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News February 8, 2024

Brett Oaten, Leading Music Industry Lawyer, Set to Retire

Senior Journalist, B2B
Brett Oaten, Leading Music Industry Lawyer, Set to Retire

Brett Oaten, one of Australia’s leading music industry lawyers, is retiring.

Oaten is principal of Brett Oaten Solicitors, the Newtown, Sydney-based entertainment, media and technology law firm.

Opening for business during the grunge era in 1992, the firm has represented “many of Australia’s leading artists and creative businesses” across music; radio, film and TV; tech and start-ups; arts, sports, fashion, hospitality and more, reads a statement on its official website.

In the music industry, Oaten principally represents artists and has worked with the likes of Amy Shark, the late, great Archie Roach, Gang of Youths, The Kid Laroi, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Lorde and Powderfinger.

Describing himself as a “huge music fan,” Oaten was happy to share advice from the stage at multiple editions of Bigsound, and penned a semi-regular Ask A Lawyer column with The Music Network.

“A bad deal is far more damaging to your career than no deal,” he told TMN back in 2012.

“What you’re looking out for really, before you even get to the fine print, is making sure that the band or the artist and their manager understands the deal that they’re doing,” Oaten explained for a “Hot Seat” interview, “and understands what they’re giving and what they’re getting so they can make an informed decision about whether weighing-up the advantages and disadvantages of doing something, whether that’s something they feel comfortable in doing.”

At times, he explained, “you see contracts that are absolutely appalling and sometimes, one of the difficult parts of the job, sometimes clients just want to hear what they want to hear. They want to be told that it’s really good. Because they think it’s an opportunity, and they don’t want their opportunity to be dashed. Sometimes it’s terrible. And if it’s terrible, you’ve got to wonder about the motives of the person who offered you the terrible agreement and whether you want to be in business with then even if they made it not-terrible.”

Oaten is a founding board member and life member of community radio station FBi, and has sat on several startup advisory boards.

Read more here and here.

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