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MPA CEO REPORT – AGM 2018 – Cut version

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Good afternoon and welcome to the AGM.

The MPA Group continues to change and develop. This year we have said goodbye to the IMPEL digital licensing business and we wish them the best on their journey. Meanwhile MCPS will be starting a new multi-territory business in order to give MCPS members a digital licensing option “at home”. There has never been so much choice for music publishers – it’s a great time to be in our business.

Our AGM is an opportunity for us to update you on what we have done, celebrate some of our successes and tell you what are our key strategies going forward. The focus, however, is on getting stuff done, which is what we try to be about here at the MPA: Deeds not Words.

Over the past year we have held almost 100 members committees and meetings, featuring 110 different publishing executives from across 60 of our members’ companies. We’ve shared our members’ wisdom across subject matters ranging from public policy, finance, education and training, licensing, operations and so much more. These meetings are key in helping us achieve what we have. From setting and implementing our crucial lobbying strategies, to creating and monitoring the key performing indicators of MCPS’ ground-breaking new deal with PRS, to choosing the Richard Toeman scholarship awardees, each meeting delivers actions and decisions for us to implement to make our service and our businesses better.

We’ve worked hard at raising the profile of the MPA. Whether with our legislators (who are now regular guests at MPA events), with our customers (MCPS is a now sponsor of the AIM awards and the Production Music Awards), with our writers (MPA is now sponsor of the BASCAS Classical composer awards) and with education (PMLL this year created a schools competition called “Shake It UP”).   As the stats show, our twitter following is the highest, and most engaged, of any music publishing trade body in the world.

We intend to do much more regionally and although we are not yet able to livestream our events, we are planning to implement that soon, and in the meantime do record them to make them available to those who can’t attend.

One of the highlights this year to me was setting up a group for young music publishers provisionally called The YMPA.  This is a group who are passionate about the training of future music publishers, the need for a peer mentoring network and we are delighted that we will be working alongside this group over the coming months.

Our Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL) business is learning every day about the reality of music provision at primary and secondary schools and are delighted to have appointed Abigail D’Amore as our non-executive director, given her vast direct experience in the music provision of schools.  We think music education in schools is under threat.

At part of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnerships and through the YMPA we are hearing that the teaching of the business of music publishing could be improved. However our job is not to stand with our arms crossed tutting about the state of the nation or of the world. We have to make sure we are doing everything we can to help!

Here’s one thing we can all do: All of you at senior level should sign up for this charity (Speakers4Schools). It sends speakers into schools to talk about their careers. I do it and I can tell you it’s terrifying. The most I have to cope with here is you checking your emails. Try talking to a bunch of 13-year-olds in an innercity school, most of whom don’t have English as their first language. But even if just basically crowd control it’s incredibly rewarding and I’m delighted that we currently have Emma Mavrigiannaki doing work experience for us from the Speaker 4 Schools work experience programme S4S:Next Gen. Emma really is a credit to the programme.

Once in the music publishing ecosystem we often see your new starters on our famous Induction Course. This is a course which we have gradually changed over the sessions we have run this year to make it the most useful and most comprehensive it can be. We were also delighted earlier this year to run our seminar on how to grow a publishing company. We are also working on an advanced licensing course for music publishing which will run over several weeks autumn 2019, as well as running our bi-annual GCEP course in January and the joint MPA/MMF course. We are also about to launch our Census of music publishing.

With the help of Nigel Elderton we have also set up a publishers’ consultation group for ICE. Data is crucial for the growth of our two businesses, MCPS and PMLL, but so are the mandates under which they operate. These are two ambitious businesses and both are highly focussed on looking at future sources of revenue. PMLL so far only operates one licence – for schools.  There are opportunities for PMLL to license higher education establishments, music hubs, amateur choirs and online lyrics.  These are all areas where illegal photocopying is taking place but we have to license rather than sue and we need your mandates to do it.

There is so much we want to do and we are so ambitious to give you a trade association and businesses which are as dynamic as your own businesses, but we have to remember the journey as well as the destination. We must pause to listen to the music, to celebrate the growth and development of the executives around us and, I hate to say it, to watch the football. Thank you again for coming and I look forward to catching up with you over a drink this evening at our Summer Party.

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