RIAA boss’ farewell message says industry is ‘winning’ against piracy

Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, is calling it quits after eight years of steering the organization through some tumultuous times. Under Bainwol’s watch, file-sharing sites Grokster and LimeWire met their demise even as the music industry was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. The outgoing executive offered some choice thoughts about his experiences in a letter addressed to the industry members he leaves behind.

RIAA boss' farewell message says industry is 'winning' against piracy

In the full letter published earlier this week at Billboard, Bainwol stated that 2011 is a watershed year for the music industry.

“I believe 2011 is the year music historians will highlight as our turnaround,” Bainwol wrote. “We are regaining our mojo and are on a bit of a roll, even if some of us – understandably – are tentative and reluctant to celebrate the apparent pivot in our fortunes.”

Bainwol cited a number of factors – from LimeWire’s closure to the impending launch of Apple’s iCloud – as good omens that represent “a fundamental shift” for the music community at large.

“Between Apple’s iCloud, Spotify and other great emerging services, fans are going to be able to access and enjoy music in powerful new ways that can only strengthen our collective future,” he said. “The Internet is no longer cannibalizing our future; it’s enabling it.”

Spotify, which made its U.S. debut last month, is a streaming music service that boasts both free and paid subscription plans. Listeners can choose the songs they’d like to hear – a twist that sets it apart from other free music services such as last.fm and Pandora. Apple’s iCloud expansion will offer similar features to iTunes users when it launches this fall.

The ex-RIAA chief pointed out that shutting down LimeWire in particular made a considerable impact on illegal online music-sharing and resulted in a 20 percent total decline in the practice. “The battle isn’t over,” Bainwol admitted, “but finally, we have momentum and we are winning.”

Bainwol, who accepted a new job as President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, will be replaced by Cary Sherman on September 1st. Sherman previously served as RIAA President and has been with the group since 1997.

“Setting the legislative agenda at both national and state levels, working to protect and promote intellectual property in the U.S. and throughout the world, coordinating with law enforcement on both physical and digital theft, and representing the industry in negotiations and before government tribunals to empower new business models and standards – all of these are vital functions and I look forward to taking them on,” said Sherman. (via TorrentFreak)