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Life and Work with Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

Erin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always loved music, but as a young adult, I did not know that working on the business side of music was an option. I thought the only option to work in the music business was to be a performing musician.

While in college at USC, I took the “Introduction to the Music Industry” course, and learned the roles of managers, agents, and attorneys within the music business. I also learned about copyrights and music industry agreements. I thought being an attorney representing artists and songwriters from getting screwed by these complicated contracts was the coolest job in the world, so I decided that would be my path.

After that, I dove into all things music business, and held internships at Capitol Records and for radio DJ Rick Dees. I also started DJing at USC’s campus radio station, where I would have a local band in the studio for an interview and live set each week. The show was consistently one of the top 10 most-listened-to shows on campus, and also had listeners from all over the world through the station’s website stream. After graduating, I started a podcast called Electric Effect where I continued the format of my radio show.

The following year, I started law school at Southwestern Law School, where I participated in their prestigious entertainment law program. I studied copyright law, music publishing, music industry contracts, entertainment law, and trademark law in depth. I was President of Southwestern’s Entertainment and Sports Law Society, as well as being the Student Liaison to the Entertainment Forum of the American Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. I also had several internships at prominent music publishing companies and boutique music law firms.

Subsequent to graduating from Southwestern and passing the California Bar Exam (the first time!), I opened my own practice and continue to own my own practice today (www.themusicindustrylawyer.com).

My clients include Grammy and Emmy Award winners, songwriters, independent music publishers, independent artists and companies, and distinguished legacy catalogues, as my knowledge of both classic music and current industry practices places me in a unique position to protect and revitalize older catalogues. I handle all types of music industry agreements, with an emphasis on music publishing.

In addition to being named a Super Lawyers Rising Star and one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, I frequently speak at music industry events and publish articles, which have been featured in publications including Billboard and Forbes. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).

Outside of my law practice, I founded and own a second company called Indie Artist Resource (www.indieartistresource.com), which provides contract templates for DIY musicians not yet ready to hire an attorney.

In my personal time, I design jewelry (www.erinmichelejewelry.com), paint, and enjoy attending concerts.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? Any advice for other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey?
Owning a business requires perseverance and creativity. In my firm, I am both the main attorney for my clients, as well as the CEO of a corporation. That means I not only have to handle the legal work to protect my clients, but also have to handle all aspects of running a business, including marketing, payroll, hiring, and business development. I do have support staff, but I am in charge of the overall vision of the firm and making sure it is executed with precision.

My advice for women, especially young women, is to know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to achieving. Many women are often discouraged from entering certain male-dominated career fields, or from rising too high in the ranks, or both. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers; they are just intimidated by your potential. Do what you are passionate about, navigate your field with class and grace, and don’t let others treat you with disrespect because you are a woman. You are there to do a job and you will probably do it better than anyone showing you disrespect. If someone says you can’t achieve your dreams, prove them wrong.

We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a brand, organization or service provider? What sets you apart from others?
People know me as “The Music Industry Lawyer.”

I am a music transactional attorney, which means I draft, review, and negotiate contracts regarding music. I handle all types of music industry agreements, with an emphasis on music publishing. I also work with legacy songwriters, legacy catalogues, and the estates and heirs of legacy songwriters and catalogues to clean up longstanding mistakes in the catalogues, revitalize the catalogues, recapture rights that were previously granted to a third party, and handle the purchase and sale of catalogue rights.

As I said previously, my clients include Grammy and Emmy Award winners, songwriters, independent music publishers, independent artists and companies, and distinguished legacy catalogues.

In addition to being named a Super Lawyers Rising Star and one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, I frequently speak at music industry events and publish articles, which have been featured in publications including Billboard and Forbes. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).

What sets me apart is not only am I highly skilled at navigating the contractual issues and relationships of my clients but I also really understand the world of music publishing and administration, which many attorneys do not. I am also one of the small number of music attorneys who handle recapturing copyrights for clients via copyright termination notices. I also have a great knowledge of older music catalogues, and know how to position them in today’s marketplace to keep them in people’s minds and revitalize their earnings.

Beyond the “work”, I fiercely protect my clients, I care about them as individuals, and I want to see them succeed.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Yes! Women are awesome and have amazing talents and strengths.

Women are great at running a business, dealing with clients, and thinking of alternative ways to approach complex situations. They are great at multitasking and holding demanding schedules, as anyone can see when observing mothers in action. Also, because women are often more in touch with emotions, they are able to better facilitate communications with others, resolve conflicts, and make others feel seen and heard. Further, I heard about a study showing that women engage all areas of their brains during problem-solving, which makes them adept at considering all possibilities when faced with decisions.

Plus, we have women’s intuition, which is a gift in itself.

Contact Info:

 
Image Credit:
Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 are credited as follows:
Montana Ruderman, (c) 2017 Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.  All Rights Reserved.
The rest are Allison Knight Images.

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