James Palumbo Speaker, Speeches, Booking Agent | MFL Global

James Palumbo

Founder of the nightclub and brand, Ministry of Sound

James Palumbo is co-founder and chairman of Ministry of Sound Group. Having previously worked in the City, he launched Ministry of Sound nightclub in a disused bus depot in Elephant and Castle in 1991. It quickly became an iconic London landmark and branched out into other areas – Ministry of Sound is now the biggest independent record company in the world.

In 2001, Palumbo stepped away from the day-to-day running of the business but remains the majority shareholder. His involvement in politics dates back several decades to his work on the Drugs Misuse Act, which gave police powers to shut down premises where drug dealing was suspected.

James has been an active supporter of the Liberal Democrats since the early 1990s. After the Coalition was formed, he helped modernise the Party by installing new operating and marketing systems. He has also been involved in a number of Liberal Democrats campaigns, including the 2012 London mayoral election. In October 2013, Palumbo was created a Life Peer taking the title Baron Palumbo of Southwark, in the London Borough of Southwark

James Palumbo’s debut novel about corruption in the modern world, Tomas, was published in 2009 followed by his second book, Tancredi in 2011.

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In Palumbo's opinion, from his insider's view, government probably operates at about 30% efficiency. This would be catastrophic in business. But our democratic system prevents a better performance. Politicians can't be honest about the country's long term problems, and hope to get elected. Palumbo believes that, especially in the event of another financial crisis, we might have to consider a democracy 2.0 system, one involving people properly trained to run the country, working to long term plans using the best ideas from around the world. Currently everything from Parliament to the way the media reports is set up to be short term, adverserial and pander to the materialism of voters. We may have to take the politics out of politics. This is a hard hitting talk on contemporary politics and a Q&A which will challenge political assumptions.

The Music Industry

Over the past ten years industry revenues have collapsed from over $26 billion to $15 billion. Profits have more than halved and jobs have been decimated. Apple and Spotify came along the industry didn't stand a chance. It simply surrendered to what it regarded as overwhelming force and circumstance. Ministry of Sound has an objective approach to selecting its Artists, believes that there is such a thing as discipline and empirical methods by which to run a creative business. The collapse of an entire industry is a colourful and fascinating story of hubris, mendacity and thoughtlessness. It didn't have to be this way and there is still time to reverse the trend if only proper business disciplines are applied.

Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound started life as a nightclub in a giant warehouse in deepest, darkest South London in 1991. Since then it has spawned a global business comprising music, live events, media and merchandise. Ministry of Sound is now the best known nightclub in the world and Ministry of Sound Recordings the world's biggest independent record label. But it hasn't been an easy journey. But throughout Palumbo has had a clear vision and Ministry of Sound has prospered navigating the shark pool of the recorded music industry. There is no similar business on Earth. Entrepreneurs interested in true differentiation and integrity of product in a racy fast moving industry, including how to calculate risk, should hear this story.


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Fees From*

  • UK:

    £7k to £15k

  • Europe:

    £7k to £15k

  • US:

    £7k to £15k

  • Africa/Asia/ME:

    £7k to £15k

Travels From

  • United Kingdom



* This Speaker's fee falls within the ranges shown above. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact us.

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