This week spoke to Chris Tams, Director of Independent Member Services at the BPI, the UK music industry’s trade association. Chris has given us a great insight into what the BPI does, an overview of (some of!) the areas they’re involved in, and how members can get the most out of the organisation.
How do you work with artists/labels/distributors?
As a Trade Association we represent all three major labels and over 500 Independent Labels, Self releasing artists and distribution companies. We help them amplify their business successes and promote British music domestically and overseas through our Trade missions and the Music Export Growth Scheme. We provide insights, training and networking with free member training, Equality Training Programme and market reports. We also work closely with Music Tech companies through our Music and Tech Springboard programme and our regular Insight Session events. We also (pre-covid) held regular member networking events around the UK where labels could hear from industry spokespeople and just network with the community of record labels in the UK – these are now online but we hope to start doing these in person again shortly). We also administer The BRIT Certified Awards, co-own the Official Charts, organise The BRIT Awards with Mastercard and we are also home to the Hyundai Mercury Prize. BPI also runs the industry content protection unit on behalf of PPL.
What does a typical day look like in your job?
Well for a start there isn’t one. I tend to be the first point of contact for any of our members so that can be anything from them wanting some info to helping them with real problems that they as business owners are facing in these (hopefully) post COVID and Brexit times. Just this week I’m doing all the admin for the Music Export Growth Scheme that we run for the Govt, checking in with members on how they are adapting to the new EU VAT rules, planning several international trade webinars, organising a member event with YouTube, sending out ticket details for the Mercury Prize award show and organising a Creative Industries launch for the Govt – next week that will all be completely different no doubt.
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do?
I don’t really think there are many to be honest? We’ve always tried to give the image that all of our events are for all of our members not just a select few. The past year and half have been really challenging for the industry so we at BPI have doubled our efforts and put on far more events than before to try and help our members. We moved all our training and events online and were amazed by the response. We will continue to do these online but hopefully will start a small number of in person events in the not-too-distant future.
If I’m an artist, label or manager, what can I do to get the most out of your area of work?
Well firstly we are a membership organisation so we are here to serve our members; so we encourage them to get involved and suggest areas where we can help them. All of our member services and events have come from a need from the industry which we’ve then shaped and put in to practice.