In this series of essays, Lawyers Update helps you to get into world's top law schools.
"I Want to Be a Lawyer Because."
A cheesy, badly acted, low-budget teen soap opera from Taiwan called Meteor Garden starring F4-a clique of four long-haired male models-was my summer "reading" project this year. Over the last three years, from Bangkok to Beijing , all of Southeast Asia succumbed to F4 frenzy. By the time I sat down to watch Meteor Garden , the boys of F4 had already filmed a sequel, released four albums, endorsed products like Pepsi and Yamaha, and temporarily retired. In F4 are lessons on pop careers brilliantly managed. Their success is a reminder of the invincible power of pop culture-a power I want to help harness as a music lawyer.
The success of Meteor Garden and F4 was the carefully planned work of professionals. To start with, F4's good looks and charm appealed to females. They shared a bond of loyal friendship appealing to males. They easily transitioned their on-screen personalities into musical styles. In addition, most songs on F4 albums are credited to one member, establishing each as a solo star from day one. But more importantly, F4 was able to dominate the media by focusing with laserlike precision on one sector at a time-first TV, then music, then photo books, then live concerts. They produced products maximizing the potential of each medium, raising the standard for a pop act in each instance. By conquering each medium in advancing the F4 brand, the managers have revolutionized the possibilities and scope of pop-culture marketing.
Those innovations and the infinite possibilities of those to come are the reasons I want to become a music lawyer. After having read the definitive books on music law this summer (by Passman and by Krasilovsky and Gross), I have come to understand the delicacy, even the Euclidean beauty, of a well-negotiated music contract. Lawyers in music are particularly influential because they often act like agents, guiding an artist to the proper record-label channels and building relationships with both creative and business staff. In music, as in few other fields, the lawyer directly influences the client's career directions. With years observing the U.S., U.K., and Asian pop-culture industries, as an aficionado, as General Manager of the campus radio station, and as a censor at ABC TV this summer, I feel ready to start applying and translating what I have learned to the Market.
F4 has succeeded spectacularly, but they are an exception in an industry in crisis. Some have even advised me not to go into music in this economic climate. On the contrary, I see this time as the most interesting period to enter the industry, because it is today's pioneers who are abandoning decades-old thinking and establishing the revolutionary models and strategies of the next generation. A weak market favors bold action, creative thinking, and risk taking-all approaches I am eager to bring to the pop-culture industry. As F4 demonstrates, the rewards are enormous. Good music lawyers are particularly needed now because the undeveloped body of law regarding new technologies is at least partly to blame for the free fall of the industry. Lawyers must therefore be at the forefront of reshaping the industry.
Reviving the pop-culture industry is much more than a business concern, however. Five years ago, Chinatowns in Indonesia were burned and looted; today young Indonesians learn the latest Chinese songs of F4 by heart. Pop is arguably the world's most powerful force among young people, one that unites people across every barrier of language, culture, national border, or socio-economic status. A phenomenon like Meteor Garden literally defines the dreams of millions. I firmly believe that there is no better way to influence and develop the potential of youth than with pop culture, and I want to be a part of that process as an entertainment lawyer.