Warner Records' Phil Christie on Dua Lipa's No.1 album campaign

Warner Records' Phil Christie on Dua Lipa's No.1 album campaign

Dua Lipa is pushing for a return to the albums summit with her acclaimed sophomore LP Future Nostalgia (Warner Records) in the new chart (May 1).

It would be a second spell at No.1 in the UK for the singer, who narrowly lost out to 5 Seconds Of Summer on release week last month. Lipa’s album has sales to date of 71,873, according to the Official Charts Company.

As reported in the latest issue of Music Week, Warner Records president Phil Christie is happy with the performance of the album and campaign, including three singles – Break My Heart, Don’t Start Now and Physical – which made No.1 on airplay and secured simultaneous Top 10 placings. 

“The [albums] chart is one metric of success,” said Christie. “It favours physical over streaming, particularly when you’re de-weighting your two biggest records on the album on streaming services to achieve your SEA number.

“We weren’t able to land the No.1 in the UK [in release week], which is disappointing. But it’s one of a number of metrics that week that were significant. If you look at the performance of the Dua record in week two and 5SOS, you get to see to what extent a core audience were sold hard to in that first week.” 

In the US, Future Nostalgia debuted at No.4. The album opened with 66,000 equivalent album units and secured Warner Records’ biggest streaming week for a pop album in the US.

In the weeks following its release, Lipa became the No.2 artist globally on Spotify. She currently has 59,490,759 monthly listeners. The Weeknd is on top with 63,015,335.

Christie said there has been a clear strategy globally following the release of her self-titled 2017 debut.

“We’ve spent years building her territory by territory on a global basis and putting additional time into areas that were slower to build,” he told Music Week. “We felt the full benefit of that launching this time around, following so much effort and energy and multiple trips out to the Far East, China and Southeast Asia. There was an additional focus on South America and Brazil, in particular, which is now one of our top markets. We put an additional focus on France, that's now one of the leading markets in Europe, so we made sure we've been diligent to go back and pick off territories that were slower [to take off initially] and give them additional assets and additional access.”

He added: “The global campaign is really humming all over the world and we’re excited about the next 12 months. We’ve got every intention of trying to make her the biggest artist in the world on Spotify.” 

The longevity of Dua Lipa’s debut album campaign has helped it rack up 612,378 sales in the UK according to the Official Charts Company.

“We’ve just touched four million units on that one [globally],” said Christie. “So the basic goal would be to exceed that. In terms of the start we've made and the scale that she's operating at, it feels eminently achievable.”

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lipa’s UK arena tour has been postponed to 2021, ensuring that the Future Nostalgia campaign will remain active well into next year. 

“The destruction of the live market has taken a big chunk out of the campaign, she would have been out on tour now, all the way through the rest of the year,” said Christie. “It's very much an album that needs to be seen live, and she's got huge ambitions for that stage production. So that's something we'll work without until it’s back in play next year, hopefully, and then we’ll get the additional benefit of all the live activity.”

Christie also promised unreleased material and features to maintain streaming momentum.

“It's really only just begun,” he told Music Week. “We've got a number of key singles to come off the record, before we even start talking about features and new songs that we've held back and will release later in the year and beginning of 2021. So we've got a very clear campaign that runs us all the way into award season next year, and and hopefully beyond.”

To read the full interview with Phil Christie and Warner Records head of A&R Joe Kentish, subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story, click here.

* To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, subscribe to our digital issue by clicking here.

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