The BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited, commonly known as the British Phonographic Industry or BPI, is the British recorded music industry's trade association.
Its membership comprises hundreds of music companies including all three "major" record companies in the UK (Warner Music UK, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group), and hundreds of independent music labels and small to medium-sized music businesses.
It has represented the interests of British record companies since being formally incorporated in 1973 when the principal aim was to promote British music and fight copyright infringement.
In 2007, the association's legal name was changed from British Phonographic Industry Limited (The).
It founded the annual BRIT Awards for the British music industry in 1977, and, later, The Classic BRIT Awards. The organizing company, BRIT Awards Limited, is a fully owned subsidiary of the BPI. Proceeds from both shows go to the BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI that has donated almost £15m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation in 1989. In September 2013, the BPI presented the first ever BRITs Icon Award to Sir Elton John. The BPI also endorsed the launch of the Mercury Prize for the Album of the Year in 1992.
The recorded music industry's Certified Awards program, which attributes Platinum, Gold and Silver status to singles, albums and music videos (Platinum and Gold only) based on their sales performance (see BPI Certified Awards program), has been administered by the BPI since its inception in 1973. In September 2008, the BPI became one of the founding members of UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the interests of all parts of the industry.
The charitable arm of the BPI, the trust was conceived in 1989 by a collection of leading music industry individuals with a mission to give young people a chance to express their musical creativity regardless of race, class, sex or ability. The BRIT Trust is the only music charity actively supporting all types of education across the entire spectrum of music. Through the projects it supports, which include Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the BRIT School, the Trust offers young people the opportunity to enhance their lives through music. Proceeds from the BRIT Awards and the Classic BRITs shows go to the BRIT Trust, which has donated almost £15m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation.
Opened in September 1991, the BRIT School is a joint venture between The BRIT Trust and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Based at Selhurst in Croydon, the school is the only non fee-paying performing arts school in the UK. It teaches up to 1,100 students each year aged from 14–19 years in music, dance, drama, musical theatre, production, media and art & design. Students are from completely diverse backgrounds and are not required to stick to their own discipline; dancers learn songwriting, pianists can learn photography. Nor do students have to work/perform in the evening to pay for the tuition; all they have to do is show their determination to succeed in the competitive creative industries.
The BPI administers the Platinum, Gold and Silver awards scheme for music releases in the United Kingdom. The level of the award varies depending on the format of the release (albums, singles or music videos) and the level of sales achieved. Although the awards program was for many years based on the level of shipments by record labels to retailers, since July 2013, certifications have been automatically allocated by the BPI upon the relevant sales thresholds being achieved. Member companies do, however, still have the option to certify titles based on shipment levels if they choose to.
Since July 2014, audio streaming has also been included for singles (more accurately, songs in digital format) at a ratio of 100 streams equivalent to 1 unit (sale/shipment). From June 2015, audio streams were added to album certifications. According to BPI, they would take the 12 most-streamed tracks from the standard version of an album, with the top two songs down-weighted in line with the average of the rest. The total of these streams will be divided by 1,000 and added to the physical and digital sales of the album (the 1,000 ratio representing 100 streams as an equivalent for one track, and 10 tracks for one album).
|Album||[nb 1]60,000||[nb 1]100,000||[nb 1]300,000|
|Single||[nb 2]200,000||[nb 2]400,000||[nb 2]600,000|
The BPI have developed bespoke software and automated crawling tools created in-house by the BPI search for members repertoire across more than 400 known infringing sites and generate URLs which are sent to Google as a DMCA Notice for removal within hours of receipt. Additionally, personnel are also seconded to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit top support anti-"piracy" operations.