DON PASSMAN, 72
Partner, Gang Tyre Ramer Brown & Passman
$100 MILLION FOR TAYLOR SWIFT? A superstar client list that includes Taylor Swift, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Adele puts Passman in the transactional lawyer elite, but the unassuming Texas native eschews glitz. He declined to comment on the terms he negotiated between Swift and Universal Music Group last year, but one insider says her three-album deal falls in the $100 million range, putting the singer in the rarefied company of Adele (for whom Passman reportedly brokered a $130 million pact with Sony Music in 2016). The attorney, who entered the business in 1971, predicts that, as a result of streaming, U.S. music revenue will be “bigger than it has ever been in history” within five years.
INDUSTRY CHANGE HE’D LIKE TO SEE: “Simplified contracts [that move] away from delivery of songs to a concept of a term songwriter agreement measured by recoupment of advances.”