Category Archives: Record Labels

Meet MMBE tutors at PPL / FAC event

MMBE tutors and representatives from Gateshead College will be attending this event, so if you’d like to come along and talk to them about the course, register for the event by via the link below.

Venue: The Sage Gateshead,

Date: Tuesday 30 October, 2012

Time: 5.30pm

Do YOU get all the money due to you as a performer or record company?

How do you know if you’re missing out on YOUR share of the pot?

PPL collects money when records are broadcast or when artists perform on recorded music.

But you can only receive that money if YOU are registered.

The money is collected FOR YOU and distributed EVERY YEAR. All you have to do is register – which is FREE to do.

PPL are holding a special event in Gateshead in October to meet performers and labels.

To ask the people at PPL just how it works and what’s involved and hear how easy it is to join, come along to the FREE PPL event at The Sage at 5.30pm on Tuesday 30th October.

You’ll meet:

  • Keith Harris, PPL Director of Performer Affairs
  • John Smith, General Secretary, Musicians Union & PPL Performer Board Member
  • Hal Ritson, FAC Board Member, musician, record producer and DJ.

The event is completely free and open to anyone involved in a band or label.


Registration starts at 5.30pm and the session starts at 6pm promptly finishing at 7.30pm when there will be an hour’s food, drinks and networking.

Any general questions about the session, please email

The Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2JR

Speaker Biogs

Keith Harris started in the music industry in 1974 working for Transatlantic, a small independent UK label. In 1976 Keith joined EMI Records where he initially worked for several in-house EMI labels in the promotions department. These included Rocket where he worked on the Elton John album ‘Blue Moves’, Fantasy, Ariola and EMI International. He then joined Motown becoming General Manager working with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder. He left in 1978 to work with Stevie Wonder and became Operations Manager for his companies. Keith joined PPL in 2006, is a former Chairman of the MMF, the managers’ trade body, and he is the Chairman of Musictank.

Hal Ritson has performed on or produced over 200 dance or urban records over the past few years, with credits including artists such as Nas, Dizzee Rascal, Lil Wayne, Newton Falkner, Jessie J, David Guetta, the Black Eyed Peas, Lethal Bizzle, Estelle, Laidback Luke, Steve Angello, Taio Cruz, Tinchy Strider and many more. His main personal project is as leader of the London-based electronic mashup collective The Young Punx.

John Smith: After studying at the Royal Academy of Music, John became a freelance musician based in London. In 1974 he joined the orchestra of English National Opera and remained there for almost 20 years. He’s been a full time MU official since 1994 and has negotiated trade agreements with UK broadcasters and audio visual producers. John is a Performer Director for PPL and also a member of the Live Music Forum.

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Filed under Course News, Digital, Record Labels

So, You’d Like To Sell Your Music?

As the debate rages on as to whether Spotify is in fact the Devil, it is safe to say that income from it is nominal at best and it should probably be viewed simply as a promotional tool. This handy infographic demonstrates exactly how much an artist can make digitally and how. Encouragingly, it seems that the DIY method serves best, good news for all struggling musicians! However, the highest returns come from vinyl. If an artist can afford the initial layout and the consumer actually has the means to play it… could (or should) this signal a return to the much-beloved medium of wax?

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Filed under Digital, Record Labels, Uncategorized

Indies Speak Out Against Proposed Universal / EMI Takeover

As Universal Music attempts to secure a $1.2bn takeover of EMI, some independent labels fear this could create an unfair monopoly of the market. Having been pressed by the European Commission, Lucian Grainge, Universal’s chairman, has offered independents first refusal of $250m worth of assets including Virgin, Mute and Sanctuary Records.

In an open letter submitted to Music Week, Simon Raymonde of  independent label, Bella Union, has explained why he believes the merger would “spell trouble” for the independent music network in future.

Bella Union was voted Best Independent Label by a panel of independent retailers at the Music Week Awards earlier this year.

You can read Raymonde’s letter below.Image

We have reached a cultural crossroads. The tangible assistance that the incredible advances in technology have made to our lives in the last 20 years, is now slowing down to an alarming halt. I can’t imagine any more development in our communications technology is actually going to make our lives significantly any better from now on.

We can talk to friends, colleagues in other countries on good quality Skype, we can watch what we want whenever we want, order food to be delivered without leaving the chair, pay bills on our phones, find the late-night supermarket still open near our house via an app, talk into our phones to dictate meaningless messages that appear as text on the phones of friends we never see. 

Already this luxury of digital convenience has begun to have an effect on other aspects of our daily dredge. We now email people sat 2 foot away in the same office, we don’t talk to them. We sit on the bus in isolation with our music on, never daring or caring to talk to each other, or we talk so loudly on our mobiles that it’s no great surprise, that we don big noise-reducing headphones just to block out the incessant din of meaningless chatter or that musical tick-tick-tick of false nail on plastic keypad,  oh how we have come to embrace the mundane!

And yet, as I sit on my bus, in blissful isolation of my own, I momentarily find myself  passing Universal Records in Kensington High St , just as yet ANOTHER possible merger of music companies is hitting the headlines again, and causing those four or five of us left, who still actually care about the level and quality of the turf on what has for so long been an un-even playing field, to make efforts to protect the interests of the many over the needs of the few.

I am not a politician, I am actually a musician who happens to run a record label, and my role within AIM I would like to think, is to provide more of a creator’s view, on subjects that require my input. In my 30 years in the music industry- the first 15 as an Artist – having spent 10 years signed to an Independent, and 5 to a major label – I have a perspective that is maybe not as obvious as it would seem. As an observer of experience, I can say that in those record companies where the folks doing the work are also the folks making the decisions, those companies are more likely to succeed.

It seems that corporations have a different long-term objective; ‘we are NOT succeeding in any shape or form,  so let’s accumulate more market share’. Major labels went wrong for a large number of small reasons, but mostly because when something BIG went wrong, the buck got passed so many times, it eventually got lost in a back room that hasn’t been opened in a while. In small companies when something goes wrong, we cannot pass the buck, because once you have handed it to Jim, who hands it to Alice, that’s it – that IS the company! You have to deal with it.

The future of the music business is with the artists and the small label entrepreneurs. The infrastructure of a major record label is SO crazy and obsolete it’s actually funny. The reason they have succeeded in the past is that they could manufacture & then sell their music faster and cheaper than the competition, but this is no longer the case.

The strength of the independents is in the ability to make decisions quickly and move on; in the ability to sign emerging bands that are genuinely worth talking about; and in delivering a product to the audience that is credible and authentic.

Increasing their market share by a few % via the acquisition of EMI may not SEEM such a big deal (‘whats a few percent between friends?”) but Universal will want to continue to shape and create digital music services of the future to their own benefit, and such an artificial merger can only spell trouble for smaller labels, and the artists, by monopolising the digital market. The final word on the pros and cons of Merging vs Emerging should go to Seth Godin who wrote this:

Emerging is when you use a platform to come into your own.

Merging is when you sacrifice who you are to become part of something else.

Merging is what the system wants from you. To give up your dreams and your identity to further the goals of the
system. Managers push for employees to merge into the organisation.

Emerging is what a platform and support and leadership allow you to do. Emerging is what we need from you.

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Filed under Record Labels, Uncategorized

You Me at 6

This week we asked our very own Bob Allan from Generator to guest post for us on the topic of BBC 6 Music and their 10th birthday… Take it away Bob!

BBC 6 Music celebrated it’s 10th birthday this week two years after the station was threatened with closure, it was rightfully saved by the overwhelming response from it’s listeners supporting this special place on the digital airwaves.

The station deserves to be celebrated for its John Peel-esque eclecticism, its passionate presenters, its home for the alternative but most of all for its huge support of new music. If you’re a DIY musician, Record Label, Publisher or Manager then radio is a really important platform giving exposure to new artists and for collecting royalties.

6 Music is heavily involved in BBC Introducing that gives the opportunity for new music to be played on national radio and Tom Robinson’s show is an incredibly important part of this. The show plays all new music and feeds into a network of DJs both at 6 Music and Radio 1 who can give spot plays on daytime shows. It’s not only BBC Introducing that plays new music on the station, if your music is great, sent in the right way and targeted at the right DJ then the specialist evening shows and presenters give play to new music they like. Check my toolkit on ‘How to… send your music to radio’

This is why 6 Music should be celebrated: it gives a national voice for new alternative music.

I’ve had the pleasure of my music being played on 6 Music, the first time in 2008 by Tom Robinson and it gave me and my band a big confidence boost, we then got invited for an interview and after working at Generator sending Tom loads of music from the region I got the chance to co-present a whole show of North East music with him. The passion and enthusiasm for new music from the presenters along with playing the what they want from the best of what has been is really what sets this station apart.

Happy birthday 6 Music, your ten years are truly worth celebrating. Here’s to ten more.

Enjoy Bob’s post? Keep up to date with his goings on via his Twitter

Bob Allan : Support musicians working at @GeneratorNE / Plays Bass in@young_liar / Runs a Record Label @thecalicoprint / Manages @vinyljacketuk / Promoter @monthoffridays

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Management, Production, Record Labels

State of Independents

Adele with her six Grammys

In the past few weeks we’ve seen Independent Labels prove their worth at big awards ceremonies with artists such as Adele getting a clean sweep at the Grammys and Brits. Although a trophy is nice, these big events in the industry calendar have also been great for Indie labels having their acts perform on the night – Glassnote Records had Mumford & Sons perform live during the Grammys award ceremony which was broadcasted worldwide! Not bad for an Indie.

Not only this but we saw Mumford & Sons nominated for Best New Artist as well as Arcade Fire winning album of the year at the Grammys and at the other side of the Atlantic, Arctic Monkeys (Domino) were nominated for British Group and Example (Ministry of Sound) British Single at Brits. In 2011 Indies had a 25% share in the 113m albums sold in the UK alone. That’s not too shabby.

So perhaps the switch to digital hasn’t been such a bad thing for the music industry? Instead of remaining stuck in the past and sticking to traditional channels, embracing the digital age has been a good move for Indies. Social media has enabled them and their artists to talk directly to their fans and share news immediately: a personal touch which has proved popular across the board. Sharing their music through legal streaming (Spotify rearing its head again) has also enabled consumers and fans to access new music and listen to albums before they commit to buying that digital copy from their favourite band.

Thankfully the decline of Independent Record stores hasn’t quite had a disastrous impact on the sales of recorded music. Instead the Internet has broadened the horizons of Indie Labels and has helped them reach a global market which they have surely shown the major labels that they can give them a run for their money.

Want to know what prompted our musings? Check out these articles From Guardian Music and Business Week:

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