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"I hope there will be no shortage of fantastic people who will come in and do a much better job than I have. Are you going to quote me?"
—Hilary Rosen, on resigning her post at the RIAA
A CHAT WITH HILARY ROSEN
Outgoing RIAA Chairman/CEO Follows Up Her Stunning Announcement That She’ll Be Stepping Down as HITS’ Marc Pollack Ponders His Own Career Change
Hilary Rosen, who has been with the RIAA for 17 years and this week announced she’ll leave the trade organization at the end of 2003, was the industry’s chief advocate and spokesperson during a time of unprecedented turmoil in the business. She led the RIAA to winning copyright infringement cases against file-sharing services Napster and MP3.com, as well as this week's judgment against Verizon to combat online piracy by subscribers to major Internet providers. While her resignation was not a complete surprise to those who know her, her departure leaves a gaping hole and has many questioning who will replace her or who would want this thankless job in the first place. Rosen takes time out from busting a bootleg CD-vendor at a flea market in Newark to answer a few questions from her longtime crony HITSMarc Pollack.

C'mon, Hilary. What's the real reason behind your exit?
It's not like I'm leaving to take another job. I honestly want to spend time with my children. You know I've been thinking about this for awhile.

With the announcement of your resignation, has a tremendous weight been lifted?
It’s a relief, because it’s out there and now we can just forget about it and move on. In a way, I’m relieved that it’s known because a small group of people have known for a long time and this just allows us to put it behind us and focus on the tasks at hand, which is helping this industry move back into growth mode.

What’s the process now for finding a replacement? You said in your statement that Cary Sherman and the board will be instrumental in this process.
We’re just starting the thinking and haven’t really gotten there. We’ll have a search committee, a process and a firm and go through the screening process for a couple of months. I hope there will be no shortage of fantastic people who will come in and do a much better job than I have. Are you going to quote me?

Should I?
[Laughs] Sure! I don’t care. I really do think that a person’s legacy should be whether they’re leaving an institution strong. If the next person does a better job than I did, that’s what I want.

How would you like to be remembered?
Probably what I wouldn’t want to be remembered for. I’m always going to be remembered for being the person who killed Napster, but also, hopefully, someone who helped the industry move to a digital transition.

Do you see the industry being able to recover from its current doldrums?
I think there is hope, actually. Because I think that there has been progress made in the last year in the online services, really setting up the companies and those services well for strong consumer marketing, which it hasn’t really had before. It frees us up to be much more aggressive on the piracy front, and along with new marketing strategies and cost re-evaluations, there are plenty of reasons to believe that over the next year, this industry can come together much more effectively and restore its historic growth.

Since I started covering music in 1988, you and Thomas D. Mottola have practically been the only constants. Nearly everyone else has moved on.
Well, there’s [UMG President] Zach Horowitz, too. He was always there.

Maybe I should make a change.
Change is good.

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