Helping to develop even further the services provided by Quite Great aiding bands to grow and release music in the UK from all corner of the globe has brought back memories of my Virgin Records days with the news of the latest Virgin branded sell off (Virgin Active )from Sir Richard Branson evoking personal Recollections of the 1992 sale of the founding company of his empire, Virgin Records.
Since then his reputation as an astute deal maker with a sense of timing has led to the departure from his portfolio of Virgin Radio , four years after its arrival , in 1997 , Virgin Mobile, percentages in Virgin Rail and Virgin Atlantic and a stream of lavishly launched products from finance to cola that have performed successfully to a lesser or greater degree over his illustrious entrepreneurial career .
But it was the launch of his label in 1973 that will forever be part of British music folklore. The astounding success of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells still feels like a strangely unique and eclectically English creation. That the ‘hippy’ would play a significant part in the development of Punk in the mid seventies , speaks volumes about his maverick ‘ outsider ‘persona. The Sex Pistols having fallen foul of the establishment EMI , hastily despatched by A&M prior to the release of God Save The Queen , slap bang in the middle of the Silver Jubilee in the summer of 1977 was an opportunity too good to pass up for the soon to be recognised master of publicity. The wonderful irony of his Knighthood bestowed by the very target of that debut single for Virgin was not lost on anyone.
The announcement on a dank morning at the Kensal Dock conference room with fellow directors Simon Draper and Ken Berry marked the end of an era for the independent labels such as A&M and Chrysalis that had all been swallowed by the majors previously. It was surely the rock’n’roll glamour that the label gave him that helped his popularity and rubbed off on every brand he launched, and he seemed more ‘one of us’ when engaged in his long running disputes with British Airways chairman, Lord King.
Sir Richard Branson helped change the face of the music industry as well as the way entrepreneurs within music have helped keep the UK at the forefront of all styles and trends , with our efforts to help fill a void between labels and helping to drive structured development campaigns for artists growing in the domestic market , the guys at Quite Great hope to in some way always take a leaf out of Sir Richard’s maverick approach…