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Mitch Glazier Becomes New Chairman and CEO of the RIAA

Mitch Glazier Becomes New Chairman and CEO of the RIAA

Mitch Glazier has been promoted to becomethe new Chairman and CEO of the powerful recording industry trade organization RIAA. The former RIAA President, who was touted for the top job back in 2017, is joined by Michele Ballantyne, who will act as the music group’s Chief Operating Officer.

Back in April 2017, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that Cary Sherman, the industry group’s Chairman and CEO, would be retiring at the end of 2018 after a 40-plus year career in music.

In tandem it was revealed that Mitch Glazier, then Senior Executive Vice President of the RIAA, would be promoted to President of the world-famous music industry group. The plan was for Glazier, who formerly acted as Chief Counsel for intellectual property to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, to take the top job in January 2019.

The announcement was met with enthusiasm by a number of industry executives, including the top brass at Universal Music, Warner Music, and Sony Music Entertainment who all celebrated his 19-plus years with the RIAA. During his tenure, Glazier played a key role in some of the RIAA’s most-prominent anti-piracy actions.

“He helped the music community collaborate on multiple issues, from antipiracy and technology initiatives to landmark litigations such as MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster in 2005,” the industry group said.

“At a time when piracy was rampant and the authorized music marketplace was in its infancy, that case reshaped the legal landscape for actions against pirate sites and helped level the playing field for licensed music services.”

As envisioned back in 2017, Glazier has now become the Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, representing a “new leadership for a new era”, according to the industry group.

“Music matters. It shapes our culture. It inspires generations young and young at heart. It makes us who we are and binds diverse communities together,” Glazier said in a statement.

“I am honored to lead the RIAA during these exciting times as we fight for a music ecosystem that works for everybody – from artists and fans to labels and publishers and songwriters and music services alike.

“That will require that we both embrace digital music innovations, and protect what has always made music great – keeping the dream alive for the next generation of artists and music creators,” Glazier added.

Also moving onwards and upwards is Michele Ballantyne, who with immediate effect has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the RIAA.

A former Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton, Special Counsel to then-White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, and as General Counsel for Senator Tom Daschle, Ballantyne also played key roles in copyright protection.

“As COO, Ballantyne manages the day-to-day operations of the RIAA,” her bio now reads.

“A driving force for updating intellectual property laws for the digital age, she has played an instrumental role in advocating for congressional reforms including the Music Modernization Act, the PRO-IP Act that established the nation’s first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President, and the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 that provided colleges and universities with meaningful tools to reduce the illegal downloading of copyrighted works on campuses.”

Glazier is full of praise for Ballantyne’s achievements, declaring that “there is no one better suited to help lead the RIAA and no one I would rather have at my side than Michele.”

While the RIAA became synonymous with aggressive anti-piracy enforcement during the last decade, action against traditional pirate sites during the past few years has been sporadic at best.

Instead, the industry group has tackled the thorny issue of stream-ripping, shutting down YouTube-MP3 in 2017 and following up against similar platforms in 2018.

The industry group still has torrent sites and cyberlockers on its radar (and at times even Cloudflare) but at least for now seems more interested in generating better revenues from sites like YouTube while preventing unauthorized downloads from similar platforms.

That’s when it’s not trying to undermine ISPs’ copyright ‘safe harbors’ in repeat infringer cases (1,2,3).

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