Scottish Music Industry Association names Robert Kilpatrick as interim CEO

Scottish Music Industry Association names Robert Kilpatrick as interim CEO

The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) has appointed Robert Kilpatrick as interim CEO and creative director. 

He will now lead the SMIA’s executive team and work with the company’s board to increase the value of Scotland’s music industry.

The SMIA now comprises over 4,000 members working across Scotland’s music industry ecosystem. The organisation provides a voice for its membership when speaking to government, parliament and development organisations. It delivers a range of services, projects and events designed to stimulate domestic and international growth, sustainability, development and innovation, with equality, diversity and inclusion at the core.

Kilpatrick will be supported in his new role by the 15-strong SMIA company board, with the organisation having recently been bolstered by the appointment of 10 new directors. The SMIA has also opened applications for a new chair of its company board. 

Kilpatrick has spent almost a decade with the SMIA. He has track record in creative and strategic direction, project management, leadership and business development.

Kilpatrick was instrumental in the SMIA successfully securing Regular Funding from Creative Scotland in 2018, enabling the company to scale up its operations and increase both the impact and accessibility of its support services.

For the past seven years, Kilpatrick has led the development and delivery of the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. The SAY Award has distributed over £330,000 in prize money to Scottish artists since its inception in 2012. Previous winners include Fergus McCreadie, Mogwai, Young Fathers, Anna Meredith and Kathryn Joseph. 

As part of a partnership with Stirling Council, 2023’s ceremony returns to Stirling’s Albert Halls on October 26. The 20-strong SAY Award Longlist will be announced on September 14.

Robert Kilpatrick previously worked for music licensing organisation PPL, as well as for festivals including The Great Escape and Bestival. In 2019 Kilpatrick co-founded Scottish indie label Iceblink Luck with Stina Tweeddale (Honeyblood).

Outgoing CEO Ronnie Gurr guided the organisation through a post-pandemic year that’s been challenging for many in the Scottish music industry.

“His insight into the current challenges and opportunities in the sector has been very valuable, and his work at the SMIA on developing career pathways and industry-ready skills – an area he has worked on for many years prior to joining the organisation – has been fruitful,” said a statement. “The SMIA’s executive team will continue to form academic partnerships to empower the next generations of music industry professionals in Scotland.”

Scottish music inspires me like nothing else

Robert Kilpatrick

Speaking of the new appointment, Nick Stewart, interim chair of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “Robert understands the SMIA’s importance better than anyone else. Hard-working and driven, he has been instrumental in achieving the organisation’s aims. He is a powerful, experienced and very capable advocate for the musicians, technicians, promoters, artist managers, tour managers, venues, publishers, agents, label and countless other industry roles that need strong representation and industry development now more than ever. 

“Our board, which includes representatives of key industry organisations from across the UK, are unanimous in our support of him in this challenging role at a key time for the Scottish music industry. ”

Robert Kilpatrick said: “Having lived and breathed the SMIA for almost a decade, I’m incredibly honoured, proud and excited to now be leading the company, and I’d like to thank our company board for placing their confidence in me to undertake such a crucially important role.

“Scottish music inspires me like nothing else; it's the stories of our lives, the heart of our cultural identity and the glue that binds us together. I’ve worked with and learned from some incredible people over the years, and I look forward to building on our strengths and driving the SMIA and our industry forward. My special thanks goes to outgoing CEO Ronnie Gurr for all his hard work over the last year, as well as to former SMIA chairs Dougal Perman and Stewart Henderson, both of whom have been invaluable to the development of the SMIA and me personally.”

He added: “The SMIA and Scotland’s music industry have had no shortage of challenges in recent years, and as we now face rising costs compiled with reduced consumer spending, strains on public funding and the lasting impacts of both the pandemic and Brexit, artists, industry professionals and music businesses at all levels continue to face instability and require key support. The SMIA’s role as a sector-support organisation therefore continues to be vitally important, and the strength and depth of experience across our team will allow us to continue to deliver strategic work that makes a meaningful difference.”


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