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Christmas

Merry Christmas from KVH Studios!

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For as long as we can remember, it’s the chart battle that generates the most publicity. It’s the one that people bet on every year. It’s the battle for the Christmas number one which is the big one!

We’ve spent hours looking at the Official Charts to gather these amazing facts about the songs that have been festive chart toppers since 1952.

And that is as good as any place to start, the first official Christmas number one, and in fact THE first Number One in the new singles chart, was ‘Here in my Heart’ by Al Martino. It was at the top for 9 weeks.

The Beatles were quite popular and became the first band or artist to have three consecutive Christmas number one singles, between 1963 and 1965. Then they had a fourth in 1967. That feat was equaled in the nineties by The Spice Girls who had three consecutive festive chart toppers between 1996 and 1998.

Cliff Richard featured on three consecutive festive number ones as well, but only two as a solo star, ‘Mistletoe & Wine’ in 1988 and ‘Saviours’ Day’ in 1990, and in between he was on Band Aid 2’s version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’.

Which leads us nicely to that song. Versions of it have topped the chart in 1984, 1989 and 2004. (Band Aid 30 in 2014 was a number one, just not at Christmas). This means, by our reckoning, it’s the song that has topped the chart at Christmas the most. Here’s the often forgotten second version of the track.

The only song to reach Christmas number 1 twice by the same artist is ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen in 1975 on its original release, and then again in 1991 following the death of Freddie Mercury.

The first festive favourite to actually feature the word Christmas (or its variants) was in 1973 when Slade topped the chart on the 25th with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. And only six more since have featured the word. Like this one from 1985…

For many years, the Christmas Number One belonged to the X Factor. The show produced 7 festive chart toppers between 2005 with Shayne Ward, until 2014 with Ben Haenow. However, in 2009, people had had enough so a campaign was launched to get Rage Against the Machine to the top. And it worked. Of course, the X Factor wasn’t the first TV talent show to produce an artist who reached the top spot at Christmas. That accolade goes to Popstars The Rivals in 2002, with Girls Aloud’s debut hit ‘Sound of the Underground’.

There have been some very unusual songs to top the chart at this time of year, which in all honesty, probably wouldn’t get close to number one at any other time of year. Yes, we are talking about Benny Hill, St Winifred’s School Choir, Mr. Blobby, Bob the Builder, and Ladbaby!

And spare a thought for a trio of the biggest Christmas tracks that didn’t even get to number one. Wham released ‘Last Christmas’ in 1984 but because of Band Aid, it stalled at number two for 5 weeks. It does win the award of being the biggest selling song ever in the UK not to be a number 1 single! In 1987, the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ – the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century – was kept off the number one spot by Pet Shop Boys covering Elvis’ ‘Always on my Mind’. And finally, in 1994, Mariah Carey released ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’. It was destined to top the charts before these four chaps from London put their big furry white jackets on!

So, there you have it, our fun* fact-filled look at Christmas Number One singles. Merry Christmas from all of us at KVH Studios!
(* because it’s ‘fun’, we haven’t mentioned – until now – the most depressing Christmas Number One from Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules and their cover of Mad World in 2003)

19 From 2019

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As another year draws to a close and, as is the way at this time of the year, let’s take a look back at the music from the past 12 months. There has been lots of great songs in the singles chart over the last 12 months, but there has also been some amazing music that didn’t make the Top 40. Here are 19 songs from 2019…

In January, Chaka Khan returned to the music scene with her first album in 12 years. ‘Hello Happiness’ is the title track and it went straight onto our playlists. It sounded so fresh and relevant. Superb.

Another artist returning this year was the amazing Jack Savoretti. The first single from his new album ‘Singing with Strangers’, ‘Candlelight’ was a departure from his previous tracks. Much more epic, sweeping soundtrack material. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Jack about his new music, which you can listen to here.

Next up are Bradford’s Fling, who released the fantastic ‘Revolution’ in February. A near perfect slice of indie pop.

Vampire Weekend returned with the sublime ‘Harmony Hall’. Taken from their ‘Father of the Bride’ album, which reached the top 3 in the album chart. It’s a great single.

Emotional Oranges might just have the best band name we’ve heard this year and their music is really good too. In March we added ‘Motion’, which is just superb. Funky, smooth, superb production.

Next, we head to Tennessee for the amazing Amber Mark. Her track ‘Mixer’ is brilliant. This should have been a huge hit.

We’ve been big fans of Jordan Rakei for quite some time, and he really didn’t disappoint when he returned with a new album this year. ‘Say Something’ is about as perfect as you can get.

Some people say that guitar music is dead, it isn’t. Well, they just aren’t looking in the right place! This year has seen the likes of Sam Fender getting plaudits & awards and rightly so. One to keep an eye on are the brilliant Sea Girls. They produce sing along anthems like ‘Damage Done’.

Guendoline Rome Viray Gomez, better known by his stage name No Rome, is a London-based Filipino musician, and he is signed to the same label as The 1975. He’s produced some great singles this like ‘Pink’ which we added in May.

June saw the release of the great new single ‘Let Go’ from Skinny Living. They were one of the bands asked to support Kaiser Chiefs at their Elland Road gig in the summer.

Another artist we have been fans of for a while is the brilliant Kara Marni. She’s being tipped for a big breakthrough next year and we playlisted her single ‘Opposite’ in July.

Haim have been producing great music for a few years. With each album, they change things up while still retaining that Haim sound. August saw them return with ‘Summer Girl’ taken from their third album which is due in 2020.

Michael Kiawanka won the BBC Sound of 2012 and now, 7 years later might have produced one of the best albums of the year with his third release ‘Kiawanka’.

Inhaler’s frontman Elijah Hewson is Bono’s son. Is it an advantage to have a famous parent when you are trying to make it in the music business? On the evidence so far, it’s not doing them any harm.

London four piece The Big Moon also returned this year ahead of their second album ‘Walking Like We Do’ coming out in January 2020. Lead single ‘Your Light’ is a great single.

It can’t be long before the amazing Grace Carter gets the hit single she deserves. She continues to release new tracks on a regular basis and ‘Fired Up’ was added to our playlists in October.

DMA’s are a trio from Australia. We’ve been supporting their music since 2016 and they just get better and better. Their new album is out in April 2020 and are being tipped for a big breakthrough next year.

We’ve already talked about our final two songs on our previous music blogs. Joy Crookes is just brilliant and released one of the best songs of the year with Early.

Joy was on the Brits Rising Star award nomination list alongside beabadoobee and the eventual winner Celeste. 2020 looks like it’s going to be a good year for Celeste. We added the superb ‘Strange’ to our playlists and we very much doubt it will be the last song of hers that we add!

We look forward to seeing what 2020 brings!

in store

How Can You Boost In Store Experience Through Audio?

By | Audio Production, In store radio, Radio Advertising | No Comments

Music is the perfect way to create an atmosphere in store and put customers and colleagues in certain moods leading to many benefits. But there’s so much more you can do with your in store radio service.

By talking to your captive audience through in-store radio, you have a powerful marketing and information platform that can support with up-selling of products, training on new lines or mirroring external media. All of which ensure a continuation of the customer journey.

Check out just a few of the ways you could do this through your in store radio…

in store radio

Presenters

Radio presenters have the ability to raise the mood of both customers and colleagues. They know their audience and can relate to the listeners by keeping them up to date about the latest products and services. They’re not just a voice in the sky, they’re your advisor, source of inspiration and are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. By building a trusted bond, the confidence of the customer’s purchase increases as well as their connection to the brand. Whether live or pre-recorded, content is fresh, reactive and current, providing a varied and creative service to increase engagement.

Messaging

KVH Studios have vast experience of scripting and producing effective and engaging messaging to promote products/services to drive sales and increase dwell time. All content is created in-house from our purpose-built studios ensuring your brief is executed efficiently and effectively. Our team are experts in aligning your messaging to your existing marketing efforts, helping clients boost sales by more than 300%. Plus, with our program reporting and media centre support, clients have been successful in generating revenue on their services.

Colleague Interaction

Business updates/colleague shows out of hours or competitions/quizzes/requests during customer hours encourage colleagues to engage directly with the service through social media or emailing/texting any specific messages. This can have a significant impact on their working day, providing them with a sense of involvement. This motivation increases positivity, which spills over into their interactions with customers.

Wider communications

Mirroring content, music and sounds from social media, TV and other channels to ensure a consistent brand voice across all your media – externally and internally. Social media content, campaigns and user interaction can be regularly referenced through your audio content, encouraging customer engagement with your brand and further interaction with social.

Branding

A firm station identity can be created with exciting idents and music beds/sonic logos created specifically for your brand that change throughout the day/seasons. These short bursts showcase your bespoke service and serve to program your service so it changes with time.

Events

Fresh, dynamic content to help promote the key events of each calendar year relevant to your brand, with bespoke scripting, music and sounds. And for those big national events, include coverage on your service bringing the action on site to reduce staff absenteeism and building excitement for customers increasing sales.

To find out more about how KVH Studios can build an in store radio service inclusive of these elements for your brand, give us a call today on 0113 233 7800 or email info@kvhstudios.com

 

 

 

music

BBC Introducing 2019 – Artist of the Year

By | In store radio, Music, Music producer | No Comments

Here at KVH Studios, we curate and program over 70 different music channels. We don’t work on a one size fits all approach. Our clients have different needs. Some want nothing but the biggest hits from across the decades. However, some of our clients are looking for something different, something new. We are always on the lookout for songs and artists that are producing music away from the mainstream. And there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing them cross over into the spotlight, for everyone else to enjoy.

Celeste is the name of an artist you are going to hear a lot more of in 2020. She has just been named as the latest BBC Introducing Artist of the Year. And today, she has also been announced as the winner of the new BRIT’s Rising Star Award for 2020. And rightly so. Celeste follows in the footsteps of Tom Grennan, Izzy Bizu, Jack Garratt and Catfish and the Bottlemen in being awarded the BBC Introducing honour and all of them featured on our playlists before receiving the accolade. The only winner we didn’t play beforehand was Declan McKenna who won the award 2017.

Celeste has been on our radar here at KVH Studios since we received the track ‘Father’s Son’ from her record company back in February. However, it was with the release of the superb ‘Strange in September’ when it became obvious that Celeste had something to make her stand out from the crowd. It was so different from everything else that was around. It’s achingly simple in its approach. No theatrics, no in your face production. Her voice is the star of the show. It doesn’t need anything else.

Celeste says that her debut album will be out in by the end of 2020. We have a feeling that it will be worth the wait!

To find out more about our bespoke music curation for your brand, give our consultants a call today on 0113 233 7800.

In-store radio

WELCOME TO KVH STUDIOS: The Original Factory Shop

By | In store radio, Music, New client | No Comments

KVH Studios are excited to announce we are now providing in-store radio to The Original Factory Shop, across their full estate of stores in the UK.

Since 1969, so celebrating it’s 50th birthday this year, The Original Factory Shop has been sitting at the heart of communities across the UK, offering incredible value, choice and quality, with customers relying on their wide range of high street labels and big brand deals with up to 70% off RRP across fashion, beauty, home and more.

The brand was looking for a new in-store radio supplier with a higher quality and variety of music, creativity around their messaging and a more proactive approach towards the account management and development of their audio service.

KVH Studios were successful in showcasing our ability to meet these requirements, plus more, through demonstrations and a store trial. Following this, we upgraded the delivery at each store to a network solution by providing each site with a KVH Media Player, giving the brand the ability to target content to individual sites, and supported them with self-installation. This ensured no costs were incurred in transitioning suppliers.

KVH Studios provide The Original Factory Shop with customer profiled music and creative messaging including branding, advertising and features in line with their marketing strategy.

We’re thrilled to be working with The Original Factory Shop as an extensive of their marketing team and look forward to supporting them with their objectives through the power of in-store radio.

To find out more about our bespoke music and messaging services including how you can save money on licensing costs with non-copyright music, give one of our creative consultants a call on 0113 233 7800 today.

 

NEW MUSIC THIS MONTH: November 2019

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It’s that time again when we look back at some of the new music that we’ve added to KVH Studios in store playlists over the last month…

Tom Walker has had a very good 2019 and finishes the year by releasing one of his best songs with Better Half of Me. The lyrics are beautiful. So, if you are looking for a wedding song, this could be it.

The Blue Stones are a fantastic duo from Canada and have released a great song Shakin’ Off the Rust which has a brilliant video. Could this be the future of gigs?

In 1994, when Beck released his breakthrough track Loser, I’m not sure that many people would honestly have said that 25 years later he would still be releasing music as good and that is relevant, but he is! His 14th album Hyperspace has just been released and it was co-produced by Beck & Pharrell Williams.

Our favourite new track this month is the amazing Baby Blue Eyes by Mathilda Homer, who is starting to make waves with her soulful music. One to watch in 2020 without a doubt.

And, as you would expect at this time of year, we’ve been working on Christmas music. We play the big Christmas favourites but every year we look for new releases that can add something to our music services. This year has seen some great releases from Gabrielle Aplin & Hannah Grace, Idina Menzel and of course, Robbie Williams.

You can keep up to date with our main new additions on our Spotify playlist here.

Music

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Nick Bewes – Head of Music

By | In store radio, Music | No Comments

How long have you been at KVH Studios?
I started as a freelance presenter in 2006 before joining the team full-time later that year and becoming Head of Music in 2009.

What does your job involve?
The simple answer is that I listen to music and talk between songs. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. I listen to every piece of music that gets added to our music services, for several reasons. Most importantly, I listen for lyrical content. Even if it’s a big hit single and getting played on Radio 1 or Capital, we have to be more careful.

When a customer is in store, they can’t turn it off or down like they can in a car or at home if something ‘grown up’ comes on. My personal taste doesn’t come into deciding whether a song goes in to play. The main thing is whether the song will do a job for one of or more of our clients, if it does then it gets added.

I’m in charge of thousands of tracks and over 70 different music channels across all of our music platforms. I also work with our account managers to make sure that our clients receive the right music for their brand. I’m also a presenter on our live in-store services, in addition to managing our team of presenters we have on rotation for the live shows. This includes making sure they are talking about the right things for the brand and coaching them on presenting in-store radio.

What did you do before you worked at KVH Studios?
I was a breakfast show presenter, head of music and programme controller at a local radio station in the Yorkshire Dales. Before that I worked in the print trade for 11 years.

What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve always been a massive music fan, so being able to discover and share new music for a living is ideal! Some clients just want the hits, but others want something more adventurous, so I’m always looking for new music. I’ve playlisted bands months, sometimes even a year before they have had a number one single, which is always a good feeling. Years & Years and Clean Bandit are just a couple to name who were played on our services long before they had a single that topped the chart.

Also, my job has given me the opportunity to interview so many interesting people. I’ve been able to talk with Phil Spencer from Location Location Location about all things houses and home improvements, show off my (very) limited kitchen skills with Nigella Lawson and James Martin – he never did take me up on my invitation to sample my cooking. I’ve also interviewed quite a few X Factor winners (and losers), authors, reality stars and a Spice Girl!

What’s your favourite memory at KVH Studios?
Being promoted to Head of Music in 2009 was pretty amazing, dream job alert! However, I worked on a project with one of our clients a few years ago which was one of the best things I’ve ever been involved with in the 20 years I’ve worked in radio. The client came to us and said they were going to be doing a Sky Dive for charity and they wanted their staff to get involved, so we ran promos and talked about it on air. Once the selection process was completed, a few months later we started to record interviews with the 25 members of staff who were going to throw themselves out of a plane at 13,000 feet, all in the name of charity.  These were broadcast on air so all the company knew how everyone was doing with fundraiser.

Then it was the big day and we went to the airfield and recorded everything that was going on. We chatted to the sky divers, we recorded training sessions and interviewed everyone after they had done the jump. We even had a marriage proposal (thankfully the answer was yes!). This was all edited in to a special programme on their service and we sent a CD of the show to all of those that had completed the sky dive. It showed how important their radio service was to their colleagues. There were only 25 people actually jumping out of the plane but the whole company got involved, fundraising and supporting them. It was an amazing experience to be part of. Even if my feet were firmly planted on the ground!

How would you describe KVH Studios in 3 words?
Passionate, Knowledgeable, Professional

If you could pick one, what would be your favourite music track?
For someone in my job, that is an impossible question to answer. It can depend on my mood, how I’m feeling and what I’m doing. Whilst I obviously love discovering new music, there are some artists and songs that I will always go back to such as Ozzy Osbourne, Bonobo, Manic Street Preachers, Submotion Orchestra, U2, Elbow, Pet Shop Boys, Matchbox Twenty, New Order, Bublé….

But if you force me, I’m going down the sentimental route and I’ll pick the song that was playing when my wife Sharon walked down the aisle at our wedding, Tom Odell’s ‘Grow Old With Me‘. That’s the best thing about music, it provokes memories and creates emotional ties.

What do you like to do when you’re not at KVH Studios?
I write new music reviews for an online music blog and I’m also on the review team for Sofar Sounds in Leeds, deciding whether bands and artists are suitable for their live shows. I’m also involved in our local community centre, where we put classes and events on and we have a monthly community cinema which I host. Oh yes and I spend time with my wife. And family. And friends! Love doing the usual, watching TV and going to the cinema, going to gigs and theatre. I’d like to read more, but don’t seem to have much time for that, sadly. I’m building a nice collection though for when I do.

Christmas campaign

It’s Not Too Late for a Christmas Campaign!

By | Audio Production, Christmas, Commercial radio, In store radio, Radio Advertising | No Comments

It’s 6 weeks to go until the big day and the Christmas ad campaigns are well and truly underway. With every other ad on TV seemingly featuring twinkling lights, humongous roast turkeys, snowy picturesque landscapes, families laughing round an open fire and a partridge in a pear tree, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to tug on the heartstrings of the public, get people smiling, and most of all get people talking. Retail spend is at its highest over the festive period so it’s the perfect time to raise awareness of your products and offerings. Though Santa visits in a matter of weeks, it’s not too late to have your own Christmas campaign either. Radio adverts can be turned around quickly and are an effective way of reaching your audience. Just take a look at the benefits below…

Radio provides good company  

People tune in to radio to provide entertainment whilst they’re driving, doing chores, working and so on. For this reason, radio is seen as a ‘companion’, providing an uplifting and entertaining experience to listeners, which is a valuable context for advertisers to be a part of.

Precise Targeting

The regionalised and localised nature of radio means advertisers can create campaigns focusing on key areas to their business. As different radio stations attract different listeners with different interests, it also offers advertisers the ability to talk to selective groups and demographics.

Radio breaks through the ‘avoidance’ barrier

People generally don’t like being sold to. They like to make their own decisions without businesses shoving marketing messages in their face left, right and centre. Research shows that radio has one of the lowest levels of advertising avoidance. Listeners rarely switch stations and are willing to listen to any message that is relevant, engaging and entertaining.

Radio drives response

Radio has always been a strong ‘call to action’ medium, and online radio is stronger than ever. With consumers accessing more brands online, it is the perfect medium to direct listeners to your site.

We hope you found this post useful. If you’re interested in creating your own Christmas campaign then get in touch with our production team on 0113 233 7800 or production@kvhstudios.com.

Our audio production facilities are in the heart of Leeds and our professional team can deliver projects quickly, whether you’re looking for radio ad production, specialist podcasts, interviews or more.

 

 

Christmas music

How to Tackle Christmas music

By | Christmas, Christmas music, In store radio, Music | No Comments

Should I, shouldn’t I? Debating whether to play Christmas music in store or not can be a confusing and frustrating decision. Some people absolutely love it, inspiring a feeling of celebration and excitement within them – others however, will despise it. The chances are that you’ll get both groups in your shop, so it’s important to decide whether it will benefit your atmosphere or ruin it.

The first thing to consider is, do you sell Christmas related items? Obviously if you do, Christmas music will boost the sale of these items by putting customers in the festive mood. This will result in their shopping experience being much more pleasant which means the chances are higher that they’ll pick up something extra.

However, this doesn’t mean that Christmas is the only genre you should play. If you sell a selection of both Christmas and non-Christmas related items around the festive period a mixture of music genres is a great way of balancing the atmosphere and keeping both the carol lovers, and haters, happy. Anyone in any mood could walk in, so you need to ensure your customers become relaxed and positive when in your store to increase sales. Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time for a lot of people, so the sound of joyful or romantic festive music can really help people get into the holiday spirit when shopping.

The type of Christmas music is an important factor too – jazz or classic carols will give your store a more luxurious and premium brand quality, whilst Christmas pop will appeal to a younger audience. Choosing the right genre is just as essential as deciding to have Christmas music at all; as with any music, if done right it can boost sales significantly by creating the perfect festive atmosphere.

What are your favourites?

Remember to follow us on our social media channels for more news and advice.

Halloween music

Your Spooky Halloween Music Playlist!

By | Halloween, Music, Music producer | No Comments

There’s a chill in the air, you hear a creak on the stairs, there’s a bump on the floor upstairs… Outside, the clouds clear and there’s a full moon. What’s that? Is that a wolf howling? It’s that time of year when one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased. Yes, it’s Halloween! So we’ve dug out our favourite Halloween music

Hopefully you don’t suffer from Samhainophobia (the fear of Halloween) and you’ll enjoy our Spooky Halloween playlist made up of 31 spine-chilling, magical tracks…

 

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