analysis

'The difficult part of any campaigns is sustained sales': Music Week's 2018 market analysis

Music consumption grew for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, as streaming powered the biz to new heights. But will dark clouds on the physical horizon derail the industry in 2019? Music Week analyses the data and identifies the key ...

Thank U, Next: Inside the albums of 2019

From Drake’s Scorpion to The Greatest Showman, last year saw a lot of blockbuster releases. But if you’re expecting a quiet 2019, think again. Brace yourselves for these... Ariana Grande Thank U, Next (Republic) – TBC In 2018, the music world welcomed Ariana Grande and her Sweetener album with open arms. While she’ll still be touring it in 2019, she also broke the internet (at least twice…) when she released the surprise single Thank U, Next and its video. Having confirmed that the song – which paid tribute to Mac Miller – would likely be the title track of her next album, Grande has since released another non-Sweetener single, Imagine. It’s part of her plan to possibly tour two albums in 2019, stating she wants to release music “in the way that a rapper does”. She headlines Coachella in April… Tom Walker What A Time To Be Alive (Relentless) – March 1 ‘What a time to be alive,’ Tom Walker might well be thinking as he begins 2019, looking ahead to the release of his 12-track debut album. The man behind megahit Leave A Light On (788,873 sales, OCC) would be right to be excited: his throaty timbre makes him one of the UK’s most unmistakeable new talents. As Walker’s manager Simon King told Music Week late last year, “He could be an absolute global superstar.” Morrissey California Son (BMG) – TBC Following on from Morrissey’s 2017 BMG debut, Low In High School (which was largely overshadowed by some controversial remarks), the star returns in early 2019 with a set of covers, including songs from Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Weezer Weezer (The Black Album) (Crush/Atlantic) – March 1 Previous colour-coded Weezer albums have marked a return to the band’s signature sound, but this time around Rivers Cuomo is promising an even bigger step away than on last year’s hazy pop record Pacific Daydream. Produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, tracks so far – Can’t Knock The Hustle and Zombie Bastards – display some trademark Cuomo melodies, with added quirky piano and an urban sensibility. Expect more surprises when the album drops. Vangelis Nocturne (Decca) – January 25 An essential release for any film soundtrack fan, pioneering composer Vangelis is releasing a collection of solo piano pieces. His first new record in two years will feature 11 new tracks, as well as brand new versions of his signature songs from Chariots Of Fire and Blade Runner. Mark Ronson Late Night Feelings (Columbia) – TBC Mark Ronson has spent four years crafting the follow-up to 2015’s Uptown Special (117,451 sales, according to the Official Charts Company), but it looks like it will be worth the wait. He says it’s a record full of “sad bangers”, while Columbia president Ferdy Unger-Hamilton calls it “his strongest record yet”. Guest appearances include Lykke Li, King Princess and Miley Cyrus, who features on the massive lead single, Nothing Breaks Like A Heart. AJ Tracey AJ Tracey (AJ Tracey) – February 8 Following on from the huge success of his single Butterflies (34 million streams on Spotify alone and still counting) plus Lo(v/s)er – not to mention a slew of EPs – the Ladbroke Grove wordsmith is finally ready to unleash his debut album. Not only that, he told Beats 1 to expect one or two “country” songs as well! Grimes TBC (4AD) – TBC Claire ‘Grimes’ Boucher seems to be enjoying experimenting with rock at the moment. Not only does she guest on Bring Me The Horizon’s new album Amo, she also dropped jaws last year with her new single We Appreciate Power, a sharp swerve into the world of industrial metal more typically the preserve of Nine Inch Nails. Expect a loud return sometime this year. Bring Me The Horizon Amo (RCA) – January 25 The first big rock album of the year will see Sony gunning for a No.1 record on both sides of the Atlantic. And recent Music Week cover stars Bring Me The Horizon have delivered what frontman Oli Sykes describes as the “exciting and exhilarating” album to get themselves there. Amo expands their sound into electronica and gets Grimes in for a feature without sacrificing any of Horizon’s rock power. Consequently, expect that rarest of things: a rock album that’s big on streaming. Backstreet Boys DNA (RCA) – January 25 The legendary boyband’s 10th studio album features songs written by Ryan Tedder, Shawn Mendes and Lauv (Charli XCX). They start their biggest arena tour in 18 years in May. Michael Ball Coming Home To You (Decca) – March 22 Hot on the heels of his partner in song/comedy Alfie Boe’s solo album, Michael Ball returns with a collection of classic songs as well as some brand new tracks that he has penned himself. Busted Half Way There (EastWest) – February 1 “We made this song with the guy who produced Monkey Wrench,” grinned Charlie Simpson on stage at one of three tiny Busted shows at London’s 100 Club in November. Clearly, Busted are excited to return to their roots on album four, and they’ve drafted in Foo Fighters and Pixies producer Gil Norton to add heaviness to their pop-punk splurge. Close your eyes and it could be 2002 all over again. RudimentalToast To Our Differences (Major Toms/Asylum Records) – January 25 With help from Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen, Rudimental had one of the biggest songs of 2018 with the No.1 single These Days (1,413,891 copies sold, according to the OCC). Anne-Marie, Stefflon Don, Rita Ora, Tom Walker and more are all confirmed to appear on their third album. James Blake Assume Form (Polydor) – January 18 In 2017, James Blake relocated to LA to start work on the follow up to his critically acclaimed third album The Colour In Anything. Assume Form will feature guest appearances from some huge artists, including Travis Scott and André 3000. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell (Polydor) – TBC Christened after the celebrated American painter and author – albeit with a bonus expletive! – we’ve already heard two songs from Del Rey’s new project, produced by Music Week’s Songwriter Of 2017, Jack Antonoff. With the dreamy second single, Venice Bitch, swelling to nearly 10 minutes in length, expect this to be her boldest album yet. Avril Lavigne Head Above Water (BMG) – February 15 It’s now been – brace yourselves, folks – 17 years since Avril Lavigne first stormed onto the music scene with her 20-million selling debut, Let Go. This year she’s back with her sixth studio album, Head Above Water – which is also her first since bouncing back from contracting Lyme Disease. It has been teed-up by two singles so far: the title track (which she performed live on Jimmy Kimmel) and the heartbreak anthem Tell Me It’s Over. Jack Savoretti Singing To Strangers (BMG) – March 15 Following on from his two previous gold-selling records, Jack Savoretti returns with Singing To Strangers. Produced by Cam Blackwood (George Ezra), the 12-track album features a co-write with Bob Dylan, Touchy Situation. There is also a collaboration with Kylie Minogue on Music’s Too Sad Without You, which appears as a live version recorded in Venice. Ellie Goulding TBC (Polydor) – TBC After a lot of waiting, Ellie Goulding is expected to release her fourth studio album in 2019. The omens look good for it finally arriving, too, with Goulding already joining forces with Diplo & Swae Lee for comeback single Close To Me. Tracks confirmed by Goulding include Love I’m Given, Flux and Electricity. Rat Boy with Tim Armstrong Internationally Unknown (Parlophone/Hellcat) – January 25 Following on from his debut album, Rat Boy is teaming up with Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong for a new 12-track collection that is said to draw on influences such as “The Clash, Beastie Boys, The Prodigy, Rebel MC, Green Day and Run DMC”. Maren Morris TBC (Columbia) – TBC Music Week’s former On The Radar star is set for a huge 2019. Following 2016’s Grammy-nominated debut Hero, slots opening up on Niall Horan’s tour and her Zedd collaboration The Middle going stratospheric in 2018, Morris has established herself as one of Nashville’s biggest modern names. Morris confirmed the follow-up is complete. Maggie Rogers Heard It In A Past Life (Polydor) – January 18 Fresh from a major US TV appearance on Saturday Night Live, producer/songwriter/performer Maggie Rogers releases her new album, Heard It In A Past Life, this month. It will include previous singles Alaska, On + Off , Fallingwater, Give A Little and Light On. Bryan Adams Shine A Light (Polydor) – March 1 More than four decades into his career, Bryan Adams returns in March with his brand new studio album Shine A Light. The album will be supported by a major promotional TV/radio campaign on release and Adams will tour the UK in February/March, including a stop at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley. Ward Thomas Restless Minds (WTW Music/Sony Music) – February 8 Hidden away in the Hampshire countryside, Ward Thomas have been cooking up the follow-up to their 2016 album Cartwheels, which made history as the first UK country record to top the charts. On it, sisters Catherine and Lizzy address the pressures facing young people, mental health and social media chief among them, while songwriting hook ups with Ed Drewett (Little Mix) and Rachel Furner (Craig David) suggest their most expansive statement yet. LCD Soundsystem Electric Lady Sessions (Columbia/DFA) – TBC LCD Soundsystem’s new album Electric Lady Sessions was recorded live in its namesake studio. The first song released so far is a cover of Heaven 17’s (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing. Claire Richards My Wildest Dreams (Sony Music) – February 1 It’s safe to say that Steps’ 2017 comeback album Tears On The Dancefloor proved a lot of people wrong… It has sold 119,419 copies to date according to Official Charts Company data. Now, Claire Richards is back with her debut solo album on Sony. Carly Rae Jepsen TBC (Interscope) – TBC And to think, there were people out there who thought the Call Me Maybe singer was a one hit wonder… Pfft. Still riding high on the critical acclaim of 2015’s Emotion, Jepsen unveiled her comeback anthem Party For One in November 2018 and promised, “This song represents a lot of what this album is about for me which is romantic love but self-love too.” David Gray Gold In A Brass Age (IHT/AWAL) – March 8 Three years on from releasing his Best Of collection, the White Ladder singer returns with a new 11-track album, including recent singles The Sapling and A Tight Ship. Foals Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Parts 1 & 2 (Warner) – TBC Speaking of double album releases, last week Foals shared a teaser trailer that said “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 Part 2 2019”. On Instagram, they confirmed it will be two separate records. Krept & Konan TBC (Virgin EMI) – TBC Last year Stormzy hailed Krept & Konan as “UK rap royalty”. He’s not wrong. The pair have sold-out Ally Pally and even launched their own restaurant, Crepes & Cones in Croydon. With new single Pour Me Another One gathering streams apace, their second studio album is expected to emerge in spring/summer. Sleaford Mods Eton Alive (Extreme Eating) – February 22 Sleaford Mods may already have pilfered two honours for 2019, namely: best album title (lol etc) and best single title (that would be Kebab Spider, folks). Recorded in Nottingham, it is the first to be released on the pair’s own label Extreme Eating. Sundara Karma Ulfilas Alphabet (Chess Club/RCA) – March 1 Sundara Karma release the follow up to their critically acclaimed, Top 40 debut album on March 1. It has been produced by Stuart Price and Alex Robertshaw (Everything Everything). Florida Georgia Line Can’t Say I Ain’t Country (Big Machine) – February 15 The multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated country duo deliver their fourth album next month, boasting some genius, country-tastic song titles like Catfish Nuggets. Bonus: Jason Derulo will feature on their new track Women. Professor Green TBC (Relentless) – TBC The recently released single Photographs featuring Rag‘N’ Bone Man should offer a taste of what’s to come from the UK rapper’s next body of work, which is due for release in 2019. Ian Brown Ripples (Virgin EMI) – February 1 Ian Brown’s upcoming seventh studio album has been produced by none other than… Ian Brown. The 10-track release includes a cover of Barry Levington’s Black Roses and Mikey Dread’s Break Down The Walls. Hardy Caprio TBC (Virgin EMI) – TBC The 22-year-old rapper is preparing to release his debut album and embarks on his third headline nationwide tour in summer 2019. Madison Beer TBC (First Access Entertainment) – TBC Madison Beer – who was discovered by Justin Bieber and has partnered with First Access Entertainment – will drop her debut album around spring 2019. It has already been teased with the single Hurts Like Hell (feat. Offset), which included co-writing from Charli XCX and Beer. Future Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd (Epic) – January 20 You can’t accuse this Atlanta rapper of slacking. He released two albums within a week of each other in 2017; now he’s back with a new 20-track project accompanied by a feature-length Apple Music documentary. Chemical Brothers No Geography (Virgin EMI) – TBC The legendary dance duo’s ninth album already has one song out doing the rounds: Free Yourself. The full record is said to be on the way... Dave TBC (Dave) – TBC With a No.1 single and an Ivor Novello award under his belt already (not to mention a Music Week cover appearance alongside long-time collaborator Fraser T Smith and Raye), Dave will finally release his debut LP in 2019. Back in the summer, the Streatham rapper told us the as-yet-untitled album “is going to be some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. I feel it’s going to be something special”. The wait is on. The 1975 Notes On A Conditional Form (Dirty Hit) – TBC Ever since Dirty Hit founder Jamie Oborne told Music Week that The 1975 would follow November’s chart-topping A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships with another new album this year, the group’s fanbase has been foaming at the mouth with excitement. Slated for a June release, the album has been described by Healy as “a night-time record” with bass master Burial cited as a sonic touchstone. Naturally, there’s a loquacious soundbite from the man himself: “I’m just making records,” he told Dazed. “I’ve got to always want to be making my masterpiece. Otherwise what’s the point?” Sigrid Sucker Punch (Island) – March 1 “Pop is such a broad genre. I don’t want to set any boundaries for my music, I just go to the studio with my friends and make some tunes.” That was Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid, talking to Music Week for her cover story in March last year. Back then; the 22-year-old was midway through making her debut album, which she called “a big process”. Sigrid can celebrate its end point on March 1, when Sucker Punch is released. If previous hits Strangers, Don’t Kill My Vibe and High Five are anything to go by, you can bet it’ll be stuffed with bangers. Fredo Third Avenue (Since’93) – February 1 Twelve months after hitting No.5 with his Tables Turn mixtape, Fredo releases debut album Third Avenue. Having topped the singles chart alongside Dave on Funky Friday, the West London MC is ready to break big. Lil Dotz and Dave are the only two guests to appear on the record. Slipknot TBC (Roadrunner) – TBC Something wicked this way comes. One of the biggest names in metal (every studio album has gone platinum or gold in the UK) are set to return with a new record, plus a headline appearance at Download Festival in June. The masked band already teed it up by releasing the surprise single All Out Life last year.     RUMOUR HAS ITThere’s no official confirmation, but online rumours are swirling around for these huge artists… Taylor Swift There will be some new Taylor Swift music in 2019, as she’s set to sing on the Cats soundtrack. But will there be a full album? While fansites speculate about the significance of mermaids in recent social media posts, nothing has actually been confirmed, but the signs are it’s a strong possibility. After all, before the three-year lay-off between 1989 and Reputation, Swift LPs always arrived at two-year intervals, which would indicate the new record should arrive for Q4. Certainly, insiders suggest her seventh album will arrive more, er, swiftly than Reputation did, while Swift herself reportedly told Perez Hilton her new album would be out before she turns 30 on December 13. One thing’s for sure: with a new record label, Republic, behind her in the US, you can expect all the stops to be pulled out when the new record is ready to go. The Cure The Cure haven’t released a studio album since 2008’s 4:13 Dream but a new record will arrive in the same year as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of their debut, Three Imaginary Boys. Robert Smith says he was inspired to get back in the studio after curating the Meltdown Festival. Madonna Last October, while promoting her new MDNA Skin products, The Queen Of Pop confirmed her next album is in the works for a possible 2019 release. Rag‘N’Bone Man The biggest breakout star of 2017 is getting ready to tackle difficult second album syndrome in 2019. Rory Graham has already announced his live comeback, headlining Standon Calling 2019, and a rare feature on Calvin Harris’ new single. Ferdy Unger-Hamilton promises some “brilliant” new music for this year, although Graham tweeted that he’s had “no pressure from anyone and just been left to get on with making the next project”. Catfish And The Bottlemen Catfish And The Bottlemen recently released their first new music in three years, with the Annie Mac-approved Longshot. Surely an album’s on the way? Bruce Springsteen Fresh from lighting up Broadway (and Netflix), The Boss told The Times Magazine last year that he has plans to release “a singer-songwriter album”, plus a potential tour with The E Street Band. Tool Unbelievably, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning LA art-metallers haven’t released an album since 2006. In keeping with the inherent mystery of this band, we know relatively little about the release other than that it is currently being mixed and that its tracks are, “Definitely too long for the radio”. The band headline Download Festival in June. Childish Gambino Donald ‘Childish Gambino’ Glover got everyone talking in 2018 with the exceptional This Is America video. While he followed with two more singles (Summertime Magic and Feels Like Summer), a new album – rumoured to be his last – is yet to appear. Will it be out before he headlines Coachella in April? Stormzy Stormzy’s been extremely busy since Gang Signs & Prayer in February 2017, what with scooping two BRIT awards, signing his #Merky imprint to Atlantic, sealing a book deal with Penguin and being unveiled as the first Glastonbury headliner for 2019. Surely, his Pyramid Stage slot will come with new music? Firm details are scarce (#Merky like it that way) but don’t be surprised to find an Ed Sheeran guest spot or more of the political bars aired at the BRITs. Otherwise, we know Big Mike has been in the studio with Fraser T Smith, while manager Tobe Onwuka told Music Week, “There are no restrictions, Stormzy creates as and when he likes”. Pearl Jam It is going on six years since the alt.rock legends released their 10th album Lightning Bolt. Last year’s one-off single Can’t Deny Me has already been confirmed as belonging to their next LP, which is expected to arrive some time this year. Bassist/founding member Jeff Ament told Kerrang! in 2018: “We’ve done a ton of writing, but other than finishing up Can’t Deny Me, it’s just going to take for us to all be in a room together for a couple of months and record this stuff.” Kanye West West announced his ninth album Yandhi on social media back in September 2018. There has been much speculation about it ever since. As of last week, rumours swirled that West was in Miami recording with Lil Wayne, Migos, 2 Chainz and Timbaland. Sounds promising... Rihanna The global superstar sent fans into overdrive by posting an Instagram picture of herself at a recording studio. And that’s not the only clue there’s an album on the way. Rolling Stone reported that the singer has pored over 500 beats in order to release not one, but two albums – one an exploration of her Caribbean roots, the other a pop record. Post Malone One of the biggest stars of 2018 has his eyes on 2019, too. In November, Malone tweeted he was trying to put out a “new body of work” before the end of the year. Of course, nothing has materialised. Yet… Blink-182 When Blink-182 released California in 2016 they took a lot of sceptics by surprise by scoring a No.1 record in the UK – it’s since gone on to sell over 100,000 copies. There’s no official indication when they’ll return yet, but they tweeted ‘NEW BLINK-182 SONGS, DAY ONE’ back in April 2018. Solange Solange Knowles’ follow-up to 2016’s critically-accliamed A Seat At The Table was widely expected to arrive in 2018. Then again, she did tell the New York Times that it will “likely arrive into the world fully formed at some mysterious and unexpected moment.” Keep pressing F5, people. Rammstein The controversial, arena and festival-headlining German metal sensations are primed to release their first album in 10 years. Guitarist Richard Kruspe even told Consequence Of Sound, “We’re finishing up the last mixes, and it’s going to come out probably in April of 2019.”

International charts analysis: Bohemian Rhapsody continues to rise

Christmas, lest you hadn’t noticed, has been and gone, and major readjustments to the charts have taken place globally. However, in the absence of new, blockbusting 2019 releases, the void has been largely filled by the resurgence of some of 2018 and 2017’s more popular titles. Twelve weeks into its lifecycle, Queen’s soundtrack to the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was boosted by two Golden Globe awards. Already at No.1 in Argentina and The Czech Republic, it now jumps 2-1 in Australia, becoming only Queen’s second No.1 there, more than 43 years after their first - 1975’s A Night At The Opera. It spent eight consecutive weeks at No.2 before stepping up, and is one of three Queen albums in the Top 5 there, alongside Greatest Hits (5-4) and The Platinum Collection (7-5).   Queen have also had only one No.1 album in Japan – A Day At The Races in 1976 – but Bohemian Rhapsody has proved a big draw there cinematically, and the soundtrack jumps 5-2 this week to surpass News Of The World (which peaked at No.3 in 1977) to become their second highest charting album in the country. It sold 21,017 copies in the country last week, compared to the 27,826 sales that keep local singer/songwriter Gen Hoshino’s Pop Virus at No.1 for the third week in a row.   Bohemian Rhapsody also climbs in Switzerland (9-3), Portugal (7-4), The UK (6-4), Canada (17-15), The USA (16-15), France (22-20) and Germany (33-32) while re-entering at No.25 in Denmark, No.47 in Finland, and remaining stationary in New Zealand (2-2), Ireland (4-4), The Netherlands (5-5), Wallonia (10-10) and Norway (37-37).     Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s smash hit single Shallow, from their A Star Is Born film, was also a Golden Globe winner, and continues to perform well around the world. It returns to the summit in Canada (2-1), Switzerland (2-1) and Denmark (3-1), remains at No.1 in New Zealand, and is on the rise again in Austria (4-2), Norway (3-2), The UK (4-3), The Czech Republic (9-8), Finland (36-9), France (12-10), Flanders (19-11), Japan (18-12), Argentina (14-12), Wallonia (20-13) and Italy (25-17).    Dua Lipa’s eponymous 2017 debut is also enjoying a good start to the new year. In her native UK, it climbs for the third time in a row, moving 20-12 to achieve its highest chart placing for 10 weeks. It also improves 8-5 in Ireland, 22-20 in Flanders, 136-82 in France, 187-86 in The USA, 98-96 in Italy and 132-126 in Wallonia while re-entering the chart at No.32 in Denmark, No.37 in The Czech Republic, No.49 in Slovakia and No.61 in Canada.   British dance trio Clean Bandit’s What is Love? opened at No.9 in Finland and Hungary, No.19 in The UK, No.29 in Japan, No.30 in Ireland, No.40 in New Zealand, No.47 in The Netherlands, No.48 in Australia, No.50 in Canada, No.56 in Wallonia, No.58 in Switzerland, No.77 in Spain, No.131 in Wallonia, No.141 in France and No.183 in Flanders last month, and after an initial decline, is now beginning to improve in some territories. It climbs 15-9 to make its Top 10 debut in The UK and also gets new peaks elsewhere, specifically Ireland (34-28) and New Zealand (39-38), while bouncing 46-16 in Finland and re-entering in Canada at No.68.        

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