith their eighth #1 single and Petras her first-ever U.K. chart topper. Smith’s last #1 was “Promises” with Calvin Harris in 2018.

“Unholy” was just 1.4k chart units ahead of David Guetta & Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good (Blue)” (Parlophone), the week’s most downloaded song.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, new peaks are hit by Chris Brown’s “Under The Influence” (RCA) at #7, Luude & Mattafix’s “Big City Life” (Warner) at #8 and Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” (L-M/RCA) at #9.

At #12, Stormzy’s “Mel Made Me Do It” (Def Jam) becomes his  25th Top 40 single. D-Block Europe’s strong showing at albums resulted in three singles landing in the Top 40: “4 The Win”  at #23, “She’s Not Anyone” f/Burna Boy at #30, and “Conor McGregor” at #39.

OFFICIAL CHARTS HAS A NEW CHAIR
9/29/22

Sony Music UK’s Charlotte de Burgh-Holder is the new chair of the Official Charts Company, the first female chair in Official Charts history.

Director of commercial analytics at Sony Music UK, she succeeds Amazon Music’s Paul Firth in the non-executive position of chairing the Official Charts board, which has reps from ERA and BPI. De Burgh-Holder will work with Official Charts Chief Executive Martin Talbot on strategy.

“Charlotte is one of the smartest executives in the business with a laser focus on the important issues and an uncanny eye for detail, Talbot said. “Even from our initial conversations, it has become clear to me that she will be a huge asset in helping push the organization forward in this, the Official Singles Chart’s 70th anniversary year, and beyond.

AIM AWARDS: ALL THE WINNERS
9/28/22

Domino’s Wet Leg were honored Wednesday with the U.K. Independent Breakthrough award at The AIM Independent Music Awards, while Rough Trade Records was named Best Independent Label.

Cleo Sol and Nilüfer Yanya received album awards and Nova Twins took home Best Independent Track for “Antagonist” (Marshall Records) at the ceremony held at London’s Roundhouse.

Local Action was named Best Boutique Label, Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot of [PIAS] were awarded Independent Champion, and Defenders Ent. CEO Corey Johnson received the newly created Music Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

The Libertines and Stormzy were among the recipients of special awards.

“Tonight is about us as a community celebrating the incredible successes of the world-beating UK independent music sector,” AIM CEO Paul Pacifico said at the show’s open. “It is a hugely competitive market out there, but we understand that we are stronger together and a win for one of us is a win for all of us.”

The winners:

Diversity Champion 
Stormzy

Best Independent Album in association with Spotify
Cleo Sol  - Mother (Forever Living Originals)

Best Independent Track in association with Meta
Nova Twins - Antagonist (Marshall Records)

UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music
Wet Leg (Domino)

International Breakthrough in association with Deezer
Blxst (Red Bull Records)

Best Live Performer
Mitski (Dead Oceans)

Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC 6 Music
Nilüfer Yanya - ‘Painless’ (ATO Records)

Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music
Rina Sawayama

Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin
Lethal Bizzle

Special Recognition
The Libertines (Rough Trade)

Best Independent EP/Mixtape
TAAHLIAH - Angelica (untitled (recs))

Best Independent Remix
Champion remix of Ibeyi – “Lavender & Red Roses” f/Jorja Smith' (XL Recordings)

One To Watch in association with BBC Introducing
Nia Archives (HIJINXX)

Best Independent Video in association with VEVO
Jeshi – “3210” (Because Music)

PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist
D.O.D (Axtone Records)

Best Creative Campaign in association with Able
Maylee Todd - Maloo campaign from Stones Throw Records

Best Independent Label
Rough Trade Records

Best Boutique Label
Local Action

Independent Champion in association with MCPS
Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot of [PIAS]

Music Entrepreneur Of The Year
Corey Johnson - CEO & Founder of Defenders Ent.

EUROVISION: GLASGOW OR LIVERPOOL?
9/27/22

Either the birthplace of The Beatles or the home of Eurovision winner Lulu will be the host city for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, The BBC has confirmed.

Glasgow and Liverpool have been chosen from the list of seven cities vying to host the competition next year. The BBC, in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union, will make a final decision within weeks.

“Thanks to all seven cities across the U.K. who have demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion for Eurovision that exists right across the U.K.,” said Phil Harrold, the chair of the BBC’s Host City Selection Committee. “We were incredibly impressed by the quality and creativity of all the city bids, in what was a highly competitive field. The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer; we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.”

So do they select Glasgow, the United Kingdom’s first UNESCO City of Music, an honor bestowed in 2008, and home to Lulu, who won the 1969 contest with “Boom Bang-a-Bang”? Or Liverpool, where the Merseyside has given the world The Beatles, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark, Echo & The Bunnymen and 1993 Eurovision runner-up Sonia? Stay tuned.

EILISH HITS THE O2 FOR APPLE MUSIC LIVE
9/26/22

Apple Music Live's next broadcast will be Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever: The World Tour stop at The O2 Arena in London. The livestream is set for Friday, 9/30, beginning at 7pm PT.

As the Grammy-sweeping phenom wraps up the sold-out world tour of her acclaimed sophomore album, Eilish is celebrating the trek by giving fans that were unable to catch the concert a chance to witness her biggest tour yet. 

Tune in here on Friday and watch the concert teaser below. 

U.K. MIDWEEKS: BATTLES BREWING
9/26/22

Sam Smith and D-Block Europe have their sights set on #1 on the U.K.’s Official Charts,  but both hav e serious battles over the next four day.

D-Block Europe’s Lap 5 (D-Block Europe) is leading an incredibly close four-way battle midweek on the Official Albums Chart, as fewer than 1,600 units separate the top four new entries.

The first solo record in nine years from Take That’s Mark Owen, Land of Dreams (BMG), is #2, just 1,000 chart units behind D-Block Europe. On their heels are 5 Seconds of Summer’s fifth album 5SOS5 (BMG) at #3 and the second LP from indie-rockers Sports Team, Gulp! (Island) at #4.

Also eyeing Top 10 landings on Friday are Brummie rock band EditorsEBM (Play It Again Sam), currently #6, and Beth Orton’s Weather Alive (Partisan), at #8. A 30th Anniversary Edition of Polydor’s ABBA Gold is #5. Another 30th anni release, Alice in ChainsDirt (Sony CMG), is #14.

Swedish House Mafia’s Paradise Again (Island) could reach its highest position in the U.K. yet , #16, thanks to its release on CD. Vieux Farka Touré and Khruanbin’s Ali (Dead Oceans) is #19.

At singles, Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy” (EMI) is set to be this week’s highest new entry—it’s currently #2, but has launched a challenge for the top slot occupied by David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good (Blue)” (Parlophone). Luude & Mattafix’s “Big City Life” (Warner) is eyeing a new peak of #7.

Stormzy’s grand return, the epic seven-minute “Mel Made Me Do It” (Def Jam), is pacing to debut at #12. Lizzo’s “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)” (Atlantic) could get its biggest lift to date; it’s up six to a new peak of #22.

ED CHAMPIONS MVT VENUE CAMPAIGN
9/26/22

Music Venue Trust has extended the deadline for investors to board its Grassroots Music Venues ownership scheme and has a musical heavyweight offering support in Ed Sheeran.

Built on the Community Share model that has saved pubs, post offices and sports grounds, MVT’s Own Our Venues is trying to raise £3.5m in initial investments to acquire nine venues. They plan to purchase the venues by the end of the year.

Sheeran, a longstanding supporter of grassroots music venues said, “Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind. Small, independent venues are so, so important to the music community, and I’ve played some of my favorite gigs of my career in these rooms. We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come.”

To date, the campaign has raised £355k via Crowdfunder, and larger investments are expected to be announced soon.

MVT CEO and founder Mark Davyd said, “We are blown away by the support already for Own Our Venues. This is campaign that is really resonating with music fans who understand exactly how important it is to keep access to live music in our communities, our towns and cities right across the U.K. With the Own Our Venues project gathering steam, we are incredibly pleased to get Ed’s support for this initiative—he knows this sector incredibly well and understands how important it is.”

Own Our Venues was launched by Music Venue Trust in June and is the first step in a long term campaign to take control of the freeholds of music venue premises and bring them under a protected status of benevolent ownership.

U.K. CHARTS: A HISTORIC #1
9/23/22

Interscope’s BLACKPINK is the first K-Pop girl group to hit #1 on the U.K. Official Albums Chart while over on singles, David Guetta and Bebe Rexha rise to the top.

BLACKPINK’s BORN PINK (Interscope) surpasses the previous #2 peak of BLACKPINK’s 2020 debut The Album

It’s an all-new Top 5 with Suede’s Autofiction (BMG) at #2, Rina Sawayama’s Hold the Girl (Dirty Hit) at #3, Marcus Mumford’s (self-titled) (Island) at #4, and a reissue of Pink Floyd’s  1977 album Animals (Parlophone) at #5.

On the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart, “I’m Good (Blue)” (Parlophone) by Guetta and Rexha rises one to #1. The track made its way to the top with 5.4m streams this week after first entering the Top 10 three weeks ago.

Elsewhere, James Hype and Miggy Dela Rosa’s “Ferrari” (Island) hits a new peak at #6, as does Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence” (RCA), at #8. Just outside the Top 10, Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” (RCA) rises two to #11.

This week’s highest new entry is “PSYCHO” (Warner Music U.K.) by Anne-Marie and Aitch at #16. 

MERCURYS RESET FOR OCTOBER 
9/23/22

This year’s Mercury Music Prize ceremony will take place 10/18 following its cancellation after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Nominees include Wet Leg and Harry Styles.

The event will take place at London’s Eventim Apollo; the line-up will be announced soon. BBC Music will provide live TV and radio coverage, as well as online and via social media.

U.K. BIZ ON ROAD TO RECOVERY
9/22/22

The music industry’s contribution to the British economy rose 26% to £4b in 2021. With the sector still in recovery, the stat is down 31% from pre-COVID levels of £5.8b in 2019.

According to a report from UK Music, employment in the U.K. music industry rose to 145k jobs in 2021, up 14% from 128k in 2020, but still down 26% on the pre-COVID record of 197k in 2019.

Exports rose to £2.5b last year — a rise of 10% on 2020 but still down 15% on the £2.9b in 2019.

While music studios were allowed to remain open with limitations, Government-mandated restrictions meant that live venues spent a significant amount of 2021 closed or operating at limited capacity—a major factor in last year’s lower revenues.

UK Music’s Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said the report showed the urgent need for support from new Prime Minister Liz Truss and for the Government to reduce the tax burden on the music industry, incentivize investment and help boost exports.

“It is vital that the Government works with us to protect and nurture the music industry from the economic turbulence we face so we can pull through and create the jobs and investment to make it even stronger than it was before the pandemic,” he said.