Thursday, October 30, 2008

Entertainment Lawyers: Hal Kant Raised the Bar

Entertainment lawyers (maybe lawyers in general) are derided, I'm guessing on a daily basis. For the most part, my dealings over the years with them has been nothing but positive. I lean towards being a logical thinker which is a bit of a paradox being in the entertainment business. A lot of the business is illogical, which is why I think I work so well with lawyers. There has to be logic in what they do.

Hal Kant a Queens born/Bronx raised, Beverly Hills attorney who's most prominent client was the Grateful Dead passed away on October 19th. The Wall Street Journal has an informative obit on him. He formed the Grateful Dead's business.

  • He gave his blessing to fans taping the shows
  • He made the band incorporate -which lead to health benefits and pension plans
  • He negotiated so that the band retained their master recordings
  • He made sure managers were paid a flat fee rather than a %.
The key to his success may be his degree in psychology which he obtained before serving in the Korean War. He used his GI Bill money to get a law degree from Harvard. When interns used to work with me. They would always ask "What courses should I be taking to learn more about music management?" My broken record answer was always psychology. I would always get a perplexed look. If you can relate to an artist on his/her level and see things from his/her perspective as well as keeping his/her business in mind, 90% of the time, you'll be successful. There is always that 10% that will never understand the business no matter how it's presented. Hal seemed to have his finger on the realities and the nuances.

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