Friday, November 14, 2014

Entertainment Business - Law Versus Creativity

This is what has struck me over the last four courses at Full Sail University, and for which I am very thankful to understand: the entertainment business is a very litigious one, probably more than most industries. While I rather knew this going in, I am now rethinking my business strategy. I have no desire to be sued or to sue another party, but that seems to be the norm. I only have time for making money, not spending it on attorneys. My job is to help people create music, not defend it in court.

Where does that leave me? Right where I started. Doing it all myself. And maybe that is the lesson that Dr. Craft is teaching in the second half of EMPD. After listening to her self-promotional path to success, I was motivated for a minute. But she is an attorney, and I am not. From what I understand, one step on the “oops” button could end everything that you have worked for, unless you have a massive legal budget.

As an accountant, I can tell a person or business where every penny is. I can advise them on the most appropriate strategy for depreciating their equipment on both a GAAP and IRS standard. Those things are not arguable. They are fact (or, tongue-in-cheek, “law”).  While that might be helpful in running a business, it does little to protect an entertainment business owner or his clients from lawsuits.

My take-away is this: You can self promote, publish, and distribute your own work or that of your clients. However, if you do not know how or have the resources to protect those works, you are in the wrong business. Yes, you can go through CDBaby or TuneCore or any other number of sites to distribute music. If you have a dispute with one of those companies, however, you might find yourself at the short end of the stick.

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