SXSQ tops landmark week for UK artists in the USA

DATE: 15 MARCH 2011

·        More than 140 UK acts due to perform at the 25th South By Southwest Music & Media Conference, the world’s largest music showcase

·        Adele, Marsha Ambrosius and Mumford & Sons occupy the top three places in the US album chart - the first time this has happened for 25 years

Following a week in which UK artists occupied the top three spots in the US album chart, the first time this has happened since October 1985, more than 140 UK acts are confirmed to perform at the 25th annual South By Southwest Music & Media Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

The music element of SXSW starts today (March 15th), bringing together music industry representatives from around the world and showcasing hundreds of musical acts on over 80 stages in downtown Austin.

Since the first SXSW in 1987, over 1,000 UK artists have used the event as an entry point to the world's largest music market, including the likes of Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse and Muse.

UK talent and music entrepreneurs attending the event continue to receive significant support from both the UK music industry and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). For instance, this year more than 30 acts have been individually sponsored by the PRS for Music Foundation’s British Music Abroad funding programme, run in partnership with UKTI and British Underground through Arts Council England.

SXSW coincides with significant successes for UK artists in the US album chart, where Adele’s 21, Marsha Ambrosius’ Late Nights & Early Mornings and Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More currently occupy the top three places.

This feat was last repeated in October 1985, by Dire Straits, Sting and Tears For Fears.

Other UK albums currently in the US chart include Adele’s 19, Florence + The Machine’s Lungs, Beady Eye’s Different Gear, Still Speeding and PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.

Last year, UK artists increased their share of the US recorded music market, accounting for 9.8% of all artist albums sold.

Feargal Sharkey CEO UK Music said: “It is 25 years since UK artists stood at 1-2-3 in the US album charts. This substantial achievement is testament to their creative talent and those behind the scenes who support and invest in their careers.

“It also perfectly illustrates the diversity of world-class talent that this country nurtures, across all genres, and which is reflected in the numbers travelling to South By Southwest. The UK sends more artists and delegates to Austin than any other country outside of the US. And while the investment involved in breaking an act internationally remains considerable, I’m convinced that with increased strategic support across music and creative content industries there’s no limit to the growth we could achieve.”

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said: “It is great to see British artists topping the US charts.

“The success of these artists coupled with the number of British performers at SXSW demonstrates the health and vibrancy of the UK music industry.

“Our creative industries are essential to the success of the UK and we need to create the right conditions for this sector to grow.  That is why we set up the Digital and Creative Industries Growth Review, which will identify how we can support growth.”

Phil Patterson, UKTI sector champion for music, said: “South by South West is an incredible gateway of opportunity for the UK’s music industry, when worked strategically. This is something that we at UKTI, along with our industry partners attempt to deliver for the UK industry through our efforts at SXSW. Not only does it offer opportunities for artists hoping to take their music to new global audiences, but it also gives our industry a real chance to develop business internationally. This year, as in previous years, we hope to continue to make the international industry and public alike sit back in awe at the range of talent emerging from the UK. “

Brent Grulke, Creative Director SXSW said:  “A combination of entrepreneurial savvy, artistic integrity, and a collective vision realised through partnerships between businesses and governmental agencies, ensure the UK presence can not be missed by anyone. The UK makes South by Southwest a better experience for all who attend, and the artists and all the people responsible for making this happen are owed a debt of gratitude by music lovers worldwide.”

Further information about the British Music Abroad scheme can be found at: www.prsformusicfoundation.com/britishmusicabroad

Further information about South By Southwest can be found at: www.sxsw.com

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