UK (BPI) - UK record companies' trade association the BPI (British
Phonographic Industry) has appointed Jon Webster - Webbo - as Director
of Independent Member Services as it moves to further strengthen its
services to the UK's thriving independent record company sector.
who helped turn Virgin Records UK into the biggest independent record
company in the UK before its sale to EMI, has worked in almost every
area of the UK music industry and has run small independent label
Aquarian Nation for the past four years.
Working from the BPI
office, Webster will also chair a new BPI Independents Committee which
will be charged with ensuring that independents' interests are
reflected across the BPI's activities.
BPI Chairman Peter
Jamieson said, "The BPI is an industry association in which majors and
indies sit side-by-side. But independents are often too time-pressured
to engage fully with every industry issue. What this appointment is
about is ensuring we have a heavy-hitter who is focused 100% on
independents concerns at all times. Jon Webster has operated at every
level and most areas of the recording industry. He is principled,
straight-talking and down-to-earth. He is the ideal person to represent
the independent sector at the BPI and to help us continue the process
of upgrading our services to members."
Jon Webster said, "I have
run what was the UK's biggest independent, and over the past four years
have managed one of the smallest, so I know how difficult this market
can be. What I am certain of is that during times of change it is vital
that the recording industry works together to deal with the immense
challenges we all face. My job is to ensure independents' concerns are
at the very heart of what the BPI does, and that we deliver value to
them on a daily basis."
The BPI set out its agenda for the
independent sector earlier this year with a pledge to make membership
more affordable and a new focus on practical business services.
Director of Communications & Development Steve Redmond said, "Over
the past three months our campaign to help independents compete in the
new online world has proven that our approach can make a real
difference. It's an approach which focuses on practical business
solutions which help indies in their day-to-day business. Jon Webster's
no-nonsense but often inspirational approach is ideal to take this work
on and develop it."
Webster's impressive CV in the music
industry began in the classic way with a two-and-a-half year stint as
social secretary at Birmingham University. He started work at Richard
Branson's then fledgling Virgin Retail chain working behind the counter
in Hull before working his way up to manager of its flagship New Oxford
Street store. In 1981 he transferred to the Virgin Records label - at
the height of its success with the Human League
and then Culture Club.
was one of the team - with BPI Chairman Peter
Jamieson - who in 1983
created the 'Now... That's What I Call Music' compilation brand, the
world's most successful music compilation series. In 1988 he became
of Virgin Records UK. He sat on the BPI Council from
1985 until 1992 when he left Virgin.
Since then Webster has
succeeded in a whole range of different areas. He invented The Mercury
Music Prize as a promotion to support creative album artists. For 10
years he wrote the 'Webbo' column in Music
Week, and since 1993 he has
worked as a consultant to a variety of companies including Virgin
Records carrying out International Marketing for Genesis, Peter
Gabriel, UB40, Mike and the Mechanics and Van Morrison
as well as
independent artists Erasure, Babybird and Die Toten Hosen.
2000 he began managing D*Note and Francis Dunnery (former singer with
It Bites). He runs the small internet sales label Aquarian Nation
Since June 2002 he has been a
consultant to clinic (www.clinic.co.uk), a London based creative
communications company and has also advised such companies as
Amazon.co.uk, Echo Records, Mute Records and MCI.
He frequently contributes to radio and TV programmes as an industry pundit.