8/20 – IPR’s DIY 360 was honored to welcome Michael Simon, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs from Harry Fox Agency, on Friday afternoon. Michael opened up the session explaining the nuts and bolts of his position at Harry Fox, segueing into his thoughts on the current music industry. Students were privy to the happenings of Youtube, NSAI, and Michael’s musings on the Copyright Act and music licensing. Even after offering so much information, Michael claimed that he had only scratched the surface of the publishing industry at the end of DIY hour.
Senior Vice President Business Affairs,
General Counsel and Chief Strategic Officer
Harry Fox Agency
Michael S. Simon is the Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, General Counsel and Chief Strategic Officer for the Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA). In this role, Simon oversees HFA’s business affairs, strategic development, legal, and communications activities. He reports to President and CEO Gary Churgin. Since joining HFA in late 2001, Simon has focused his efforts on creating new opportunities for the company and the over 46,000 publishers it represents while also improving HFA’s traditional mechanical licensing business. Initially, his role included oversight of the Licensing Department where he instituted new business processes to better manage the intake, processing and execution of the over 200,000 physical product license requests received and over 1.5 million digital licenses issued by HFA per year. He also supervised the development and implementation of new online licensing tools, including eMechanical®, the current version of Songfile®, and physical and digital product bulk licensing. These Licensing improvements support the new opportunities created by the Business Development team including groundbreaking licensing arrangements for online music services, ringtones, Express Live recordings, lyrics, guitar tablature, background music, digital jukeboxes, and other new media opportunities.
Simon assumed General Counsel responsibilities in 2006. In this area, he integrated the business and legal affairs disciplines to streamline the delivery of new licensing opportunities and strengthened HFA’s in-house transactional capabilities. In tandem with the Finance department, he increased the efficiency of the company’s royalty compliance examination practices, handling more in-house, reducing costs and speeding exam closure. He and his team also manage real property transactions, provide labor-related HR support, protect firm intellectual property, and manage litigation. He works closely with HFA’s parent organization, the NMPA, on mutual legal and legislative issues.
In 2009, as HFA developed a full suite of licensing and royalty Administration Services, Simon increased his focus on the company’s expansion beyond its traditional mechanical licensing business by leveraging the systems, processes and relationships that HFA has established in its over 80 years of operation. HFA now can provide customized, outsourced solutions for any company in the music distribution chain. This effort began with creating quarterly publisher airplay rankings with Nielsen for Billboard and licensing the online listening service for GRAMMY award voters, and now encompasses royalty administration for Napster and other activities for major music industry clients.
In addition, he developed HFA’s Communications discipline to improve the company’s internal and external communications. This has included proactive media outreach, website upgrades, and the publication of a regular newsletter, HFA Soundcheck. These efforts have increased the understanding of HFA’s business, improved the adoption of its new online tools, and created more transparent relationships between HFA and its affiliated publishers, licensees, and employees.
Before joining HFA, Simon was the Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel for Razorfish, Inc. where he guided the company’s impressive growth from a small private company of 18 people to a public company of over 2,000 employees in five years. He oversaw the acquisition of 18 companies with an aggregate acquisition value of nearly one billion dollars. Prior to Razorfish, he founded Simon Ventures, an artist management and consulting company, whose roster included such major label acts as the Honeydogs and the Gigolo Aunts. Before that, Simon was Senior Director of Legal Affairs at Polygram Records. He also served as an associate in the entertainment and intellectual property law practice of Levine Thall Plotkin & Menin and the corporate, litigation and entertainment practice of Rubin Baum Levin Constant & Friedman.
Simon received his Juris Doctor from the Columbia University School of Law, and he graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College. He lives with his wife and three children in New York City
Local Pop Rock hero that wrote the new Twins song, GB Leighton, joins DIY 360 next week.