Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 15:31 UK

How techno band toppled Madonna

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Scooter played to 50,000 people on their recent UK tour
German techno pop group Scooter have caused a shock by knocking Madonna off the top of the UK album chart after just one week, despite little mainstream exposure.

It is the biggest coup yet for Blackburn-based independent record label All Around the World, who say they are catering for a thriving suburban club scene.

Peering down from the summit of the album chart last week, Madonna probably did not think she had any reason to fear a trio peddling steroid-enhanced dance beats, pumped-up cover versions and high-octane trance melodies.

Scooter, led by 42-year-old blond frontman HP Baxxter, may claim to be the most successful singles act in German chart history, and may have had a number of UK hits.

But the last of those was five years ago, and their latest single The Question Is What Is The Question only reached number 49 last month.

Their new material has had next to no radio airplay, and the album was not reviewed in the national press.

The band have scored a record 20 top 10 hit singles in their native Germany
Yet it has sold 33,500 copies in its first week - 4,000 more than Madonna's Hard Candy.

"Basically, there's a lot of people like them," according to All Around the World director Matt Cadman. "Scooter have been a massive band in Europe for a long time."

The unashamedly upbeat album Jumping All Over the World includes rave reworkings of several familiar tunes, including OMD's Enola Gay and Limahl's Never Ending Story.

Many fans will have been attracted by a bonus disc featuring the band's greatest hits, such as the 2002 number two single The Logical Song - a cover of the Supertramp track - and six further top 20 tracks.

Scooter have also just come off a UK arena tour, co-headlining with labelmates Cascada.

"They went down absolutely fantastically and 50,000 people saw them on tour," Mr Cadman says.

Their music has found airplay on TV stations like The Box and Flaunt - as well as All Around the World's own Clubland TV channel.

As soon as you get inside the M25, it's like commercial dance music doesn't exist - and 95% of the national media is controlled from within the M25
Matt Cadman
All Around the World

"That's more of our medium than radio or press," Mr Cadman says. "There's no magazine that caters to the audience that we play to."

A TV advertising offensive, with spots during breaks in "teen based" shows like Hollyoaks and The Simpsons, pushed them ahead of the queen of pop, Mr Cadman believes.

Industry bible Music Week put Scooter's chart coup down to the TV ads, the greatest hits disc and a quiet week for other releases. It was the second lowest weekly sales so far this decade, the magazine reported.

But that will not dampen the celebrations for All Around the World, who are also responsible for the hugely successful Clubland, Dancemania and Floorfillers compilation series.

Cascada's album Everytime We Touch reached number two in the UK in 2007, while the label has also enjoyed hit singles with Ultrabeat, T2, N-Trance, Flip & Fill and DJ Casper.

Cascada have also enjoyed success on the All Around the World label
"Commercial dance is a very overlooked genre," Mr Cadman says. "It's quite sad really. The Clubland TV channel is doing fantastically well, it's one of the biggest music channels on Sky.

"It's all upbeat commercial dance, and I think a lot of people want that, and not necessarily when they're in a club."

Their customers are the tens of thousands of people who can be found at nightclubs in towns and suburbs every weekend, he says.

"The clubs that hit the headlines tend to be the named clubs - everyone knows of Cream and Gatecrasher, but what people don't tend to talk about is the club on every street corner.

"It might be a Ritzy or Ikon or Oceana. There are so many of these clubs and they're in every suburban centre. If you take Manchester, it might be the outlying areas - Oldham, Bolton, Stockport.

We've heard it called chav music, council house music
Matt Cadman

"All the town centres tend to be quite cool and built for young executives, who are probably a little bit older, and then in the outside areas you get more kids from 17 to 24 going to clubs, and they tend to be the ones where we do particularly well.

"Where we tend not to do particularly well is within the M25. As soon as you get inside the M25, it's like commercial dance music doesn't exist.

"And 95% of the national media is controlled from within the M25 so I think that's why they don't see it. They just literally don't get it.

"When they hear something like a Scooter or Cascada, they'll think it's rubbish. We've heard it called chav music, council house music, kiddie music - every disparaging term.

"And that's just not how we see it. We love it, we think it's fantastic. And so it's proved - it's not like we're listening on our own. Somebody's wrong somewhere down the line."

German techno band topple Madonna
11 May 08 |  Entertainment

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