Geoff Taylor, the chief executive officer of the BPI, who also oversees the BRIT Awards and the Mercury Prize, has announced his intention to move on in 2023 to a more directly commercial role, after 25 years working for label associations, including more than 15 years leading the BPI.
During his spell in charge, Taylor’s navigated a period of transformation to digital and streaming, as well as challenges from Brexit and the pandemic.
A former general counsel at global trade body IFPI, Taylor helped secure industry and UK government support for the extension of copyright term and led the BPI’s strategy to reduce online music piracy.
Pursuing the BPI’s mission to promote British music, Taylor oversaw the BRIT Awards’ move to the O2 and its long-term strategy to extend digital engagement, global reach and revenues – in the process raising more than £15 million for industry charity The BRIT Trust – and producing successful annual shows, including through the pandemic.
He steered the acquisition by the BPI in 2015 of the Mercury Prize, and championed the creation by government of the Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS), run by the BPI, which has awarded more than £4 million in grants to UK independent labels and artists.
Indie representation at the BPI has strengthened substantially, with significant independents such as Partisan, Dirty Hit, Good Soldier and Marathon joining and total membership expanding to over 500 music companies.
Taylor has played a key role since 2007 overseeing the industry’s relationship with government, including recently with DCMS Committee on the economics of music streaming and the related Competition & Markets Authority market study.
Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI, said: “It has been a great privilege to lead the BPI during such a transformational period for British music. With a new chair appointed and our 50th anniversary next year, it feels like BPI is opening a new chapter. After much reflection, I have decided that running the BPI for 15 years is enough for any moderately sane individual and that now is the time to use my experience more directly in a commercial environment. I have agreed to stay on until early 2023 to help our new Chair YolanDa Brown find an appropriate successor.
“I want to thank the brilliant team at the BPI, former Chair Ged Doherty, and our independent and major members for their wisdom, good humour and steadfast support. I wish YolanDa and all the members continuing success.”
It has been a great privilege to lead the BPI during such a transformational period for British music
Tony Harlow, CEO of Warner Music UK, said: “Geoff's insightful and forward-thinking leadership benefited the industry as it navigated huge challenges over the last 15 years. His argument that copyright must be respected online helped secure a sustainable and growing music industry in our country, one that has created global success for artists such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Dua Lipa.
“He was the driving force behind the BPI's successful strategies to reduce music piracy and policies to support British music such as the Music Export Growth Scheme. Geoff expertly steered The BRIT Awards, keeping the show modern and relevant, while raising vital funds for The BRIT School and Nordoff Robbins. Warner Music is very grateful to Geoff for his unwavering commitment to ensuring music remains one of this country's greatest success stories."
Jason Iley, chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK, said: “The music industry has gone through enormous change in the past 15 years and in that time Geoff has led the BPI with a tight grip on the big issues. The whole industry has benefited from the BPI’s work combating piracy, campaigning for export funding, running the BRIT and Mercury prizes to showcase artists and supporting music education. It takes real tenacity to lead an organisation for so long through rapid digital disruption – we wish Geoff the very best and thank him for his tireless advocacy for British music.”
David Joseph, chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK, added: “Geoff’s calm leadership, insight and dedicated work in support of labels right across the country as well as the BRIT Trust have been constants in a period of enormous change for the music business. He has made a significant contribution to our industry, for which we are hugely grateful, and we wish him all the very best for when he sets off in his new direction next year.”
Jamie Oborne, founder and MD at Dirty Hit, said: “Geoff has been a powerful advocate for our sector and has always made sure the interests of independents are promoted at the BPI. We’ve seen the benefits at Dirty Hit, with our artists winning MEGS export funding and gaining significant profile through the Mercury Prize and The BRITs. The BPI’s free training and international support for indies have also expanded massively. We’re very sad to see him leave but know he‘ll continue to make a big contribution to the business.”
YolanDa Brown, new chair of BPI, said: “Geoff will forever be part of the BPI family. He will leave a tremendous legacy with many exceptional achievements and a strong team in place. I am grateful that he is staying with us to ensure a smooth transition and wish him all the best on his onward journey. I know we will enjoy our time working to ensure the future success of the BPI.”