BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 12 July, 2002, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
US crisis talks over 'Britflop' music
Stereophonics
Stereophonics: Struggled to make a US impact

UK music bosses have held crisis talks with their American counterparts in New York to try to improve the sales of British bands and artists in the United States.

A report recent showed that British music had gone from commanding 36% of the US charts to a low of just 2%.


It boils down to great songs, talent willingness to come over and work

Bill Diggins, music manager

In April the US Billboard Top 100 singles chart featured no UK act for the first time in almost 40 years.

Britiain's biggest bands, such as the Stereophonics, have struggled to make any impact at all in the US and the Welsh band's last album sold just 57,000 copies in the country.

'Censorship'

The panel discussion, which included both British and American music executives, turned into a heated debate over who was to blame for was has become termed "Britflop".

Craig David
Craig David: A rare Brit hit in the states
Paul Birch, the chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, which hosted the event, accused the US government of censorship.

"The British have suffered trade barriers - they've been devastating.

"Musicians coming from the UK have to wait 12 weeks for a visa or they pay $1,000 per head to enter the US.

Effort

"We can't understand why our competitive position is continually being eroded here by one barrier after another and being focused on this industry."


The Americans have their own manufactured rubbish, they don't need to import it from us

Sophie Agapios
But American music manager, Bill Diggins, blames the bands themselves.

He said they did not understand how much time and effort it takes to be a hit in the States.

He said the failure of British music had nothing to do with censorship.

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I haven't seen evidence of any discrimination.

Campaign

"It boils down to great songs, talent willingness to come over and work and understanding the market place; it's a lot of hard work."

To boost the British presence, Virgin stores in the United States have started a new advertisement campaign.

Oasis: No US breakthrough yet
With slogans like "Warm beer. Cool Music" and "Mad Cow. Sane Prices", they hope to poke fun at British stereotypes and charm American consumers.

Dave Alder, the vice-president of Virgin Entertainment in North America, thinks that American marketing is unfair on British bands.

Many managers struggle to promote their bands in the American market.

"I don't think it's a question of quality, I think it's a question of exposure and I think over the last 10, 15 years it's become harder and harder for British acts to fit the mould that's been created by media in North America.

"For example, radio play is consolidated; you hear the same tunes again and again."

Among the solutions discussed was the planned British music "embassy" in New York.

Lesley Bleakley, chief exeutive of an English record label, declared that UK government involvement must get involved.

'Developing'

"We need to have this office based in New York because many British labels can't afford to set up over here.

"Without government help we are not going be able to get those independent labels over into America and that's where you're going to get the developing artists from, the exciting English artists."

One British artist at the conference said that she found very little support in the UK when she tried to make her album.

Sophie Agapios said she eventually recorded "Philosophie" in Los Angeles where she found more support for fledgling musicians.

"I want to hold the flag for the UK and say we can do it and I think the US will embrace it.

Blame

"The problem is that the Brits just don't export enough good songs. The Americans have their own manufactured rubbish, they don't need to import it from us. We have to give them good quality stuff."

Andy Cox, formerly of The Fine Young Cannibals and The English Beat, said the British have only themselves to blame.

"In England, you have companies that are conservative, a media that is quite lazy and an audience that for a large part is apathetic to live music."

See also:

25 May 02 | Wales
07 Jul 02 | Entertainment
23 Apr 02 | Entertainment
27 May 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes