Rocker Richard Ashcroft is the one artist to be rescued by VIRGIN RECORDS after the label decided to close down their HUT imprint.

Despite the former-independent Hut making a name in the nineties for breaking new acts, Virgin has now decided to close it down meaning bands including Placebo, Gomez and The Music will soon be without record contracts.

However, according to sources, former VERVE frontman Ashcroft will be retained by the company.

The source says, "Hut was a major force in the nineties, but in the current climate, Virgin decided it had to close.

"It's a tough time in the musical industry with the changes coming from downloading music. Hut are one of the victims.

"But Virgin bosses are convinced Ashcroft can still make money. They are currently negotiating a new deal with him."

05/05/2004 02:41