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“All You Need to Know About the Music Business”:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
Time Magazine:
James Taylor:
Troy Carter:
Irving Azoff:
Emily White “How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams”:
A Star Is Born (1976):
A Star Is Born (2018):
Paul McCartney:
Buddy Holly:
Roy Orbison:
Whitney Houston:
Amy Whinehouse:



(RITCH) Don, you started your legal career as a Tax Attorney – what motivated you to become a Music Business Attorney – specifically one that represented artists, songwriters and musicians?

(RITCH) What year was that that you got into music?

(ERIC) In 1991, You literally wrote the book “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” that has become “THE INDUSTRY STANDARD AND WHAT SOME HAVE CALLED A BIBLE for artists, songwriters, musicians, music business professionals as well as Music Business Students everywhere – ALL who have been using the 9 editions that have come out since it was published– What inspired you to write the book originally?

(RITCH) You’ve recently released the 10th Edition of the book and I think it’s fair to say that it’s your most radical and comprehensive update since you’ve published it – What facilitated such a dramatic update?

(ERIC) How long did it take you to do this rewrite?

(RITCH) What kind of feedback have you gotten from people who are using the book, especially people who are using it as a teaching text?

(ERIC) There are now several foreign versions of your book as well – How does that work? Do you apply the laws of the country to the text?

(ERIC) Are your international co-authors attorneys as well?

(RITCH) The move from a Copy Model to an Access Model or streaming has been one of the most revolutionary changes in the music business – And with any revolution, not only do you see a change of habits but on a deeper level you also see a shift in values – and one of the big challenges for the music business in a streaming world is going to be the war between the value of PAID subscription vs: popular reach. What are your thoughts on this issue and how do you see this playing out?

(ERIC) Don, Do you feel that the Music Industry is in a Healthy place today?

(RITCH) Do you feel that ultimately we will surpass the old industry peak?

(RITCH) So much of music services today are coming to you bundled from the phone company or something else, like a cable system, and that margins and the final royalty rates that they pay you are being squeezed, is this something that you see continuing?

(RITCH) Don, today, do you feel that Artists need to do a lot more work on their career BEFORE they can attract a label? Major or Independent?

(RITCH) Are you finding in terms of your work, more and more artists perhaps not wanting to go the traditional route of getting a label to release their music and wanting to do deals with perhaps other entities? Or is that just not happening?

(ERIC) When does an Artist need a Music Attorney?

(RITCH) What kinds of qualities or what specific attributes or specific elements should an artist or a songwriter be looking for in a Music Attorney that they’re wanting to hire to represent them?

(RITCH) Many new artists don’t realize when they are signed to a recording contract by either a Major Label or a significant number of Independent Labels that they are signing a 360 deal. Can you explain exactly what that means for them today? What are your personal thoughts on the 360 concept for new artists?

(RITCH) Many new artists don’t realize when they are signed to a recording contract by either a Major Label or a significant number of Independent Labels that they are signing a 360 deal. Can you explain exactly what that means for them today? What are your personal thoughts on the 360 concept for new artists?

(RITCH) Are there examples where it will just strictly be a recording contract rather than involving other aspects of that artist’s career or is that just sort of history?

(RITCH) Do you find that the willingness of labels in regards to these kinds of deals is more flexible today with new artists or is it as you say, is it all just a matter of your clout as an artist?

(ERIC) Don, another area of the music industry that has dramatically shifted within the last decade or so for artists / bands at all levels of their career is the economic value of live performance. Given this - are artists and their managers looking closely today at the expense deductions by concert promoters?

(RITCH) Do you find that new artists & songwriters are more educated on the business side of their career today than in previous eras?

(RITCH) Do you find that the artists that really have no interest in business and it bores them completely, are those more experienced artists who have good representation to handle that, or brand new people? Or is it both?

(ERIC) Don, Can you speak to the WIDER DIVERSITY of deals transacting today for artists and bands than in previous eras? (Publishers owning masters, Label services (Kobalt/AWAL, etc.)

(RITCH) Are artist deals with labels and publishers easier or more difficult for you to make today than in previous eras?

(RITCH) What’s new with artist royalties – especially for streaming? Is there any more transparency today than in the past on this front?

(ERIC) Don, The MMA (Music Modernization Act) is the 1st dramatic change in copyright law in a few decades. 2 Part Question – (1) What are the most important points for songwriters to be aware of and (2) Does the new edition of your book address the most important aspects of the MMA?

(RITCH) A big point of contention in MMA establishment was Black Box Money. Can you tell us what that is and do you see the rules around its distribution changing as we move to a more on-line digital landscape?

(ERIC) Don, Music Publishers in the US are in the midst of having their consent decrees evaluated by congress. If publishers come to directly negotiate those rights how do you feel it will affect the global market?

(RITCH) Consent Decrees in terms of ASCAP and BMI, do they specifically pertain only to Terrestrial Radio or to streaming services?

(RITCH) Don, You’ve said that “Traditional Terrestrial Radio will become much more hyper-localized” than in the past but it will be widely challenged” Can you elaborate on this?

(ERIC) Don, besides your great Book “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” are there any books or films that have really resonated with you professionally speaking - that you could recommend to our audience?

(ERIC) Don, What advice can you offer our listeners who are wanting to pursue a career as an artist or a musician in the music industry?

(RITCH) What keeps you motivated and passionate in your career at this point moving forward? What is it about, is it music or is it the industry or is it the people or relationships that keeps you going? I mean you’re at the top of your profession and you have been for decades so what is it that keeps you moving forward?

(RITCH) It’s been said that the next evolution or revolution of the business isn’t going to be a format or a better device or a better platform but it’s going to be about a different kind or a better experience, whether that’s with the role of AI (artificial intelligence) coming into music or virtual reality. Do you have any thoughts on that in terms of what you’re seeing from your side? I mean you’re on the front lines of that with so many different types of companies and deals, what’re your thoughts on that?

(RITCH) What are your thoughts on holograms and post-mortem touring from a legal standpoint and have any clients come to you with questions about this either saying ‘yes, I want to do this,’ or ‘no, I want you to specifically make it legally that I can’t be put into a hologram after I’m gone’?

(ERIC) Do you see that that’s something that could be built into contracts in the future?

(RITCH) What advice would you offer our listeners who are wanting to pursue a career as a Music Attorney?



“The streaming phenomenon has completely changed the ecosystem of the music business, I mean radically changed.”

“For the first time in history, the more I get means the less you get. So, there’s only so much of the pie to go around, and the competition is now for listens as opposed to sales.”

“Today, we can monetize music to people of all ages. You get old people that wanna listen to songs of their youth, you get little pre-teens that are too young for radio that wanna listen to kiddie songs, and you get everybody else between.”

“I would not be surprised to see a day when you pay x dollars a month and you get your music and you get your Netflix-type streaming service, and you get your cable television, and then everything in one bundle.”

“The days of artist record executives plucking some obscure talent out of a coffee shop and turning them into a James Taylor, those days are very very rare if they even exist anymore.”

“The labels really were the gatekeepers, now anybody can get their music out there.”

“There’s always tension between the two and it’s existed ever since art and commerce existed.”

“The curation seems to be moving away from the radio stations toward the playlist and I think radio will be very challenged.”

“You’ve got to follow your passion. I think that nobody has ever been really successful unless they are passionate about what they do.”

“The most important thing is to just get in the game. Meet people, it’s a relatively small business, it’s based on relationships, as I think you mentioned earlier, and it’s just a matter of pushing on the door and knocking hard enough ‘till somebody opens it.”



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