The British Phonographic Industry Limited

British Phonographic Industry

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The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is the British record industry's trade association. Its membership comprises hundreds of music companies including all four 'major' record companies (Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group), associate members such as manufacturers and distributors, and hundreds of independent music companies representing literally thousands of labels. It has represented the interests of British record companies since being formally incorporated in 1973 when the principal aim was to fight copyright infringement.

It founded the annual BRIT Awards for the British music industry, as well as the Mercury Prize for the Album of the Year. In September 2008, BPI became one of the founding members of UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the interests of all parts of the industry.[1]

The BRIT Trust

The charitable arm of the BPI, the trust was conceived in 1989 by a collection of leading music industry individuals with a mission to give young people a chance to express their musical creativity regardless of race, class, sex or ability. The BRIT Trust is the only music charity actively supporting all types of education across the entire spectrum of music. Through the projects it supports, which include Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The BRIT School, the Trust offers young people the opportunity to enhance their lives through music.

The BRIT School

Opened in September 1991, The BRIT School is a joint venture between and The BRIT Trust and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Based at Selhurst in Croydon, the school is the only non fee-paying performing arts school in the UK. It teaches 750 students each year from 1419 years in music, dance, drama, musical theatre, production, media and art & design. Students are from completely diverse backgrounds and are not required to stick to their own discipline; dancers learn songwriting, pianists can learn photography. Nor do students have to work/perform in the evening to pay for the tuition; all they have to do is show their determination to succeed in the competitive creative industries.

What it does - BPI work

The BPI divide their work into three areas: Protection, Promotion, and Representation and Support


The BPI protects the interests of its members by enforcing copyright law in the UK. They do this through a variety of means, including civil litigation, criminal litigation, lobbying against filesharing sites, and supporting other enforcement agencies in anti-copyright infringement raids.


The BPI also does much work in profiling British music at home and abroad. The BRIT awards, the UK's premier music show, is organised and run by the BPI and showcases the best in UK music at home and abroad.

The BPI, along with Entertainment Retailers Association operate The Official UK Charts Company, compiling various statistics on music purchases within the UK. The BPI also produce annual reports on consumer behaviour, and emergent trends. They issue silver, gold, and platinum awards.

Representation and Support

The BPI's membership includes the four major labels, plus a number of smaller, independent labels. They set industry policy and handle media relations, recently mostly relating to copyright infringement.

The BPI lobby the government on behalf of its members in accordance with the aforementioned policies, most recently for a clarification of copyright, strengthening copyright laws, increasing copyright terms for musical performers to 95 years and harsher penalties for copyright infringers. Financial Times listing 4,500 musicians whose signatures it collected protesting Gowers' recommendation. If you read the list, you'll see that at least some of these artists are apparently dead (e.g. Lonnie Donegan, died 4th November 2002; Freddie Garrity, died 20th May 2006).

The BPI also offer support to their members in the form of negotiating fair use contracts with major media, or distributors, such as the BBC, the MU[disambiguation needed] or the MCPS.

The BPI host, and represent their members at various international trade fairs, educational seminars, etc.

Reports commissioned

Part of the BPI's work is in commissioning reports to support changes in legislation or public opinion. These reports include the following:

  • By Price Waterhouse The Impact of Copyright Extension for Sound Recordings in the UK, (report commissioned by the BPI), 2006

Sales certificates

The British Phonographic Industry awards certificates for music releases in Britain. The level of the award varies depending on the format of the release and the amount sold. BPI certificates are not automatic; the record company must pay a fee to the BPI and they carry out an audit into the release in question. Certificates are usually awarded on the basis of the amount of units the release has shipped, rather than the amount it has sold.

Format Status[2]
Silver Gold Platinum
Album 60,000 100,000 300,000
Single 200,000 400,000 600,000
Music DVD 25,000 50,000

BPI council

  • Geoff Taylor - Chief Executive Officer
  • Tony Wadsworth - BPI Chairman, EMI Recorded Music UK & Ireland
  • Mike Batt - BPI Vice Chairman, Dramatico Entertainment
  • Paul Birch - Revolver Music
  • Joe Cokell - Sanctuary Recorded Music Worldwide
  • John Craig - First Night Records
  • Clive Fisher - Universal Music UK
  • Ged Doherty - Sony BMG Music Entertainment
  • David Joseph - Polydor Records
  • Jeremy Lascelles - Chrysalis Group
  • Korda Marshall - Warner Bros Records UK
  • Harry Maloney - The Independent Record Company
  • John Reid - Warner Music International & Continental Europe
  • David Steele - V2
  • Michael Smith - Sony BMG Music Entertainment
  • Adrian Sear - Demon Music Group/2entertain

Similar organisations

See also: RIAA#Similar organizations
  • RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, is the United States' music industry association.
  • IFPI, the International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers is the worldwide music industry group.
  • FACT, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, is the UK anti-copyright infringement organisation for the motion picture industry.
  • ARIA, Australian Recording Industry Association, is the Australian industry association.


  1. UK Music Launch. (September 26, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-02-21.
  2. Certified Awards

See also

  • Home Taping Is Killing Music

External links

  • British Phonographic Industry, The
  • BPI Radar

Video clips

  • Richard Mollett explains the Back Stage Pass entrepreneur scheme
This page was last modified 12.04.2010 20:41:18

This article uses material from the article British Phonographic Industry from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.