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Lollapalooza general counsel Berkeley Reinhold (Questrom’90) on music industry lessons

If lawyers are supposed to spend their days scouring legal tomes or posturing in courtrooms, Berkeley Reinhold didn’t get the memo. An entertainment attorney who acts as general counsel for Lollapalooza, LLC, Reinhold helps some of music’s biggest names strike the deals that keep the hits playing. She’s had an affinity for art since childhood; Reinhold’s parents are familiar faces on the New York art scene. Today, she’s helping Lollapalooza take its brand of festivals to new countries, allowing tens of thousands of fans to get closer to their favorite musical artists, from the Foo Fighters to The xx.

By the time she was a teenager, Berkeley Reinhold (Questrom’90) had been painted by Andy Warhol and photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe and had had her childhood bedroom designed by postmodernist architect Michael Graves. But it wasn’t until she finished law school and handled her first contract as a music-industry attorney that she felt empowered to make her own mark on the art world.

“When I was at BU, we used to go to the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue and watch bands perform,” Reinhold says. “When I started my career, during my first week at the William Morris Agency, an agent sent me a contract to review for their band, and it was for a rock show at the Paradise. I nearly fell off my chair. I felt such an enormous sense of accomplishment.”

Now an independent attorney, Reinhold blends a family appreciation for artists’ sensitivity and versatility with business savvy developed through years at the entertainment industry’s top talent agency. And after more than 20 years on the job, she’s come to believe that the most important lesson remains the one she first learned as a kid when Warhol, who was one of her father’s closest friends, asked her to come to his studio and pose: just show up, and see what happens.

“The best—and most underestimated—lesson I ever learned is that well-known adage, 90 percent of success is just showing up,” Reinhold says. “I can’t emphasize enough how many unforeseen opportunities you can create, just by being present.”

Reinhold’s father, John, is a diamond dealer and art collector; her mother, Susan, co-owns the Reinhold-Brown Gallery with Robert Brown, renowned in New York for exhibitions that focus on graphic design and early 20th-century avant-garde posters. Athough Reinhold grew up in the company of famous visual artists, to her they were just interesting—and sometimes eccentric—family friends. Warhol, who painted her portrait when she was 10 years old, once joined a birthday scavenger hunt for her and her friends and signed a soup can for one of her high school teachers, inscribing it, “Please give Berkeley an A.” He also gave her a sketchbook filled with a series of drawings of dollar signs, which was later reproduced and published as the art book Andy Warhol: Making Money (Skira/Rizzoli, 2010).

Reinhold had imagined a career in business and enrolled at the Questrom School of Business in 1986. She discovered her passion for law junior year in the business law class taught by the late Jeffrey Beatty (LAW’78), a Questrom associate professor. Beatty, who was also a playwright, was fond of telling his students that the legal field offered just as much potential for drama and excitement as a career in the theater. The then-recent scandals on Wall Street provided plenty of material, Reinhold recalls.

“It was all about corporate mergers and acquisitions during the insider trading era, and was peppered with colorful gossip about extravagances and prostitutes during the financial boom and fall of the 1980s,” she says. “The professor was brilliant, and the subject was a tremendous amount of fun.”

Drawn to Los Angeles by the promise of palm trees and proximity to the entertainment industry, Reinhold attended Whittier Law School and held internships at Paramount Pictures and Concorde-New Horizons before joining the William Morris Agency (later William Morris Endeavor and today known as WME | IMG) as a music attorney, rising to become global head of music business affairs. She began her tenure specializing in negotiations for concert touring and live events, representing artists as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Rihanna.

“When I was at BU, we used to go to the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue and watch bands perform. When I started my career, during my first week at the William Morris Agency, an agent sent me an artist contract to review for their band, and it was for a rock show at the Paradise. I nearly fell off my chair. I felt such an enormous sense of accomplishment.”

Reinhold quickly learned that relationships are key in the live music sector of the industry, where agency attorneys were likely to encounter the same venue managers and tour promoters over and over. “It’s very relationship-based and old school,” she says. So, in her early years on the job, she treated conference calls with artists, artist managers, promoters, tour managers, booking agents, and venues as her classroom. She participated in as many conference calls as possible and says she “made it a point to note information such as the names of their children, personal interests, and what results were achieved.” She also learned the importance of just listening.

“Most people interrupt or talk over each other, especially when they’re trying to make a point—I’m sure I often did this myself,” she says. “Then one day, I was on a conference call with someone very important, who never said a word until it was clear the other person had finished speaking. The silence conveyed more power than the words.”

Early in her career, Reinhold focused on contracts and negotiations for live concert performance and touring. She recalls handling the artist contracts for her first Lollapalooza festival by “running around to all the dressing rooms, in my ripped jeans with a pen behind my ear, trying to get the artists to sign before they went onstage.”

The emergence of the digital era changed everything, giving artists much more power over their future. Reinhold began encountering “artists that owned their own intellectual property, publishing, and recording rights. Rather than solely relying on record labels and music publishers, artists were able to take control of their own rights and explore new flourishing online opportunities such as digital fan clubs, online merchandise stores, and music distribution.” In 2008, she responded to this new world, helping WME launch a division called Self Serve to aid artists traversing the changing marketplace.

The live music industry was evolving, too.

“What had once been a concert event or tour often began to encompass a host of additional rights, such as webcasting, recording, endorsements, sponsorships, and ticket packaging,” says Reinhold. “In order to navigate these ancillary revenue streams, it was important to explain the ramifications to clients and colleagues. Some of these areas, such as publishing rights and work-for-hire, can be really boring to explain, so one day, I created an animated avatar and made a two-minute video called ‘Music Licenses 101.’”

That first video grew into her “Get It?” YouTube series, a collection of short online animated videos where Reinhold explains some of the more mundane—yet critically important—details of topics such as crowdfunding, publishing, ownership, and digital royalties. Releasing one video each month, she chose some subjects that her colleagues asked about, and others that she wanted to understand better, “because the best way to understand what you don’t know,” she says, “is to try to teach it to someone else.”

In 2015, Reinhold struck out on her own as an entertainment attorney and business consultant, while remaining general counsel for Lollapalooza, LLC. The Lollapalooza festival began expanding internationally in 2011, and she’s helped bring it to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, and France.

Her job, she says, is to negotiate with the international promoters and consult with them throughout the festival development to preserve the integrity of the Lollapalooza brand. And while she no longer runs around backstage trying to snag artist signatures, she still goes to many festivals each year, enjoying the emerging artists as well as “learning how each international territory projects its unique culture onto the Lollapalooza brand,” she says.

Reinhold notes that access points to the industry for newcomers, whether they want to be an attorney, a band manager, or a promoter, are very different than when she started out. “The smaller companies have pretty much all been acquired by larger companies, and those companies are now acquiring new companies outside of their core businesses,” she says. “It’s advantageous and beneficial for scaling, but the industry has lost some of its old-school charm.”

Meanwhile, the demands on industry professionals’ time keep increasing. “Back in the day, people went home at night, or maybe you went to a show after work,” she says. “Now, you’re getting messages, video calls, and emails 24 hours a day, and if you don’t reply within 10 minutes, people wonder what happened to you.”

Despite the changes in the business, Reinhold believes the tools of success remain the same: show up, listen, and recognize key moments when they come along. In the early days of her career, no one imagined that music, television, and film would be distributed via the streaming, subscription-based plans that most consumers use today. “I often wonder what the next monumental shift will be—probably a mainstream, consumer, home-based adaptation of 3-D printing and holograms,” she says. “With the exponential pace of technology and quantum computing, there will be many amazing and exciting new avenues for the next generation of students to pioneer.”

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