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WARNER CHAPPELL MUSIC ANNOUNCES A TRIO OF NEW SIGNINGS



Mike WiLL Made-It
Mike WiLL Made–It has re–signed with Warner Chappell Music, bringing the producer, songwriter and executive back to the publisher under an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement. Among Mike WiLL Made–It’s credits are work with Kanye West, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna, as well as his own studio album, Ransom 2. Mike WiLL Made–It is also the Founder of Ear Drummer Entertainment label, home to acts such as Rae Sremmurd, which has operated as a JV with Warner Chappell since 2012. Having been signed to Warner Chappell previously himself, the producer parted with the publisher to join the roster at Kobalt before this most recent signing.

Fraser T Smith
Warner Chappell Music also welcomed Grammy and Ivor Novello Award–winning songwriter, producer and musician, Fraser T Smith, to the roster recently via a worldwide music publishing agreement. Smith’s resume includes co–writer, mixing and producing credits on seven U.K. No.1 singles as well as two U.S. No.1s and contributions to 18 chart–topping albums. A close collaborator with fellow Warner Chappell writers Dave and Stormzy, Smith’s catalog also includes work with acts such as Adele, Britney Spears, Cee Lo Green, Celine Dion, Craig David, Drake, Ellie Goulding, Florence + The Machine, Gorillaz, Kano, Keane, Kesha, The Kooks, Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado, Plan B and Sam Smith.

Bronco
Additionally, Warner Chappell Music has signed iconic Mexican group Bronco to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal. The agreement encompasses Bronco’s hits such as “Dos Mujeres, un Camino,” “Vamos a Amarla Los Dos” and “Libros Tontos,” as well as others. The group’s career crosses almost four decades having been founded in 1979 by José Guadalupe Esparza. Bronco has since become a household name in Mexico, the U.S. and other territories.


SIMON COWELL SECURES ACQUISITION OF SONY MUSIC’S STAKE IN JV


Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment have reached an agreement for Cowell to acquire Sony Music’s stake in their global joint venture talent and production company, which owns TV brands Got Talent and The X Factor, both created by Cowell, which were launched in 2006 and 2004 respectively. This buy–out, personally by Cowell, is the result of a buyback option maintained by Cowell through their JV renewals and a mutual negotiation process. As part of the agreement, Sony Music retains the JV’s music assets, including its roster of current artists and back catalog.

Simon Cowell
The agreement for Cowell to personally acquire Sony Music’s share of the venture will transfer ownership of all of the TV formats to a privately held company under the banner of Syco Entertainment. Cowell will have sole ownership of this independent entertainment company.

Cowell said, “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Rob and all of the Sony Music executives, artists and partners all over the world. It’s been a unique partnership and Sony have always backed and supported me to create television formats. The shows we created have found so many amazing artists over the years and so many of the various Sony labels all over the world have enabled so many of those artists to fulfil their dreams. We have all shared some incredible achievements, and importantly we have had lots of fun. I won’t say this was an easy decision to make, however sometimes you have to personally support something you are so passionate about. I’ve always believed it’s important to take on new goals in order to drive new ideas and creativity so I’m very excited to be taking an independent and creatively–led Syco Entertainment into the future.”

Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group, said, “At this particular contractual crossroads, it was simply the right thing for Simon to take control of his TV assets and propel his company in a new direction. Sony Music has had incredible global success with so many artists that have been launched through Simon’s vision and innovation and we are proud to continue to represent the Syco music catalogue and its artists. On a personal note, it has been an amazing adventure working with him as we have shared so many exciting pop culture moments as friends and partners.”

In 2005, Sony Music Entertainment purchased Cowell’s share of Syco Music and Syco Television. In 2009, Cowell launched a joint venture with Sony Music which brought the JV ownership of the rights to several TV formats including Got Talent and The X Factor. From these TV shows, during the partnership, artists were exclusively signed to Sony Music–owned labels including Syco Music, Columbia Records, Epic Records, Sony Music Latin and RCA Records. Under the new agreement, Syco Music remains wholly owned and managed by Sony Music and all artists remain signed with Sony Music.

Artists discovered through the TV show brands and signed to various Sony Music Entertainment–owned labels have generated record sales of over 600 million including more than 100 No.1 records in the U.K. and in excess of 250 No.1 singles and over 500 Top 10 records globally. These include hits by the likes of One Direction, Camila Cabello, Little Mix, Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, CNCO, Paul Potts, James Arthur, Fifth Harmony, Louis Tomlinson, Olly Murs, JLS, Jackie Evancho, Alexandra Burke, Grace VanderWall, Rebecca Ferguson and more, as well as the many other artists discovered by local versions of the TV shows airing globally. Other artists launched through the long–running partnership include Westlife and Il Divo.

The Got Talent brand, officially the world’s No.1 reality TV format, currently maintains 76 local versions, produced across the globe, and international tape–sales to over 180 countries. The X Factor airs in more than 130 territories.


SONY MUSIC GERMANY & RCA RECORDS U.S. SIGN
IRELAND’S ROBERT GRACE


Irish–based singer/songwriter Robert Grace has signed a worldwide record deal with Sony Music Germany and RCA Records in the U.S. The deal was finalized last week after numerous offers from multiple major labels on both sides of the Atlantic. The signing was spearheaded by Daniel Lieberberg, President, Continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music Entertainment, and A&R executive Karen Norbakk, as well as the U.S.–based RCA Records team of Peter Edge, CEO; John Fleckenstein, Co–President; Keith Naftaly, President; and Dan Chertoff, VP A&R.

Celebrating the recent worldwide signing with Sony Music Germany and RCA Records U.S. are (l–r) John Glennon and Maya Cullen Petrovic (Jawdropper Management), Robert Grace and David Reid (Broadcast Mgmt. & Events).
Robert Grace is co–managed by David Reid, John Glennon and Maya Cullen Petrovic who are all based in Dublin, Ireland. Grace was initially featured and supported by A&R Worldwide back in 2017 when he was unsigned and unpublished, and garnered his first–ever worldwide radio and streaming exposure on the influential globally syndicated Passport Approved radio show several years ago.

The debut major label global release from Robert is titled “Fake Fine,” and has already racked–up millions of streams and amassed over 176,000+ followers and more than 1.2 million likes on TikTok in just a few months. The single is about the personal challenges of dealing with the current global pandemic, however, written in a very clever way that resonates with the masses in an authentic and powerful way. Click HERE to see the captivating lyric video to “Fake Fine.”

Robert’s previous single “Be Your Friend” made it onto Spotify U.K.’s New Music Friday playlist as well as garnering numerous plays across Irish radio, and was “Track of the Week” on 2FM’s Breakfast Show.

Robert has also developed into a hugely in–demand songwriter, having co–written tracks with Dan McDougall (The Wanted, The Shires), Blair MacKichan (Paloma Faith, Sia, Lily Allen), and Josh Wilkinson (One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer). Robert is currently unpublished; however, there is a slew of global music publishers looking to sign him, and already the publishing offers are becoming very competitive!


A&R WORLDWIDE RETROSPECTIVE



Each week, A&R Worldwide’s newsletter will see us digging back through some of our archives to revisit memorable and defining moments in A&R Worldwide’s 20+ year history. A&R Worldwide has helped the global music industry with discovering and signing world–conquering artists; many of whom have gone on to multi–Platinum international success, assisted companies, executives and artists with broad business and creative opportunities, and curated priceless networking events all over the world with its broad relationships!

A GLOBAL A&R EXECUTIVE COLLECTIVE: Pictured (l–r) are Martin Dodd (A&R executive and manager of Max Martin), Peter Edge (CEO, RCA Records), Jody Gerson (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group), Martin Kierszenbaum (Founder, Cherrytree Music), Ron Fair (renowned major label and A&R executive, producer, engineer), Craig Kallman (Chairman & CEO, Atlantic Records Group) and Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO).

It’s rare to get a collective of some of the world’s most respected and influential A&R executives together in one room to talk openly and transparently; however, that’s always been the case at the annual global music business and showcase event MUSEXPO in Los Angeles where the above pictured highly successful and respected executives came together a few years ago at A&R Worldwide’s invitation.

A&R Worldwide has spent decades building the trust and respect of leading record label heads and music publishers, as well as key A&R executives from around the world, by bringing to their attention unsigned artists and songwriters whom many signed that went on to U.S. and international success – Muse, Dido, Keane, The Temper Trap, Adele, Gotye, Wolfmother, Sheppard, Bonnie McKee, Caro Emerald, LMFAO, Frank Turner, Gavin James, Forest Blakk, Lime Cordiale, Missy Higgins, Jem, Evermore, Rob Dougan, Soshy, Ting Tings, Sam Sparro, Frou Frou, and Robyn, to name a few…work that continues to this day.


GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…



Lime Cordiale Performing at MUSEXPO 2014 in Los Angeles
A&R Worldwide–supported Aussie act, Lime Cordiale, have made their way into the No.1 position of the ARIA Album Chart this week with their acclaimed studio full–length, 14 Steps To A Better You, released via Chugg Music and London Cowboys. The brother duo of Oli and Louis Leimbach have also achieved the highest first week album sales for an Australian artist studio album in 2020, as well as 34 sold–out shows in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Adelaide. 14 Steps To A Better You is a triple j featured album and is a parody of self–help books with its songs representing “lessons” on how to be your best self. With more than 120 million streams combined, high rotation on U.S. College Radio, airplay on BBC Radio 1, and four songs under 40 in the triple j Hottest 100 of 2019, 14 Steps To A Better You is set to be one of the year’s most successful albums. Over the past 18 months, the band have gained international momentum resulting in signing a co–management deal with Sydney–based Chugg Music, led by Andrew Stone and Michael Chugg, and multi–Platinum–selling artist Post Malone and his manager Dre London. With recent performances as special guest for Tones and I in N. America, and being confirmed to perform at Splendour in the Grass 2021, Lime Cordiale have already played more than 100 shows across the globe (with just under 50,000 tickets sold) in the past year alone, becoming one of the most talked about live shows in the country. A&R Worldwide’s team were early believers in Lime Cordiale with Michael Chugg commenting, “Sat Bisla and his team at A&R Worldwide, Passport Approved, and MUSEXPO have been huge supporters of Lime Cordiale, going right back to a couple of young boys from Sydney’s northern beaches playing to the industry by the pool at LA’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, and the pioneering Passport Approved Live tours through Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and more in 2014, to supporting sell–out LA and NY shows, to name a few. It’s been 7 years of belief, support and advice. Both Chugg Music, and Lime Cordiale, salute you and your team.”

Los Angeles–based A&R executive Peter Torres tells A&R Worldwide that he was recently hired as the Sr. VP & Head of Creative for Avex USA. Torres is working for the U.S. music division of the highly–regarded and successful Avex Group, a multi–faceted entertainment conglomerate based in Japan. Torres tells us, “I’ll be overseeing all creative initiatives across the U.S. writers signed to the company, and current JV partners, as well as signing and developing new writers, introducing new JV partners and more.” Torres will be working from the Avex House, which is located in West Hollywood, CA.

Multi–Platinum, ARIA and APRA Award–winning artist Julia Stone has signed an exclusive global recordings deal with BMG. The signing comes alongside the announcement that Julia will release her first solo album since 2012, with the single “Break” released last week. The single follows Julia’s curation of the charity album Songs For Australia, released in early 2020 to raise funds for a number of organizations providing bushfire relief. Julia’s debut solo full–length, The Memory Machine, was released in 2010, followed by her 2012 sophomore album By The Horns, which peaked at No.11 on the ARIA Albums chart. Julia is also one–half of the billion–streaming, sister–brother duo Angus & Julia Stone who together have released four studio albums including A Book Like This (certified Platinum); Down The Way (triple–Platinum and charted No.1 in Australia); Angus & Julia Stone, recorded and co–produced by Rick Rubin (Platinum, and charted No.1); and Snow (Gold and charted No.2). Angus and Julia Stone’s singles “Big Jet Plane” and “Chateau” are certified Platinum and triple–Platinum, and were voted as No.1 and No.3, respectively, in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2010 and 2017. They have garnered ARIA Awards for Album of the Year, Best Adult Alternative Album and Single of the Year, as well as APRA Awards for Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Blues and Roots Work of the Year.

In other BMG news, Los Angeles–based Armenian rapper and producer Super Sako has signed an exclusive global record deal with the company ahead of the release of his forthcoming album. Super Sako celebrated the video premiere for his new single “Tik Tok” by having it featured on the giant–sized ‘Godzilla’ screen in New York City’s Times Square, one of the largest digital screens in N. America. The new single is a collaboration with Mohamed Ramadan, the Egyptian actor and rapper who most recently gained international attention for his YouTube hit, “Corona Virus.” Super Sako first made a name for himself with the single “Mi Gna” (Armenian for “Don’t Go”) from his album Love Crimes. Originally uploaded to YouTube without a music video, the song, which features French rapper Maître Gims, was an instant hit across Armenia, Turkey and the Arab region, as well as in several European countries, reaching over 300 million views. The trilingual remix version entered the Official French Singles Chart at No.7, peaking at No.4. The release of Super Sako’s upcoming fourth album, Beautiful Mess, is scheduled for later this year.

BMG Production Music (BMGPM) revealed today that it has acquired award–winning production music company Dynamic Music, bringing the label and contributing producers under its umbrella. The deal builds on an existing relationship between the two entities following their global sub-publishing agreement which started in 2018 and has seen Dynamic’s revenue double over the two years of representation, as well as the securing of 100+ hours of music use across global television and radio stations from some 30,000 usages. Dynamic Music is home to a catalog of 3,500 of tracks that have generated international media placements across TV, film, and advertising. Its repertoire spans a diverse range of genres and includes albums written by the likes of chart–topping duo The Shapeshifters, Kid Massive and Birdee, among others. In 2014, Dynamic Music was co–founded in London by David Felton, Will Mills and Sharooz Raoofi, with Rachel Menzies joining as a Director and overseeing the day–to–day running of the business.

Mark Strippel has revealed that he is parting ways with BBC Radio 1Xtra having been serving as Head of Programs at 1Xtra, overseeing the station as well as Asian Network. He will transition this summer to work in the BBC’s Radio & Education division on strategic projects. Strippel had originally joined 1Xtra as a DJ when it launched in 2003, marking his first role with the BBC. 1Xtra’s Breakfast Show host, Dotty, is also set to part ways with the station at the end of this month, and Ben Cooper, who had been the longtime Controller of Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network, parted ways earlier this year. Strippel’s exit comes on the heels of a shift made for the BBC’s music radio management by Pop Controller, Lorna Clarke, with new station head appointments made for Radio 1, Radio 2, Asian Network and BBC Radio 6 Music. 1Xtra will be the final station to set a new lead.

Warner Music U.K. (WMUK) has announced the promotion of Victor Aroldoss to the role of Sr. VP, International Marketing. Aroldoss’ appointment will see him tasked with looking after the international marketing strategies for WMUK’s frontline labels, whose rosters count artists such as Anne–Marie, Charli XCX, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foals, Jess Glynne, Lianne La Havas, Muse, Rita Ora, Royal Blood, Rudimental and Stormzy. He will also be responsible for supporting emerging talent including Ashnikko, Griff, JC Stewart, Maisie Peters and S1mba outside of the U.K. During his time with Warner, Aroldoss has played a key role in the successful careers of Biffy Clyro, Clean Bandit, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foals, Muse and Royal Blood. In 2013, he took on the role of VP, International Marketing, transitioning to GM of International Marketing in 2018.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Benelux has signed an exclusive, worldwide publishing deal with songwriter, producer and artist Ir Sais. Originally from the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, Ir Sais is known for his viral hit song “Dream Girl,” created entirely by Ir himself in his native Papiamento language. The song inspired the “Dream Girl TikTok Challenge” and immediately grew in popularity, generating more than 4 billion TikTok streams and dominating charts worldwide. Recently, his single was featured in a popular remix with Sony Music’s Puerto Rican superstar Rauw Alejandro. Since his success with “Dream Girl,” Ir Sais has garnered more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers and a top position on Spotify’s Global Viral chart. Having moved to the Netherlands in 2009, Ir Sais worked on musical projects with W.S.R Label Mostaman and established his own production studio out of his home. He first gained notoriety in 2010 when he launched his first single “Schatje zeg maar (Baby Just Tell Me).” Since then, his self–released albums Heat, Deeper and Deeper 2.0 have racked–up more than 100 million streams and views. Sony/ATV has also finalized a global publishing deal hit Latin singer–songwriter and producer, Claudia Brant. Having written for acts such as Luis Fonsi, Brant has put together a successful catalog of works spanning the Latin music genres including regional Mexican and Pop. Brant has also garnered SESAC’s Latin Songwriter of the Year for three consecutive years and the same honor from ASCAP twice.

Geffen has promoted Nicole Bilzerian to EVP for the company with the executive transitioning from Interscope Geffen A&M where she served as Head of Urban Marketing. In her new role, Bilzerian will be tasked with expanding and taking on oversight of the relaunched imprint’s marketing operations. She will work alongside Geffen’s EVP/GM Lee L’Heureux, who joined the label earlier in the year. Bilzerian started her career at Jive Records.

Interscope Records has announced the promotion of Laura Carter to the position of Sr. VP, Head of Urban Marketing for the label. Carter joined Interscope in 2008, through the strength of the relationships she built while interning with producer Polow Da Don. Over the next 12 years she has climbed the ranks, working closely with J. Cole and Dreamville and its roster of artists on their successful Revenge of the Dreamers franchise, as well as Mustard’s 10 Summers label with its successes from Mustard and Ella Mai, along with newcomer Ryan Trey.

Spotify’s footprint has expanded to 13 new territories on the European continent, including Russia, and bringing the DSPs reach to 92 markets globally. Russia currently sits as the world’s 17th biggest streaming market and is on track to reach the No.10 spot by 2030, according to the IFPI. The IFPI has also revealed that over 87% of Russian fans now listen to music via streaming, with the global total sitting at 61% and the U.S. at 68%. With the new territory launches, Spotify has also rolled–out new playlists spotlighting acts from across Russia with editor–curated offerings such as Hip–Hop Cannon, New Music Friday Russia, and This Is playlists featuring popular Russian artists, as well as those user–generated playlists based listening habits now available in Russian.

In other Spotify news, the streamer has been tapped as the official partner for 2020’s Notting Hill Carnival which, for the first time in the London event’s history spanning 54 years, will go digital. Notting Hill Carnival: Access All Areas will take place from August 29th – 31st as a livestream event with a microsite on Spotify rolling–out next month to highlight the cultural importance of the carnival for the U.K. via playlists curated by the carnival’s official sound systems and DJs. Additionally, podcasts episodes will be released to dive into the history of the event, as well as address issues the Black community is facing, with dancehall, reggae, soca and afrobeat playlists welcoming guest takeovers. The experience will feature bands and members of the carnival community such as Volcano, Gaz’s Rockin Blues, Ms Desire, Brown Sugar, Panash, Pan Nation, The Bride Outreach, Ebony Mas and others, in partnership with Let’s Go Do.

Last week, Amazon Music unveiled a new emerging artists initiative under the banner of Breakthrough. The program will offer global support for selected acts with the first group of artists including Gabby Barrett, Kiana Ledé, Jay1, Arlo Parks, Provinz and Malik Harris. Among the support provided to acts will be playlisting and programming through existing Amazon Music channels, customized merch stores on Amazon.com, tapping into programs like Amazon Originals and Amazon–owned services like Twitch, and a new dedicated Breakthrough playlist featuring emerging talent from around the world, as well as dedicated emerging artist playlists for specific countries. While Amazon already counts new and emerging artist platforms such as Weekly One and Artists To Watch, Breakthrough will act as a more robust and longer term offering to support acts. Though it was just formally announced last week, the Breakthrough platform has been running behind the scenes already. Namely, Barrett’ debut album release for Goldmine last month was supported by Amazon Music with virtual listening events, a live stream featuring the artist and Charlie Puth, and additional support for the release from Amazon Music’s Nashville team.

In other Amazon Music news, the service has revealed a new partnership with Twitch to deliver a collection of performances, Q&As, discography discussions and community engagement over the coming weeks. Taking place weekly on Thursday’s via Amazon Music’s Twitch channel, the first episode welcomed Lianne La Havas, James Gillespie and Malik Harris for performances and Q&As. This week will feature KSI and Yonaka. Esports entertainment firm, Blast, will serve as Twitch’s production partner for the sessions. Amazon Music also revealed its new Summer Sessions series of dance music playlists. Included among the line–up of DJs and producers to join the new offering are Martin Garrix, Calvin Harris’ project Love Regenerator, Jayda G, Tiesto, Kygo, Galantis and Disclosure. Available exclusively to Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Music HD subscribers worldwide, playlists will be released each Friday until the end of August and will feature music from the featured DJs as well as new electronic music and dance music hits. The Summer Sessions will also see new Amazon Original tracks released by the featured DJs.

Apple Music has revealed the newest artist to join its Up Next initiative as buzzing Kiwi singer/songwriter, Benee. With more than 100 million streams to–date on the platform, the twenty–year–old artist has been featured via a number of Apple Music’s alternative and pop offerings with “Tough Guy” in 2017. She also garnered support from Elton John on his Apple Music Rocket Hour program in May. Up Next, a monthly program from Apple Music that looks to spotlight emerging talent, has previously featured acts such as Sigrid, Stefflon Don and Jessie Reyez.

Seattle–based emerging artist Dempsey Hope, who just finalized a deal with RCA Records (signed by Dan Chertoff, VP A&R) recently released his new track “Time Flies.” The track, which took on a life of its own when Dempsey tapped into his core fan base on TikTok to insert their own story into the lyrics, generated over half a million U.S. audio streams in its first week. Dempsey, who classifies his sound as “nostalgic,” crafts poignant melodies with Pop and R&B influences, counting a deep catalog of unreleased music that is set to be unveiled in the coming months.

Atlantic Records has announced a new partnership with music–centric voter registration organization HeadCount to launch ATLVotes. The digital campaign will tap into Atlantic’s roster of talent to help inform and encourage voting by young Americans. Atlantic becomes the first major label to engage in an official partnership with HeadCount and as part of the collaboration will also be making a donation to the organization. With HeadCount unable to tap into live music fans, having registered over 600,000 voters at concerts and festivals, as well as online, since 2004, the new campaign will provide new ways to access and provide information to unregistered voters. Alongside a significant social media campaign, Atlantic will begin adding embedded voter registrations links across artist websites, email lists and other platforms. The label will also incorporate HeadCount’s VOTE READY tool into future live streams from its roster to give fans the opportunity to win video chats with artists after showing they have registered to vote. ATLVotes brings together all of Atlantic’s subsidiaries such as Canvasback, Artist Publishing Group and Elektra Music Group (Elektra Records, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner Records) and others.

Caroline has finalized a worldwide distribution deal with Business Music, in association with Duars Entertainment, encompassing label services and development for Puerto Rican urbano artist and songwriter, Brytiago. The deal was revealed just ahead of the release of Brytiago’s debut full–length, Organico, on Friday. Brytiago has been continuing to garner attention since 2016, having first released music via Daddy Yankee’s Cartel label. Since then, collaborations for the artist have included those with Wisin, Myke Towers, Sech, Jhay Cortez and Lunay. Brytiago is also at work on new music, collaborating with Farruko, Darell, Rauw Alejandro, Ozuna and others. He is managed by Duars Entertainment and signed to Business Music.

According to the midyear report from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, consumption of Latin music in the U.S. for the first half of 2020 saw significant growth. Audio consumption album equivalents for Latin music saw an increase of 15.9% to 14.56 million units over the same time last year placing it as the second largest percentage point gainer in the large genre sector, behind R&B/Hip–Hop. Latin music now accounts for 4.09% of the total U.S. music market share, increasing from 3.86% for 2019’s midyear report. The overall growth comes as Latin music, similar to other genres, saw a decrease in its weekly streaming average since mid–March shedding 3.3% from just before the global pandemic set–in through July 2nd. Physical sales for the genre also fell 48.7% to 212,000 units from the same period in 2019, while digital sales rose to 248,000 units, up 11.7% year–upon–year. Overall, album sales dropped by 27.6% to 461,000 from 2019’s 636,000 units with digital track sales decreasing from 4.83 million midyear in 2019 to 3.35 million for this year’s first half, a loss of 32.6%. Among the top three artists in the genre for the first half of the year are Bad Bunny, Ozuna and Natanael Cano, respectively.

As they prepare the release of their fifth studio full–length, The Wombats have extended their deal with AWAL having released their most recent album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. The deal will see AWAL continuing to provide the band with global services such as distribution, marketing, synch and more for the upcoming release. A date for the new album has not been set, though Simon Bobbett, The Wombats’ manager has commented that they are excited to move forward and continue to capitalize on their recent success.

CTS Eventim has acquired 49% of the Mamma Mia! The Party dinner theater franchise from its previous minority shareholders. ABBA Co–Founder, Björn Ulvaeus, remains as the majority shareholder with 51%. CTS Eventim will work with Ulvaeus to expand the production internationally as soon as coronavirus restrictions begin to be lifted. Mamma Mia! The Party brings together dining and ABBA’s catalog of hit songs with references from Mamma Mia!’s stage musical and films. The show made its debut in Stockholm in 2016 and maintained a sold–out run for the past four years. In September of 2019, the show made its way to London’s O2 venue and commenced a successful six–month run that was put on hold due to the COVID–19 pandemic. CTS Eventim is the exclusive ticketing partner for the London edition of the show.

Audiomack’s free music streaming offering is growing its presence in Africa with the opening of a new Lagos, Nigeria–based office. The platform is currently available in all 54 African countries and, on Nigeria’s Apple App Store, sits as the No.1 free music app, as well as the No.6 free app overall behind Facebook, its portfolio of apps, and Snapchat. With the new Lagos office comes three new hirings for Audiomack in Adeyemi Adetunji who will look after operations and commercial partnerships; Charlotte Bwana who will work across business development and media partnerships; and Olive Uche who takes on management of content strategy. All three are based in Nigeria but will work on initiatives across the entire continent. Recent years have seen significant growth for Audiomack, crossing the 1 billion monthly play–threshold in January of last year, and implementing its $4.99/month premium offering as well as a monetization platform to support payments to creators using its service. The firm has also finalized partnerships with Songtrust and Live Nation, in addition to a licensing agreement with Warner Music. According to Audiomack, plays on the African continent have increased by over 1,600% across the last 14 months.

Las Vegas is preparing to welcome its first brand new casino/resort in over a decade with The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas set to open in summer of 2021. A joint development venture between Resorts World and AEG Presents, The Theatre will be programmed and operated exclusively by AEG Presents’ Concerts West division. With a capacity of 5,000, the venue will welcome concerts, residencies, conventions and sporting events and will be able to completely adapt to its performer and function. Among the many key features of the venue, designed by Scéno Plus, are a 65–foot custom chandelier as part of the venue’s four–story lobby and one of the Strip’s biggest stages and proscenium openings. The venue’s audio system includes 265 speakers to allow for a multi–dimensional surround sound with 5,000 square feet of LED screens available to be programmed with original content. The Theatre will also feature a number of VIP amenities and offering for guests and A–list performers.

Following a three–year–stint, Paul Cheetham is stepping down from his role as Booking Director of the AEG–owned and operated, Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Germany. Cheetham’s departure will be effective August 14th, 2020 at which time, Markus Jentsch, who has served as AEG’s Event Manager since April of 2017, will take over the booking duties for Verti Music Hall until a replacement is found. Uwe Frommhold, VP & COO, Anschutz Entertainment Group Germany comments, “The Anschutz Entertainment Group would like to thank Paul Cheetham for his great commitment and his successful work in recent years as the person responsible for booking the Verti Music Hall. Paul Cheetham was an important part of the team at the opening of the Verti Music Hall in October 2018 and the establishment of the new venue in the Berlin event market. We wish him all the best for his future professional career.”

Well–known Indian singer/songwriter, model and social media influencer Ananya Birla has released her debut U.S. single “Let There Be Love,” a song about inspiration during these unprecedented times. Ananya recently secured worldwide management ex–India with Greg Thompson, President, Maverick Management, and Matt Shelton through the efforts of A&R Worldwide. Ananya has also been co–writing with a number of well–known and successful multi–Platinum hit songwriters and producers and is currently finalizing new songs for a forthcoming global album release. Ananya currently has almost 400,000 followers on Instagram and many others via additional social media and streaming platforms.

As lockdown restrictions continue to evolve as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Live Nation in the U.K. has announced that it has canceled its Utilita Live From The Drive–In tour for this summer. The events had been scheduled to take place from this month to September at 12 venues across the U.K., set up as a drive–in concert with individual viewing zones for fans next to their cars. The recently announced Virgin Money Unity Arena, promoted by SSD Concerts, is still confirmed to launch on Friday, August 14th.

Northern California’s BottleRock Napa has joined the growing list of live events canceling their 2020 editions. The event, which was first scheduled to take place from May 22nd – 24th, had originally moved their dates to October 2nd – 4th. As the COVID–19 situation has left many event planners with uncertainty, the event organizers announced last week that the next BottleRock edition will now take place May 28th – 30th of 2021. Among the headliners that had been set to appear for 2020 were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Anderson.Paak & The Free Nationals and Zedd.

A brand–new ticketing app has been launched by LiveFrom including the company’s StreamingTickets platform. The platform will issue tickets to fans digitally via the app and transition to the stream as events start. The last three months has seen LiveFrom streaming more than 200 performances, with this past weekend see live streams from Badflower, Deaf Havana’s James Veck–Gilodi and Silverstein via the LiveFrom app. LiveFrom has also been supporting the U.K. Music Venue Trust’s Save Our Venues initiative.

Daniel Werner, Vice President, A&R, Island Records in the U.S. has signed burgeoning British alternative rock band Sea Girls to a U.S. deal. The band were signed to their U.K. deal over a year ago by Ollie Hodge, Director A&R, Polydor Records. The riveting four–piece have released a number of singles to date including their latest, “All I Want To Hear You Say,” and will unveil their forthcoming debut U.S. album, Open Up Your Head later on this summer.

U.K. indoor live music venues will be able to open their doors to fans and events as of August 1st, it was announced last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Having been shut down by the COVID–19 pandemic since March, theaters, music halls and other venues will have the ability to reopen following limited capacity and ticket sales guidelines, allowing for appropriate social distancing, with tickets sold online and the encouraged usage of e–tickets. Despite the ability to open, many within the U.K. industry have questioned whether or not opening venues at a limited capacity can be viable. While smaller venues may be able to operate successfully at lower capacities, larger venues will likely not find it practical to open their doors to limited numbers of fans.

PIAS and U.S.–based management company and label, State of the Art (SOTA), have finalized a new partnership for the music of LP (Laura Pergolizzi). The new deal will see PIAS supporting the release and marketing of LP’s upcoming music via its global network for most of Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The artist’s newest single, “The One That You Love,” is set for release on July 23rd. LP is also preparing a fully–produced, ticketed live performance in Los Angeles on August 1st to take the place of her 2020 world tour which has been pushed back to 2021. LP released a full–length album in 2014 via Warner Records before putting out her next two albums with BMG. Her single “Lost On You” has garnered over two billion streams worldwide. Alongside her solo work, LP has written or co–written for the likes of Cher, Rihanna, Backstreet Boys, Leona Lewis, Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera.

Following its recent fundraising round which surpassed its anticipated £200 million goal, Hipgnosis Songs has revealed its acquisition of the music catalog from producer and songwriter RedOne. A Grammy–winning creative, RedOne’s work as a co–writer and producer has resulted in 185 No.1 songs and albums, as well as over 600 Top 10s globally with acts such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, Jason Derulo and Nicki Minaj. Well–known for his collaborations with Lady Gaga, RedOne produced six tracks from her 2008 debut full–length, The Fame, including No.1 hits “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” Additionally, he co–wrote and produced five new songs for 2009’s special edition, The Fame Monster, including “Alejandro” and “Bad Romance.” Hipgnosis’ acquisition encompasses 100% of RedOne’s songs and recorded music interests (copyright, writer royalties and producer royalties) for his catalog of 337 songs.

In a move that surprised much of the industry, Australia’s leading music industry conference and showcase event, Bigsound, has revealed that it will move forward with its 2020 edition. The Brisbane–based conference has shifted its dates from early September to start October 21st for a smaller, two–day event that will implement social distancing and other safety protocols. The news came last week as Australia’s southern state of Victoria, along with its capital of Melbourne, have started another lockdown period to address a rise in COVID–19 cases with New South Wales also seeing signs of increased spread of the virus. Artist showcase applications are being accepted though fees have been waived for this year as a result of the smaller event size and capacity with 10 venues currently confirmed to join the Bigsound 2020 program.

The Ivors Academy and IMPF, the Independent Music Publishers International Forum, have entered into a new alliance to create closer and stronger working relationships between music creators in the U.K. and Ireland, and worldwide independent music publishers. The changes triggered by the coronavirus situation as they pertain to consumer behaviour and technology, and with an uncertain economic outlook, have highlighted the industry’s commitment to be equitable, inclusive, and adaptable in order to support the careers of music creators and invest in future talent. The two organizations will work together on areas of common interest between international music publishers and music creators, including lobbying and advocacy, research and representation to Governments and industry.

Camden Market is set to host the U.K.’s first series of public live music events since the COVID–19 lockdown, with eight ticketed, free, open–air weekend performances kicking off on Saturday, July 25th and running through August 16th, under the banner Camden Unlocked. Camden Market will work with Xfm Founder and NME Radio station Manager, Sammy Jacob, and live agent Neil O’Brien, to produce the eclectic series of live events at the Stables Market Amphitheater. A single act will perform each Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon, with the program featuring semi–acoustic sets from Miles Kane, Shaun Escoffery, Stone Foundation, Sons of Pitches, Newton Faulkner, John Power, Mae Muller and The Puppini Sisters, as well as DJ sets from Don Letts, Shiine On and Solar Radio. Free Ticket entry will be limited to 150 per day, on a first come, first served basis with health and safety at the forefront. Social distancing will be implemented and the wearing of face masks encouraged as well as hand sanitizer dispensers made available throughout the area.

Nashville–based marketing firm, Venture Music, continues to expand with partnerships and staff having recently partnered with Ingrooves. Additionally, Venture has developed an innovative approach to their team structure. Offering more than a decade of experience developing artists online, along with over a decade of experience working directly with artists, managers and labels, Venture’s staff balances the creative and strategic arenas. The firm recently added Media Manager Nick Fox, Music Curator Kailey Prall and Operations Director Stephanie Edwards to its staff in order to serve a growing client roster. Founded in 2013, Venture Music’s past and current clients include a range of management companies and labels such as Red Light Management, Rhino Records and Tone Tree Music, as well as independent artists Moon Taxi, Home Free, Larkin Poe and others.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT: James Sanger, Robin Jenssen, Devraj Sanyal, Karl Anderson, Maik Pallasch, Lisa Worden, Ed Howard, Rachel Levy, Denis Ladegaillerie, Marian Wolf, Arina Logacheva, Johnny Minardi and Yvette Metoyer.


JACKASS OF THE WEEK

Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E–mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. With everything that’s going on globally at the moment, we feel that it’s important that everyone remembers to have a good laugh now and again. Click HERE for a collection of videos that we hope will provide you with more than a few chuckles!


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– MATTHEW MOLE



Johannesburg’s Matthew Mole is one of South Africa’s musical treasures. He released his independent EP You Did Well, Kid in 2011 and the following year he won the Converse Get Out Of The Garage Competition where he was awarded a gig at London’s legendary 100 Club and a recording session at the Converse studio in New York City. Also, in 2012 Matthew signed with Just Music and released his sophomore EP, Same Parts, Same Heart. The Platinum–selling folk–electric musician released his debut album The Home We Built in 2013, becoming the first South African artist to debut at No.1 on iTunes (South Africa). He has since released a number of singles, albums and EPs including this year’s Honey, I’m Home EP, a three–song release of cover songs and Ghost Live (Universal Music), featuring live recordings of the songs included on 2019’s Ghost; the 11–song album featuring the singles “Let Me” and “Kilimanjaro.” The third single from Ghost, “Keep It Together,” quickly became a fan favorite since he has been performing the song live for a few months after the album’s release. Listen to “Keep It Together” HERE and contact info@matthewmole.com for all inquiries regarding Matthew Mole.


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – THE LOTTERY WINNERS

The Lottery Winners are a Lancashire‐based four–piece band bringing back a sense of humor, fun and a fiercely independent spirit to British music. Their self–titled debut album, released in March amidst the beginning of the COVID–19 lockdown, is a testament to the band’s true grit and impressive work ethic; peaking at No.5 in the U.K. Midweek Chart and No.3 in the Independent Album Chart, and entering the U.K. Vinyl Charts at No.8. Before this ‘new normal’ set it, playing live was a key part of their being. They have supported Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Libertines and even Sir Tom Jones, winning over audiences no matter the background or age range. The band has recently channeled all of their energies online via their ‘Isolation Sessions,’ where the band would dissect a different song each week and perform a version of it via Facebook. They also didn’t stop there; they created their own TV channel known as LWTV which includes these sessions in addition to quizzes, challenges, massive digital hangouts and a weekly hour–long show with feature interviews including Rick Astley, Frank Turner, Rowetta of Happy Mondays and more. The Lottery Winners remotely recorded covers of their favorite songs and put together an album called Sounds Of Isolation, an 11–track album due August 14th via Modern Sky. Discover their genius with the visual to their song “Headlock” from their debut album HERE and contact Jenny Carroll at jenny@airmtm.com or Marc Connor at connor@airmtm.com for all inquiries on the band.


PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 7/19/2020



“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, July 19th, 2020: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 60 radio stations on six continents weekly including: The World Famous KROQ 106.7FM Los Angeles, Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; KNRK–FM Portland OR; KNDD “The End” Seattle WA; WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” NY 107.7FM; WZRH–FM New Orleans; KBZT–FM 94.9FM San Diego CA; KKDO “94.7FM” Sacramento CA; KWSS “93.9FM” Phoenix AZ; KRML “102.1FM” Carmel CA, KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM” Fresno CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River” Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; KSKI–FM, Sun Valley/Twin Falls, ID; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, New York; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia, WRUR 88.5FM Rochester New York; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States and many others. Also, on the worldwide web and twice–weekly segment on Flux FM Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg and Stuttgart) and Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany, as well as streaming on one of the world’s fastest growing streaming platforms, JioSaavn.

Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:

NUALA – “Split Down The Middle” (Unsigned, UK)
THE HARA – “Circus” (Sign Of The Times, UK)
SLIDE – “Hello Spirit” (If Music Could Talk, Sweden)
MELLAH – “Family Fun” (Columbia Records, UK)
BRANDON JACKS & THE ARTIFACTS – “I Guess I’m Bad For You” (Sureshaker, Australia)
LUNA BAY – “Misunderstood” (Unsigned, UK)
GINA BROOKLYN – “No More Hiding” (Unsigned, N. America)
THE ACADEMIC – “Anything Could Happen” (Capitol, UK)
DEVON – “Belong 2 U” (Universal, UK)
CARAVAN PALACE – “Moonshine” (Le Café de la Danse/Wagram/MVKA, France)
LARKINS – “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?” (Good Soldier, UK)
JAMES DEACON – “Rain On Me” (Bad Future, South Africa)
WAITING FOR SMITH – “Lines of Love” (Four One Seven Records, UK)
ROBERT GRACE – “Fake Fine” (Sony Music, Ireland)
DOWN FOR TOMORROW – “Emily” (Good Intent, Australia)
AJ HANS – “On My Own” (Unsigned, UK)
SUPER MARINE – “Long Walk Home” (Unsigned, UK)
TWO YEAR VACATION – “When I’m Back Alone” (If Music Could Talk, Sweden)
CALLUM BEATTIE – “Mouth Of A Tiger” (3Beat/Universal, UK)
COACH PARTY – “Bleach” (Chess Club, UK)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Keep It Together” (Universal Music, South Africa)
ALFIE TEMPLEMAN – “Happiness In Liquid Form” (Chess Club, UK)
BAD CHILD – “Behave” (Unsigned, Canada)
SEA GIRLS – “Do You Really Want To Know” (Polydor, UK)
NOËP – “Young Boy” (Propeller, Estonia)
ADÉLAIDE – “Paintings In The Sky” (Unsigned, Germany)
YARD ACT – “The Trapper’s Pelts” (Memphis Industries, UK)
JEKYLL – “The Escapist” (Fierce Panda, UK)
EMME LENTINO – “Lullaby” (Unsigned, New Zealand)
THE KECKS – “Modern Girls” (Unsigned, Germany)
LAUREN WALLER – “Best Coast” (Ginge Binge LLC, N. America)

(Check out the Passport Approved Radio “Featured Artists” on the daily profile exclusively on AllAccess.com including The Academic, Coach Party, Robert Grace, Lauran Hibberd and The HARA)