Meet The Team: Bucks Music Group

Bucks Music is a UK-born but internationally successful independent music publisher.

The company, founded over 40 years ago, has been responsible for developing and launching the careers of legends of the music industry including T-Rex, David Bowie, The Move, Black Sabbath and Procol Harum.

Today, the Music Week Sync Award-winning company has an active A&R department working with frontline talent such as Brian Eno, Honeyblood, Devlin, Blood Red Shoes, Mikill Pane, Pete Doherty and Findlay.

Oh, and it had a pretty important moment last month when it picked up a Grammy; Bucks writer Amy Wadge contributed to Ed Sheeran’s mega-hit Thinking Out Loud.

In addition, Bucks represents distinguished composers such as David Arnold, Rachel Portman, Michael Price and Richard G Mitchell – and fulfils a UK admin role for the likes of Bicycle Music / Concord.

The Independent Echo caught up with its team to ask what they love about working at Bucks…


Sarah Liversedge Platz: Director Creative A&R /Co-Director/MD BDi Music

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Bucks Music? 

Moving offices to the Roundhouse – this is very new to us – we have only been in the offices since January but, the scope of opportunity ahead of us is so exciting.

Everyone in the Bucks team are loving their new space – we have a writing room now for our creative talent and a polygon shaped Listening Room – my A&R team are all together on one floor and the atmosphere is electric and brimming with creative ideas for the year ahead.

The Roundhouse have welcome us with open arms and we plan to collaborate with them creatively on special projects. We are also planning a launch party for the summertime which will be on the beach at the Roundhouse – this will be to celebrate our office move and also to celebrate all the achievements we have had in the Group during 2015/2016 – Indie Sync Publisher Award for Music Week, Grammy Award, Best Drama for the RTS Awards [No Offence – Abbottvision – music published and supervised by us]…..

 

What does Bucks Music  mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

The independent spirit of the company is inspiring to say the least – I came from a corporate world, BBCWW, before I set up a co-venture business with Bucks called BDi Music.

I realise now that I didn’t really know what ‘commercial’ meant until I headed to Bucks HQ in Notting Hill 12 years ago. I learnt very quickly that being an independent business one really has to keep an eye on the ball with commercial opportunities and drive them until you get what you want.

[Bucks boss] Simon has been my mentor and this fills me with pride. The heritage catalogue is breathtaking – how could you not be proud of that? What Simon’s father, David Platz, achieved in the ’60s and ’70s particularly definitely carved out the shape of the publishing sector now. He was also the first publisher to set up the media publishing model with LWT.

What do you hope to achieve at Bucks in the future?

I work across three different companies, Bucks, BDi Music & The Movement London, a co-venture company I have with multi platinum record producer, Jake Gosling.

The Movement is sponsored by Bucks so, my ambition is to make this new company as successful as the other two. Things take time though with publishing so key is ensuring we keep signing exciting new talent.

Awards always help with inspiration so a few more of these would be good. BDi songwriter, Amy Wadge recently won a Grammy for ‘Thinking Out Loud’ – Song Of The Year – this for me was an eye watering achievement and an experience I will never forget. I have been brimming with pride since.

So, I hope to win more Grammys with my songwriters, maybe the next one can be 100% controlled rather than 50% – I’m not joking 😉


Harri Davies – A&R Manager

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Bucks Music?

Ground control to Major Chris. The moment I heard we had a license request from Space for Bowie’s Space Oddity, by Col. Chris Hadfield on the ISS… Considering the song’s concept and history, that was pretty damn cool.

 

What does Bucks Music mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

In a world of data, 1’s and 0’s, the term “Music” company is bounded around very loosely but unlike some, Bucks is well and truly a Musical place to work.

From A&R to Royalties, every member of the team has their own taste in music. It’s inspiring. No idea is a bad one and no one’s door is ever shut. To be creative it needs to be that way.

 

What do you hope to achieve at Bucks in the future?

Bucks has always been ahead of the curve with emerging music – whether it be signing David Bowie first in the 60’s when he was deemed “novelty” by some, believing in Drum & Bass before any other publisher would in the early 90’s or more recently Grime in the 00’s.

My goal is to continue this and to sign and develop exciting new songwriters from ground zero – oh, and a few Ivors would be nice.


Jonathan Tester – Head of Creative Sync

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Bucks Music

I think if you don’t find working with songs and artists every day pretty cool then you are in the wrong job!

I would say going to the Ivor Novellos is always a highlight of the year as its a real honour to be sat in the same room as your musical heroes and just to think that you are a part of that industry is an inspiring experience.

Also I have been able to sign deals with some of the bands that were formative to my youth and made me think I would love to work in music  including Martin Rossiter, Echobelly, PWEI, Kingmaker and Airhead.

Being able to professionally work with the bands that you bought all their records, danced to and made friends over has been amazing – it’s probably the ultimate fan thing to do!

Also everyday time you see a Sync you help place either on TV or at The Cinema etc  is a real buzz and that phone call you make to the writer confirming its all happening is lovely!

 

What does Bucks Music  mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

The spirit of the company is centred around the writers and music and we take pride that we are a true independent company.

I love the fact that we invest in talent and spend time and energy developing writers and that this has been built on the legacy of the founder of Bucks, David Platz, who was the first to sign publishing deals with David Bowie, T-Rex, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Move and Procol Harum!

Also it’s great to work with a team of people who all love music and we all have different tastes so you are constantly introduced to new bands/artists every day at work.

 

What do you hope to achieve at Bucks in the future?

We were thrilled to win the Music Week Independent Publisher Sync Team 2015 so it would be nice to do that again! My goal each year is to keep working with our Sync contacts and to land amazing opportunities in Commercial/Film/TV/Game for all our writers and catalogue of songs.

As a company someone  described us as a submarine – a huge presence but under the radar – well we’re surfacing!!


Shaun Hendry – Head of Copyright

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Bucks Music?

that would have to be duetting on a slightly off-key version of “Sha La La La Lee” with its co-writer Kenny Lynch one MPA Christmas lunch.

 

What does Bucks Music mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

If someone should ever decide, somewhat bizarrely, they wanted to make a movie of my life then I would have absolutely no problem pulling together a soundtrack culled purely from the vast catalogue that Bucks Music owns, represents and oversees.

From the first flickering of recognition of this sometimes strange and beautiful beast that is pop music, via the likes of Bolan n’ Bowie, through ’70s TV sitcoms such as Steptoe & Son, a mis-spelt yoof growing up in the Medway Delta – Billy Childish, to the very first band I ever witnessed step on stage as a wee punk rocker – Hagar The Womb, and then into relative maturity and my life-long passion for the music of Howe Gelb and Giant Sand.

And who would play me in this movie? …….why, Kenny Lynch of course. And he will get nominated for an Oscar.

 

What do you hope to achieve at Bucks in the future?

I hope to be there long enough to see The Singing Loins’ “House In The Woods’ installed as the new national anthem, as years of austerity make way for a far more sharing and caring society and a music industry fit to represent it.


Anna Dueweke – Head of Licensing

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Bucks? 

Licensing is not necessarily associated with the “cool” side of the business but I get incredibly excited by landing ads for a big brand or when we negotiate an intricate deal that works for everyone. But I think you might need to be a bit of a geek to understand that!

However there was one project that was definitely something special. I received a request from space when astronaut Chris Hadfield performed his adaptation of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while floating in his capsule. The video became a massive YouTube hit with millions of views.

A year later a heated online discussion erupted when the licence came up for renewal and both space fans and Bowie fans were discussing rights ownership and licensing processes. It was really interesting to be part of this.

 

What does Bucks mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

Working with such a rich heritage is a real honour. It’s a vast catalogue and I come across new songs on a daily basis.

The type of license requests we receive reflect this with requests ranging from Novo Amor songs being used for wedding proposals to AC/DC requests for worldwide ad campaigns.

Yet at the same time there is a real family feel to the company.


What do you hope to achieve at the practice in the future?
 

The company and my team are growing and being part of this is incredibly exciting. We’ve had some great success with licensing activity rapidly increasing over the last few years and it’s a great time to be involved.