The Shires make history with new US label deal
UK country duo The Shires have made country music history by signing a new record deal with Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group under the historic Dot Records imprint. The country duo, whose second album My Universe became the fastest-selling UK country album of all time in the UK upon release, will join the likes of country heavyweights Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, on the label’s roster. They are BMLG’s first ever UK signing. Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes of The Shires said: “We are absolutely thrilled to sign with Dot Records in the USA. The UK is our home and we are proud of our success so far, thanks to Decca Records, but it’s always been a massive goal for us to build our presence and make a name for ourselves in the USA. Scott was one of the first people to approach us as a band, after hearing our original demos nearly three years ago. His advice back then was clear, to break the UK first and come to the US with a story. We took his advice and are extremely excited to be working with him and his team in the US. It is the home of Country Music and what better label could any act ever hope to sign with than Dot Records! Scott, Chris and their team are incredible at what they do and have worked with some of the biggest names in Country music history – we can’t wait to get started.”
BIME 2016: ‘Grime a mini crisis for record labels’
The power of sync deals and brand partnerships were put under the spotlight during BIME 2016’s ‘Is it possible for an artist to sell out when working with brands’ panel session. Featuring Tara Austin, senior brand manager at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, Alex Hoffman, head of music at Vice Media, and Ekatarina Bazhanova, founder of Music Development Russia, the session saw the panel discuss the benefits and dangers of brand alignment, while also presenting some good and not quite so good examples of brand partnerships from across the years. Discussing the potentially damaging effects of such deals, particularly for new artists, Bazhanova warned: “A bad collaboration can totally ruin your career.” Austin added: “You can break as a new artist if you have a great partnership, but it is very dangerous territory.” When discussing the more positive aspects of brand alignment and its benefits for artists, Hoffman highlighted the success that many UK grime artists have found by teaming up with the right partners, most notably Skepta and his work with adidas. However, he also noted the damaging effect that these deals are having upon traditional record labels. “Grime is almost a mini crisis for record labels, because artists are making things happen independently. Once your music is out there, it’s out there. I don’t think artists will suffer that much of a backlash these days for working with brands, unless it’s really terrible.” (Music Week)
UK Music Careers Day at Ministry of Sound
UK Music hosted a Careers Day at Ministry of Sound on Wednesday, October 26, offering 300 young people aged between 14-20 the chance to hear from a range of industry professionals. A keynote speech was delivered by Ministry of Sound marketing director Naz Idelji. The day aimed to provide young people with advice and information on how they can take their first steps towards a career in the music industry. A panel of experts including Kelly Betts production manager at BBC Introducing, Bo-Dee Kelly Music Reporting Delivery agent at PPL (former PPL apprentice), Paddy McLean head of streaming at Polydor Records, Emily Kendrick production and events manager at XL Recordings and Teriy Keys artist manager and executive producer at R.O.A.D discussed their roles in the industry and shared their top tips on how to gain a job in the sector. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ‘Meet the Industry’ with execs in attendance from PPL, Universal Music, Beggars Music/XL Recordings, Warner Music Group, Music Publishers Association, Musicians’ Union, The BRIT School, Urban Development, UK Youth/Big Music Project, Imagem Music, ATC Management and others.
Soul, jazz, African and gospel acts honoured at pre-MOBO Awards show
Celebrations for the MOBO Awards began last at the pre-MOBO Awards show in London, with winners for four genre categories announced. Grammy Award winner Maxwell presented the Best R&B/Soul Award to London singer Shakka, while emerging UK soul artist Shakka won Best R&B/Soul Act for the second consecutive year. American jazz musician Esperanza Spalding picked up the gong for Best Jazz Act and Nigerian artist WIZKID scooped Best African Act. London rapper Guvna B took home his second MOBO Award for Best Gospel Act having previously won in this category in 2010. The latest winner of MOBO’s talent search competition MOBO Unsung was also crowned at show, with west London artist Alika, emerging victorious from a shortlist of unsigned acts across the UK.
BIME 2016 Thursday highlights
A diverse array of seminars, panels and keynote addresses from a variety of international music biz execs was the order of the day, as the industry gathered at Bilbao’s BEC venue for the annual BIME conference. Sessions covering all manner of topics were held throughout the day, along with several live artist showcases from talent across the globe, with Cricket Captains, Tom Tiddler’s Ground and Mueran Humanos all taking to the live stage. Key areas of discussion covered in the morning were the growth of festivals in Spain and Germany, while the ‘Strategies: Building sustainable relationship with the public’ panel explored the ways in which festivals can utilise social media and data to better target and engage customers. The panel included Georgia Taglietti, head of comms at Responsible Comunicacion, Martin Perez Lombarte, director general, Concert Studio, Pedro Martinez, director, Villa Manuela Festival, and Sergio Moreno Miranda, head of comms, Low Festival. After lunch, Music Week was granted an audience with Spotify’s head of Latin content Rocio Guerrero, in which we talked playlists, video content and the threat of Amazon. As the day drew to a close, sync deals and brand alignment were placed centre stage, with Austin, senior brand manager at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, Alex Hoffman, head of music at Vice Media, and Ekatarina Bazhanova, founder of Music Development Russia, gathering to talk about the benefits and pitfalls of such partnerships. (Music Week)