The day the music died: how British acts fell out of the pop charts
The only UK representative in last week's Top 10 was Kent's Lauren Bennett on LMFAO's 'Party Rock Anthem'
Thursday 02 June 2011
French-style quotas could be required to rescue British pop after homegrown talent suffered its worst ever showing in the six-decade history of the UK singles chart.
Click HERE to view graphic (206k jpg)
The home of The Beatles has been squeezed out of the weekly official download chart, which is now dominated by US R&B/rap and European dance music acts.
The only UK representative in last week's Top 10 was Lauren Bennett, a Kent-born guest vocalist on the American act LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem".
The situation improved a little this week with a new entry at No 8 from UK girl group The Saturdays. But the only other UK act in the entire Top 20 was Jessie J.
As well as the inevitable presence of Lady Gaga, British artists had to cede ground to the Dutch producer Afro Jack, Italian Benny Benassi, French DJ David Guetta, the Swedish House Mafia and Nicki Minaj from Trinidad and Tobago.
British pop was even outsold by its Romanian equivalent. The Romanian female singers Alexandra Stan and Inna both enjoyed UK top 20 hits.
"It's the worst presence in six decades since the pop chart began," said Paul Williams, head of business analysis at Music Week. "The singles chart now resembles the Eurovision scoreboard. We used to face a musical challenge from the US but now it's from dance acts on the Continent too."
Although Adele is flying the flag for British music abroad, the predominantly youthful downloaders whose tastes decide the singles chart, have turned against genres like rock, where the UK has traditionally enjoyed success.
Mr Williams said: "The music in the chart 20 years ago was much more varied. You would have a mixture of rock, soul, alternative, pop and MoR tracks. There's little sign now of the Brits taking back control of our charts."
Radio 1, which scored a record audience of 11.8 million listeners last month, remains the most important influence on the singles chart. The station has been accused of favouring "urban pop", at the expense of other genres, in order to attract more teenage listeners.
George Ergatoudis, Radio 1's head of music, said: "This is symptomatic of the UK's music cycle. Five years ago UK guitar bands ruled the roost. Now dance music has made a return. The public will get bored with the current dominant sound and something else will take its place."
Mr Ergatoudis said Radio 1 took its responsibility to support UK music seriously. "You'll find indie, dubstep, R&B, dance and pop on the playlist every week, irrespective of their chart potential. However we don't have any responsibility to increase the presence of UK artists in the chart – that's entirely up to the public."
He added: "Right now, there isn't a distinctively British 'pop' sound but the UK is definitely a hot bed of creativity. Dubstep originated here and is having a global influence. The UK is brilliant at throwing up distinctive talent like Adele, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine who are all enjoying global success."
One extreme measure which could help rebuild sales of UK singles is the introduction of a quota of homegrown music on radio stations. A 1994 French law required national radio stations to play 40 per cent of its songs in French and half from new artists, in order to foster local talent.
Mr Williams said: "It would be a terrible admission of defeat if we introduced French-style quotas to give British pop artificial support. UK music ought to succeed on its own merits."
Radio 1 already ensures that at least 40 per cent of the music it broadcasts on daytime is by UK acts and that 45 per cent of its musical output is "new". British rock has a rare chance to break into next week's Top 10, when Coldplay release their comeback single, "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall", as a download at midnight on Saturday.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
James Cameron hypes up Avatar sequels: 'You will s**t yourself with your mouth wide open'
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'