The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) are delighted to reveal two final winners for the 2021 Artist & Manager Awards, with BICEP and their management team at This Is Music to receive the Innovation Award (sponsored by TikTok) and YMU MUSIC to receive the Team Achievement Award.
First established as a production and DJ duo back in 2009, Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar (aka BICEP) have since blazed a trail in electronic music, simultaneously maintaining their deep underground roots while reaching audiences on a genuinely global scale. Exhibiting a maverick and pioneering spirit with their initial crate digging Feel My Bicep blog, which still attracts hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, the duo signed to Ninja Tune in 2017, breaking the Top 20 with their debut self-titled album.
Already a formidable live act, 2021 saw BICEP scale new creative and commercial heights, delivering a second studio album, Isles, which debuted at number two in the UK, and then bypassing pandemic-related restrictions in collaboration with Black Box Echo for two visually stunning and highly successful global live stream performances, one of which was from the Saatchi Gallery, selling thousands of tickets to fans from over 70 countries worldwide. BICEP were also nominated in two categories at the BRIT Awards for British Group and Breakthrough Artist – an astonishing mainstream validation for such independent and uncompromising music making.
BICEP are represented by London based management company This Is Music, who this week welcomed artist manager Greg Wells (Ghost Promo co-founder and former Domino national radio plugger) and his artists Sofia Kourtesis and Logic1000. Other notable clients at This Is Music include James Ford, Jayda G, Roosevelt, Paul White and Ross From Friends.
Oli Isaacs, Managing Director of This Is Music:
“It’s truly wonderful to be recognised along with our artist for the success they have had over the last ten years. When we consider the idea of innovation we have to reflect that it is a necessity in the music business. It is driven by our curiosity as to whether we can not only question norms but even break them. Covid forced us to come up with innovative approaches to reaching our audience during BICEP’s album campaign and we were able to deliver both creatively and commercially as a result.”
This is Music have worked with BICEP since 2011, managing them from internet music bloggers to double Brit Nominees, guiding the duo’s creative and strategic approach which continues to deliver success. BICEP sold out three successive nights at Brixton Academy as well as headlining London’s Field Day in July 2021. They conclude a triumphant year with a string of UK and European shows – including two dates at Manchester’s Warehouse Project – and have confirmed a major festival appearance for 2022 at Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
We are absolutely thrilled to recognise these achievements with our award for Innovation, sponsored by TikTok.
David Mogendorff, Head of Artist Partnerships at TikTok:
“We’d like to congratulate the This is Music team and BICEP on their Innovation Award, which is thoroughly deserved. They’ve consistently pushed creative and artistic barriers, delighting fans in the UK and around the world while also achieving considerable commercial success. It’s been a remarkable partnership and one the TikTok team are very happy to support.”
Joining BICEP and This Is Music as 2021 winners are the 20-strong team at YMU Group Music who will receive the prestigious Team Achievement Award in recognition both of the continued successes of their artist roster, which includes Take That, Clean Bandit, Years & Years, Friendly Fires, Hannah Wants, Jesy Nelson, Danny Howard, James Arthur, Kurupt FM, Lucy McWilliams and Navos, and the bold front-footed leadership displayed by the company in areas including mental health provision and the championing of LGBTQ+ rights.
Notable for enabling and empowering their clients to move beyond their specialised fields – YMU-related successes in 2021 included Olly Alexander’s critically acclaimed leading role in NTA-winning Channel 4 series It’s A Sin which led to a spectacular show-stopping performance of the classic Pet Shop Boys’ title track’ with Elton John at the BRIT Awards, Kurupt FM’s transition to cinema via the big screen mockumentary People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan and the launch of Gary Barlow and Take That TV shows, musicals, movies, books and wine range – the company has continued to lead the way in embracing new innovations.
However, in a year of reflection and advocacy, MMF and FAC wanted to draw particular attention to YMU’s range of inclusion initiatives including specific manifestos for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled colleagues, and an inspirational mental health and well-being initiative for its clients and staff. Developed with Music Support co-founder Samantha Parker, the service offers assessment sessions for YMU-signed artists, referring them to professional support where appropriate, as well as a monthly well-being drop-in facility and a therapeutic support group for employees of the company. YMU’s Martha Kinn and Chrystal Lecointe also provided invaluable input and support for the MMF’s own updated Music Managers Guide To Mental Health.
Jayne Stynes, GM, MMF:
“In light of the challenges we’ve all faced these past 18 months, the 2021 Team Achievement Award feels especially poignant. For that reason, I’m delighted that we can recognise the truly groundbreaking work of YMU, especially the leadership role they’ve taken in founding their mental health initiative. Music management involves much more than simply looking after an artist’s day-to-day commercial business, and it’s absolutely vital that the long-term mental wellbeing of clients and staff is valued and prioritised. The Team Achievement Award reminds us that within the music ‘industry’, there must also be ‘community’, allowing us to build a music business that is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable. The YMU Music team have set down a fantastic blueprint for the future and we are proud to celebrate their work.”
Hosted in association with SoundCloud, the Artist & Manager Awards takes place at London’s Bloomsbury Big Top on Thursday 18th November and will be hosted by Capital FM’s Roman Kemp.
The event is now officially sold out. To be added to the waiting list, please contact Lovisa@themmf.net
As previously announced, other winners at the prestigious event which celebrates achievements in the artist and manager community include Elton John and David Furnish (Artist & Manager Partnership Award, sponsored by PPL), Little Simz (Artist of the Year, sponsored by Amazon Music) Amy Morgan, September Management (Manager of the Year Award, sponsored by YouTube Music) The Black Music Coalition (Industry Champions), Mogwai (Pioneer Award), Grace Ladoja MBE, Metallic Inc (Entrepreneur Award) and Karma Artists (Writer/Producer Manager). Winners of the Breakthrough Artist, sponsored by Spotify, and Breakthrough Manager categories will be announced on the night.
Alongside some very special guest performances, the ceremony will feature a red carpet reception, courtesy of luxury boutique jewellery studio A Jewellers.
Full details of the Awards can be found here.