The news just keeps rocking the recording industry:
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman and CEO Hilary Rosen, announced today that she will leave the organization at the end of 2003. Rosen, who was named CEO in 1998 and has been with RIAA for 17 years has been the recording industry’s chief advocate and spokesperson during a time of unprecedented change in the music business.
“This has been the most exciting job I can imagine,” Rosen said.
“During my tenure here, the recording industry has undergone dramatic challenges and it is well positioned for future success. I have been extremely proud to be a part of this industry transition.
“But, I have young children and I want to devote more of my time to them. This has been an extremely difficult decision but I know it is the right one for my family.
“Nonetheless, this is a critical time and I have much to do in the coming months. We continue to face unprecedented levels of on-line piracy as well as a changing market in physical piracy here and abroad.
“RIAA has much to do to address these issues as well as help the companies transition the music consumer to the exciting offerings everyone has been working so hard to deliver in the legitimate on-line music business. We must also work with our partners at retail, in the creative and technology industries and with governments worldwide to promote the future growth of the music industry.
“The Board will be conducting a formal search for my replacement over the next several months and we are confident of a smooth transition. I believe that the RIAA staff is simply the best in the business and I am proud of the team we have built.
“Cary Sherman will remain in his current position as RIAA President and the Board and I have asked him to serve on the search committee,” concluded Rosen. [RIAA]
HITS Daily Double quoted these industry tributes:
- UMG Chairman/CEO Doug Morris praised Rosen’s legacy: “She has been part of the music industry for almost 20 years. Throughout her tenure, her insights, dedication and passion have benefited everyone that loves music. She’ll be greatly missed. We are delighted that Cary Sherman has decided to remain as President of the RIAA and we look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
EMI Recorded Music N.A. Chairman/CEO David Munns said: “Hilary Rosen has been a tremendous advocate for the recorded music industry. She has been incredibly effective in raising awareness about the important value and impact that music has on our lives, our culture and our economy. She has also been extremely influential in both transforming the music industry in the digital age and in fighting piracy. I look forward to working with her and accomplishing much in 2003.”
Added Warner Music Group Chairman/CEO Roger Ames: “Hilary is a remarkable leader and when she leaves at the end of the year, she will take with her our sincerest gratitude, respect and admiration.”
Sony Music Entertainment Exec. VP Michele Anthony said: “As head of the RIAA, Hilary has given our industry strong leadership on a broad range of complex issues. With the announcement that she has decided to step down, we thank Hilary for her many contributions, and wish her every success. At the same time, we are delighted that Cary Sherman will continue in his current post.”
The Washington Post adds some personal info:
- Rosen, 44, joined the RIAA in 1986 and has led it since 1998. She has not revealed her plans other than to spend time with her twin 4-year-olds. Her partner — Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay-advocacy group — announced in December that she would leave her job at the end of 2003.
“We decided we wanted to make a change as a family,” Rosen said in an interview. She said it’s not clear whether that includes remaining in Washington, where she and Birch are a power couple on the social circuit. “She’ll figure out what she’ll do and I’ll follow.”
and implied underlying realities:
- Though Rosen was publicly praised by music executives yesterday, many have privately said she hasn’t done enough to protect the industry and that her aggressive stance has alienated music consumers.
“As in ‘If she’s so great, why is this getting worse?’ ” Rosen acknowledged yesterday.
The recording industry faces serious financial problems. Sales of compact discs have dropped over the past two years — from 763 million in 2001 to 681 million last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The industry has begun to build its own online file-sharing services, which typically charge fees for downloading songs.
“We have to invest in transitioning our consumers from the online pirate market into the legitimate market,” Rosen said. “We have to be undaunted and strategic in our enforcement efforts to protect the legitimate market and we have to adjust our marketing and sales strategies to the new realities of a very different retail marketplace and consumer base.”
Sounds like a defeated person on her way out. But hey, she’s good at what she does – maybe a consumer group will hire her now.