Universal Music UK’s blog on music, the music news stories which interest us most and the wider issues which affect our business. Some food for thought we hope.
The shortlist of twelve 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ has been revealed and features three artists from the Polydor Records stable – The 1975 (released in collaboration with Dirty Hit), Michael Kiwanuka and Jamie Woon. In no previous year since the Mercury Prize launched in 1992 has any one label had three acts on the shortlist.
Bristol-born singer-songwriter Lauren Aquilina has had a huge past 12 months. Things kicked off last summer when she found a fan in Taylor Swift who invited her to support her at Hyde Park. At the beginning of this year, her incredible Elle x Tate session caught the attention of Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, who added the track to her Top Tracks playlist. She has since racked up almost 10m streams and this week Lauren announced the release of her debut album Isn’t It Strange.
It’s been four years since Michael Kiwanuka won the BBC Sound poll and released his critically acclaimed debut breakthrough Home Again. But the long wait for new music is over as he releases his highly anticipated follow up Love & Hate. Kiwanuka marked his return back in April with his soul-bearing track Black Man In A White World accompanied by a video directed by cinematographer Hiro Murai (Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar), setting the tone for the rest of the album.
Bastille are back, bringing with them the announcement of a new album Wild World - the follow up to their 2013, multi-platinum and global selling debut Bad Blood – alongside their biggest tour to date. The band have been tantalising fans with mysterious hints and messages.
Abbey Road Studios and Technics are proud to announce a two year brand alliance starting in June 2016. The Studios will host the highly anticipated redesigned versions of the Technics SL-1200 turntables in the mastering studios and restaurant, for use by artists, engineers and visitors alike.
Universal Music UK and Abbey Road Studios are launching a new division, Globe Soundtrack & Score, to maximise the artistic and commercial impact of music in film and TV.
Drake has broken yet another record, a month after Views managed to notch up more streams in a week than any other track. Now his latest hit One Dance has become the longest running number one single in the digital age, overtaking Rihanna’s 2007 chart topper Umbrella, and proving Drake to be one of the most significant artists in music today.
Mumford & Sons’ tour in South Africa last year set the band on the path to collaborating with three of the nation’s most treasured musicians - Baaba Maal, Beatenberg and The Very Best - to record a mini album entitled Johannesburg. The album, named after the city it was recorded in, was released this week by Island Records, with the band finding influence and inspiration from afrobeats and South African culture..
Festival season kicks off this weekend with thousands heading to Newport for the Isle of Wight festival which has rock legends The Who and Queen as headliners. The Who headlined Hyde Park and Glastonbury last year but for Queen, with Adam Lambert taking on the vocals, this is their first headline show since their 2014 European tour and only confirmed live performance in the UK this year.
The new technology and innovation team at the world famous Abbey Road Studios have already helped four new and exciting start-ups on to the road to success. Their incubator scheme is open again, seeking the next handful of new and exciting music tech projects.