Attorney Dina LaPolt has earned a reputation for bringing a talented and insightful approach to deal-making in the music industry. During her career, she has represented everyone from music creators and celebrities to executives and artists who hold intellectual property rights.
LaPolt recently joined Denise Colletta, senior vice president in City National's Entertainment Banking group, to discuss the business side of entertainment. The pair discussed women in the music business, types of music industry rights, catalog sales and Dina's fascinating career.
After working with LaPolt for 20 years, Colletta expressed how inspirational their relationship has been.
“There's not a lot of women in music, as you know," Colletta said. “There really isn't a whole bunch of us, particularly in any sort of role where you're either an attorney or you're doing finance."
While she said it's better today, LaPolt recalled that there were nearly no female music lawyers when she first started her career.
“We really try to hire a lot of women and encourage women and empower women," LaPolt said, recalling how she has worked to eliminate barriers for women in the music industry.
According to LaPolt, all artists should understand how their compensation works. She pointed out that many factors influence an artist's income.
“We have three bundles of rights that all are governed by different sets of laws – that are all monetized very differently – but they all have to fit seamlessly together in contracts," LaPolt said.
The three types of rights in the music industry include:
Having the right team can mean making sure all these pieces work together as they should for artists.
LaPolt said that music catalog sales are exponentially increasing, thanks in part to copyright laws that were passed in 2018.
“As a music lawyer who specializes in copyright, it's very exciting," LaPolt said.
She pointed out that the new laws have empowered artists to take control of their creations and benefit fully from them.
“You write songs, you work your whole life to build your, as you say, equity," LaPolt commented. “If you write a hit song 20 or 30 years ago – it becomes very valuable. Especially if the songwriter owns or controls part of that song, which usually they do. Because if they are not getting a reversion in their publishing deal, they're certainly getting it in the copyright act."
For LaPolt, the entertainment industry is a business of relationships. She said this is true with all aspects of her work, including the financial side.
“Having a personal relationship with a bank is so important. For us, as a law firm, it's incredible," she said. “A lot of business managers have banking for their clients at City National Bank, which means a lot of our clients are at City National Bank – and it is very seamless. I really love that relationship."
Find out more about how City National helps with entertainment banking needs in this episode of Beyond the Spotlight, our series highlighting sports and entertainment professionals.
This video is for general information and education only and is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank. It is compiled from data and sources believed to be reliable, however City National Bank does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates given are those of the speaker as of the date of publish with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change.