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Uk Music Business Overview

Essay by review  •  November 1, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  8,563 Words (35 Pages)  •  2,383 Views

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This report will look at each association and organisation in turn and assess their relevance to an artist/writer running their own record label. The report will discuss the various aims, functions, purpose, finances and structures of each organisation while also showing what interest they have in intellectual property.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) was formally incorporated in 1973 when initially its aims were to combat the growing problem of music piracy. Since then, the BPI has represented the views and concerns of British record companies not just in music piracy, but in aspects of the music industry such as Rights negotiations, promotion of the industry, and research and publication of key statistics. BPI has an interest in over 90 percent of music recorded and released in the United Kingdom (UK) due to the fact that the BPI represents over 300 record companies. The BPI endeavours to help record companies bring about better business even if the company is a member or not. They have succeeded in pursuing Copyright Tribunal decisions that will benefit the industry as a whole. By continually lobbying and promoting the industry with its economic and cultural value, the BPI hope to improve perceptions and thus influence the policy makers to change the current laws. Currently the BPI is aiming to cut VAT (value added tax) on compact disc’s completely claiming the music is of cultural experience and value, rather than just entertainment. This is a hard aim to achieve as the perception of the industry at the present time is false, only a small percentage of the industry really earn enough income to sustain a living purely through music. This perception needs to change before the law will.

When it is felt the record label it wants to expand its repertoire abroad to foreign markets, the BPI will help give a better understanding of foreign markets and develop relationships with governing bodies. BPI is a strong supporter of MIDEM (an annual international trade fair) in the south of France as one fifth of all the companies attending are from the UK. However the BPI’s main interest abroad is to do with gaining a foothold on the American music market for its members. Recent initiatives include a Best of British Virgin Megastore in New York to try to promote UK artists around North America. The BPI also organised a music industry briefing course for overseas British Consulate’s and Council’s for the first time ever; insight into Russia’s music market and reports on the similarities and differences between UK and French music industries. The flagship of the BPI is the BRIT Awards, a celebration of British music broadcasting to a world-wide audience of approximately 130 countries. Not only is this an excellent opportunity for British music but the awards are also run at a profit for the BPI and being associated with the BRIT Awards will increase sales and chart position almost immediately.

The majority of the BPI’s decisions and strategies are formed by the BPI Council, supported by the BPI Committees and then implemented by the 26 staff BPI employ. The BPI Council is elected by all the members at the AGM on a policy of 1 record company, 1 vote regardless of the size of the record company. This is stop the major record companies such as Sony and Universal electing Council members favourable to there own cause. In theory the artist’s independent small record label has the same influence when it comes to electing members to represent their label and the industry as any other record company. The BPI Committees comprise of relevant individuals from member companies. The different Committees look at the issues involving rights, finance, public relations, classical and international. Each Committee is there to co-ordinate responses, discuss issues and promote common themes to and for its members and the media. All the Committees meet regularly while the Council meets approximately every 2 months.

The full services the BPI offers to its members are:

 Having negotiated industry agreements on behalf of its members, the BPI will allow access to them. Currently the BPI is in Rights negotiation with the Mechanical Copyright and Protection Society (MCPS) over royalty rates on DVD’s.

 The BPI legal department offers free advice on music industry issues.

 To keep its members up to date on industry issues, developments, events and trade fairs; the BPI will join the business to their mailing list.

 Allows access to the BPI’s Anti Piracy Unit, which has developed a well respected reputation for tackling music piracy. They deal with infringements of copyright of BPI members as piracy costs the UK music industry millions of pounds each year. The BPI is also a founding member of the Alliance against Counterfeiting and Piracy (AACP), which is working towards the protection of intellectual property rights by improving anti-piracy legislation. The BPI are so serious about fighting piracy that one quarter of the staff and budget are used to combat this problem.

 At international trade fairs such as MIDEM, the BPI gives discounts to its members to be on their stand.

 The BPI sets up seminars and training courses at either a reduced rate or free for its members.

 A discounted trademark registration package negotiated by the BPI

 Savings on chart data. This entitles members to view facts and figures so they can understand the music industry to a better degree at a cheap cost. Statistics are published every quarter on the latest industry results and every year a handbook is compiled and produced to display a guide to the industry in numbers for members and the media. Along with this, the BPI will produce market information booklets throughout the year providing recent statistics. This is all down to collaboration with the British Association of Record Dealers (BARD) to have an independent chart company in which each organisation own 50 percent. The Official Chart Company (OCC) therefore was set up to contractually employs a company (Millward Brown) to collate all the data required every time a record was sold. Over 99 percent of over the counter sales are recorded from approximately 5,600 retail stores nation-wide. This allows a record label to find out where, what shop, how many are sold, to see if distribution was correct and perhaps even where to advertise specifically.

 At industry events such as the BPI Annual General Meeting (AGM), members will

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