Head of trade body representing UK songwriters switches to run US trade body representing Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora (who not so long ago were fighting to cut songwriters’ pay)
DiMA (Digital Media Association), the trade body in the US that represents music streaming services including Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube has hired a new CEO.
That new CEO is Graham Davies, who succeeds Garrett Levin, whose departure from the org was first reported by MBW in May.
Davies joins DiMA from a UK trade body representing songwriters called the Ivors Academy, where he was CEO. He is set to assume his new role later this fall, with plans to relocate to the US.
Recent history makes Davies’ move an intriguing one.
You might remember that DiMA is the organization that, not so long ago, was lobbying to pay songwriters less in the United States.
To refresh your memory: In January 2018, songwriters enjoyed a major victory when the CRB ruled that songwriter/publisher royalty rates for streaming and other mechanical uses were to rise significantly in the US.
That ruling centered on an increase in the overall percentage of streaming services’ US revenues that legally have to be paid by the likes of Spotify to songwriters.
The CRB decided to move that percentage figure up from 10.5% to 15.1% across the five years between 2018 and 2022. It was the largest rate increase in the history of the CRB.
However, Spotify and other companies, including Amazon, Sirius/Pandora and Google/Alphabet – but NOT Apple – subsequently launched a legal appeal against the new rates, arguing that they were unjustified.
DiMA was the US trade org that represented each of those music streaming services that appealed against the CRB’s 2018-2022 rate decision.
Luckily for US songwriters, in July last year, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) maintained its decision to increase the headline rate paid to songwriters in the United States from on-demand streaming services between the years 2018 and 2022.
In August, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued its Final Determination upholding the rate increases in the Phonorecords III case.
As noted in a press release issued by the Ivors Academy this week announcing Davies’ departure, in his time as CEO at the trade body, he led the ‘Fix Streaming’ campaign in the UK.
Davies also gave evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry that called for a “complete reset” of streaming.
The exec now transitions from songwriter champion to champion of services that recently lobbied to pay songwriters less.
“DiMA has taken a forward-leaning approach to initiatives that benefit the entire music industry and the brightest future for music is one where key players work together.”
“DiMA has taken a forward-leaning approach to initiatives that benefit the entire music industry and the brightest future for music is one where key players work together,” said Davies in a press release this week.
He added: “As streaming services have powered the resurgence of music from dark economic days, it’s critical that we accelerate industry dialogues that reward creativity and ensure fans can continue to legally access music anytime, anywhere.
“In my new post, I look forward to listening, engaging in conversation, and looking at ways continued innovation can create new opportunity.”
DiMA’s Board of Directors added: “Graham has long championed initiatives that bring the music industry together through collaborative discussion and action.”
“Graham has long championed initiatives that bring the music industry together through collaborative discussion and action.”
Added DiMA’s Board of Directors: “His demonstrated track record of working constructively across diverse stakeholders – and across borders – for the betterment of creators and the music ecosystem as a whole resonated with us.
“We’re extremely proud to name him as DiMA’s next President & CEO. We look forward to building upon and expanding the positive work DiMA has already undertaken to champion the beneficial impact of streaming for fans, artists, and songwriters, and are excited about Graham’s vision to advocate and engage around an improved music industry.”Music Business Worldwide