Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan Announces Resignation

After nine years leading Recorded Music NZ, Damian Vaughan is ready to the leave the job.

Vaughan has served as CEO of New Zealand’s labels association since June 2013, following a years-long stint as NZ Licensing Manager at APRA, the Australasian PRO.

In a statement distributed Thursday (Feb. 17) to the local music industry, Vaughan admits it’s time to “move on and find my next challenge.”

The past decade, he notes, has been a transformative one for the domestic industry and music fans, one that finds itself in a much better place.

Vaughan’s recruitment to NZ’s labels body coincided with the dawn of the streaming age. In 2013, he explains, wholesale industry revenues were NZ$67.4 million and were comprised predominantly of physical sales and digital downloads. Fast forward to 2022, and “the landscape is totally different,” with industry revenue more than double to NZ$125 million, with streaming platforms powering more than more than 80% of the total.

Over that timeframe, Recorded Music NZ’s annual revenue from the Public Performance and Broadcast of sound recordings soared by 45% to NZ$16 million, and its corresponding annual distributions rose by 47% from to NZ$12.3 million, he explains, while the number of artists and rights holders receiving royalties grew by 75% to well over 5,000.

“The massive transformation that the industry has gone through this past decade has also come with an explosion in music consumption data and our team has been constantly driving new data solutions, rejuvenating and modernising the Official New Zealand Music Charts as well as providing innovative music consumption and analytical tools for our local industry,” he enthuses.

Recorded Music NZ is dedicated to protecting copyright, advocating for the rights of creators, rights holders and the wider music community, and, through its work, produces the annual Aotearoa Music Awards and publishes the weekly Official NZ Top 40 Chart.

The labels body has yet to unveil the successor for Vaughan, who is set to depart this April.

“I am looking forward to the next adventure, and my hope is that I’ll be expanding my knowledge and experience out into new worlds, but I know my passion for music and the industry may mean that music pops back up in that future,” he continues.

“But for now, its satisfying to close this chapter of my career and life, proud with what we’ve achieved over the last 9 years and know that we made a positive impact on our music community in Aotearoa.”