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Neil Gaffney, Universal Music Group

SVP, Global Rights & Society Relations at Universal Music Group

A music industry professional for over 30 years, Neil’s belief that success comes through teamwork and collective thinking has helped him excel (survive) in numerous executive roles at various music industry organisations.

Neil began his life in music at EMI Music Publishing in 1988 as a Royalty Auditor and left the organisation some 24 years later as its EVP, Global Services & European Society Relations.

He then created a bespoke music industry consultancy, Right Thinking Solutions, and went on to consult for ASCAP, Peermusic, Songs Music Publishing, KODA, TEOSTO and BIEM, amongst many others.

Neil then broke all the rules and left music publishing for a 2-year spell in the world of collection societies, taking on the role of SVP, International Affairs at ASCAP, dealing with the performing rights societies to deliver strong representation of ASCAP’s interests and increased revenues worldwide.

Since April 2017 in his current role as SVP, Global Rights & Society Relations at Universal Music Group, Neil has been working with Industry bodies such as IFPI and the Neighbouring Rights organisations across the world to further develop the industry infrastructure for the digital age and deliver increased revenues for Universal’s labels and creators.

In the 1st half of his career, Neil focussed on improving the operational processes of copyright, royalties and income tracking on a global basis to drive revenues and improve business services for creators and right-holders. He helped fix the plumbing.

In the 2nd part of his career, Neil has developed an entirely new approach to managing relationships with collective rights organisations on behalf of record labels and music publishers. This more collegial and less adversarial approach through fact-based business analysis and constructive engagement has significantly enhanced working relationships with the societies, delivering improved business operations and increased revenues for music creators and right-holders globally.

Over the years, Neil has served (survived) on the Executive Boards of SABAM, IMPA, ICMP and the GRD.