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One Liners: Westlife, Holly Humberstone, The Weeknd, more

By and | Published on Thursday 18 March 2021



Warner Music’s EastWest label has signed Westlife. “We have found a record label that shares the same energy and high ambitions as the four of us, in what will be a very busy year, where there will be some surprise announcements and of course new music”, say the band.

Holly Humberstone has signed a new record deal with various Universal labels and imprints: specifically Polydor Records, Interscope Records and Darkroom. “She’s a creative tour de force”, says Polydor co-President Tom March. “Holly is a once in a lifetime artist”, adds other co-President Ben Mortimer. “Holly has a singular voice and distinctive aesthetic”, agrees Interscope Geffen A&M CEO John Janick. “Holly is an incredible artist with such unique talent”, comments Darkroom CEO Justin Lubliner, who is also “THRILLED”.

Distiller Music Group has signed a new label services deal with Believe, covering international distribution and marketing. “We have had a good relationship with the team at Believe for some time so when the opportunity arose to work together it didn’t take us long to agree a really interesting deal”, says Distiller CEO John Thompson. “We also know they understand our roster and are going to support our artists internationally and that’s the main thing for us”.

Sentric Music Group has signed singer-songwriter Tom Speight to an exclusive songwriting agreement. “I know I’m in safe hands with them and believe we’re going to do something very special together”, he says.



Paul Williams has joined UK collecting society PPL as Senior Corporate Communications Manager. The former Music Week editor was previously VP Communications at Sony/ATV.

Hannah Pehi has been appointed to the newly created position of Head of People And Culture, Australasia at Warner Music Australia. “I am looking forward to being a part of the Warner Music story, working alongside talented, creative, forces of nature that will help to shape the future of music not just in Australia and New Zealand but across the globe”, she says.



A new label has launched seeking to bridge the gap between the music industry and the gaming and esports domain. Offmeta will offer the usual services of a label for the artists it signs, but with an added focus on seeking partnerships in the gaming space. It will also offer services to other labels and brands pursuing projects that bring together music, gaming and digital culture in general. The company has been founded by Jannis Wenderholm, formerly of Universal Music, and artist manager Line Rindvig. Its first project is with Canadian artist bbno$.

African music distribution company Freeme Digital has launched Freeme+, which will provide A&R, marketing, sync licensing and publishing services for independent African rightsholders. “As the pace around the world picks up for African music, Freeme Music and Freeme+ will be at the forefront of finding new artists and future global stars from the continent and bringing them to worldwide recognition and success”, says Freeme CEO Michael Ugwu.



Former senior assistant at WME, Dan Owens, has launched new booking agency Loud Artists, specialising in punk, rock and metal. “With the industry facing its greatest challenges ahead, small to mid-level artists really need an agent in their corner to fight for them and to make them their priority”, says Owens. “We’re entering a new phase for live music and Loud Artists are perfectly positioned to embrace the change”.



Universal Music and African streaming service Boomplay have expanded their licensing deal to cover 47 countries across the continent. “Since our original deal with UMG, the African music industry has seen exponential growth and made huge strides towards being the next powerhouse that it should be”, says Boomplay’s Director Of Content & Strategy, Phil Choi. “We’re excited to continue partnering with the UMG team to help promote their African and international artists by bringing their catalogue to even more regions across Africa”.



The Weeknd rose to fame a decade ago with a trilogy of independently released mixtapes that were both excellent and free. Then he signed to Universal, which promptly remixed and remastered them all for a repackaged release, in the process making them sound absolutely terrible. Thankfully, for the tenth anniversary of the first of those mixtape releases, ‘House Of Balloons’, this Sunday it’s going to be made available on streaming services, he says, “in its original incarnation with the original mixes and samples”. Praise the flippin’ lord. Now the other two as well, please.

Squid have released new single ‘Paddling’. “Written from two different perspectives, ‘Paddling’ is a song about the dichotomy between simple pleasures and decadent consumerism”, say the band. “Recounting a familiar scene from ‘Wind In The Willows’, the song reminds us that although we are humans, we are ultimately animals that are driven by both modern and primal instincts, leading to vanity and machismo around us in the everyday”.

FEMM have released new single ‘Sugar Rush’. The duo comment: “Girl in love. That’s all we have to say. Sweet and bitter is the vibe. Kinda tickles, but really raw”.

Lydia Ainsworth has announced that she will release new album ‘Sparkles & Debris’ on 21 May. “Longing seems to be a major theme running through my songs on this album”, she says. “Whether that is longing in love, longing to be free from oppression, or longing for the muse of inspiration to make an appearance”. Here’s new single ‘Parade’.



Dream Wife have announced UK tour dates in March and April next year. Tickets and full dates here.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily – updated every Friday.

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