Joel A. Katz

Joel A. Katz

Shareholder

Joel Katz is the Founding Chairman of the firm’s Global Entertainment and Media Practice and the Founding Shareholder of the Atlanta Office. Joel has been ranked Billboard magazine's number-one entertainment attorney in its 'Power 100' list of most powerful executives in the music business, and has been called "the dealmaker who thinks outside the box." The world’s most famous entertainers place their trust in him to craft the breakthrough deals that boost their careers, cultivate their talents and safeguard their assets. His star-studded client roster includes music industry legends from an array of genres, as well as music producers, record companies, concert promoters and corporate heavy hitters. A powerful force in the entertainment industry, Joel is an energetic and influential contributor who has played a profound role in shaping his profession and also in spearheading philanthropic endeavors in education and in cancer research.

Concentrations

  • Entertainment law
  • Executive compensation agreements
  • Entertainment related corporate acquisitions and mergers
  • Consultation of multi-national and multi-media entertainment companies
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Capabilities

Experience

  • Negotiated and closed on behalf of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw six recording agreements with Sony Music; two for Faith Hill, two for Tim McGraw, and two for the duo.
  • Negotiated and closed, on behalf of United Music Agency (UMA), a licensing agreement with the three leading international music rights holders – UMG, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and others. This historic agreement provides Russian's with licensed music via services that compensate recording artists.
  • The African Music Institute (AMI) in Libreville, Gabon opens in September 2017 which includes Berklee College of Music’s Berklee on the Road program. This is the result of his representation of the West African nation of Gabon in structuring a memorandum of understanding in 2015 between the Gabonese Republic and The Berklee College of Music to create a pan-African music University to be designed and built in the capital of Libreville, Gabon.
  • Represented the West African nation of Gabon in the development of an African Music Museum to be built in the African Music Institute in the capital of Libreville, Gabon with The GRAMMY Museum.
  • Negotiated, on behalf of the Recording Academy, a new ten-year television contract with CBS, extending their very successful relationship.
  • Negotiated with John Branca of Ziffren Brittenham on behalf of the Michael Jackson Estate the sale of the Estate’s ownership interest of Sony/ATV.
  • Negotiated and closed, on behalf of Blackbird Presents, a financing arrangement with Raine Partners to finance music television programming globally.
  • Negotiated, on behalf of the estate of Michael Jackson, the $750 million sale of Jackson’s 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing to Sony Corp.
  • Negotiated employment agreements on behalf of more than thirty senior industry executives, including Sony Nashville's top 2015 hires.
  • Negotiated and closed a renewal agreement of the distribution contract between Big Machine Label Group and Universal Music Group.
  • Negotiated and closed an agreement between The Recording Academy and the "Big 3" record companies to continue "The GRAMMY Nominees Album," which is a compilation album of Grammy nominated artists released before the airing of the annual Grammy Awards.
  • Lawyer, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 1969-1971
  • Founder, Katz, Smith & Cohen, 1981-1998
  • Senior Partner, Galkin, Katz & Tye, 1971-1981
  • Law Clerk, Medium-sized Atlanta law firm, 1969-1971
  • Law Professor, Georgia State University, 1969-1971

Recognition & Leadership

  • Recipient, “100 Most Distinguished Alumnus Award,” The University of Tennessee’s Centennial Alumnus100th Anniversary Celebration, Knoxville, October 13, 2017
  • Listed,The Best Lawyers in America, Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television; Entertainment Law - Music, 1989-2018
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Entertainment Law – Music, Atlanta, 2014
  • Listed, Variety, "Variety500," – inaugural list of entertainment business leaders, September 26, 2017 
  • Listed, Variety, “Dealmakers Elite: New York," September 26, 2017
  • Named, Billboard magazine, “Top Music Lawyer of the Year," July 2017
  • Named, Billboard magazine, "Nashville Country Power Players" List, 2016-2017
  • Listed, Variety, "Legal Impact Report: 50 Game-Changing Attorneys," 2012-2013 and 2017
  • Named, Billboard magazine, "The Power 100," Top-ranked attorney for Entertainment Law – Music, worldwide, 2012-2017
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, National - Intellectual Property, 2008-2017
  • Named, The Hollywood Reporter, "Power Lawyers: Top 100 Most Influential Entertainment Lawyers in America," 2007-2017
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, 2004-2017
    • "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," 2008, 2012-2017
  • Listed, Georgia Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," 2009, 2011-2013 and 2015-2017
  • Recipient, "Spirit of Life" Award, City of Hope, November 10, 2016
  • Honoree, King of Carnival, The 7th Annual Starfish Ball, The NSORO Foundation, January 23, 2016
  • Named, Billboard magazine, "Music's Most Powerful Attorneys," 2015
  • Named, Billboard magazine, "Top 50 Nashville Players," 2015
  • Listed, Who’s Who Legal: Sports & Entertainment, 2015
  • Recipient, Honorary Doctorate, University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, July 29, 2014
  • Listed, Variety, Dealmakers Impact Report, 2010-2011 and 2014
  • Selected, AlwaysOn, Power Players in Digital Entertainment, 2013
  • Recipient, Icon of the Industry Award, The Technology Association of Georgia Entertainment Society, September 19, 2013
  • Selected, a Law360 "MVP," 2012
  • Listed, Major Label News, "Most Powerful List," Music Edition - Top Entertainment Lawyer, October 2012
  • Named, a U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Law Firm of the Year," Entertainment Law - Music, 2011-2012
  • Listed, New York Times' Supplement: Georgia’s Best Lawyers, "Top Entertainment Attorney of the Year," 2011
  • Recipient, ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Department’s 2011 "Atlanta Legends" Award, September 28, 2011
  • Recipient, Commitment to Education Award, ORT Atlanta, December 4, 2010
  • Recipient, "Distinguished Alumnus Award," University of Tennessee, Knoxville, September 10, 2010
  • Recipient, "Service Award," Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI), The GRAMMY Foundation, January 29, 2010
  • Recipient, "Middelton-Candler Millennium Gate Prize," The National Monuments Foundation, December 5, 2009
  • Selected, Benchmark Litigation Guide, one of the 40 "Litigation Stars" in Georgia, 2009
  • Recipient, Bridge to Achievement Award, Hunter College, October 23, 2008
  • Recipient, Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree, Hunter College, June 4, 2008
  • Dedication, Governor Sonny Perdue renamed a portion of Northside Parkway in Atlanta as JOEL KATZ PARKWAY in recognition of his many contributions to the State of Georgia, May 2008
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Media and Entertainment - Film, Music and TV, 2007-2008
  • Recipient, "Chairman of the Year" and "Business of the Year," The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007
  • Recipient, "Outstanding Georgia Citizen," Secretary of State, The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007
  • Recipient, "Spirit of Excellence Award," T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research, 2007
  • Recipient, "Ed Ruben Award" for distinguished service and scholarship, ABA Entertainment and Sports Law, 2006
  • Listed, Lawdragon 500, "Leading Lawyers in America," 2005
  • Inducted, Hunter College Hall of Fame, 2003
  • Recipient, "Spirit of Music Award," UJA Federation of New York and The Music for Youth Foundation, 2003
  • Recipient, "Heroes Award," Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, 2002
  • Named, Georgia Trend magazine, "100 Most Influential Georgians," January 2002
  • Dedication, "Joel A. Katz Law Library," University of Tennessee College of Law, 1999
  • Recipient, "University of Tennessee Founder's Day Medal," 1999
  • Inducted, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 1995
  • Listed, Who's Who in America
  • Listed, Who's Who Among Outstanding Americans
  • Listed, Who's Who in Entertainment
  • Listed, Who's Who in Executives and Professionals
  • Listed, Who's Who in Georgia
  • Listed, Who's Who in the World
  • Team Leader, Investment Dealers Digest, "Deal of the Year"
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Inaugural Advisory Board Member, Midem, Present
  • Member, American Bar Association, Present
    • Chairman, Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, 2000-2001
  • Member, Atlanta Bar Association, Present
  • Member, Georgia Bar Association, Present
  • Member, Tennessee Bar Association, Present
  • Chairman, T. J. Martell Foundation, National Board of Directors, February 2017-Present
    • Board Member, National Board of Directors, 2009-2017
    • Board Member, Advisory Board of Directors, 1995-2003
  • Board Member, Berklee College of Music, Board of Trustees, 2014-Present
  • Board Member, Hunter College, Music Advisory Board, 2011-Present
  • Board Member, GRAMMY Museum, Initial Board of Directors, 2008-Present
  • Special Counsel, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2006-Present
  • Fellow, Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), 2005-Present
  • General Counsel, The Recording Academy (NARAS), 2003-Present
    • Former Executive Entertainment Counsel, 2000-2002
    • Founding Chairman, Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI), 1998-1999
    • Chairman Emeritus, 1997-1998
    • Board Member, NARAS Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1995-1996
    • National Chairman, 1995-1996
  • Special Counsel, Country Music Association, 1998-Present
  • General Counsel and Board Member, Farm Aid Inc., Board of Directors, 1985-Present
  • Donor, Joel A. Katz Music is Medicine Collection  to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The gift coincides with the T.J. Martell Foundation's establishment of The Joel A. Katz Music is Medicine Fund, which provides support for innovative cancer research at Winship, February 4, 2016
  • Board Member, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC, Appointed by Michael Jackson and confirmed by the Michael Jackson Estate, Board of Representatives, 2009-2016
  • Board Member, Million Women March For Endometriosis, Advisory Board, 2014-2015
  • Board Member, 2014 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Selection Board of Advisors, 2013-2014
  • Board Director, Luxure Media Group, 2012-2014
  • Board Member, TouchTunes, Board of Directors, 2009-2014
  • Board Member, MultiplyLive, Board of Directors, 2012-2013
  • Chairman, USO, Entertainment Advisory Council, 2010-2013
  • Board Member, Digital College Network, Board of Directors, 2010-2012
  • Board Member, Charity Partners, LLC, 2009-2012
  • Music Industry Representative, State of Georgia, Film, Video and Music Advisory Commission (Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue), 2004-2011
  • Donor, Kennesaw State University, Launch of Entertainment and Music Management Certificate Program, June 2010
  • Board Member, Evergreen Copyrights Acquisitions, LLC, Board of Directors, 2005-2010
  • Board Member, International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, Board Member, 2006-2008
  • Board Member, Natrol, Inc., Board of Directors, 2006-2008
  • Board Member, WhiteFence, Board of Directors, 2005-2008
  • Board Member, The Buckhead Club, Board of Governors, 2004-2008
  • Board Member, The Yellowstone Club, Board Advisory of Directors, 2004-2008
  • Advisory Council, Otis Redding Big "O" Youth Educational Dream Foundation, 2007
  • Vice Chairman, Baldwin Piano Corporation, 2005-2007
  • Vice Chairman, Gibson Guitar Corp., Board of Directors, 2000-2007
    • Board Member, Gibson Foundation, Board of Directors, 2000-2007
      • Vice Chairman, 2000-2007
  • Board Member, Very Special Arts, Advisory Board, 1994-2005
  • Chairman, America's Junior Miss, Board of Advisors, 2000-2004
  • Board Member, Entertainment & Finance Law Journal, Board of Directors, 1995-1999
  • Board Member, State of Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority, Board of Directors, 1994-1999
  • Chairman, Georgia State University, Commercial Music Program, College of Arts & Sciences, Board of Advisors, 1995-1997
  • Board Member, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Board of Advisors, 1996
  • Board Member, Very Special Arts, Board of Directors, 1991-1994
  • Board Member, Atlanta Songwriters Association, Advisory Board, 1992
  • Member and Chairman, State Bar of Georgia, Entertainment & Sports Law Section, 1992
  • Advisory Board, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, 1991
  • Advisory Council, The Music Educators National Conference

Credentials

Education
  • Ph.D., Honorary Doctorate, University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University
  • Ph.D., Honorary Doctorate, City University of New York at Hunter College, 2008
  • J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, 1969
  • B.A., Economics, City University of New York at Hunter College, 1966
Admissions
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee