Music & Entertainment

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Practice Leaders

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Reed Smith’s music and entertainment practice is a market leader throughout the world. Our lawyers have years’ of experience in the music and entertainment business and are uniquely qualified to represent both creative talent and companies in the digital era. Our team is well known for its experience, talent, persistence and problem-solving abilities and the legal directories say that we are “commercially astute, extremely efficient and very good to work with, from partner through to junior”.

We represents several of the most important, pre-eminent artists in the world, counseling them in all aspects of their careers in the entertainment industry, drafting and negotiating a wide variety of agreements to suit their needs: recording and music publishing agreements, touring, residency, festival and other live performance agreements, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, equity and joint venture agreements, film, television, soundtrack and theatrical agreements, management, production, distribution and merchandising agreements, as well as, speaking and other special event agreements. We help create lucrative equity and endorsement partnerships for our celebrity clients. We have also helped structure some of the highest grossing stadium tours, artist residencies and live performance agreements around the world, including negotiating the best deals with promoters, sponsors, merchandisers, ticketing agents and other tour vendors. Our clients include Grammy winning, multi-platinum selling recording artists, award winning song writing legends and iconic record producers and mixers.

Our team also has particular expertise in the dance music space. Edward H. Shapiro, named to Billboard’s 2014 “EDM Power Players: The Executives” list, leads a team that represents many of the world’s most well-known deejays, producers and top-line writers. The team provides expert, cutting-edge counsel, especially with respect to performances at the biggest clubs and festivals, music distribution agreements and representation of artists in their related business ventures and in other strategic transactions. We also represent key managers, agents, executives, festival producers, promoters, and media companies in dance music.

The music business is a fast-moving, ever-changing industry, and the law frequently struggles to catch up. Our team have been at the forefront of digital music since the advent of the Internet. We regularly advise innovative companies and assist them in formulating strategies to navigate licensing challenges and monetize content and talent. We handle acquisition, production, licensing and distribution of music on digital platforms and applications throughout the world, from vanilla online radio through to complex mobile on-demand digital music offerings. We also work with early-stage digital music companies, assisting them from seed funding through to significant exits, and well as advising major recording artists on their digital music ventures. We have recognized expertise in music copyright and licensing on a global basis.

The Reed Smith catalog acquisition team, led by Stephen E. Sessa, is a leader in this specialized area, handling complex financing and funding structures, sophisticated M&A stock purchase deals, and asset purchase and sale agreements involving some of the most sought-after evergreen copyrights from the world’s most iconic and successful songwriters and recording artists of all time. Our team have completed deals with aggregate values exceeding $500 million dollars. We streamline these transactions, which can include compositions, sound recordings, royalties, trademarks and name and likeness rights, by pulling from a well-versed group of attorneys from Reed Smith’s finance, corporate, intellectual property, and litigation departments, wherever necessary. This dedicated group are experts in international copyright and trademark law and rights of publicity and are well equipped to handle the nuances of each deal, to perform the required due diligence, and to uncover potential pitfalls with ease and confidence, resulting in successful outcomes for our clients, often under tight time constraints. Our clients in the area are the most important buyers, sellers and lenders in this space from major and independent publishers, labels, artists, hedge funds, banks and other financial institutions.

Finally, our team understands endorsement and sponsorship deals with talent. We have longstanding relationships with managers and lawyers that help get deals through the finish line, and know how to navigate through politics and personalities with talent and management. From negotiating executive employment agreements, to securing music rights for film and TV, to representing promoters, festivals and concert venues, to representing international labels, broadcasters and video game and technology companies, we have successfully represented clients who need the best representation in the music business.