Name Craig Averill
Company Serling Rooks Ferrara McKoy & Worob, LLP
Role Of Counsel
Headquarters New York City
How did you get started in the music business?
I was going to this East Village store called 99x that specialized in punk rock and mod clothing, the owner was from England and imported brands that were hard to get at the time in the US.
At the entrance of the store I noticed a flyer for a new fanzine and what really caught my attention was that the mailing address for the fanzine was my Brooklyn apartment. My brother started the fanzine and used my address without mentioning to me. Anyhow, I ended up helping him print the fanzine and became more and more involved with writing for the fanzine and we eventually started DJ’ing and booking and promoting live shows. That was the start, each time we tried to do something new we would figure it out then think... wow we can do that. The entire process made me realize the music industry was accessible to me.
How would you describe the brand associated with your law practice?
My law practice thrives in that play between independents and majors and has an international lean. Over the years I have been fortunate to represent recording artists such as Interpol, Phoenix, Lykke Li, Battles and Two Door Cinema Club; I have also been lucky to work with what I call “art and commerce” clients like James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem and DFA Records and Alain Macklovitch A-trak... Duck Sauce and his label Fool’s Gold. These are clients who are talented as recording artists, producers and have a great entrepreneurial spirit.
Tell me about the last year you’ve had personally and professionally?
At the top of last year I committed to travel more during the year both professionally and personally. I was able to combine really good business and personal trips throughout this year. I also surf and have been getting my two children Fiona (age 8) and Liam (age 6) into surfing as well. Apart from weekends when I was away traveling for work last year I was able to go surfing in every weekend from beginning of April until now.
How would you describe the culture of your law practice?
My law practice and the attorneys I work with all have a common theme of being true music lovers as well has having extensive experience and knowledge about a variety of transactions in the music and entertainment industries. My core practice involves artists who tend to want creative control in their agreements.
How do you celebrate?
My favorite way of celebrating with a client is over a great meal in a special restaurant. I have celebrated in that manner throughout the world and and those dinners tend to be a great bonding experience between the client and I. I can easily recall many of the meals I have enjoyed with my clients after concluding a significant transaction for them. Some of my client’s like James Murphy and The Shout Out Louds have introduced me to great restaurants as well, chefs and musicians seem to be like minded these days.
Which artists inspire you on a visual / creative level?
I am fortunate to be able to limit this response to artist that I represent – Interpol, Phoenix, Battles, Lykke Li, James Murphy just to name a few of the many artist I have represented who have inspired me both musically and visually. These artist have that intuitive know how to create consistent imaging around their music that results in a particular culture around each release.
If you could provoke change in any area of the music business, what would it be?
My provocation to change in the music industry can be summed up in one word which is transparency. Agreements can be comprehensive but brief, the documents should say what they mean in plain english. Royalty arrangements and affiliated statements should be understandable and straight forward. One particular record deal that I was involved with has been the basis of a very successful arrangement for both the artist and the label and that agreement is just over ten pages.
*Photograph by Isaac Rosenthal
Shot on location at Space4shoots http://space4shoots.com/blog/