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Australian Record Industry Association CEO Called To Resign

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Music business veteran and industry analyst Phil Tripp has called for either the resignation of Australian Record Industry Association CEO Stephen Peach or his suspension while Australian record companies and publishers audit his reported 'CD Freeloading' of pages of titles with multiple copies as printed in the Spike Column of the Sydney Morning Herald on April 16.

"Former longtime ARIA/PPCA PR consultant Marcella McAdam–an unimpeachable music professional with several years dedicated service to ARIA–revealed what many of us in the industry suspected." states 30-year veteran Tripp. "While organizations like ARIA and major record companies like to play the robbed artist and songwriter card when lobbying government over supposed losses by consumers downloading music off the Internet, it will be interesting if they take action against their own for 'freeloading' mass quantities of CDs for which artists and songwriters do not get paid and that are supposed to be used solely for 'promotional purposes–usually restricted to media and business samples."

Tripp says that in a radio interview with national broadcaster Triple J a little over a week ago, Peach had claimed that his and ARIA's staff's free CDs were 'promotional' and that the artists and songwriters were paid royalties from promo CDs, stating, "I mean, the industry has the idea of promotional CDs. These are all promotional CDs or they're CDs in respect of which, as far as I'm aware, royalties are paid to artists." The full transcript is available at Rocknerd site

”This is not true,” Tripp states, “and Peach, as a longtime intellectual property attorney and ARIA head for over 18 months should know–especially since standard industry contracts deny royalties for promotional copies to artists. And the ARIA/AMCOS five-year agreement (which is up for renewal in June and which Peach is negotiating) also denies songwriters royalties to an agreed promos formula.”

Tripp adds, "If Peach claims to be unaware of these two industry practices, he should not be leading the industry organization that is fighting for artists' and music creators' rights as he stated in a recent ARIA release. He would appear to be as unaware of industry practices as he seems to be of the numbers of his own acquisitions of music at the expense of his clients."

Last month, Peach made the following official ARIA statement: "The 'free ride' simply can't continue indefinitely at the expense of the owners and creators of the music," the organization said, in a statement attributed to Stephen Peach, chief executive officer of ARIA."

Tripp states, "The action I suggest is the same that any other respectable industry association would pursue if this issue came up in the media. That is to question staff and former staff as to the amounts of CDs ordered by executives and consultants (including lobbyists), look into other areas of freebies such as requested concert tickets, merchandise and other comped perks, and make those responsible for abuse subject to dismissal. If the Board refuses to investigate this matter immediately, establish a clear policy of not abusing artists and songwriter royalty compensation by tightening their own corporate belts and eliminating dubious glomming of promotional music by non-entitled staff, then it deserves not to be taken seriously by government, by the public and the industry," Tripp affirmed.

"In our industry, the abuse of free CDs being used as a form of 'trading cards' or 'musical favors' between staff at record companies coupled with the massive number of promotional copies of CDs that end up in used CD stores sold by media and industry sources is a long-running travesty which in the end, the artists pay for from denied income,” Tripp said. “It's time the industry turn its attention to cleaning house if it is to be taken seriously in the battle against free music."

Phil Tripp publishes the AustralAsian Music Industry Directory and is CEO of IMMEDIA!– a music business information and conference company. He has been an artist manager, record company owner and music business journalist in his 23 years in Australia. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner