Photo (L-R): Jimmy Fontaine; Michael Fulton
26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative To Honor Atlantic Records' Michael Kushner During GRAMMY Week 2024 Ahead Of The 2024 GRAMMYs
The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative will also feature Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer as the keynote speaker.
On Fri, Feb. 2, 2024, the Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will return to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for its annual GRAMMY Week Event to honor Atlantic Records' Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Michael Kushner. He will be presented with the 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award, given each year to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer will deliver a keynote address at the event.
"Michael's dedication to the music industry and his service to the Academy's Entertainment Law Initiative make him an exceptionally deserving recipient of the ELI Service Award," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "We look forward to celebrating his accomplishments at the 26th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event, and hosting Michelle – a trailblazing woman in music – as the keynote speaker as we gather with the professionals and students making an impact in entertainment law."
"We're pleased to be honoring Michael, who has dedicated so much time to our ELI program, and to welcome Michelle as our keynote speaker at the 2024 ELI GRAMMY Week Event," said Neil Crilly, Managing Director of Industry Leader Engagement & Chapter Operations at the Recording Academy. "Our Executive Committee should take immense pride in its year-round efforts to support our peers in entertainment law and bring this esteemed program to fruition."
The recipient of the Service Award is selected each year by ELI's Executive Committee, which serves to support the program in crediting deserving leaders in the entertainment law community as well as mentoring aspiring professionals in the field. ELI's 2023-24 Executive Committee is comprised of a diverse group of influential figures in entertainment law whose combined expertise spans the depth of the industry.
The ELI GRAMMY Week Event will also celebrate the winner and two runners-up of the Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, which challenges students in Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws programs at U.S. law schools to research a pressing legal issue facing the modern music industry and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to the author of the winning paper, and a $2,500 scholarship is awarded to two runners-up, and the winning paper will be published in the ABA's journal Entertainment & Sports Lawyer.
The winner will also receive travel and tickets to Los Angeles to attend the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year and the ELI GRAMMY Week Event. The contest is open to JD and LLM candidates at U.S. law schools and students have until Jan. 3, 2024 to enter the contest. See official rules, detailed prize packages and deadlines at recordingacademy.com/eli.
Individual tickets and a limited number of discounted student tickets to the ELI GRAMMY Week Event will go on sale in late November.
Media RSVP for the ELI GRAMMY Week Event is mandatory, and space is limited. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
GRAMMY Week culminates with the 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, which will return to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sun, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
ABOUT MICHAEL KUSHNER
Michael Kushner is Atlantic Records' EVP, Business & Legal Affairs and general counsel. He heads up the company's Business & Legal Affairs, Contract Administration and A&R Administration departments.
Michael began his music career at PolyGram Records in 1987. In 1994, Michael joined sister company Philips Media as SVP, Multimedia Music. In 1996, Michael joined Crave Records, Mariah Carey's joint venture label with Sony Music, and when that label was absorbed into Sony, he joined Sony Wonder as SVP, Business Development. Michael joined Island Def Jam as its head of Business & Legal Affairs in 1999, and then joined Atlantic Records in his current role, which he has held since 2001.
In 2019, Michael was honored by the T.J. Martell Foundation with its Lifetime Music Industry Award, and currently serves as a board member. Since 1987, Michael has served as a founding board member of Bang on a Can, a NYC-based music organization dedicated to commissioning, performing and teaching adventurous new music, and is currently the board president.
Michael is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where he received his BA in English literature. He earned his JD degree at Columbia.
ABOUT MICHELLE JUBELIRER
Michelle Jubelirer is Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group (CMG), having been appointed to that position in December 2021. As one of the highest-ranking women executives in the entertainment industry, Jubelirer is the first woman to lead Capitol in its 80-year history and was the first woman to be named both Chair and CEO of a major label group within the music industry. CMG's portfolio of labels includes the flagship, Capitol Records, Astralwerks, Blue Note Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, Motown Records, and Priority Records.
Among her many achievements since taking the reins of CMG, Jubelirer has led the charge to develop and guide rapper Ice Spice—the industry's biggest breakout artist in two years—to global superstardom, formulated the strategy behind the biggest global single of Sam Smith's career, the Grammy Award-winning "Unholy," and brought Paul McCartney back to CMG, resulting in the artist's first solo #1 album debut and his best-selling album in more than a decade.
Prior to joining CMG in 2013 as Chief Operating Officer and later COO & President, Jubelirer was partner in one of the industry's most highly regarded law firms – King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner. She began her career as a mergers and acquisitions attorney at New York's Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1999 before joining Sony Music in 2003.
She is active in social and cultural issues, especially as a longtime and vocal advocate for women's reproductive rights. She recently completed a six-year term on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Directors and is currently serving on the board of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.
Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Inside The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Gala: Fierce Advocates Reflect & Honor Their Careers
Held days before the 2024 GRAMMYs the Entertainment Law Initiative was a chance for the bold-faced names of the industry — including keynote speaker Michelle Jubelirer and honoree Michael Kushner — to toast each other and their essential craft.
It was at a rollicking Guns N Roses concert in Philadelphia in the late 1980s when Michelle Jubelirer, the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group, first knew she wanted to forge her life in music.
"They were my first real concert and I can still remember and feel that excitement and energy emanating from the stage and absolutely ripping through the crowd," Jubelirer, the keynote speaker at Friday's Entertainment Law Initiative, said. "20,000 people and five performers, all together as one. That visceral feeling is difficult to convey into words, but the rush never left me and I’m always looking for even a glimmer of that feeling."
Jubelirer was speaking to a like-minded group of superstars of their craft, who had gathered in a lush ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel days before the 2024 GRAMMYs. Affectionately referred to by one attendee as "lawyer prom," the Entertainment Law Initiative was a chance for the bold-faced names of the industry from a disparate array of labels and companies, to toast each other and their essential craft, an all-important and sometimes unsung cog in the music industry machine.
At the event, Jubelierer, who has helped guide the careers of artists ranging from Best New Artist GRAMMY nominees Ice Spice and Troye Sivan to Sam Smith, reflected on her long path to chasing that "Guns N Roses feeling." And while her current position has her at the helm of Capitol Records, she built her career on a foundation of law.
Raised by a single mother in rural Pennsylvania, she followed in the footsteps of her late father and entered law school. "I had zero connections in music or entertainment," she explained. "I cold-called (the entertainment law giant) Alan Grubman to ask for advice, he said to get a job at the best law firm I could."
Eventually, Jubelirer spoke of becoming an attorney for SONY Music and later, the first woman to run Capitol Records in its nearly century-long history. "I only wish such a gender-based fact was not worth mentioning, our business would be in a much better place," she said to applause. "I want to lift the next generation of female artists, executives and attorneys."
2024 ELI Writing Contest winner Olivia Fortunato (center) receives her scholarship award from ELI Executive Committee member Stephanie Yu and 2023 winner Aron Lichtschein┃Alberto Rodriguez
Being a fierce advocate for the people one believes in was a recurring theme.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. who opened up the proceedings by noting, "Just before I got here, I was testifying to the House Judiciary committee to pass legislation to protect artists' name, likeness and voice," he said. "We ask everyone to engage with your clients and push them to understand why this issue affects them, and to use their voices to make change happen."
Julie Greenwald, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Music Group, also feted Michale Kushner, the EVP of Business and Legal Affairs and General Council, this year’s recipient of the Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award.
"It has not only been a pleasure but an honor, you have been our moral compass," Greenwald said before a video rolled of some of the music industry’s most important names, from Atlantic Co-Chairperson Craig Kallman to executive Jason Flom, musing about the impact Kushner made on all of their lives and careers. "There is not a fairer human being and no bigger advocate for artists than Michael Kushner."
"The record company lawyers who entered the music business in the 80s and survived into the today are truly fortunate," said Kushner in his acceptance speech. "We were witness to the joys of CD boom, file sharing and then industry’s return to growth with the arrival of streaming. We had to think about new ways to approach the business, but it didn't change the fundamental reason why we want to be in the business: we still believe in the magic and power of music."
It’s that power of music that Jubelirer was referring to. "But for the artists in the music business, it’s not a coincidence that the ones who are adept at the business side of things [are the ones who have the most success]," she noted. "And giving them Don Passman’s book is not enough," Jubelirer stated, alluding to the author’s legendary tome All You Need to Know About the Music Business.
"Career-wise, we are nothing without artists and anyone who thinks otherwise is either delusional, egomaniacal or both," said Jubelirer. "I hope it's clear, every moment of every day is all about artists and fulfilling my promises to them."
Jubelirer also shared with attendees a promise she made with herself upon joining Capitol: "The day I stop changing the record company more than it was changing me, would be the day I’d walk away," she said, adding that she regularly evaluates her purpose.
"I am keenly aware that the role I play in an artist's career can have impactful and long lasting effects. I feel immense responsibility and gratitude to the talented human beings who have trusted me to such a degree," she continued.
But for Jubelirer, it naturally always goes back to that aforementioned Guns N Roses feeling. "No matter where I find myself in this business, I will always approach my relationships with artists as an advocate, protector and fan."
Image courtesy of the Recording Academy
Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative Awards Writing Contest Scholarships For 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative During GRAMMY Week 2024
The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative has announced the winner and runners-up of its annual ELI Writing Contest who will be recognized at the 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative during GRAMMY Week 2024.
The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative has revealed the winner and runners-up of its annual ELI Writing Contest who will be honored during the 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event.
Co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, the ELI Writing Contest sends forth law students to identify and research a current legal issue in the music industry and outline a proposed solution in an essay. The winning paper is published in the ABA's journal, Entertainment & Sports Lawyer.
A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to the winner, a $2,500 scholarship is awarded to two runners-up, and a mentor session with a leading entertainment attorney is given to all three. The winner will also receive tickets to attend the 66th GRAMMY Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year, and the ELI Event.
The winners and runners-up are below:
Olivia Fortunato, J.D. Candidate
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
New York, NY
Paper Title: "Post-Mortem Right of Publicity and Technological Advancements"
Matthew Citron, J.D. Candidate
UCLA School of Law
Los Angeles, CA
Paper Title: "BMI's For-Profit Model and Consent Decree Regulation"
Emily Cohen, J.D. Candidate
Duke University School of Law
Paper Title: "A 'Perfect Storm' For Reworking The Copyright Test"
The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award will also be presented to Atlantic Records Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Michael Kushner at the event. This accolade is awarded to an attorney who has demonstrated commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon.
The Recording Academy established the Entertainment Law Initiative in partnership with the nation's most prominent entertainment attorneys to promote discussion and debate around compelling legal matters and trends in the ever-evolving music industry.
The ELI GRAMMY Week Event is the premier annual gathering of entertainment attorneys to celebrate the achievements of their own practitioners, hear from legal thought leaders, and support students who are pursuing careers in music law.
Keep checking GRAMMY.com for news about the Entertainment Law Initiative!
2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List
Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Inside The 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event: Heartfelt Hilarity & A Dedication To Helping The Music Community
The day’s primary honoree was beloved music attorney Peter Paterno, who was honored by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich in person along with several other famous clients in a star-studded video tribute.
"I never imagined a gathering of lawyers could be so popular," laughed a man waiting patiently at a long check-in line that spiraled throughout the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills on Feb. 3. The 25th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week event was about to begin, and the hundreds of lawyers and other music industry executives in line took advantage of the opportunity to greet colleagues and joke around.
Inside the elegant ballroom, executive committee member Susan Genco spoke about the need for high caliber lawyers in the music industry. "Great songs elevate our best moments and comfort us in our worst," she said. "But behind the magic, there is plenty of complexity. As the world continues to evolve, we must be flexible and adapt. Lawyers can simplify the path, so that artists can create their music.
"The most important part of this event is not the deals you close in the reception area," she quipped. "It’s the writing contest." Gencowas referring to the thought-provoking Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. The annual contest invites law students from all over the country to not only identify a legal issue faced by the music industry, but also propose a solution to the problem in a well-researched, 3,000-word essay.
After the winners of previous years were cheered by the crowd, 2023 runners up Gina Maeng — a 1L at Georgetown University Law — and Amanda Sharp — a 3L at the University of San Diego Law School– were recognized. Aron Lichtschein — a 3L at NYU Law — was then announced as this year’s winner. Demonstrating excellent taste in music, he mentioned Bob Dylan, Frank Ocean, Rosalía, Beach House and Harry Styles as his favorite artists. After graduation, he will be working as an associate in the Technology & Intellectual Property Transactions practice at a New York law firm.
Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee Chair Laurie Soriano then paid tribute to the late Howard Weitzman, and recognized the volunteer leaders who serve with her on the newly diversified committee.
Later, legendary attorney Peter Paterno was honored with the Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award, and the musician in charge of introducing him was none other than Lars Ulrich, drummer with heavy metal band Metallica.
"Nothing better than sleeping on Peter Paterno’s office floor — it’s all downhill from there," laughed Ulrich before explaining how the fate of his band was forever changed 39 years ago, when they met Paterno. "He was a perfect fit for us, and was more than happy to join our shenanigans. I have nothing but appreciation, admiration, love and respect for you."
With his ability to think out of the box, and the relentless desire to pioneer a new push forward, Paterno assisted Metallica in the seemingly impossible task of getting their recording masters returned to them. "He is, quite literally, the master of the masters," said Ulrich. "Hands down, the architect of the autonomous world that music inhabits."
A moving — and frequently hilarious — video tribute followed, including greetings from Michael Eisner, Dave Stewart, Paulina Rubio, Dr. Dre, Van Morrison and Julian Lennon, among many others. "You’re the most unlawyer lawyer I have ever met," said singer/songwriter Brian Setzer. "And the only [person] I know who would wear a zoot suit to a concert."
Paterno was received onstage with a standing ovation. The acceptance speech was peppered with his deadpan sense of humor, impeccable timing and a palpable sense of gratitude. He spoke of becoming a music fanatic in 1964 after seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and remembered a glorious first concert experience seeing Bo Diddley and Little Richard live.
"We get the clients that we deserve," he added, and reflected on the adrenaline-fueled years when he temporarily stopped practicing law, became the first president of Hollywood Records and signed Queen to the label. Four years later, he "crawled back to being a lawyer."
"I couldn’t really be in a band, so I decided instead to work with musicians," he said. His quirky sense of humor was ever present, especially as he concluded, "I don’t have any advice. I did what worked for me, so that’s my advice: do what works for me."
Before the event came to a close, newly elected Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass — the event’s keynote speaker — was introduced by Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. As a Member of Congress in Washington D.C., Bass contributed to passing important laws such as the Music Modernization Act of 2018. She stressed the importance of the work Paterno, and all of his cohorts in the room that day, do for the music community.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass | Jerod Harris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
"I believe Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world," Bass said. "And I’ve seen how we can stir the souls of the entire planet with our music. Music can shift people’s thinking, and I take it very seriously."
The Recording Academy wishes to thank Platinum Presenting Sponsor Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP and the 41 other law firms and music companies for their support of the event.
Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Mayor Of Los Angeles Karen Bass To Give Keynote Address At 25th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative During 2023 GRAMMY Week Event
The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will welcome Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass as the keynote speaker for its annual GRAMMY Week Event.
Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will welcome Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass as the keynote speaker for its annual GRAMMY Week Event. Mayor Bass will join leaders in the legal and creative communities at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Fri, Feb. 3, as they celebrate the work of their peers and the year-round efforts of the Entertainment Law Initiative, which aims to encourage discussion and debate around the impact of legal affairs on the music industry.
"We are honored to welcome Mayor Karen Bass to the ELI GRAMMY Week Event as we gather and celebrate with the trailblazing professionals and students who are paving the way forward in the entertainment law industry," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "Mayor Bass has been a longtime supporter of music creators' rights in her legislative roles, and she has a unique understanding of how the creative industries intersect with law and policy that we look forward to hearing at this year's event."
"I'm proud to support GRAMMY Week because of the role that our entertainment industry plays in powering our local economy and to encourage efforts to increase equity and opportunities for Angelenos to break into the music business," Mayor Bass said.
Mayor Bass was sworn in as L.A.'s mayor on Dec. 11, 2022, after representing California's 33rd Congressional District from 2011 to 2013 and its 37th Congressional District from 2013 to 2022 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 2004 and 2010, she served in the California State Assembly and was elected as Speaker in 2008.
The event will also honor the winner and runners-up of the Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA). The contest challenges students in Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws programs at U.S. law schools to research a pressing legal issue facing the modern music industry and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. The winner of this year's Writing Contest is Aron Lichtschein, a JD student at NYU School of Law, for his essay, "Tickets to Ride: NFTs and the Future of Concert Ticketing." Lichtschein will receive a $10,000 scholarship as well as tickets to the 2023 GRAMMY Awards and other GRAMMY Week events. As well, his essay will be published in the ABA's journal Entertainment & Sports Lawyer. Runners-up Gina Maeng and Amanda Sharp, students at Georgetown Law School and University of San Diego School of Law, respectively, will each receive $2,500 scholarships for their essays.
The Recording Academy announced last month that Peter T. Paterno, Partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, will receive the 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award at the ELI GRAMMY Week Event; the award is presented each year to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service.