Key Production

Europe’s leading music and bespoke packaging manufacturing agency, Key Production Group, establishes an Employee Ownership Trust

Founder and CEO Karen Emanuel, will sit on the new board of Directors / Founded in 1990, Key Production Group is an industry leader in packaging solutions - working with award-winning musicians and labels / Key Production Group comprises of Key Production, Think Tank, Modo Design and Breed Media

London, UK, 9th February 2024 Key Production Group, Europe’s leading bespoke physical music and packaging manufacturing agency, has today announced it has set up an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Founded by Karen Emanuel and comprising of four brands within the group; Key Production (bespoke physical music products), Think Tank (sustainable creative packaging for the high end market), Breed Media (Sheffield-based music and media manufacturer) and Modo Design (Brighton-based design studio), a ‘Key Production EOT’ has been established, where the ownership has been transferred from CEO Karen Emanuel to the Trust on behalf of the staff. 

Having founded the business as Key Production in 1990, acting as an intermediary for artists and labels to have their music pressed to physical records, CDs and cassettes, Emanuel has expanded operations to become the largest agency of its kind in Europe. Over more than three decades, Key Production has worked on projects for a swathe of musical talent and award-winning artists, including Radiohead, Nick Cave, Alt-J, Idles, Little Simz, Ezra Collective and many more, winning awards and becoming widely renowned across the industry. Key Production acquired Think Tank, Breed Media and Modo Design in 2011, 2015 and 2016, respectively, to create Key Production Group – which recently celebrated its 33 ⅓ anniversary.

Emanuel remains as CEO as well as a Director of both Key Production and the newly formed Key Production Employee Owned Trust. The Trust represents the staff (now co-owners) and boasts a board of 100 per cent women, the other Directors being Lisa Edwards (Group Head of Production and an employee of 28 years) and Rebecca Mills (Partner, BBS Law). The company remains highly focussed on strategy, development and growth – with ambitious plans in place over the next few years.

Karen Emanuel, Founder and CEO of Key Production Group, said: “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. I’m truly excited to do this by setting up an employee ownership trust, to empower the people that have helped me build the company and amazing culture that is Key Production, namely the staff. I will be staying on as CEO to transition us into this next stage of growth and development.”

The transition comes at an exciting time for physical music, as vinyl sales grew for the sixteenth consecutive year and CD sales recorded their strongest year for fifteen years in 2023. With this new model, Key Production Group can continue to deliver its award-winning packaging design solutions, service the demand for sustainable packaging products and identify new areas of growth domestically and internationally. In addition, it secures the future of the company built by Emanuel over the last three decades.

Neil Gibbons, Chief Operating Officer at Key Production Group, said: “Today, we’re writing a new chapter in our story. 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. 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.”

As a Certified B-Corp, Key Production Group will continue its responsibility ensuring sustainable practices are in place across the business and remain central to its strategy as an employee-owned trust moving forward. 2024 will mark Key Production Group’s most ambitious year yet, with plans for growth both in the UK and overseas in development.For more information, visit keyproduction.co.uk.

Key Production

Music Manufacturing & Creative Packaging Agency formed of Key Production, Breed Media, Modo Design and Think Tank Creative. Fiercely Independent Since 1990.