The RIAA Defends Its Salaries as “Absolutely” Reasonable

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Is $2 million a reasonable annual take-home for the head of the RIAA?

And, is it also reasonable for more than ten staffers and executives to be making between $200,000 and $1.33 million?  “Absolutely,” according to RIAA senior vice president of Communications Jonathan Lamy, himself earning nearly $299,000 in year-2008.  “Look at what top trade association chiefs in DC make,” Lamy told Digital Music News.  “The market for the select few folks who have the political and leadership qualities to lead high profile organizations. That’s the barometer.”

Lamy also noted that Bainwol’s salary is now closer to $1.5 million, making 2008 a bulge year.  Additionally, the executive pointed to recent staffing cuts, though it remains unclear if that justifies the top-heavy payouts.  “We are half the size we used to be,” Lamy continued.  Indeed, labels have put pressure on the RIAA, IFPI, BPI, and others to compress or merge over recent years.

But wait, there’s more.  Dig a bit deeper into the year-2008 IRS filings, and some hefty payouts to outside law firms also surface.  That includes Holme Roberts & Owen LLC, which pursed $9.4 million that year, and Jenner & Block, which billed $7.1 million.  Those firms were most likely handling chores like John Doe lawsuits and court cases involving accused swappers.