February 18, 2013 9:50

Sony Music UK boss admits label has relied too heavily on 'X Factor' talent

Nick Gatfield says label 'took [its] eye off the ball'

Sony Music UK boss admits label has relied too heavily on 'X Factor' talent

Photo: PA

Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music UK has admitted that the label has become too reliant on the X Factor acts managed by Syco, its joint venture with Simon Cowell, which manages acts including One Direction and Olly Murs.

Speaking to CBI, Gatfield says: "Every one of our competitors would want the platform that The X Factor delivers. We have a phenomenal pipeline of talent coming through the TV formats and we’re incredibly lucky to have that. But I think we relied on it too much and took our eye off the ball. We got complacent."

Gatfield's strategy to combat the 'complacency' includes key signings Laura Mvula, Kodaline and Tom Odell. "We have a whole range of new artists coming to market between now and March 2014," he says. "We have the most nominated artists in the critics’ end-of-year polls for breakthrough success, while Tom Odell won the Brits Critics’ Choice award. You can’t take any ?of that to the bank yet, but experience tells me that a good number of our artists are on their way to significant sales."

In spite of Gatfield's comments, and claims that The X Factor's popularity is on the wane, last year's winner James Arthur scored the fastest-selling single of the year in 2012, shifting 490,000 copies of his song 'Impossible'.

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