Annual General Meeting - report

  • MPA holds AGM at Royal Institution, London
  • Sarah Osborn calls on YouTube to negotiate fairly with rights holders
  • Chris Butler highlights the contribution music publishers make to the UK economy
  • MPA Gold Badges awarded to Sally Groves and Peter Barnes

The Music Publishers Association (MPA) held its Annual General Meeting today, Tuesday 24 June 2014, at the Royal Institution in London.

Speeches to the AGM

The formal business of the AGM included reports from MPA Chairman Chris Butler, MPA Chief Executive Sarah Osborn and Jane Dyball, CEO of MPA subsidiaries Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL).

In her first address as MPA Chief Executive Sarah Osborn added the support of the MPA to other voices across the industry in calling on YouTube to negotiate fairly with indie labels without abusing its market dominance. "If companies such as Google are now acting in the role of cultural gatekeepers, whether by accident or by design, they must bear some responsibility to not act against the interests of the creators upon whose labour large parts of their business are built". She also spoke about the collective strength the members of the MPA draw from their diversity.

Chris Butler – who was re-elected unopposed as MPA Chairman at the meeting - opened the AGM by summarising a number of important developments over the past 12 months. The launch of the PMLL’s Schools Printed Music Licensing Scheme was a notable success for the Association, with a first round of distributions made to member music publishers in December 2013.  Chris noted that the music publishing industry contributed over £400m GVA to the UK economy in 2012, and that with emerging new digital business models this might be expected to grow. He also gave the full support of the MPA to the ongoing development of a Global Repertoire Database, saying that “in this digital licensing environment, data management to ensure the efficient administration of rights is crucial”.

Jane Dyball outlined her strategy for MCPS having been appointed CEO towards the end of 2013. Her message to licensees: “I’m going to make it as easy as I possibly can to get you a licence (at a fair market price) for mechanical rights, so that you can pay MCPS and we can pay the publishers and writers.  I’m then going to enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with you which is built on the common bond of a love for music”.

Board elections

A total of 9 MPA members stood for 6 elected director vacancies on the MPA Board. Results of the voting, which had taken place online in advance of the meeting, were announced, with Andy Heath (Beggars Music Ltd), Linda Hawken (Peters Edition Ltd), and Paulette Long (Long Term Music) all re-elected to the Board having been required to retire by rotation. Also elected to the Board were Judith Webb (Schott Music Ltd), Phil Hope (Cutting Edge Music (Holdings) Ltd) and Justin Perry (Proof Songs Ltd).

MPA Gold Badges

Chris Butler also presented two MPA Gold Badges. The award is made to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to music publishing.

Sally Groves was the figurehead of the Schott London office for a period of four decades, attracting major composers and transforming the office in Great Marlborough Street into a creative home for a wealth of musicians and composers. She has given many talented young composers the foothold to a career, guiding them on their path with incredible generosity and commitment. She maintained long and fruitful working relationships with Michael Tippett, Hans Werner Henze, György Ligeti and Toru Takemitsu.

The second MPA Gold Badge recipient was Peter Barnes, Chairman of Pink Floyd Music Publishers Limited, the company he inaugurated in 1973. His own companies Rock Music Company Limited and later Plangent Visions Music Limited publish various writers whose works have been recorded by The Damned, Nick Lowe, The Specials, Scissor Sisters, Fat Les, The Eagles, Johnny Cash, Akon, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and many others.

MPA Richard Toeman Scholarship

Chris Butler presented the 2014 MPA Richard Toeman Scholarship Awards. The annual Scholarship, now in its ninth year, is designed to encourage those who are new to the business or seeking to join the business and who are committed to a career in music publishing.

This year Louisa Sullivan an employee of Schott Music, was the winner in the publisher category and Tierney Kirby, a recent music graduate, was the winner in the student category.

Guest speakers

The audience of MPA members and invited guests also heard from guest speakers Guillaume Arth and Will Page, respectively Director of Licensing and Director of Economics at Spotify in the UK.