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INTERVIEW: New MIA President Anthony Short discusses the firm's revamped Gala Dinner

Laura  Barnes
INTERVIEW: New MIA President Anthony Short discusses the firm's revamped Gala Dinner

The Music Industries Association (MIA) has announced Anthony Short as its new President. Joining from Shure, he will spearhead a number of changes to the group’s MIA Gala Dinner, which takes place in November.

MI Pro caught up with Short to find out more about his new role and discuss the reasons behind the Gala Dinner revamp:

Tell us a bit about your background in the industry?

My retail background began with Sainsbury’s as a Graduate Trainee and then Departmental Manager. After deciding that Supermarkets weren’t that appealing I stumbled into MI when I took, what I thought would be, a temporary position with Academy of Sound in 2000 whilst I looked for a proper job. Five years at Academy of Sound followed, the last three in a Purchasing Role at the Mansfield head office.
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Following the Sound Control acquisition of AOS the Mansfield office was closed and I was obliged to look for a new opportunity. By now I was hooked by the industry and I was fortunate enough to land an Account Management role with Shure Distribution UK. During the last eleven years with Shure I have worked in a number of positions and I currently lead the UK Retail Team for MI and Consumer.

What will you be focussing on in your new position at the MIA?

I joined the Board of the MIA a couple of years ago mainly because the membership invoice had crossed my desk for approval and I was a little unsure what benefit Shure was actually getting in return. What has struck me through that time is that the MIA is in a tremendous position to support the MI industry but that the benefit package was a bit dated and the go-to-market strategy lacking in creativity and conviction.

This is not a criticism, merely a comment on the fact that the role of a trade body like ours has changed significantly over the last 5-10 years. Large membership organisations like the Federation of Small Business are able provide a portfolio of financial and legal benefits that the MIA cannot hope to emulate. The MIA should instead be delivering value for its members through proactive programs and campaigns that develop and highlight what the UK MI industry can offer to today’s music-makers.

An example of this is Trusted Music Store, we launched this initiative a couple of years ago as a kind of ATOL style safety net for consumers, but what it needs to be is a vehicle to highlight UK retail to its target audience. Over the coming months TMS will be rebranded and relaunched as a positive marketing and support program for retailers, educators and after-sales support. Trusted Music Store will be a consumer-facing strategy that will add value by drawing together unique content from around UK MI and using it engage with, and inform the music-making community.  

The Annual MIA Awards has gone and the Gala Dinner has appeared in its place, what is the thinking behind that?

The Awards have served the MIA well but it was becoming increasingly apparent that the format was dividing opinion and becoming a carrier to engagement. We had a lot of feedback calling for less formality, more networking time and a greater sense of inclusivity which we have responded to.

The emphasis this year is on getting together to celebrate everything that makes our industry so unique. Primarily this is the people, of course a lot of us are also musicians and we tend to get into MI because we love the gear, but it is the relationships we make that keep many of us in this industry. We want the Gala Dinner to reflect this and be an evening for everybody that contributes to MI, at whatever level and in whatever role.

So no Awards then?

We are still recognising achievement through the presentation of awards but we are focussing heavily on the innovation and creativity that has captured the imagination of the music-making community. The Trusted Music Store Product awards will champion those products that have pushed people toward music stores, driven magazine revenue or sparked social media engagement.

The judging process has been changed to a transparent panel-based model, with a different panel for each category and a two stage strategy for shortlisting and final selection. The panels are made up of representatives from publishing and retail relevant to the product category they preside over.

The one we are really excited about is The People of the Moment Awards. We recognised that the only time we really recognised an individual on the night was the Lifetime Achievement award, and whilst this accolade is still very important to be in with a chance you were probably nearing the end of your time in the Industry.

The premise for the People of the Moment awards is simple, we want to recognise people from all areas of the industry who have done creative things and positively influenced the Industry as a result. This could be a simple social media campaign, organising an instore event or an initiative for training. As long as it demonstrates innovation and has encouraged engagement then we want to hear about it.

The benefit for the Industry is simple, sharing success is inspirational to all of us, if at the same time we can call out the talent behind those initiatives hopefully we can encourage them to stay in the Industry and help drive it forward.

To help we have worked hard to make the Gala Dinner as affordable as possible. Ticket prices are down from last year and because we would like to widen the audience appeal we have a further special discounted rate for Partners.

Any company that purchases a ticket can also bring a Person of the Moment nominee for free (limited to one nominee per company). Finally the Gala Dinner whilst hosted by the MIA is not limited to MIA members, everybody who works in or around the MI industry is welcome and ticket prices are the same for all.

When and where is it taking place?

November 24th at the Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch. Full details can be found at www.MIAgaladinner.co.uk.

All award nominations close on the 30th September and again full details of how to nominate are on the website.

What’s coming up for the MIA for the rest of the year and into 2017?

After the Gala Dinner we will continue work on the Trusted Music Store initiative, we are planning to talk more about this early next year most likely around the time of the NAMM show.

Alongside that we are refreshing how we inform people about what we are up to. There is always a lot of activity within the MIA but our messaging doesn’t always make it easy to fully appreciate what the MIA does and what the benefits to the wider industry are. We are working toward delivering a much clearer message in a format more appropriate to the needs of our members.

Tags: MIA , anthony short , Appointments , Interviews , MIA Gala Dinner

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