Bespoke physical music and packaging agency, Key Production Group, Enhances B Corp Cert with Move to EO

Key Production Group, Europe’s largest agency for physical music and bespoke packaging manufacturing, has added employee ownership to its recent B Corp certification after setting up an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

“After just over 33 ⅓ years of being the sole Director and owner at Key Production, it’s time for me to secure the next 33 ⅓ years,” says company founder and CEO Karen Emanuel.

As any vinyl fan can tell you, 33 ⅓ is a significant number. The transition comes at an exciting time for physical music, as vinyl sales grew for the sixteenth consecutive year and, in 2023, CD sales recorded their strongest year for fifteen years.

Moving to employee ownership has helped secure the legacy of the company Karen has spent three decades building and ensures Key Production Group remains at the forefront of its industry.

Empowering Employees

Karen remains in place as CEO as well as a director of both Key Production and the newly formed Key Production EOT.  She says she’s truly excited “to empower the people that have helped me build the company and amazing culture that is Key Production, namely the staff.”

Chief Operating Officer Neil Gibbons adds: “By becoming an employee-owned trust, we’re not just securing the future of the company, but the future of an amazing group of people in our staff and our incredible company culture.”

As well as representing the employee owners, the Trust also encompasses the board. Completed by directors Lisa Edwards, Group Head of Production and an employee of 28 years, and Rebecca Mills, Partner, BBS Law, the board is made up exclusively of women.

Continual Growth

Karen founded Key Production back in 1990 where it acted as an intermediary for artists and labels to have their music pressed to physical records, CDs, and cassettes.

Since then, it’s expanded operations to become the largest agency of its kind in Europe.

Over the last three decades, it’s worked on projects for a diverse range of musical talents and chart-topping artists – including Radiohead, Nick Cave, Alt-J, Idles, and many, many more.

The company expanded into a group with acquisitions of Think Tank, Breed Media, and Modo Design in 2011, 2015, and 2016 respectively and, in 2023, achieved B Corp certification.

The certification was awarded in recognition of the Group’s responsibility in ensuring sustainable practices are in place across the business. This will remain central to its strategy as an employee-owned trust moving forward.

The Next 33 ⅓ Years

2024 will mark the Group’s most ambitious year yet, with plans in the pipeline for growth both in the UK and overseas.

“We’re strengthening the outstanding service and knowledge that we have become renowned for, and our customers have become accustomed to over the last 33 ⅓ years,” says Karen.

James de le Vigne, CEO of the EOA, says: “Congratulations to Key Production Group on becoming employee owned, securing the future growth and legacy of Europe’s largest agency of bespoke physical music and packaging manufacturing.

“It’s great to welcome another B Corp certified businesses into the fold. Data is increasingly showing that there’s a definite correlation between the values of B Corp and employee ownership. We’ve covered the topic in depth as well as for the EOA podcast. We’re delighted to see Key Production Group continue that trend.”