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David Baxter

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British band breakthrough another online victory
By Mike Collett-White
Tue Jan 16, 2007

WITHAM (Reuters) - A little known band reaching no. 31 in the British charts is not normally the stuff of headlines.

But Koopa's breakthrough into the prestigious top 40 this week is another landmark in an Internet revolution sweeping the music industry.

The punk-rock trio from Essex, east England, have literally played to one man and his dog, so modest is their background.

"At one point the man left for 10 minutes, but the dog, he weren't going nowhere," Joe Murphy, guitarist and singer, told Reuters in his distinctive Essex slang.

"He loved it, tail wagging," the 26-year-old added in a run-down studio on a bleak industrial estate where the band have been rehearsing and recording for years.

Koopa is the first unsigned band to land a top 40 single -- Blag, Steal & Borrow -- that is available only by downloading it on the Internet.

The breakthrough followed changes to the chart this month that mean no physical version of a record is required for the track to qualify.

Record executives believe the change will level the playing field in music making, allowing new acts to land hits and old favorites to get a fresh lease of life.

PAVING THE WAY?
While unlikely to have the big record labels quaking in their boots, Koopa's success is the latest example of the fundamental change to the business that is allowing bands to break through via viral hype alone, with no outside backing.

Music executives admit the industry has been slow to capitalize, focusing for too long on cracking down on illegal file sharing and missing an opportunity to make money from downloads to compensate for falling CD sales.

Global digital music sales more than doubled in the first half of 2006 year-on-year, industry figures show, but the overall market fell four percent.

Koopa are not the first act to harness the Internet -- the Arctic Monkeys in Britain won a huge online following before securing a record label deal, and went on to have the fastest selling debut album in the country's history.

But they are unlikely to be the last, argues Murphy.

"We've played with many good bands who could definitely make it and I hope they do now," he said, flanked by brothers Stu and Ollie Cooper, drummer and guitarist/vocalist respectively.

"They're the kind of bands that record labels wouldn't touch normally, but now either record labels are going to have to touch them or they are going to do it themselves."

The band was critical of big record companies and what they said was a tendency to change bands' style and music. Ollie, 19, recalled one unsuccessful meeting with a major label.

"It was going well, this little meeting we had, and then they said 'What would you do if we told you what to do?' And I told them to get lost and we left."

Murphy said Koopa had received several phone calls from record labels -- both major and independent -- since their recent success, and the band was not averse to signing a deal.

"It's almost like the boot's on the other foot and we're saying to the record labels: 'Well, you've got to come to us and impress us and make us want to sign to your label', rather than us going to them."

The band may be going to the United States to record for a label there, and they believe they have a secret weapon to crack the key market that many British groups have failed to conquer.

When Stu, 25, turns his head to one side, his spiked hair is a spitting image of the Statue of Liberty's pointed crown.
 

sister-ray

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I was talking to my hairdresser about this, its brillant gives everyone a chance to get in the charts, dont need a recording contract anymore,, maybe we might get some decent stuff in there now:)
 

Halo

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You really didn't think that I would let you or anyone get away with dissing Rap and Hip Hop :eek:mg: :D
 

Halo

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To be honest, I like all kinds of music with the exception of classical. But my favourite is definitely rap/hip hop :D
 

sister-ray

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oh dear I'd better not say anything bad about hip hop and rap ever again:D One type of music i dont like at all is jazz, jazz rock is ok but proper jazz:eek:
 

Halo

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Its okay if you do TTE, I won't hold it against you....a lot of people don't like rap and hip hop :)
 

sister-ray

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well if I had a choice between jazz and hiphop/rap I would choose hiphop and rap anyday! dont be too:shocked: David:D
 

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