RIAA Chops Half Its Staff. CEO Gets a Raise to $1.5 Million…

No, we aren’t in this together, even when the lights are flickering and the last days are looming.  Which brings us to the RIAA, the arrogant, brutish major label trade group that has been quietly chopping most of its staff while protecting the salaries of a small number of top executives.

RIAAscreenshot2011

According to non-profit tax filings now surfacing, the RIAA has slashed roughly half its entire staff since 2009, with the current headcount hovering in the 50-range (or lower).  During the 2011 period (the latest documents available), total headcount stood at 60.  In 2009, that number was 107.

RIAAheadcount2011

Meanwhile, dues from major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and the now-acquired EMI Music have been plunging dramatically.  According to the paperwork, dues have been reduced by more than half over a mere three year period, with year-2011 contributions totalling $24.8 million.  In 2008, that number was $51.3 million.

RIAAmembership2011

Compensation at the top has remained comfortably luxurious, with CEO Cary Sherman receiving a modest bump to nearly $1.5 million for fiscal year 2011 (from about $1.4 million the year prior).  Sorry to pick on this guy, but Sherman’s profile within the industry is essentially zero, with few appearances at conferences or events of note.  And, similarly miniscule visibility attached to major initiatives, with extremely lackluster results on issues like SOPA and Six Strikes.

Others, including outgoing CEO Mitch Bainwol, pulled a similar pile for the year, while the number of executives making $400,000, $500,000 or more than $600,000 remains sizable.

RIAAsalaries2011

Here are the complete IRS forms for fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  We are not aware of more recent documents (but please share if you have them…)

20 Responses

  1. Dave Anderson
    Dave Anderson

    It’s hilarious how this site is becoming Torrentfreak lite. An article appears on there and then several hours later it gets repeated here. Makes you wonder who the pirates are.

    Reply
    • let me help you
      let me help you

      The pirates are those who profit from the artists’ work while claiming that “information wants to be free”. Because, you know, you can buy a Neve console in exchange for Facebook Likes.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “An article appears on there [torrentfreak] and then several hours later it gets repeated here. Makes you wonder who the pirates are.”
      You clearly don’t understand the first thing about copyright. Or piracy, for that matter.

      Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      Agreed. Dave, your comment is ridiculous. This is a publicly-filed document, with a federal agency. We can all write articles and talk about it.
      Just like in other areas of news. If there’s a fire over at the warehouse and Eyewitness 5 gets there first, I can still roll over there and do some coverage.
      Actually, taking it a step further, this is actually why having multiple sources and angles is great. Torrentfreak points out some things, has some opinions, Digital Music News has many others.

      Reply
  2. tip for Paul
    tip for Paul

    Hey Paul, I got a tip for you regarding Grooveshark:

    It seems like they took down someone’s open source API by sending a DMCA notice to the host
    Could be fake but have a look into it. If it is indeed a real DMCA from Grooveshark, oh, the irony…!!!

    Reply
    • GGG
      GGG

      Everyone’s a bad guy until all musicians make $500K a year even if they have 12 fans. Just for existing.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      That link to The Trichordist seems to illustrate just how inneffective the RIAA has been. But I guess they’ve done MORE than anyone else, and it would be a lot worse if they’d done nothing.
      mmmmk

      Reply
  3. Visitor
    Visitor

    “Sorry to pick on this guy, but Sherman’s profile within the industry is essentially zero, with few appearances at conferences or events of note. And, similarly miniscule visibility attached to major initiatives, and extremely lackluster results on issues like SOPA and Six Strikes”
    We’ll said.

    Reply
  4. Visitor
    Visitor

    Let’s not forget about the songwriters, producers and engineers that are responsible for the hits we all know and love. If this continues, there will be no more hits to love at all. There will be nothing but crap. No one likes crap. Even pirates don’t like crap!

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “Even pirates don’t like crap!”
      Ever seen torrentfreak’s lists over most stolen movies? 🙂

      Reply
  5. Jeff Robinson
    Jeff Robinson

    Cutting staff isn’t a surprise- labels are making less money. Everything gets adjusted to scale. Corporate America trims the fat in bad economic times. A trade group in an industry would be last to make this adjustment. Makes sense to me.

    Reply
    • hippydog
      hippydog

      agreed 🙂
      BUT..
      if you are paying a CEO a standard corporation type wage, shouldnt that “business” be able to adjust as quickly as any other business?
      Being the “last” to make that adjustment, says to me they maybe overpaying the CEO 😉

      Reply
  6. Visitor2
    Visitor2

    The scales on those graphs are misleading and againts data presentation standards, especially as the primary supporting data for overall decline… how about making the y-axis intersection zero next time?

    Reply

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