SoundExchange Announces New President

SoundExchange Announces New President

Former EVP Michael Huppe hails evolving SX as “eager champion of the industry’s future”

SoundExchange’s Board of Directors announced today that long-time Executive Vice President and General Counsel Michael Huppe will be the nonprofit’s new President. The decision comes as part of a planned leadership transition that began in mid-2010. Huppe’s comments of acceptance positioned SoundExchange as “an eager champion of the music industry’s future.”

“Mike’s proven leadership ability and service to the organization cannot be overstated,” SoundExchange’s Board of Directors said in a statement. “Pair that outstanding record with his innovative ideas about the evolving industry, and this was unquestionably the right choice for SoundExchange’s future.” The Board, a cross-section of the industry comprised of equal numbers of artist and label representatives, selected Huppe after a rigorous search process of both internal and external candidates.

“I’m passionate about SoundExchange: who we are, what we’ve done, and where we’re going,” Huppe said just following the announcement. “We’ve grown from a legislative experiment to a major player in the music industry, and that growth has brought with it a host of new challenges. There are exciting opportunities ahead, and I’m proud and honored to be at the helm for the next part of our journey.”

Huppe succeeds former head John Simson, who announced his intention in July to return to creative work, ending his ten-year stewardship of the non-profit he had led since its inception. SoundExchange’s Board requested Simson finish out the year while it sought a new leader.

That new leader was quick to credit SoundExchange staff with much of the group’s success. “So much of what we do here depends on the devotion of a staff that comes to work every day dedicated to getting artists and copyright holders paid for their work,” Huppe said. “The billions of lines of data, the thousands of incoming calls, the day-to-day tasks are just pieces of a much larger mission, and we can never lose sight of the good that we’re doing, or all that there is still left to do.”

Huppe pointed to the organization’s record-high distributions in 2010 as evidence of the group’s expanding role and importance in the industry. He envisions a much stronger and broader role for SoundExchange in the future, leveraging upon the unique position the organization has as an umbrella organization representing almost all constituencies that contribute to the business of sound recordings (including not only artists & labels, but also managers, unions, music groups, and related associations). One of his top priorities will be managing the business that has come with SoundExchange’s explosive growth, including assembling a world-class technical team to scale SoundExchange’s digital infrastructure for the quarter billion a year it now processes.

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Professional Biography

As Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Huppe was responsible for overseeing all legal, regulatory, and political strategy for SoundExchange. In recent years, he directed SoundExchange’s approach to rate-setting proceedings and a series of business-positive agreements with industry services, including much-publicized accords with webcasters. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President for Business & Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel with the Recording Industry Association of America where he helped protect the rights of the content creators, in both digital and physical media. Huppe received his BA from the University of Virginia, and his JD from Harvard Law School. In 2009, Huppe was named as the Outstanding Chief Legal Officer by the Washington Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Association for his work at SoundExchange.

Additional reactions and context

“I am extremely pleased with the Board’s decision,” said Tom Silverman, CEO of Tommy Boy Entertainment and SoundExchange Board member. “Mike has the vision, intellect and passion to drive SoundExchange to rapidly growing new revenue centers for artists and rights holders. His tenure promises to launch a new era for SoundExchange as an increasingly important part of our dynamic industry.”

“We couldn’t be happier with the Board’s decision,” said Jay Cooper, SoundExchange Board member and artist attorney. “Mike is very smart, and has been hugely innovative in finding new ways to adapt the core of our business to the changing digital landscape. At the same time, he has remained steadfast in his defense of the rights of artists and other creators of music. That combination is exactly what we need to face a rapidly evolving future.”

“Mike is an invaluable asset to SoundExchange, and to the creative community,”said Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Universal Music Group. “Mike’s unique vision and passion will drive SoundExchange forward in these changing and challenging times in the music industry. We are thrilled he has agreed to take on this new role.”

“As the union that represents, and advocates for, recording artists of all kinds, AFTRA is thrilled to have Mike in this important leadership role,” said Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, National Executive Director of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO (AFTRA). “He has proven to be a strong ally of the artists AFTRA represents, and of all music creators, and we look forward to his continued and dedicated leadership in advancing those interests as SoundExchange’s work moves forward.”