Backbeat: Orchard's Jason Pascal, Rhapsody's Adam Parness On 'B.S.-Free' Ent. & Tech Law Conference
Backbeat: Orchard's Jason Pascal, Rhapsody's Adam Parness On 'B.S.-Free' Ent. & Tech Law Conference

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Up in the clouds: Former attorney at The Orchard, Nari L. Roye (left); Jason Pascal, associate general counsel at The Orchard (right). (Photo: Brad Jacobson)

Music lawyers, distributors and publishers alike appreciate conferences that aren't, as one panelist at the Entertainment & Technology Law Conference told Billboard.biz afterwards, "Bullshitty." And last week's conference in New York City, in which heavy hitters in the industry discussed the legal intricacies involving the proliferation of cloud-based music services, was anything but.

Jason Pascal, associate general counsel at The Orchard, a physical and digital distributor of independent music and video, whose panel discussed the landscape of cloud media deals, raved about the event.

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Panelist Jason Pascal of The Orchard raved about the NARM conference.

"In particular, I thought this one was very good because a lot of other panels that you go to tend to be very - I don't know if this is a printable word but - 'bullshitty,'" he said. "There are so many conferences all over the country, all over the world and everyone's trying to fill up panels. And they're just not all good."

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He continued, "But this one, because we're dealing with real hardcore and high-level lawyers who have dug in their heels on these issues, we got some really good conversation about cases, decisions from those cases, how they apply to what's happening today and how they might apply to what's happening tomorrow."

Audience member Jamar Chess - co-founder of Sunflower Entertainment and the grandson of Leonard Chess, co-founder of legendary Chess Records - found the event well worth his time. "From a technology perspective, it keeps us tuned in to the newest services and the newest ways to monetize effectively, whether it's lockers or clouds, et cetera, et cetera," he said. "Before it was just radio and jukeboxes and CDs. That was it. So this is a whole brave new world." He went on to call it "one of the most important issues in the industry right now and, frankly, one of the most overlooked issues."

As for this brave new world of cloud-based music, Chess said he's "definitely optimistic" and noted that "the appetite for music is there. There's no decrease in that. It's even greater."

But as a rights owner and representative, he said the challenge is figuring out the best way to make sure he and his artists are compensated from all those new jukeboxes in the sky.

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L-R: Panelists Jason Pascal, Lee Knife and Adam Parness discussed the landscape of cloud media deals.

Panelist Adam Parness, senior director of music licensing at the popular music subscription service Rhapsody -- which just purchased Napster in October and will be announcing its acquired subscriber base in the near future -- called the conference "excellent."

For clarification, though, he noted that "cloud" is a just buzzword "to some degree, in that the press is using it to refer to Google and Apple and Amazon, the cloud services that they're launching."

For Rhapsody, said Parness, "Music in the cloud really just means your music is ubiquitous. It's the great jukebox in the sky. And the idea is that you can access your library, your playlist, your music, your catalogue, wherever you go, whenever you want on any device."

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In regard to another topic at the event - the momentous 2013 opportunity for artists and songwriters to reclaim their assignments of copyright - he said, "The idea that [they] are going to have varying degrees of success going back in and reclaiming copyrights is huge."

He went on to call it "one of the most important issues in the industry right now and, frankly, one of the most overlooked issues."k

As for this brave new world of cloud-based music, Chess of Sunflower Entertainment, said he's "definitely optimistic" and noted that "the appetite for music is there. There's no decrease in that. It's even greater."

But as a rights owner and representative, he said the challenge is figuring out the best way to make sure he and his artists are compensated from all those new jukeboxes in the sky.

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NARM Entertainment and Technology Law Conference panelist Lee Knife.

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