Miles Copeland III
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Miles Axe Copeland III (born May 2, 1944) is an American entertainment executive, best known for founding I.R.S. Records. His brother, Stewart Copeland, was part of the pop-rock trio The Police, which Miles managed. Another brother, Ian Copeland, was a booking agent, who described much of the New Wave adventures of Miles, Stewart and himself in his book, Wild Thing.
Miles was born in London, England, to Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., a CIA officer from Birmingham, Alabama, United States, and Lorraine Adie, a Scot who worked in British intelligence. Due to Miles Jr.'s profession, the family moved throughout the Middle East, in particular Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. As a result, Miles and his brothers became fluent in Arabic.
Copeland began attending college at Birmingham-Southern College in 1962. He graduated with a B.A. degree in 1966 and attended the American University of Beirut, where he earned his M.A. in Economics by 1969. By then, he had already promoted his first concert. Moving back to England, he became involved in the music industry, focusing on promotion and management of several bands. His first major success was with Wishbone Ash.
In 1974, he founded the management agency and record label BTM (for British Talent Management), and signed a number of progressive rock acts such as Renaissance and Curved Air. In the summer of 1975, he organised a multi-band tour of European music festivals, Star-Trucking, which featured several BTM bands as well as Soft Machine, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Lou Reed. But Reed's failure to appear at any of the shows and a litany of logistical issues resulted in significant losses. In 1976, BTM closed down.
The failure of BTM coincided with the beginnings of the Punk/New Wave movement in the UK, and led him to help start Illegal Records, Deptford Fun City Records, New Bristol Records and sign The Cortinas, Chelsea and The Models to Step Forward Records in 1977.
In 1978, he became manager of his brother Stewart Copeland's band, The Police, and shepherded them to become one of the biggest bands of the 1980s. The success of The Police and the novel methods used to break them enabled Miles Copeland to found I.R.S. Records (through a deal with A&M Records). In the next few years, the company had hits with The Buzzcocks, The English Beat, The Cramps, Fine Young Cannibals, Wall of Voodoo, Timbuk 3, R.E.M., The Alarm and a number one album with the all-girl group, The Go-Go's. He continued to manage Sting (solo) through seven albums and introduced Sting to Algerian Raï singer, Cheb Mami, in 1999. Their collaboration bloomed with the song "Desert Rose".
Copeland owns and operates CIA – Copeland International Arts, the artist roster of which includes Bellydance Superstars, Celtic Crossroads, Otros Aires, Zohar and Beats Antique. Much of the CIA catalog initially included Middle Eastern, East/West fusion music, and Irish, Tango, Flamenco and Polynesian styles, but the label has since progressed to signing more mainstream artists.
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