Take That have signed to EMI Records, Music Week can exclusively reveal.
The UK’s No.1 label has joined forces with arguably the country’s biggest group. Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen are one of the most successful bands in British chart history, with over 45 million records sold worldwide and 12 No.1 hits in the UK.
The band are currently in the studio working on new material, slated for release in Q4 of 2023. It would be their first full studio album since 2017.
Take That, who are managed by YMU UK MD Chris Dempsey, have a big year ahead of them with new music and a headline BST Hyde Park performance on July 1.
The band have international tour plans for this campaign, which follows their live comeback at the Coronation Concert this month.
Chris Dempsey told Music Week that the reaction to the performance was “incredible – overwhelmingly positive”.
“They’ve been missed,” he said. “It was their first performance together for four years – and what a stage to do it on.”
Take That’s catalogue features extensively in Greatest Days, a movie adaptation of the stage musical. The film, which stars Aisling Bea, Alice Lowe and Matthew McNulty, will be the next step in a significant period of activity for Take That and their catalogue.
“Exact dates are still to be locked in, but following the King’s Coronation we have the movie Greatest Days coming on June 16 and British Summer Time on July 1,” said Dempsey. “New music and the album will follow, in addition to some more catalogue moments. We have big touring plans for 2024 – more on that in the coming months.”
In common with other acts with successful long-term careers, catalogue will be a key part of the campaign, with potential to grow Take That’s Spotify following (currently on 4.8 million monthly listeners).
Speaking about the new label deal, Take That said: “It’s very clear that Jo, Rebecca and all the team at EMI share our love and passion for music, and our ambition, and we are very excited about working together.”
It feels like such an exciting time for EMI to be collaborating with Take That – the new music is sounding exceptional
Rebecca Allen & Jo Charrington
In a statement, EMI co-presidents Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington said: “It feels like such an exciting time for EMI to be collaborating with Take That. The new music is sounding exceptional, and it’s amazing to see how much Gary, Howard and Mark have immersed themselves within the label. We couldn’t be prouder to be working with them, and to see the entire EMI label engaged, energised and ready to go.”
“There probably aren’t too many artists 30 years into their career and on their ninth studio album that still have Take That’s energy and ambition,” said Dempsey. “And we feel Jo, Becky, Thomas, Lucy [Dann] and the team at EMI can match that. They’ve been brilliant so far. They bring some genuine expertise in areas the band are keen to grow, and crucially they work hand-in-hand with the catalogue teams both at Universal and Sony and with our longtime friend Marc Robinson at Globe/Mercury Studios.”
The group’s move to EMI after six albums with Polydor means they stay within the Universal Music family. Take That were with RCA (then under BMG ownership) for the first phase of their career as a five-piece in the 1990s, and that catalogue is now with Sony Music.
The return of Take That comes in the wake of solo projects by Gary Barlow (2020’s Music Played By Humans – No.1 peak, 108,337 sales; 2022 Top 5 festive LP The Dream Of Christmas – 47,159 sales) and Mark Owen, who signed to BMG for Top 5 album Land Of Dreams.
Following their reunion in 2005, Take That signed to Polydor when David Joseph – now Universal Music UK CEO/chairman – was president of the label. Gary Barlow has worked closely with David Joseph during his solo career and with Take That.
EMI was the market leader in Q1 and it has just dropped Lewis Capaldi’s sophomore album, which is likely to bolster that No.1 market share position. A Q4 release from Take That will deliver a major boost to the label’s consumption at the end of the year. Recent albums chart successes for the label include Taylor Swift, Jessie Ware, Sam Smith and Metallica.
According to Official Charts Company data, Take That moved 105,721 copies of their reimagined greatest hits, Odyssey, when it charted at No.1 in 2018. It was the group’s 25th weekly sale above 100,000 in the 21st Century. Odyssey, which marked their 30th anniversary, has sales to date of 449,484.
There aren’t too many artists 30 years into their career and on their ninth studio album that still have Take That’s energy and ambition
Take That have not released a studio album since streaming became dominant. That shift away from a purchase model to a consumption model has made six-figure weekly totals a rarity. But with big physical sales for recent LPs by Adele, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Arctic Monkeys, EMI will surely have ambitious targets for the group in late 2023.
Take That originally reunited for 2005’s The Ultimate Tour and the group established a spectacular touring business in partnership with promoter SJM. They played eight O2 Arena dates in 2019, as part of a UK and European stadium tour. They have played more O2 Arena shows than any other act.
Take That have secured eight No.1 albums across their career, with five of those following their 2005 reunion. Their biggest album to date is Beautiful World (2006), which is nine times platinum (2,932,124); followed by Never Forget – The Ultimate Collection on 2,465,612; Progress with Robbie Williams (2010) on 2,407,802; The Circus (2008) on 2,249,787; and Everything Changes (1993), which pre-dates the current chart system but is certified four times platinum for sales above 1.2m.
Take That were unlucky not to hit No.1 with their previous studio album, Wonderland (2017), which finished behind Ed Sheeran’s Divide despite an opening tally of 113,211. In 2014, III opened at the summit with 144,538 sales.
PHOTO: (L-R) Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jo Charrington, Rebecca Allen, Mark Owen, Chris Dempsey