Empowerment IP CEO Stephen Duval on the artist rights revolution

Amid the boom in catalogue deals and Taylor Swift’s move to regain control of her music by re-recording her Big Machine albums, it’s clear that major artists are looking for new options to take control of their rights and secure ...

Charts analysis: Narrow victory for Olivia Rodrigo at singles summit

Vulnerable to a challenge for the first time since release, Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo had a genuine fight on its hands this week to enjoy a sixth week at No.1. It does so by the narrowest margin so far, its chart sales falling to 52,305 (a mere 2,155 of these from paid downloads), just 1,688 ahead of its closest challenger. All eyes next week will be on whether the track can become the first in over a year to enjoy seven straight weeks at the top of the charts. For the first time that is by no means a certainty. Leading the race for most of the week was newcomer Calling My Phone by Lil Tjay and 6lack, but the heartfelt Drake-inspired hit settles into second place, its 50,617 sales the highest accumulated by any No.2 single far this year. It is the biggest hit of the six to date for US star Lil Tjay, best known on these shores for his turn on Mood Swings by the late Pop Smoke which peaked at No.5 last summer. His companion on the single, 28-year-old Ricardo Valentine Jnr, has been waiting patiently in the wings for some time. His only previous British chart outing was a cameo role on the Khalid track OTW, a No.60 entry back in May 2018. A sales increase to 39,648 still cannot stop Wellerman from Nathan Evans sliding a place to No.3. Don't Play from Anne-Marie/KSI/Digital Farm Animals is locked in place at No.4 even as the release of a new acoustic remix boosts its consumption to 32,224. Kid Laroi's Without You is also up in sales to 31,147 but down a chart place to No.5. There are also new peaks inside the Top 10 for Tiesto with The Business up to No.6 (29,208 sales) and Goosebumps by HVME (No.9, 22,391) while Friday by Riton x Nightcrawlers arrives in the Top 10 for the first time at No.10 (22,360 sales).  The first fruits of her ambitious project to re-record her first six albums in their entirety, Love Story (Taylor's Version) debuts at No.12 with 21,633 sales for Taylor Swift. It is a fundamentally identical but still noticeably new version of the song which became her first truly international hit single, one which first charted on these shores exactly 12 years ago to the week, eventually peaking at No.2. As an alternate version of an already issued song the 2021 version of Love Story could in theory have been combined with its predecessor to share its chart and sales history, but instead the spirit of its creation has been respected and it is listed by Official Charts as an entirely new product. So it is officially Swift's 46th British chart entry. Meanwhile what you suspect was an urge to make side by side comparisons has sparked a 52% increase in consumption of the original recording taking its lifetime sales to 1,338,357 (726,622 of these paid).  His last release Pinging (6 Figures) may have fallen short of the Top 40 four weeks ago but Central Cee makes good with his third chart single as witty and affectionate Commitment Issues lands at No.23 (14,742 sales). One of the few previously unheard tracks on the new Moonlight Edition of Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia album, We're Good begins its chart life at No.25 (13,763 sales) as the 20th chart hit for the British superstar. The new album's biggest hit of the moment remains the Miley Cyrus-led Prisoner which slides a place to No.18 in its 13th week on the chart. The astounding phenomenon that is RuPaul's Drag Race UK spawns its second spin-off hit in as many series as Eurovision parody track UK Hun as performed by the United Kingdolls team sashays into town at No.27 (11,937 sales), the second most-downloaded track of the week. That's enough to beat the cast of the 2019 series who reached No.35 with Break Up Bye Bye in November 2019. One of eight new tracks on the deluxe edition of his Edna album, Siberia is a new entry for Headie One featuring Burna Boy at No.35 (9,162 sales), the 15th and 9th chart hits for both men respectively.  Big by name and big in its credits list as Rita Ora's new single hands co-credits to producers David Guetta and Imanbek along with invited guest Gunna. Her 25th chart hit lands at No.53 with 6,981 sales. It is a landmark 50th credited chart entry for Guetta, his first since September last year. Just behind, Mixed Emotions becomes the fourth chart entry for Abra Cadabra at No.54 with 6,965 sales. A rare example of a mother and daughter collaboration, Cover Me In Sunshine (No.60, 6,209 sales) is credited to both Pink and her 10 year old daughter Willow Sage Hart who shares vocals with her mother on the song's chorus before taking solo flight at its climax.  A sudden surge in streaming (romantic tracks for Valentine’s night perhaps) sends singles sales soaring 4.23% week on week to their highest level since Christmas, totalling 21,916,096. Paid sales rise 2.31% to stand at 444,536. Subscribers can access all the latest charts here.

Charts analysis: Slowthai scores first No.1 album

For the 26th week running, the No.1 album changes hands as last week's champions Foo Fighters are eclipsed by yet another new release. The 25th different album to top the charts in the last six months is Tyron, the second full-length release from British rapper Tyron "Slowthai" Frampton. Two years on from his notoriety-forging Mercury Prize nomination and a No.9 peak for his debut album Nothing Great About Britain (which has 52,681 lifetime sales to its name) the 26-year-old from Northampton has far and away the most-purchased album of the week. 10,840 of Tyron's total chart sale of 16,940 came via physical copies, the kind of proportions we expect to see from rock rather than rap albums. Three of the album's cuts make the singles chart in tandem with its release. In order they are Cancelled (featuring Skepta) at No.39 (8,676 sales), Terms (No.71, 5,482 sales) and Mazza (No.72, 5,440 sales). Shedding over 80% of its first week sales Medicine At Midnight still moves 8,338 copies second time out to hold second place for The Foo Fighters. It means they finish narrowly ahead of the second-most in demand release of the week, Who Am I from Pale Waves whose 8,195 sales take it to No.3. The second album from the Manchester group, it beats the chart run of 2018 debut My Mind Makes Noises which topped out at No.8.  The deluxe Moonlight Edition of Dua Lipa's much lauded Future Nostalgia album adds b-sides, collaborations and some token new recordings to its tracklisting and the resultant renewed interest means the near year-old release more than doubles its consumption week on week. A sale of 6,730 propels Future Nostalgia to No.4 and takes its lifetime sales to a pleasingly symmetrical 296,296. Dua's self-titled debut still leads the way in sales with a total of 707,015 to its name. The Top 5 is rounded out by The Weeknd's The Highlights which drifts to No.5 (6,347 sales). It is a new era in several ways for Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless, their fourth album Death By Rock And Roll not only their first for a new American label but their first new material since longtime producer and collaborator Kato Khandwala passed away in 2018. No.6 with 5,119 is enough to match the chart peak of their 2010 debut Light Me Up as their biggest hit album to date. That album remains their biggest seller, accumulating 110,972 sales since release. The fourth album in the Brilliant Live Adventures series of David Bowie live albums, Look At The Moon! Features the full set performed by the singer and his band at the 1997 Phoenix Festival in Long Marston, a stop-over on his Earthling tour in support of the studio album he released earlier that year. It lands at No.16 with 3,469 sales. It is special edition time (really) for Headie One too as his chart-topping Edna album grows a further eight tracks to add to its already extensive running time. The renewed attention is enough to propel it back up to No.41, its 2,114 sales representing a 153.7% week on week rise.  We Will Ride is the fourth studio album from heavy metalers Inglorious and motors into place at No.63 (1,635 sales). There's also a fourth career chart entry for Django Django, the art-rockers returning with their fourth studio album Glowing In The Dark after over three years away. That is this week's No.68 album with 1,561 sales. The most interesting album chart moves of the week however are those of almost all of Taylor Swift's back catalogue, inspired by the release of the "Taylor's version" of her debut hit Love Story which reaches the singles chart Top 20. As a result her albums pepper the chart, her most recent release Evermore leads the way at No.13 (3,831 sales) but is joined in the published chart by Folklore (No.24, 2,752 sales), 1989 (No.53, 1,856 sales) and Lover (No.64, 1,632 sales). Her remaining albums all enjoy sales surges of around 20% each – Red, Reputation, Speak Now, Fearless (home to the original recording of Love Story) and even her self-titled 2006 debut which has never charted in this country despite having accumulated 179,377 sales of its own. Album sales overall remain reassuringly steady, this week's total of 1,794,554 representing a 0.6% week on week rise. Physical sales however dip 9.63% to 304,273 and are down to just 16.96% of the market, their lowest share for six weeks. Subscribers can access all the latest charts here.

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