For Loyola Law School, Los Angeles alumnus Joe Escalante ’92, bassist for the venerable punk-rock band The Vandals who helped launch Blink 182’s career as founder of KungFu Records, a solid legal education was as essential as a guitar to his success.
“Everyone in this business should have a JD,” says Escalante. “It equips you for anything.”
That sentiment is true now more than ever, with technology transforming the music business in myriad ways. As artists and recording companies adapt to the constantly changing landscape, Loyola alumni are shaping the industry’s future.
“The hyper-efficient distribution of music may have radically deflated the economics of recorded music, but it has also led to a host of positive effects for consumers,” says Bill Colitre '02, vice president and general counsel, Music Reports. “We watch daily as the rights-collecting societies are forced to provide higher levels of service, transparency and good governance to artists and composers than at any time in the last century.”
As the music and entire entertainment industry have adjusted to new and emerging distribution models, Loyola Law School has adapted its curriculum to those seeking to become lawyers in the industry or those who simply want to be skilled at dealing with emerging legal issues. Entertainment & New Media Law and Intellectual Property Law tracks are available as a Concentration to JD students or as a Specialization to those enrolled in Loyola’s Master of Laws (LLM) or Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) programs. The tracks provide students with curricular guidance and a wealth of practical opportunities.
To stay ahead of industry challenges, Loyola has added courses such as Cyber & Intellectual Property Crimes, Licensing in a Global Context and Digital Media & the Law. The Entertainment Law Practicum keeps pace by offering students a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run the legal department of a media powerhouse, providing students access to practical training and knowledge.
“The contacts I made while interning via Loyola’s Entertainment Law Practicum have been invaluable to my career in entertainment law,” said Natalie LeVeck ’11, senior counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution. “The hands-on experience at the internship I had while at Loyola gave me the skills to do many of the things I do.”
In addition to providing valuable practice-ready experience, Loyola regularly hosts a variety of events focused on the global intersection of entertainment, business and the law, such as the Techtainment 2.0: Technology + Entertainment Symposium, hosted collaboratively with the Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association (LAIPLA), which featured alumnus Colitre discussing 21st century music rights in a digital environment. Separately, the annual U.S.-China Entertainment Law Conference brought together worldwide leaders in the field to discuss IP issues related to the global entertainment industry and opportunities for collaboration on movies, TV productions, movies and games.
Loyola’s alumni network in the music business includes power players in just about all areas. They include Jeff Blue ’82, artists-and-repertoire consultant for Atlantic Records and multi-platinum music producer; and Damian Elahi ‘01, senior vice president, Business and Legal Affairs, Warner Bros. Records, among many others. Many see a bright future for the industry.
“After 15 years of decline, the business of recorded music is arguably in its healthiest state since 1995,” writes Colitre. “There are numerous fronts along which the business and law of the recorded music industry are still rapidly evolving.” Thanks to a range of innovative programs, Loyola students and alumni are prepared to capitalize on them.