Law and Music
Charles Biederman of the law firm Bass, Berry & Sims visited with our class on April 2 to discuss his role in the music industry through law. After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1989, Mr. Biederman worked as a New York trial lawyer for four years. By his own admission, he was attempting to carve out a niche for himself and not be "somebody's son," as his father was legendary entertainment lawyer Donald Biederman. After working in New York, Mr. Biederman moved to Atlanta, where for 3-4 years he worked with baby rock bands in a two-lawyer firm. In Atlanta, he worked for Alan Katz (one of the best music attorneys in the nation) and then moved to Nashville where he has lived and practiced law for the past four years.
During his talk to the class, Mr. Biederman spoke about the many different aspects of his job.
He described the process of "cradling" baby rock bands, including trade marking the band name and setting up a protectorate corporation to protect the band from liability and at the same time establish a means of distributing money. In the early stages of this process, the attorney is manager, booking agent, and lawyer all wrapped into one. Yet the lawyer should not be the sole manager, according to Mr. Biederman. A system of checks and balances is necessary, just as a record label should not be an artist's management.
Mr. Biederman also described the current state of music in Nashville. Describing the city as a "modern Tin Pan Alley" due to the plethora of songwriters, he talked about the many creative players in the industry who need legal representation. And that is exactly where he fits in now with his role at Bass, Berry & Sims. Through...