John Preston Music Awards


The John Preston Music Awards are being funded through the Liam Colgan Music Fund (LCMF) on behalf of John Preston's widow Roz, who has set up a memorial fund in his memory. The LCMF manage the fund and a programme of awards for young music students across the Highlands and Islands. There are two annual awards:

2023/24 winner: Jamie MayesThe John Preston International Music Award

A £500 award presented to a deserving Music Business student wishing to travel abroad to attend and/or present at an International Music Conference, event or symposium.

Applications for this award to be submitted by students with:

  • a short statement of how they intend to use the money and intended outcomes.
  • endorsement from their Personal Academic Tutor.
  • Send to:
  • Deadline: 31st October 2024

2023/24 winner: Emma HowieThe John Preston Music Business Award

A £500 award presented to the best Music Business graduate of the year in recognition of their achievements.

There is no application process. The winner will be chosen by programme leaders.

Winners of the John Preston Awards:

2023/24: Jamie Hayes and Emma Howie
2022/23: Lola Dorado and Kirsty Stewart
2021/22: Hannah Campbell and Scott Rough



About John content

About John

John Preston started his career working in an Edinburgh record store before rising to became one of the most senior figures in the UK music industry. Working first for EMI, he went on to become managing director of Polydor Records and then RCA before being appointed Chairman and CEO of BMG Entertainment.

A highly respected executive, John was a long-standing council member and then chair of the music industry’s trade organisation BPI (British Phonographic Industry). He was also a director of Universal Publishing and a trustee of music industry charity The BRIT Trust during its formative years. In 1997, John also chaired the Rock the Vote campaign, persuading young people to register to vote in the general election.

Over his 25 year career, John worked with many well-known artists including Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, David Bowie, Take That and Whitney Houston, whilst Simon Cowell was among the many executives given early breaks by John.

John died suddenly in November 2017 after a short illness. Tributes from his friends in the industry were a testament to the high regard in which he was held. Annie Lennox described him as, "kind, thoughtful, highly intelligent, compassionate, gentle, humorous, supportive, trustworthy, loyal, decent and honourable.” Working at the top of an industry known more for its hard driven, cut-throat competitiveness, John was a “rare diamond” committed to developing and supporting young musical talent.

John Preston

“John was a proud Scot, who, throughout his distinguished career in the UK music industry, was committed to finding and supporting emerging talent, both on the business and creative side of the music industry. He would be honoured that these two awards for music students and graduates at UHI have been established in his name. I’m delighted that they will enable music students to further their studies and move forward in their chosen careers in the music business.”

Roz Preston