Taylor Swift Named Artist Of The Year At American Music Awards

Image from Taylor Swift’s Acceptance speech

The Singer Extends Her Overall Tally By Three Awards.

Taylor Swift has added three more awards to her already impressive collection, making her the most awarded star in music awards history. The American Music Awards also saw Justin Bieber, the Weeknd, BTS, Doja Cat and more walk away with accolades. 

The pop music year, now it’s 48th year gave Swift the top prize of artist of the year, following the release of her acclaimed album ‘Folklore’, which was released this July. She also won favourite female artist and favourite music video for ‘Cardigan’. Her overall tally of awards now sits at 32. 

In her video acceptance speech, she said: “The reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing and I can’t wait for you to hear it.” Swift is rerecording her earlier albums due to the long running dispute with her former music manager Scooter Braun, who owns the master recordings. He recently sold them to a private equity firm. 

Justin Bieber walked away with favourite male artist and the singer also won collaboration of the year and favourite song (country) for ‘10,000 Hours’, the track made with country duo Dan + Shay.  The track was hotly contested by the likes of Megan Thee Stallion‘s work with Cardi B and Beyonce. The Weeknd also won three awards , dominating the soul/R&B categories. 

Doja Cat took away new artist of the year and female artist (soul/R&B, while K-pop sensation BTS won favourite duo or group (pop/rock) and favourite social artist. Harry Styles won winner of favourite album (pop/rock) for ‘Fine Line’, and Dua Lipa won favourite song (pop/rock) for ‘Don’t Start Now’

The awards night was hosted in front of a small audience at the Microsoft Theater in L.A and saw performances from Bieber, BTS, Megan Thee Stallion and more. 

Watch Taylor Swift‘s acceptance speech here: 

Warner Music Revenues Flat for Fiscal 2020, Streaming Up in Q4

Image from Warner Music Group

Warner Music Revenue Shows Minor Movement But Streams Show Increase

The music giant Warner Music Group, which went public early in the year has reported revenues were essentially flat for the fiscal 2020. Owning that the impact of COVID-19 and several of the bigger names on the label not releasing or performing music this year. 

Speaking on the report Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group said: “We’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the past year, despite the challenging conditions that the world has faced.” He continues, “We’re essentially flat against a record-breaking prior year and, during the quarter, we grew 11% on an as-reported basis, excluding the revenue streams most impacted by COVID.”

Although the impact on touring the current pandemic has had on the industry as a whole Warner Music Group’s revenue overall was up by 9%. 

Total revenue decreased by 0.3% year-on-year to $4.5 billion with streaming playing a key factor in driving revenue, which increased year-on-year by 11.2%. 

Recorded music revenue for 2020 was down 0.8% at $3.8 billion. Physical sales dropped significantly by 22.4% to $434 million. Recorded music digital revenue grew by 9.6% to $2.6 billion and represented a whopping 67% of total recorded music revenue. A clear increase on prior years 61.0%. 

The fourth quarter revenue was also flat, up a tiny 0.2%. Digital revenue up 15.4% year-on-year, while recorded music physical was flat. 

The top performing WMG artists were Dua Lipa, Saweetie, Lizzo, Charlie Puth, Anitta, Tones and I, Cardi B and Roddy Ricch. The companies other large artists such as Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Coldplay didn’t release music or tour this year. 

Music publishing revenue was up 2.2% year-on-year at $657 million whilst music publishing sync revenue was flat. US revenue declined by 1.1% and international revenue increased by 0.2%. 

Some interesting figures throughout, particularity around streaming. A lot of conversation is going to open up around how streaming profits are shared in the next few years. Especially if they continue to grow in such a steady rate. 

Legendary Rock Outfit AC/DC Hit Number One With New Album ‘Power Up’

Image by Josh Cheuse

AC/DC Smashes In At Number One In The Official Albums Chart

The powerhouse rock n roll outfit AC/DC, who formed in 1973 has reached number 1 in the album charts with their 18th studio album ‘Power Up’. The band hit 62,000 chart sales, taking the place at the top of the leaderboard of fastest selling albums, over taking Kylie Minogue’s ‘Disco’. It is the band’s fourth number 1 album in the UK, and their first since 2010’s ‘Iron Man 2 -OST’. 

Speaking on their chart victory guitarist Angus Young said: 

“A very big thank you to everyone who put in their time, effort and creativity to get PWR/UP to Number 1! Also a big shoutout to all our fans, old and new. You are, and always have been, our guiding inspiration”.

Listen to ‘Power Up’ here:

There were plenty of other brand new releases that made notable entries in this weeks chart, such as Mcfly’s first studio album in ten years ‘Young Dumb Thrills’. It’s their highest-charting album since 2005’s ‘Wonderland’. Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Believe Lands’ comes in at number 3 which is the classical stars 12th top 10 on the Official Albums Chart. Paloma Faith also had success with her latest release ‘Infinite Things’ opens up at number 4, her fifth consecutive top 10 collection. 

Dolly Parton’s festive release ‘Holly Dolly Christmas’ also returns back to the charts, coming in at 17, ahead of The Shadows’ Hits collection ‘Dreamboats & Petticoats First 60 Years’

Other artists that have entries are K-Trap, Chris Stapleton, Future & Lil Uzi Vert and Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons

AC\DC are veterans of the rock n roll world and even decades on they still have the ability to rock, it’s no longer a long way to the top for the band. 

The Future Of Music Journalism Is With Blogs

Image by Thought Catalogue

Music Journalism Is Changing and The Age Of Bloggers Is Upon Us

During the summer months of 2020 one of the worlds largest and most established music publications Q Magazine announced its final issue. There are many factors to as why Q ceased to be, I want to reiterate that point too. To say Q failed as a music magazine would be totally unfair. As a print publication they did everything right, especially during its early years. However, like most print magazines they fell into the trap of putting the same faces on the front page, there is only so many times you can read about Liam Gallagher doing something typical of his nature before you get bored. Content started to stagnate and the rise of the internet made it impossible for the magazine to keep up and remain fresh. Not to mention they were woefully slow to adapt and create a strong online presence. 

The internet is often a scapegoat for the death of many traditional media platforms. Often it is true but more often it’s not the internet as a body, it is the change that the internet brought that make it hard for traditional media. One thing they’ve proved is that they are often slow at adapting to the changing landscape. The internet, although not perfect, has opened the gates for music journalism. Practically anyone can become a music journalist now, for better or worse. The positive is that before music journalists would be the gatekeepers of music, dictating what’s good and what’s not, which is still the case but now artists can appeal to a larger array of writers. Music journalism is now broken down into tribes, as opposed to all artists going through several publications they can apply to literally hundreds of blogs that cover your genre specifically. This sort of publicity is something artists from the 80’s and before would have dreamed of. You can reach a global audience through a variety if smaller independent blogs as opposed to relying on several music publications to reach peoples ears and eyes.

Before an online music publication, blog or zine was seen as niche, irrelevant and somewhat pointless. However, the landscape has changed and now it is seen as the opposite. Whilst music publications line up in death row the internet has been home to an emerging explosion of online platforms. Blogs such as So Young Magazine, Noisey, Line Of Best Fit, CLUNK Magazine, Gigslutz, CLASH Magazine, CRACK Magazine and so many more. Some of these mentioned also do a series of print editions too, they’re a real fusion of new and old. The larger more established acts and exclusive content is found in the print whilst the quick moving elements of the industry such as single releases, EP’s and LP’s find their way online. 

Content has also had a rapid change with text based content ranking lower than video content. Publications have had to discover new and exciting ways to deliver content via video. There are several reasons to this, one of them being that we’re more likely to watch a video than read something. Secondly, social media algorithms respond better to video content. So much of today’s audience and views are through social media, so naturally the content would bend to where the audience is and their media consumption habits.  

The music industry also now moves at an ever accelerating rate, music is constantly being pushed out and new artists are forever emerging. The truth is print journalism cannot keep up with the speed in which the industry moves. This is where the power of the internet comes in and where bloggers strive. It is in this momentum that online publications far surpass what their print contemporaries are able to achieve. It is why print journalism is seen as a niche or something special. For every grime song released there are a wave of grime blogs to hype it up (SBTV, GRM Daily & Wordplay being the main), for every indie track there is countless blogs, all foaming at the mouth for the latest indie belter. This is true for every genre, sub genre and niche genre. The internet has created a cultural powerhouse that any musician with any variety of sound can survive and strive or at the very least be heard. Although it may seem that having all these options would surely lessen the quality of the content, which in some respects may be true, but cream always rises to the top. The blogs that become known for quality content will remain and better yet will nearly always be accessible to artists who are popular and emerging. 

Artists now have the power of press at their very fingertips, an editor is now an email away, a music journalist could be your neighbour. Gone are the days of having to fight for your voice to be heard, someone, somewhere out there will almost certianly write about your release. It may seem bleak that print publications are falling off the shelf but the truth is the press landscape is changing. In many ways for better, in some maybe for worse. Either way the future is clear and the future for music press clearly lies in the many blogs that operate today and the future. 

UK Vinyl Sales Heading For Best Year In Three Decades

Image by  Natalie Cardona

Vinyl Sales Continue To Grow During 2020

The sale of vinyls in the U.K are set to reach a three-decade high, partly due to music fans not being able to attend live music during the pandemic. Vinyl sales are up 10% and is set to break the £100m mark by the end of 2020. It will be the best year since 1990 when Sinead O’ Connor and New Kids on the Block topped the charts. 

For the past decade vinyl sales have been slowly creeping up with each year showing a steady growth. The music platform once considered to be dead or dying is now going from strength to straight each year. More mainstream artists have also been heading to wax in recent years, such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and most recently Kylie Minogue

It was uncertain ground for the physical market this year as vinyl, CDs, cassette and DVD sales plummeted by almost half in April as the first lockdown shut down the high street across the country. 

Speaking to The Guardian Drew Hill, Managing director of Proper Music, the UK’s biggest independent distributor of vinyls and CDs explains: “We have seen 250% growth from the bottom of lockdown to where we are now.” continuing: “I thought it could be catastrophic for the industry but during lockdown the kind of people buying records also probably went to a lot of gigs. They can’t do that so it seems fans are spending the money they used to on going to gigs each month on records.”

Interestingly CD sales dropped by 30% (according to the Entertainment Retailers Association), arguably due to the increase of streaming platforms. If this trend continues into the final weeks of this year CD sales will be its lowest since 1987. It is predicted that CD sales will reach £150m.

Kim Bayley, chief executive of the ERA describes it as an “extraordinary turnaround” adding that, “Thirty years ago the compact disc was the aficionados’ format as people pursued the dream of ‘perfect sound’. But with the mass market turning increasingly to streaming, vinyl and even cassette have become the aficionados’ formats of choice.”

According to the ERA the high street shut down means that 2020 will be the first time that more than half to the total physical music sales will be from online sales. Amazon taking the largest share with HMV and independent outlets also benefiting.

Although the pandemic has certainly pushed physical sales in replacement of live music; there is no doubt that physical sales, especially vinyl has been on the increase for the past few years. It’s a fantastic trend that is as exciting for artists as it is music fans.

Top-selling vinyl albums of 2020 so far

1. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis (Sony Music)

2. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (Warner Music)

3. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse (Universal Music)

4. Nevermind – Nirvana (Universal Music)

5. Ultra Mono – Idles (Partisan)

6. Fine Line – Harry Styles (Sony Music)

7. MTV Unplugged – Liam Gallagher (Warner Music)

8. Disco – Kylie Minogue (BMG)

9. Chromatica – Lady Gaga (Universal Music)

10. Greatest Hits – Queen (Universal Music)

Chill Your Mind – Chillout Deep House Mix from Nora Van Elken (Video)

Nora Van Elken seems to be a solid favourite on Chill Your Mind – as she is back with another amazing mixtape. This new mix is around Chill Deep House music and is a great mix to put on in the background while trying to work from home in these crazy times.

Chill Your Mind!

Music by Numbers 2020 report reveals music industry’s £5.8bn boost to economy before Covid-19 hit

Image from UK Music

Music Industry’s Economic Contribution To The British Economy up by 11% before Pandemic

Since 2013, UK Music has published an annual report which reveals the economic contribution of the UK music businesses to the British economy. The new figures show that there was an impressive 11% increase in music’s contribution to the economy from 2018, totalling in a contribution of a staggering £5.8 billion (yes billion). Recorded music grew by 9% in 2019 with a total GVA of £613 million, up from £563 million in 2018. A quarter of the recorded music market is also made up of independent businesses (an increase of 1% has been seen each year for the past three years).

It is worth noting that the figures in the Music By Numbers 2020 report are for the 12 months up to December 31 2019. The report does not reflect the devastating impact of the covid-19 pandemic which affected the world just months later.

However, it is interesting to see that the U.K music industry was clearly in an area of good growth. It further installs the importance of the UK music industry as a whole is to the overall economy, yet it still feels somewhat left out in the cold during this current crisis. The figures presented are certainly positive and we should all rejoice in seeing the industry going through such stable growth throughout the years. It is evidence of just how important the music industry is not just to people but the countries overall economy.

Read the full report here:

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2020 include:

• The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 – up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018.

• Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019 – an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018.

• The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 – up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018.

• In addition to the industry’s direct economic contribution, music tourism alone contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending to the UK economy in 2019 – up 6% from £4.5 billion in 2018.

Speaking on the report UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:

“2019 was a fantastic year for the UK music industry, and we were firmly on track to be one of the great British success stories of the coming decade. “Music By Numbers 2020 shows just how successful our industry was before the catastrophic blow of Covid-19 knocked it down, and how important it is that we get it back on its feet.” He continues: “When the time comes to recover from this pandemic, our world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s post-Covid economic and cultural revival – but we need the right support to get us there.”

Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage also commented on the report:

“The UK music industry is at the heart of our arts and cultural sector, which is the envy of the world. It is a key national asset and something that should make us all proud. Music enriches all of our lives, but it also makes a huge contribution to our economy.” She adds: “British stars helped drive exports up to £2.9 billion in 2019 – a 9% increase and a fantastic overseas calling card for Britain. Behind every artist, band and orchestra is an army of talented professionals who play their part in the industry’s ecosystem. However, we know what an immensely tough year 2020 has been for the music industry as a result of Covid-19 which has presented significant challenges for the sector. That is why the Government stepped in with an unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the sector weather the impact of coronavirus and protect music venues, festivals, and our vital cultural assets.”

The important thing now is ensuring that this industry, that is clearly profitable and more than feasible is supported during this time. There’s no need to retrain when your industry is stable and growing.

As UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin words it:

“This report shows just how valuable our music industry is – and how important it is that we take action to protect it. The UK music industry was a vibrant, fast-growing and commercially successful sector before the pandemic hit, and with the right support it can be again.” Adding that, “I am convinced we have the people, the drive and determination to fire up our industry once more and become a key part of our country’s post-Covid-19 economic and cultural revival.”

Noisy Women Podcast Heads Into Season 2

Em Marcovecchio Invites An Impressive Group Of Guests To Chat About The Music Industry

After a successful season one which featured guests such as Sarah Gosling, Jessie Morgan and Millie Turner Noisy Women (hosted by music photographer Em Marcovecchio) returns for season 2. This time round Em will be chatting with Abbie McCarthy, Lindsay Melbourne and Lauran Hibberd as well as many other fantastic guests. 

These series of podcasts are host to honest conversations with female* voices about the gender divide within the music industry. Each guest works within the music industry whether that is tour manager, photographer, artist and journalist. The podcasts conversations highlight the ups and downs and provides an insight of prominent figures in a largely male dominated industry. 

*Inclusive of a plurality of femme voices including trans, queer and non-binary people.

The host Em Marcovecchio has been a prominent figure in Falmouth and beyond and has fast become renown for her impressive music photography, particularly her portraits. Over 3 years she has built relationships with a variety of professionals in the industry. As a natural talker and conversation maker it made sense for her to head into the podcast realm. Noisy Women is as insightful as it is interesting and for those looking to find out more about the music industry this podcast is a must listen. 

Listen to the first episode of season 2 with Lauran Hibberd here:

Supporting Your Local Music Scene Has Never Been More Important

Image by Kieran Webber

Now Is The Time To Support Your Local Music Scene

Recently we covered how how brexit might affect U.K artists looking to tour In the EU and it brought up some interesting ideas. It was clear that touring the EU for many U.K artists is about to become difficult and expensive. Obviously this is less than ideal news and artists will feel the effects of this for years to come. However, there may be some glimmers of opportunity for touring artists based in the U.K.

What is needed is an introspective look at what we have in the U.K, we need to build on what is already in place and consider strengthening ties in the often forgotten areas of the this country. Ensuring that a strong infrastructure is in place to help artists looking to tour within the U.K. It may not be as big of a landmass as the continent of Europe but there are plenty of growing scenes dotted outside of the major cities.

Most bands when they head on tour they go to the bigger cities (such London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham etc), which makes total sense. You’re more likely to sell out a venue due to the larger population, getting to these cities is much easier and it is just considered the norm. However, outside of these hubs there are plenty of blossoming scenes that are being uplifted by dedicated venue promoters and booking agents. Not to mention a litany of music fans desperate to see their area be taken seriously by the larger music community. However, what we need to do now, during this crisis and post-Brexit is support your local scene. Help it become stronger and better than before.

This is only possible if we all work together, from top to bottom. This is why bands and artists should consider widening their horizons within the U.K. Heading to the larger hubs may make more sense financially but post-Brexit it may make more sense to look introspectively. Heading to places with strong, emerging scenes should be visited by touring bands. Areas such as Exeter, Falmouth, Hull, Leeds to name a few. For some artists, logistically this may not be viable. There just isn’t a venue to support certain artists. Cornwall for example does not have a venue large enough venue to support an artist as large as Royal Blood, the biggest and most appropriate venue is Princess Pavilions, Falmouth which has a capacity of 600 people. Although, it’s not crazy to imagine bands such as The Magic Gang or SHAME playing such a space. There is certianly is a call for it in the county. This is not unique to Cornwall though, there are examples of this all throughout the U.K.

This strengthening of the scene would lead to more local bands being given opportunities to play with larger, touring bands. Something that in turn would help them grow or even lead to them touring with said band. A self-fulfilling circle that sees everyone involved win. It is important to remember that even the biggest band started off playing smaller venues. We should support artists from beginning to end, not just when they’re famous.

This all may seem very hopeful and of course Covid-19 has put real pressure on the live music industry. However, before the pandemic it was clear to see an increase in live music, local music scenes were growing at a great rate and more bands were emerging out of said scenes. This may feel like a lifetime ago now but it will return. Once we leave the grips of this pandemic our music scenes will return and will grow again. We just had to hope that the music venues and bars survive during this uncertain time.

5 Ways To Support Artists During The Pandemic

Image by Kieran Webber

Musicians Need Our Support Now More Than Ever

We’re officially one year in to this pandemic and although there are glimmers of hope that live music will return next year it’s still very unknown. The pandemic has affected us all in some way and we’ve all had to make sacrifices. However, it could be argued that musicians are one of the hardest hit during this period of uncertainty. As live music has been put on an indefinite hold a lot of artists are struggling to find a steady income. A lot of artists rely on live music to sustain a living, this has not been an option in the U.K for 9 months (apart from the occasional social distanced gig). Thankfully sites like Bandcamp have stepped in with their Bandcamp Fridays, a day where they waiver their fees and five artists 100% of the profit. However, there are other smaller, impactful ways you can support artists during the pandemic. 

Get Streaming

Streaming services are now a staple of almost every single artist operating today. They’re fantastic platforms for getting your music heard and the playlists feature is a great way to reach new audiences. Artists also get paid per stream but the exact amount varies dependent on a variety of factors. It all adds up though which is why it is essential that if you like a song you stream it at every opportunity. A great way to help as well is add songs to playlists. It boils down to this, do you like the song? Yes? Then stream it! Really vibing an album? Play that sucker on repeat! 

This is a super simple way to support an artist, all you need to do is sit back and listen for the most part. With all the free time we now have there is no better time to indulge in some good music. 

Give It A Share

This one takes almost no effort at all. If you see a band posting about a release, new merch drop, an interview for any form of content for that matter then give it a share on your socials. It may seem like a trivial thing but expanding their reach like this is invaluable. 

Buy That Merch

In the words of Jake Paul “Buy That Merch”. There has never been a more important time to buy band merch. A lot of bands still have/are releasing physical copies of their music, whether it’s vinyl, CD or cassette. Now is the time to pick that up and show your support. Alongside this why not grab a band T-shirt or tote bag? As mentioned earlier you can also get involved in Bandcamp Fridays, where 100% of the profit goes to the artist. 

Keep Hold Of Your Gig Ticket 

At this point you will be painfully aware of all the gigs that have been postponed or moved forward. It may feel uncertain if these will go ahead at the rescheduled date but it is important to keep hold of your ticket if you can. Keep your faith and trust in bands and organisers, trust us they want to play a show as bad as you want to go to one. 

Word Of Mouth 

The oldest one on the book but even in this digital world an effective tool. Just dropping a band name or showing a friend a song can be incredibly helpful for a band. If they like it, they show someone, that person then shows someone and so on. Name drop the band at every opportunity if you want. As that one massive shopping conglomerate says, every little helps.