Record industry chief denies failing new pop artists

29/05/13

Band playing on stage

Record industry chief Geoff Taylor has hit back at accusations that labels are failing pop stars because of a lack of long-term investment in new artists' careers.

It's after the head of the government-funded Arts Council, Alan Davey, said they had to step in to help fund the careers of new and emerging talent.

"They want talent to be delivered to them ready made," he said.

"They're not prepared to take a long period of time investing in talent."

The Arts Council should be supporting the music industry's excellent record of breaking talent, not attacking it with ill-judged sound bites
Geoff Taylor
British Phonographic Industry chief executive

But the head of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the British record industry's trade association, has denied that.

"Alan Davey's remarks about the lack of risk-taking in pop music are ill-informed and out of touch," said the BPI chief executive.

"UK labels have invested £1 billion over the last five years in new music.

"The results speak for themselves. Five out of the top 10 best-selling albums last year were from the UK.

"The new Arts Council fund represents a drop in the ocean - around a third of 1% - compared to annual investment by UK labels.

"New funding for investment in UK talent is always a good thing but the Arts Council should be supporting the music industry's excellent record of breaking talent, not attacking it with ill-judged sound bites."

'Getting harder'

A recording industry report last year estimated that it cost around £1 million to break an artist in a developed market.

But albums are significantly cheaper than 10 years ago, sales are falling and online piracy is still a major threat, according to Mike Smith - president of music at Virgin EMI records.

Whilst considerable investment in talent was clearly going on, it appeared to be getting harder and harder for emerging talent to progress
Alan Davey

"I'm confident that the market will pick up," he said. "Certainly we've taken a battering over the last few years and that has resulted in less money flowing around the business."

The Arts Council says it is now offering new artists the chance to apply for a new fund called Momentum.

In an updated blog, Alan Davey added: "Last year as part of our on-going commitment to talent development across the arts, the Arts Council carried out a series of conversations with individuals across the music industry.

"It found that, whilst considerable investment in talent was clearly going on, it appeared to be getting harder and harder for emerging talent to progress."

"Harder because more limited financial resources are available to invest in new talent, harder because until recently legislation made it awkward for small venues to offer live music, and harder because small amounts of finance are difficult to get from commercial sources - finance to make a record, finance to fund a tour, for proper promotion."

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