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Remake, Remodel: The Evolution Of The Record Label – MusicTank

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Remake, Remodel: The Evolution Of The Record Label



This report draws from the quarter century Tony has spent on the front lines of the record business – including the most tumultuous decade in its history.  It defies much of the accepted wisdom and reveals the latest thinking on the evolution and future of the record company through conversations with some of the sector’s top executives.


Author/s: Tony Wadsworth with Dr. Eamonn Forde

The latest in a line of incisive publications, MusicTank’s fourth industry report has been written by Tony Wadsworth, BPI Chairman and former Chairman & CEO, EMI Music UK & Ireland in collaboration with Dr Eamonn Forde.

Entitled Remake, Remodel: The Evolution of the Record Label, this 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.

‘With input from people from across the business, 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.’ Tony Wadsworth

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 sprit 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 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 the digital business to ensure all stakeholders feel rewarded by its dividends.

‘This report comes at a dynamic and exciting time for the music industry, with labels having gone through an unprecedented period of change in the last decade. Tony Wadsworth is perfectly placed to undertake a project like this, having been at the forefront of many of these changes throughout this period, both at label and industry level.’ – David Joseph, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music UK

 ‘Record labels are at the heart of the music industry, and it’s timely, after the upheavals of the last decade, to take stock and assess the prospects for the record label in the years ahead. Tony’s lifetime label experience combined with an analytical approach will certainly bring some clarity to the picture , and help push forward the debates around the future of the wider music industry.‘ – Martin Mills, Chairman Beggars Group

The music industry continues to evolve and record companies are at the heart of that change – nurturing the latest talent, forging new ways to reach fans and creating exciting music experiences. Tony’s knowledge and insight means he is well-placed to explore these themes and articulate emerging trends too.’ – John Reid,CEO Warner Music Europe & International Marketing, Warner Music Group.

 Remake, Remodel… includes quotes from the following experts who were interviewed for the report:

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 – International, Warner Music Group); Chris Green (Director of Research & Information, BPI); David Joseph (Chief Executive, Universal Music UK); 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 & International Marketing, Warner Music Group); Martin Mills (Founder & Chairman, Beggars Group); Rachel Stones (EMI Music); Rob Salter (Entertainment Director, Tesco); Shabs Jobanputra (Former President, Virgin Records UK); Tim Clark (IE Music).

‘The document is definitely worth reading for anyone in this business…’ Emmanuel Legrand

Remake, Remodel…was the subject of a MusicTank conference (July 2011) featuring Tony Wadsworth and a raft of industry commentators, innovators and executives from across the business.

Brighton Great Escape delegates can access the the report and conference for an inclusive rate of £75.  Join MusicTank and use the promotional code in the TGE convention programme when booking your conference ticket.


Tony Wadsworth (Chariman, BPI) and Dr Eamonn Forde (Journalist)

Remake, Remodel…© University of Westminster, May 2011. All rights reserved

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