By Cirocco – Music
One of the first people you will need to explore for your lineup is a reputable
and knowledgeable entertainment attorney. This member of your team will normally be your dealmaker and
deal breaker. The entertainment industry is mainly built on relationships and contracts, meaning that many
lawyers have very powerful connections, and some know to use those connections, with their experience and skills
- to make or break contracts or deals. And just for the record, you better know that you never
sign any contract in the music business without first consulting your attorney.
When asked to sign an agreement
Ben Mclane Esq. - used by permission
you are asked to sign anything other than an autograph, you absolutely do need an attorney...period! Too many aspiring creative
artists want to get a deal so badly they will sign almost anything that promises them a chance to have a deal. Even successful
careers have a relatively short life span, especially in the music and entertainment business. For this reason, it is important
for you to get maximum returns in the good years and not sign away your rights to valuable income.
As previously stated,
never sign anything without having your own lawyer review it first. Do not rely on anyone else (or even their lawyer) to tell
you what your contract says. Your lawyer will "translate" the deal for you and explain to you exactly what you are
getting into. Do not let anyone rush you or pressure you into signing any agreement for any reason.
Do Your Research
– Music Powers
Your entertainment attorney must have a very thorough knowledge of today’s
industry and deal making trends. Along
with this, he needs to be well connected throughout the entertainment industry. This means that he not only has plenty of
industry contacts, but also, and more importantly, makes use of his many industry connections and resources. If the attorney you plan on hiring has been in the music game for
a while, he or she more than likely will be able to show you how to make the best deal (more money), and maintain
control of your music at the same time.
to find out what types of deals the particular attorney has made… not only in the past, but what type(s) of deals they
might presently be negotiating. Also, if possible, find out what others in the industry
have to say about them.
Collins Esq & Ben Mclane Esq. – used by permission
When looking for a lawyer, you should not be afraid to interview a few candidates before retaining one. Some lawyers are
with large firms but many are solo practitioners. Attorneys have a range of personalities and legal skills and you should
seek out a situation where the "vibe" is right. Although your first contact
may be on the telephone, you most likely will have an initial interview for which, if you so request in advance, there is
usually no charge. Remember, your lawyer's time is money, so be prepared and be
on time for your appointment.
It is not necessary that your lawyer likes or even understands your music. It is more important that you feel he or she is a trustworthy and competent
advisor. The lawyer/client relationship is known as a "fiduciary" relationship which means that a lawyer
must always act in your best interest and not his or her own …or that of anyone else. Your lawyer is also
under a duty to keep your conversations with him confidential. It is often in your best interest that it stays that way.
To find an interested attorney,
locate a list of music attorneys, call them, and ask if they will are willing to listen to new material for possible representation.
Most attorneys will probably suggest that you send in a demo. If the attorney hears potential, and wants to represent you
to labels and publishers (i.e., submit the demo), the lawyer will expect to be compensated.