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A2IM Names Richard James Burgess CEO

A2IM named Richard James Burgess as its new CEO replacing Richard Bengloff as the head of A2IM. Burgess most recently headed up the business aspects of the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and brings a unique set of qualifications for guiding A2IM’s growing membership as Independent labels step into prominent leadership roles within the music industry. Membership has grown by nearly 20% in the last two years, and now comprises 382 label and 171 associate members.

“Richard James Burgess is the best man to lead the next decade of growth for the Independent community. Burgess brings a unique perspective as the business head of Washington, DC-based Smithsonian Folkways, the venerable independent label that has roots dating back to the 1940s. Independent labels have a vital role commercially and culturally, and have introduced virtually every new music genre in the last century. Independent label musicians today range from the yet-to-be-discovered rural singer-songwriters or rock bands playing local clubs to the world’s biggest stars like Adele and Taylor Swift.” – Tom Silverman, TommY BoY

“This search called for a unique, diverse set of skills: experience generating business in the indie space, first-hand understanding of indie labels’ needs, a strong command of current rights debates, and comfort with both digital partners and the artist community. Burgess’s wide range of credentials made him stand out.” – Martin Mills – Founder and Chairman, Beggars Group

“I am honored to have been chosen by the board to lead A2IM into the future,” says Burgess, who was elected chairman of the organization’s board in June 2015. “A2IM is the vital voice for Independent labels–the small and medium sized businesses that have grown to command more than a third of domestic market share for recorded music. We will continue to grow; we will spotlight the impact our members have on jobs and revenue; and we are determined to build greater accord within the music industry. We will persist in our quest for equitable conditions for artists, musicians, songwriters, publishers, and labels big and small. Our label members deliver the greatest diversity of choice in recorded history, and we will work to unlock the value inherent in this pinnacle of popularity. We intend to explore the synergies and grow the industry pie. I also need to thank my predecessors: Don Rose for setting the bar in the early years, my good friend Rich Bengloff who grew the organization significantly for the past eight years and Molly Neuman, who I will greatly miss, for keeping A2IM moving at full speed through this interim period.”

For the past 15 years, Burgess has overseen all business activities for the Washington, D.C. based label Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. There, he planned and executed business strategies, negotiated deals and acquisitions, and transitioned the business from one that was entirely in the physical domain to one with a comprehensive digital presence. For the past decade, he has served as an adjunct professor at Omega Studios’ School of Applied Recordings Arts and Sciences in Rockville, MD. He has authored two widely-used text books on music production, began his career as a musician, artist, songwriter, and producer, and is recognized as an innovator in the electronic music field in the 70s and 80s.

After a six-month executive search, Burgess succeeds Molly Neuman, who had been serving as interim president and is departing. With Burgess’ elevation from board chairman to CEO, Secretly Group co-founder Darius Van Arman steps in to replace him as A2IM’s chairman of the board, and Hopeless Records owner Louis Posen fills Burgess’s seat on the board.

Richard can be reached at: [email protected] or 646-588-0433

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About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.