RIAA losing money, firing employees, giving execs raises

The RIAA has submitted its latest Form 990 tax filing to the IRS, which details the organization's precipitous shelving off in budget and employees (though the execs gave themselves fat raises):

The drop in income can be solely attributed to lower membership dues from the major music labels. Over the past two years label contributions have dropped to $23.6 million, and over a three-year period the labels cut back a total of $30 million, which is more than the RIAA’s total income today.

The cutbacks are not immediately apparent from the salaries paid to the top executives. RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman, for example, earned $1.46 million compared to $1.37 million the year before. Senior Executive Vice President Mitch Glazier also saw a modest rise in income from $618,946 to $642,591.

...The reduction in legal costs is even more significant, going from to $6.4 million to $1.2 million in two years. In part, this reduction was accomplished by no longer targeting individual file-sharers in copyright infringement lawsuits, which is a losing exercise for the group.

Looking through other income we see that the RIAA received $196,378 in “anti-piracy restitution,” coming from the damages awarded in lawsuits against Limewire and such.

RIAA Makes Drastic Employee Cuts as Revenue Plummets [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]



  1. I’m not sure I’m parsing this correctly, but are they spending millions to make less than $200,000?

    1. Yep.  It was never about the money; it was about intimidating their customers.

      Apparently this is a business model now.

    1.  Why not? 1.37 mill last year, 1.46 mill this year? Good times. Prison is for small crooks.

      1. Eventually you end up with a company made up of nothing but execs.  Everyone else is gone.  Worked for a company like that until it imploded.  After all the downsizing, they had nearly as many VP’s as staff before it all went south.

        1.  As long as they can convince some music companies to fund them, they will be fine.  It’s a nice bit of internal corporate welfare since most of the executive types are no doubt good friends and have no issue with using their shareholders’ money to support their buddies’ lifestyles.

  2. … Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman, for example, earned $1.46 million …

    Not to single him out or anything (I don’t know the guy – he might be a nice chap, underneath) but I always have trouble with the word earned in sentences like that. Didn’t ‘earn’ used to go with words like ‘effort’ and ‘deserve’?

    1.  Wearing a suit in an air conditioned office where your admin assistant does 99% of your work for you *is* effort and deserving!

      Don’t you know it’s just the hoi-polloi that are lazy.

      No one that stands on their feet all day busting their ass serving others put in an honest days work.

    2. Have you got access to information we don’t?

      The ‘CEO’s are lazy suit wearers’ rhetoric weakens arguments, because it’s silly and often completely un-warranted. CEO’s I know don’t STOP working.

      1.  The CEOs I know take long lunches, naps in the office, and are away on “business” (i.e., golfing, etc.) a significant amount of the time.  And they’re taking advantage of the people who work under them, especially the women (in more than one way).  Their wives (and they always *are* wives) find various ways to accommodate their position in life, which is to be the perfect helpmate….which often requires them to be silent and invisible.

        There are very few CEOs these days who EVER worked on the shop floor or pulled a double.

        1. Sounds like the depiction of a CEO in a 1950’s political cartoon. Are you sure that’s an anecdote?

          If not let me know what industry you’re in so I can avoid it, because it doesn’t correlate in the slightest with my experience!

      2. I’ve long suspected that you live in an alternate universe and have a network connection through a wormhole.

        1. Hah, it would certainly explain a lot.

          Although in this case I just don’t live in an American sitcom.

          The CEO’s I’ve known are just people. I’ve worked with good ones and bad ones – they do tend to fit certain personality types, but not necessarily evil ones. The one thing I can say for sure about all of the CEO’s I’ve worked with, they sacrifice their life for their work.

          There is one exception from my own life that I can think of – but he was gifted the position by his family and I’m not entirely sure the business made any money anyway; at least not legitimately.

    3. ISPs “voluntarily” bringing in 5 strikes rules in the US, UK ISPs being forced to block access to various torrent sites, not to mention any number of similar laws being debated worldwide. These guys are wrong but they are anything but lazy.

  3. I think the RIAA giving its top execs handsome bonuses while cutting jobs is one of those “you knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up” things.

  4. “RIAA losing money, firing employees, giving execs raises”

    So the system works! And the next stage will be for the RIAA to lobby Congress for a subsidy to cover its losses so it can contine its important work of fighting piracy and giving its execs more raises.

  5. We are watching them thrash as they drown. Soon they will breathe deep the water of their failure and go still. Seriously, it’s going to become apparent even to the most hard-core anti-pirate that lawsuits and FUD don’t do anything to discourage pirates. These guys won’t be funded by anyone for much longer. 

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