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Da do Ron Ron (4/14a)
It's burning, man. (4/14a)
Eight next-gen movers and shakers (4/15a)
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The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
Blighty Beat

Rap and hip-hop counted for more than a fifth of all UK singles consumption in 2020 while albums market share rose to 12.2%, representing all-time peaks for the genre, according to stats from British record label trade body The BPI.

The analysis, compiled from both purchases and streams of albums and tracks, reveals the huge growth of rap and hip-hop in recent years in the U.K. Back in the late '90s, BPI say the genre’s share of the singles market was just 3.6%, or less than six times its current level of 22%, while albums share sat at 2%. The popularity of the genre has waxed and waned since, but over the last six years, consumption has been on an upward trajectory—albums market share has risen from just 2.7% in 2014 when singles counted for 8.1%.

The stats come from The BPI’s All About the Music 2021 yearbook, which reveals that music released by British talent, including Headie One, Aitch, Nines and KSI, counted for just over a third (33.6%) of that 22% singles consumption. In 2020, seven of the year’s 21 Official Charts #1 singles were classified as rap/hip-hop, including tracks by Stormzy, Eminem and Cardi B

Last year, tracks by British breakthrough acts S1mba, AJ Tracey, Dave and Headie One all racked up more than 50m plays in the U.K. alone. All those artists—along with others such as Bugzy Malone, M Huncho and Young T & Bugsey—achieved over 100m U.K. plays across their catalogs in 2020.



More festival cancellations could be on the horizon this summer in the U.K. due to a lack of Government action over an indemnity scheme, according to speakers at a crisis summit. Shambala Festival is the latest event to be called off.

Speaking at Wednesday’s online Live Events Crisis Summit, the CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, Paul Reed, said that the lack of an insurance scheme means this summer’s festival season remains in jeopardy, citing a member survey that said 92.5% of respondents would not go ahead without insurance.

The CEO of UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, told the session that the festival sector can’t play its “important role” in post-pandemic recovery without the issue of insurance being resolved. Should no action be taken, he predicted a wave of cancellations in the coming weeks.

The most recent cancellation is the 15k-capacity Shambala Festival, which has announced that it won’t take place this year due to the “uncertainty of the landscape.” A statement reads: “Without government backed insurance, a last-minute cancellation would risk the very future of Shambala. That’s not a gamble we are willing to take.”

While organizers are "hopeful" that the U.K.'s roadmap out of lockdown will mean restrictions are lifted to enable events by mid-June, they point out that there's "still a very real possibility that social distancing measures will still be in place" that wouldn't enable the event to work. Other British festivals already called off include Glastonbury, BST Hyde Park and Bluedot.

Julian Knight MP, who led Wednesday’s session, pointed out that the film and TV sector has been offered a Government-backed insurance scheme, while the lack of one for music industry risks festivals “disappearing from the cultural landscape for good.”


The Electronic Music Inclusion Initiative has been launched to tackle harassment and discrimination in the electronic music industry. The EMII’s work starts with an online survey.

A number of organizations have joined forces to launch EMII in partnership with tech start-up InChorus (which provides a confidential, data-driven platform to address bias and harassment), including Pioneer DJBeatportSentric Music GroupAFEMMixmagRAIMS and Women in CTRL. Its arrival follows claims of gender pay disparity and toxic workplace culture in electronic music over recent years, while stats point to a clear lack of gender equality in the industry. In DJ Mag’s Top 100 list in 2019, only five of the top 100 were women, while in 2020, there were 14. In the Top 150 clubs, the annual percentage of female DJs is just 6%. 

The arrival of the initiative has been driven by feedback from artists and music professionals who have cited instances where inequality exists. Their shared common goal is for real, pro-active change and inclusion. The survey, which will be online for four weeks, aims to collect evidence of microaggressions and other forms of harassment in order to inform the steps the industry can take to address them. Its findings will be released to the wider industry. 

Pioneer DJ’s General Manager, Mark Grotefeld, who is the lead partner of EMII, said, “We hope this will continue the progress and empower individuals to share their experiences of bias and harassment and encourage the industry to adopt robust listening tools that enable targeted action and progress.”

“We have a duty to prevent harassment of all kinds and cultivate a ‘speak up’ culture across the sector,” InChorus co-Founder Rosie Turner (pictured) added. “Ultimately, cultures are shaped by the inappropriate behaviours that are tolerated every day. We are serious about culture change and believe that bringing actionable data to this conversation is key, as what is measured can be improved.”


British exec Emmy Lovell has exited Warner Music to join Napster Group as Chief Strategy Officer following its acquisition by MelodyVR. She joins ahead of the launch of Napster's new platform later this year.

Lovell is tasked with driving the strategic direction and growth of the company. The Napster platform claims to be the first-ever music entertainment platform to combine immersive visual content and music streaming. 

Napster Group CEO and founder Anthony Matchett, to whom Lovell reports, said: “Emmy’s wealth of industry experience is going to be a real asset to Napster. She truly values the importance of musicians and their craft and is a champion for artist rights and compensation.”

Lovell has held a variety of senior digital roles, most recently serving as Executive Vice President of Warner's WEA Europe following nearly eight years at the company. Across her career, she has developed digital promotions for artists such as Kylie Minogue and The Chemical Brothers and led campaigns for GorillazDeadmau5Danger Mouse and Tinie Tempah.


Taylor Swift looks set to top the U.K. Official Albums Chart on Friday with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (EMI) currently ahead of its closest competitor by 11k sales. Over on singles, “Rapstar” (Columbia) by Polo G is new at #2.

The newly recorded version could become Swift’s seventh #1 in the U.K. and, should it hold onto its midweek peak, Swift will take third place on the list of female artists with the most chart-topping albums behind Madonna (12) and Kylie Minogue (8). The original 2008 version of Fearless peaked at #5.

Following its vinyl release, Ariana Grande’s Positions (Island) is on track to return to the Top 40 at #2, while French composer Jean-Michel Jarre is heading for his highest-charting album since 1988 with Amazonia (RCA) at #4.

Following his death Friday, two greatest hits collections from DMX could enter the Top 10 for the first time; The Best Of (UMG) is #6 and The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter is #10.

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The debut release from The SnutsW.L. (Parlophone), has landed at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart while Demi Lovato takes second place. Over on singles, Lil Nas X remains on top.

In topping the chart, The Snuts become the first Scottish band in 14 years to enter at #1 with their debut; the last to do so were The View with Hats Off to the Buskers.

Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil… The Art of Starting Over (Island) is her highest-charting record to date in the U.K.; her previous peak was #5 in 2017.

Justin Bieber’s Justice (EMI) is the most-streamed album this week, down one place to #3, while London post-punk band Dry Cleaning are new at #4 with their debut, New Long Leg (4AD).

Lil Tjay’s Destined 2 Win (Columbia) is new at #7, while The Fratellis’ Half Drunk Under a Full Moon (Cooking Vinyl) lands at #12.

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Dua Lipa claims the #1 position on the list of the best-selling albums of Q1 2021 in the U.K. with Olivia Rodrigo on top at singles. Celeste’s Not Your Muse was the only British album released this year to appear in the Top 10.

Lipa's Future Nostalgia (Warner Records) has logged 33 weeks in the Official Albums Top 10 since arriving just over a year ago, clocking 334k U.K. sales to date. That includes 69k this year, boosted by the release of its Moonlight Edition.

In total, there are six (and a half, counting Fleetwood Mac) British releases in the albums Top 10; only Celeste’s debut, Not Your Muse (Polydor), was released this year. At #2, Foo FightersMedicine at Midnight (Columbia) brings 2021’s total release tally up to two.

Universal counts five albums, Warner follows with three and Sony has two.

Rodrigo's “drivers license” (Polydor) is the U.K.’s biggest song of 2021 so far with 707k chart sales to date, including 84.2m streams. The singles Top 10 is slightly more current than the albums list:  Of the seven British-born releases, two arrived this year, and Rodrigo increases that count to three when including international tracks. The label’s tally is exactly the same as albums.

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The use of COVID passports or certificates to grant access to events and venues has divided opinions in the U.K., with critics saying the idea could be discriminatory and infringe on freedom, while others, including Reading and Leeds promoter Melvin Benn, say they could remove the need for social distancing.

COVID-status certificates, which would likely be an app-based document, are being discussed amongst British politicians as one of the measures that could enable the safe return of social life. The document would show vaccination status and/or a recent negative test and are said to be part of a number of measures being tested in the pilot events the Government is currently running, ahead of the possible return of gigs at the end of June.

However, there's growing opposition to the idea. Liverpool comedy club Hot Water, which was supposed to be running the first pilot event on 4/16, has pulled out of the scheme after receiving backlash as a result of being linked to the proposals for coronavirus health certificates. Alongside 4,000 negative messages, club co-owner Paul Blair said he received "a lot of refund requests" for the now canceled pilot event. "There’s a lot of damage, whether it’s short- or long-term it’s hard to gauge because we’re not open,” he said.

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