Syco analysis: The low-key demise of Simon Cowell's former label

Syco analysis: The low-key demise of Simon Cowell's former label

It’s all over for Syco as a frontline label at Sony Music, Music Week has confirmed.

In July, label founder Simon Cowell struck a deal with Sony to buy the music major’s stake in his Syco Entertainment company. Cowell took sole ownership of the TV brands, including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, while Sony retained sole ownership of Syco Music.

At the time, Music Week revealed that the company faced an uncertain future within Sony. Now we have confirmed that Syco MD Tyler Brown has left Sony. Another senior label exec, Tom Hoare – who had only joined Syco last November as head of digitalhas now rejoined PIAS in a similar role.

Sony UK refused to comment but sources confirmed that all Syco Music employees and artists have now either been redeployed within Sony Music or have left the company.

It’s a low-key end for a label which dominated British pop for almost two decades with a seemingly endless flow of talent show artists such as One Direction and Little Mix, and won the hotly-contested Record Company award at the Music Week Awards as recently as 2017. The label is at No.14 on Music Week’s year-to-date AES All Albums market share charts, with 1.0%.

The majority of Syco catalogue recordings will likely now be handled by its sister label RCA, which also took on Little Mix when the group left Syco in 2018 following a bust-up between Syco and the group’s management company, Modest Management. Little Mix's own TV talent show, The Search, debuted at the weekend.

The roster had been further run down since Little Mix left, with one of Syco's few remaining stars, Tokio Myers, recently declaring himself “a free agent” on social media because Syco was "no longer in operation".

It now remains to be seen whether Cowell – who is currently recovering from back surgery following a bike accident – has any aspirations to get back into the music biz. Artists from his TV shows will now be free to sign to any label, with Sony no longer enjoying first refusal. But the newly-independent Syco Entertainment looks likely to initially concentrate on rebooting its TV shows, with The X Factor taking a break from ITV this year.

* To read our 2017 Simon Cowell cover story, click here. To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, sign up to our digital issue by clicking here.

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