The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: SoundExchange Senior Director Of Industry and Artist Relations, Linda Bloss-Baum
By Myki Angeline
Music has come a long way since the age of vinyl records and cassette tapes. It wasn’t that long ago when the only way to listen to music was either attending a live performance, tune in to your favorite radio station, or purchase hard copies from your local music store. Now with the ability to stream music from the internet, listening to our favorite artist is readily at our finger tips. Anyone with a laptop or smart phone can access almost any artist and song.
It also became increasingly harder for music artists to get paid for their creations.
This is where companies like SoundExchange come into play, working at the center of digital music to develop business solutions that benefit the entire music industry. As the Senior Director of Industry and Artist Relations, Linda Bloss-Buam ensure that artists and rights owners are aware of all the services that SoundExchange has to offer.
Below, Linda shares with us how she applies her experience and training in music policies and practices, and what she is doing to increase awareness of women in the music industry.
To learn more about SoundExchange visit their website: www.soundexchange.com
WiMN: What was the initial inspiration for the creation of SoundExchange?
LBB: The digital revolution and Internet radio changed everything, including the music industry. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to ensure that recording artists and rights owners got paid for their digital music. We were charged with administering the statutory licenses that allows digital music services to play music, and we ensure that music creators are compensated accurately for the use of their music. We also advocate for recording artists and rights owners and work with regulators to ensure that music creators are paid fairly for the use of their work.
Many things have changed in the 14 years since we were founded, at SoundExchange and throughout the industry, but our guiding principle remains the same – all creators should receive fair pay, on all platforms and technologies, whenever their music is used. Today, SoundExchange works at the center of digital music, developing business solutions to benefit the entire music industry.
WiMN: What are your primary responsibilities as the Senior Director of Industry and Artist Relations of this non-profit organization? How did you become involved initially?
LBB: As Senior Director of Industry and Artist Relations, I am responsible for driving awareness and visibility for SoundExchange across multiple channels related to performance and music entertainment. I work every day to ensure that artists and rights owners are aware of all the services that SoundExchange offers. I initially became involved with the organization in 2005-2011, when I ran Warner Music Group’s Washington, DC, office. We worked closely together on business and advocacy issues of importance to the music industry. I was struck by the trust and respect that the overall music community had for SoundExchange for a wide range of areas that are central to its success.
WiMN: What kind of impact have you seen with artists who have registered with SoundExchange?
LBB: One of the best parts of my job is the personal interaction with SoundExchange members. I have the honor of attending various trade shows and conferences, and it is not uncommon for artists to approach me with heart-felt gratitude for all that SoundExchange means to them. This applies to our biggest payees and to artists who are just getting their start. Each has a unique story about the impact that SoundExchange royalties have in their professional career and personal lives. I have heard hundreds of anecdotes about where artists apply their SoundExchange royalties. Each one warms my heart and reminds me of the important work that we do every day.
WiMN: Can you talk about some skills learned from your other business experiences, and how they apply to your current position with SoundExchange?
LBB: My entire professional career has been centered on policies and practices that apply to the music industry. From crafting the legislation that governs digital communications as a Counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, to representing the companies affected by those laws, I have a solid understanding of how the industry operates. It is often complex, but it has been an incredible journey to get to this point of omnipresent digital distribution for music. SoundExchange gives me the opportunity to apply those skills to ensure the artists and rights owners are fairly compensated for their creativity.
WiMN: Do you play an instrument? Who have been your role models?
LBB: The last concert I sang in was when I was 8 months and three weeks pregnant with my first child. The choral conductor made me take a seat because I was making him nervous. I hope to get back to that someday, but for now I am focused on working on the business side of the music industry (but I do take part in the occasional jam in a neighbor’s basement band on weekends).
WiMN: Have you experienced any struggles or hurdles as a woman in this industry? If so, how have you overcome them?
LBB: I wouldn’t use the word “struggle” in this regard. Certainly, the ratios of men to women are not even in the music industry, but I think that is true of most industries in the U.S. today. I am fortunate enough to be involved with several “women’s” organizations in both D.C. and Nashville and have found that those ties and relationships have been immensely beneficial professionally. I also like to work with young women who are coming up in the industry to ensure that our representation only continues to grow in the future.
WiMN: Do you have any advice or recommendations to women wanting a career in the music industry?
LBB: Focus on the work and do a great job every day. Period. If you are a hard worker, you will be rewarded professionally, regardless of gender. I often cringe when I hear women say that we need to “think like a man.” If you trust your instincts and think like yourself, your energies will be better spent. A lot of people underestimate the importance of a graphics card when thinking of getting a podcasting device . Also, be sure to cultivate strong relationships with other women in the business. Good people will look out for each other. And, I have found that most people are good people.
WiMN: Can you share with our readers, some fun facts about you?
LBB: This will be my fifth year teaching a class as an adjunct professor at the KOGOD School of Business at American University, entitled “Protecting the Creative Class in the Digital Age.” This is a particularly heartening opportunity, as I received my BA in Communications from American University many years ago. To get to return to the same classrooms that I sat in decades ago, and to see the quality students there today, is a true privilege.