Phil Hardy, Music and Film Journalist, Dead at 69

Respected English music and film journalist and author Phil Hardy died on Tuesday (April 8) in Norfolk, at the age of 69. Hardy was widely known throughout the music industry for his many books, as founder of the long-running publication Music & Copyright, and as an in-demand speaker and moderator at international conferences.

Launched as a biweekly newsletter by the Financial Times in 1992, Music & Copyright soon established itself with an authoritative mix of news, analysis and data, and was widely read both in the upper echelons of the business and in government and cultural circles. Now published by Informa Telecoms & Media, the title celebrated its 500th issue last month.      

Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1945, Hardy studied at the University of Sussex and the University of California, Berkeley. After founding The Brighton Film Review, he wrote for such publications as Variety and London listings magazine Time Out. He also acted as a consultant on music business matters for bodies such as the World Bank and the Greater London Enterprise Board. 

Hardy’s extensive work as an author included an eponymous 1970 biography of film director, screenwriter and novelist Samuel Fuller. From 1983, he was the editor of the multi-volume “Aurum Film Encyclopedia,” and his “Western Encylopedia” won the BFI Book Award in 1984. Other cinema-related books included “The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies” (1986) and 1997’s “The British Film Institute Companion to Crime.”

In 1975, Hardy and fellow industry journalist Dave Laing edited the exhaustively-researched, three-volume “Encyclopedia of Rock,” and Hardy also wrote the 2,500-entry “Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music” in 1990. In 1986, he travelled to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan to research, write and film “Food, Trucks & Rock 'n' Roll,” a documentary examining how the funds raised by the Band Aid initiative were spent in Africa. His most recent book, “Download! How Digital Destroyed the Record Industry,” was published at the end of 2012.

“Phil was one of a handful of music business journalists who combined a deep, abiding love for music of almost every stripe with a peerless knowledge of the industry, its personalities and its peculiarities,” says former Billboard editor-in-chief Adam White, who retired as Universal Music Group International VP, communications in 2012. “In short, he was an academic with soul.” Hardy is survived by a son, Joel, and a daughter, Emily.