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British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

British Phonographic Industry (BPI)








The British Phonographic Industry (“BPI”)[1] represents the United Kingdom’s recorded music industry, which includes hundreds of independent music companies and the U.K’s major record companies – Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music. According to Billboard, British artists constitute 13.7% of all global music sales and account for 1 in 7 albums purchased by fans around the globe.[2] Together, BPI’s members account for 85% of all music sold in the U.K.[3]

Not only is the UK the second largest source of repertoire in the US but itself is also one of the biggest music markets in the world – alongside the US, Japan and Germany. BPI has a central role in promoting British music abroad and works hard to open doors into overseas markets for all its member companies. One way of doing this is via a series of international trade missions and the support of popular industry trade events, all specifically designed to assist member labels to develop their business overseas and source new opportunities in building international revenues.[4]

The BPI also organises the BRIT Awards show and the Classic BRIT Awards show. The BPI co-owns the Official Charts Company in a joint venture with the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA). The Official Charts Company is responsible for the commissioning, distribution, marketing and promotion of the UK’s industry standard music and video charts and sales data. BPI also maintains the industry standard for certifying Gold, Silver and Platinum sales awards.

BPI provides a forum where all those interested in the future of the record business can come together.  BPI provides members with a comprehensive range of services and benefits, including:

Copyright Protection

BPI’s in-house Copyright Protection Unit (CPU) specialises in the investigation of music piracy, both physical and digital, which costs your industry more than £300m in revenues each year.  Our Regional Investigators based throughout the UK work with our expert Forensics Office to assist Trading Standards and the Police to take action against organised crime gangs profiting at the expense of the industry through the sale of counterfeit CDs, DVDs, and music merchandise to the general public.  In 2012, we’ve assisted in the closure of one of the worst markets for fake goods in the UK and have helped with criminal prosecutions to curb this type of activity.

Our remit extends to the online world where the internet investigations team is working to block infringing sites such as The Pirate Bay, to cut off revenue to unauthorised services through partnerships with advertisers and payment providers, and identify innovative ways of reducing piracy.  The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has seconded a leading expert to the BPI’s Anti-Piracy Unit.  This appointment is the first secondment by NFIB into private industry, enabling City of London Police to develop a greater understanding of the illegal distribution and sale of music online by organised crime gangs.


Government Relations

BPI works on behalf of its members to ensure that the views of British record labels are heard in Parliament, across key Government departments and a wide range of political and industry stakeholders.   In recent times we have successfully secured an extension of copyright term to 70 years – bringing UK musicians closer in line with their US counterparts – and driven forward the Digital Economy Act to reduce filesharing by 70%. We are currently lobbying Government for tax incentives for investment in British music, joint cooperation on explicit music content, and access to finance to assist SMEs with taking on apprentices and interns.

Joint GS1 UK and BPI Agreement

BPI and GS1 UK are working together to make it easier for you to get your music into the stores, online and into the charts, whilst ensuring you receive the royalties you deserve.  The agreement reduces the cost of releasing music and aims to reduce illegal reproduction and distribution of music.

Training and Education

BPI hosts a variety of regular member events, business seminars and training courses, enabling members to stay up to date with rapid changes taking place in the music market and the broader legal and technological environment in which it operates.  Subjects have included Digital Marketing, Direct to Fan Platforms, Legal Contracts, Brands & Agencies, Website Optimisation and many more.  All of these are free of charge to members.

International Access

BPI ensures that its members are active at national and international trade events, enabling them to raise their profile and expand their operations into new markets.  BPI has run trade missions to LA, Tokyo, Australia and different European regions each year, while offering discounted rates to members who wish to attend midem, SXSW, Reeperbahn, Classical:NEXT and other international music conferences.

Industry Networking

BPI provides a forum where members can get to know and share knowledge and experience with other labels that face similar issues, and meet labels who may be potential business partners. It is also a forum where the key issues facing record labels are discussed and joint action agreed.  We also bring in key industry figures to meet members from companies like BBC Radio, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, HMV and many more.

Digital Support

BPI’s Innovation Panel is helping to accelerate the development of the UK’s legal digital music market.  BPI offers support to both new and established digital music service operators – by sharing consumer research, helping to identify and value unfulfilled market opportunities and providing a unified forum for dialogue with labels on service design and market strategies.

Legal Support

BPI offers a wide range legal advice and counsel to its members, including standard agreements with other music industry bodies such as PPL/VPL, the Musicians’ Union and PRS For Music.  This simplifies commercial agreements for our members making it easier for them to get on with daily business.

Market Information

BPI publishes monthly reports for its members, in addition to bespoke and targeted reports covering specific areas of the market – including sales by type of music and by artist nationality, analysis of the success of British artists in overseas territories, and the value of growth sectors such as synchronisation and licensing.  The department also provides research and statistics on the economic performance of the industry in terms of overseas earnings, employment and investment in A&R and detailed reports on the scale and impact of illegal downloading.  The BPI’s Annual Yearbook – the definitive guide to the development of the British record business – is free of charge to all members.

Discounted Events

BPI facilitates generous registration discounts and travel grants for attendance at international trade fairs and many other domestic industry events like The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City.

Certified Awards

BPI presents Certified Awards, highlighting the success of British Record labels and the artists they represent.  Certified Awards are presented for shipments of 60,000 (silver), 100,000 (gold) and 300,000 (platinum) albums, in addition to schemes for the singles and Music DVD markets.

Consumer Engagement

BPI represents the industry in the media and plays a key role in driving and supporting initiatives that inform and educate consumers about the value and importance of music, alongside raising awareness of legal digital music services and the issues surrounding illegal downloading.



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