November 17, 2017: Music Business and Law Conference



Recorded: Friday, November 17, 2017

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Music Publishing and Digital Media 
Streaming.  It is heralded as the future of the business. How does the writer, the publisher, the label and the recording artist get paid?  Is the industry at large becoming dependent on Spotify which continues to lose money, but may be too big to fail?  Do we next rely on Facebook Apple Amazon Google and Spotify (FAAGS) for the revenue from the industry?  Will Free services or Freemium services sustain the business?  This panel of industry leaders will address the issues that publishers and writers face in monetizing their rights, and preventing infringement, as well as where the industry is headed.  Attendee questions about rights management, monetary recovery and related issues will be addressed as well.


  • Marc Jacobson, Esq. – Marc Jacobson, P.C. (Moderator)
  • Noah Becker, President/CEO AdRev (AudioMicro, Inc.)
  • Seth M. Goldstein, Esq., Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs, MediaNet
  • Art Levy, Esq., VP of Business Affairs and Administration at Spirit Music Group

Music Business Basics – Publishing / Recording / Sampling 
This panel will cover basic concepts of publishing and recording agreements, including how sampling fits into those realms, along with a discussion of the role of a talent agent for a band.  Sample agreements will be provided.  Attendees are encouraged to bring questions about 360 deals, administration, co-publishing and publishing agreements, agency roles, and the roles of management.


  • Ralph DePalma, Esq., Pryor Cashman LLP (Moderator)
  • Keith Hauprich, Esq., General Counsel & Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, BMG-North America
  • Natalia Nastaskin, Esq., Head of US Music Operations, United Talent Agency
  • Joseph Lloyd Serling, Esq., Partner, Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy & Worob LLC
  • Andrew G. Tavel, Esq., Tavel & Shulman, P.C.

You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone – the Implications of Bankruptcy
Nothing can disrupt a business deal – for better or worse, depending on your position in the deal – like a bankruptcy filing. This panel will address the practical intersection between bankruptcy law and the music industry. The panel will also address bankruptcy treatment of unpublished works, copyright licenses and trademarks and the unique benefits of buying and selling assets through a bankruptcy proceeding.


  • L.P. (Lynn) Harrison III, Esq., Partner, Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle LLP (Moderator)
  • Allen G. Kadish, Esq., DiConza Traurig Kadish LLP
  • Melinda D. Middlebrooks, Esq., Managing Partner, Middlebrooks Shapiro, P.C.
  • David B. Shemano, Esq., Partner, Robins Kaplan LLP

Licensing Music for Broadway
Musical compositions, in particular, can enhance the experience and success of a show.  Pre-existing music used in new shows, such as Beautiful - The Carole King Musical  or Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, or tunes by ABBA in the fictitious Mamma Mia, have resulted in highly profitable and very popular long-running Broadway productions, realizing worldwide success.  The legal and business process of developing a project that uses pre-existing music for a play or as part of a stage musical will be discussed by an expert panel all of whom have been involved in the negotiation and production of these or other Broadway shows.  The issues discussed will include the nature of the agreements required with music publishers, composers, lyricists and producers and the typical types of deals entered into by Broadway producers with respect to the license and use of musical compositions for live stage performances and cast albums.


  • Diane Krausz, Esq., The Law Offices of Diane Krausz (Moderator)
  • Jason Baruch, Esq., Sendroff & Baruch, LLP
  • Roberta L. Korus, Esq., Roberta Korus, Attorney-at-Law

International Focus - Global Database Efforts
For any global initiative it would seem that an agreed-upon set of standards must be present, but that is no easy task when music rights and licenses are handled differently around the world.  This panel will explore recommendations for standards as well as the various efforts in the works by forward-thinking innovators in the industry.


  • Jeff Liebenson, Esq., Liebenson Law & President of IAEL  (Moderator)
  • Christos Badavas, Sr. VP & General Counsel, SESAC
  • Mark Isherwood, Chief Operating Officer, DDEX
  • Dan Millington, Performer Development Manager, PPL-UK

Luncheon Speaker: Willard Ahdritz, Founder/CEO, Kobalt
Willard Ahdritz founded Kobalt in 2000 with a mission: making the music industry more fair and rewarding for creators. He wanted to give artists, songwriters, musicians, labels and publishers the freedom and transparency they needed to build their careers. Mr. Ahdritz will be interviewed by Jem Aswad, Senior Music Editor at Variety (This portion does not carry MCLE and is only available when you purchase the entire program) 

Travelin’ Band: Taking the Band on the Road and Accounting for It
John Forgerty penned a song “Travelin’ Band” about the trials, tribulations and thrills while he was in the heavy touring band Creedence Clearwater Revival. He wrote in part, “Playin' in a travelin' band, yeah. Well, I'm flyin' across the land, tryin' to get a hand, Playin' in a travelin' band”. From independent to heritage bands and all the pop and rock stars in between, touring continues to be a major source of income for artists. Further, assembling a great team for touring and structuring an economical plan for a particular band is very important to the success of the band and for a tour to be in the black. Given the tremendous amount of touring today, how does a band get on the road and “get a hand”? What type of planning is needed and how does the band’s team work with tour promoters? Further, how do you figure out a budget for the tour, including production expenses, employee pay and equipment costs? Who handles travel arrangements and problems as they occur while the band is touring? This panel will discuss the crucial components of touring and tour accounting. Topics will include: assembling a strong touring team, booking and routing a tour, tour budgeting and income and expense accounting, tour management issues, structuring and negotiating promoter, production and merchandising contracts, and settlement matters.


  • Joyce Dollinger, Esq.,  (Moderator)
  • Jason Browning, President-CEO, The Browning Group, Inc.
  • Joseph P. Callaghan, CPA,  Prager Metis
  • Peter Pappalardo, Agent, Artist Group International
  • Monika A. Tashman, Esq., Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP

Ethics and Everyday Practice
This panel of ethics lawyers will discuss issues that commonly arise in practice but are often overlooked or misunderstood, including considerations in the lawyer’s online presence and activity in social media.


  • Tyler Maulsby, Esq., Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC
  • Lewis Tesser, Esq., Senior Partner, Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP

Trends in Branding and Merchandising
The music may still be the message, but a recognizable and known brand has become the key to popularity, and to many a musician’s livelihood. Not only does it help create a filter through which brand partnerships, sponsorship and endorsement opportunities can be measured against, but it creates an intellectual property that can be exploited in lots of new territories.  Merchandise may have once consisted primarily of CDs and t-shirts bought as keepsakes of a fan’s concert experience, but now a broader array of merchandise permits the fan to identify more closely with the artist. 

With brand partnership and sponsorship becoming a $1.4 billion business in 2017 and music merch soaring to $3.1 billion in 2016, traditional models are being disrupted and the methods used for putting these deals together have taken on new complexity.  From celebrities and media moguls to aspiring artists and bands, the issue is no longer whether to brand yourself but how

Join us for a panel discussion with experts in branding and merchandising who will explore the many trends emerging in these fast-growing sectors.  Some of the conversation will revolve around: new branding and marketing strategies; the structuring of brand partnership and sponsorship deals; enhancements in artist-fan connectivity; the use of music to market other products; developments in trademark licensing and issues particular to celebrities. 


  • Andrew Hampp, VP-Brand Strategist, at MAC Presents (Moderator)
  • Jason Boyarski, Esq., Partner, Boyarski Fritz LLP
  • Terri DiPaolo, Esq., Head of Licensing, Sponsorships & Endorsements at TKO
  • Kim Youngberg, Esq., Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Screenvision Media

It’s Still About the Money – Royalty and Licensing Audits
The music industry is an increasingly complex place with a mix of new income streams and new licensees that are constantly popping up.   This along with an active market for catalog transactions spurred on by an influx of private equity and investments in passive income streams have led to a dynamic environment fraught with disruptions and ripe for underreporting royalties.  What's a right holder to do?  Call the royalty auditor.   Royalty audits are now more than ever a best practice to maximize revenues and protect value for recording artists, songwriters, record labels, and publishers alike.  This panel will discuss reasons to audit, the process of exercising audit rights, really reading royalty statements, the royalty audit itself and strategies you need to know when the parties can't reach an amicable settlement.   


  • J. Christopher Hull, CPA, Partner, Prager Metis CPAs, LLC (Moderator)
  • Brian D. Caplan, Esq.,  Partner, Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC
  • Mark A. Levinsohn, Esq., Levinsohn Associates, P.C.

Copyright Law and Litigation – Annual Review 
The last year has seen many exciting copyright and entertainment cases in the litigation arena.  Four experienced litigators who have litigated extensively in the music industry  will examine some of the high profile cases (e.g., the Blurred Lines appeal, Estate of Barre v Beyoncé, Estate of Jimmy Smith V. Drake, etc.), as much for their results as to highlight the parties' litigation strategies. From substantial similarity issues and developments in the "fair use" defense in music sampling cases, to courts' increasing readiness to resolve  cases in early dispositive motion practice, the panel will also look at the practical effects and implications of these cases and trends for the industry going forward.


  • Stephen B. Rodner, Esq., Senior Counsel, Pryor Cashman LLP (Moderator)
  • Ilene Farkas, Esq., Partner, Pryor Cashman LLP
  • Paul V. LiCalsi, Esq., Partner, Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Brian D. Caplan, Esq., Partner, Reitler, Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC
  • Robert W. Clarida, Esq., Partner, Reitler, Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC