BRITs Winner Florence Gets The Love
Florence and the Machine was a major domestic beneficiary from last week's BRIT Awards, with a 53% week-on-week sales increase in the U.K. for her debut album "Lungs" (Island/Universal) and a No. 2 single.
The alternative artist's set, which won for best British album, moved 9-3 on the U.K. chart with weekly sales of 39,000 according to the Official Charts Company. Florence and the Machine performed at the Feb. 16 ceremony with rapper Dizzee Rascal, and their duet "You Got The Dirtee Love" made No. 2 on the singles chart following its Feb. 17 release exclusively via iTunes. It moved almost 63,000 units in four days.
Lady Gaga's "The Fame" (Interscope/Universal) increased weekly sales by 54% to 53,500, and moved 5-2 behind the Glee Cast. She won three international awards and performed during the ceremony, which got an average 5.8 million viewers for the live broadcast on ITV1.
The majority of BRITs performers' albums benefited. Robbie Williams increased sales for "Reality Killed the Video Star" (Virgin/EMI) by 22% and moved 21-8; Lily Allen's "It's Not Me It's You" (Parlophone/EMI) was up 13% and moved 28-19; and Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" (Roc Nation) increased sales by 25% and moved 22-10. The BRIT Awards album tops the compilation chart.
Ted Cockle, co-president of Island U.K., says Florence and the Machine's success - U.K. shipments are now over 800,000 - justifies their slow build for the artist, who released her debut album several months after winning the critics' choice award at the 2009 BRIT Awards.
"She's just a rare breed, which gives you the confidence to take your time with her," says Cockle. "Most of the time [with other artists] we drive one hit single and the airplay on that and the album off the back of it, whereas this [success] is coming from five or six tracks that people are enjoying."
Cockle is eyeing a total of 1 million-plus sales in the U.K. with two further singles to come. "Historically, the million-seller has always been the hallmark of the records that seem to stay around forever and always hold a precious place in people's hearts," says Cockle. "If we can get beyond that it would be good, but we don't need to be pushing on forever because I think it will have a natural life of its own without us needing to market it too aggressively."
The single "You Got the Love" also improved 29-12 post-BRITs, and Cockle notes that Candi Staton, who had a 1991 top 20 U.K. hit with the Source on the original dance version, has given her approval. An on-stage collaboration between Florence Welch and Staton is "something talked about for across the summer," he says.
There have already been some studio sessions for new material because Cockle says it is "the best way to keep her excited," and there is also discussion about her writing a "power ballad" with Duffy songwriter Eg White.
Cockle stresses that Island has encouraged Florence to take risks musically. "People fell in love with her for the wild songs and for the more alternative stuff," he adds.
Florence and the Machine follows the current European tour with dates in the U.S. in April including Coachella festival.
Rock act Kasabian also got a BRITs boost following their win for best British group and performance of "Fire." "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (Columbia) increased weekly sales by 179% - although this was from a lower base than "Lungs" - and moved from No. 63 to No. 20. The album sold almost 12,000 copies last week.
"They were also the only rock act to win an award during the night and that probably reflects the way music went during 2009 unfortunately," says Columbia Records U.K. managing director Mike Smith. He says consistent support from U.K. national top 40 station Radio 1 has been crucial.
Smith believes Kasabian is "the biggest band [active] in the U.K. now and we want to go on and take that message out around the world, and that's certainly where Serge [Pizzorno]'s head is at with the new material he's writing at the moment."
"It's interesting that rock music has not had as much exposure in the last 12 months as other musical genres, but Kasabian has proved that people love this kind of music," he adds. "What's been great is that Kasabian has consistently researched and tested incredibly well at the radio stations that have played them, people absolutely love this kind of music. When they get the opportunity to hear them and see them live, the record sales certainly grow in accordance with that."
Rapper Dizzee Rascal increased sales of his album "Tongue 'N' Cheek" (Dirtee Stank/PIAS) by 75% for a weekly sale of 6,600, which sent it 73-33. Dizzee's best British male victory was "totally deserved" according to PIAS U.K. managing director Peter Thompson, who says that "2009 was the year that Dizzee Rascal became a major commercial force."
The brand new Dizzee track "Disco" will be released to radio in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Ellie Goulding, winner of the critics' choice award, enjoyed a 400% increase on pre-orders for her March 1 debut "Lights" (Polydor) according to download store 7digital.
For more on the BRIT Awards see the current issue of Billboard.