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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Britain needs 'US music embassy'
Dido
Dido is one of the UK's few recent Stateside successes
The UK music industry has called on the government to help set up a music office in the United States to try to address the problem of falling music sales in the country.

British acts have performed increasingly poorly in the US in recent years, and last month the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart contained no British act for the first time since October 1963.

A report commissioned by the Association of Independent Music (AIM), the industry body representing smaller music companies, recommends the opening of a British music "embassy" in New York.

The Beatles
The Beatles broke open the US music market
The report, being launched with a seminar on Tuesday, calls on the government to co-fund the music office - following the success of the British Film Office in Hollywood, set up in 1998.

The proposal has the support of all the UK music industry bodies, including record company organisation the BPI, the Music Publishers Association and the Music Managers Forum.

The report follows a series of meetings by music industry figures at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The declining impact of UK acts in the $10bn (6.86bn) US market has been a music industry talking-point for some years.

British acts have traditionally enjoyed a strong presence in the US charts, since the Beatles took the top five places in April 1964.

Allure

Two decades ago there were 40 British singles in the Top 100, and British market share in the US reached 32% in 1986.

This fell to 0.2% last year - and UK acts' lack of allure was exemplified by the decision not to release Robbie Williams' UK chart-topper Swing When You're Winning in the US.

The UK's biggest recent success has been Dido, who has spent a large part of her career in the US and benefited from a collaboration with US rapper Eminem.

Oasis
Britpop acts like Oasis made very little impact in the US
Her album No Angel sold six million copies in the US.

The music office would, says the report, act as a focal point for UK music exporters and initiate collective marketing of UK acts.

It would also offer business support services and up-to-date information on the US market and music industry.

But the report acknowledges that part of the problem is the emergence of genres such as rap, hip-hop and nu-metal in which it is hard for UK acts to compete with the US originators.

And the report adds that the US has become one of the most nationalistic music markets in the world.

In 2000, US acts made up 92% of the US recorded music market - a total only exceeded by Pakistan.

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 ON THIS STORY
Paul Brindley, co-author of the report
"The trading conditions for UK [players] operating within the US market have become far less favourable"
See also:

23 Apr 02 | Entertainment
17 May 02 | Entertainment
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16 Apr 02 | Entertainment
16 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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26 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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