Producer ATL Jacob’s Business Team Talks Shop at BESLS Entertainment Symposium

ATL Jacob, the Grammy-winning music producer known for his work with Future, Kanye West, and Drake, among others, has become a star in his own right, but the chemistry doesn’t just take place in the studio. 
At Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society (BESLS)’s inaugural Entertainment Symposium on April 21, the keynote panel, “Anatomy of a Star: The Rise of ATL Jacob,” outlined how the producer’s team supports his success. Adjunct Professor Vernon Brown, founder of V. Brown and Company and ATL Jacob’s business manager, moderated the panel, which included ATL Jacob’s attorney, Michael Reinert, a partner at Fox Rothschild. Billboard ranked both as top music lawyers for 2023, while Brooklyn Law was  its No. 2 school for music lawyers. Other panelists were top executives from ATL Jacob’s record label, Republic Records: Monte Lipman, cofounder and CEO, and Danielle Price, executive vice president.  
The daylong symposium offered lessons and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for those aspiring to or already working in entertainment law.  
Bringing the Team Together 
Brown said 100,000 records are released daily, so getting industry attention is difficult. When ATL Jacob first phoned Reinert, the attorney felt the young producer wasn’t ready and asked him to reach out in six months. ATL Jacob did, saying he had a publishing deal about to expire. After Reinert called around, he learned Jacob had talent and promise. His record label had “recouped” its expenses under the deal 18 months earlier and he had delivered 15 songs. 
“One of the first things I said to [ATL Jacob] was, ‘I want to work with you and we’re going to set this up the right way,’” Reinert said. “’The first thing we will do is bring in Vernon Brown, who will handle the money side. I’ll do the business side, and you’re going to do the creative side.’” 
Reinert set up corporate and financial structures, Brown flew to Atlanta to meet ATL Jacob, learning that the producer had started out rapping in high school, where he and other aspiring musicians made liberal use of the band and computer classroom resources. One of ATL Jacob’s first business decisions was to donate money to the school. “A lot of people don’t make those calls, so it was refreshing to see that,” Brown said.  
ATL Jacob said his first big break came when he teamed up with rapper Future, whose hit song “Wait for U,” with Drake and Tems, won the musicians and the producer a 2022 Grammy for Best Melodic Rap Performance. One thing driving his success, ATL Jacob said, is an eye for novelty. “What a lot of people don’t understand is they try to make what’s already hot, or what sounds good now. You’re either gonna make the wave, ride the wave, or drown in it. And so, I make the wave,” he said.  
Communication is key. ATL Jacobs talks and texts almost daily with Reinert, documenting the status of all his tracks. There are weekly business affairs meetings with Reinert and Brown, which ATL Jacobs missed only once, while working with Drake in Toronto, and even then, he called to let the team know.  
Negotiating the Republic Deal 
Last September, Republic Records announced it had signed a deal with ATL Jacob and his record label Wicked Money Family, which was founded in 2019 and has a roster of producers, artists, and creatives. ATL Jacob also plans to rap under this deal.  
Since ATL Jacob just had a hit with Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin,” there were three or four record labels circling, Brown said.  
“A lot of people were interested, but we didn’t talk to everybody,” Reinert said. When a client is looking for a contract with a label, he asks who or which company the client is interested in, makes introductions, and lets the client decide. Reinert, who had spent 14 years as executive vice president of business and legal affairs at Republic, made that introduction.  
“It shouldn't be about the deal first,” Reinert said. “It should be about finding a home, finding people who you believe in, who believe in you, and having that trust factor. Then the business comes, and then I do my job.”  
ATL Jacob said the Republic team felt like family. “It felt like a welcome home, party, and I wasn’t even there yet,” he said. 
“There were some twists and turns, without getting into the particulars,” Brown said of the negotiations. Even though Reinert worked with Republic executives, and the lawyer was an old friend, it was an “aggressive negotiation,” he said. 
Price, also an attorney, remembered being impressed with ATL Jacob’s level-headedness and insightful questions as the team discussed business and legal matters. “I'm a firm believer that when you have an artist that we know is a successful creative and you marry that with an artist who has a business mind, then the sky truly is the limit,” Price said.  
Lipman said he felt ATL Jacob was a “force of nature and creative genius” who could diversify beyond the hip-hop genre where he was already successful. “We were just trying to play it cool in the room,” Lipman said. “We were very anxious because we were afraid that if we didn't do this right, he would walk across the street and would end up at Atlantic Records or perhaps somewhere else.” 
Emily Pollak ’23 said she was proud of BESLS’s hard work in creating a successful event that brought together an exceptional group of industry experts, including esteemed alumni, Michael Maizner '03, founder and managing partner at Maizner & Associates, and Erica Carter ’15, senior counsel at Epic Games. Other panels included discussion of tax incentive legislation to promote film/TV production nationwide, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, and the impact of emerging tech on the industry.  
“I hope that the symposium will continue to benefit future generations of BLS students who share a passion for entertainment law,” Pollak said. “By maintaining our commitment to providing an educational forum for the discussion of legal issues in the entertainment industry, we can help to uphold BLS's reputation as a top school for entertainment law. I look forward to seeing what the second annual BESLS Entertainment Symposium looks like from a seat in the crowd, as a proud alum.”