Peter Gabriel says Real World record label can last another 25 years

Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel announced his intention to expand the scope of his record label

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Musician Peter Gabriel says his world music label can carry on for at least another 25 years.

Gabriel, who runs Real World records, made the prediction despite dwindling CD sales and the growth in streaming.

"As long as the audience is interested and keeps sustaining us then we'll deliver what we can", he said on the 25th anniversary of the label.

The former Genesis musician said consumers had to decide whether to "return some payment" to musicians.

Speaking to BBC News at the Womad Festival in Wiltshire, which he co-founded, Gabriel said: "Records don't sell in the way they used to.

"We have to make a choice as consumers about whether we want to return some payment, but there is a lot of generosity in people's hearts."

He added that the record label would continue to bring new musical artists from around the world to a wider audience and expand its remit, adding more Latin American music while introducing a world hip-hop stage at Womad.

"I think we just want to push our own boundaries a bit and go outside of what's our comfort zone," he said.

He set up Real World Records, which grew out of Womad, in 1989 to put world music fans in reach of musicians.

The Blind Boys of Alabama The Blind Boys of Alabama are one of Real World's acts

It has released more than 200 albums from artists including the Congolese musician Papa Wemba, The Afro Celt Sound System, The Drummers of Burundi, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Gabriel himself.

Gabriel says a particular highlight was working with the late Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "the Pakistani Pavarotti", who was one of the first artists to be released by the label.

"I think that was a sort of a landmark in a sense in that we helped him find an audience outside of Qawwali, and that was always one of the main aims for the label," Gabriel said.

But he added: "We wouldn't have got involved with any of the artists if we didn't love what they did.

"I don't think we had any idea when we set out that we'd be here 25 years later. But it's great. I think we've worked with extraordinary artists so I think we've been very lucky."

BBC Radio 3's World on 3 is broadcasting live from Womad all weekend. You can hear interviews and performances and see pictures from the festival via BBC Radio iPlayer for the next seven days.

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