analysis

Official Charts Analysis: Ed Sheeran hold top two spots on single chart

Ed Sheeran continues to dominate the singles chart with Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill, holding down the top two positions for the second week in a row while again achieving six figure sales. Although down substantially on ...

Official Charts Analysis: The xx claim No.1 spot with third album I See You

The girls from The X Factor yield pole position to the band with The XX Factor, as Little Mix's second run atop the chart is terminated with Glory Days - which dips to No.2 (15,265 sales) - being dethroned by The xx's third album, I See You. Debuting atop the pile on sales of 26,503 copies (including 5,856 from streams), I See You is The xx's second No.1 album, emulating their second album Coexist, which debuted in pole position in September 2012 on sales of 58,266 copies. The London trio's eponymous debut album made a more modest start, entering at No. 36 on sales of 4,180 copies in September 2009, and reached its peak position of number three, while achieving its highest weekly sale of 28,666 copies, in the immediate aftermath of its Mercury Prize triumph 54 weeks later. It rallies 192-123 this week on sales of 1,003, to raise its cumulative tally to 562,400 - Coexist re-enters at No.196 (690 sales), and has sold 266,239 copies to date. No.1 in Australia and No.2 in the US this week, the soundtrack album to La La Land ends a five week gestation by exploding 99-3 (14,887 sales) to make its Top 75 debut. Sizzling to the top of the box office chart with nearly four times the takings of any other movie and helped by co-stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's appearance on The Graham Norton Show, it is the highest ranked of three soundtrack albums in the Top 20 - Moana advances 18-16 (6,158 sales) to reach a new peak, while Trolls retreats 17-20 (5,339 sales) on its 13th appearance in the Top 40. Several of La La Land's tracks also make the Top 200 singles chart, although only Gosling/Stone duet City Of Stars (No.72, 5,693 sales) makes the Top 75. Electronica artist Bonobo - 40 year old Simon Green, who was born in Brighton but is now based in Los Angeles - scores by far his highest charting album with sixth studio set Migration debuting at No.5 (9,484 sales). It accelerates the upwards spiral he has enjoyed since his 2000 debut Animal Magic failed to chart. He improved on that with Dial M For Monkey (No.181, 2003, Days To Come (No.180, 2006) and Black Sands (No.107, 2010) before making his Top 40 debut with most recent album, The North Borders, which opened at No.74 but eventually peaked at No.34. Despite its low peak, Black Sands is Bonobo's biggest seller with a to-date tally of 72,756, while The North Borders has sold 56,993 copies, including a live variant. Missing from the Top 75 since 1999, when his concept album Return To The Centre Of The Earth - a sequel to his 1974 chart-topper Journey To The Centre Of The Earth - reached No.34, veteran rocker Rick Wakeman returns to the Top 10 for the first time in more than 40 years with Piano Portraits. The 67-year-old keyboards player came to fame as a member of prog. rock legends Yes, with whom he had six Top 10 albums, and enjoyed a successful parallel career as a solo artist, in which capacity he scored the last of his four previous Top 10 albums in 1976 with No Earthly Connection. New set Piano Portraits, which includes covers of tracks made famous by The Beatles, David Bowie, 10CC and Led Zeppelin among others, debuts this week at No.7 (8,467 sales). One of the best-known and longest established British rappers, Wiley has racked up 10 Top 20 singles, and overall UK singles sales of more than 3,137,000 but has had less luck with album buyers with eight studio albums and half a dozen mix albums all failing to make the Top 40, with combined sales of just 108,000 before The Ascent reached No.26 in 2013. That looked like being a giant step at the time - but 2015 follow-up Snakes & Ladders disappointed, peaking at No.69 and selling only 8,385 copies. New album Godfather is rumoured to be his last, and finally delivers him a Top 10 album, debuting at No.9 (8,138 sales). Elsewhere in the Top 10, Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael holds at No.4 (10,972 sales), Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra's Classic House falls 2-6 (9,097 sales), The Weeknd's Starboy rallies 11-8 (8,183 sales) and The Rolling Stones' Blue & Lonesome holds at No.10 (6,941 sales). Departing from the Top 10: X (8-11, 6,826 sales) by Ed Sheeran, Legacy (5-13, 6,392 sales) by David Bowie, Together (6-14, 6,326 sales) by Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, The Wonder Of You (7-17, 5,980 sales) by Elvis Presley, 24 Hrs (9-18, 5,839 sales) by Olly Murs and Night People (3-45, 2,667 sales) by You Me At Six. Experimental rock veterans Flaming Lips' esoteric Beatles covers album With A Little Help From My Fwends (sic) wasn't very well received on release in 2014, peaking at a lowly No.84 and selling only 4,083 copies. Follow-up Oczy Mlody - their 17th studio album since their 1986 debut Hear It Is - delivers their sixth Top 75 album, debuting at No.38 (2,813 sales).   Admitting he has illegally downloaded La La Land from the internet on The Graham Norton Show doesn't seem to have harmed sales of jazz singer Gregory Porter's current album Take Me To The Alley, which responds to his performance thereon by jumping 62-12 (6,562 sales). It provides  the third best week yet for the album, which debuted and peaked at No.5 last May, dipped to No.9 the following week and has been absent from the Top 10 ever since. Solo albums by George Michael all post lower sales week-on-week but the late singer/songwriter's early duo work, as collected on Wham!'s The Final, bucks the trend, with sales of 5,262 copies lifting it 29-21, to achieve its highest chart position since its original 1986 chart run. Now That's What I Call Music! 95 continues atop the compilation chart for the ninth week, selling a further 12,682 copies - more than twice as many as Exclusive: The Platinum Club Experience, which debuts at No.2 (6,019 sales). Overall album sales are down 3.57% week-on-week at 1,571,069 - 10.15% below same week 2016 sales of 1,748,505. Streaming accounted for 593,711 sales – 37.79% of the total. Sales of paid-for albums are down 7.55% week-on-week at 977,358 and are 23.37% below same week 2016 sales of 1,275,423.

Trump Cards: What the US music biz wants from its new President

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, it has been almost impossible to escape the US presidential race. On November 8, the people will chose their new President for the next four years with the choice between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and real estate entrepreneur/reality TV showman Donald Trump. But the country will not only elect a new President, it will also renew Congress, as a total of 34 Senate seats (out of 100) and all 435 House Of Representatives seats are up for election. The US constitution, notes David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, vests a lot of power in the President, but can produce different victors in Congress. “That makes it difficult to have a consistent policy,” he says. For the creative industries, the election is a chance to pass on a few messages to the incoming powers both at the White House and in Congress about creators and copyright. As Martin Bandier, chairman/CEO of leading music publishing house Sony/ATV, puts it: “It is always great to have an election – it creates opportunities. At the end of the day, our issues look so minimal when compared with the big issues. But it would be great if whoever gets elected gets to improve the situation of songwriters.” Representatives from the industry take the view that any incumbent at the White House will have other priorities to deal with. “The President operates at a 50,000 foot level,” says Mitch Glazier, senior executive vice-president at the Recorded Music Industry Association of America (RIAA), who adds that the way the next President will make his or her mark on these issues will be through appointments at the Department Of Justice or other government units, as Obama did when he appointed the new Librarian Of Congress, Carla Hayden, earlier this year. Neither candidate has issued a position paper on copyright issues. The Clinton campaign has issued one on technology (Hillary Clinton’s Initiative On Technology & Innovation) in which she pledges “an ambitious national commitment to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”. Only one paragraph in the document discusses the need for “effective copyright policy”. In it, Clinton says “the copyright system has languished for many decades, and is in need of administrative reform to maximise its benefits in the digital age”. Under her administration, the federal government will “modernise the copyright system by unlocking – and facilitating access to – orphan works” and will “encourage stakeholders to work together on creative solutions that remove barriers to the seamless and efficient licensing of content in the US and abroad”. This document has left many in the industry frustrated and with the belief that, as with Obama (the President was the one who confined the Stop Online Piracy Act bill to the legislative graveyard, after all), a Clinton administration would be very much pro-tech. This sentiment is exemplified by the likes of performer and activist David Lowery (the man who launched a class action lawsuit against Spotify) who believes that “Clinton has subordinated copyright to tech policy”. Israelite goes further, claiming “the White House has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google during the Obama administration. We still suffer from it and we would like to change it”. “We on the copyright front would like to see the administration have a real appreciation for the value of creative industries and what they bring to our economy,” he adds. “That’s been lacking with the current administration.” However, Daryl Friedman, chief industry, government and member relations officer for the Recording Academy, the organisers of the Grammy Awards, who also undertake advocacy initiatives on behalf of the music industry, says Clinton, a former Senator and Secretary of State, “has been a strong supporter of IP. We have a good record for her whereas, for Trump, we don’t have a track record as he never served”.For many in Washington, rather than putting too much expectation on the next White House incumbent, the focus is on Congress. “This an unusual election year and an unusual Presidential election,” says Ann Sweeney, SVP of global policy for performance rights organisation BMI. “From the point of view of stakeholders, we would like copyright reform to be higher on the agenda. While it matters who is going to be President, from a legislative perspective, who is in the House and Senate matters more.” One of the rules in US Congress is that copyright issues have a bipartisan approach. All the bills are usually jointly sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat. Currently controlled by the Republicans, the House Of Representatives has been the epicentre of the legislative action (or lack of) during the past legislature, with the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, calling the shots. Goodlatte has spent two years running a due process on copyright issues with hearings and calls for comments from all stakeholders – so far without any significant output. Nonetheless, the industry is expecting Goodlatte to be re-elected and he still has two years to serve as chair. “Copyright is a complex issue,” says Friedman. “Chairman Goodlatte wants to focus on areas of consensus. The fact he’s spent so much time on these issues demonstrates he wants to move [forward].” “We have two more years of leadership of Goodlatte,” says Sweeney, “And he has stated that he’d like to lead copyright reform during his leadership, but he wants broad industry consensus.” The role of the Senate on copyright issues has been minimal over the past few years, but Michelle Ballantyne, EVP of public policy and industry relations at the RIAA, says “there is a good likelihood that they [Senators] will want to get more involved as they have shown that they want to play an active role.” For Bandier, the main problem faced by the creative community is the gap between the outreach of the music community and that of the tech industry. “There’s only a small number of songwriters who contribute to campaigns,” says Bandier. “And there are huge companies like Google and Amazon who are going to make sure that, if there is a change of administration, it will go their way.” Nonetheless, with a few weeks to go before the elections, two organisations have taken grassroots initiatives to try to raise awareness of the issues at stake for the creative community. One initiative came from The Recording Academy in the form of Grammys In My District on October 26. On that day, over 2,000 artists, will visit representatives in over 315 Congressional districts. “Two weeks before the elections, hundreds of creators will be going to their local congressional offices to talk about their business,” says Friedman. “The sheer number of participants and districts demonstrates that the music community is spread across the country, where they pay taxes and run their small businesses. This is an occasion for us to raise awareness at a local level.” In addition, the Copyright Alliance and CreativeFuture, two organisations that support creators, have issued letters to candidates and launched a petition, which has so far received the backing of 35,000 people. It outlines a few key principles, eg. that creators are for an open internet but also need strong copyright protection that rewards creativity. Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of the Copyright Alliance, makes clear that, as a trade body “we don’t chose between Republicans or Democrats, we are interested in that whoever takes office can enact strong copyright policies. We want to make sure they have a certain respect and understanding of copyright, regardless of their party. Creators need a seat at a table when policies are made.” Adds Kupferschmid: “We will organise this petition every year there is an election. We are not picking a side, we only pick the pro-copyright side. Copyright made us leaders in film, music, books, games and we have to make sure that continues.”Action not words: Two key changes the biz wants to see 1 BMI and sister performance rights collection society ASCAP are pressing for legislative changes relating to the way they operate, namely the Songwriters’ Equity Act. This would allow a fairer market review process when setting the rates applied to performance rights organisations, and a reform of the consent decrees that have been ruling the two societies since 1941. “The Songwriters’ Equity Act has both Democrat and Republican support in both chambers,” says Ann Sweeney, SVP of global policy for BMI, who is optimistic that this bill will eventually get passed. 2 There’s a renewed focus on the previous copyright act, 1998’s DMCA. Many in the industry would like to see a better and more efficient take down system. “What’s sure is that Congress will move on several issues where there is consensus,” says Mitch Glazier, senior EVP at the RIAA. “I don’t think we are unrealistic. We can get together and fix it.” Chris Castle, a lawyer and vocal pro-copyright activist is less optimistic. “Given that Google employs more lobbyists than there are members of Congress,” says Castle, “it seems unlikely that any legislation will pass the Congress that Google doesn’t want. Nobody is guarding the guardians and that promises to hold true regardless of who is in the White House.” “Google have 125 issues, and copyright is issue 57, not one or two,” responds Glazier. “The risk [for Google] is that Congress could be focusing on issues such as security, data and privacy; so they may have some incentive to show that they can do better in other areas.”

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