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THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
PROFILE Darcus Beese “Even when we’ve done pop, we’ve been creative. There’s an indie mentality at Island”
BIG INTERVIEW Red Light “The majority of staff at Red Light get their hands dirty every day as artist managers”
FEATURE The Wytches “We’re grateful to be able to release music, not everyone gets that chance”
The Wytches “We’re grateful to be able to release music, not everyone gets that chance”
Smith joins millionaire’s club CAPITOL ARTIST MARCHES FORWARD IN US AS ED SHEERAN HITS SEVEN FIGURES IN UK
TALENT ■ BY TIM INGHAM
Sam Smith will become only the second artist this year to sell a million albums in the US over the next week - less than six months after his debut LP, In The Lonely Hour, went on sale.
In The Lonely Hour has already shipped more than a million units into retail in the US - which means it’s earnt platinum status from North American trade body the RIAA. Its US sales to consumers should easily pass the milestone by next week, ahead of the crucial Grammy Awards season in January.
Capitol Records UK president Nick Raphael signed Smith alongside A&R EVP Jo Charrington in 2012. The pair now work with the Capitol team in Los Angeles - led by Brit Steve Barnett - on the project. Raphael told Music Week that he felt Capitol had “barely scratched the surface” of what the album could achieve. Smith will headline New York’s Madison Square Garden in January as part of a major US tour.
Taylor Swift is the only other artist to sell a million LPs in the US this year. On Monday, Ed Sheeran became the first artist for two years to score a millionselling album in the UK with X.
As well as claiming the biggest-selling debut LP in the
US this year, Smith, who won the American Music Award for Best Male (rock/pop) last week, also has the biggest single in the US this year from a British artist. Stay With Me, a No.1 on the US download chart, has now surpassed three million sales in the territory. It is also the first track in 19 years to top five different US radio formats Top 40, Hot AC, Triple-A, Urban AC and AC.
“It’s been a whirlwind year with an incredible artist - for Sam, for us and for Universal,” said Raphael. “Lucian [Grainge], Max [Hole], David [Joseph], Steve [Barnett] and everyone who’s involved have wonderfully large ambitions for Sam over the next 18 months.”
When it was released in May, In The Lonely Hour hit No.2 on the Billboard 200, scoring the highest first-week US sales for a UK male artist in Soundscan’s 23-year history.
“The most important decision in this entire campaign was choosing to go with Capitol Records in the US,” added Raphael. “Steve Barnett, Greg Thompson and their team have been unbelievable, to a level I’ve never seen before from any corporate partner.They booked Saturday Night Live [in April], which was an incredible decision. Sam wasn’t even on the radio as a solo performer at that point.
“On iTunes the next day, the single went to No.6 and the album [pre-order] went up to No.4.”
Smith is the biggest success so far for Nick Raphael and Jo Charrington since the duo moved to Capitol in April last year. Their other big breakthrough artist this year has been 5 Seconds Of Summer, managed by Modest!.
“Since the day I started in record companies in 1994, I’ve believed the less you sign, the more focus and the bigger chance there is of it succeeding,” said Raphael. “That’s how Jo and I work. I honestly believe focus is the prime thing you get from Capitol Records that you don’t get elsewhere.”
He paid particular tribute to Steve Barnett regarding the Smith campaign, commenting: “Steve planned for success from the start - it was almost the opposite of the British way: ‘Where can this go wrong and how can we be prepared when it does?’ Steve had a ridiculously positive mindset, but almost all of the key high points he predicted came true.
“The minute Steve saw Sam in Islington he was planning the next two years. He was such a believer from the start.”
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