Universal Music International's Orla Lee-Fisher says The Beatles are attracting a new generation of fans after the band returned to No.1 last week with the record-breaking 50th anniversary edition of Abbey Road.
Abbey Road topped the charts after shifting 34,680 units, according to the Official Charts Company, and remains at No.2 in the midweeks with a further 9,296 sales. The classic LP spent 17 of its first 18 weeks at the summit in its original run in 1969.
Its latest chart-topping feat has been officially recognised as a Guinness World Record for the longest time for an album to return to No.1 in the UK (49 years and 252 days). This new milestone extended The Beatles’ own record, previously held by Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,
“It’s a much loved album,” said Lee-Fisher, UMGI's SVP marketing. “It’s the biggest vinyl seller, year-in, year-out globally and has a sleeve that has been replicated, ripped off, copied. It’s one of those things that lends itself to a lot of social media activations.
“To have a sleeve that is so iconic is a great place for us to have something that works in terms of social media. There are not many people who don’t know the Abbey Road sleeve.”
To have younger artists like Billie Eilish talk about what The Beatles mean to them helps us reach a younger demographic
Universal Music Group International
Lee-Fisher suggested the endorsement of younger acts such as Billie Eilish had helped introduce the Fab Four to new audiences.
"Abbey Road offers us a hugely broad spectrum of appeal across all ages," she told Music Week. "Our goal is to find new generations and to shine a spotlight on Abbey Road, which has a lot of commercial tracks, really helps us as a jumping-off point.
“To have younger artists like Billie Eilish talk about what The Beatles mean to them helps us reach a younger demographic as well.
“On all our campaigns, globally, we look at the core audience with the super deluxe box set, which has unreleased material, archive footage and is very much tailored for that audience,” adds Lee-Fisher. “With the streaming audience, it’s about doing social activations that reach a younger audience who may or may not be aware of The Beatles.”
The album’s 17 tracks have been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which were previously unreleased.
Abbey Road standouts Here Comes The Sun and Come Together are The Beatles' two most played songs on Spotify, with 365 million and 241m streams respectively. The band have an impressive 21m monthly listeners on the platform.
"Here Comes The Sun is such an uplifting song,” said Lee-Fisher. “There are a lot of beautiful songs [on Abbey Road] that have caught people’s attention.”
BBC Radio 2 celebrated the 50th anniversary with a DAB pop-up station from September 26-29. All the live shows were broadcast direct from Abbey Road, alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatles content from the BBC archive.
“Everyone, from our digital partners, to our radio partners, has really embraced this album,” added Lee-Fisher. “It feels like this is one that people all wanted to be a part of."