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Michael Huppe

President & CEO,
SoundExchange
Washington, DC, USA
Michael Huppe is the President and Chief Executive Officer of SoundExchange, the organization at the center of the global digital music business. SoundExchange has distributed more than $4 billion in digital performance royalties to recording artists and rights owners since its inception in 2003.

With a board of directors comprised of artists, major and independent record labels, artist managers, union heads and trade associations, SoundExchange represents the entire recording industry. The company is charged with protecting the long-term value of music for recording artists and record labels in the United States. It is the only entity in the United States entrusted by the Copyright Royalty Board to track, collect and distribute digital performance royalties for sound recordings from more than 2,800 digital streaming services, including satellite radio (such as SiriusXM), Internet radio (such as Pandora & iHeart Radio) and cable television music channels (such as MusicChoice).

Michael joined SoundExchange as its General Counsel in 2007 and was promoted to President and CEO in 2011. Throughout his SoundExchange career he has forged initiatives to drive the organization’s growth. On behalf of artists and labels, he oversaw proceedings that resulted in webcasting rate increases of 200 percent and rate increases of more than 83 percent on satellite radio. The number of radio services working with SoundExchange has grown from 855 in 2007 to more than 2,800 in 2016. During his tenure as President and CEO, royalty collections increased by more $500 million annually. Today, the company is responsible for approximately 17 percent of the recorded music industry’s wholesale revenue.

Michael has spearheaded corporate development and diversification efforts for the organization. In addition to managing rights and royalties for digital radio offerings under the statutory license, SoundExchange now distributes performance royalties to artists for direct deals signed with Merlin and more than 20 independent labels.

During Michael’s tenure, new capabilities have been developed at SoundExchange to serve the industry including a scalable, cloud-based business platform, the industry’s first International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) database and SoundExchange Direct, which provides artists and labels with the ability to review payment details, track recordings and research which services are playing their music most often. The company has also been a leader in advocating for industry-wide technology standards to enable efficient and accurate distribution of royalties.

Some of the changes within the music industry are being decided in Washington, D.C., far from any studio or record label. That is why SoundExchange’s headquarters are just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The company is fierce when it comes to pushing for policies to protect creators. SoundExchange supports the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which aims to secure performance rights for recording artists and record labels across every platform, including terrestrial radio. Michael has penned op-eds supporting legislation and the fair payment of artists. Billboard published his piece on “Fair Trade Music” and The Hill ran “Watershed Time for Music.”

Prior to joining SoundExchange, Michael held executive positions at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and served as a commercial litigator at a leading law firm. He serves on the Executive Board of musicFIRST and the Board of Directors for The Societies’ Council for the Collective Management of Performers’ Rights, an international performers’ group. He is a member of The Recording Academy, The Young President’s Organization (D.C. Chapter), the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference and the American Bar Association. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School. He is an adjunct professor teaching a course on music law at Georgetown University and has also lectured at Harvard Law, George Washington Law School and George Mason University.