A music mogul who famously signed The Stone Roses has been honoured by the University of Wolverhampton.
Paul Birch, founder of Revolver Records, was awarded Honorary Fellowship from the University in recognition for his contribution to the record industry at a ceremony at The Grand Theatre on Monday 21 September 2015.
Paul completed Sony’s executive management training programme in New York and went on to study business ay Kellogg, Ivey, Aston and the University of Wolverhampton (where he completed his MBA) before working as a plugger for artists such as The Eurythmics, Steel Pulse, ELO, Barry Manilow and Genesis.
In 1979 he launched his record labels Heavy Metal Records and Revolver Records. The labels signed artists including The Stone Roses, The Scorpions, UK Subs, UFO, Diamond Head and Jane’s Addiction and released 4,500 albums including Sister Sledge’s Greatest Hits and Magnum’s On a Storyteller Night.
Paul said: “I am delighted to receive this honour from the University. I don’t come from the glossy X-Factor Simon Cowellmusic made for TV sector, I looked for inspiration to Anthony Wilson at Manchester’s Factory Records and a time when the lyrics of artists had something to say about social change.
“My concern is for graduates transitioning into work. Graduates need to grasp technological change and innovation, but be inclusive and keep an eye on those around them that need a hand-up.”
In the past 35 years Revolver was distributed by PYE, Decca, Polygram, EMI, BMG, Sony and Universal, with offices in Notting Hill and Hannover, Germany.
Paul chaired the British Record Industry’s Education and Training and International Committees between 1990 and 2007. He created the British Music Industries export strategy and led the 2001 British retail campaign with both Virgin Megastores America and HMW Japan increasing the UK industry share of world markets.
He served on the Phonographic Performance Ltd main board and was then elected to the International Federation of Phonographic Industries and its European executive committee, becoming World Independent Representative before retiring in 2007.
Outside his career, Paul has been a justice of the peace in the West Midlands since 1999, chairing the region’s victim/witness support unit, held the role of secretary of Fairtrade Birmingham and is a former governor of Wolverhampton Grammar School. He has lectured on international business strategy at UK universities, including Wolverhampton.
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