Music industry supremo given University honour
A Record Executive who famously signed The Stone Roses has been honoured by the University of Wolverhampton.
Paul John 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.
Birch completed Sony’s executive management training programme in New York and studied business at Kellogg, Ivey, Aston & Wolverhampton (where he completed his MBA) business schools after working as a plugger for artists such as The Eurythmics, Steel Pulse, ELO, Barry Manilow and Genesis.
In 1979 he launched Record label’s Heavy Metal Records and Revolver Records. The label’s signed artists including The Stone Roses, The Scorpions, UK Subs, UFO, Diamond Head and Jane’s Addiction and has released 4,500 albums including Sister Sledge’s “Greatest Hits” and Magnum’s “On a Storyteller Night”.
Birch: “I am delighted to receive this honour from The University, I don’t come from the glossy X-factor Simon Cowell music 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 both Notting Hill & Hannover, Germany. Birch Chaired The British Record Industry’s (BPI) Education & Training Committee & International Committee 1990‐2007. He created the British Record Industries export strategy by creating The British at Midem & British at SXSW pavilions and led the 2001 British retail campaigns with both Virgin Megastores America, & HMV Japan increasing the UK industry share of World markets.
He served on the Phonographic Performance Ltd main board and was then elected to both the main board of IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industries) and its European Executive Committee, becoming World Independent Representative before retiring in 2007.
Outside his career, Birch has been a justice of the peace in the West Midlands since 1999, chairing the region’s victim & witness support unit. Secretary of FAIRTRADE Birmingham and a former governor of Wolverhampton Grammar School until 2007, he has lectured on international business strategy at UK universities, including Wolverhampton, Manchester Met, University of Birmingham, University of Gloucestershire, Liverpool University and Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
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Notes to editors
About the University of Wolverhampton
• Based at campuses in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Telford and education centres in Stafford, Burton and Birmingham City Centre, the University has over 21,000 students and 2,400 staff. In addition, the University of Wolverhampton Science Park is home to tenant businesses and supports the development of innovative companies.
• The University welcomes students from around the world and has regional offices in China, Malaysia, India, Oman, Nigeria and Cyprus. It has a branch campus in Mauritius and courses are also delivered with global partners in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, France and Cyprus.
• It is investing £250 million over the next five years as part of the Our Vision, Your Opportunity programme. The ambitious plans to invest in education, training and economic growth include the £25 million Rosalind Franklin Science Building, the new £18 million Lord Swraj Paul business school building and the £65 million Springfield Campus, creating an international hub for construction excellence.
• The institution’s excellent teaching and learning provision, which spans sciences, creative and performing arts, education, business and management, health and wellbeing, engineering and technology, law and social sciences, ensures 95% of graduates find employment.
• Of the 13 subject areas entered in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, all had elements graded at the highest level as being world class. The University also entered more staff and more subject areas for assessment than previously.
• In 2015 the University of Wolverhampton was awarded the highest possible accolade in the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) higher education review. The report highlighted areas of good practice such as initiatives to raise aspirations and achievement for students and the University’s commitment to enhancing their employment prospects.
• Revolver Records was created in 1979 and to-date has released 4500 albums. The label has employed 500 staff during its existence. It operated offices in Hannover Germany until 1992, recording studios in Wolverhampton 1991 -2001, and a press office in Notting Hill until 2002.
• Revolver Co-operative was created in 2010 – and is organised as an Industrial & Provident society with 50 members. The society is a “multi-stakeholder” co-operative and supplies Fairtrade only, certified commodities such as ground coffee under its “Revolver World” brand, into around 350 branches of The Co-operative Food. In 2015 it started exporting into Estonia and Poland.