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"It isn’t right that people profit from that creative work without giving due consideration to its creators."

EMI MUSIC'S FAXON: JOLLY ROGER

A HITS Dialogue with EMI Music Publishing Chairman/CEO Roger Faxon
EMI Music Publishing Chairman/CEO Roger Faxon is often thought of as a financial-oriented exec, but his creative qualifications include stints at Lucasfilm, Mount Company as well as Tri-Star and Columbia Pictures, rising to SVP at the latter, directing its marketing, distribution, business affairs, physical production and finance departments. He joined Sotheby’s as COO of its North and South American operations, later adding Europe, before coming to EMI in 1994 as SVP Worldwide Business Development and Strategy. In 1999, he was named EVP/CFO for EMI Music Publishing, rising to President/CEO in 2005 and his current post in March 2007.  HITS' own Luke Warm Skyywalker, Roy "Full of Yoda" Trakin "with tradition breaks he does" by asking five questions instead of four.

Are music publishers in a better position than labels to take advantage of the move into digital distribution?
Music markets have always shifted around new media, and different ways of distributing it. That’s an ongoing process. The good thing is that songwriters, and music publishers, get to participate in these new revenue streams. We welcome the speed of change, in terms of allowing our writers to get their music exposed and, most importantly, get paid for it.

You come from a financial background. Do you take on any creative role within the company?
For most of my career, I’ve been an operator of creative businesses. In my early years at EMI, I oversaw the record group. It wasn’t until later that I became responsible for the financial aspect. I brought an operational understanding that was important to be able to make the business side work, but I understand we need to be sensitive to the human side of recording and songwriting. We have a hugely talented group of A&R and creative aspects, like Big Jon Platt, Dan McCarroll, Gary Overton and Mike McCarty, who are in touch with music and have an extraordinary track record. I rely heavily on their views, but I also have some of my own. I’m not sure whether I can predict a hit, but I’m pretty good at predicting a failure. That’s a good skill for the head of a music publishing company to have.

How does the evolution from physical to digital product impact EMI Music Publishing?
The sale of music has been in decline for the past nine years now, but over that same period, EMI Music Publishing has seen its revenues increase every year. Where our revenues come from is obviously shifting, but they continue to grow.

Where do you see the areas of most growth for music publishing?
Music increasingly used to enhance the value of other products. We are seeing more music used in television programming than ever before. It is playing a very important part of the creative output of producers and studios. It creates a much greater depth of connection between the fan, the viewer, and the program. Shows like Grey’s Anatomy are known for its use of music, which is an essential part of its appeal.

What are some of the important issues facing music publishing moving into the future?
Assuring that the rights of the compositions our songwriters produce are respected. It isn’t right that people profit from that creative work without giving due consideration to its creators. Without that support, professional songwriters will not be able to exist. And we will destroy the creative culture of our country, which is a powerful economic instrument around the world.

 

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