a 2 i m

Dr. Richard James Burgess to Step Down as President and CEO of A2IM After a Decade of Leadership

Photo by Dan Bassini

New York, NY (June 13, 2024) – Dr. Richard James Burgess announced today that he will step down as President and CEO of The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) at the beginning of 2026 after ten years of distinguished service. Dr. Burgess has been instrumental in advancing the interests of independent music, leaving an indelible mark on the organization and the broader music industry. He announced the news at the Annual General Meeting that closed out A2IM Indie Week 2024.

“As A2IM approaches its 20th anniversary in 2025, I am filled with immense pride for our collective achievements and honored to have been the longest-serving head of A2IM to date,” said Burgess. “Leading this exceptional organization has been an extraordinary experience. I am profoundly grateful for the support and dedication of our board members, the invaluable work of our founding members and prior presidents who set up the organization to succeed, and the unwavering commitment of our many members. Our success is a testament to the hard work and passion of the many team members I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside.

“Thank you for entrusting me with the well-being of your organization for all these years. I am confident that the future holds great promise for our independent community, and I look forward to celebrating our continued growth and accomplishments a decade from now.”

During his tenure, Dr. Richard James Burgess has overseen a period of significant growth and innovation for A2IM, cementing its reputation as a powerful advocate for independent music. His leadership has been characterized by a deep commitment to championing the rights and interests of independent music creators, fostering a vibrant and inclusive community, and navigating the rapidly evolving music landscape.

Key Accomplishments Under Burgess’s Leadership:

  • Expansion and Membership Growth: Under Dr. Burgess’s stewardship, A2IM’s membership has grown to more than 750+ member companies, reflecting the organization’s expanding influence and the increasing recognition of the value of independent music.
  • Advocacy and Policy Influence: Dr. Burgess ensured the independent voice was at the table in all conversations on Capitol Hill that might affect the independents by hiring a DC-based lobbying firm, collaborating with other trade associations on policy and advocacy initiatives that aligned with A2IM members’ interests, and by personally participating in a multitude of other advocacy efforts.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: The organization prioritized diversity and inclusion within the industry, launching initiatives to support underrepresented communities and setting an example by gender balancing and diversifying its staff, board, and events (front and back of house).
  • Healthcare: Introduced a healthcare plan offering for member companies, their employees, contractors, and artists.
  • A2IM Indie Week: Expanded under Burgess’s leadership, the annual gathering grew from a single-room event to a premier international conference for the independent music industry, offering invaluable networking opportunities, insightful panels, and showcasing emerging talent.
  • A2IM Libera Awards: Burgess transformed the event into a spectacular gala dinner that honors independent labels and the music they produce, with live performances from many of the current year’s nominees and more.

A2IM was founded in 2005 in response to the digital disruption of the music industry, seeking economic parity and market equivalency, and as an advocacy platform addressing the concerns, challenges, and advantages that an amalgamated yet exceptionally diverse independent sector represented.

The organization’s mantra at the time was that “the size of the copyright owner does not determine the value of the owned copyright.” Dr. Burgess’s departure marks the end of an era for A2IM, but his legacy will undoubtedly inspire continued advocacy and growth. The Board of Directors has initiated a search for his successor, who will be tasked with building on the solid foundation laid over the past two decades.

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.
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