meta-scriptHow The Entertainment Law Initiative Tackles Today’s Leading Law Issues & Fosters The Next Generation Of Legal Innovators |
ELI Recap 2022
(L-R): Irving Azoff, Cameron Crowe, and Susan Genco

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre & Frazer Harrison


How The Entertainment Law Initiative Tackles Today’s Leading Law Issues & Fosters The Next Generation Of Legal Innovators

Hosted during GRAMMY Week 2022, the 24th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative honored Azoff Company co-president Susan Genco, featured a keynote speech from GRAMMY and Oscar winner Cameron Crowe, and saluted the future class of legal scholars

GRAMMYs/Apr 23, 2022 - 12:04 am

An artist advocate. A devotee to making the American dream a reality for artists. A force of nature. The smartest woman in the room. All these statements describe Susan Genco, co-president of the Azoff Company, who received the top honor at the Recording Academy's 24th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) event during GRAMMY Week 2022. With a focus on future voices and entertainment law education, the annual ELI gathering is the leading music industry and music law conference, aligning prominent entertainment attorneys to discuss and debate top-of-mind music industry legal matters and trends. Via its annual Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award and Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, respectively, ELI celebrates influential thought leaders and next-gen student innovators alike, who are collectively advancing the conversation surrounding music law.

Held Saturday, April 2, at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, ELI 2022 honored Genco with the Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. She is a leader who has spent her storied career protecting artists while supporting the music community at-large through service. Advocacy and fair wages in the music industry are now more important than ever to crusaders like Genco, who has made substantial contributions on policy through the Music Modernization Act and federal COVID relief packages as well as her work as a board member for the Music Artists Coalition, which includes her ongoing work on the FAIR Act.

A lifelong music lover, Genco spent her college days as a DJ at Wellesley before heading to Harvard Law. After college, she held executive positions at a variety of record labels including Warner Bros. Records, Capitol/EMI and Arista Records, under Clive Davis. Now, as the co-president of the Azoff Company, working alongside Irving Azoff, she oversees and manages entertainment companies like Full Stop Management, Global Music Rights and Oak View Group, among others. Genco is a lecturer in law at UCLA School of Law, where she has taught music law since 2012 and is a founder of the school's Music Industry Clinic. She also serves on ELI’s Executive Committee. 

At the pre-event reception, GRAMMY- and Oscar-winning writer, director and producer and ELI 2022 keynote speaker Cameron Crowe shared that Genco and Azoff run their business with an artist-forward mentality.

"When I first started writing and interviewing musicians, so many of them didn't make it financially or they weren't supported in the business they loved," he said. "Irving and Susan are so like-minded — they never forget what it is like to be an artist and you need protection and support, and know there are people there to back you up. She has been very forward about pushing legislation and showing budding artists [that] there are people out there thinking about you and your rights."

Filling the room with the magical storytelling for which he is known, Crowe then saluted Genco, the lawyers in attendance, and the students who participated in the ELI Writing Contest, saying that thanks to their work, the next generation of artists will have a greater chance at flourishing. "It's such an honor to be here for the ELI, who do such vital work in supporting and protecting the spirit of creativity for generations to come," he says.

Crowe then told the story of how he chose the music industry — or rather, how the music biz chose him — against his mother's wish for him to become a lawyer. "She moved us to a special place in Saen Diego, so that we would be right across the street from a well-regarded law school; I was 12,” Crowe said. “As much as we tried to plan, so many of the key things in our life happened when there was no plan. Because it's the people you meet along the way, the people you helped, and the people who helped you. Relationships and music define my life. There was a growing chance I was never going to make it to the law school."

Then, Crowe met Azoff. "[Irving] became a person who really worked his way up the ladder, on the heels of smarts and charisma. And he hit that famous early peak: He became the manager of Eagles," Crowe said. 

Likewise, Crowe invested in relationships, which led him to chronicling the early days of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and many others as the youngest-ever contributor to Rolling Stone.

"When people ask who the band was in Almost Famous,” he says of his beloved 2000 film, “it is all of us. It is Irving and Ronnie Van Zant, Glenn Frey, Neal Preston, and the people who inspired Susan Genco back when she was a DJ, with the same dream of being close to the music that she still loves so passionately."

Azoff then gave a humorous and irreverent recap of how Genco came to work for his company years ago, telling her back then for years that their quota for lawyers was full when, in fact, they had no entertainment lawyers on staff. 

Cameron Crowe delivers keynote speech at the Recording Academy's 24th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative

Cameron Crowe delivers keynote speech at the Recording Academy's 24th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative

"If you want to cross over from the double dark side of being a lawyer and running a record company and join the fight to take care of artists — you're smart and we'd love to have you as a senior executive," Azoff remembered of her job offer. "So our journey became partners and colleagues instead of just friendly adversaries."

Applauding her accomplishments, Azoff heralded Genco as an advocate in the music industry and wider music community. 

"Susan has been a tireless advocate for visibility and rights for the LGBTQ+ community, for change in action in economic and social justice for women with her XX Fund and with Liberty Hill, and for community engagement through her position on the board of [Los Angeles radio station] KCRW. She is also a mentor to many young professionals including many in the room today. You're an amazing wife, mother, friend, executive, and world citizen. There really is no one like you. They invented the word ‘special’ to define who you are."

In her acceptance speech, Genco reflected on the moments that shaped her musical journey. 

"The best moments of my life are created by artists and enhanced by music,” she remembered. “It's this shared love that brings us together and makes us, the people in this room, the people in the industry, a community. 

“I have always loved music. But now after a couple or a few decades, I also love the music business, with all of its foibles and idiosyncrasies,” she continued. “Music unites people across the globe every day. And in this divisive world we find ourselves in, we rely on music to reach across borders and create a common language. As a community, I hope we can work together to support and protect artists and songwriters … They give us the gift of music. Let's make sure we give them what they need and what they deserve. Let's be sure that they get their fair share, and let's please do it together."

Prior to the ELI event, Genco told that advocacy is now more important than ever, and that advocacy efforts start with the artists and extend to those with whom they choose to surround themselves.

"Be bold and advocate for yourself. You see more and more artists speaking up,” she said. "Artists deserve to be paid. It feels like now we are in a place where it's feast or famine for artists. And we're missing out on a lot of talent. If we don't cultivate and create a way for artists — not just the superstar artists, but our middle-class artists [also] — to make a living off their craft, we're all going to suffer."

Genco, who teaches at UCLA Law, has been involved in the ELI student program since 2011 and says working with students is one of the most important aspects in her career. Every year, she serves as a reader for the annual Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, which challenges aspiring law students seeking to push the envelope in the music industry to identify and research a current legal issue and outline a proposed solution in an essay. 

At the 2022 ELI event, the ELI Writing Contest recognized the winner with a $10,000 scholarship and a $2,500 scholarship for the two runners-up.

This year's ELI Writing Contest winner, Sona Sulakian, J.D. Candidate at USC Gould School of Law Los Angeles, tackled "Protecting the Artist: Licensing in an AI-Generated Music Market." Runners-up Chelsea Cohen, J.D. Candidate at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, delved into "Welcome to the Metaverse: Solving Old-World Licensing in a Whole New Universe,” while Michael Harrigan, J.D. Candidate at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, tackled "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: How Blockchain Technology Can Shift the DMCA's Burden of Notification Away From Copyright Owners."

Susan Genco delivers espeech at the Recording Academy's 24th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative

"An important part [of ELI] to me is that we welcome the students who win the writing competition," Genco said. "Make sure, particularly as women, that we don't pull up the ladder behind us and [instead] welcome women into the business, which has been, for decades, very male-dominated."

Standing at the convergence of entertainment law and music business and culture, the Entertainment Law Initiative offers a unique perspective into the symbiotic relationships connecting these two industries. Genco best summed up this exchange of ideas in a simple yet impactful reflection. 

"The great news is [that] music is more important than ever," Genco said. "We just have to make sure the business side is right as well." 

The Recording Academy wishes to sincerely thank the following sponsors for their support of the 24th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event

PLATINUM: Full Stop Management; Global Music Rights; Latham & Watkins, LLP; Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP; Pryor Cashman LLP; Sony Music Entertainment; Spotify; Universal Music Group

GOLD: Fox Rothschild LLP; Greenberg Traurig LLP; Proskauer Rose LLP; Warner Music Group

SILVER: American Bar Association (ABA); Covington & Burling LLP; Eisner, LLP; SoundExchange; Universal Music Group

BRONZE: AXEL Go; Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC); Boyarski Fritz LLP; King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP; Kobalt Music Publishing; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP; Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder, LLP; SAG-AFTRA; Songwriters of North America (SONA); Sound Royalties

Watch: 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative | GRAMMY Week 2021

Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs
Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?: Autumn Rowe Revisits Her Unexpected Album Of The Year Win With Jon Batiste

Acclaimed songwriter Autumn Rowe reveals the inspirational location where her Album Of The Year golden gramophone resides, and details the "really funny way" she first met Jon Batiste.

GRAMMYs/Apr 10, 2024 - 08:33 pm

Ever since Autumn Rowe won a GRAMMY in 2022, it's been her biggest motivation. That's why the musical multi-hyphenate keeps the award nestled in her writing room — to keep her creative juices flowing.

"It reminds me that anything is possible," she says in the latest episode of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

Rowe won her first-ever career GRAMMY in 2022 with an Album Of The Year award for Jon Batiste's We Are. "It was very stressful," she recalls with a laugh.

"Right before they announced Album Of The Year, the pressure started getting to me," Rowe explains. "Album Of The Year is the biggest possible award you can win. So, I'm like, 'We didn't win any of these [categories], how are we going to win the biggest award?"

The win also taught her one unforgettable, valuable lesson: "We matter. The music matters. Everything matters. We just have to create it. If there isn't space for it, we have to make space for it. Don't wait for something to open."

Rowe says she grew up "super dirt poor" and never even had the opportunity to watch the awards ceremony on television. "To be a GRAMMY winner means it is possible for everyone," she declares.

Press play on the video above to learn more about the backstory of Autumn Rowe's Album Of The Year award, and remember to check back to for more new episodes of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

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Doja Cat & SZA GRAMMY Rewind Hero
(L-R) Doja Cat and SZA at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Doja Cat & SZA Tearfully Accept Their First GRAMMYs For "Kiss Me More"

Relive the moment the pair's hit "Kiss Me More" took home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which marked the first GRAMMY win of their careers.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 06:11 pm

As Doja Cat put it herself, the 2022 GRAMMYs were a "big deal" for her and SZA.

Doja Cat walked in with eight nominations, while SZA entered the ceremony with five. Three of those respective nods were for their 2021 smash "Kiss Me More," which ultimately helped the superstars win their first GRAMMYs.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the night SZA and Doja Cat accepted the golden gramophone for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — a milestone moment that Doja Cat almost missed.

"Listen. I have never taken such a fast piss in my whole life," Doja Cat quipped after beelining to the stage. "Thank you to everybody — my family, my team. I wouldn't be here without you, and I wouldn't be here without my fans."

Before passing the mic to SZA, Doja also gave a message of appreciation to the "Kill Bill" singer: "You are everything to me. You are incredible. You are the epitome of talent. You're a lyricist. You're everything."

SZA began listing her praises for her mother, God, her supporters, and, of course, Doja Cat. "I love you! Thank you, Doja. I'm glad you made it back in time!" she teased.

"I like to downplay a lot of s— but this is a big deal," Doja tearfully concluded. "Thank you, everybody."

Press play on the video above to hear Doja Cat and SZA's complete acceptance speech for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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Baby Keem GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Baby Keem (left) at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Baby Keem Celebrate "Family Ties" During Best Rap Performance Win In 2022

Revisit the moment budding rapper Baby Keem won his first-ever gramophone for Best Rap Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards for his Kendrick Lamar collab "Family Ties."

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2024 - 05:50 pm

For Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, The Melodic Blue was a family affair. The two cousins collaborated on three tracks from Keem's 2021 debut LP, "Range Brothers," "Vent," and "Family Ties." And in 2022, the latter helped the pair celebrate a GRAMMY victory.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, turn the clock back to the night Baby Keem accepted Best Rap Performance for "Family Ties," marking the first GRAMMY win of his career.

"Wow, nothing could prepare me for this moment," Baby Keem said at the start of his speech.

He began listing praise for his "supporting system," including his family and "the women that raised me and shaped me to become the man I am."

Before heading off the stage, he acknowledged his team, who "helped shape everything we have going on behind the scenes," including Lamar. "Thank you everybody. This is a dream."

Baby Keem received four nominations in total at the 2022 GRAMMYs. He was also up for Best New Artist, Best Rap Song, and Album Of The Year as a featured artist on Kanye West's Donda.

Press play on the video above to watch Baby Keem's complete acceptance speech for Best Rap Performance at the 2022 GRAMMYs, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

How The 2024 GRAMMYs Saw The Return Of Music Heroes & Birthed New Icons

Beats & Blooms Recap Hero
Musical group Aint Afraid

Photo: Unique Nicole/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


Teezo Touchdown, Tiana Major9 & More Were In Bloom At The 2024 GRAMMYs Emerging Artist Showcase

Part of the all-new GRAMMY House programming for GRAMMY Week 2024, PEOPLE and Sephora teamed up to highlight some promising new talent from around the country with the Beats & Blooms Emerging Artist Showcase.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2024 - 12:00 am

Artists on the rise got their metaphorical flowers on Feb. 1, when GRAMMY House played host to the Beats & Blooms Emerging Artist Showcase. The performance-heavy event was produced in conjunction with PEOPLE and Sephora and hosted by comedian Matt Friend.

Some took the floral theme quite literally — like Texas rapper and singer Teezo Touchdown, who took to the stage clasping a giant flower bouquet, his microphone tucked somewhere inside. With his crisp white leather jacket and white gloves, Teezo looked fresh as he performed tracks from his recently released debut album, How Do You Sleep at Night? It wasn't hard to see how late legends like Prince and Rick James have influenced his artistry, and the audience appreciated his fly sartorial style.

Another dynamic performance came from Cocoa Sarai, a Jamaican-American singer/songwriter who has worked with artists such as Dr. Dre and Anderson .Paak (the latter of whom helped Sarai earn a GRAMMY in 2020 for her work on his Best R&B Album-winning project, Ventura). The Brooklyn-born artist — who is part of the new Music Artist Accelerator initiative presented by MasterCard, GRAMMY House’s primary sponsor — delivered an impactful set that included her bird-flipping anthem "Bigger Person" and was assisted by a great beatboxer named Fahz.

As many attendees got glammed up at Sephora's makeup station, the event co-sponsor also presented one of the night's performers. Sephora Sounds highlighted twin sisters Inah and Yahzi of the viral group Ain't Afraid, whose energetic performance hit home. During their charismatic set, which featured the sisters both singing and rapping, the pair told the crowd that their lighthearted stage presence is a way to turn some of their trauma into positive art.

Inah and Yahzi weren't the only sibling duo to take the stage at Beats & Blooms. Brandon and Savannah Hudson — aka BETWEEN FRIENDS — first got national attention as quarter-finalists on "America's Got Talent" in 2013, and have since racked up millions of monthly plays on Spotify for what they like to call "laptop dream pop". BETWEEN FRIENDS performed songs from their 2023 album, I Love My Girl, She's My Boy.

Tiana Major9 closed out the event with an exciting performance that featured a song debut and a sing-along. After premiering a new track called "Braids," the Motown artist got everyone to join together for an exquisite cover of Faith Evans' smoldering "Soon As I Get Home". 

GRAMMY House's three days of events are a place for a diverse array of music industry professionals, musicians and social creators to immerse in the pulse of culture, take the torch and carry it forward — and Beats & Blooms was a powerful example of just that.

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