Law And Music Vanderbilt R.J.P Paper

943 words - 4 pages

Law and Music Charles Biederman of the law firm Bass, Berry & Sims visited with our class on April 2 to discuss his role in the music industry through law. After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1989, Mr. Biederman worked as a New York trial lawyer for four years. By his own admission, he was attempting to carve out a niche for himself and not be "somebody's son," as his father was legendary entertainment lawyer Donald Biederman. After working in New York, Mr. Biederman moved to Atlanta, where for 3-4 years he worked with baby rock bands in a two-lawyer firm. In Atlanta, he worked for Alan Katz (one of the best music attorneys in the nation) and then moved to Nashvi ...view middle of the document...

When Mr. Biederman is shopping for a contract for one of his rock acts he often looks for a commitment for two albums, tour support, merchandising, and videos. Large cash advances are not necessary when there is a commitment by the record company to support the artist. Also important is the A&R contact at the record company. A&R contracts generally last three years, thus when an act is getting signed, its important that the A&R contact with the company is someone whom the artists and managers like and, most importantly, will continue to be around.Before an artist gets signed, though, they need to have built up some support as well. In rock, a grassroots effort can be very effective. Baby rock bands often have a devoted fan base that will grow as performances and word of mouth improves. Currently, Mr. Biederman is working with a bluegrass band called Blue Merle. This band has been building up steam through grassroots efforts and through contacts with independent records stores. The independent record stores are important because they are closer to whatever music is gaining popularity than the larger chain stores. They have great promotion power when it comes to a more grassroots effort than a traditional commercialized promotional effort.On a more lighthearted note (yet at the same time, quite disheartening), Mr. Biederman spoke about the egos of rockers. Oftentimes they want tour buses and demand ridiculous riders. Not only is this very costly (a tour bus can cost $150,000 per year, not including insurance or drivers) but it is grossly unnecessary. Mr. Bieder...


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