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Songtrust Spotlight: Loren Chodosh

Loren Chodosh is an entertainment law attorney and native New Yorker. Over the years, she has
represented a varied clientele, including Shawn Colvin, EMF, Moby, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
Swans, Live, DMC and Tricky. The current client roster includes those listed below:

1PR Brands, ARChive of Contemporary Music, Bixio Music, Bkorn, Bobby Hebb Music, Boss Hog, CAKE, Charles on TV, Marc Copely, Willy DeVille archive, Steve Fisk, Diamanda Galás, Emm Gryner, Buddy Guy, IDM Music, Steve Jordan, Koffee, Liars, Local No. 12, Lunachicks, Man-Ken Music Ltd. (10cc publishing), Mercury Rev, Nada Surf, Gabriel Olafs, Holly Palmer, Barry Reynolds, The Secret Machines, Sundae Songs, Jon Spencer/Blues Explosion, Anne Tello, Jim Thirlwell/Foetus, TV On The Radio, The Verbs, Elijah Wright

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

I was a devoted music fan, going to see bands many times a week while in college (NYU). I was a journalism major and wanted to be a reporter, but jobs were scarce and I went to law school (Brooklyn Law School) thinking I could become a manager at the other end. A funny thing happened in law school -- I wound up becoming a lawyer. I worked for a highly-esteemed copyright and trademark firm (Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman) just out of law school and the firm did a bit of outside counsel work for CBS Records and RCA Records, and I found that I wanted more of that kind of work. After two years at CL&L, I was lucky enough to get a job at a boutique transactional entertainment law firm, (Thall and Plotkin) and within a few years, I began to grow my own practice. I then started my own firm 10 years later.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AS AN ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER? 

Be an advocate but keep your eye on the prize. Achieving the best result for your client doesn’t always mean slaying the dragon.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO HELP MUSIC CREATORS, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOUR CLIENTS?

As a music lover, I learned early on – much to my disappointment – that I was not a music creator. My role as advocate and advisor fills that creative need. I have helped my clients achieve success when they are as free and empowered to play their craft as possible. It is different for each client.

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST WITH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT?

My first mentor was Peter Thall, who became my law partner and remains my very good friend. Peter and I are both solo practitioners now, and we are free and open with our assistance to each other.

SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING, ESPECIALLY FOR MUSIC CREATORS. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF? DOES THIS MATCH WHAT YOU SHARE WITH YOUR CLIENTS?

It may sound corny but you really have to pick your battles, both in contractual negotiations and in the day-to-day business of being an artist. Standing on principle is not always the best way to move the needle.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CAN DEVELOP INTO A MORE EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR WOMEN MUSIC CREATORS?

It is heartening to see more and more women in significant leadership positions at the majors and elsewhere. This will certainly change the landscape going forward.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED?

It is important to know something about the history of the industry to understand where we are and what still needs to be achieved. Sexism and prejudice still pervade, and we have to wear our armor in as practical a way as possible.

FROM YOUR VIEW, WHAT OTHER KINDS OF MARGINALIZATION AND ERASURE DOES THE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEED TO ENSURE WE DON’T ENACT IN THE NAME OF GENDER EQUALITY?

That’s a tough question because I can’t tell if it means to say that marginalization and erasure are good or bad! I will say that I don’t think we can “overdo” bringing women and people of color into positions of power and importance as we have decades and decades of inequality to overcome.

WOMEN ARE BECOMING MORE EMPOWERED, NOT ONLY IN KNOWING THEIR VALUE BUT ALSO IN SETTING BOUNDARIES, GOING AFTER WHAT THEY WANT AND DESERVE, AND LIFTING UP OTHER WOMEN IN THE PROCESS. WHAT MOTTO, AFFIRMATION, OR QUOTE EMPOWERS YOU? 

There is plenty to go around, so be generous.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP IN 2022?

I am continuing on with my “sub-specialty” of ferreting out “lost” rights and royalties for legacy artists and songwriters. Much historical information has been misplaced in the past few decades of consolidation and changes of regime in the record and publishing industry.  I continue to be energized by my work with music creators, many of whom are clients of long-standing, including Steve Jordan, who is gathering no moss these days, and Jon Spencer, who has a new album out in April. I am always excited to work with new and upcoming artists, and I expect great things from Charles on TV and Elijah Wright.

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