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The music industry has long had a close relationship with Teenage Cancer Trust, but now that relationship has been formalised with the creation of a Music Board to work directly with the charity



s Teenage Cancer Trust’s patron and tireless inspiration Roger Daltrey has pointed out previously: rock‘n’roll owes teenagers. And

you can read that as literally as you like. It is wholly fitting, then, that the charity dedicated

to helping young people struck down with cancer, just when the only affliction they should be worrying about is acne, has been funded largely though the efforts of the music industry, from artists to major corporations. And it is entirely sensible that those efforts are

now being channeled and amplified through a newly formed Teenage Cancer Trust Music Board – a blue-chip collection of individuals from a range of companies covering pretty much every sector of the industry, from labels and publishers to managers and streaming services. (See box for complete list.) They include Mike McCormack, deputy MD,

Universal Music Publishing and Brian Rose, managing director, Commercial Division Universal Music UK & Ireland, both of whom are keen to talk about their admiration for the charity’s work – and how they and the rest of the board can pitch in. First, though, they discuss the reasons for their

own commitment to the cause. Rose begins: “Your engagement with and passion for music is at an absolute peak when you’re a teenager, so in terms of our industry’s relevance to kids to have been diagnosed through those teenage years, I think it’s super powerful and I think anybody who’s passionate about music would say that their passions peaked and were shaped during that time. “The bands you love as a teenager you’ll always

love. For us to engage with teenagers going through that toughest of times is really important, and only when you go to a unit do you understand what it does, its importance and the impact it has on teenagers’ lives.” McCormack continues: “Cancer itself is so

omnipresent. It’s very rare you don’t meet someone

ABOVE On the board: Brian Rose (left) and Mike McCormack

who hasn’t been affected by it. You can appreciate that going through it as an adult is just awful, but to go through it as a teenager… well it must be so unbelievably horrendous. And anything that can be done to make those kids’ lives easier has got to be a good thing. “You also can’t understate the feeling of alienation

“The point of the board is to grow and channel what is already a fantastic relationship between the charity and the music industry” MIKE McCORMACK, UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING


The Teenage Cancer Trust was founded 23 years ago. The Who’s Roger Daltrey (inset)

was instrumental in the founding of the charity and has been a patron from day one. Since the year

2000 the Teenage Cancer Trust has held an annual series of concerts at the

Royal Albert Hall. Teenage Cancer Trust has

funded, built and maintains 23 units throughout the UK. Its headline aim now

is to build 10 more so that all young people needing cancer treatment throughout the country will have access to this specialist

support and care.

that people with cancer have, you feel so cut adrift. And when you’re a teenager, and all your emotions are amplified… it’s hard to imagine how that feels.” Their views and determination reflect the feelings

of fellow board members and the wider industry – especially those who have worked with the charity’s life-affirming full time staff and/or been to the wards (there are now 23 of them in the country) to see for themselves just how much good they do. And that is why the Board has been formed – to

provide a point of contact and convenient conduit for a disparate collection of individuals and ideas, all on the same mission. As Rose points out: “I think there have been so

many people and companies doing great work for Teenage Cancer Trust over the years, and the idea of Angie ( Jenkison, the charity’s music relations manager) to bring everyone together to be more cohesive was an excellent one. “I think the great thing about the board is the

make up of it. I think the people on it are not only of great quality and passionate about the charity, but they all come from different segments of the business: publishing, A&R, labels, management etc. “So whilst we’re all specialists in our own areas, by

pulling together we can act far more strategically and efficiently. The point of the board is to grow and channel what is already a fantastic relationship between the charity and the music industry. It’s already impressive, but hopefully working with a board that has experience in every aspect of the music business will raise it to a new level.” In fact, just a few weeks after its formation, the

Board has already pulled off quite a coup with the successful green-lighting of a project that will be announced in the next few days and will raise a significant amount of money pre-Christmas. Next year they will work with Daltrey and the

Support acts: one of the many TCT concerts at the Royal Albert Hall

Teenage Cancer Trust to maximize still further the now legendary annual Royal Albert Hall gigs. Rose explains: “The team, lead by Roger, that

delivers those gigs every year does a fantastic job but maybe how the Board can help is by raising extra funds through those shows. So our input wouldn’t be to do with how the show is put together, because they clearly already have a winning formula, but more about maximising the earning potential; we’ve already talked about things like sponsorship and streaming, moving the shows into the digital age. But the cornerstone will remain the tremendous shows put on by Roger and his team. “One of the things I’ve been looking at, and

Angie actually did this a few years ago in the North East, is how do we take those shows and deliver them to other regions. I’d love to do something in Scotland maybe. “The bottom line is that the shows are amazing,

but how do we extend the reach? Now that could be a product play, a digital play or a regional play.” This engagement with Teenage Cancer Trust’s

showpiece event is indicative of how the Board will work. It has not been formed to change the charity, it is here to amplify and complement the existing work and incumbent culture. McCormack concludes: “It’s a bit early to talk

specifics because the board is very new and still evolving, but the overriding intention is to grow the funds raised significantly, without losing the specialness of Teenage Cancer Trust. We’re extremely respectful of what’s been achieved and we want to grow it in the right way – expanding and developing it, not changing it.”


The Teenage Cancer Trust Music Board is drawn from majors, indies, retail, management, the legal profession, PR, marketing and digital streaming. And it contains of fair smattering of what can be reasonably described as ‘industry legends’…

Mike McCormack Deputy MD, Universal Music Publishing Brian Rose Managing Director, Commercial Division Universal Music UK & Ireland

Jeanette Lee Co-founder/Director, Rough Trade Mike Smith President of Music, Mercury Records Emma Greengrass Music marketing consultant Simon Esplen Partner, Russells Solicitors Terri Hall Co-founder, XIX Management Steve Guest Founder, Guesty PR Cerne Canning Joint MD, Red Light Management Angela Watts VP Global

Communications, Spotify

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