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'Our unity is ever more important': MPA CEO Paul Clements' AGM message for biz

MPA CEO Paul Clements has spoken of the need for unity in the industry during his inaugural AGM address in the top job.

During the AGM in London, the former longtime PRS For Music exec paid tribute to outgoing leader Robert Ashcroft, as well as acknowledging the crucial contribution of former MPA CEO Jane Dyball and chair Jackie Alway. The UMPG exec is handing over duties to Downtown’s Roberto Neri.

Clements also announced a key hire – FAC CEO Lucie Caswell is to become GM and chief policy officer at the MPA.

During the speech, the MPA CEO name-checked his counterparts across the industry.

“I would like to acknowledge the importance of our relationship with UK Music, expertly led by Michael Dugher and Andy Heath and indeed all of our fellow music industry trade bodies,” said. “Our unity is ever more important in this digital, complex and global landscape and we will continue to work hard to support the efforts of this umbrella UK organisation.”

Clements also noted the role of the NMPA in the fight to secure the increased CRB rate in the US, which is being appealed by DSPs including Spotify.

“They have a significant battle ahead of them following Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon’s Rate Court appeal, but I want them to know that we will stand alongside them wherever we can help in their fight for a fairer streaming royalty rate,” said Clements.

“Our songwriters’ and publishers’ copyrights deserve fairer treatment - without their songs, the rest of the value chain have nothing to play with. You can have many artist recordings benefiting from a song, you can have many digital services reaping rewards from a song. However, quite ridiculously, we continue to have to fight for a more appropriate value for each and every one of those unique and beautiful creations. Simply put, it is time for those that benefit from our creators’ art and the rights publishers invest in to show a little more respect.”

Our songwriters’ and publishers’ copyrights deserve fairer treatment

Paul Clements

The AGM was also an opportunity to announce a deal with LyricFind to represent 66 PMLL members, who have mandated the MPA to represent lyric rights for digital services.

“This will become a new revenue stream for those members we represent and I encourage publishers to explore this more recent area of licensing and the services that LyricFind have to offer,” he said.

Last year PMLL distributed £3.6 million to its print and music publisher members.

Clements described a year of “stabilisation” for MCPS, whose distribution for members totalled £141m.

“A huge amount of focus is being placed on revenue growth, having had to focus on financial recovery for so long and this is hugely motivating,” he said. “I am pleased to report the mechanical rights and production music sound recording rights that we represent remain as strong as ever and we have a range of new or revised licensing schemes that we are working on, alongside a significant focus on digital licensing and an International revenue assurance project to help grow MCPS Members’ revenues. We also remain focused on the input and maintenance of accurate copyright data.”

Clements also stressed the importance of music education and pledged to work with UK Music. A trip to Glastonbury and the set by teenager Billie Eilish last weekend put the issue at the front of his mind.

“Her performance and the music of her and her brother Finneas’ genius will inspire a generation to come, of that I am confident,” he said. “However, while leaving that gig, I could not help but reflect on how this and other examples of young musical talent inspire other young people on a daily basis, enable them to express themselves, support them with mental health issues and wellbeing.”