TBMP Meets: Music Lawyer, Luke English

We were given the opportunity to speak with Music Lawyer, Luke English…

TBMP Meets: Music Lawyer, Luke English

We had the opportunity to speak with music lawyer, Luke English. Luke has worked with some of today’s biggest music stars, and has recently turned his attention to helping aspiring artists on their path to a successful and fulfilling career in music. He works independently and is based in Bournemouth.

Thanks for joining us, Luke!

Thank you for having me, Big Music.

Could you give us a general overview into your life as a music lawyer?

To sum up everything, I represent signed and unsigned artists. I also look after music managers, tutors, publishers, record labels and protect people through contracts.

Was this always something you wanted to do?

No, I actually had a career in criminal law, working in Stratford, East London. That field can get quite stressful! I decided I would do something a bit more fun.

That’s understandable! Is what you now do more fun?

Yes, definitely.

That’s what’s important. For the aspiring artists out there, at what point in their careers would you advise them working with a music lawyer?

I would say music lawyers are needed at every stage of the career of an artist. The minute you are offered a contract, I would recommend having a good team behind you as soon as possible, since there are a lot of different people who can help you during your music career.

We’re sure that will be very useful for aspiring artists to know. Could you let us in on the positive and negative aspects of your role?

The positives for me are being able to help anybody in the creative industry. It’s great to come across somebody who has great talent, helping to protect them with what they’re doing to make sure their careers can last. I think the negative side can be the sharks and dodgy companies out there who do not fulfil their promises to an artist. This is why I speak a lot on getting yourself a team with people you trust.

And how competitive is it to get into your field of work?

I’m not too sure, since there aren’t a lot of us out there. There are probably 12-15 media lawyers. I’m based in Bournemouth by the beach, but the majority are based in London and then there are different pockets around the country in places like Bristol and Manchester where there are big music hubs.

Does the lack of lawyers in this industry come down to competition for places?

I think there are two ways of fulfilling a career in this. You can join a law firm in London that is already established and has access to clients. Or go down the same route I did; I’ve created something off my own back, so I’ve had a lot more to do in order to build up my clientele over the years.

Is there ever any actual music involved in what you do?

Not all of us do it, but I enjoy live music so it is always worth going to events to check out the talent, as well as catch up with managers, record labels or publishers. I think if you’re in the industry, it is important for you to support live performances as well.

It’s positive to hear that you show support to aspiring artists. What are you currently listening to right now?

I’m actually currently listening to Chance the Rapper! I was recommended to listen to him a long time ago and I really like his music. I’m also a big fan of Rudimental – they can do no wrong!

Great taste in music there, Luke! Which artists have you worked with so far?

I’ve been fortunate to work as a music lawyer for Sony Music where I’ve worked with artists such as One Direction, Rita Ora, Calvin Harris, Kasabian, Laura Mvula and a few more names on the Sony roster.

Is there one name in particular, dead or alive, that you would like to work with?

If we’re talking dead or alive, my favourite artist ever is Prince. I had the privilege of meeting him at an album signing years ago, but can’t say I ever worked with him. I thought the guy had amazing talent and it was obviously very sad to hear of his passing.

Wow, you were able to meet the man himself, that’s really cool.

Yeah, it was pretty surreal!

So, does your role involve any travelling at all?

Lawyers specialise in one or a few different types of law. I specialise in English Law, so I can work and negotiate on English contracts. If I was given a French or American contract, that would be something I could not help with unfortunately.

Do you prefer being part of a label or working independently?

I love the experience of working for a major label, but I also enjoy the freedom I now have to choose what artists I want to work with, as well as meeting and discovering new talent.

Nice! Has social media impacted your career so far at all?

Definitely. I’ve been using Facebook practically since it was created. I also got on to Twitter and Instagram pretty early on too. Social media is a massive advancement, not only for business, but also for management and artists. If I discover an artist, the first thing I’ll do is go on their social media pages to find out who they are and who they’re managed by.

What advice would you give to younger musicians trying to make a name for themselves?

It’s really important to gig as often as you can, since it helps to hone your skills and get your name out there. The more people hear about you, the more you will be in-demand. Being active on social media is also key. I would recommend doing something which will engage your fans at least once a week.

Is there also any legal advice you could offer musicians at all?

The Musicians Union is a union for musicians. For a small fee, you become a member which includes insurance over your instruments, as well as an hour’s worth of legal advice. In contrast, PPL/PRS are the equivalent for songwriters. They will help you receive the royalties you are entitled to.

Great advice, Luke! Do you have any plans for the future?

My plans right now are to continue to do what I do, which is meet new talent, work with new labels and new managers, as well as educating where I can.

Great! We wish you all the best, Luke!

Thanks, Big Music.

If you would like to get in contact with Luke, be sure to check him out on Twitter and Facebook.