Q4 Week: David Hawkes on Universal's Q4 line-up

Q4 Week: David Hawkes on Universal's Q4 line-up

We’re excited by our line-up for Q4, one of our strongest in recent years. We have strength in depth, with some key albums yet to be announced.

There’s genuine excitement about the return of Sam Smith and then you have Ball & Boe following up what was perhaps the surprise hit of 2016.

Generally, the market is up slightly more than 10% year to date and it shows no sign of abating. I think what will be interesting will be the impact that has on volumes throughout Q4 and particularly in Christmas week.

Last year, despite a relatively strong line-up across the industry, Christmas week sales were substantially down on the previous year.

Streaming will obviously play a more important part than ever this time round, but we also see a great opportunity for physical throughout the period, which is great news for our partners such as HMV, the supermarkets and the indies.

Ball & Boe did 510,000 in Q4 last year and 98.5% of those sales were physical - that audience has not migrated in the last 12 months.

We’re expecting a very healthy Q4 across all retail partners. Streaming will continue to grow but physical will deliver substantial numbers for everyone.
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Viewpoint By:

David Hawkes
MD, Commercial Division,
Universal Music UK

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