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[SPOT+ Panel] Meet Chloe Forsyth, panelist at ‘Music lawyers and their role in the modern industry’

Asbjørn Hæstrup

MXD Curated Panel at SPOT+: Music lawyers and their role in the modern industry

Date & Time: Saturday May 6th, 16.45 – 17.30

How can a music attorney help performing artists, songwriters and producers find a record or publishing deal? What are the fundamental differences between deals in the US and the UK and how do we navigate through the ever-changing distribution of music and ability to penetrate outside markets more easily?

These are some of the topics that will be discussed at the MXD Curated Panel at SPOT+: Music lawyers and their roles in the modern industry. 

In this interview, you can meet Chloë Forsyth, leading music attorney based in London and one of the panel speakers.

Name: Chloë Forsyth

Company: Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Title: Partner and Head of Music Group

Based in: London, UK

Can you tell us a bit about the company’s history and roster?
H&L was founded over 60 years ago and is a full service law firm with a particular expertise in the Technology, Media and Entertainment sectors. The firm has a strong heritage within music and over the years we have acted for many household names.

– and a bit about the clients you personally work with at this moment?
A sample of the clients I personally work with at the moment are James Ford, SMD, Nimmo, Honeyblood, Jamie Isaac, Serpentwithfeet and Conor Maynard.

What made you decide to move towards the music side within law?
I always wanted to work within music and had an interest in the law so from the second I started work as a lawyer I knew I would have to end up in music and fortunately that’s where I landed.

What are your favorite Danish acts?
There are so many great Danish artists out there at the moment, I love MØ, Lukas Graham, Oh Land and many more.

Best live show of your life, hands down?
I couldn’t pick one, there are too many to choose from. Guns n’ Roses at Wembley stadium, when I was a moody teenager were a definite highlight, likewise Metallica. Ray Lamontagne when Trouble first came out (he had his back to the audience for most of the show, but it was absolutely spellbinding). Lamb at Glastonbury (one of my favourite bands of all time, always amazing because of what their music means to me). And so many more.

How has the role of the music lawyer changed over time?
It’s definitely evolved. It used to be a very reactive role and very much focussed on the deals in hand, whereas now we can really help add so much more value to our clients in terms of building a team around them, helping to make deals happen, making connections, it’s so much more involved (and therefore ultimately more rewarding).

What are the fundamental differences in your approach to either representing artists or music companies?
It’s very similar in many ways because ultimately you want to make a deal that everyone wants to get done, happen. Understandably at the beginning of their career an artist may have less of an understanding about how the “nuts and bolts” of a record deal or a publishing deal really work and royalty accounting etc. so it’s about trying to inform them as much as possible. And there is always the conflict between the party acquiring the rights and the party passing them over in terms of creative control, but ultimately both parties want to get the deal done otherwise they wouldn’t be negotiating and you just try to be as commercial and helpful in that process as possible whilst making sure your client’s rights are always protected.

How do you stay up to date with both your company network (buyers) and new talent?
I try to keep in touch with industry contacts, go to events (like SPOT!), read journals and blogs, listen to good music and just keep in touch with people.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
There’s something really satisfying about getting a deal done and making something happen and then seeing the finished product or hearing a song on the radio and knowing you were a part of that.