The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) Board of Directors today announced that David Israelite has accepted a five-year contract extension to continue his role as President and CEO through 2022. David joined NMPA in 2005 after serving in senior positions at the United States Department of Justice and the United States Senate. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of NMPA’s operations, from legal strategy and implementation to government affairs and advocacy. The organization’s legal program has collected more than $600 million for songwriters and music publishers.
“David has led NMPA into a new era of recognition of the value of songwriters and music publishers,” said NMPA Board Chairman Irwin Robinson. “He has brought songwriter struggles to the forefront of the debate, and he is leading the charge for creators to be treated fairly by working to modernize laws and policies that govern the music industry.”
David Israelite added, “Serving music publishers and songwriters as NMPA’s President and CEO has been the greatest honor of my career. Working with the NMPA Board is a privilege, and I am grateful that they have asked me to continue leading the fight on behalf of all songwriters and music publishers.”
In June Israelite presided over an unusually dramatic NMPA membership meeting, which not only featured speeches and awards for Sony/ATV chief Martin Bandier, ASCAP president Paul Williams and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, it also saw Pharrell Williams tearfully paying homage to an unnamed friend whose memorial service he attended that morning — probably Ruff Ryders producer Jay “Icepick” Jackson, who succumbed to cancer earlier this month — and Yoko Ono receiving a songwriting credit for John Lennon’s “Imagine,” with Patti Smith welling up as she sang the song in tribute.
In his own comments, Israelite enthused “The state of the industry is actually really great,” he said, with 2016 U.S. revenue at $2.652 billion in its second year of growth after many years of decline, and he predicted growth in next year and strong years coming up. He cited an RIAA report noting that streaming accounted for 51 percent of that revenue, downloads for 24 percent, physical for 22 percent and synch for 3 percent — and noted that 74 percent of streaming’s income was from paid subscription services.
He also called on publishers to identify publicly not only the works they own but also the shares they own — information that is often kept private — comparing the effort to the movie industry’s initiative to police itself with a rating system. This would be “fixing our own problem with regard to licensing these songs,” he said. “It may not be our responsibility to fix it when a label or streaming services posts an unlicensed song, but we have to work to fix it. I’m aware that there are publishers in this room who don’t want to hear or do this, but I guarantee you that this is the key.”