Top LA Lawyers Wrangle Record Deal

Top LA Lawyers Wrangle Record Deal


Our experts give you the inside track on major deal points, what they mean and what leverage you have to negotiate the best possible deal.

Most importantly, you will learn HOW a record deal is negotiated and be involved in the process.

Get educated about the art of deal making!



“Are you on crack!?” Dina LaPolt exclaimed in mock horror (it was, after all, a mock negotiation) at the unreasonably low-ball offer to her artist from label attorney Todd Cooper.That Dina, she doesn’t mince words!

This is just a sample of the high-spirited debate that took place as LaPolt, Cooper and Gormley wrangled out a deal, point by point, and allowed the audience to see how legal theory works in practice.

Most people think they can just hand a negotiation to a lawyer, and leave it at that. But the truth is, as a professional, you need to be aware of the process and deal points, too, and what the short- and long-term implications to your artists’ careers may be.

  • Artist Managers, Producers & Artist Reps
  • Record & Music Publishing Executives
  • Producers, Performing Rights Organizations
  • Artist Development A&R Executives

Major areas of negotiation, including

  • When it’s the right time to make a deal
  • Artist Advance / Recording Fund
  • Terms & Options
  • Controlled Composition Clause
  • Guaranteed Release Clause
  • Pay or Play Clause
  • Cross-Collateralization
  • Free Goods
  • Recoupable Expenses
  • Royalty Deductions
  • Merchandising
  • Exclusivity
  • Royalty / income streams available to the artist and what to ask for
  • Tour support / marketing and promotion commitment (videos, etc.)
  • Glossary of Music Licensing Terms
  • Artist royalty and royalties payable on foreign sales
  • Todd Cooper, Esq., Greenberg Traurig
  • Mike Gormley, Yes Dear Entertainment
  • Dina LaPolt, LaPolt Law

PROGRAM DATE: September 17, 2007
PROGRAM TIME: 1 hour, 55 minutes, 08 seconds (1:55:08)
QUESTIONS? Call 818-769-7007 or contact NARIP

Big Picture Entertainment

TODD COOPER, ESQ.Esq., Greenberg Traurig

Todd Cooper is Of Counsel with Greenberg Traurig?s Entertainment Practice Group. His practice focuses on music industry, multimedia and intellectual property issues. He is experienced in a wide range of music and multi-media transactions and has represented individuals and companies on intellectual property matters including recording artists, songwriters, producers, personal managers, event producers, models and record executive employment agreements. Todd has negotiated recording, distribution, and various other agreements with both major and independent record labels as well as negotiated co-publishing, sub-publishing and songwriter agreements with music publishers and has experience in complex acquisitions and sales of entertainment catalogs. Previously, Todd worked as a recording engineer for a major Los Angeles recording studio, as a road and production manager for various touring artists as well as a personal manager for a prominent Los Angeles-based company. Todd earned his J.D. at Loyola Law School and holds a B.A. in History from UCLA. He is admitted to practice in California.

Mike Gormley, Yes Dear Entertainment

Music industry veterans Mike Gormley and Jolene Pellant have teamed up to form a new management/marketing/music publishing company. The new firm is called Yes, Dear Entertainment. Gormley has been President of L.A. Personal Development since 1987. Prior to that Gormley was partners with Miles Copeland in L.A. Personal Direction. Both were affectionately referred to as L.A.P.D. Yes, Dear management clients already include buzz artist Quincy Coleman, new Danish/Greenlandic singer/songwriter Simon Lynge and the firm will represent Australia?s Michael McMartin in North America, primarily regarding Oz icons The Hoodoo Gurus. On the marketing side Yes, Dear currently represents Mediabase, the largest radio airplay monitor in North America, and Orsino Publicity whose music program is heard in eighty-five art house movie theatre auditoriums around the country including the Laemmle Theaters, Angelika and City Cinemas. A native of Ottawa, Mike has managed several major acts from their early days through to major international recognition including The Bangles and Oingo Boingo. Boingo front man Danny Elfman has become a major film composer with help from Gormley, who convinced him to do the music for “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” more than twenty years ago. Danny is now one of the top five composers in the film world having scored such gems as “Beetlejuice,” the first two Batman movies, “Spiderman,” “The Red Dragon” and “Chicago.” His work on “Good Will Hunting” and “Men In Black” each earned Danny an Academy Award nomination.

Other popular artists Mike has managed include Wall Of Voodoo (who had top 40 hits such as “Mexican Radio” and other major success throughout Europe and Australia), African star Angelique Kidjo and Concrete Blonde. The latter is a multi?-platinum act in various parts of the world and best known in the U.S. for their Top 20 hit “Joey.? Although not in the A&R field, Mike was instrumental in the signing to Mercury Records of the legendary New York Dolls and Kraftwerk. He also oversaw the campaigns for Thin Lizzy, The New York Dolls, Rush, Bachman?-Turner Overdrive, The Runaways, The Ohio Players, and many others before moving to Los Angeles with A&M Records. At A&M Mike rose to the post of Vice President of Publicity and Assistant to the Chairman. There he worked with The Police, Supertramp, Herb Alpert and others. Mike also teaches a class at UCLA Extension entitled ?The Insider?s Guide to Music Management?, is on the boards of the National Folk Alliance and the Music Manager?s Forum, and on the advisory committee for management and legal work for AFTRA. Says Gormley, ?The challenges in this industry today calls for people being smart, diversified, well connected and in love with music. This describes Jolene and, in fact, it describes Yes, Dear. And I can?t wait for the receptionist to take incoming calls.?

Dina LaPolt, LaPolt Law

Dina LaPolt is an entertainment attorney at LaPolt Law, P.C. in Los Angeles. LaPolt Law is a boutique entertainment firm that specializes in representing clients in the music, merchandising, film, television, and book publishing industries. The firm’s clientele include recording artists, independent record companies, music publishers, songwriters, producers, managers, executives in the music and film industries, film production companies, photographers, directors, writers, authors, and actors. In addition to practicing law, Dina teaches “Legal and Practical Aspects of the Recording and Publishing Industries” in the Entertainment Studies Department at UCLA Extension and speaks regularly on panels at music industry conferences all over the country. On the film production side, Dina was the co-producer of the 2005 Academy Award-nominated documentary film entitled Tupac: Resurrection and she is currently co-producing a feature film entitled Live 2 Tell. For more information on Dina LaPolt or her firm, please go to

Program music courtesy of Sparks & Silhouettes


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