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Our 2015 Music Highlights

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Our 2015 Music Highlights 

What an interesting year 2015 has been for the music industry. We’ve seen an increased demand for streaming, along with a subsequent drop in physical sales, which we both predicted and were well positioned for. Thanks to our resilient platform and hard working team, we were able to provide high quality streaming, radio services and download stores to an unprecedented number of great new customers along with a list of exciting new functionalities.

The industry has been carefully preparing for this year, a year where curated playlists and radio-style services were making their way to the forefront. We have an incredible team of music, entertainment and production experts, ready to serve to the new demands of lean back customers and the industry. Before embarking on our big year ahead, we thought we would highlight some of the the things we are most proud of from 2015.

In Production:

This year we achieved a number of milestones in the RAJARs (Radio Joint Audience Research) which highlighted listener figures from shows produced by our teams Smooth Operations & Unique Production. These two production groups have programmes across BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, here is a breakdown of some of our shows.

  • BBC Radio 2’s Pick of the Pops achieved record reach with 2.47 million record share of listeners.
  • Sounds of the Sixties had 3.63 million listeners
  • The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe increased its reach by 4.9% year-on-year to 910,000
  • BBC Radio 3’s Sunday Morning strand  latest listener figures show an increase of 18% year-on-year.

[Source: RAJAR Q3 2015]

Why stop at audio when there is a world of visually stimulating references and video storytelling opportunity at our fingertips? Last year we began bringing 7digital software clients the benefits of production expertise by creating compelling artist interview videos for Technics TRACKS. These videos have featured incredible artists such as James Lavelle, Nick Mason, Martin Taylor, Pauline Black, Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Steven Wilson. The videos have these artists expressing inspiring moments in the series titled ‘My Life In Tracks’ where they showcase their prefered playlists and  ‘My listening Space’ where they discussed their favorite ways of listening to music.

An example of one of these videos is with the legend Nick Mason, a founding member of the band Pink Floyd, who has sold an estimated 250 million records. It was an honour to work with such a legend and provide exclusive content for one of our clients. Have a look at our video here to see what inspired him.

A very different ‘Technics Spotlight’ shed light on singer James Lavelle. The founder of the record label Mo Wax and early collaborator of DJ Shadow. James Lavelle has been a productive remixer, band leader, soundtrack consultant, conceptual artist and Meltdown curator. 

We were proud that our series Unreliable Evidence presented by Clive Anderson was a runner up in the broadcast in the 2015 Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards. BBC Radio 2 commissioned a two part radio musical in collaboration with Michael Morpurgo - his first since WarHorse - about Forced Child Migration between 1850 and 1970.

One of our biggest projects that involved all of our teams was the Cambridge Folk Festival. We provided radio and TV coverage of the whole of Cambridge Folk Festival for BBC Radio 2 and Sky Arts. Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowler presented interviews and video content for Sky Arts, while Mark also presented a three hour programme for Radio 2 from inside a truck on site. On top of this, our music team created a dedicated feature page, which included artist interview streams and an exclusive Bella Hardy track – both recorded live at the festival –  plus profiles of artists and curated back catalogue selections. A great effort all round from an array of teams.

In Editorial:

In 2015 our music team focused largely on the fabulous hi-res catalogue we have. It was initially launched at the end of 2014 and a year on, 25% of all music sales now come from hi-res albums and tracks. With this in mind we successfully launched two hi-res stores for our clients Technics TRACKS and Onkyo and announced we are powering the innovative OpenLIVE service, which records live performances and makes them available in hi-res audio formats.

We were extremely happy to install our new listening room in our UK headquarters. Our strategic partner, Meridian Audio supplied us with the perfect speakers and system to experience the true velocity of how high quality audio should be heard. This allowed us enjoy studio quality music in our own office and  demo the revolutionary new MQA format to our clients and contacts. It was just announced this January that we are now happy to have premiered MQA indie label content in our own service as well as through Onkyo.

The industry itself has had some surprises with the return of Adele, who broke the U.S. record for most album sales in the first week of release. 7digital was delighted to be supporting this milestone (and in hi-res audio too) and will continue to promote her fantastic album.

Our brilliant editor, Gemma Samways, had a great year of interviews and feature writing. Here is a glimpse of the editorial for 2015:

Best of 2015: 
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Whether it was tear-stained confessionals by Björk and Sufjan Stevens, love-struck pop bangers from Carly Rae Jepsen, or Kendrick Lamar’s outpourings of politically-focused fury, our favourite albums of 2015 have run the gamut of human emotions. Enjoy the highlights from our editor.

Mercury Prize:  

Probably the UK’s most coveted musical accolade, the Mercury Prize honours the best British album of the previous twelve months. This year’s winner was Benjamin Clementine, with his debut album, At Least For Now. Delve into the rest of the shortlist in the link.

Bestival festival guide:
Billed as “a salute to the original muses: Music, Freedom, Peace, Love and Euphoria” this year’s Bestival is based around the theme “Summer Of Love”, and boasts a line-up specifically designed to facilitate blissed-out fun, including The Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala and Jamie xx.

Wolf Alice interview:

After two and a half years, and a whole heap of acclaim, Britain's best young guitar band are finally ready to unveil their first full-length release. We rang Wolf Alice's lead singer Ellie Rowsell to hear the story behind their brilliant debut album, My Love Is Cool.

EL VY interview:

EL VY is a new collaboration between The National’s Matt Berninger and ex-Menomena man Brent Knopf. We met up with the duo to discuss the roots of the project and to hear how Minutemen and the musical 'Grease' helped inspire their debut, Return To The Moon.

 

In Entertainment:

During 2015 Entertainment News grew the portfolio of radio stations they supply content to, with GTN signing a deal with Celador Radio Group. Entertainment News now supplies radio content to more than 140 commercial radio stations in the UK and Ireland.

Across the year, the team interviewed hundreds of celebrities and were present at events including the BRIT Awards, BAFTAs, National Television Awards, British Summertime Hyde Park events, Fusion Festival, the Ivor Novello Awards, X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing launches, Britain's Got Talent, Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere and James Bond: Spectre premiere, to name but a few.

We gained great traction on social media, with support for our content from celebrities including a retweet from YouTubers Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee, which then received 1594 likes, and hit 159k impressions. Duran Duran tweeted a link to our audio content during the MTV European Music Awards, and The Apprentice candidates also tweeted links to our content.

Entertainment News were once again signed as the MTV's worldwide radio partner for the MTV European Music Awards, held in Milan. In total Entertainment News produced 241 pieces of content made available to partner stations in the UK and around the world (including 38 radio stations overseas) – this included edited ready-for-broadcast interview clips, raw interviews, video packages and special audio packages. 35 videos were featured on Yahoo’s UK website and were made available to Yahoo internationally.

Creating videos, engaging in interviews and curating playlists are just a few of the endless talents our content teams have. We feel extremely lucky that we can provide such skills for our clients and look forward to seeing how our teams continue to grow in 2016!


 

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