Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Industry Expert Blog: Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

Erin M. Jacobson is a music and entertainment Lawyer in Los Angeles, California. In her article 360 Deals and the California Agencies Act, Are Record Labels Procuring Employment? Erin, describes what a 360 Deal does: “360 Deals allow the labels to either own or share in the profits from all areas of artists’ careers, including; music publishing, live touring, merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, websites, fan clubs and their associated ads literary rights, and acting.” Under these Deals, the record labels may be “procuring employment,” which is a violation of the California Talent Agencies Act. Under the Act a person who procures employment has to be a licensed talent agent or agency. According to Erin Jacobson, “procurement is any attempt, regardless of its success or profit, by a talent seller to bring about, solicit, cause, further, or negotiate employment for or on behalf of an artist with a third-party talent buyer.”

Please visit to read the entire article.

To hear a Podcast with Erin Jacobson and Gordon P. Firemark, please visit

I am currently studying Entertainment Law and reached out to Erin Jacobson to do an interview via email. I would like to thank Erin Jacobson for taking time out to answer my questions.

The information contained in this post and any linked resource is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice by Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. The content contained herein is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between you and Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. and you should not act or rely on any information in this video without seeking the advice of an attorney. Your use of this information is at your own risk. You assume full responsibility and risk of loss resulting from the use of this information. Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. will not be liable for any damages whatsoever relating to the use of this information.

What would be your words of advice for Artist Managers just starting out, to avoid getting into legal issues?
If you are in California, don't "procure employment" for your clients. As I explained in my article, most new managers in the music business regularly procure employment for their clients and operate in conflict with the law. Basically, be careful with what you are doing for your clients and try not to book shows or act more like an agent than a manager. Aside from that, have a written contract with your client so that everyone's obligations are clear.

What is a common mistake you often see happen between up and coming Artists and Managers?
The most common issue I see is that the artist-manager relationships are not clearly defined. Putting everything in writing helps make each person's obligations clear and hopefully will cut down on unnecessary disputes. Another issue that sometimes comes up is ill intentions. While most people genuinely want to work together for the right reasons, I have dealt with some people (often the managers) going into the relationship with ill intentions, which never serves anyone well.

Would you recommend an Artist to do a 360 deal? If so why or why not?
Generally I am not a fan of 360 deals, but it depends on the artist's goals and who is offering the 360 deal to the artist. A new artist will not get signed to a major label in today's model without signing a 360 deal. If the artist's goal is to be signed to a major label, the label is equipped to handle everything for the artist, the deal points look good, and it seems the artist will be in a better position by signing the deal, then I'm for it. If the label is a smaller outfit, then the same factors should be considered, but possibly scrutinized more closely to make sure the artist's career will be handled appropriately. The biggest issue with a 360 deal is that the artist is putting all his eggs in one basket and if you are an artist, you want to make sure it's the right basket.

When an Artist is looking over a contract what should they make sure is included? Is there something specific that is a common mistake when signing a contract?
I can't go into specifics for everything that should be included because that could be a book! Basically, keep track of ownership, money, and term. You want to make sure you don't lose ownership of things you shouldn't, you want to track how the money is flowing to make sure it's not flowing in a way it shouldn't (this happens a lot), and you want to make sure you aren't locked into a long deal without being able to terminate.

The most common mistake is not having an experienced music or entertainment lawyer look over the deal. I get so many new client requests from artists who want me to renegotiate or get them out of a deal they already signed without the advice of a lawyer. It's worth the money to pay for the lawyer upfront and have the deal done right then try to change it later.

If an Artist lives in a town/city where there is not an Entertainment Lawyer who do you suggest looks over the contract?
I suggest you find an entertainment lawyer anyway, as technology has really expanded the way people can do business. If a lawyer is not physically in your city, business and correspondence can be done over e-mail and telephone. Even if the lawyer is in your city, most of the correspondence and negotiation will still be via e-mail and telephone!

If your lawyer is in another state there may be some issues or extra requirements to follow due to state licensure requirements, and if that lawyer cannot handle your matter, he/she can help you find someone in your state that can.

I have a series of posts on my blog at that explain how to choose the right lawyer for you.

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