OnlineRock: Empowering Musicians  

OnlineRock and The Muse's Muse have teamed up to bring you article reprints of The Muse's News,a monthly songwriting e-zine and newsletter containing songwriting tools, articles, songwriting contest & market information, free book giveaways, artist profiles and more. Click here to subscribe.

THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC: Music Attorneys - by Charles Katz
©2001, Charles Katz. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

"Dust in the Wind" was a popular song of the '70s by Kerry Livgren and performed by KANSAS. The opening lyrics are: "I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment's gone/All my dreams pass before my eyes, A curiosity/Dust in the Wind" As a performing songwriter, that's what you will be, DUST IN THE WIND, unless you have an excellent music attorney.

As the President of Windrift Music I communicate with hundreds of artists. Most of my time is involved with negotiating contracts. You must have the support of a music attorney and I advise my clients do not sign anything until reviewed by an attorney. The functions of a music attorney are structuring, negotiating, documenting, and reviewing deals to benefit their clients.

There are several sources to find a music attorney. The main ones are:

1. Music Attorney, Legal & Business Affairs Registry
7510 Sunset Blvd., Suite 1041, Los Angeles, CA 90046-3418

2. Sessions & Tour Guide Canada
5355 Vail Court, Miss, Ont. L5M 6G9

3. American Bar Assn
750 North Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611

4. Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
918 16th St. NW, #400, Washington , DC 20006

Music Conferences always have lawyers attending and this a good opportunity to meet and interview them. Well known practitioners are John Branch (Michael Jackson), Don Passman (Janet Jackson), Lee Phillips (Barbra Streisand), and Alan Grubman (Madonna)

The Internet is also a place to commence a search for your music attorney. Do a search on Music Attorneys and find local representation. I did exactly that and obtained a worthwhile list. I then presented them with my list of boiler plate agreements required, and requested quotations. I settled with an excellent one from Los Angeles who represented Guns and Roses.

You should see an attorney anytime you have a contract to review or negotiate. Fees range from $100-$200 per hour. It is sometimes better to get a set fee rather than pay an hourly rate. Most lawyers will want a retainer of $500.

It is extremely important to be organized when meeting with your attorney.

1. Keep accurate records in writing.
2. Be honest
3. Pay him on time
4. Preparation. Bring all necessary documents
5. Keep him well informed of your activities.
6. Don't sign until your lawyer has reviewed it.

As a performing songwriter it is important to develop an effective lawyer-client relationship.

Charles Katz owns a high-tech company, Printerm, established for 20 years, and manages a Record Label, Windrift Music Inc. He currently has a CD "Night Driving Music" installed at Internet sites in the US, UK, and Asia collecting royalties. Charles is presently working on his second CD with a female recording artist and has established a virtual band, Spencer K for that project. As a business leader, musician, publisher, and promoter, he is now providing his expertise for fellow artists. Contact:

AboutOnlineRock RecordsPress RoomContactAdvertisePrivacyShop