'Our ambition is as strong as it's ever been': EMI signs new deal with Bastille

'Our ambition is as strong as it's ever been': EMI signs new deal with Bastille

As they mark the 10th anniversary of their million-selling debut Bad Blood, Music Week can reveal that Bastille have signed a new deal with EMI Records. 

Bastille bagged their third No.1 album last year with Give Me The Future, following a launch campaign masterminded with EMI that embraced AI technology. The cutting-edge album campaign was nominated for a Music Consumer Innovation award at the 2023 Music Week Awards. 

Twelve years into their partnership, Bastille, EMI and the wider Universal Music team remain closely aligned on new opportunities, including film and TV partnerships.

With 20 million monthly Spotify listeners, it’s been a highly successful partnership between the Universal Music UK label and the band led by Dan Smith. Bad Blood has sales to date of 1,065,681 (Official Charts Company), including 22,240 sales last year thanks to consistent streaming (90.2% of the 2022 total).

Bastille have amassed more than 11.9 billion streams across all partners since breaking through a decade ago, including 3.5bn streams globally for the single Pompeii. The group have more than 1.9bn streams in the UK alone.

Pompeii, which peaked at No.2 in 2013, remains in the Top 50 most streamed songs of all time in the UK. It has UK sales of 3,466,708.

Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington, EMI co-presidents, said: “Labels are built around exceptional artists, so we couldn’t be prouder about this next chapter with Bastille. The band have already had a long and successful career as part of the label, but our ambition is as strong as it’s ever been, and our focus is firmly on ensuring their artistry continues to reach new audiences around the world. We can’t thank Bastille enough for continuing on this journey with us all.”

The new deal comes three months after EMI was named Record Company winner at the Music Week Awards 2023.

Our focus is firmly on ensuring their artistry continues to reach new audiences around the world

Rebecca Allen & Jo Charrington

Estelle Wilkinson, Bastille’s manager at Eleven Management, said: “Although Bastille have a long history with EMI, there is a real sense of newness with this decision to sign. Not only do Bastille have the great support and expertise of Becky and Jo, they are also excited by opportunities offered by the wider Universal family. This has been a great year for Bastille and though they have come a long way, they still have much to say, through multiple projects. We are delighted to have the backing of a great label which will serve the band’s global audience well and doubtless increase it.”

Dan Smith spoke to Music Week last year about the confidence imbued in him by EMI and its president Rebecca Allen (Jo Charrington joined shortly after the interview).

“I imagine coming into running a label in a pandemic hasn’t been without its challenges for Becky,” said Smith. “But as the head of the label, she’s made a huge effort to get to know everybody and to be as present as much as possible. She’s brought in a freshness to the situation, a different sort of spirit and working ethos and it just feels like a really creative space. There’s a real kind of excitement and a drive to be innovative and creative.” 

Allen told Music Week that she has an emotional connection with Smith, and theirs was one of the first meetings she had upon beginning her role as label president in June 2020. 

“I did it on Zoom and he was just so incredibly open, warm and generous with his time towards me,” she said. “He wanted to listen and hear everything that we wanted to do. From that moment, I fell in love with him and his vision for Bastille and everything he wanted to achieve. He is part of the new EMI era, I’m so passionate about what Dan and Bastille are doing. It mirrors what we’re trying to do at EMI.” 

For Give Me The Future, the band launched the FutureScape Dream Analyser website, where fans could input details of their dreams and create short-form videos based on their description using AI technology. It was a significant campaign for EMI’s then new creative division, headed up by Dinushi Perera. 

“It’s a wonderful synergy with the way Dan writes and sees music and all the visual content that accompanies everything Bastille do,” Allen told Music Week last year. “It’s just so disruptive and so interesting – it’s the future.”

Universal Music UK’s Globe team have a number of projects to announce with the band, including collaborations across film and TV. Dan Smith’s sync successes include the 2019 John Lewis campaign with his recording of REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling.

With this new era we are going full throttle on continuing to build Dan and the band’s status across all film & TV

Marc Robinson

Marc Robinson, president of Globe and co-president of Mercury Studios, said: “We have always loved working with Dan and Bastille on some great projects over the years. With this new era we are going full throttle on continuing to build Dan and the band’s status across all film & TV. 

“Dan’s knowledge and passion for film is extensive. We have a three-pronged plan. Dan loves writing and collaborating with creators for film and TV projects, and we already have some projects underway. With Mercury Studios, we are also tapping into Dan’s storytelling brain, and working with him to bring some of his ideas to the big screen. 

“Finally, we will continue to work their music and celebrate their brilliance, from sync & partnerships to Mercury recently filming their iconic 10-year Bad Blood anniversary gig at Ally Pally. Dan is a creative genius and we’re excited to bring more of his talents to the world.”

The partnership encompasses both new music and significant catalogue activations.

Universal Music Recordings (UMR) marked the 10th Anniversary of Bad Blood with the Bad Blood X campaign enabling fans to reconnect and relive their favourite Bastille moments. The campaign included a special edition album release, and a run of 14 sold-out shows across live venues and festivals in the UK, including at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Harriet Salva, audience and development manager, UMR, said: “We wanted the Bad Blood X campaign to feel like a celebration, and having the band so involved was an essential part of creating an authentic connection with the fans. 

“Working closely with Dan, we dug through the extensive archive to deliver never-before-seen content, as well as the unreleased fan-favourite No Angels feat. Ella Eyre, encouraging fans to relive their favourite Bastille moments from 10 years ago. The response was incredible and having relived that era, they’re super-excited for what’s to come!”

Subscribers can read our 2022 Bastille and EMI feature here.


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