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I bet you look on the off-shore

Blog post by Andrew Teacher

If there’s one thing the media like more than the super-wealthy it’s the super-worthy. And few shed a tear when the king of sanctimony Gary Barlow led those named and shamed by a Times sting this week on tax-avoiding pop stars.

Questions around whether Barlow was actually responsible for the many Take Take hits attributed to him may have gone away, but his squeaky clean image is in further tatters this week, following previous stories of a similar nature.

A healthy dose of vitriol also seemed to be laid on the doorstep of Katie Melua, who the paper reminded us had moved here from Georgia and made bold claims about her desire to play fair. No one could doubt Melua was committed to her cause, but the collateral damage has been done. Christian Aid has branded her a “fallen hero” on a follow up Guardian piece.

The shadowy figures who don’t seem to have been laid out in the sun yet are of course the brokers, who doubtlessly trousered huge sums for making introductions and filling in the forms along the way.

Also remarkably silent are the artists’ management who must also take responsibility for the PR disasters created here, particularly where valuable endorsements or advertising tie-ins are concerned. Given the intensely fickle nature of the music sector – a self-proclaimed ‘industry’ built on the whims of radio producers and fashion-conscious listeners – it’s astonishing the acts’ representatives didn't take more initiative to protect their clients who, in all likelihood, knew little.

It’s questionable whether a band like Arctic Monkeys are really damaged too much by this. After all, they've never exactly set themselves up as being part of the establishment. But there’s a deep irony of a working class band from Sheffield shuffling their millions into dodgy off-shore schemes while the communities they ditched for the bright lights of New York still limber on back in Britain’s post-industrial North.

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