BMG has appointed Ian Ramage to head up a new 'strike force' for UK repertoire in the US.
The team will be staffed in London, New York and LA, with a remit to address the emerging industry-wide gap for UK artists in the world's biggest market.
BPI 2018 figures showed that while the UK share of US album sales in 2018 was 12.6%, the share of on-demand streams was just 7.6% as British artists faced tough competition from American hip-hop and R&B artists on their home turf. The US is now an increasingly streaming-led market, according to the IFPI and RIAA.
Berlin-based BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch believes that disparity is a result of record company practices rather than consumer preference.
“The problem for UK artists is that US-based companies naturally tend to favour their local repertoire,” he said. “Our view is that UK artists and songwriters deserve better than that. We need to ensure we maximise their success in the US.”
The new team will focus particularly on performer-songwriters and cover artists across the generations. BMG has upcoming releases from Simply Red and The Sherlocks, while its publishing roster includes George Ezra and Lewis Capaldi.
This is a distinctive service which cuts across the traditional dividing lines of music publishing and recordings
As VP, repertoire & marketing UK, Ramage will report to BMG president, repertoire & marketing UK, Alistair Norbury.
Norbury said: “This is a distinctive service which cuts across the traditional dividing lines of music publishing and recordings, which plays to our strength as the only fully-integrated international music company. Ian Ramage is amply qualified to take on this role and we are delighted he has committed to BMG.”
Ramage has more than 30 years' experience in the UK music industry working with artists including The Cure, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Coldplay, Keane and Richard Hawley.
Beginning as a product manager at Polydor, he became marketing manager at East West/Warner Records before returning to Polydor as head of marketing and joining EMI Records as marketing director in 1993. In 1996 he switched to music publishing, becoming GM at the old BMG Music Publishing, where he stayed for almost a decade until the company was sold to Universal.
After spending two years as head of A&R UK & Europe for Sony/ATV, he switched to academia as a lecturer on the music business. In recent years, he has worked as a part-time consultant to BMG in the UK.