The latest tax filing of the record industry’s anti-piracy lawsuit machine, the RIAA, reveals a group whose revenues are in deep decline and whose mandate may be wearing thin.
The filing, which Torrentfreak obtained, shows that the RIAA’s revenues are hitting record lows and that the group is collecting far less in membership dues from record labels than it once did.
The group’s revenues fell to $24.2 million, half of what it was collecting just four years ago. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has raised its membership rates for labels at they same time that many labels have stopped paying.
This trend reflects a record industry that is focusing less on chasing pirates and coming to terms with new digital business models.
To keep its fiscal house in order, the RIAA has responded to declining membership and revenues by cutting staff and legal fees.
The RIAA says it spent about $2 million in outside legal fees over the past year. Contrast that with the $16 million it spent just four fiscal years ago.
The losses haven’t affected executive salaries much. Despite the rough times, the RIAA’s CEO, Cary Sherman, took $500,000 in bonuses during the period. That’s in addition to his million-dollar base salary.