Ten Ways Lawyers Can Develop Unsigned Artists

There has never been a more challenging, yet invigorating, time for music attorneys who represent developing artists. On one hand, industry media is constantly abuzz with doomsday scenarios ranging from the projected death of the CD to the latest round of record company layoffs to the decline of conventional radio.

But on the other hand, the music business has become an intense breeding ground for exciting new technologies and services -- some mostly legal, some mostly illegal and some that straddle the fence depending on how they are used.

Many attorneys are naturally averse to investing energy in unsigned talent when the odds of turning a profit can seem remote. But for those who enjoy the thrill of the pursuit, today's music industry is ripe with opportunity.

Here are some suggestions:
1) Discovering talent: Let's face it, not every lawyer has great ears. If you have no track record of predicting hit songs or identifying future superstars, consider playing songs by potential new clients for friends with A&R experience (or even music-savvy teens and twentysomethings) before investing significant time representing unsigned artists.

Assuming you either trust your own ears (or have people whose ears you trust), there are some exciting tools to find unsigned talent. With a few mouse clicks on MySpace, you can easily find your way to the "top artists" environment that is conveniently sorted into unsigned, indie and major label talent. Immerse yourself in acts that grab your attention, and then send them an e-mail. It's just that simple.

2) Expectations: Talk to your client about what they hope to achieve during the next two years and what they are willing to do to meet those goals. If they just want to give you their "demo" and entrust you to find them a huge deal with a major label, then it may be best to walk away. Your efforts and the band's efforts should complement each other.

Most importantly, your client should be enthusiastic about maximizing opportunities created by emerging technologies. If they are not prepared to spend at least 10 hours a week (bare minimum) reading and sending messages to fans and friends on MySpace, or if they are reluctant to consistently update their MySpace page, all while performing live, rehearsing and recording as often as possible, then your time might be better spent looking for a band that has a real fire in their belly.

Be careful to advise your clients that even significant exposure on MySpace is far from a guarantee of commercial success. Many artists who are extremely popular on MySpace will never get signed.

For the full article and the ten tips, click here to visit Hollywood Reporter, ESQ.