Letter: How record companies starve new talent

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his interview with your paper (16 February), Paul Russell, president of Sony Europe, produced most of the tired arguments we have come to expect from record company executives explaining the lack of success of British recording artists.

Mr Russell claimed the profusion of dance records confuses the record-buying public into sticking with the established bands, Genesis, Simply Red et al. Dance records are produced and sold to a young audience weaned on bad clubs and worse drugs, and are of little or no interest to the older buyers of the established bands.

Over the past 20 years, I have been a fanatical record-buyer, agent, promoter and venue manager, and can state that the explosion of talented young bands in the UK in the period 1987 to 1991 surpassed anything I have seen or heard in originality and creativity; much of this was of undoubted commercial potential. These musicians have all but given up.

The blame lies with the greed of record companies, who have striven for short-term profits, recycling Eighties music in overpriced CD compilations, starving new talent of exposure and promotional budgets. The CD-buying public is married and driving company cars. How can the traditional album-buyers, late teens and early twenties, possibly afford pounds 13.50 for a CD on a student grant, the dole or a low wage?

It is no surprise that music is now dominated by a country where CDs are cheaper and more affordable to young people, and young talent is consequently afforded a commercial launch pad.

Yours faithfully,


London, W3