Launch event hosted by Mark Radcliffe
17 October 2020
Live-streamed from HOME, Manchester
In recognition of the popularity of the folk music genre, the Official Charts Company announces the first Official Folk Albums Chart. Launched in partnership with English Folk Expo’s Manchester Folk Festival and supported by Showcase Scotland Expo, the first chart will be revealed on 17 October 2020
The monthly chart is compiled using physical and digital album sales, downloads and streams, from UK and Irish musicians releasing folk albums within the past 18 months. The chart is to be released on the first Monday of each month on OfficialCharts.com, englishfolkexpo.com and to subscriber mailing lists. A monthly Official Folk Albums Chart playlist will also be available to stream on Spotify.
The very first chart will be unveiled at a special live-streamed event from HOME in Manchester on 17 October, the weekend which would have seen the fourth annual edition of the Manchester Folk Festival. Hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show presenter, Mark Radcliffe, the event will feature performances from top UK and Irish folk artists, with more details to be announced.
Folk music is a broad genre taking in everything between acoustic pop and traditional music. Folk artists including Laura Marling, Richard Thompson, Cara Dillon, Eliza Carthy, Karine Polwart, Kate Rusby, Seth Lakeman, Eddi Reader, Sam Lee, Tide Lines, Frank Turner, Skerryvore, The Unthanks, Julie Fowlis, The Gloaming, Dougie MacLean (to name a few) have achieved significant profile in recent months and as a result, the opportunity for a dedicated chart has become clear. The Official Folk Albums Chart celebrates the genre in all its forms, offering a recognisable platform for this rich music.
The Official Folk Albums Chart follows the launch of July’s inaugural Official UK Afrobeats Chart which joined a list of genre-specific charts – including Americana, Jazz & Blues and Progressive – all genres characterised by a high percentage of independent releases. Indeed, according to new Official Charts Company analysis, over 90% of the best-selling new folk albums of 2020 are independent releases*, showing the potential for the new chart as a platform for discovery.
The Official Folk Albums Chart aims to do more than recognise the popularity of the genre. Running parallel with the chart are English Folk Expo and Showcase Scotland Expo’s initiatives for providing career development tools for emerging artists in the genre. Dedicated web pages addressing the need for profile enhancement and chart inclusion will be provided.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about the launch of the Official Folk Albums Charts presented by Manchester Folk Festival” says Tom Besford, Chief Executive English Folk Expo. “As a genre, folk covers thousands of artists at all career stages and it’s really exciting to see this represented for the first time by the Official Charts Company. For many artists, being recognised through chart placement can be an important step in raising their profile and building new audiences. Now more than ever, English Folk Expo and our valued partners including Showcase Scotland Expo are delighted to work with the Official Charts Company to develop initiatives like this to help to promote folk music.”