UK Labels Body BPI Looks to Grow Tech Partnerships With Innovation Hub

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A view from the Emirates Airline of the 02 Arena at sunset with Canary Wharf and the London skyline in the background.

Technology and the music industry have always gone hand in hand, never more so than today's fast-changing era of digital streaming, immersive 360 degree virtual video and mobile ticketing.

Now U.K. labels trade body BPI is looking to foster future innovation by launching a dedicated forum for record companies and technology businesses to exchange ideas and form creative partnerships.

The inaugural meeting of the 'Innovation Hub' took place earlier this month at BPI's County Hall headquarters in London. Going forward, it will look to convene on a quarterly basis with the goal of generating long-term commercial opportunities and revenue streams for British and international businesses.

19 companies took part in the first forum get-together, including Sony Music Entertainment U.K., BMG, Absolute, Believe and PIAS. On the tech side, representatives of live-streaming platform Chew, direct-to-fan marketing service Gig Rev and digital rights collections agency Traccks were among those invited by BPI to participate.

Heading the 'Innovation Hub' is its newly installed director, Vanessa Higgins, who runs the indie labels Regent Street Records and Gold Bar Records and serves on the BPI's council as an independent label representative. Joining her is BPI's director of independent member services, Chris Tams, who is responsible for the forum's general operation.

At present, the forum is a purely physical endeavor, but an online dimension is currently being developed. The hub will also look to invite individual tech companies to deliver more detailed presentations at future BPI Indie Members meetings, as well as attend tech conferences. The next meeting is scheduled to take place early March 2017.

"With the help of leading minds in both fields, we are bringing together forward-thinking labels of all sizes with emerging technology companies, developing ideas across a plethora of areas," said Higgins in a statement. "We want to shape the future of the music industry, not react to the rules thrust upon us," she went on to say.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor was similarly effusive, saying that the "music business lives at the nexus of creativity, innovation and technology."

"It is clear from the first Hub session that there are many exciting opportunities to collaborate with start-ups to create new experiences for fans and to find new, more efficient ways of doing business," added Taylor.


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