Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Why We Should All Love Taylor Swift

Any artist who has ever dealt in any way with a record label understands the importance of leverage. A new and essentially unknown artist, almost regardless of talent, has little room to obtain a more favorable deal than the one initially offered. As artists prove their commercial appeal, of course, and provide profits to their labels, their negotiation capital rises. The second contract, or in some cases revisions to the first, can be much more lucrative: financial success provides the necessary leverage for a more beneficial deal. In almost all cases, however, certain demands by the artist such as ownership of the Masters remains off the table. Moreover, those successful artists tend to use that leverage to gain a better deal for themselves. While there is nothing wrong with that, Taylor Swift has recently set the bar much higher.

 At the end of 2018, Taylor Swift left Big Machine Records and signed with Republic Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group (“UMG”). While acknowledging that artists with Swift’s level of success are few and far between, the deal she and her team negotiated with UMG is exceptional, both from Swift’s perspective as well as the perspective of her fellow label mates. Overwhelmingly, ownership of the Master Recordings belongs with the label and is not even up for negotiation. Ownership of the Sound Recording Copyright (“SR”) provides the owner with control over how and where the music is used, especially its use in television, film or any other synchronization with a visual component. In maintaining such control, the rights holder also reaps the financial benefit. Swift’s deal with Republic allows her to retain ownership of the Master Recordings and, therefore, control the use of the sound recording. This, in essence, allows her to double her revenue from any synch licenses she makes as well as to maintain creative and artistic control. Swift, however, used her leverage and negotiation capital to obtain additional concessions from UMG which would benefit other artists under the UMG umbrella.

Specifically, UMG owns a stake of approximately 3.5% in Spotify, estimated at a value in excess of $800 million. Swift and her team made it a condition of her deal that should UMG sell its Spotify shares, then UMG must distribute a share of the proceeds to all artists on its roster. Such a condition is presumably based upon the premise that the value of Spotify has increased due to the creativity of artists and that currently an absurdly, disappointingly low royalty finds its way back to the artist’s bank account. That Swift would use her negotiation capital to bargain for the benefit of others is not just refreshing, but sets an example for others.

While few artists have the leverage of Taylor Swift, the example she sets in contract negotiations with labels is inspiring. May those artists of similar standing emulate her and may those on the way up aspire to her message and approach. Whether you are a fan or not go download a Taylor Swift CD on the Republic label. If you are an artist with significant leverage, make it your mission to match Taylor Swift’s approach. Doing so makes this business better for all.

 © 2019 Saxon Gilmore. Saxon Gilmore publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Saxon Gilmore. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact form via the link below. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Saxon Gilmore does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Paul Quin was a Presenter at St. Petersburg College

Paul Quin was a presenter at St. Petersburg College, as part of its Speaker Series, an open event for professional development with industry speakers. Mr. Quin discussed key aspects to the business side of being a musician including contracts, licensing, and royalties.

Mr. Quin has spent many years as a professional drummer and remains active in the music industry. He represents a variety of entertainers, mostly within the music business, specializing in representing drummers and other sidemen in all aspects of their professional careers including band agreements, endorsements, contract drafting, negotiation and review, business plans, business formations, management, and publishing.

  Saxon|Gilmore also has a strategic professional relationship allowing for the ability to liaise with one of the country's leading intellectual property firms and through that relationship, Saxon/Gilmore can provide advice on copyright and intellectual property law. In addition, we can help by taking steps to properly develop projects and negotiate and legally secure interests in:

• Personal appearances
• Recording and touring projects
• Illegal use of celebrity image

Our firm has a thorough, comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations in the State of Florida and many other states. We ensure all legal issues are in order, which saves our clients time and money by avoiding costly delays that can adversely affect a project. Mr. Quin can be reached at 813.314.4523 or via email at pquin@saxongilmore.com.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Paul Quin was a Panelist at The Sessions Event in St. Petersburg, Florida

Paul Quin was a panelist at the Sessions event held at the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College, and discussed entertainment law. Other panelists included Ray Luzier (World Touring Drummer); Chick Corea (22-Time Grammy-Winning Jazz Legend, Pianist, and Composer); Bobby Rossi (Executive Vice President of Entertainment Ruth Eckerd Hall, Capitol Theatre and Ruth Eckerd on the Road); Dom Famularo (Drumming's Global Ambassador); Christine Ohlman ("The Beehive Queen", Songwriter, and Long-Time Vocalist for the Saturday Night Live Band); Carlos Guzman (Tour Manager); and Rick Drumm (Founder and President of Traction Business Coaching and Music Industry Executive). The Sessions is geared towards educating musicians to empower them on the business side of the entertainment world.

For more information about The Sessions, go to http://thesessions.org.

Mr. Quin has spent many years as a professional drummer and remains active in the music industry. He represents a variety of entertainers, mostly within the music business, specializing in representing drummers and other sidemen in all aspects of their professional careers including band agreements, endorsements, contract drafting, negotiation and review, business plans, business formations, management, and publishing. He can be reached at 813.314.4523 or via email at pquin@saxongilmore.com.