Hilary Rosen, the chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry
Association of America, will leave the organization at the end of
2003. Rosen had worked for the RIAA — the trade group that
represents the sound recording creators, manufacturers and
distributors — for seventeen years and served as the
organization’s CEO since 1998.
“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
In a statement, Rosen expressed a desire to spend more time with
her children as a motivating factor in her decision to resign.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision,” she said, “but I
know it is the right one for my family.”
In addition to its long-running task of awarding gold, platinum
and now diamond certifications to top-selling albums, the RIAA had
recently drawn more attention for taking a hard-line stance against
music piracy, first through the duplication and reselling of CDs by
bootleggers, and also through new, unmonitored digital frontiers
that allowed online song trading. The highest-profile skirmish came
nearly three years ago, when the RIAA and Rosen helped lead a
charge against Napster, an online song-swapping software maker.
Though some saw Napster as a victim, in a 2000 interview with
Rolling Stone, Rosen said that illegitimate purveyors of
Internet music only undermined the business of those who respected
the copyrights of labels and artists. “If services are permitted to
exist that aren’t legitimate — that have to compete with the
services that are — how does a new business develop?” she said.
“And it’s not just about record companies or artists. It’s how do
the innovators like a Listen.com or an MTVi or an eMusic or an
MP3.com — how do those guys survive?”
Rosen said, in her statement, that the RIAA will continue the
fight against music piracy on the Net throughout her last year.
“This is a critical time and I have much to do in the coming
months,” she said. “We continue to face unprecedented levels of
online piracy as well as a changing market in physical piracy here
The RIAA’s relationship with the major labels didn’t always sit
well with recording artists, however. Last March, Rosen and Don
Henley, who represented the Recording Artists Coalition, took sides
against each other in the debate over artists attempts to shorten
the length of personal service contracts between musicians and
The RIAA’s board will turn its attention toward finding a
replacement, a process that might take months. RIAA President Cary
Sherman will continue to serve in his current capacity.