Power Lawyers: 11 Top Music Attorneys for John Legend, BTS and More

6:30 AM 4/4/2018

by Patrick Shanley

Meet the lawyers behind the deals for classic crooners and breakout bands.

John Legend
John Legend
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

  • John Branca

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

    Branca reps the estates of several music icons. Among recent deals, he negotiated a record-breaking seven-year agreement for Sony to continue distributing Michael Jackson's catalog, the release of two Elvis Presley symphonic albums and a CBS-Grammy primetime tribute to the Bee Gees.

     
  • David Byrnes

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Ziffren Law

    Byrnes reps The Voice judges Kelly Clarkson, whose current stint on the show marks her return to network TV, and Blake Shelton, who re-signed with Warner Bros. It wasn't all highs for Byrnes in 2017, however, as the death of client and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington left him "heartbroken."

     
  • Allen Grubman

    Grubman Shire

    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    Grubman reps Spotify in its licensing deals with record companies and publishers, as well as artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bette Midler, both of whom took recent turns on Broadway. He also renewed U2's agreement with Live Nation for a North American tour.

  • David Lande

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of John O'Boyle

    Some of music's biggest artists turn to Lande for their deals — among them Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Justin Timberlake. Queen Bey will headline Coachella and star in the

  • Dina LaPolt

    LaPolt Law

    Courtesy Photo

    While representing superstars Britney Spears, Fifth Harmony and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, LaPolt somehow found time to executive produce the Eddie Money reality series Real Money (which she packaged and sold) for AXS TV. She also works pro bono on the Music Modernization Act, which seeks to bring music licensing into the digital age and ensure that artists are paid fairly.

     
  • Kenny Meiselas

    Grubman Shire

    Courtesy Photo

    Meiselas negotiated Lady Gaga's $100 million residency at Las Vegas' MGM Grand, helped client Diddy (Sean Combs) secure a spot as the lead judge on Fox's The Four and saw Bebe Rexha emerge with the No. 1 country song for a record-setting number of weeks.

     
  • Donald Passman

    Gang Tyre

    Mark Sullivan/WireImage

    In addition to representing stars like Taylor Swift, Adele and Stevie Wonder, Passman has been focusing on artists' interests as sales start favoring smaller, individual song releases. Ponders Passman, "All these record contracts are based on albums, so what happens during this awkward adolescence as the industry shifts to releasing music in smaller chunks?"

     
  • Julian Petty

    Nixon Peabody

    Courtesy Photo

    Petty reps some of the top names in hip-hop and R&B. He helped Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) land a "remarkable" deal with RCA and negotiated the documentary endorsed by Christopher Wallace's estate, A&E's Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.

  • L. Lee Phillips

    Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

    Courtesy Photo

    Phillips isn't afraid to embrace the future — in fact, client Randy Jackson will be paid part of a consulting fee in cryptocurrency. "It's a cutting-edge thing," says Phillips, who also reps old-school clients like Journey frontman Steve Perry, Burt Bacharach and Eagles co-founder Don Henley.

  • Aaron Rosenberg

    Myman Greenspan

    Greg Doherty/Getty Images

    Rosenberg helped link Justin Bieber with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee for the mega-hit "Despacito," negotiated John Legend's starring role in NBC's live production of Jesus Christ Superstar and oversaw Ariana Grande's One Love Manchester benefit concert.

  • Debbie White

    Loeb & Loeb

    Courtesy of Gittings Photography

    K-pop sensation BTS exploded stateside and broke Billboard chart records, and White helped the group strategize their crossover in the U.S. and engage them with partners who will stay true to their genre and belief. She also advised Tencent Music Entertainment Group on a multi­year licensing deal with Universal Music Group, and negotiated a Las Vegas residency for The Who.

    This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.