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  • Do you remember, in your youth, the experience of purchasing a new, much longed-for CD, fighting to remove the Ft. Knox-style plastic, carefully peeling off the sealing label with the artist's name and album title, putting the CD in your player, and pouring over the CD booklet while you listened? Looking at the fabulous pictures of your new favorite artist, reading the lyrics, and perhaps even studying the little teeny tiny names in the liner notes. Wondering who all those producers and musicians must be. I was always curious, in particular, about the "Thank Yous" section. Who were these people? Family? Friends? God seemed to be a pretty popular choice, but I had an idea of who he was. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that, someday, I would join the ranks of the Tiny Names.

    They don't give entertainment attorneys Grammys. And they certainly don't give entertainment attorneys' assistants and paralegals Grammys either. But sometimes, we do get credits. And that tiny credit is keeping me up at the moment. Being a Tiny Name can be huge work.

    When a musical artist or group releases an album, their attorney has to "paper" that album. This entails drafting and negotiating every agreement for every producer, side artist (someone featured, usually vocally, in the main artist's song), and anyone else who has been brought in by the artist, their management or their label to which they're signed, to render services in connection with that album. There is more to it than just creating an agreement and arranging for the parties' signatures; there are egos. Lots of egos with lots of requests and senses of entitlement. They're Bigger Names. Bigger Names are hard work.

    My Bigger Name boss is a calm, super cool, professional woman. But no matter how early you start the process of gathering the necessary information, and no matter how meticulous you attempt to be in keeping track of that information, you will inevitably be under the gun when the album's release date looms ever closer. And that's when Bigger Names stress out Tiny Names.

    I do not mistake the opportunity, nor am I ungrateful. It's not a thankless job; my boss is vocally appreciative of me nearly every day. I believe this will be my 5th album thank you. But after the listening parties are over and the record has hit its sales peak, we still grind on, tying up the loose ends and placating inflamed creative types.

    So in the digital age of low sales of physical copies of albums, don't forget to still consider that, while you no longer look at that teeny tiny print on the physical CD book, those Tiny Names are still out there, hoping that someone is wondering who we are.
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