The music industry can be an excellent specialization choice for newly minted entertainment attorneys seeking diversity in their workday. Aside from handling a wide range of technical legal issues, these professionals provide their clients with valuable advice and advocacy that can profoundly impact their music careers.
Rising Artist Advocate
Musicians starting to achieve success may be inclined to rush into contracts without realizing how these agreements might impact their music creation or ownership. A music career lawyer can predict and prevent circumstances that might infringe upon a musician’s rights by reviewing contracts for red flags, negotiating licensing and royalty agreements and the terms for others to use materials under copyright and trademark. An entertainment lawyer specializing in the music industry can also benefit music bands and groups by offering insights and providing legal assistance to minimize disputes and prevent interest conflicts.
Seasoned Artist And Estate Advocate
Knowledgeable entertainment lawyers may receive retainers to handle a wide range of services for well-established, successful musicians. Prolific or prominent musicians may require assistance negotiating fees for product endorsements and licenses, music catalog publishing, tours and performances, digital music rights and music usage for movies and commercials.
At times, a prominent musician’s heirs may retain a music industry lawyer to broker a significant deal on behalf of an estate. For example, Mary Rodgers Guettel and Alice Hammerstein Mathias turned to music industry legal titan John Branca to negotiate the terms to sell Dutch media management company, Imagem Music Group, the Rogers & Hammerstein Organization’s catalog of their fathers’ beloved songs.
Provide Management Services For Their Clients
Music lawyers with substantial industry knowledge and relationships can impact clients’ careers by recommending team members, including managers and publicists, and handling contracts and negotiations for their services. A highly experienced legal professional, such as attorney John Branca, can also assume a management role by offering impactful career advice. Branca’s suggestions for creating Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking “Thriller” video legitimized the music video as an art form and sealed Jackson’s fate as “the king of pop.”
Help Establish Business Entities
As fewer musicians receive backing from cash-strapped record labels, many artists find success self-releasing their work with music distributors’ assistance. A music attorney can ensure that musicians follow the appropriate procedures to prevent legal conflicts, including obtaining original work copyrights, registering trademarks, obtaining necessary permissions to release versions of other artists’ work, and creating distribution contracts.
Lawyers who specialize in the music industry wear many hats that make them invaluable assets to musician clients at all career levels.