opinion

Viewpoint: NWN Blue Squared's Ed Niman on why exploring all funding options is vital for the biz

Having read Music Week since I was group financial controller at Mute in the late 1980s, writing this column has forced me to think about what keeps me - and I hope other readers - engaged. Despite so many influences ...

Why Friday isn't on the biz's mind for single releases

Pop quiz: What do the following have in common: Haim, Liam Gallagher, Wolf Alice, The Killers, Shania Twain and Miley Cyrus? Well, they’re all stars who have released exciting new records recently, of course. But none of them did so on the so-called Global Release Day of Friday. GRD, as no one calls it, has been with us for almost two years now. It seems to have worked OK for albums but in today’s streaming-led world, it seems to be increasingly ignored for tracks. And you can’t exactly blame labels or artists for wanting to mess with the rules. The chart changes outlined by Music Week on P1 will help speed the chart up but, even with those measures in place, making an impact on the Top 40 with a new single is tougher than ever. The days of a fanbase launching a record to the top of the chart are gone for all but the biggest artists, so advantages must be taken where they can. And, with a crowded release schedule each Friday, launching on a different day can help generate more excitement than arriving amidst a host of other releases. 2017 has been notable for a flurry of big names dropping tracks at a moment’s notice and that’s helped contribute to the buzz around the biz. It’s odd to look back at Adele’s 25 campaign, as we do in this issue, and think how much has changed about the release cycle since then. Nowdays, the element of surprise is a key weapon in breaking a record and, whether that comes out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or any other day of the week, Happy Days are here again for the industry. Mark Sutherland, Editormsutherland@nbmedia.com

Glastonbury Week Part 6: Why Glastonbury is about more than the TV coverage

Without wishing to get too ‘I remember when it was all fields around here’ about something that still is actually a field, Glastonbury has changed an awful lot since I first attended. For a start, I bought a ticket on the gate on my way in – and at a price that, today, might just about buy you an ostrich burger and a pint of scrumpy on site. But the biggest change has been the role played by the music. Previously, great artists may have played, but the memorableness of the weekend was often in inverse proportion to the number of acts you saw. Somewhere along the line, Glastonbury became the Super Bowl of festivals, an incredible promotional opportunity for superstar acts that comes equipped with a primetime UK TV slot and a guaranteed global audience online. That changed the game, although Emily Eavis insists it’s what happens in the field that really matters. She’s right too. The right gig at the right time at Glastonbury can cement a band in the public’s affections in a way that lasts much longer than the time it takes for Saturday night TV viewers to call up Spotify. And that’s why this year’s acts should worry less about the TV and more about making their performances memorable for the crowd in front of them. And why festival-goers should forego the main stages and seek out newer acts in more far-flung arenas where even the BBC’s incredible coverage cannot reach.  Because, with a fallow year next year and the Variety Bazaar on the horizon, even Glastonbury’s field of dreams might one day, as the Manics’ Nicky Wire once infamously predicted, be concreted over.

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