Meet the Team: Shiama Young, Senior Business Change and Quality Manager

What made you want to be part of PPL – and what were you doing before?

I’d wanted to work in music from a very young age. I used to be a singer and in my teenage years, seeing people like Toni Braxton and TLC experiencing contract issues made me realise that I wanted to know absolutely everything about the business of music to ensure that if I ever got a recording contract, I would know what I was signing up to.

I went to university and completed a degree in music industry management, and moved to London where my first job in the industry was with music licencing organisation PRS for Music. After that I worked in publishing for a while before moving into a job in a tech company that provided music reporting services for production companies and television networks.

During the pandemic, I was in a bit of a lull, and I saw a role advertised at PPL and it felt like a perfect way to align my background in music, my detailed business mind and the industry I love. I joined in November 2021 as a Project Lead, more recently refining my focus to business change management.

Tell us about a typical day in your role?

My role is all about making sure that when we are making changes at PPL, people come along with us on the journey.

Throughout the day there’s constant communication with stakeholders through meetings, emails and calls, and I’m often managing business change across multiple active projects at once.

Part of my job is to keep the wheels moving and to make sure we’re sticking to our plans. It’s also important that we monitor and track the benefits that we set out to achieve at the start of projects, so we can really see where they’ve added value for the organisation. No two days are the same and it keeps me on my toes.

What are your top priorities right now?

Everything my team does is about business improvement. I have an overview of all the projects where lots of different teams within PPL are involved. We could be looking at ways to improve systems, streamline processes or evolve teams – anything that ladders up to delivering more for our members.

Right now, my top priorities are the embedding and adoption of a number of process improvements projects that are coming to a close and planning for new projects that are starting in Q2.

What are some of the biggest challenges?

This is by no means unique to PPL, but people are often naturally resistant to change. Not because the improvements we’re making aren’t what they want or need. It’s just difficult sometimes to change the way you do something, to adapt to something new. Helping people to work through and ensuring they are prepared and positive is a big part of my role.

How have you seen PPL make a positive impact for the artists and organisations you work with?

I’m in pursuit of operational excellence. I want to make sure that we’re optimising our processes at PPL so that our people have a better working environment and can get their work done as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Ultimately, it’s about maximising revenue for our members. That’s always the focus, and it starts with us. I’m very pleased to say it’s working! Our distribution numbers last year were the best yet in 90 years of PPL.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

Just knowing that I’m helping to make my colleagues working lives better every day. Identifying where we can implement improvements and then following through with that.

Fair compensation for artists is one of my personal passions. That’s why my values align so well with PPL. Everyone here really believes in what we do – and they’re all great at it. The culture here is really good as well with a great focus on Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and the wellbeing of staff.

What are you most excited about in the music world?

One of the things I love most about PPL is the support we give to new artists. It’s not just about paying people royalties, it’s about getting behind the next generation of grass-roots artists and seeing them thrive. One minute they’re just starting out, working their way through The BRIT school and the next they’re winning a Mercury Prize or breaking records at the Brits!

Who are your ones to watch?

I love Shaé Universe. I like to think she’s the style of artist I could’ve developed into if I had continued performing. Incredible voice, incredible songwriting and just a great vibe with her music. Hamzaa is another woman with an incredible voice and songwriting ability. I really like Enny as well – rapper/singer/songwriter. I think you can kind of get the gist of the type of artist I gravitate towards, but my music taste in general is very varied.

What’s a track that always makes you smile – and why? 

Victoria Monét’s On My Mama was super popular last year, and she was named Best New Artist at the Grammys in February. I love this song because it reminds me of my Mum, and she’s a very special lady.

And finally, what new track should everyone have on their playlist?

Shaé Universe’s Love Letters E.P. has been on continuous rotation. Love all the tracks, but especially LOML (Love of my Life).