"It can become the principal developer of new music": IMPEL president Andy Heath on the future of indie publishing sector

In the new issue of Music Week we take an in-depth look at the ever-growing, ever-changing world of independent publishing for a very special report.

Among the key players we speak to include Nigel Elderton, president, Europe & managing director, PeerMusic UK, Chris Meehan, CEO, Sentric Music Group, John Fogarty, founder at New Songs Administration and Alex Kassner, head of legal and business affairs at Kassner Associated Publishers. On top of that, Colin Young, founder and director of the Music Week Award-nominated chartered accountants and registered auditors CC Young & Co, explains the importance of good accounting for indie publishers.

Our report covers a lot of ground, from how indie publishers compete against both the majors and heavily moneyed indies, to the growth of sync and the European Copyright Directive. There are, however, a lot more topics than that when looking at the sector. One is the impact the newly independent IMPEL has had so far. Here, in a previously-unread extract of our report, IMPEL president Andy Heath weighs in on the subject.

How has the first year been for this newly independent IMPEL?
“It's been a solid year of consolidating IMPEL as the natural home for indie publishers' licensing and collection of international digital rights and revenue. We have completed our own licenses with major players, we have engaged a new chief exec (to be announced) and most importantly paid the first royalty statements from our partner SACEM – and that first distribution is hugely impressive.”

What kind of impact have you had already and what kind of impact do you hope to have long term? 
“I think the immediate impact is that IMPEL has indicated to indie publishers that there is a new, publisher owned licensing and distribution entity available as an alternative to the conventional society sector and the emerging offerings. Every other non-society offering is a financial play from equity or private wealth institutions who will be primarily interested in profit for themselves - in other words, no more than a new age sub publisher. IMPEL, on the other hand, is a non-profit making organisation designed by and for the benefit of publishers. The impact in the long term is that IMPEL will be dominant in the licensing of indie publishing rights throughout the world.”


Any success from the sector will have to come from creative initiatives, backed by a true level of care for our writers

Andy Heath, IMPEL


What do you see as the key trends in the indie publishing sector?

“I believe that the indie publishing sector can become the principal developer of new music. Any success from the sector will have to come from creative initiatives, backed by a true level of care for our writers.”

What's your take on the consolidation in the indie publishing market?
“'Twas ever thus! It's undeniable that greater mass allows commercial companies to wield more power, so there will always be a drive to consolidate. What those bigger entities lose is flexibility, identity and the desire to take risks, so the smaller, often emerging, indie publishers will invariably have the better creative relationships and be quicker to spot new developments and talent. Consequently they have a great future. What IMPEL can be for the smaller player is a leveller of the playing field that much reduces the power that larger organisations seek, allowing the smaller publisher to become ever more competitive.”

Subscribers can read the our special Indie Publishing report here.

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