Episode 29: Album, Mixtape, or Playlist? What's the Difference? - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Episode 29: Album, Mixtape, or Playlist? What’s the Difference?

Episode 29: Album, Mixtape, or Playlist? What’s the Difference?

Streaming technology has radically changed the music business landscape. A new issue that has arisen is the question of the legal distinction between a “traditional” album, the “revived” mixtape, and the “questionable” playlist. Online Editor Anthony Zangrillo, Staff Member Dary Schwartz and Special Guest Steve Gordon join the podcast to tackle this issue.

Steve is an entertainment attorney with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, including 10 years as Director of Business Affairs for Sony Music, attorney at a law firm representing Atlantic and Elektra Records, and in-house music counsel for a Hollywood Studio. His current and recent clients include entertainment companies such as MTV, Music Choice, Time Life Films and Soul Train Holdings; record labels such as Smithsonian Folkways and Shout Factory; Television Services such as PBS, Maryland and Louisiana Public Broadcasting; and established as well as up-and-coming artists, producers, indie labels, and managers.

Drake recently released a new “playlist” via Apple Music. This work is a curation of 22 new tracks that has caused some debate about the difference between a playlist, a mixtape and a traditional new album. While the questions linger, More Life is the latest demonstration of how artists have unprecedented flexibility in how they release music, thanks to streaming outlets such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. The streaming revolution has innovated the traditional album release. Chance the Rapper recently made history by being the first artist to chart on the Billboard 200 and win a GRAMMY based on his streaming-only release, Coloring Book. Additionally, Kanye West continually tweaked Life Of Pablo likening the work to contemporary art. What are the legal implications of this technological change in consuming music? Is there a legal difference between album, mixtape, or playlist? Or is it just a clever marketing device?

The podcast also talks about Steve’s new book The 11 Contracts That Every Artist, Songwriter and Producer Should Know. You can buy a copy at a discounted price by clicking here, or from Amazon. Buyers will also gain exclusive access to video content ranging from analysis of various music industry contracts to expert advice on music clearances and licensing. Here is brief summary of the book:

The 11 Contracts Every Artist, Songwriter, and Producer Should Know is an in-depth guide to help artists, songwriters, and producers navigate the tricky world of contract negotiations in the music industry. This book analyzes the most common, and important, contracts – including management, production company, sync license, and producer agreements – all paired with professional commentary and exclusive interviews with top industry moguls. Readers will learn the ins and outs of both the legal and business side of contracts in the music industry so that they will never find themselves stuck on the wrong side of a bad deal.

Don’t forget to also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fordham-intellectual-property/id1158550285?mt=2) and leave a review!

Editor’s Note: Podcast was recorded before Chance took aim at the record labels on his recent tour: http://www.billboard.com/files/pdfs/Bulletin/april-26-2017-billboard-bulletin.pdf

Related blog post:

Practitioner Perspective: Is There a Legal Distinction Between an Album, a Mixtape, and a Playlist?

Anthony Zangrillo

Anthony Zangrillo is a third year student at Fordham University School of Law and the Online Editor of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. He will be joining the Capital Markets group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP after graduation. While an undergraduate student at NYU, he founded the Motion Picture Club. (http://www.motionpictureclubs.com). You can find him on Twitter at @FordhamIPLJ.