(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Two years ago there was not a single song from a British artist on the Billboard Top 200, a shock considering British artists had found a place on Billboard's charts for the past consecutive 25 years. The decline in success of British artists led Virgin Entertainment Group, the world's premiere entertainment retailer, to join forces with British music authorities to discuss promoting British music in today's diverse and highly competitive American marketplace, at the first London Calling panel.
Over the past year there has been a resurgence in British artists in the U.S. market in music, film, T.V. and even fashion. Recently, musical artists including The Cure, Muse, Joss Stone, The Darkness and Keane have all graced the coveted Billboard Top 200 slots. Similarly, the success of TV programming originated from the UK, including award winning shows such as The Office, Coupling, and the upcoming The Alan Partridge Show, have raised the profile of British television in the U.S. At the box office this fall, the British influence is keenly felt, with a series of high profile movies including, Shaun of the Dead , Wimbledon, the Alfie remake starring Jude Law, and Dear Frankie.
Now Virgin Megastores will explore and debate this resurgence of British entertainment in the U.S. with their annual Best of British campaign and a 2nd London Calling panel. How important the U.S. market is to British entertainers will be part of the roundtable discussion, hosted at the Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard, on October 8 in Los Angeles. During the 45-minute panel discussion, experts from the music, film, fashion and media world will explore the British influence on the U.S. entertainment market. The panel will be moderated by Billboard editor and reporter, Melinda Newman, and followed by a performance, open to the public, by British bands Supergrass and Trash Can Sinatras.
"The US market accounts for 37% of global music sales and it continues to be an increasingly difficult market to break an artist," claims Dave Alder, senior vice president of marketing & strategic development, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America. "At Virgin we keep a close eye on the film, music, TV and fashion in the UK, and we work hard to bring the best of these trends to the U.S., as quickly as we can."
In the past year Virgin Megastores have held in-store promotions and artist appearances with some of the hottest British entertainers in music, film and television including Cornershop, Starsailor, The Stereophonics, Rickey Gervais, from The Office, and The Darkness. In August the Megastores conducted a "No Risk Disc" promotion for Keane's Hopes and Fears CD, where customers could by the CD at a discounted price of $7.99 and return it for a full refund if they were not satisfied. The promotion gave Virgin a 40-percent lift in sales and not a single CD was returned. Virgin believes in-store events and promotions are critical in helping British artists penetrate the U.S. music marketplace.
In the past few weeks Virgin Megastores have hosted Keane and Snow Patrol in-store events. Other British artists scheduled for in-store concerts, include:
** The Libertines — October 1, Virgin Megastore, San Francisco
** Trash Can Sinatras — October 8, Virgin Megastore, Sunset and
October 18, Virgin Megastore, Union Square
** Supergrass — October 8, Virgin Megastore, Sunset
** Duran Duran — October 12, Virgin Megastore, Times Square and
October 15, Virgin Megastore, Sunset
Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen