U2 are young guns on the Grammy shortlist, but British acts fail to make much impression

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The Independent Culture

U2 received eight nominations for the Grammy awards yesterday, topping a list of veterans that makes the Irish rock band look young. Bob Dylan, Elton John, Steve Tyler and the classical conductor Pierre Boulez were among the old hands shortlisted.

U2's nominations include record, album and song of the year. The American academy of voters named David Gray in the best new artist category, but otherwise gave scant recognition to British acts.

However, there was better news for the British music industry yesterday when it emerged as one of the few countries where sales of albums are increasing. New figures show turnover in America and Germany is down.

The slump in music sales in two of the world's biggest markets has been blamed on the rise of CD copying. Sales of all formats of music in America dropped by 10 per cent over the past year, and the number of CDs sold in Germany fell by the same proportion.

The British market has gone against the trend, with the most recent figures available showing album sales rising by 18 per cent in the first half of last year.

In the Grammy nominations, U2's album All That You Can't Leave Behind was virtually assured multiple nominations because its first single, "Beautiful Day", won record and song of the year at the Grammys last year. The album was released later to qualify for the 2001 period.

India Arie earned seven nominations for her debut album, Acoustic Soul, including album, record and song of the year as well as best new artist. The pianist and singer, Alicia Keys, had six nominations, including best new artist, and record and song of the year for her single "Fallin' ".

Other multiple nominees included Boulez, with six, the country singer Alison Krauss, the R&B vocalist Brian Mc-Knight and the rap-rockers Outkast with five each. T-Bone Burnett, Nelly Furtado, Train, the Aerosmith frontman, Steve Tyler, and Lucinda Williams each had four.

The most diverse category was album of the year, where nominees included Dylan for Love and Theft, Arie's rhythmic Acoustic Soul, and the rap of Outkast's Stankonia in addition to the bluegrass compilation soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Keys' "Fallin' ", U2's "Walk On" and Arie's "Video" compete in the record of the year against Outkast's "Ms Jackson" and Train's "Drops of Jupiter". U2's "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of," Arie's "Video," Keys' "Fallin' ", Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird" compete for song of the year, which honours the writers.

In addition to Keys and Arie, Furtado, Gray and the alternative rockers Linkin Park were nominated for best artist.

The awards ceremony takes place next month.