WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
P R A V E E N B H A T I A
ATTORNEY + PARTNER
Photograph by Aaron Gaiger
I. The last year has been an exciting and challenging year. A year ago I left the big brand media law firm where I learnt my trade and “grew up” to join a small boutique law firm as a partner, and launch my own practice. With two small children, it’s cool to be my own boss and work the hours that suit me. That’s been invaluable, but at the end of the day it’s still been a lot of work, and a big investment in terms of time.
II. I have had the privilege of being instructed by some great and talented people from CEO and President to artist and entrepreneur. In the last year I have been instructed by more and more women, at very exciting times in their careers, as artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and executives. I still come across horror stories though of women being undermined just because they are women, usually around the time they have children. It’s sad and frustrating that with so many good things going on in this industry, there are still dark hidden corners where women are still treated like this. Women need to know their worth and to be firm about this, and for the industry to be open and innovative in the way it approaches women in music.
III. Rights exploiters still trying to stitch up the artist, own everything, have total control. I’ve noticed a shift in attitude over the years with labels and managers genuinely acting with integrity and wanting from the outset to do fair deals with their artists but there are people in music who work in an incredibly selfish and self-serving way and still look to completely control and exploit the artist. The manager who wants to own recording and publishing and tie the young artist into a six year deal with no break clause; the production company asking its artists to sign over everything, forever, for a terrible deal. It’s an outdated way of thinking and it’s depressing that some up and coming folk are still thinking in this way. Also, artists are more educated these days, and can do their own research.
IV. I have some very cool clients, doing different things, at different stages of their career and across different genres of music, creatives and businesses but what they have in common is that they don’t have fixed name labels for themselves. These clients have a number of projects on the go at once, and they are comfortable and confident about that. It’s great, and I enjoy working on these projects, as it’s how I work professionally too, so I get it. It’s great to have some of the boundaries in music come down. I love that the artists I work with can still be pure about their music, and they are also sharp about the deals they do, and the fine details. As for some of the businesses I work with, some of the success stories at the moment are people with multiple skill sets, within music and sometimes in other sectors as well. I admire Marium Raja who has worked at top labels and then in the tech sector. She has a very determined and impressive vision with her Nation of Billions platform. Music is core to her business and what she is passionate about, and around that she’s built a platform that incorporates great content and lifestyle, and although it’s still young, people are talking about it and it’s being used as a reference point by established brands and names within music and in the media. To grow a lifestyle brand in music that fast is skillful.
V. We need to talk more about encouraging and supporting innovation from within the music industry, instead of just changing practices as a reaction or as a defence. I believe there is so much talent coming up in the industry, fresh ideas, and proactive innovation and evolution. These people need to be supported.
VI. I am for authenticity and integrity.