Stephen Navin on The Hargreaves Review

MPA comment from Stephen Navin

The Hargreaves Review

I feel great excitement and jittery with nerves; it is the first time I have been asked to say something for M Magazine in the 5 years that I have had the honour and pleasure to be the Chief Executive of the Music Publishers Association (MPA) and I look forward to greater coverage of publishing generally in M magazine.

And yet there may be no more appropriate and exquisite a moment than this to champion and trumpet the holy trinity of collaboration in making our response to the Independent Review of IP and Growth (‘the Hargreaves Review’).

The holy trinity (without wishing to blaspheme) comprises PRS for Music, BASCA, and our good selves at the MPA.  The Hargreaves Review, which was announced by Mr Cameron back in November whilst on a visit to the east end of London (and which has become famous because of his introductory remark:  ‘the founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain’) required that responses to the call for evidence be made to Professor Hargreaves and his team by the 4 March.

This was an extremely tight time schedule when one considers the potentially vast scope of the review, i.e. how should the IP structure be adapted / changed to stimulate growth and innovation. This has perhaps prompted some paranoia or touched nerves that are barely subcutaneous, e.g. generally, is our copyright system and architecture going back to at least the time of Queen Anne sufficiently robust and flexible enough to accommodate the digital age; are the organisational structures that we put in place – and there is a particular focus on the role and performance of the collection societies – fit for purpose?

Against this sort of adversity, I am very happy to have given the MPA’s name to three responses to the Hargreaves Review:  our own joint submission with BASCA; the PRS for Music submission that we have fully endorsed and contributed to; and thirdly of course the submission by UK Music on behalf of the commercial music industry, in which of course our three organisations play an important part.

Our industry is once again (was it ever thus) in a state of both revolution and evolution – the enormous circumference, breadth and depth of British music continues to amaze and entertain the World and to ensure that it continues to be so recognised and successful, the collection society, the publisher and of course, ultimately and absolutely, the composer must work together.

And to close I quote from our Hargreaves submission:
‘We, as publishers and songwriters, do not see music as mere content, as a widget, to be accessed, compressed and shoved down pipes.  Were Sir Peter Maxwell Davis, as Master of the Queen’s Music, to compose a special piece of music for the occasion of the royal wedding this year, is he and indeed Her Majesty not permitted to exercise their “fundamental human right” to determine how and when such music be first performed?’

Stephen Navin is Chief Executive of The Music Publishers Asssociation