British Phonographic Industry

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British Phonographic Industry
Formation1973;51 years ago (1973)
Legal status Nonprofit organization
PurposeMusic industry in the
United Kingdom
Region served
United Kingdom
British music companies
YolanDa Brown
Chief executive
Sophie Jones (interim)
Main organ
BPI Council

British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is the British recorded music industry's Trade association. It runs the BRIT Awards; is home to the Mercury Prize; co-owns the Official Charts Company with the Entertainment Retailers Association; and awards UK music sales through the BRIT Certified Awards.



Its membership comprises hundreds of music companies, including (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK, Warner Music UK), and over 500 independent record labels and small to medium-sized music businesses.

The BPI council is the management and policy forum of the BPI. It is chaired by the Chair of BPI, and includes the Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer (COO), General Counsel, Chief Strategy Officer and 12 representatives from the recorded music sector: six from major labels two each from the three "major" companies and six from the independent sector, who are selected by voting of all BPI independent label members. [1]


BPI 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)" to "BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited".

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.

In July 2022, YolanDa Brown was appointed chair of BPI, replacing Ged Doherty, who had served in that role the previous seven years. [2]

In July 2023, Dr Jo Twist OBE was appointed Chief Executive of BPI, replacing Geoff Taylor MBE, who had served in the role since 2007.


BPI founded the annual BRIT Awards for the British music industry in 1977, and, later, the Classic BRIT Awards. The organising 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 distributed almost £30m 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, and since 2016 has organised the Prize.

The recorded music industry's Certified Awards programme, which attributes Platinum, Gold and Silver status to singles, albums and music videos (Platinum and Gold only) based on their sales performance (see BRIT Certified Awards), has been administered by the BPI since its inception in 1973.

BRIT Trust

The BRIT Trust is the recognised charitable arm of the BPI. It was conceived in 1989 by BPI and a collection of music industry individuals. The BRIT Trust is the only music charity actively supporting all types of music education. Proceeds from the BRIT Awards and The Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS) go to the BRIT Trust, which has donated almost £30m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation. As of 2024, beneficiaries include The BRIT School, Nordoff and Robbins, East London Arts and Music, Music Support, and Key 4 Life.

BRIT School

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 comprehensive school describes itself as the leading performing and creative arts school in the UK and is completely free to attend. [3] It teaches over 1,400 students each year aged from 14 to 19 years in music, dance, drama, musical theatre, production, media and art and design. Students are from diverse backgrounds and are not required to stick to their own discipline; dancers learn songwriting, pianists can learn photography. [4] [5]

In August 2023, the Department for Education approved BPI’s plan to open a new specialist creative school in Bradford, West Yorkshire, inspired by the successful model of the BRIT School in Croydon.


A gold certification for Eric Clapton's album August Bpiclaptonaugust.jpg
A gold certification for Eric Clapton's album August

The BPI administers the BRIT Certified 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 in accordance with Official Charts Company data.

Since July 2014, streaming media has been included for singles and from June 2015 audio streams were added to album certifications. In July 2018 video streams were included in singles certifications for the first time. Streaming's contributions to chart-eligible sales totals for singles and albums are calculated using the methodology employed by the Official Charts Company for consumption at title level.

In April 2018, a new Breakthrough certification was introduced, pertaining to an artist's first album to reach 30,000 sales. Additionally, the program was re-branded as BRIT Certified, with public promotion of the programme being assumed by the BRIT Awards' social media outlets and digital properties. Former Chief Executive Geoff Taylor justified the change by stating that it was part of an effort to cross-promote the certifications with "the UK's biggest platform for artistic achievement". [6]

In May 2023, BPI launched an expansion of the BRIT Certified Awards Scheme with BRIT Billion, which celebrates outstanding achievement in recorded music by surpassing the landmark of one billion career UK streams – as calculated by the Official Charts Company. Recipients to date include RAYE, Billie Eilish, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Olivia Rodrigo, Mariah Carey, Wizkid and Coldplay. In Autumn 2023, Ed Sheeran was presented with a special edition Gold BRIT Billion Award, celebrating his achievement as the first British artist to surpass ten billion career UK streams.

FormatStatus [7]
Album60,000 [nb 1] 100,000 [nb 1] 300,000 [nb 1]
Single200,000 [nb 2] 400,000 [nb 2] 600,000 [nb 2]
Music DVD25,00050,000

Anti-piracy operations

The BPI have developed bespoke software and automated crawling tools created in-house by the BPI which 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. [9] Additionally, personnel are also seconded to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit to support anti-"piracy" operations.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 The number of sales required to qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver discs was changed to the current thresholds of Platinum (300,000 units), Gold (100,000 units) and Silver (60,000 units) in 1979 for albums above a minimum RRP. Below the minimum RRP, the thresholds are doubled. Prior to this, the thresholds were based on monetary revenue: Platinum (£1,000,000), Gold (£150,000 from April 1973 to September 1974, £250,000 from September 1974 to January 1977, and £300,000 from 1977 until 1979) and Silver (£75,000 from April 1973 to January 1975, £100,000 from January 1975 to January 1977, and £150,000 from 1977 until 1979).
  2. 1 2 3 The number of sales required to qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver discs was dropped for singles released after 1 January 1989 to the current thresholds of Silver (200,000 units), Gold (400,000 units), and Platinum (600,000 units). Prior to this, the thresholds were Silver (250,000 units), Gold (500,000 units), and Platinum (1,000,000 units). [8]

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  1. "BPI Council Election Results Announced". BPI. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  2. Campbell, Joel (18 July 2022). "YolanDa Brown appointed Chair of the BPI". The Voice . Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  3. "Pupil Premium Policy". The BRIT School. November 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  4. Smith, David (15 February 2004). "Out of Croydon, the real Fame Academy". The Observer.
  5. Braddock, Kevin (28 January 2007). "Fame Academy: The Brit School". The Independent.
  6. "BPI rebrands platinum, gold and silver discs as BRIT Certified Awards". Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  7. "BRIT Certified – Certification Levels". British Phonographic Industry. 20 April 2022. Archived from the original on 4 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  8. Gallup (4 February 1989). "The Top of the Pops Chart" (PDF). Record Mirror : 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  9. IP Crime Group. "IP Crime Report 2013/14" (PDF). p. 52. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.