UK record labels association, the BPI, will today host In Tune With Tomorrow, a half-day conference that will focus on education and the talent pipeline, whilst also exploring how our industry can grow sustainably and equitably through human-led creativity and innovative fan engagement. 

The event will hear from a range of expert speakers across three key strands centred on Talent, Fan Engagement, and Sustainability. Each session will feature a ‘keynote’ moment followed by an expert panel discussion.

Together, these sessions will consider how creative potential can be unlocked, beginning with specialist education and then enabled by record labels, who sign and nurture artists and work within the music ecosystem to help to build their fan-bases and realise their global commercial appeal. The timing of this event in a General Election year will help the BPI to inform some of its priority objectives working with a new administration.   

The event, which will commence with a networking lunch will open with a welcoming address from BPI CEO Dr. Jo Twist OBE. There will also be brief performances from BRIT School and ELAM students, which will lead into the first session:

Session One: In Tune with Talent

BPI Chair YolanDa Brown OBE DL in conversation with Stuart Worden and Matt Sheldon

YolanDa, a leading advocate of music and creative arts education, will host a discussion with Stuart Worden, Principal of the BRIT School, who this year celebrates 30 years with the Croydon college, and Matt Sheldon, Principal of East London Arts and Music (ELAM).  These educationalists will discuss the opportunities and continuing challenges facing specialist creative arts schools and the important role they play as stepping stones into the music and wider creative industries.

In Tune With Talent Panel

Building on the themes of the preceding discussion, BPI CEO Dr Jo Twist OBE will chair a panel focused on the symbiotic relationship that exists between specialist education and the music and creative industries.  Jo will look to explore with the panellists how more doors can be opened to talent all around

the UK, so that gifted young artists and people drawn from all backgrounds can have a meaningful opportunity to find their way into the industry – and be nurtured and developed into realising their full creative and commercial potential so that British music and exports can continue to grow in an ever-more competitive global market.

The panel will comprise:

  • Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI CEO (Chair)
  • Becky Allen, Co-President EMI Records
  • Dave Pichilingi, CEO, Modern Sky UK & North America at Modern Sky and Founder Sound City
  • Elton Jackson, Director Artist & Employee Wellbeing, Sony Music UK
  • Kelly Betts, Editor, BBC Music Introducing

Session Two: In Tune With Fan Engagement

Virtual Keynote: Ed Newton-Rex, Founder, Fairly Trained

Ed will expand on his passionately held view that, while generative AI will have a number of uses for musicians, AI companies must license their training data.  If they don't, he believes we risk seeing the rise of highly scalable AI models that compete with human musicians, built by exploiting their work. Ed will then explain how they are verifying use of AI at Fairly Trained, and why this is so important.

Ed founded Jukedeck, one of the first AI music startups, which was acquired by ByteDance, where he then led the AI Music lab before heading Product for TikTok in Europe. After working with a music creation app acquired by Snap, Ed joined Stability AI to lead their Audio team. However, he resigned in November 2023 due to its policy of training AI models on copyrighted work without consent. In 2024 he founded Fairly Trained, a non-profit that certifies generative AI models for fairer training data practices. 

Presentation: Hannah Kahlert, MiDiA Research

Hanna Kahlert is Cultural Trends Analyst at MIDiA Research and will present the latest trends on fan engagement and how these are likely to develop in future.

With a focus on cross-entertainment industry trends and audience insights, she contributes across MIDiA’s music and media & marketing output and has worked on a number of recurring projects, including the Be The Change: Women In Music study.  

In Tune with Fan Engagement Panel

Music Ally’s Head of Insight Stuart Dredge, who also co-hosts industry podcast The Price of Music, with Steve Lamacq, has curated and will chair a discussion on fan engagement. The topic of superfans – and how to reach them – has been one of the music industry talking points. This session will examine what makes a superfan, what is important to them and how significant they are. With the relationship between artists and fans constantly evolving, it will  look at where the meeting ground might be in future and what lessons the industry can learn from other sectors. And how do we safeguard against burnout in an age where artists are expected to be more accessible to fans than ever before.

The panel will comprise:

  • Stuart Dredge, Music Ally Head of Insight and co-founder of the Price of Music podcast (Chair)
  • Christine Osazuwa, Chief Strategy Officer at Shoobs and founder of Measure of Music
  • Hanna Kahlert, Cultural Trends Analyst, MiDiA Research
  • Róisín Warner, Head of Marketing, Blackstar Agency
  • Vabyanti Endrojono-Ellis, Senior Manager, New Business & Ventures, Warner Music Int’l

Session Three: In Tune with Sustainability

Keynote: Fay Milton, Co-Founder, Music Declares Emergency

Fay Milton is a musician from London and Co-Founder of Music Declares Emergency and 

the NO MUSIC ON A DEAD PLANET Movement. Appropriately, on Earth Day, she will highlight how the music industry is developing its sustainability, but how much more needs to be done and what actions are required to achieve this.

Music Declares Emergency is a charity and campaigning organisation bringing the music industry together to use its cultural influence to call for urgent action on climate. Launched in the UK in 2019 and now spanning 16 countries worldwide, it has more than 7,000 signatories from the biggest names in the industry through to grassroots talent. Fay is also a drummer and music producer, having played in the London-based band Savages and as producer of collaborative project Goddess. 

In Tune With Sustainability Panel

When the speed of action is critical, we need to look across the aisles at what is working, what is not

and where collaboration is key. Chaired by Roxy Erickson, Co-Founder of Creative Zero and BPI

Sustainability consultant, this panel brings other industries from outside of music into the conversation

to understand what the recorded industry can introduce to achieve further positive environmental

impact within and create a sustainable future for artists, fans and the music business. 

The panel will comprise:

  • Roxy Erickson, Co-founder Creative Zero and BPI Sustainability consultant
  • Karen Emanuel, CEO and Founder, Key Production
  • Jennifer Estaris, Game Director, ustwo games
  • April Sotomayor, Head of Industry Sustainability, BAFTA albert
  • Alison Tickell, Founder, Julie’s Bicycle

Keynote and Performance: Louis VI

Louis J. Butler, aka Louis VI, is a rapper, musician, film composer, documentary maker, zoologist and nature activist who cross-pollinates music and nature to help the underserved diaspora re-establish their connection with nature. He gave a keynote speech at COP26 about the colonial legacy of Climate Change and the alienation of people of colour in the UK from access to nature. He has just started as Creator in Residence at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol where he will be working across nature documentaries. He was recently enlisted as a member of Earth Percent, a charity founded by Brian Eno to tackle sustainability and the climate crisis within the music industry.

Closing keynotes and networking

Closing speech from Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI Chief Executive

Guest Keynote:

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thangam Debbonaire has lived in Bristol for more than 30 years. She is Member of Parliament for Bristol West and since September 2023 has been Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. She has previously held the position of Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Shadow Brexit Minister and Labour whip. Since being first elected in 2015, she has championed arts, culture and the creative industries, refugee rights and cancer treatment for young people. Thangam is also a former professional cellist and now a “very happy amateur” playing regularly with her parliamentary string quartet.   

Networking drinks reception