Our History
  • 1881
  • 1920
  • 1940
  • 1950
  • 1960
  • 1970
  • 1981
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2016

The MPA is the UK music industry’s oldest trade body. The Association was established in 1881, initially by nine members, to protect against unlicensed copying of sheet music


Against a background of post-war economic turbulence comes the first broadcasting boom, the emergence of recorded music and launch of the BBC. MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) is created in 1924 to collect mechanical royalties from mass-produced discs.


The MPA agrees an “Anti Plugging Agreement” with the BBC, cracking down on illicit payments between music publishers and band leaders to prioritise the broadcast of ‘favoured’ works on radio.


The MPA helps promote several schemes to promote British music, including foundation of the British Joint Copyright Council (1951) and the Ivor Novello Awards (1956).


A boom era for British music. BBC Radio 1 launches, and full-length albums become increasingly popular. Working with the British Copyright Council, the MPA presses government to take action against pirate radio stations.


The MPA acquires full ownership of MCPS in 1976.


The era of Betamax Vs VHS, home taping and MTV – opening up new challenges and opportunities alike for the music business. The MPA publishes a Code of Fair Practice to offer guidelines on the photocopying of printed music, as well as a Catalogue of Printed Music on microfiche.


The MPA is instrumental in setting up British Music Rights (1996) alongside the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and the Performing Right Society. The new umbrella body provides our sector with a single voice to communicate with politicians, media and industry, and is a direct precursor of UK Music.

The MPA continues to evolve in the digital age, launching pan-European mechanical licensing body IMPEL in 2010, and PMLL in 2013 to licence the copying of printed sheet music in schools.
2013 also saw the termination of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, and MCPS become an autonomous operation.



Under the stewardship of a single CEO, the MPA’s three businesses – IMPEL, MCPS & PMLL – officially come together as the MPA Group of Companies. In April 2016, MCPS publishers a landmark Request for Proposals [RfP] to administer operations for MCPS and IMPEL.

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You are now being redirected to the PRS For Music who administer the MCPS

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