January 15, 2008 / 2:04 AM / 10 years ago

Brits go pop with nominations

LONDON (Reuters) - The Brits went pop on Monday with Lebanese singer Mika, boy band Take That and reality TV star Leona Lewis taking the lead when nominations were announced for an industry struggling to adapt to the digital age.

<p>Mika performs on stage during the TV Show "Wetten Dass" in Graz December 8, 2007. Mika, boy band Take That and reality TV star Leona Lewis took the lead when nominations for the Brits awards were announced for an industry struggling to adapt to the digital age. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer</p>

Each boasted four nominations when the shortlist was chosen for the industry’s annual showcase, overshadowed by reports that record label EMI could slash up to one third of its staff.

Take That, back on the comeback trail with a vengeance, hope to be crowned Best British Group and Best Live Act, where they are pitted against The Arctic Monkeys.

Leona, winner of the X-Factor reality TV show, hopes to land the Best British Female title after releasing the fastest-selling British debut album of all time. It sold 375,000 copies in its first week

She will perform live at the Brits award ceremony on February20.

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse, who has made more headlines for her drug woes than she has for her music, is in the running for Best British Single with a cover version of the Zutons’ “Valerie.”

Australia’s Kylie Minogue, back in the pop frontline after recovering from breast cancer, is bidding for Best International Female and Best International Album. She will also perform live on the big night.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney is to be garlanded with an Outstanding Contribution to Music Award.

In the world’s second biggest record market after the United States and Japan, online downloads more than doubled at the end of 2007.

But album sales have fallen by almost 11 percent to 138.1 million albums in an industry hit by illegal piracy and superstars like Radiohead and Prince offering giveaways.

“Talent wise, the industry is fine,” said Gareth Grundy, deputy editor of Q Magazine. “But making money out of it -- people still haven’t got a clue how to do that. The game has changed completely and there don’t seem to be any rules.”

Martin Talbot, managing director of the official UK Charts company, agreed: “These are tough times for the business.”

“But the biggest positive of all is that the biggest-selling albums and singles were dominated by UK acts. Seven of the top 10 albums are Brits,” he told Reuters.

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