Island Records is riding high this week.
The label has done the chart triple with the No.1 album for Music Week cover stars The Last Dinner Party, No.1 single for Noah Kahan and No.1 airplay hit for Ariana Grande.
The Last Dinner Party’s acclaimed debut album, Prelude To Ecstasy, opened at the summit with sales of 32,846 (10,981 CDs, 14,058 vinyl albums, 1,852 cassettes, 1,252 downloads and 4,703 sales-equivalent streams), according to the Official Charts Company.
That result makes Prelude To Ecstasy the biggest opening for a debut album by a band since Communion by Years & Years in 2015. It follows their BRITs Rising Star win and BBC Sound Of 2024 victory. Based on Music Week’s charts analysis by Alan Jones, it is the highest first week sales for a debut album by any British act since Sam Fender’s Hypersonic Missiles opened at No.1 in September 2019, on consumption of 40,913 units.
It is also the fastest-selling vinyl debut LP of the 21st century for a group, having surpassed the 12,872 copies on vinyl that Wet Leg’s eponymous first album sold in its opening week in April 2022 (Liam Gallagher’s first solo album holds the overall record for a debut depending, of course, on your interpretation of ‘debut’). Coincidentally, TLDP’s weekly vinyl total is the highest since Oasis’ The Masterplan remaster in November 2023.
The Last Dinner Party have also earned their first Top 20 single. Nothing Matters moved 22-19 and has sales to date of 102,905.
At the top of the singles chart, Noah Kahan’s Stick Season now has the longest consecutive No.1 run – six weeks – since Dave & Central Cee’s Sprinter last summer. It was the most-streamed song in the country once again in the past week with 8.3 million streams.
Based on its current trajectory, Stick Season will pass a million sales in the UK next week. It is currently on 958,867.
Meanwhile, on RadioMonitor’s UK airplay chart, Ariana Grande is at No.1 with Yes, And?, which is at No.7 in the OCC singles chart.
Here, Island president Louis Bloom goes deeper on the debut album success for The Last Dinner Party, describes the atmosphere inside the label and looks ahead to more big albums…
It’s been a big week for Island with a No.1 album, single and airplay hit, what’s the atmosphere like in the company as the year’s progressing?
“It’s been such a fantastic and galvanising start to the year for us at Island, with a No.1 single for Noah Kahan, holding at No.1 for an incredible sixth consecutive week this week; the excitement around Ariana’s return with a No.1 airplay single, and this week the most incredible result for The Last Dinner Party. The whole label is buzzing!”
TLDP have strong sales for a debut act and a hit single, how has Island reached a mass audience so quickly for the band? Is that a sign of a dedicated fanbase already at this stage of their career?
“I have to credit the band, of course, their manager Tara Richardson from Q Prime, and my incredible Island team – particularly our outstanding creatives Saorla Houston and Josh Mitchell at Studio Island and our head of marketing, Sam Flynn. From day one, they have all collaborated together to create and build a unique and distinctive world and identity for The Last Dinner Party. Seeing this visual world come to life on stage, in the videos, on socials, coupled with such outstanding songs, who wouldn’t want to be a fan and follower of this act?!”
The vinyl sales have been staggering – the fastest selling vinyl release of the century for a debut by a group – what’s been driving that level of consumption?
“The vinyl sales are coming from all areas of retail, which is very exciting: Rough Trade Album of the Month, all of indie retail, HMV, Blood Records, Recordstore, and even showing in the Amazon chart – literally everywhere. We’ve also seen really strong e-commerce sales via their own store following an exceptional D2C campaign, thanks to the loyal following they have built online and via their mailing list. The creative is stunning which also helps – a real collector’s item.”
Louis Bloom (far left) and the Island team, including MD Nicola Spokes and promotions director Steve Pitron, with The Last Dinner Party at the Carpenters Arms in London's Fitzrovia
How important is critical press acclaim for an album release in 2024? Has that coverage along with media tastemaker support been beneficial for the group?
“We always knew press was going to be a great barometer. Receiving such amazing and unanimous support from the press, right from the off, was a huge boost alongside our own excellent marketing strategy. It really helped to create a genuine buzz across the industry as a whole. Jon Lawrence and Matt Ganfield from Chalk have done an incredible job, and I honestly can’t remember when that last happened to this level.”
TLDP have a huge US tour, what’s the international reaction been to this uniquely British group? What’s the potential in the US, and who are you working with in terms of the affiliate label?
“The US home is Island US, led by Justin Eshak, Imran Majid and Mike Alexander, and they have been fantastic partners alongside the incredible Q Prime US team headed up by Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein. The reaction to the album across the globe has been phenomenal, with our incredible International team here in the UK leading the charge: Nickie Owen, Ben Alexander and Georgia Dixon.
“Nothing Matters is shaping up to be a really exciting single globally too with the streaming and radio story building at impressive speed, and still lots of room for growth. Our goal is to extend the life of discovery of this album all the way through to 2025.”
Looking ahead to autumn, they are playing bigger UK dates including three nights at Eventim Apollo. How will they manage that step up to bigger venues with their elaborate shows and orchestral elements?
“As we have already seen, this band are as ambitious as they are talented, and I can only see that ambition and scale extend to the live sphere too.”
The Island team are the best in the game at world-building with our artists and carrying it through into physical music products, merchandise and visual content
You also have Yard Act returning next month, are you aiming for No.1 with their follow-up? How has Island managed to make guitar bands connect so strongly, why was that important to you?
“We’re so excited about the Yard Act album – they’ve really pushed themselves, musically and creatively. Like The Last Dinner Party, they have such a unique identity, on record and live. I’m really proud of all the bands on our roster – they’re all so distinct, and when you’re at the shows, it feels like you’re entering a universe that’s completely their own.
“At Island, we believe so strongly in ‘real world’ experiences and how they bring the music to life for fans. Everybody remembers their first live show or festival, seeing bands that they love for the first time – it stays with you, shapes your musical taste and creates memories for life. The Island team are the best in the game at world-building with our artists and carrying it through into the physical music products, merchandise and visual content we create.”
As well as TLDP this week, you are having huge success with Noah Kahan. How is the single connecting so strongly at this point?
“Noah’s recent success is a result of the hard work he has put in over the past seven–plus years he has been signed to Republic/Mercury/Island. A phenomenal artist development story. The recent global success Stick Season has had is fascinating. It has had so many different ignition points which have accelerated growth since its release in July 2022. The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge by Olivia Rodrigo, where she covered the track last October, was the UK tipping point. We cannot wait to see Noah in the UK next week with his two sold-out Wembley Arenas and regional arena tour – then he’s back to play two sold-out O2 Arena shows in August.”
Finally, Ariana Grande only missed out on an OCC No.1 on debut with Yes, And? because of Noah Kahan – and the single is now an airplay No.1. What are your hopes for the new album, Eternal Sunshine, next month?
“The reaction to Yes, And? has been nothing short of phenomenal. I’m so excited for everyone to hear the rest of the album – it’s so great to have her back!”
Subscribers can read our Music Week cover story on The Last Dinner Party.