John Smith - General Secretary, Musicians' Union

John was elected MU General Secretary in December 2002.

After studying at the Royal Academy of Music from 1968 to 1971, he became a freelance musician based in London. In 1974 he joined the orchestra of English National Opera and remained there as Principal Tuba, for almost 20 years.

In 1994 he joined the Musicians’ Union as a full time Official. After an initial period as London District Organiser, he was promoted to the post of Assistant General Secretary (Media). As head of the Union’s Media Department he had the responsibility for the trade agreements that are negotiated on a periodic basis, with representatives of UK broadcasters and audio and audio-visual producers. He also had the responsibility for the royalty and residual payments that are administered by the MU on behalf of its members.

Since becoming General Secretary he has cemented the MU’s relationship with other Music Industry bodies, becoming a performer director of Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and leading discussions on live music issues with the DCMS for the Music Business Forum, a cross-industry lobbying body.

In December 2003 he was appointed to the government’s Live Music Forum, which will oversee the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Act and which is also aimed at raising the profile and encouraging the performance of live music, in all its forms.