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The Brits were bestowed at a time when the U.K. music business is facing an uncertain future. The sound of online music beckons and multinational corporate giants loom.
BRITS HONOR YANKS, CHECK FOR OWN PULSE
Macy, Beck and TLC Score, While Travis and Robbie Williams Keep the Home Fires Burning
Despite losing the Best New Artist Grammy last month to teen diva Christina Aguilera, soul sister Macy Gray nabbed two trophies at the Brit Awards, the United Kingdom's top music honors, held 3/3 at London's Earls Court.

Gray, whose debut album, "On How Life Is," is currently streaking up the U.S. sales chart—with a shove from her Grammy appearance and much critical praise from both sides of the Atlantic—was honored in the Best International Newcomer and Best International Female categories.

U.K. pop-alternative act Travis, still relatively unknown on these shores, and worldwide sensation Robbie Williams also grabbed two awards each. Travis was named Best British Group and was awarded the Best British Album trophy for "The Man Who?" Meanwhile, pop star Williams, the former leader of Take That, who has been unable to break in the States but is hugely popular everywhere else, scored with "She's the One," which was named Best Video and Best British Single.

U.S. PoMo kingpin Beck was named Best International Male, while TLC, who recently picked up three Grammys, were dubbed Best International Group.

The Best British Dance Act trophy was bestowed upon the Chemical Brothers, the Best British Newcomer award went to S Club 7, the Best British Pop accolade went to 5ive, the Best Selling British Live Act was Steps and the Best Soundtrack was handed to "Notting Hill." Best British Male and Female honors went to Tom Jones and Beth Orton, respectively. And just to make the whole experience truly surreal, the Spice Girls were honored for their "Outstanding Contribution to British Music."

The Brits were bestowed at a time when the U.K. music business is facing an uncertain future. The sound of online music beckons (and British labels lag behind even their slow-to-adapt U.S. brethren) and multinational corporate giants loom after Time Warner's anticipated takeover of Britain's last independent music company, EMI Group plc. Following the glory years of Britpop, during which bands such as Oasis, Blur and Radiohead took the world (if not the U.S.) by storm, U.K. music has been in the doldrums of late.

The British Phonographic Industry, however, says things are looking up. After three quarters of flat sales, Q4 1999 generated the highest sales revenue ever, with a 2.5 percent rise in the value of music sales. British exports are also picking up, and British acts made up a quarter of the million-plus-album-sales club in Europe last year.

Even so, U.K. label execs say they still can’t afford to underwrite a dental plan.

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