UK-based Instrumental – and its artist services arm, frtyfve – have made a major statement in the UK by nabbing the coveted ‘Christmas No.1’ record on the market’s Official Singles Chart.
A longstanding source of public excitement (and industry competitiveness), the Christmas No.1 refers to the single that will sit atop the UK Official Singles Chart on December 25.
Instrumental’s frtyfve is the artist services partner of LadBaby, whose parody song I Love Sausage Rolls has this evening (December 20) been confirmed as the UK’s Christmas No.1 for 2019 – ahead of the likes of Stormzy & Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi.
This is the second year in a row that Instrumental / frtyfve have achieved this feat: last year, LadBaby soared to the top of the Christmas chart with another parody track, We Built This City… On Sausage Rolls.
That makes frtyfve just the third label ever to score back-to-back Christmas No.1s in the UK, following in the famous footsteps of Parlophone (The Beatles) and Virgin (The Spice Girls).
Both LadBaby songs have raised money for UK food bank charity, The Trussell Trust.
Instrumental CEO, Conrad Withey, commented: “frtyfve is passionate about doing things differently. We use data-driven insights to identify amazing independent artists the wider industry isn’t interested in to create unique musical moments. Everyone said LadBaby was a one off and that ‘moment’ couldn’t be created again but we could see in his audience data that this year could be bigger again – and so it has proved”.
Instrumental is best known for its AI-driven, data-crunching A&R tools that help labels, publishers, managers, promoters and agents identify promising new artists.
The firm launched frtyfve, its own internal artist services and division, this time last year. Since then, frtyfve has released close to 1,000 tracks with emerging and social talent identified through Instrumental’s data platform.
Emma Banks, Head of Label, added: “We love those projects and artists that everyone else writes off or neglects – we don’t mind what music you do, where you come from or how developed you are – if the data is strong we want to work with you to build a compelling campaign. LadBaby’s engaged audience had more than doubled since we surprised the industry last year and so for me this was a no brainer to go again”.
“We use data-driven insights to identify amazing independent artists the wider industry isn’t interested in to create unique musical moments.”
Conrad Withey, Instrumental (pictured with the frtyfve team)
Withey continued, “Most of all this is about raising money for food banks across the UK and a goal to help families struggling this Christmas. We are so pleased that for another year the Trussell Trust is on everyone’s radar and the campaign will have funded tens of thousands of food parcels for those in need”.
Added Withey: “There’s a real appetite from artists at a particular stage of their career to partner with a label team that is agile, socially savvy and offering flexible deals on services that add real value to their careers.
“In 2020 we plan to expand the team and build behind our ambition and belief that there is a gap for this kind of a business in the music industry.”
frtyfve’s expansion comes off the back of a year in which parent company Instrumental says has seen “increasing uptake” of its data and insights tools across all three major labels, major promoters and agents and increasingly other artist services providers.
Lindsay Mitcheson, Instrumental’s Client Services Director said: “It isn’t just frtyfve that is thriving as the independent artist sector continues to grow rapidly. We now have a wide range of fascinating clients around the world offering superb solutions for new talent including funding, live events, merchandising, brand partnerships and social tools. Our job is to mix data insights and team expertise to match those partners to the right talent at the right time to create the perfect commercial fit”.
Withey added: “When we started the business I really thought most about the A&R challenge for labels, but actually what 2019 has taught us is that the future of music will be defined by the culture and ambitions of the new artists coming through and they want totally different things from the generation that came before them. It’s a fascinating time to be sat in the middle of all that.”
Instrumental recently entered into a global partnership with Stockholm-based artist funding platform Corite.Music Business Worldwide