16.10.10 Music Week 3
Supermarket group sees Chris de Burgh as ideal match for shopper demographic
Asda lands de Burgh CD exclusive
Retail By Ben Cardew
ASDA IS FOLLOWING UK SUPERMARKET RIVAL TESCO by exclusively selling a new CD release – in this case Chris de Burgh’s Moonfleet & Other Stories.
The supermarket group will exclusively sell the CD of de Burgh’s new album, released on October 18 though his own Ferryman Productions, in the UK. It will also be available generally as a download.
The move follows market leader Tesco’s decision to exclusively offer new CDs from acts including Faithless and Nadine Coyle.
As with Tesco, Asda will be putting considerable promotional muscle behind the release, which will be on sale in all of its 379 UK stores. This will include a TV campaign, which will launch this Saturday (October 16), an in-store campaign and considerable support on in-store radio station Asda FM, which has an estimated audience of 18m a week.
“We see this as a positive response to a challenging music environment,” says Asda music buyer Andy Powell. “Working directly with artists gives us the opportunity for greater potential rewards for both partners and also for Asda customers, producing something that is exclusive for them.”
The deal was brokered by Br&nd Romance, the new company from former KLP music manager Mat
Nautical flavour: Chris de Burgh’s new album Moonfleet & Other Stories features 19 new tracks
Morrisroe and former Bacardi global marketing manager Sarah Tinsley, who previously worked together on Groove Armada’s deal with Bacardi.
Morrisroe explains that the pair had been talking to Asda since the start of the year about working with artists in a more direct way. “It is not a reaction to what Tesco is doing, it is more a reaction to the market place,” he says.
“We approached Asda,” Tinsley adds. “They had recognised that the climate was changing; it was becoming a more challenging environment and music sales were shrinking. It was a challenge for them.”
The solution for Asda, which had an 8.4% share of the music market in 2009 by total expenditure according to Kantar Worldpanel BPI figures, was to take the exclusive route, with de Burgh the perfect artist for their demographic.
“As part of our market analysis we wanted to understand the artists that really met Asda’s objectives,” explains Tinsley. “It became apparent quite early on that Chris was ideal for Asda because of his profile, the size of his audience and his fanbase ideally matches the Asda shopper demographic.”
“He is a very good brand fit with Asda,” adds Powell. “He is a multi-million-selling artist with a massive fanbase.”
De Burgh has previous in this area: when he did an exclusive album deal with Woolworths in 2004, HMV pulled his albums off its shelves.
However, Morrisroe says times have now changed. “Everyone is aware that people need to work in new ways,” he says. “I think perhaps other retailers will look at this and think they should be investigating it themselves.”
Moonfleet & Other Stories features 19 new songs, 13 of which are inspired by J Meade Falkner’s 1898 novel, while other subjects include Iran and the Mona Lisa.
De Burgh, who follows the album’s release with a world tour next year, says the album is “way beyond the most difficult challenge, musically” that he has ever been involved with.
Kenny Thomson, de Burgh’s manager and head of Ferryman Productions, calls the deal “an industry first, with unique strategic marketing focused on the Asda stores, TV advertising and an extensive social networking campaign”.
Neither Asda nor Br&nd Romance would give an indication of how long de Burgh would be working with the retailer on this release, nor if it would be the first of many exclusives for Asda.
However, de Burgh says he hopes this will be “a relationship that we can continue in the future”. email@example.com
Braced for breakthroughs at Breakout
Industry interest is mounting in the acts appearing at the MusicWeekbacked Breakout event, taking place at Proud Galleries in Camden this Wednesday.
Pop talent agent Gary Howard (NDubz) has taken headliners Missing Andy on to his roster as the Brentwood five-piece rock band look to capitalise on their Sky1 Must Be The Music final appearance.
Howard says, “When I saw this band they reminded me of the bands from when I was a kid, like Ian Dury and The Specials, because they are singing about modern-day Britain in the same way N-Dubz sing about what is going on now.”
Missing Andy manager Nicky Cook of Invasion says lots of industry people are coming to see the group at Breakout. “We have label deals on the table and we’ve even turned down a couple that aren’t right. This is great timing,” he says.
Meanwhile, the same TV show’s semi-finalists Toxic Funk Berry (pictured) are on the verge of striking a deal with another major booking agent, while manager Pearse Grady of Back To The Future is about to take the band into his management fold.
Grady says, “People really seem to respect that the band have stuck to their guns and done their own thing and we are excited about more of the industry seeing how original they are at Breakout.”
Six artists appear in the line-up at the new monthly night, which will showcase music from the newlysigned, current A&R buzz or most interesting acts likely to emerge in the next 12 months.
Completing the bill are Northampton trio Informant, who are managed by ex-Island and Chrysalis A&R Angus Blair, Call Me Animal, Kieran Leonard & The Horses and The Carolines.
The event, in association with All Night Long Promotions, kicks off at 7pm and is expected to attract media and industry executives across the board as well as the general public interested in catching the “next big things”.
Breakout will be held every second Wednesday in the month at Proud Galleries, with November’s line-up to feature new label signings and what organisers describe as “some very special promotion for the acts appearing”.
Anyone working in the music business who wants to be on the free guestlist to this Wednesday’s event should email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also more event details at www.musicweek.com/breakout.
THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
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Severe drop in week-on-week album sales blamed on weighted release schedules
A sting for sales in winter’s tail
Releases By Charlotte Otter
MUSIC INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES ARE BLAMING a release schedule which is heavily skewed towards the final two months of the year for dramatic drops in weekly year-on-year sales over the past month.
A forensic examination by Music Week into week-on-week album sales reveals the market was down by as much as 17.3% year-on-year over the last four weeks, far more severe than the overall drop in album sales of 3.8% in the year so far.
These findings, which take into account the fact that 2009 was a 53week year, show that in the last week of quarter three (week 39) the OCC reported only 1,759,767 albums were sold across the UK, compared to 2,049,878 in the same week in 2009 – a fall of 14.15%.
Meanwhile, week 38 experienced a 17.28% drop, from 2,023,899 units last year, to 1,676,238 over the same period last month, and week 36 saw album sales fall from 1,967,303 in 2009 to 1,719,477 – down 12.59%.
While some of this can be put down to this year having to compete against strong releases in September and October 2009, including a new Muse album and a Madonna best-of,
November reign: some of this year’s biggest albums are released next month, beginning with Rihanna’s Loud on the 15th retailers have already expressed their concerns about a quiet third quarter.
Asda music buyer Andy Powell says the summer has been “a very challenging period with a paucity of new releases and a few that failed to perform to their forecasts”.
Meanwhile, HMV head of music and impulse Melanie Armstrong says the last 12 months as a whole have been challenging for the market. “We shouldn’t forget also that retailers were additionally up against the Michael Jackson effect year-on-year versus last summer,” she adds.
The findings come as the allimportant fourth quarter gets under way, with a heavyweight release schedule over the next three months that includes new albums from Take That, JLS, Kings Of Leon, Rihanna, Jamiroquai and Duffy, as well as a new Robbie Williams best-of, which is released today (Monday).
The schedule is, however, noticeably weighted towards the end of November, with Rihanna’s Loud out on the 15th, Take That and JLS’s new albums both released on the 22nd and Duffy’s Endlessly a week later.
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot says this reflects an evolution in the market, with more key releases coming out later in the year than previous years.
“We still have the biggest and busiest part of the calendar year coming up with a lot of big-name albums coming out and it is likely that by the end of the year, year-onyear sales will be levelling those of 2009,” he adds.
Armstrong says there are some “real positives” to look forward to as the industry heads into Q4 with releases that should play well for specialist and indie stores.
As a result, one major-label source argues that concentrating on the past month paints a far too negative picture of album sales.
“Overall, the artist album market is holding up pretty well. In terms of why those four weeks aren’t looking so good, I believe things are dependent on repertoire, and there are some very big albums coming out in the next few weeks,” he says.
However, while there is little doubt that a new album from Take That and Robbie Williams will sell in the run-up to Christmas, the buildup of big albums around the end of November poses its own problems.
“Q4 is looking very, very strong,” says one retailer. “Personally, though, I would like to see a more even spread of albums throughout the year. The last two weeks at the end of November look very, very strong. That puts pressure on internal operations and consumers as well.
“It will mean that some titles don’t perform to their potential. People only have so many pounds in their pocket.”
The nightmare scenario is that the UK follows the example of the US, where a raft of new releases last week was not enough to prevent album sales from being down 23% on the same week in 2009.
Entertainment Retailers Association director general Kim Bayley says that when the UK is compared to other territories the outlook of album sales still remains largely positive. email@example.com
Festival promoters declare 2010’s battle won in war on crime
BRITAIN’S MUSIC FESTIVALS appear to be winning the war against crime, despite a number of high-profile incidents which made national
While festival organisers acknowledge there were some serious incidents during the 2010 season (see page 13 14) they make country’s busiest city centres.
“Unfortunately, that means you get the odd bad person and we’re trying to remind people that down to increased engagement between police and stewards with the festival’s campers.
And it is a similar story
“It’s very unusual to find things like this happening at a music festival,” says Benn.
Two years ago Benn launched
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