AIM' s CEO Paul Pacifico: "Most of our members don’t want Brexit"





"As always it is great to see so many friends and colleagues here today.

I want to talk about community.

About the importance of our vision for a vibrant, successful, inclusive music industry and the need for us to lead the way with a clear collective voice.

Our community has always had a shared sense of purpose – we are commercial competitors and all of us are passionate entrepreneurs in music, but we come together through our commitment to ensuring the future health and prosperity of the independent sector and the ecosystem we share.

This is not just some woolly ideal, it remains our mission and from it we derive our collective strength both in defense against global threats and in opportunity as a united front.

This is not something to take for granted – this market is complex and evolving fast. If we take our eye of the ball, even momentarily, we could quickly lose our momentum and with it, our ability to compete on level terms irrespective of size or scale.

And make no mistake, we are facing both bigger challenges and bigger opportunities than ever before. But rest assured that the recent changes at AIM have readied us to fight for the best outcomes in both.

We all know, for example, that some big tech companies represent a liberating and democratising force whilst at the same time undermining the very basis on which we are able to build sustainable businesses by exploiting loopholes in outdated legislation.

This time last year our keynote guest was Helen Smith from our European umbrella organization, Impala – we said at the time that we would call on the community to respond at key moments in the debates around the copyright review in Brussels and indeed we did call on you. And you responded.

You signed petitions, wrote letters, attended meetings and showed that we are here.

The AIM community played a significant role in that recent victory on Article 13 - lobbying by ourselves and in collaboration with the campaigns that were run by both Impala and UK Music.

We were able to show that this was not just an arm-wrestle between big tech and major labels, but that small businesses, independent labels and self-releasing artists livelihoods hung in the balance in the outcome and our voice was heard.

One after another, MEPs supported us from across the parliament, choosing by a large majority European culture over global business interests.

We won a significant victory.

However, the fight is not over and there are further rounds to win – the passage of the final bill in Brussels, the timing with Brexit and whether the UK government will commit to enacting the legislation locally here – and if so, to what extent they reinforce or dilute the relevant articles.

We will continue to fight, we will continue to be vigilant on your behalf and we will continue to call on you in key moments. If we remain united, our progress will continue.

The theme of our AGM today is Representation, Diversity and Inclusion and I would like to reflect for a moment on why.

AIM is a diverse community in our very essence. Diversity has always been one of our greatest assets and I am proud to say that we have always been leaders in this area.

With the advent of new business models, a new generation of entrepreneurs, the blurring of lines between the old-world silos and the rise of self-releasing artists, AIM’s community has become even more diverse.

And so we must reflect on whether we are doing enough to make AIM representative of ALL of our members and to ensure we are embracing the full range of views in our community and in respect of the four G’s that are the pillars of the independent music community’s diversity strategy: Gender, Generation, Geography and Genre.

I was proud this year that the AIM Awards demonstrated a significant step up in terms of the event itself, but also an increased commitment to representation across all of those 4 pillars with winners ranging from Nadine Shah, Sophie and Peggy Gou to Idles, Dave, Goldie and Erasure.

Watch this space by the way for some exciting announcements we hope to make soon for the Awards in 2019 in what will be AIM’s 20th Anniversary year.

Listen. Wherever we are made to feel ‘less than’, whether in person or in business, we should draw strength from our community in which we celebrate our differences, respect each others’ choices and work together for a fair, inclusive and strong independent sector.

AIM has always been a leader in this area and in the last year, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure we are at the cutting edge of best practice and able to be confident that we are walking the walk – not just talking the talk.

Whether it’s working in partnership with experts such as Stonewall to ensure our approach is evidence-based to achieve tangible results, commissioning research, facilitating positive discussion, advocating for action, educating legislators or collaborating with the wider industry to bring about change, you have my commitment that AIM will continue to be a positive force in this area moving forward.

Last year I stood before you with a bunch of big ideas and a plan for how we were going to implement some new initiatives. I talked about the fact that 2017 had been a year of reflection and that 2018 would be a year of action. It is time to report back and update you on some of what we have achieved in the last 12 months.

We have completed a full rebrand of AIM with a new logo and a fresh approach to how we present ourselves.

We launched the new look for AIM at The Great Escape in Brighton where we hosted the inaugural AIM House at the Queen’s Hotel.

For the duration of the conference, we partnered with Merlin as part of their 10th anniversary celebration, and a whole range of AIM Members and Friends to deliver a structured programme going from 10am to 2am every day including talks, seminars, workshops, showcases and late night DJ sets.

We also used this opportunity to foster engagement between members and partners such as, Love Music Hate Racism, Girls Rock London, Attitude is Everything and Music Support with whom we co-created a safe space which was staffed by counsellors daily.

We have successfully delivered on a whole range of initiatives that this time last year were still in the planning phases.

Our partnership with the Featured Artists Coalition has enabled us to understand and work towards better support for artist-entrepreneurs as well as practical work we have undertaken at board level on transparency and modernised deal structures to ever improve the basis on which we do business.

We have held 4 quarterly meetings at the Digital Catapult where we have brought together leading digital experts from the AIM community with a broad range of tech companies from small startups to the biggest corporations with positive and concrete results including a new initiative with the Wikimedia Foundation to ensure diverse music and artists are better represented on Wikipedia.

We have delivered on the Memorandum of Understanding we announced last year with Pirate Studios which has led to a whole series of Pirate Live streamed gigs and a new offer, about to be promoted to give all artists signed to AIM members a £50 credit for studio time each – a benefit which we calculate could be worth in excess of £150,000 if taken up by the community.

Our new agreement with MUSO, which we delivered on this year has enabled all AIM rightsholder members to receive free access to piracy protection and has seen over 5 million takedowns in just 5 months.

We signed up to and delivered on the PRS Foundtion-led Keychange pledge with in excess of 50% female speakers at our digital conference Music Connected. We actively promoted the event to a more diverse audience and saw a significant increase in female attendance to over 40% of total delegates. For a digital conference in music, these numbers are way ahead of the curve.

We have forged a partnership with music and tech accelerator The Rattle, offering 2 free AIM Bursaries to enable entrepreneurs who would otherwise not be able, to have the opportunity to access the facilities there including desk space and studio access but also mentoring on both the commercial and creative sides of their businesses.

During last weekend’s National Album Day, I think we delivered pretty much the coolest project in the programme in partnership with Pitch Black Play Back and MQA hosting ultra high-definition full album playbacks in the dark from Sophie, Gil Scott-Heron, Mogwai, The Fall, Public Service Broadcasting and Young Fathers.

We are also delivering an increasing number of direct commercial opportunities to members from the exclusive BBC Framework Agreement to the Label Lodge with Soho Radio and Jaegermeister and most recently a collaboration with O2 on the recently relaunched Blue Room at the O2 Arena.

We continue to expand our presence geographically launching partnerships to fulfill our commitment to increased presence throughout the UK. Events taking place within the next six weeks launch AIM hubs in Leeds and Glasgow with plans underway to launch in Northern Ireland, Wales and other locations in 2019.

Further afield, we continue to expand our capability to connect AIM Members with the world. We have visited more international conferences in the last 12 months than in any previous year at AIM and secured new commitments of support and partnerships for our international and export activities from the Department for International Trade, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a reinvigorated partnership with the British Council.

Most of our members don’t want Brexit, and we continue to collaborate across music and the wider creative industries to highlight the risks to our sector of a bad deal, and to call for support in securing the best future outcomes for trade, touring and cultural exchange.

We have added our voice to the board of the Creative Industries Federation enabling the perspective of SMEs in Music to be heard in a much wider forum that extends our reach whilst also giving us the benefit of connecting with and learning from many in other creative areas like fashion, games, design and architecture.

Come what may, we will be ready, both to redouble the strength of our partnerships with our European friends and colleagues, and also to lead the way in any opportunities in the wider world to come.

We have modernised, we have updated, we are delivering more for members and the results are starting to show.

We are growing fast.

We successfully added 116 new rightsholder members in the last 12 months and increased our Friends of AIM membership by 26 – nearly doubling last year’s increase with a dramatic fall in cancellations.

We continue to strengthen our growth through partnerships, including in training, education and mentoring.

The AIM Academy has continued to deliver a successful programme of sessions ranging from Social Media and Marketing to Funding and Distribution, on which AIM is compiling an in-depth report with CMU.

AIM has become one of the lead partners in the BBC Introducing Live event at Tobacco Dock coming up in November. Please do come and take part in our whole range of panels and talks and especially the Feedback Centre where the AIM Community can engage with and help guide the next generation of talent into our industry.

We are also looking forward to our new-look AIM Sync Conference, which will take place on 28th January at the Barbican with a full day of panels and interactive sessions across Film, TV, Advertising, Games and Interactive Entertainment including the future of Music in Virtual and Augmented Reality.

We will also be bringing together some of our other conference events into a single, bigger, stronger platform for AIM Members to come together, learn, teach, network and do business.

Indie-Con, Music Connected and our Women in Music Conference will be delivered together in April in London as a 3-day event branded AIM Connected.

AIM Connected will bring international partners together with the UK independent community to explore all aspects of music, tech and the role of people in the 21st Century landscape.

All of this could not be possible, of course, without the dedication, passion, energy and hard work of the entire AIM team.

Like most of our members, we remain few in number and always try to punch well above our weight. I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their efforts.

On a personal note, it would not be possible to achieve what we do without the support shown to me by the AIM board and by you, our members. You empower me and give me the energy and focus to lead this wonderful organization with real pride."

Source AIM

October 19, 2018 4:00am ET by AIM  

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