Mechanical engineering: Jane Dyball on MCPS' licensing reboot

Jane Dyball

MCPS boss Jane Dyball has revealed plans to completely revamp the mechanical royalty collection society’s licensing strategy as she steers the business back into growth.

Mechanical royalties have been challenged in recent years by the decline in physical music sales but Dyball – speaking exclusively in the new issue of Music Week – says the strategy review will open up “a whole pile of new licence schemes”.

“MCPS wasn’t servicing its licensing customers very adequately,” she added. “We just had to fix it. Our cheapest online licence is around £150. That’s just way too expensive. We need to reduce the price of some of our licences in order to get more traction.”

Last year, MCPS distributed more than £150 million for the first time in the digital age. It also signed a new long-term admin deal with PRS For Music, after a long-running tender process. Dyball – CEO of the MPA Group Of Companies, which includes the Music Publishers Association, MCPS, sheet music licensing body PMLL and independent publishers online mechanical licensing scheme IMPEL – said the new arrangement was having a transformative effect on MCPS’ business.

“It’s really changed the relationship between MCPS and PRS,” said Dyball. “Our whole relationship is now governed by key performance indicators (KPIs) that exist in the contract. There’s no emotion in the arrangement at all anymore, no element of persuasion involved from either side. It’s very clear what everybody should be doing and therefore everybody can get on with it.”

“The most important thing is that it gives us the opportunity to focus on growing the business,” added Dyball. “This is what I’ve been aiming for since I started. All of these things have been about getting MCPS to the position where it can grow and develop its licensing strategy.”

In other news, Dyball revealed plans for the rights represented by IMPEL members to be taken out of MCPS when the indie publishers body goes fully independent later this year.

“That group of publishers always wanted to be fully independent, and have their own entity,” said Dyball.

For the full update on the wider MPA restructure, see this week’s print edition of Music Week or click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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