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WHO IS JASON BOYARSKI, AND WHY IS EVERYBODY TALKING ABOUT HIM?

If you do a Google news search on Prince, you’ll frequently encounter the name Jason Boyarski, the attorney who represents the late artist’s estate. For that reason, you’ll undoubtedly be reading about him in the weeks and months ahead. Boyarski, it should be noted at the top, was not involved in the controversial $30m licensing deal with UMG for certain as yet unrevealed Prince recordings.

Boyarski’s experience is in music publishing—he held executive posts at three major pubcos—and he negotiated what’s viewed as a mutually beneficial deal with UMPG, where he once worked, to administer Prince’s entire song catalog. Boyarski also repped the estate in a performance-rights deal with Irving Azoff and Randy Grimmett’s nontraditional PRO Global Music Rights, which most view as the right fit for the music of this groundbreaking artist.   

These agreements were finalized in November and January, respectively, while L. Londell McMillan and Charles Koppelman were acting as advisors to the estate. Both were removed on 2/13, just days after the UMG deal was announced; Troy Carter was named Entertainment Advisor on 4/10. If Boyarski is aware of the recordings that were covered—and not covered—by the deal, he’s not presently in a position to make the information public. 

Like Trump’s tax returns, those details remain veiled in mystery, fueling the ongoing drama, which was ramped up on 4/14 when The Wall Street Journal and Variety reported that UMG may decide to ask the estate to refund the entire $30m, presumably having concluded it was misled as to what, exactly, it was actually getting for that big check. Koppelman was believed to be responsible for publishing rights, while McMillan focused on recordings.

Deals finalized during McMillan and Koppelman’s stewardship also included a merch hook-up with UMG-owned Bravado, while Prince’s catalog became available on the streaming services on 2/12, the day before their removal.

Some background: Boyarski is a partner in the New York-based law firm Boyarski Fritz LLP, a firm he co-founded with fellow entertain­ment and media attorney David Fritz. Among the firm’s other notable clients are BMG, Disney Music, Adam Alpert and Disruptor Records, Marc Anthony and his Magnus Media agency, Joan Jett and Blackheart Records, AAM and lyric app MusiXmatch.

The partners formed Boyarski Fitz following Boyarski’s departure in 2011 from Warner/Chappell, where he’d been SVP/GM since 2008, on the heels of Len Blavatnik’s acquisition of Warner Music Group. Before that, he worked at UMPG and BMG Music Publishing.

More info can be found on the firm’s website.  

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