Twenty five years ago, Blur took on Oasis in one of the most notorious chart races of all time. And now, Kylie Minogue and her team are gearing up for the 2020 pop equivalent.
Minogue is on the cover of Music Week this week, talking about her new album, Disco, due to be released on November 6 – the same day that Little Mix are scheduled to drop their new album, Confetti.
It promises to be an intriguing clash of styles, with Minogue’s fans skewed towards physical album sales, and Little Mix’s younger fanbase likely to stream heavily. Little Mix, now on RCA after leaving Syco, have major label firepower behind them, while Minogue is now on 'mini-major' powerhouse BMG. Little Mix are currently on Saturday night prime-time TV with their talent show The Search, while Minogue has a heavyweight promo campaign in the offing. But, unlike Blur and Oasis back in the day, there seems to be plenty of respect between the two camps.
“It’s great to see Little Mix coming out, four amazing young women who have achieved so much,” Minogue’s co-manager, Polly Bhowmik of A&P Artist Management, told Music Week. “It’s really nice to see them doing so well. It’s all great pop music and it’s great to see pop music in the headlines.”
But that’s not to say the members of Team Minogue aren’t highly motivated to win the contest. Bhowmik noted that, should Disco hit No.1, Minogue will become the first female artist to score No.1 albums in five different decades.
If you want to feel a little nostalgic, but find some new dance moves as well, then my album’s for you...
“What a fantastic career she’s had and continues to have,” she added. “We’ll do what we can and it’s all good.”
Minogue herself said she was undaunted by the prospect of such a tough contest in release week.
“Look, you’ve always got to be up against someone,” she told Music Week. “As I said to the team, that’s what we know at this stage, but anyone could drop anything at any time and then you’ve got competition you were completely oblivious to. So let’s try and get things as right as possible and carry on doing what we’re doing.”
The early signs for Disco look good with buoyant physical pre-orders and BMG making good progress with moving Minogue into the streaming world on the back of strong performances from early singles Say Something (also her biggest airplay hit since 2010’s Get Outta My Way) and Magic.
The label has also scored No.1 albums with both of her BMG releases to date, 2018's Golden and last year's Music Week Award-winning compilation, Step Back In Time. And BMG’s VP of UK marketing, Gemma Reilly-Hammond said she welcomed the competition for the new record.
“I’m sure the media will make it into an old-fashioned chart battle,” said the exec. “We’ve got our heads down, concentrating on doing our best job and continuing to think creatively and ambitiously about what we can achieve. We don’t have any control over the other camp, but it’s really healthy to have that there. If you come at it with the right headspace and attitude and enjoy it, it will ultimately bring a better result, because you’ve got that healthy competition.”
The albums are just two of a mouth-watering full Q4 slate, as previewed in this week’s special edition of Music Week. When asked why people should buy her album rather than anyone else’s, Minogue laughed and said simply: “Oh, I don’t have a sales pitch! But if you want to feel a little nostalgic, but find some new dance moves as well, then my album’s for you.”
Will that be enough for a record-breaking No.1 on the Official Albums Chart? Watch this space… And stay tuned to musicweek.com for more from Kylie this week.
* To read our full, exclusive Kylie Minogue cover story, see the special Q4 preview edition of Music Week, available now. To order your copy, email Rachael Hampton on firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.