Simon James

Simon worked as a production music publisher for 30 years and now heads up the production music division at MCPS & PRS in the UK.  MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) licences works and production music sound recordings of behalf of its members in conjunction with the PRS performance rights from its London base, administering and distributing royalties accordingly on the revenues it collects.

Born in rural Cornwall, UK, while at school Simon interned with the BBC recording local bands, orchestras, and engineering and producing shows, which gave him his first experience of library music as he selected a Studio G track for a radio promo he produced aged 14.  After school and moving to London, his first job was in shipping at Bruton Music hired by library legend, KPM and Bruton founder, Robin Phillips, just before Michael Jackson bought parent ATV Music/Northern Songs and sold the library to Zomba in 1985.

Robin then set up Music House in ’87 and invited Simon to join in a sales role from which he progressed through to General Manager after EMI acquired the business 10 years later, folding it into the KPM label family over the next few years under 2016 Mark Awards honoree Peter Cox.  In 2002 he rejoined Zomba, which by then had acquired Chappell, FirstCom and a host of others, in a new role as International Marketing Director as the company thrived prior to BMG’s famous purchase of the Zomba Group soon after.  Simon then successfully launched BMG/Zomba Production Music integrating the Atmosphere and Killer imprints into the repertoire, a business which now all sits under the Universal umbrella.

During his time at EMI and Zomba Simon was instrumental in founding ground breaking multi-library search and download platform PLAY, an EMI property, which became the premier UK service for library distribution in the market, presenting all the labels above plus independents Focus Music, Extreme Music, Videohelper and Megatrax in the US, Kosinus in France, AV Music in Holland and a host of other iterations around the globe.  EMI Production Music still use the PLAY brand today, a name proposed by Simon at a memorable production music conference dinner on the French island of Corsica in 2001.

Libraries were at the forefront of search development and metadata standardization at this time, and embraced digital distribution while the record industry struggled to catch up.  Enthused by these new possibilities and proud of PLAY’s success, and following BMG’s decision to withdraw from the collaboration, Simon returned to EMI as a consultant to head up the initiative and continued to build it for 4 more years until new EMI management took it in house and the collaboration ended in 2009.

Simon then set up Repertoire as an independent sub-publisher with friend and KPM stalwart Tim Hardy, acting as a sub-publisher and distributor for multiple global independents, AXS Music, In The Groove, Score, Tubesounds, LaLeLa, Icon Trailer Music and several more besides. This ran well as a self-funded business for 5 happy years until Simon was appointed into his current role at PRS in 2014.


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