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RMNZ CEO Damian Vaughan To Step Down In March

RMNZ CEO Damian Vaughan To Step Down In March

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan has announced that he will soon be leaving the role he has filled for almost a decade.

Previously head of the comparatively diminutive IMNZ, Vaughan’s nine-year stint as CEO of RMNZ has seen Aotearoa’s major music industry organisation become more integrated and make considerable advances, with a number of new initiatives and visionary re-development of some of its key roles.

With a focus on artist and industry growth and celebrating and acknowledging Aotearoa’s cultural heritage, Vaughan has worked to support and amplify the voices of musicians and the industry as a whole. Under his stewardship, Recorded Music NZ’s annual revenue from the Public Performance and Broadcast of Sound Recordings grew by 45% from $11M to $16M, and the corresponding distributions of royalties to artists and rights holders grew by 47% from $8.4M to $12.3M.

One of the key revenue projects Vaughan was involved in was the development and launch of OneMusic in tandem with APRA – a world first and internationally recognised music licensing solution. The simplified music licencing process for businesses to legally play music in their premises, all while ensuring the artists were fairly compensated. 

Recorded Music NZ has in that time established a music grants scheme to support educational, archival and charity projects in the music industry. Over the nine years, Recorded Music NZ  invested over $1M back into the industry via grants to support its growth and the important work of the industry charity MusicHelps.

The organisation’s annual music awards also significantly evolved under Vaughan, and in 2021 were rebranded as the Aotearoa Music Awards, cementing them as an evolving reflection of where music was heading as Te Reo Māori continues to become more celebrated and prevalent in music and society. The Official NZ Music Charts have also been rejuvenated and modernised to better fit modern industry models.

The last nine years as CEO of Recorded Music NZ has been a monumentally fulfilling experience,” says Vaughan. “I am at my core a music fan and being able to support our musicians and our industry to develop and grow has been an absolute honour. It’s satisfying to close this chapter of my career and life, proud that I have achieved much and given space for others to grow and learn. I’m excited to pass the baton on, and I can’t wait to see how the organisation evolves with new people at the controls.”

Item extended February 24, 2021

Jo Oliver has been announced as the organisation’s new CEO, taking over the role from March 28. She is the current General Counsel and Government Affairs of Recorded Music NZ, and has led pan-industry initiatives including the music industry response to the government’s review of copyright law, and the creation of action group SoundCheck Aotearoa whose mission is to foster a safe and inclusive culture for the music community.

Prior to joining RMNZ Jo spent over a decade as General Counsel at IFPI, the organisation which represents the recording industry globally, leading a variety of strategic legal and policy projects. She has also worked at law firms in NZ, Australia the UK and US.