LCCM returns with the second Entrepreneurship Evening featuring Karen Emanuel - this time online via Zoom!

Karen Emanuel is the CEO of Key Production, one of the UK’s largest companies involved in the manufacture of CDs, vinyl and cassettes.

Karen started out in the music business in the late 80s, climbing the ladder in an overwhelmingly male-dominated sector by asking the right questions and taking every opportunity to learn the numbers side of the business. In 1990, she used £2,000 from a redundancy pay-out from Rough Trade Distribution to start Key Production which still specialises in the production and manufacturing of CDs, DVDs and vinyl records as well as the beautifully art-worked packaging for both music and other industries. (Key Production’s work can be seen in the full A-to-Z of music artists, ranging from Alt J to The XX. Their latest products include the Kylie Minogue compilation, Step Back In Time, and The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.)

Key Production started life out in a damp, dark office in North London where Karen carefully grew the business, networking hard and hiring people who were as passionate as she is.

In and around 2007, having grown her team and moved to bigger and better offices - still in her beloved North London - the entire music sector was hit by the biggest storm it has experienced in a century, when music sales went from physical units to digital downloads. This seismic shift meant Karen faced tough decisions, including having to lay off valued members of her team. However, by cleverly diversifying into new areas, she successfully steered her ship to safety, at a time when many around her sank.

Today, Key Production Group comprises six companies, employing 54 people in four offices located in London, Brighton and Sheffield, and turns over around £14m a year. Of great significance was a deal Karen made with RTM (ex Rough Trade), which catapulted the company forwards, particularly with some very successful releases such as The Chemical Brothers’ dubnobasswithmyheadman and Leftfield / Lydon’s Open U.

In 1995, her team celebrated Key’s fifth birthday at the German Gymnasium venue, where the band, Ash, played. “Our parties are a bit legendary in the industry, which is something we’re pretty proud of! The ‘great and good’ of the industry tend to rock up,” says Karen, “In 1997, Dub Pistols played at our Winter Wonderland party. In 1999, we had Chaz n Dave, plus The Cuban Brothers, and in 2003 we had The Darkness.”

Hosted by MA Creative Entrepreneurship Course Leader Austin Milne, the discussion with Karen will cover her full story and her tops tips as a successful entrepreneur – plus the opportunity for you to submit your own questions!

Date: Tuesday 5 May 2020

Start: 7 PM (GMT)

Register now: