Music Industry Moves: Attorney Joel Katz Joins New Law Firm, CMA Staffs Up

Attorney Joel Katz, former founding chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s entertainment and media practice and a top official at the Recording Academy, has joined Barnes & Thornburg. He will remain based in Atlanta, where he will serve as as senior counsel for the firm’s entertainment, media and sports practice. The news was first reported by Billboard.

“Mr. Katz has a distinguished 50-year legal career representing numerous well-known artists, producers, record labels, prominent organizations in the music industry, and Fortune 500 companies,” a rep for the firm said in a statement. “He also has been deeply involved in countless community and philanthropic organizations in Atlanta and around the country.”

Katz resigned from Greenberg Traurig “by mutual understanding” at the end of 2020. He was accused of sexual harassment earlier that year by ousted president-CEO in a blockbuster legal complaint against the organization, the investigation of which is ongoing; she also sent a memo to the Academy’s head of HR expressing concern about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, which were more than $1 million per year to two firms, including Greenberg Traurig, over the tax years 2013-2018. Katz has helmed several major deals in recent years, including the Grammy Awards’ 10-year, $500 million deal with CBS in 2016 and the 2019 sale of Big Machine Label Group to Ithaca Holdings and The Carlyle Group. He has also represented many executives (including L.A. Reid and Republic Records’ Monte and Avery Lipman) over the years as well as artists including Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Buffett, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson and many others.

+ The Country Music Association has announced the hiring of Todd Hartley as Senior Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs, effective Wednesday, April 7, as well as the recent promotions of three staff members within CMA’s marketing department. Catherine Frizzell has been elevated to Vice President, Marketing, while Amanda Eckard has been promoted to Head, Creative & Content Development, and Pamela Hothorn to Senior Manager, Creative Operations.



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