Sep 24, 2020
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How To Make Money From Rock: Blue Raincoat Goes From Debbie Harry To The Specials

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Debbie Harry performs at the Paradiso on 22nd November 1989 in Amsterdam the Netherlands. (Photo by. [+] REDFERNS The music company Blue Raincoat has just celebrated its fifth birthday already working with some of the biggest artists in the business. Debbie Harry the Specials and the Waterboys are among them


Its catalog includes Sinead O Connor s version of Nothing Compares To U Ultravox s Vienna and Mike Chapman s The Best (made famous by Tina Turner). The publishing and management company started by buying the U. K. label Chrysalis Records. The company s eclectic roster now includes everything from the Swinging Blue Jeans to Ten Years After Steve Harley Gentle Giant Robin Trower Suzi Quatro and Fun Lovin Criminals


Blue Raincoat is making waves at a time when doom-merchants are forecasting the whole demise of the record industry because of digital theft and lower returns from file-sharing sites. Jeremy Lascelles runs the company with Robin Millar who produced the original Sade albums and also Everything But The Girl (which bought back its catalogue from Warner and certified it to the hot company)


Lascelles recalls in an interview: Robin took my good idea my demo if you like and turned it into a well-produced master. Lascelles has sometimes defied some of the rules widely accepted by other music executives. It truly is said that if you don t break an act at the first record forget it; that small independent companies can t survive as ever-larger mega-corporations eat them up; and that streaming is killing the old labels


He has proved this wrong. When Blue Raincoat started he said streaming was an innovation: nobody had figured out what it was going to mean. He can afford to grin sitting in his airy office in London s Clerkenwell area with a wall of gold and platinum discs behind him


Lascelles adds: we reaped the advantages of the streaming revolution. Our timing was fortunate. There s no question that recorded music is now a valuable commodity. Even 10 years ago people thought its value was just falling off a cliff. PROMOTED UNICEF USA BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
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VT Engage Rally The Youth Vote On Campus Robin Millar Steve Harley and Jeremy Lascelles BLUE RAINCOAT VIA OUTSIDE ORGANISATION There will always be people creating music


And always people who consume it. We are an industry that connects one to the other. Now we need to connect through different routes than just selling records. He’s bullish pointing to income from live music publishing merchandise branding and more though he notes: There’s a horrible imbalance because some songwriters are earning appallingly small amounts and aren t getting a fair slice of the pie


That s an important issue that the industry has to address. Lascelles started as a band and tour manager in the early 1970s at the age of 17. He moved to Virgin Records during its glory years of the 1980s working with artists along with Culture Club Human League and Soul II Soul


He recalls: I had a good relationship with Phil Collins. He would send me the demos before we started creating a record even if he was the most successful solo artists in the world to get my feedback. Lascelles joined Chrysalis in 1994 finally becoming its Chief Executive. The label founded by Chris Wright in the 1960s had become part of EMI


I signed David Gray early in his career to Virgin in 1992 Lascelles says. I left Virgin a year after that and stayed nearly him personally and professionally watched him struggle with three unsuccessful records. When I joined Chrysalis we helped finance his next album initially released on his own label in Ireland at the end of 1998


Everyone said I was crazy: he s never going to make it. The album finally broke in the summer of 2000. White Ladder has now sold more than 8 million copies he says. He was also delighted to determine Portishead succeed with Dummy. He would were thrilled if it had sold just 100 000 copies and it has shifted more than 3 million now


Lascelles also helped prepare artists for the soccer anthem Three Lions in 1996 one of the U. K. s biggest-selling singles of all time. In 2011 Universal bought EMI. Chrysalis was later hived off to Warner and then sold to Blue Raincoat s founders as part of the agreement with Impala the independent trade association


In a five-year window Chrysalis repeatedly changed hands. It wasn t given loads of love and attention just shifted around. When we took it over it needed loads of good housekeeping since it made been neglected. Some of the artists were thrilled to be contacted by their record company for their music made 20 to 40 years ago


The regular publishing income gives them to scope to invest on new talent and they plan to restart Chrysalis as a frontline label. One of the bands he highlights Blue Raincoat manages the band Cigarettes After Sex: even people in the industry haven t heard of them and we’ve sold nearly 600 000 albums and sell 5 000 concert tickets in the major markets


That s a phenomenal level of success in a short while for a band still very underground. He also namechecks Phoebe Bridges the duo Let s Eat Grandma and William the Conqueror. Lascelles says: We haven t done too badly. We started with an empty office and a blank sheet of paper



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