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Day 2 Specialist Seminar Review – How to Grow a Publishing Company


Panel 1 – Networking: The Importance of Networking


‘Do your research, talk to them & follow up the next day’ – Lynne McDowell’s 3 top tips


One phrase that rings loud and clear within the music industry is “it’s not so much what you know, it’s who you know”. This may instil dread in many but to others, the idea of ‘working the room’ and finding potential new collaborators or even friends is a perk of the job.

MPA’s very own networking expert Kirsty Booth, MPA Membership & Outreach Manager, chaired the first panel of the second day. Panellist included Steve Farris (Founder, 13 Artists), Lynne McDowell (PPL, Head of Communications) Remi Harris (Founder, Young Guns Network), Vanessa Read (CEO, PRS Foundation), all of who have used networking to advance and grow in their career.

Top quotes & tips:

  •  Vanessa – ‘I don’t see it at as networking. It’s about the psychology of how you think about yourself in that room. It’s the human nature side that I try to focus on’
  • Vanessa – ‘It’s not as embarrassing as you thought it was’
  •  Vanessa – ‘Be generous and not selfish. Whatever tools you adopt have to be the best for you. Be authentic’
  •  Vanessa -‘Get someone to formally introduce you. Get someone to be your link’
  •  Lynne – ‘Break it down into something more achievable. Thinking about the end result and working backwards’
  •  Lynne – ‘Always read the news, especially the music news’
  •  Remi – ‘Joining the MPA and other networks is a great way to meet people and gain some more structure. Going to events that have some sort of agenda and structure is easier’
  •  Remi – ‘Make sure people that care know where you are and what you’re doing’
  •  Remi – ‘Make it easy for people to find you again’
  •  Kirsty – ‘Write something on a business card to remember who they are’
  •  Steve – ‘‘Try not to thinking about it at networking, try and think about it as making friends and sharing common and interests’ 


Panel 2 – Sub Publishing: How to Find a Sub Publisher & Other International Options


‘Finding someone that suits you and that actually works for your particular catalogue’ – Rak Sanghvi


Publishing is a truly international business with the British music publishing industry delivering £649m a year in exports to the British economy, so how do you get your share of that?

This panel spoke about the difference between a sub-publisher and an affiliate, finding and monitoring sub-publishers and whether you should be a direct member of collection societies internationally.

Panellist included Rak Sanghvi (Managing Director UK/International, Spirit B-Unique), Mike Box (Chief Financial Officer, Reservoir/ Reverb), Jonathan Kyte (Managing Director UK/International, BMG) and Jen O’Connell (Director of Song Publishing & Licensing, Integrity Music). Paulette Long (Director, Westbury Music) chaired the panel.

Top quotes & tips:

  • Mike – ‘It’s what you actually want from your sub-publisher, how much creative input you actually want? Do you want them just to be very good at collecting the money? Are you looking for them to just be good at the sync side or do you already have that covered? Will you be doing sync directly with those territories?’
  • Jen on what she looks for in a Sub Publisher – ‘Someone who is going to add real creative value in that territory, someone who will be working with your writers. Someone who will turn up at your show, take music supervisors to the show and will be pitch your catalogues’.
  • Jen on how to your pick a Sub Publisher – ‘Recommendations’
  • Rak – ‘Catalogue compatibility and research. 
  • Jonathan – ‘Find out who looks after similar catalogues…do your research and find someone who has a similar fit to you and to what your needs are at that time’
  • Paulette – ‘You need to define your international priorities. What is it that you’re looking for when you are looking for somebody to work your catalogue in another territory?’

Panel 3 – Who & How to Choose


 ‘If you’re building a publishing company you need to think about it like a piece of architecture. You need a house that isn’t going to fall down’ – Sarah Williams


So which is the best lawyer for you? How about an accountant or other professional services such as sync agencies or royalty trackers? Sarah Williams (Consultant Music Lawyer, MPA) spoke to Jay Mistry (Owner, JM Consultancy), Paul Dolan (Non-Executive Director, MCPS) and Phil Hope (Group Managing Director, Cutting Edge Group) on what services are needed when you want to build and grow a publishing company.

Top quotes & tips:

  • Paul – ‘Ask your friends within the industry who they have worked with and whether they would recommend them. The sector experience is crucial ’
  • Sarah – ‘Don’t ever be afraid of approaching people as long as the conversation is very upfront to what is going to be done for nothing and what is going to be charged for?’
  • Sarah – ‘Trust is important’
  • Sarah – ‘Don’t work with people unless you enjoy working with them, throw yourself into that relationship’
  • Jay – ‘Grow the relationship with your lawyers. The relationships that you have are key’
  • Phil – ‘Having a relationship with a good music lawyer is absolutely crucial at the beginning’
  • Phil – ‘It’s always worth remembering when you get a quote from a law firm it’s not a fixed fee’



Session 4 – The Pitch: Knock It Out the Park


‘Pitching to that specific brief and pitch creatively’ – Jonathan Tester 


So you have amazing talent, you believe in their work, but how do you deliver the perfect pitch? Jane Dyball (CEO, MPA Group) asks the big questions to a panel of experts on how they pitch for sync deals and they share their secrets to getting their writers out there.

Ian Neil (Director, Sony Music & Freelance Music Supervisor), Holly Manners (A&R, Warner Bros Records), Louise Rainbird (Head of Creative, Television, The Music Sales Group) and Jonathan Tester (Head of Creative Sync, Bucks Music) are the industry experts sharing their wisdom on this panel.

Top quotes & tips:

  • Ian on placing music for a film based in the 1950s – ‘You need to know where to go when you do need help’
  • Ian – ‘First and foremost I will ask the director what they want’
  • Jonathan – ‘I’ve always said that Sync is music in relationships, you can have the best relationships in the world but if you don’t have a track that they want they’re not going to licence it for you. You can have the best piece of music in the world but if you’re really difficult…then you won’t get the deal’
  • Jonathan – ‘First pitch send between 5 and 10 tracks’
  • Louisa – ‘A big part of it [working in sync] is marketing, letting people know what you have got to begin with. Telling them about new releases and new signings, you would be surprised to how much sync you can get from that’
  • Holly – ‘Make sure you tag your song and understand that there isn’t one song that fits all’
  • Holly – ‘Earmark the wildcard’



Session 5 – Success! How We Made It


 ‘Honest and integrity is the key to being a really good publisher’- Anne Miller 


Hear how they did it!  We asked Catherine Manners (MD, Manners McDade) to chair the final panel of the day. She talked to Anne Miller (Managing Director, Accorder Music), Blair McDonald, Managing Director, AMLOR), Annette Barrett (Managing Director, Reverb Music) and John Fogarty (Founder, New Songs Admin & Minder Music) all of which have built diverse and successful businesses from the ground up. They gave the audience invaluable insights from success stories, what they’ve learnt and where they’ve come from.

Top quotes & tips:

  • Annette – ‘Listen to advice’
  • John – ‘Music is the background to everyone’s lives’
  • John – ‘Music is a business’
  • Blair – ‘We build a company upon a good moral compass’
  • Catherine – ‘That first hire is so important’


Testimonials from the Specialist Seminar


‘There was a real spirit of community and it felt like everyone was genuinely interested in helping each other out.’

‘The networking session was hammering home the importance about relationships but also the risk in just relying on pure dumb luck – the tips were tangible and the session about sub-publishing was similarly great with some really good takeaways.’

‘There aren’t many courses out there aimed at people already established in the publishing industry so it’s certainly tapped into a gap in the market.’

‘Greatly exceeded my expectations. I went along hoping for some useful tips for choosing sub-publishers and pitching music for syncs, but came away with so much more, including some essential new contacts.’


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