Entertainment lawyer James Landry offers some of the best free advice on my social media feed. Co-founder of De Novo Agency (DNA) and Songflowr (an artist-forward music distribution platform), Landry has the chops to go to toe with industry heavy-hitters in court while retaining an everyman sensibility, a dichotomy that is beyond difficult to find in the music business. His Instagram feed is a testament to that.
In a user-friendly, gallery format, he breaks down complex, often dauntingly nebulous topics like sample clearance rights into digestible tidbits. One of his more recent posts, entitled “Breaking Down Exclusive Rights” to a Beat reads as follows (with each ellipsis indicative of a change in the slide):
“When a producer sells a beat with exclusive rights, it cannot be sold or leased to anyone else in the future…If the beat was previously leased, those artists can still use it until their lease expires…The producer should include a notice of outstanding clients in the contract if there are any active leases at the time of the sale…Just because you call something an ‘exclusive beat’ does not mean it actually is. The contract terms dictate this.”
I have been involved in music forever and literally had no idea of the intricacies regarding that topic until just now. I always thought that a “lease” simply meant an artist didn’t own it all the way and that there was more or less a limited usage applied at the discretion of the producer. The nuances on which James Landry elaborates are the type of major keys that every independent artist should have their eyes on as they attempt to navigate an opportunist-laden, often treacherous industry terrain.
This is only a small sample size as his entire page is dedicated to this kind of thing. The important part as it’s yet another example of James Landry walking the walk as someone who truly cares about the well-being of creatives and doesn’t want to see them get taken advantage of or make mistakes that they could’ve avoided. He could very easily “tax” for this kind of knowledge but chooses to offer it for free to individuals who have never given him a penny.
I feel very confident in co-signing all of Landry’s endeavors as I’ve done my homework. If you have any aspirations in entertainment or know someone who does, I would strongly encourage you to do the same. His Instagram is a good place to start; it’s linked below in addition to all of his other socials as well as those of his companies.