London 2012 Olympics gave British music ‘massive boost’, says BPI Chief Executive

Geoff Taylor tells NME about the musical legacy of last summer's games

British music was given a “massive boost” by the London 2012 Olympics, according to British Phonographic Industry (BPI) Chief Executive Geoff Taylor.

In a guest blog written exclusively for NME.COM to coincide with the one year anniversary of the games, Taylor said that the use of British music in Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony, in particular, had helped give exposure to various artists.

Arctic Monkeys, Emeli Sande, Dizzee Rascal, Frank Turner and Two Door Cinema Club‘s Alex Trimble all performed live at the ceremony, while music from the likes of Fuck Buttons and Chemical Brothers was also used during the show. “Our country’s rich musical heritage proved one of the key themes, alongside British film, that ran through Danny Boyle’s brilliant Isles of Wonder narrative,” he said. “If the Games generated a palpable feel-good factor amongst the public as well as fostering even more goodwill internationally, then music certainly helped to play a key part in shaping this sentiment.

“The two ceremonies in particular helped to project our incredibly vibrant and diverse music scene to a huge global audience, introducing the likes of Frank Turner and other great new talent alongside our more established icons.”

Although Taylor admitted that the popularity of the Games had caused overall sales “to dip” that summer as people were keen to stay inside rather than go shopping for music, he also claimed that the ceremonies had helped turn Emeli Sande into “a huge star” and that artist’s who had featured in the opening ceremony had averaged a total sales uplift of 185%.

He went on to say: “In general terms, however, it’s hard to argue that the Games didn’t provide a massive boost to British music – giving it a high profile platform that we’ll hopefully all benefit from for many years to come. In this respect London 2012 was probably the most significant moment since Live Aid back in 1985 in terms of galvanising public and media interest and shining the spotlight firmly on British music.”

Taylor also argued that the Olympics, and the emphasis it placed upon British music, had helped politicians recognise its cultural importance. “I think much of this resonated with Government and our political leaders who, perhaps, came to fully understand the true value of British music – its importance culturally and economically around the World – and it may not be a coincidence that over the past 12 months they genuinely appear to be that bit more engaged and more open to the music community,” he said. You can read his post in full at NME.COM/blogs.

Earlier today, it was reported that Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner compared playing last year’s opening ceremony to “representing your country”.