Butler, whose speech followed a film explaining exactly what a publisher does - shortly to be publicly released - said the music industry had a duty to educate far and wide on the exact role of a music publisher.
He also offered a heartfelt tribute to former MPA board member Jonathan Simon, who died in April.
His speech can be read below.
The MPA's 270-odd member companies represent the full spectrum of music, across every conceivable genre. They also offer a variety of propositions to customers wishing to use their music, and this is entirely appropriate given the variety of creations they have to offer.
My themes today are price and value so let me ask you: "What is the price of a song?" To businesses wanting to use it, it might be 0.00085p, (the per-song streaming rate), 8.5% of published dealer price, 8% of 99p, or 3% of box office. Or a six figure sum to a film producer who knows that one song and one song only will complete their work.
To individual consumers the price might range from nothing at all, (too often the case), to £25,000, recently paid for a rare Motown single.
These are all prices, and price is of course a very different thing to value. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
As an industry we are privileged to work with a product whose reach, influence, and impact on people's lives cannot possibly be quantified, contained or captured in pounds and pence. That said allow me to share with you a few facts and figures:
The UK's Intellectual Property Office published a report earlier this month in which Government statisticians and economists revised their estimates of the value of copyright investment in the UK economy. The purpose of the research was laudable, and long overdue - to improve measurement of UK investment in artistic originals, including copyright works. The findings however were somewhat alarming.
Attempting to take proper account of the value of copyright works, the study was able to add £3.2 billion to the country's GDP, an increase of 0.3% in the UK's total net output. The 2009 estimate for the value of copyright works, including film, TV, books and art, was thus almost tripled from £1.8 billion to £5.1 billion.
The value of copyright in musical works under the original estimate for 2009 - as used by the Office of National Statistics in its "Blue Book", surely a book which if you put down you can't pick up- was just £176m. The new methodology puts the figure at more than seven times that amount - £1.3 billion.
Global talent she assuredly is, but even Adele's recent success cannot account for such a dramatic upturn in our fortune. As anyone in this room could have told the ONS, the previous figure was absurdly low. The recent report concedes that this figure did not take account of "returns to...record labels and publishers" nor "income returned to creators by music collecting societies, including royalties from the rights to lyrics; composition; direct live performance; physical re-production; public performance and synchronisation". The only real surprise is that the initial figure wasn't zero.
One suspects that the true value is still not being adequately captured in the national accounts. Quite aside from its value to the music industry itself, music acts as a key driver of value in a number of related sectors. Not least the device manufacturers, digital music services and internet service providers who rely so heavily upon music to breathe life into their products. This contribution of ours will be captured in the national accounts somewhere, it just won't appear in the ledger under Music.
Nevertheless, it is, of course, to be welcomed that official figures now provide a more accurate picture of the positive impact made by the creative industries, and music in particular, to the UK economy. This is more crucial now than ever in a climate under which all industries are asked to justify their worth in the context of the all-consuming quest for that most elusive of properties - growth.
The growth agenda is not in itself a divisive issue - who doesn't want growth? The question is where to find it and how to deliver it, and this was the task handed to Ian Hargreaves in relation to his Review of intellectual property.
The MPA has been diligent and committed in its engagement with Professor Hargreaves and his team over the course of the past twelve months, both as a member of UK Music and ICMP, and as an individual voice on issues of specific interest or concern to music publishers. These are important issues, and it is at times like these when the real worth of a representative body to fight our corner and defend our interests becomes plain. The recruitment of Harriet Finney to the MPA team as Press and Public Affairs Manager leaves the Association better equipped to operate in this area at this crunch time. To the same end, over the course of the past year Stephen and I, as well as representatives of other MPA member companies, have met with key decision makers both in Brussels and in Whitehall.
There are some positive signs that our message is being heard. On the topic of dodgy statistics we were not the only participant in the Hargreaves Review to express doubts at the economic evidence originally adduced to support the recommendations. There is now something of a consensus that the growth estimates in many cases were inflated and unsupported.
It is also heartening that Richard Hooper, who is tasked with looking into the feasibility of a Digital Copyright Exchange, has been impressed by some of the initiatives already undertaken by the music industry, most notably the publisher-led Global Repertoire Database project. As a sector we must continue to lead from the front in terms of speed and flexibility of licensing in a manner which keeps pace with technological developments.
Against this background, what is the value of a collection society? In essence the job of a collective rights manager is simple, to issue licences, collect royalties and distribute payments as quickly, effectively and efficiently as possible. All activity within the society should be justified in the pursuit of this simple goal. Some collection societies in Europe have fallen very far short of this simple test in recent years, and it is therefore a grateful ear that receives news of the latest despatch from Brussels.
A great deal of patience can be required in anticipation of any announcement from the European Commission. The wait for the draft directive on collective management of copyright in the single market might even have tried the patience of the characters in a Beckett play although, unlike Godot, the draft directive will very shortly, we understand, be with us. The standards it sets out for transparency, accountability and governance within collection societies are to be welcomed, as is the principle that songwriters and publishers should have the ability to choose which collection society manages their rights, categories of rights, or categories of works, and for which territories.
Nowhere is it laid down in Scripture that there shall be collection societies. PRS will be one hundred years old in 2014, some achievement but no cause for complacency. By way of comparison consider that Warner/Chappell Music and Novello & Co are both into their third century. As our agent, PRS for Music must create and maintain the infrastructure needed to enable our licensing activity. Those appointed guardians on the Boards of PRS, MCPS and the MPA must take personal responsibility for this task. And in this undertaking they must make sure that they create conditions conducive not just to the present of our business but to its long term future too. Crucial in this is the appreciation that the creation of new music is not like manufacturing a commodity. Some would have us believe that music is music is music. In truth some music is ephemeral and some will endure for centuries. Some is derivative and some pushes at the boundaries of the art from. None of it can be reduced to a mere database, delegated to a computer, or outsourced to the processor.
Looking forward, there is much work still to be done, not least in promoting greater understanding of the music publishing business. The ONS may have caught up, but there are many others who labour still under a misapprehension of our core activities. You have just seen the result of one MPA initiative designed to educate and enlighten, and we hope that our film will be seen and understood as widely as possible. Why is this important? For a number of reasons: Because copyright itself is under review, some would say, is under attack. Because access to finance, which can be crucial to small and medium enterprises, may depend upon a clearer understanding of the value in our businesses that cannot always be pointed out on a balance sheet. And because a generation of customers no longer necessarily attributes any value to the works we create.
On a more personal note now, I was very proud to be elected Chairman of the MPA at last year's AGM, and was thrilled and proud that my old boss and mentor and musician Jonathan Simon secured his return to the Board at the General Meeting held in October. His death in April diminishes the Board, and our industry as a whole. The value to our business of an individual such as Jonathan cannot be quantified in figures. Measured instead by the esteem in which friends and colleagues held him, it is clear that we will be infinitely poorer for his absence. Many of us will have our own memories of Jonathan and I am delighted that his daughter Zoe is here as our guest today
Following the changes made at last year's AGM to the way in which Directors are elected it is encouraging this year to see such healthy competition for the MPA Board. I welcome our new Directors and also congratulate those who were successful in seeking re-election. We have a lot to discuss and some big issues to wrestle with over the coming year.
I would like to thank all those Directors who served on the Board in the past year for their time, dedication and insight.
I would also like to thank Stephen Navin for his able stewardship of our Association, along with his team for their hard work on behalf of the members.
Thank you once again for attending, and for listening. We value your presence here today, and we very much hope that you will continue to find value in the MPA as your representative body for your business.