Last week’s Music Week cover story – about the lack of 2016 debut albums by British artists in the Top 200 of the year so far – certainly put the cat among the pigeons. On today’s front cover, the BPI hints that an industry-wide plan is already being formulated to lead the fight back.
Sadly, you suspect there are no quick fixes. While there might have been special factors in the first half of 2016 that squeezed chart space for debut artists – the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, the sheer ubiquity of Drake and Beyoncé – that doesn’t alter the fact that not one single new UK act has crossed over to true stardom so far this year.
It might not have felt this way during the recent UK A&R boom years, but Britain has no divine right to launch half a dozen new superstars every 12 months.
The success of the très French Christine And The Queens shows that the public still has an appetite for new music when it’s presented in the right way.
But have any British debuts this year really been exciting enough to compete?
Add in the imminent post-Brexit climate of conservatism and you can’t help but worry that British music is about to go through one of those safe, insular periods where it doesn’t really mean much to anyone beyond these shores.
Fortunately, it sounds like our finest music business minds are on the case.
Let’s hope they remember that, as is the case with journalism, when it comes to signing new artists, introducing a feline to some feathered friends is often the best thing you can do.
Mark Sutherland, Editor