Artist Interviews

Interview - Simon Gurney from BBC Worldwide Speaks to Music Gateway

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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A couple of weeks ago we had Simon Gurney from BBC Worldwide join up to the site with a Pro Account. We got in touch with him to discuss his role at BBC Worldwide, his thoughts on Music Gateway and all things sync!

What does your role at BBC Worldwide entail?


I look after the secondary exploitation of all BBC / BBCW music copyrights in the areas of licensing and synchronisation. In plain English that means that I try to persuade labels to use their acts BBC recordings on new releases, advertising agencies, and film companies etc. to use our unique content within their projects. We have deals in place with most Majors and large Indies to make this as simple a process as possible for clients.

If I remember correctly you used to be at Ministry of Sound, what has lead you from there to where you are now?

And before that I was at EMI Records so I’ve done the Major and Indie thing before arriving here. I followed my 4 years at the Ministry with 5 years at a couple of smaller dance labels and think I was just looking to work with a wider range of music again. That’s certainly been the case and I’m approaching ten years here to my disbelief.

The BBC own the masters for an amazing catalogue of a lot of classic tracks and sound bites, have you got any favourites?


Ha, where to start. We estimate over half a million recordings but when I meet up with potential clients I often point them to Max Richter’s “Memoryhouse” album if they ask me what to listen to first when I pass them samplers. It was Max’s first album recorded for us back when we were a bona-fide record label and is perfect music for film and adverts. Neo-classical electronica I tell them but that’s just a genre I invented. In terms of new music the Live Lounge recordings are our most sought after and I love the fact that we have artists of any stature record cover versions that their label likely wont have in their standard catalogue.

I guess it makes sense then for you to have a way of connecting to producers and artists in a controlled way to reuse these and make new recordings to monetise the catalogue?

Absolutely and that’s why I’m on Music Gateway now. There are only two of us (Denise Black being the other one) doing all this and not enough time to meet everybody face to face so this fits our needs nicely.

It’s great to have BBC worldwide on board with a Pro account, what drew you to the platform?


The concept. It’s simple in some ways and yet still needed somebody to both think it up and actually bring it to life and it’s great that it’s a British company that got there first.

Sync seems to be the golden goal of many of those in the industry, how do you see this changing or developing as time passes?


I think that as download income takes a hit from newer streaming models, sync will become even more important to labels, in the short term at least. Legal downloads were gradually beginning to plug the revenue gap from the drop in CD sales and price but streaming is less lucrative (to most) so sync will be even more crucial even as the rates paid for that seem to be in decline.  We have to be positive and regard this as an opportunity.

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