New report from MusicTank, University of Westminster, examines the state of the UK music industry

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  • Written by BPI Chairman and former Chairman & CEO, EMI Music UK & Ireland – Tony Wadsworth, with Dr. Eamonn Forde, Digital Editor Music Week.
  • Contributors include Alison Wenham (AIM), Brian Message (MMF & Radiohead), David Joseph (Universal Music Group), Emma Banks (CAA), Gary McClarnan (Sparklestreet/Mr Scruff), John Reid (Warner Music Group)  and Martin Mills (Beggars Group).

Remake, Remodel: The Evolution of the Record Label, the new report published by the University of Westminster’s music business network, MusicTank has been published today. The report was authored and unveiled by Tony Wadsworth, BPI Chairman and former Chairman and CEO of EMI Music UK & Ireland.

The report draws from the quarter century Tony has spent on the frontline of the record business. It takes stock of one of its most tumultuous periods, maintaining itself in the face of game-changing, disruptive technology while also developing a parallel business to benefit from the opportunities afforded.

What emerges through conversations with some of the industry’s top executives is a diversified recordings business with broader skill sets able to better manage costs and work with a wider variety of more flexible artist deals.

One of its key themes is a spirit of partnership with artists, managers and the wider industry, and a willingness to experiment with new formats, rights, media and investment models.

Challenging a tired dogma that labels have had their day, the report finds that their broad range of skill sets are needed more than ever, be it marketing expertise (social or traditional), in cutting through the clutter of a fragmenting media landscape, or their agility to react swiftly to consumers demanding instant gratification.

The report recommends greater innovation in licensing to derive value from today’s palpable appetite for music, and increased transparency in digital business to ensure all stakeholders feel rewarded by its dividends.

Professor Petts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster says: "As the music business becomes more competitive and barriers to entry continue to lower through the democratising impact of technological development, innovation and knowledge exchange has never been more important. We’re delighted and proud to have been able to engage Tony in the writing of this authoritative and much needed report."

Said Tony Wadsworth “With input from people from across the industry I have tried to explain the recent evolution of the record label, take the temperature of the industry in 2011, and extrapolate the key trends. I don't claim to have all the answers but I hope to give some perspective to the key changes in an industry that's adapting to a radically new environment without a template, map or guide book.”

"The past decade has been one of unprecedented upheaval for record companies as all the old certainties were demolished while digital offered as many challenges as it did opportunities. The outside view is often that labels were unwilling or unable to adapt to changing and challenging times; but what this report reveals is a renewed focus, a renewed hunger and a renewed energy within labels to radically evolve, to experiment and to lead from the front." Eamonn Forde, report collaborator

Complete list of Contributors:

Alison Wenham (CEO, AIM); Andy Parfitt (Controller, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Popular Music and Asian Network); Boyd Muir (Executive Vice President and CFO, Universal Music Group International); Brian Message (Chairman MMF and Courtyard Management); Chris Ancliff (General Counsel, Warner Worldwide); David Joseph (Chief Executive, Universal Music UK); Chris Green (Director of Research & Information, BPI); Derek Allen (VP, Commercial and Sales, EMI); Emma Banks (CAA); Gary McClarnan (Founder, Sparklestreet); Gary Warren (MD, Content & Talent, Mama Group); Geoff Taylor (CEO, BPI); Howard Jones (Senior Partner, Sheridans); John Reid (CEO, Warner Music Europe and International Marketing, Warner Music Group, UK & Ireland); Martin Mills (Founder & Chairman, Beggars Group); Rob Salter (Entertainment Director, Tesco); Shabs Jobanputra (Former President, Virgin Records UK).

About MusicTank

Unique among the music business’ many and various interest bodies, MusicTank is the country’s leading, independent, sector-specific business development network for the UK music industry. Established in 2003 to inform and guide the future shape of the music business through engagement with industry, change and innovation, MusicTank continues to enjoy a growing and enviable reputation for its ongoing and far reaching programme of think tanks, conferences and events and has become the accepted provider of quality debate and analysis to the business.

Bringing hot topics into sharp focus and helping pinpoint the opportunities created by disruptive technologies, it facilitates the circulation of innovative ideas, best practice and cutting-edge strategies for increased innovation and productivity.

MusicTank is one of University of Westminster's sector-based Knowledge and Business Development Networks.

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