Today we are joined by two highly-influential music creators’ rights advocates. Kris Ahrend began his career in the music industry working in the Law Department at Sony Music, where he provided legal services to all of Sony’s US divisions, including its publishing company. He subsequently worked in the business and legal affairs department at Sony BMG Music Entertainment before accepting a senior executive role at Rhino Entertainment. Kris Ahrend now serves as Chief Executive Officer for The MLC, where he leads the organization’s mission to ensure songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers receive their mechanical royalties from streaming and download services in the U.S. accurately and on time. Most recently, Ahrend led the development and launch of Warner Music Group’s Center of Excellence for Shared Services in Nashville, where he oversaw the operations of fifteen different functional teams providing a variety of administrative, financial, and legal services to Warner Music’s U.S.- based publishing teams, record labels, and corporate divisions.
Michelle Lewis is an award-winning songwriter, composer, singer and music creators’ rights advocate. From her early career as a recording artist signed to Irving Azoff’s Giant Records, to her first radio hit, Cher’s “A Different Kind of Love Song” in 2002, to the 2014 worldwide #1 single “Wings” by the British girl group Little Mix, Ms. Lewis brings authenticity, musicality, and heart to a diverse range of pop music. In 2015, Michelle Lewis co-founded the non-profit advocacy organization, Songwriters Of North America (SONA) in response to the ever-increasing complexities and inequities in digital royalties paid to songwriters and composers. Through her roles as SONA’s Executive Director, on the ASCAP Board of Directors, as an LA Chapter board member of the Recording Academy and on the Executive Committee of the Music Peer Group for the Television Academy, Michelle is solidly situated on the leading edge of issues facing songwriters: the ongoing fight to make streaming royalty rates more fair to creators, education and empowerment of creators through metadata, the implementation and utilization of the new Mechanical Licensing Collective, and fighting for songwriters to get healthcare and workplace safety standards in place.
And The Executive are… Kris Ahrend and Michelle Lewis! Click here to listen to the episode.