Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Music Business/Law Tips - "Manager v. Attorney"

As for whether an artist should seek out an attorney or manager first, it’s a case by case thing. However, I have found that since most of the established/experienced managers don’t want to get involved until the right tools are in place for them to do their job properly (i.e., record label support, touring history, fanbase, etc.), it may be more likely for an attorney to get involved earlier in the game to help the act get in the position to attract the appropriate manager (along with doing all the boring legal stuff). In my opinion, the act should wait to add a manager to the team until there is a reason to do so/the right person or company comes along, and not rush to lock mom, dad, uncle or buddy into that role, as that may actually do more harm than good down the road/scare away a record label who would want to make sure that the act has professional representation that can be a partner in breaking an act. Labels have no time to teach anyone the business or absorb stupid mistakes by the act or its management these days. They are risk averse. As an aside, I think connecting with a booking agent early on for many acts might be more important than a manager or attorney since touring and creating a fanbase seems to be the primary initial building block upon which all other career elements are based. Ben McLane Esq

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Music Business/Law Tips - "Trademark Primer"

An artist's stage name (or pka) is a trademark/servicemark. Active artists normally need the trademark in the category of live shows (class 41), records (class 9) and merchandise like t-shirts (class 25). Class 41 will generally suffice if the artist is on a budget. Someone else using the same name that is not an artist like a restaurant is in a totally different category that should not conflict with the artist, so the artist should be OK to use the name so long as the artist does not try to start a restaurant under that same name. Go to for how to file a trademark. Or hire an attorney to assist. Ben McLane Esq