Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gordon in the morning: National pride

The BPI's press release trumpeting that the UK has a small but growing market share in US recorded music sees Gordon coming over all proud:

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the airwaves...

Yes. Really.
AMERICA is in the grip of a second British invasion.

Third, if you count the time we stole large swathes of the land, killed all the buffalo and then killed most of the people who lived there.
New data from the British Phonographic Industry shows British acts’ sales have surged in the past year, making us punch far above our modest size in the huge market.

Really? Surged, you say?
UK acts now account for a whopping one in ten records sold in North America.

Oh, yes - that's more than French acts, German acts, Dutch, Eritrean and Gabonese acts put together.

But since the UK population is one-fifth the size of that of the UK, surely selling one-tenth the number of records is actually punching below our weight? Especially when you consider that we have the advantage of a shared language, and the major companies selling recorded music are the same both sides of the Atlantic.

Still, tell us about the surge:
And 2008 saw our share of the multi-billion-dollar American scene leap 1.5 per cent.

So, for every £100 worth of records we sold in 2007, we're now selling £101.50 worth?

That's not really a surge, is it? That's an upwards trickle.

And it does also mean you have to pretend that all of AC-DC is a UK act to make the figures work.

And it's not really even £101.50 records to every £100, as none of this takes account of the fall in the value of the US market.

Still, "British artists sales fall less quickly than US artists" isn't the sort of headline you'd whip out the Union Jack bunting for, is it?

Gordon, meanwhile, is cross because the numbers don't exist to prove that Leona Lewis and Coldplay are better than The Beatles and The Stones:
No reliable sales data was produced at the time, but my insider at the BPI tells me they suspect today’s artists have had a bigger impact.

His "insider" at the BPI, that would be. Yes, the BPI - the body which is paid by the major labels to make them look good - is apparently leaking details which make the major labels look good (if you don't think about it). Gordon, it's fine to actually gather news from people who want to be quoted.

So, secret strictly off-the-record briefing insider, tell us more:
The source said: “It’s frustrating because the US recording industry has not kept the correct data from the time to prove it conclusively.


“But we’re certain British pop music is having more of an impact in America now than it has ever done.

“It’s a huge feat to get to ten per cent because the US record-buying public are notoriously insular in their tastes and often resistant to imports.”

Actually, given that the British music industry are allowing quotes to appear in the UK press effectively telling Americans that they stick to their own, maybe there was good reason for not revealing names. Really, BPI, you think that's the way to talk about your biggest overseas market?

It's not even true, is it? Not especially, and certainly not amongst Americans who buy lots of music.

Still, there is tiny evidence of a Bizarre Invasion into the US - some old tat about Mel Gibson's marriage is, I think, Pete Samson's first major appearance on Bizarre since he quit being Gordon's deputy in favour of the plush Sun US editor's job.


danbutt said...

"But since the UK population is one-fifth the size of that of the UK, surely selling one-tenth the number of records is actually punching below our weight?"

Not entirely sure about the stats there, Simon, since that would rather suggest that China should be producing over 300% of the music bought in the US! But lol at "And 2008 saw our share of the multi-billion-dollar American scene leap 1.5 per cent". What a berk.

Robin Carmody said...

Everything that is wrong with the Murdoch press encapsulated in one article.

The idea that British pop music is having more impact in the US now than it ever has is so ludicrous to anyone who has even *heard* of the mid-1960s or the mid-1980s that it doesn't even stand up to the slightest analysis (surprised he doesn't say a third British invasion, or perhaps he actually means the 1980s one as the "main" one because, after all, it happened when The Sun was remaking Britain in its own image whereas the first one coincided with the old, pre-Murdoch Sun's launch into a completely different society, espousing a set of values antithetical to everything Murdoch stands for).

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