State of the Record Industry to Be Discussed During SXSW Legal Panels; Lommen Abdo Firm Helps Drive Legal Stars and New Bands to Annual Austin Summit

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While the buzz bands will be buzzin' at the annual SXSW (South by Southwest) confab March 13-15 in Austin, Texas, many of the most pressing issues facing established and emerging recording artists and the troubled music industry will be generating their own buzz during the event's timely CLE (Continuing Legal Education) panels. The panels will feature superstar attorneys such as Don Passman (All Your Need to Know About the Music Business), record executives from Universal Music Group and other labels, major management companies and others. Attendance is open to all SXSW Music Conference registrants.

...a tiny hurricane of blue-eyed soul...

    Sponsored again in part by the entertainment department of the Minneapolis-Manhattan law firm of Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A., the legal panels this year will explore heated topics such as:

-- What is the Future of Record Companies and Artist Deals?

-- Is Technology Leading the Music Business Around By the Nose?

-- Are 360 Deals Justified?

-- Music Law Ethics - Really?

Support for the program is also provided by the GRAMMY(R) Foundation, Entertainment Law Initiative, the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries and The Recording Academy's GRAMMYs(R) on the Hill. The CLE Program is being organized by Program Director Nels Jacobson of the Troy, Michigan firm Harness, Dickey & Pierce, P.L.C., and Lommen Abdo Vice President, Ken Abdo, Panels Coordinator. Jacobson notes that "the SXSW CLE program is a natural extension of the original purpose of the conference -- to showcase as much great music as possible, while providing substantive, cutting- edge industry information and an opportunity to conduct serious business."

Abdo explains that, "With declining CD sales and the ongoing evolution of digital entertainment media and devices, the panels press the hot button issues that are igniting the music industry: Music makers, executives, reporters and fans will get substantial insights into the shape of industry through attending these discussions. Furthermore, with two days, eight panels and 20 expert music lawyers, the CLE panels have become a major part of the conference panel programming and very well attended. Any registrants -- not just lawyers -- are welcome to attend without additional charge. The room always holds an interesting collection of music-types from artists to executives, from suits to sweatshirts."

Another Lommen Abdo colleague, Paul Bezilla, will be moderating the panel about the fairness of so-called "360-Deals" -- a new record business model in which a label takes a percentage of artist revenue other than on the sale of the recordings, including merchandising, touring and publishing. Lommen Abdo partner, Dan Satorius, a leading attorney in the independent film world, will address contract and union issues earlier in the week on March 9 during the SXSW Film Festival, from 1-2 p.m. And Abdo and Bob Donnelly will explore the boundaries of proactively representing developing bands in their tag-team music law ethics panel.

"Ultimately SXSW is a music festival," Abdo continues. "Lommen Abdo celebrates live performance, sponsors stages, and invites everyone to see the talented musicians we represent who will be showcasing around town during SXSW. While we represent artists worldwide, these are the ones chosen as true rising stars. We are also proud to represent legendary recording artist Johnny Rivers (The "Secret Agent Man") who will be a featured interview during the conference on March 13.

Lommen Abdo Showcase artists include:

-- Ruby Jane Smith (Mississippi / Texas), a 13 year-old fiddler and a fast-rising star in the landscape of country and bluegrass-Americana music who is also a featured performer in the stage show "A Ride with Bob" fronted by Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel).

-- 17-year-old singer-songwriter Maren Morris (Arlington TX), whom Maverick Magazine (UK) said "...conjures Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Natalie Maines" while the Fort Worth Weekly called her "...a tiny hurricane of blue-eyed soul..."

-- The Melismatics Precise power pop punk rockers from Minneapolis (

For more information -- or to interview Ken Abdo or his colleagues about any issues raised during or after the SXSW event -- please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications Co., 612-729-8585,

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