QA With Chris Tams, Dir. Independent Member Services and International, British Recorded Music Industry Limited

A.  Tell us a bit about what BPI’s mission is in general, and what your mission and role is in particular in the area of music and entertainment?

 

BPI is the body that represents major and independent record labels and music companies across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  Our work focuses on the promotion of British music both in the UK and overseas as well as the safeguarding of the commercial and legislative frameworks that will enable music businesses to grow. 

British artists now account for an impressive one in seven of all artist albums sold worldwide and so, at BPI, we are continually supporting record labels and their artists as they produce internationally-renowned and critically-acclaimed music and as we strive together to maintain our position as one of the most competitive, vibrant and talented music markets in the world.

 

B.  Tell us about the Sync Mission – how did the idea come about and how long has it been going?  How many people attend, etc. Give us the basics.

 

The BPI Los Angeles Sync Licensing Mission is a joint initiative with the Music Publishers Association and UK Trade & Investment.  It is a truly unique opportunity to meet and network with music supervisors at the top of their game in the entertainment capital of the US, Hollywood.  Now in its 11

th year, the trade mission enables the UK music business to build on a £20 million per year sync market.  By that, we mean the revenues derived from music being placed in TV programmes, movies, video games, adverts and trailers.

Each year, between 40 and 50 delegates – from independent labels, publishers, artist managers, songwriters, composers, music development agencies and sync agencies – travel to the US in a bid to clinch those all-important deals that can launch an artist’s career overnight in a new territory. 

 

Over the course of five days (13-17 July 2015) at the iconic Capitol Tower building in the heart of Hollywood, attendees will meet those responsible for placing music on movies like Whiplash and Pitch Perfect 2, cult shows such as Breaking Bad and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and popular TV series including The Hills, Frasier, NCIS, Blue Bloods and other programmes aired by HBO and on American networks ABC, NBC Sports, the Style Network and many more. 

There are also opportunities to meet video games companies including Sony PlayStation, Activision and Electronic Arts and the chance to visit the studios of Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, BLT Communications, Universal Pictures and mOcean. 

 

C.  What have been the practical benefits to participants?  Have they made good relationships?  Have they engaged in projects?  What has been the takeaway? 

At its most basic, the value of the LA trade mission lies within the unparalleled opportunities to meet face-to-face with top executives in music supervision. 

Having a face to put to a name is key in this business and those working in sync will be more likely to open up and respond to emails from those they have met during this bespoke week in LA.  In the weeks and months that follow, such contacts an convert into cash, generating important income for businesses, songwriters and artists and bringing more revenues back into the UK economy.  Such success can help to launch or sustain an artist’s career, and can even break bands in international waters.

 

Cooking Vinyl’s Head of Sync, Verity Griffiths, explained why the trade mission is so vital to labels and publishers,

 

“This will be my 4th time attending the Sync Mission and its proven track record in delivering syncs is the reason I keep returning. The calibre of panellists and access is excellent, with multiple networking opportunities and well run site visits alongside the main conference to make this a must attend event in the UK sync calendar. The mission has directly contributed to syncs I’ve worked on across all areas (film, tv, games, trailers) and has elevated our relationships with key contacts to a level that would have taken considerably longer without their much valued support.”

 

D.  What other efforts does BPI undertake to assist the music industry? Both in Sync and in general.

 

Every year, the BPI carries out a host of activities to support UK independent and major record labels. 

 

We make sure the industry has a voice with Government, lobbying on copyright issues and securing more funding – such as the Music Export Growth Scheme – to help UK acts tour overseas. 

The MEGS Scheme complements our international efforts that see us facilitate and lead trade missions to the US, Asia, Australasia and Europe.  These provide the much-needed contacts and market information that small businesses require to step into new territories, whether it’s for touring, selling records, or setting up shop in a new country.  In terms of other funding, we offer money towards paid internships through our youth initiative, The Big Music Project, and our partnership with diversity charity, Creative Access.

 

In light of the changing market, we run a number of free training courses and networking events every year for our members whilst also providing them with up-to-date market insight to guide their business decisions.  In addition to our free events, we are able to offer members discount to international trade fairs such as Midem and popular events such as the BPI’s very own BRIT Awards.

 

A huge part of our remit is also about ensuring that music is enjoyed legally. Our in-house Copyright Protection Unit is driving forward a number of initiatives to help artists get paid for their music and to ensure labels can invest in second and third albums.  We’ve removed millions of infringing links from search results, closed down pirate sites making money illegally from content and online advertising, and have taken down repertoire that was being hosted without the artist’s permission.

 

Overall, we aim to raise the profile of the British music industry, support its growth and development, and highlight the importance and value of music to all.

 

E.  How can people and companies who want to engage with BPI and its members contact you?

 

We’re always open to making new connections and can be contacted via Twitter @bpi_music and on Facebook.  If you have a membership query or want to learn more about how we can support your work, drop an email to Chris.Tams@bpi.co.uk Or if you have a specific question about how you can protect your repertoire, contact antipiracy@bpi.co.uk

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