On April 2, it was announced that revered studio engineers Olga Fitzroy and Rhiannon Mair had been elected as MPG (Music Producers Guild) executive board members at an Extraordinary General Meeting, where it was also revealed that producers Mick Glossop and Andrew Hunt would be stepping down from their board positions. For the past two years, Fitzroy has been an assistant director of the MPG and represented it at the UK Music board. She is also founder of the Parental Pay Equality campaign, working tirelessly to turn an idea for shared parental leave for freelancers into a Bill being debated in Parliament.
Meanwhile, producer, songwriter and artist Mair is a full member of the MPG and has been actively involved in representing it at social and industry events across the UK. She was also nominated for both the Breakthrough Producer and Breakthrough Engineer awards at this year’s MPG Awards ceremony.
Speaking to PSNEurope, Fitzroy and Mair highlight their top priorities as board members and shared their vision for a more diverse industry…
What is your top priority as an MPG executive board member?
Rhiannon Mair: To find ways to increase and diversify the membership of the MPG. I’d like to encourage not just more women to join, but also younger producers and engineers who perhaps aren’t aware of the benefits of being a member.
What are you going to bring to the board?
OF: Over the years, I have developed a really good network of people and groups in the industry who are also committed to increasing diversity.
RM: Coming from a songwriting background I’m hoping I can bring a different insight. Writer-producers are largely unrepresented at the moment and I think there is a current grey area where the role of a producer who also writes is being exploited. I want to represent writer-producers by campaigning on their behalf and liaising with the industry to create a kind of universal agreement.
What are the key issues that need to be addressed by the MPG?
OF: We need to attract more BAME members, as our current membership doesn’t really reflect the makeup of our country, or even the music industry. We also need to do more to clamp down on unpaid internships, as people from less well-off backgrounds are excluded from getting their foot in the door. How will you address these issues?
OF: In terms of diversity, we need to talk to engineers and producers that we’d like to see in our membership and find out what’s important to them, as well as make sure our message is getting out and to the right places. We were recently part of an industry-wide campaign on the European Copyright Directive, meaning our members should get increased payments for their work being viewed on YouTube. Tackling unpaid internships is not going to happen overnight, unfortunately, but discussions I’ve had with other industry partners have been positive. I realise that a lot of studios and small labels are working to really tight margins, but there is never an excuse for relying on unpaid labour.
How can the MPG attract more members?
OF: Asking professionals we’d like to take part if they are aware of the MPG and the benefits membership brings. Would they find social events or networking useful? Do we have enough of a presence outside London? I think there’s definitely scope for doing more events on film and TV music as well.
RM: By showing the growth in diversity across the Guild. Having two women elected onto the board is a great starting point for this.
How vital is the MPG’s work for both members and the wider music industry?
OF: We offer free legal advice, social networking and member benefits, with a huge list of manufacturers offering membership discounts. The MPG has continued to support my own campaign, Parental Pay Equality, something that doesn’t just affect our membership, but musicians, composers, and the wider freelance workforce.
RM: Without the Guild, producers and engineers would not only be mis-represented, but it has also become a pillar of support for many members and a respected organisation by the music industry.