Brit Beat: Top 10 UK Music Industry Stories of 2022 | Daily News Byte

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Politically and socially, the UK has just had one of its most turbulent years ever. But while nothing in the music industry could compare to the country’s longest-serving monarch (goodbye, Queen Elizabeth II) and its shortest-serving prime minister (see, Liz Truss), the music biz still had more. More than its fair share of attention-grabbing moments.

So, as executives prepare for their first non-COVID-interrupted Christmas since 2019, Brit Beat counts down all the stories that had Britain’s VIP bars gossiping throughout 2022… in time-honoured reverse order, of course.

10. Public (outside) service broadcasting

One of the few benefits of changing government ministers every 15 minutes is that the more, um, interesting policies of some previous incumbents can be rethought. So, Boris Johnson’s administration’s surprise decision to privatize Channel 4 – greeted with fury and glee across the arts – is now likely to be shelved. And the current government has also softened its predecessor’s anti-BBC stance, although the license fee funding model is still under review, while cuts are already affecting local radio and threatening its contribution to BBC introductions, an influential platform for new artists. The music industry will be hoping that both the BBC and C4 last longer than whoever is in charge this week…

9. Meet the new boss

Of course, politicians aren’t the only ones changing positions in 2022. UK business leaders are also playing musical chairs. Some highlights: #BrokenRecord streaming evangelist Tom Gray replaces Crispin Hunt as chairman of songwriters’ organization The Ivers Academy; Association for Electronic Music boss Silvia Montello is moving to become CEO of the Association of Independent Music; And Naomi Pohl stepped in as General Secretary of the Union of Musicians after Horace Trowbridge stepped down. Meanwhile, the industry is still waiting to see who will be the new head of the BPI label body, after Geoff Taylor decided to step down from the role after 15 years. The rumor mill is rife with speculation about who might take over, with a decision expected soon… Record labels are also busy: EMI and Capitol UK merged under the joint leadership of Rebecca Allen and Joe Charrington, and Polydor continues its recent run. . Stellar success after co-president Tom March left for America to become president of Geffen Records, under the sole charge of Ben Mortimer. Most interestingly, this month Dipesh Parmar and Amy Wheatley of legendary dance powerhouse Ministry of Sound shifted to run Columbia Records, Sony’s storied rock label. Should be interesting…

8. Avatar practice

The Brit beat’s most surreal night this year was undoubtedly the ABBA Voyage premiere, held in a purpose-built arena near London’s Olympic Park, surrounded by both pop and actual royalty. But any doubts as to whether Brits would actually pay to see the digital avatars of Sweden’s (pre)Fab Four (or, if you really insist, the ABBAtars) singing their hits were soon dispelled in a puff of pixels, as this The show proved to be a smash hit. . With rave reviews and bookings recently extended to November 2023, taking a chance on Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid has proven to be a very good bet indeed. Only one question remains: Which veteran act will be the first to follow suit?…

7. 20/20 vision

ABBA, of course, rose to fame in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK. But few British entrants in recent years have done anything but break into the music, leading to the nation’s somewhat fractured relationship with our European neighbours. A flurry of “null points” scores. This year, however, everything changed. Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra may have actually won with “Stephania,” but Britain’s Sam Ryder came in second with the anthemic “Space Man” and No. 1 album (“There’s Nothing But Space, Man!”) and the Foo Fighters. / With a Queen guest appearance (at a Taylor Hawkins tribute concert) to her name already, she looks set for a proper career. And with Ukraine unable to host next year’s competition for obvious reasons, the UK has stepped in as the 2023 host, with the ceremony taking place on May 13 in Liverpool. By next year, of course, everyone in Europe may hate us again but, until then, the British Eurovision dream lives on…

6. PIAS of Action

Independent giant PIAS also has European roots, but the company has long been a staple of the UK indie scene. Will that change now that the world’s biggest label, Universal Music Group, has taken a 49% stake? Co-founders Michelle Lambot and Kenny Gates insist that won’t happen. UMG and PIAS already had a “strategic alliance” and, while both admit they once viewed the majors as opposition, they prefer the music company’s investment to the venture capital alternative. The two companies have already announced their first repertoire partnership, with Universal-owned Spinefarm Records now passing through PIAS’s integral services division, but Indy is sad to report that Universal has no seat on the PIAS board. And, while the deal has raised plenty of eyebrows on the indie scene, if anyone knows how to weather the storm, it’s Lambot and Gates, who recently celebrated 40 years of their company.m Anniversary An interesting indie year ahead…

5. Adele and back

Adele has always been a rare breed of British superstar: one who has never felt any kind of backlash against her. In early 2023, however, she faced an unusual amount of criticism. She started the year with a tearful, last-minute cancellation of her Las Vegas residency (leaving some British fans stranded on the Strip), followed by a quick uproar over the price of (some) tickets for her London show at the Hyde. Park. But she won over fans at those gigs, and eventually returned to Sin City, where her “Weekends with Adele” show was packing them. Looks like Britain’s Golden Girl isn’t ready to lose her shine just yet…

4. Realms of dreams

As for the crown jewels of UK live music, we haven’t seen the Glastonbury Festival in recent years. Indeed, before 2021, it was held only once in four years – after the fall year in 2018, the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the pandemic. But in 2022 it finally returned in all its glory: Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar as its headliners, with 210,000 people in the crowd and millions watching on the BBC, it was the symbolic moment that said live music was coming back. Something approaching normality. And, buoyed by the returns, organizers Michael and Emily Eavis are pushing ahead. Sir Elton John has already been confirmed to headline what will be the last show of his final UK tour next year, with some big rock names rumored to possibly join him on the bill. Most ticket buyers don’t really care who plays, though, as long as the festival itself is back for good…

3. From Whisper to Stream

In Brit Beat’s 2021 round-up, we jokingly predicted the ongoing outcome of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) committee’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming, which could top the list in 2022. Quite – but only because a recent DCMS committee catch-up session found that various working groups had made dangerously little progress over the past 12 months. Some interested parties – labels, mainly – are probably very happy about that, but the logjam is frustrating for #FixStreaming and #BrokenRecord campaigners who had momentum last year. Things changed in 2022: a Competitions and Markets Authority study of the streaming sector concluded it was working well enough not to require a full investigation – although it handed responsibility for any changes to artist and songwriter remuneration back to the government. Campaigners are now looking to pressure the government to find the “political will” to intervene in the legislation, but given the current economic mess Britain is in, many insiders doubt the issue will remain in the long grass. Indeed, the only thing that seems certain is that we will probably still be talking about it at the end of 2023 …

2. Beating around the bush

If you have 37-year-old Kate Bush’s track becoming the world’s most popular song on your 2022 bingo card, well done to you for being a better soothsayer than anyone else in the music industry. When “Running Up That Hill” exploded onto streaming services after judicious sync placement in the Netflix phenomenon “Stranger Things,” it also caught the UK’s official charts company off-guard. The song was denied the No. 1 spot by Harry Styles’ “As It Was”, as the chart rules surrounding streams for older songs were less stringent than for songs from new releases; There was an uproar, and the status of the song was reset. It reached number 1 a week later and went on to top charts around the world. But Bush’s success also inadvertently highlighted the UK’s shortcomings New Superstars capable of such global dominance. Our classic rockers are still in huge demand; The likes of Genesis and Sting signed massive catalog buy-outs this year, although the warring members of Pink Floyd couldn’t agree a similar deal for their recordings despite a rumored half a billion dollars on the table. And while an established group of modern Brit superstars (Adele, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, et al.) are still smashing it on streaming, fresh worldwide breakthroughs have been in worryingly short supply. The only bright spot seems to be a return to the UK’s one-time ’90s specialty: starting new alternative groups. The Glass Animals hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Heat Waves,” the Idols picked up a couple of Grammy nominations, and Wet Legs was the go-to indie act at every awards ceremony and festival this year. But with streaming competition rising from Latin America, Africa and Asia, British biz insiders hope the next Ed Sheeran will be discovered in 2023…

1. Got Live – But Do People Want It?

On the face of it, this was the year UK live music roared. After a quiet start to what the country thought was an Omicron outbreak, it enjoyed its first full festival season since 2019 and perhaps its biggest summer of live music to date, with multiple stadium shows operating across the country at the same time. But the UK goes into winter with significant concerns about the future of tourism. A toxic cocktail of already existing issues (Brexit, post-Covid staff and equipment shortages, places struggling financially after two years of inactivity) have recently emerged with Britain’s rising inflation rate and the effects of the energy crisis. While rising bills at grassroots venues have brought some government help to keep the lights on, organizations such as the Music Venue Trust warn that such measures are unlikely to provide enough help in the long term. And while promoters, agents and artist managers – all grappling with rising tour costs – tend to put on a brave face in public, privately many say Diversity That ticket sales for shows other than very hot tours are already under pressure. With another packed gig program booked for 2023, many expect more casualties if things don’t improve soon. Beware, the UK’s cost-of-living crisis could easily become a cost-of-gigging crisis in 2023…

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