If I’m a musician or my company represents artists, how necessary is it for me to hire an entertainment lawyer?
That’s a question I get asked a lot by the people I meet in the music industry. The answer is probably best illustrated with an example.
When I first started working in entertainment in 2000, the year I started my own management company, I witnessed many individuals and companies make decisions without consulting with an attorney. Negotiating and signing contracts were commonly done without legal representation. More recently, one recording artist ended up paying a hefty price.
The artist was just finishing recording a record. I was brought in by the production company to go over a few details during the final stages of production, but with what I saw, it should have been the recording artist who hired me. In short, the artist was paying way too much for what she was getting. Instead of paying for the production of the album like a service, she and her people had agreed to put the producer on a monthly salary. After all was said and done, she ended up paying around $100,000 for 10 songs. While that figure is not completely out of the ordinary for an album, for a project like hers, it was just too much.
The record turned out well, but it was overpriced. Had she and her team come to me first, she would not have ended up paying so much. What recording artists have to understand is that the money they put into a project does not necessarily determine what they will get out of it. You have to understand the market, as well. And even though one of my primary roles as an attorney is to make sure that contracts are written in a way that is fair, I also know how to place value within the industry as a whole. For someone who is inexperienced, that kind of help can determine how far their project makes it.
Do you need help navigating the music industry? Here are the answers to a few other questions I get asked a lot:
How Do Clients Benefit from Hiring an Entertainment Lawyer?
The benefits that artists or music production companies can take advantage of when they hire me as their attorney are numerous. Some of the most common problems that plague those in the music industry include those that arise during negotiations. When I’m on the team from day one, your business won’t have to face issues involving licensing, contracts, or copyrights. These are the big ones, the important agreements. Getting them done on time when everybody is on the same page will save you money and a massive headache down the road. When you wait to do those things after the fact—after you either wrote a song or completed a project—more often than you’d think, things change. When this happens, complications happen. It’s a lot more difficult to go back and try to get everybody back on that same page on what everybody verbally agreed upon than if we do it right from the beginning.
What Services Do You Offer Entertainment Clients?
As an entertainment lawyer, I offer many different services to those in the music and entertainment industries. Number one, I will help you decide from day one how to structure your business to get the best tax benefits and asset protection. In the process, we may discover that it’s best to open multiple entities—for your personal services, your record label, and your publishing company. Once we finish setting up your business entities, we’ll begin taking steps to protect your creative and intellectual property. Whether you’re working solo or collaborating with other artists, we will secure the rights and determine how to divide the proceeds. If necessary, we will secure licensing and trademark rights, too.
Do You Offer Any Consulting Packages?
For my music clients, I offer an outsourced general counsel plan. This plan covers pretty much everything those in the music business need. It includes access to me for contract and agreement review, agreement drafting, trademark and copyright registration. It also covers cease and desist letters, when necessary. Obviously, different individuals and entities will need different services. Our plans account for that. Ultimately, our packages offer companies and artists a way to budget for their legal needs.
Are you a production company or artist looking to protect your music industry investments? Contact us today at 305-858-4512 for a no obligation consultation. Se habla espanol.
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