The boss of Spotify’s European label relations, Kevin Brown, is about to become the new Chairman of the UK’s Official Charts Company, MBW understands.
[Update: The Official Charts Company has confirmed Brown’s appointment. He starts in January.]
Brown will take up the role in addition to his Spotify responsibilities. He replaces BMG’s Korda Marshall, who is stepping down from the position of OCC Chair after three years.
“The Official Charts Company is widely recognized across the music industry as best in class,” said Brown.
“I am delighted to take up the reins from Korda, and look forward to continuing to work with Martin [Talbot] and the board to ensure the UK charts reflect the rapidly evolving landscape of music and video consumption.”
The appointment of Brown comes in the same year that audio streaming data was incorporated into the UK’s Official Albums Chart for the first time, and almost 18 months after the Official Singles Chart did the same.
In the UK, 100 streams is equivalent to a single download in the Official Singles Charts formula, although there are calls in the market for the Official Charts Company to reduce this requirement.
The Albums Chart is more complicated, as you can see in the inset formula above. Designed to uphold the ‘integrity’ of the album, MBW understands that some key players are lobbying for the UK to simplify this metric and follow the example of the US – where a single track, streamed enough times, can have an impact on the main Billboard album chart.
Former EMI, BMG, 4AD and Polygram exec Kevin Brown joined Spotify in 2013, having worked with artists during his career including Lily Allen, Coldplay, Doves, Gorillaz, Whitney Houston, Interpol, Kylie Minogue, My Chemical Romance, Beth Orton, Pixies, Puff Daddy, Radiohead, Emeli Sande, Scissor Sisters, Sigur Ros, TLC and Robbie Williams.
“I am delighted to take up the reins from korda and look forward to working… to ensure the UK charts reflect the rapidly evolving landscape of music and video consumption.”
Kevin Brown, Spotify & The Official Charts Company
At Spotify, he is responsible for developing and maintaining senior relationships with key major and indie label partners across Europe.
Brown is widely recognised as the Spotify exec who set into motion a viral playlist-orientated campaign for then-underground Irish artist Hozier, who went on to release a Top 5 album around the world and, in Take Me To Church, a US five-times platinum single.
Take Me To Church has now notched up just under 467m streams on Spotify.
Brown also played a key role in securing One Direction’s campaign, launched earlier this year, for comeback single Drag Me Down.
The band, in tandem with management at Modest! and their label at Syco/Sony, decided to keep videos for the track – including lyric videos – off YouTube in launch week, and instead push fans towards Spotify and Apple Music.
Said outgoing Chair Korda Marshall: “I am delighted to hand over to Kevin Brown, one of the most knowledgeable and assured executives in the digital music business.
:I am proud to have helped steer the Official Charts Company through a successful period during which it has blazed a trail for the inclusion of streaming data into both singles and albums charts and has laid the foundations for including digital data in the video charts.
“The fact that we have done so while delivering record-breaking profits back to our industry shareholders is a great testament to Martin Talbot and his team.”
Added Official Charts Company CEO Martin Talbot: “I’m delighted to welcome Kevin as our new chairman and look forward to working with him over the coming years. He has a huge amount of experience, across many sectors of the music business – including retail, labels, management and, of course, with Spotify.
“I’m really looking forward to drawing on that breadth of experience as we steer the Official Charts through what is a fascinating and hugely exciting time for the entertainment sector.
“I’d also like to personally thank Korda for his valuable contribution as chairman over the past three years, a period which has seen some of the biggest changes in chart history – including the addition of streams to the Official Singles and Albums Charts, plus moving the chart day from Sunday to Friday.”Music Business Worldwide