Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group International's chairman/CEO, is attributing the label's recent major success in the United Kingdom to a robust retail sector that is supporting new acts.

Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group International's chairman/CEO, is attributing the label's recent major success in the United Kingdom to a robust retail sector that is supporting new acts.

Speaking to Billboard.biz after Universal Music U.K. clocked six of the 10 top records on the Official U.K. Albums Chart, published yesterday (Aug. 21), Grainge declared that U.K. consumers are hungry for new sounds.

Support at both brick-and-mortar and digital retailers contributed to the current Top-10 album hits of Universal breakthrough acts the Feeling (Island), James Morrison (Polydor), and Orson (Mercury), and recenty-established artists like Keane (Island), Snow Patrol (Fiction) and Razorlight (Vertigo).

"I believe the United States has a robust new-music market, but personified in black and hip-hop sounds," he said. "And in many European countries, such as some of the Mediterranean markets, there is not much new international music to bring to the consumer."

In the United Kingdom, however, he said new music is thriving. "That is mirrored by the conventional and digital retailers. They are in touch with the consumer, even though the market and genres go through cycles," Grainge asserted.

Moreover, he explained, these Top 10 U.K. artists are creating original fresh sounds that appeal to an ever-demanding British audience. "They are artists that don't have reality-TV shows with millions of eyeballs as a (sales) platform; their platform is their own music."

He sees their current popularity as having long-term potential, if the 2004 debut triumphs of Sister Scissors (Polydor) and Keane are an indication. "We're enjoying the delivery of even more new artists than in 2004 and I feel we're taxiing on the runway of the fourth quarter. With that, we're in a position for continued longevity and that's what we're hoping for in 2007."