'We're all part of a community': Proper Music Group's Drew Hill on the value of the Music Week Awards

'We're all part of a community': Proper Music Group's Drew Hill on the value of the Music Week Awards

Proper Music Group has plenty of history with the Music Week Awards. The distributor triumphed in the Sales Team category last year – and Proper is sponsoring the Independent Retailer Award again in 2018.

As the anticipation builds for the ceremony tonight (April 26), Music Week caught up with Proper Music Group MD Drew Hill to talk about why the ceremony matters, a year of big changes at the company and the enduring appeal of physical

How did it feel to win the Music Week Award last year - and how did you celebrate?

It was a great honour to win the Sales Team award last year – we work hard to give the retailers that we work with the best possible service and we saw the award as recognising the great partnerships that we have built with them. As for celebrating, we did pop a champagne bottle or two in the office and then went back to what we won the award for – selling records.

What do you enjoy about the awards?

I do enjoy the general sense of camaraderie and togetherness in the industry, which is especially present at the awards. It reinforces the feeling that we’re all part of a community and are blessed to be doing what we are – working with talent and participating in the creation of culture.  

You’re sponsoring the Independent Retailer Award for the fourth time - why’s it such an important award? 

We see independent retailers as the cornerstone of physical music retail. With physical formats proving resilient in the market, independent retailers provide the contact point between many fans and tangible music. At Proper, we think it is vital to recognise the importance of the part they play in our business. 

How’s it all going at Proper following the big move?

We are very pleased with our new site in Dartford. The move, which involved transferring over five million units of stock, understandably presented some challenges, but we overcame them and have returned to business as normal. We are now more equipped than ever to further improve service efficiency to our existing clients, whilst also expanding and developing our client roster.

How would you assess the physical music market so far this year - and how is Proper performing?

There have been some encouraging stats on the resilience of physical already released in 2018. Recent BPI stats showed an increased income from sales of physical formats in 2017 due to vinyl demand and big-selling CD titles, alongside the fastest UK record company trade income growth since the height of Britpop, while IFPI has just announced that physical still represents 30% of the global market (and a lot more in territories like Japan and Germany). As for Proper, we’ve been focused on the move and continuing on our organic growth trajectory.

What releases are you looking forward to working on this year?

There are quite a few really exciting releases coming up with our distributed labels, and it would be very difficult to single any of them out. However, if pushed, a release we are all really excited about here is the new album Dancing With The Beast by acclaimed North American singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters, on our own Proper Records, coming out on May 18. 

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