Say hello to new Entertainment Studies instructor Jonathan Larr! Jonathan will be teaching Legal and Practical Aspects of the Music Business this winter. He is an entertainment attorney at Icarus Law, PC in Los Angeles, a boutique transactional entertainment law firm whose clients include recording artists, songwriters, and producers. Jonathan has over a decade of experience in the industry both as a lawyer and, formerly, as an artist manager. He has written extensively for publications including the LACBA Entertainment Law Journal as well as Hypebot. He also edits the LACBA Entertainment Law Journal and sits on the board for numerous charities including City of Hope FutureHope, Notes for Notes and Musicians at Play.
We sat down with Jonathan and asked him 5 questions to get to know more about him and his course.
What about teaching for Entertainment Studies are you most looking forward to?
I’m most excited about giving my students a pathway into a career in the music business. The Entertainment Studies classes that I took 10 years ago made my dream career into a reality. Having the ability to do that for others means everything to me.
What do you hope students get out of your course?
I want my students to get an idea of the day to day reality of working in the music business. My class will expose them to real world contracts and situations so they are prepared for anything they might encounter. High level class guests will further this goal by talking about their work in all areas of the business.
What is one thing you want students to know before they begin your class?
I understand that a large part of the appeal of working in entertainment is the glitz and glamour of the profession. However, my students should know that the actual work isn’t very different from other fields. I also started with these dreams but, fortunately, it turned out that I loved the difficulties and complexities of the actual work involved. This is the reason I have been lucky enough to do this for over a decade and it is something that you need to have to succeed.
What are you watching or listening to these days that you are enjoying?
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Conan O’Brien’s podcast has been consistently great as well as How Did This Get Made. As for music, I’ve been into Phoebe Bridgers and her various side projects. I saw Against Me! live again recently and they continue to be my favorite band. As for TV, I’m really into Watchmen and Schitt’s Creek. I also play a ton of video games, most recently a lot of Apex Legends.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to break into your field?
You need to understand the reality of working in the music business. Once you’re sure that you enjoy the actual work, you need to learn how to network. The music business is built on relationships. I hated this advice when I was getting started because people always told me this but never said how to actually do it. For me, the first step was just to practice and get better at it. I’ll discuss this much more in my class but if you view the goal of going to business events as gaining experience rather than immediately getting a job you’ll be far better off psychologically. It took me a long time to get good at networking but lowering the stakes of the events I went to made it much easier.