features

Moot points: Why the UK needs artists & execs to take on the world

The biz has only just returned to work and already the news of Guy Moot's move from Sony/ATV to the top job at Warner/Chappell – where he'll be working alongside Carianne Marshall – has told us plenty about the music ...

Rising star: 3 Beat's Sophie Alexander

The biz's brightest new talents tell their stories - this week it's the turn of Sophie Alexander, 3 Beat's digital marketing & visual product manager. How did you break into the industry? I had volunteered at festivals and industry events throughout university, and in my final year I got an internship at 3 Beat, which I did for six months. That was my way into the industry as 3 Beat offered me a full-time job as a digital marketing executive after I graduated. I’ve been working my way up ever since. What’s the best thing about your job? The best thing about my job is the way 3 Beat has confidence in me to go off, collate creative assets and form a digital plan for each campaign I’ve worked on. Additionally, I love the fact 3 Beat as a company has expanded to genres outside of dance music, which makes every campaign really interesting as it means no two projects are ever the same! Which new acts are you tipping for the New Year? The artist I’m most excited about for 2019 is someone that we’re working with at 3 Beat called Sfven. He’s a super-talented guy that writes, sings and produces really catchy electronic pop songs. It’s going to be really interesting working with an artist at the very beginning of his career and seeing how it all develops. Being involved in the A&R side of it as well has been a learning curve, but it’s been great to be a part of. What is your proudest achievement so far? That would have to be being part of the digital initiative with the Kungs Vs Cookin’ On 3 Burners campaign for This Girl [1,324,918 sales, according to the Official Charts Company]. It’s still the biggest campaign I’ve been a part of to date, and the fact that song still has such prominence two years on is incredible! What’s your one wish for the music biz in 2019? I’d love for the music industry to focus less on data and trust the music itself. Last year, I found in every area of the industry that so much emphasis is put on a track’s immediate performance. Specifically, when breaking an artist, I think it’s really hard to get great data from the off when an artist is unknown to the consumer. You need the time and patience to really build something that is viable. Having more faith in the artist and the songs is what I’d really like to see. SOPHIE’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Sam Fender – That Sound

The greatest shows: 19 hot tours for 2019

With the return of Glastonbury on the horizon, the live business is gearing up for another stacked 12 months. While a catalogue of touring heavyweights are set to return to the fore, a host of fresh talent is bubbling under, ready to break out. Here, we take a closer look at 19 of the hottest tours the UK has in store for 2019... TAKE THAT Agent: Sol Parker (Coda) Dates: 37 (April-June) Venues: FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield (x4); SSE Hydro, Glasgow (x3); Manchester Arena (x6); The O2, London (x8); Arena Birmingham (x7); Stadium MK, Milton Keynes; St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton (x2); Ashton Gate, Bristol; Carrow Road, Norwich; Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough; John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield; Anfield Stadium, Liverpool; Principality Stadium, Cardiff Ticket prices: £55-£99 Album: Odyssey (Polydor) Take That’s Progress tour with Robbie Williams in 2011 is the biggest in UK history, with ticket sales of close to two million. Now a trio following the departure of Williams and Jason Orange, the group remain one of the country’s hottest tickets, as evidenced by their mammoth run to mark their 30th anniversary. “They create an ongoing legacy and they’re continuing to enhance it,” beams their promoter Simon Moran, MD of SJM Concerts. “They are peerless in the UK.” GEORGE EZRA Agent: Angus Baskerville (13 Artists) Dates: 13 (March) Venues: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle; First Direct Arena, Leeds; M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool; Brighton Centre; Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham; Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff ; SSE Hydro, Glasgow; Manchester Arena (x2); Resorts World Arena, Birmingham; The O2, London (x2); FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield Ticket prices: £27.50-£42.50 Album: Staying At Tamara’s (Columbia) The UK’s newest superstar can do no wrong at the minute, and George Ezra looks certain to keep up the momentum with his biggest headlining tour to date this spring, capped by two nights at both Manchester Arena and The O2 in London. He will also star at SJM Concerts’ Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington in May. “At the end of the first album I said, ‘I don’t want to play any venues bigger than the largest theatres’, but then on this [album] we’ve played arenas around Europe,” says Ezra, the 2018 Music Week Artist Of The Year. “I was convinced I was going to hate them, but I loved them more than the theatres.” The way he’s going, the venues will only keep getting bigger... FLEETWOOD MAC Agent: CAA Dates: 2 (June) Venues: Wembley Stadium, London Ticket prices: £75-£200 Album: 50 Years – Don’t Stop (Rhino) BON JOVI Agent: Rob Light/Chris Dalston (CAA) Dates: 3 (June) Venues: Anfield Stadium, Liverpool; Wembley Stadium, London; Ricoh Arena, Coventry Ticket prices: £45-£125 Album: This House Is Not For Sale (Virgin EMI) BILLIE EILISH Agent: Mike Malak/Sol Parker (Coda) Dates: 6 (February-March) Venues: Manchester Academy; SWG3 Studio, Glasgow; O2 Institute, Birmingham; O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (x3) Ticket prices: £15-£17.50 Album: N/A SPICE GIRLS Agent: David Zedeck (UTA) Dates: 12 (May-June) Venues: Principality Stadium, Cardiff ; Etihad Stadium, Manchester (x3); Ricoh Arena, Coventry (x2); Stadium Of Light, Sunderland; Murrayfield, Edinburgh; Ashton Gate, Bristol; Wembley Stadium, London (x3) Ticket prices: £55-£199 Album: N/A Anyone expecting demand for the Spice Girls’ first tour in a decade to be dulled by the absence of Victoria Beckham from the line-up was left to eat their words after the on-sale became Ticketmaster’s busiest ever last November. “There were millions of people on our site searching for tickets, with a queue at one point of well over 700,000,” said the ticketing firm’s MD Andrew Parsons. Say you’ll be there? POST MALONE Agent: Sean Goulding/Cheryl Paglierani (UTA) Dates: 5 (February-March) Venues: Resorts World Arena, Birmingham; SSE Hydro, Glasgow; Manchester Arena; The O2, London (x2) Ticket prices: £45-£90 Album: Beerbongs & Bentleys (Republic/Island) The meteoric rise of Post Malone continues with the rapper’s first UK arena tour next month, which includes two nights at The O2. The 23-year-old will go on to co-headline the Reading & Leeds festivals alongside Twenty One Pilots this summer. STEFFLON DON Agent: Obi Asika/Myles Jessop (Echo Location) Dates: 6 (April) Venues: Stylus, Leeds; SWG3, Glasgow; UEA The Waterfront, Norwich; O2 Institute, Birmingham; Cardiff University Students’ Union; Eventim Apollo, London Ticket prices: £16-£21.50 Album: N/A SHAWN MENDES Agent: Nick Matthews (Coda) Dates: 7 (April) Venues: SSE Hydro, Glasgow; Manchester Arena; Arena Birmingham; First Direct Arena, Leeds; The O2, London (x3) Ticket prices: £35-£57.50 Album: Shawn Mendes (Virgin EMI) JANELLE MONÁE Agent: David Levy (WME) Dates: 2 (July) Venues: SSE Arena, Wembley; Castlefield Bowl, Manchester Ticket prices: £35-£45 Album: Dirty Computer (Bad Boy) ARIANA GRANDE Agent: CAA Dates: 7 (August-September) Venues: The O2, London (x3); Arena Birmingham (x2); SSE Hydro, Glasgow; FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield Ticket prices: £45-£105 Album: Sweetener (Republic/Island) Arguably the hottest pop star on the planet right now, Ariana Grande brings her Sweetener tour to UK arenas in August. The singer has also revealed plans for an emotional return to Manchester, where 22 people died in a bombing following her show at the city’s arena in 2017, as part of the tour. “Manchester is not on this initial list because we are planning a special show,” she said in an Instagram post. “We need a bit more time getting things together before we can announce that date but we are of course coming and we love you.” ED SHEERAN Agent: Jon Ollier (CAA) Dates: 6 (August) Venues: Roundhay Park, Leeds (x2); Chantry Park, Ipswich (x4) Ticket prices: £75-£85 Album: ÷ (Asylum/Atlantic) The highest-grossing tour of 2018, Ed Sheeran’s ÷ trek already finds itself rooted in the all-time Top 5 and could yet eclipse the lot. No wonder it was dubbed “so big, it’s scary”, by co-promoter Steve Tilley of Kilimanjaro Live. Sheeran returns to the UK in late summer for two open-air “homecoming” gigs in Leeds (he was born in nearby Halifax) and Ipswich, close to his hometown of Framlingham. A Perfect finale? CHILDISH GAMBINO Agent: WME Dates: 2 (March) Venues: The O2, London (x2) Ticket prices: £35-£50 Album: N/A Childish Gambino, the alter-ego of American actor Donald Glover, scaled the UK Top 40 singles chart for the first time last year, his track Summertime Magic, from the EP Summer Pack, peaking at No.30. But his live success continues to outstrip his chart fortunes and the star will follow up his acclaimed headline slot at Lovebox last year with a two-night stand at The O2 in London in March. SAM FENDER Agent: Paul Wilson (CAA) Dates: 2 (February) Venues: Gorilla, Manchester; Electric Brixton, London Ticket prices: £10-£14 Album: N/A DIDO Agent: Nigel Hassler (CAA) Dates: 4 (May) Venues: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow; Albert Hall, Manchester; Roundhouse, London (x2) Ticket prices: £42.50-£55 Album: Still On My Mind (BMG) LITTLE MIX Agent: John Giddings (Solo) Dates: 26 (October-November) Venues: TECA, Aberdeen; SSE Arena, Belfast (x4); SSE Hydro (x2); M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool (x2); Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle (x2); FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield (x2); The O2, London (x5); Resorts World Arena, Birmingham (x2); Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham (x2); Manchester Arena (x2); First Direct Arena, Leeds (x2) Ticket prices: £29.50-£57.50 Album: LM5 (Syco) THE 1975 Agent: Matt Bates (Primary Talent) Dates: 10 (January) Venues: SSE Arena, Belfast; SSE Hydro, Glasgow; Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff; Brighton Centre, The O2, London (x2); Westpoint, Exeter; Arena Birmingham; Manchester Arena; FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield Ticket prices: £27.50-£35 Album: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (Dirty Hit/Polydor) Having dipped their toes at arena level on their last album campaign, The 1975 return for a full-scale tour this month in support of their No.1 LP, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. “We are looking forward to taking our new show on the road,” says the band’s manager Jamie Oborne. “The show is incredible – Matty [Healy, frontman] has been working with long-time collaborator and friend Tobias Rylander to ensure it is like nothing else we have seen before.” A Reading & Leeds headline slot is also lined up for this August, while the band’s innovative dual release strategy, which will combine their latest album with forthcoming sequel Notes On A Conditional Form, will surely involve additional live shows. BOYZONE Agent: John Giddings (Solo) Dates: 21 (January-February) Venues: Butlins, Minehead; Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff (x2); Bonus Arena, Hull (x2); SSE Arena, Belfast; SSE Hydro, Glasgow (x2); M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool; Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham; Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle (x2); First Direct Arena, Leeds; Manchester Arena; Brighton Centre (x2); The O2, London; Resorts World Arena, Birmingham; Bournemouth International Centre (x2); SSE Arena, Wembley Ticket prices: £42.50-£60 Album: Thank You & Goodnight (East West) WESTLIFE Agent: John Giddings (Solo) Dates: 30 (May-July) Venues: SSE Arena, Belfast (x5); SSE Hydro, Glasgow (x4); Manchester Arena (x3); Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle (x2); FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield (x2); First Direct Arena, Leeds (x2); The O2, London (x3); Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham (x2); Arena Birmingham (x3); M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool (x2); Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff (x2) Ticket prices: £45-£65 Album: N/A Two Irish boybands at very different stages of their careers hit the road in 2019. First, Boyzone kick off their farewell tour as they prepare to bring the curtain down on their 25-year career. Sales have been stellar – and further dates may yet be added. “Ideally we would do two big shows in the summer to say goodbye – one in the UK and one in Ireland,” reveals their manager Mark Plunkett of MP Music Services. Demand has also been sky-high for the return of Westlife, who are back together for their first tour in six years. Founder member Bryan McFadden, who quit the group in 2004, will not be joining the reunion. AND ANOTHER THING… Ozzy Osbourne’s “final global tour” hits the UK in February... Catfish And The Bottlemen head out on a four-date arena tour… Twenty One Pilots take flight with three nights at SSE Arena, Wembley… Sheridan Smith plays her biggest headline show to date at The O2 in March… Panic! At The Disco embark on a spring arena tour… Tom Walker is set for a two-night stand at Roundhouse... Manic Street Preachers mark 20 years of This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours… Rita Ora hits arenas… Muse, Pink and Metallica have summer stadium dates… Eagles grace Wembley Stadium in June… The Greatest Showman star Hugh Jackman is bringing his inaugural world tour to the UK… Rag‘N’Bone Man headlines Standon Calling… Cher visits UK arenas in the autumn... THE RUMOUR MILL… Fresh from Broadway, Bruce Springsteen has hinted at a UK return… The reunited Doves have promised further live activity… Ellie Goulding should resurface shortly… The Strokes are long overdue a visit to these shores... Drake is rumoured to be on his way back across the pond… The Cure are widely expected to close Glastonbury… Stormzy’s live comeback will surely extend beyond headlining the Pyramid Stage… Bros are tipped for more shows in the wake of their priceless TV documentary...

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