By: Rick Baker, J.D.
April 18, 2018
As a Music Attorney in the ‘90s & ‘00s, I witnessed and participated in many things in this business of music. From advising Artists, Producers, Record Labels, Publishers, and Managers, negotiating with the majors (Warner/Atlantic, Sony, etc…) and Litigation when things didn’t go as planned. In other words, I’ve been in the Wars.
Despite not practicing law since 2014 after 21 years, no matter where I go, it’s always my music business experiences that people want to hear about...oh, and my advice on their career or company.
Whether it’s stories about my involvement with Lou Pearlman and the boy bands and their Producers that I represented, or my involvement in the Tabitha’s Secret/Matchbox20 project (before, during and the aftermath), or my relationships with many of the Elvis inner circle and many other greats and near greats, my music business dealings and experiences always seem to generate the most interest in them and passion in me...
I’ll admit, my music business adventures had their moments of total exhilaration when things went right and when great music and big money got made for the right people.
Even after leaving law practice four years ago and then creating and running two digital marketing agencies, it never fails that my music business dealings and related industry questions always come up often and once I start talking about it, it's hard to shut me up.
So much so that in the past year, that more and more close friends have encouraged me to jump back in and consult clients on music business & legal affairs and share my knowledge and experiences. So I have surveyed the landscape for the new angles in an old game that I know all too well.
As a side note, I’ve also been playing more live guitar gigs lately and as I’ve talked with many musicians and original acts, I see how utterly confused they are about whether the music business even exists anymore and whether it is financially viable on any level...well, let's talk about that.
Wow! There’s an understatement…or is it? What has changed is the growth of Digital Distribution and Social Media reach for promotion that has enabled New Artists and Indy Labels to hit the market running without previous barriers to entry.
What has not changed is the corporate money and greed at some major label groups who tried to resist digital distribution, couldn’t…and are now finally realizing this is where the music consumer is and how they now “buy” music. Don’t kid yourself, the majors still obviously have immense power in the industry, for many reasons, mostly video budgets and instant affiliation with top live booking agencies.
However, the tide has turned in one important aspect for anyone in the music business: Artists & Indy Labels can now distribute globally and promote globally with digital distribution and some social media savvy.
If the Music and Artist are truly great, followings can be built, recordings distributed digitally and then bigger gigs and merchandising is what follows. These days, that’s where the real money is in the music business. But I’ll let you in on something…Live & Merch have always been where the biggest money has been in the music business.
Now, with digital subscription services replacing brick and mortar retail and social media growth, all of it is easier and more accessible for everyone, which means any musical artist can be out there very easily.
But it also means, now more than ever, that without developing a true fan following through social media & live shows and using some basic branding to promote that effort, nobody will know who you are or listen.
But there is much good news. With the pending Music Modernization Act in Congress and Streaming Revenues Up, the industry is poised to continue its rebirth of the past several years. Knowing how this affects your music business affairs and how to leverage it is critical to your industry success.
So, after much encouragement and some soul searching by me, I am dedicated and officially available for Music Business and Legal Affairs Consulting to help those in the music business benefit from my years of experience as a former Music Attorney and now Consultant.
I am now offering different consulting options for different types of clients, based upon whether you are an Artist, Producer, Record Label, Music Publisher, Manager or Booking/Promotion, including but not limited to:
My goal is to help anyone who needs the advice of a seasoned music industry veteran and former music attorney for advancing their musical career.
Whether that is educating about the true nature of the business, how to take it to the next level or just how to deal with a current situation. I know how my legal clients felt a peace knowing I was a phone call away and that’s my goal with my consulting clients.
So, just like in one of my favorite movies "The Godfather" I truly thought I was out...but with the new opportunities and revival of the music industry, I'm looking forward to sharing what I know and have learned first-hand helping others for the sake of good music and helping it flourish! Maybe I can help you, so let's talk 2018 Music Biz!
Rick Baker, B.S., J.D., former Music Attorney is a Music Business Consultant, Producer & Professional Guitarist and lives in Winter Park, Florida.