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.
Copeland 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. The family lived throughout the Middle East, in particular Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon. At an early age, Copeland and his brothers were fluent in Arabic.
Copeland attended Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962. He graduated with a degree in history and political science. From 1966–69 he attended the American University of Beirut and earned a degree in economics. This was also where he promoted his first concert. After college, he moved to London. He met two progressive rock musicians at a club and helped them form 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 Copeland 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'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 popularize 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 through seven solo albums and introduced him to Algerian Raï singer, Cheb Mami, in 1999. They collaborated on the song "Desert Rose".
Copeland owns and operates CIA (Copeland International Arts), which includes the Bellydance Superstars, Celtic Crossroads, Otros Aires, Zohar, and Beats Antique. Much of the CIA catalog initially included Middle Eastern, world music, Irish, tango, flamenco, and Polynesian styles. The label later signed mainstream artists.
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