Drawing Back the Curtain: Belmont Law Journal Symposium

students at law journal symposium
Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business

Drawing Back the Curtain: Belmont Law Journal Symposium

March 8, 2024 | by Jasmine Simmons

Attorneys, industry professionals, professors and law students gathered on campus for the Belmont Law Journal’s first annual symposium, “Drawing Back the Curtain: Discussions of Negotiations, Mediations, and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Entertainment and Sports Industries,” on March 1. 

The day-long event provided an inside look at the entertainment and music industry as moderators led panel discussions between industry experts.  

[When] we hear about behind-the-scenes happenings of the music and sports industry as students, we may consider these people to be the ‘man behind the curtain,’” Symposium Editor Camille Vulcano said. “The goal of this event is to chip away those barriers and begin to understand how negotiation strategy, contract drafting, client management and relationship building can benefit not only our work but our careers in the long term as well.” 

Panel discussions from industry experts in recording, sports and publishing spotlighted the importance of negotiation in the entertainment industry and the increasing importance of out-of-court conversations that can deeply influence the rights of artists and athletes when it comes to their contractual rights, intellectual property rights, privacy rights and profitability. 

Recording Industry: Help Your Client Make Better Art 

The symposium welcomed former Senior Vice President for Sony Music’srecording.jpg Provider Entertainment division Dean Diehl; Chief Content Officer at X5 Griff Morris; former Vice President of Mechanical Licensing at Warner Music Group Serona Elton; and CEO of JAM, Inc. Jeff Jampol to Belmont for a discussion moderated by Tim Warnock, adjunct Belmont law professor and partner at Loeb & Loeb.

 The recording industry panel covered topics including artificial intelligence’s impact on the recording industry, music industry changes and career development and essential reminders when representing artists, among other topics.  

 “When you talk about artist management or being a lawyer for artists, remember, it's their company,” Morris said. “You report to them. If you don't like what they're telling you, you have to teach them about the industry. Teach them how to utilize you. Your mission becomes how to make better art, and how to be part of a team that makes the world different.”  

Publishing Industry: Publishing is Protecting Songwriters  

publishing-panel.jpgAs the moderator for the publishing panel, Belmont Assistant Professor of Creative and Entertainment Industries Nate Drake used several hypothetical scenarios to guide an informative conversation about publishing’s role and function in the entertainment industry. The panelists included owner of Guardrail Foundation Larry Bridgesmith; Vice President of Business/Legal Affairs and Creative Affairs at Universal Music Publishing Group Don Glista; Partner at the Nashville office of Frost Brown Todd, LLP John P. Strohm; and Chief Operating Officer of the Publishing and Records divisions of Big Loud Austen Adams. 

Panelists gave an overview of publishing, discussed how technology and artificial intelligence play into the creative process and talked about the culture of songwriting and publishing companies. 

“We're dealing with very complex relationships,” Bridgesmith said. “If you're a successful songwriter with leverage, you need to be very careful about considering who your legal representative is because they need to be very knowledgeable about the industry.... It takes someone with a very skilled and informed knowledge base, with the demeanor and the aptitude to reach good deals for both parties that is going to be the best advocate for someone.”  

Sports Industry: An inside look at the Titans, Preds and Nashville SC 

The sports industry panel was moderated by Loren Mulraine, director of music and entertainment law studies at Belmont. The panel included Staff Legal Counsel for the Tennessee Titans John Shumate, Senior Legal Counsel for the Nashville Predators Natasha Axelrod and General Counsel for Nashville Soccer Club Joe Kennedy.  

Belmont Law Journal: A Collaborative Change 

New to Belmont’s College of Law, the Belmont Law Journal represents the coalescence of three esteemed predecessors: Belmont’s Criminal, Entertainment and Health Law Journals.  

“The intended impact is to broaden our reach within the Nashville legal community,” Journal Editor-in-Chief Riley Jones said. “Because of our specific journals, we didn't have as many resources. Now, we get to create a broad audience in all legal fields, and we’re hoping to have a lot of crossover.” 

“Drawing Back the Curtain” is the first symposium led and organized by the newly established Belmont Law Journal. Connections fostered between Journal members and their internships in addition to the resources provided by the College of Law helped secure an impressive lineup of speakers who shared their insider knowledge of the sports, publishing and recording industries. 

“That's the thing about lawyers, they love to come and tell you about their job because they're super passionate about it,” Jones said. “A lot of people were really excited to be here.” 

Students at law journal symposium
Nate Drake
Camille Vulcano
2L students at symposium check in