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    • There is that sweet sound of music as Universal Music Group’s IPO debuted as the largest in the history of the music business, with the listing on Euronext Amsterdam valuing the company at more than $53 billion. The stock’s closing share price was €25.10 – 36 percent above its initial reference price of €18.50. This IPO marks a major turning point for the industry, signaling the strong appetite for music content, also with the rise and sustained popularity of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
    • Will brands continue to widen their scope and collaborate more and more with contemporary artists and designers (in addition to celebrities and star athletes) to transform products into art masterpieces? Such is the case with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), a luxury goods conglomerate, which has an abundance of cultural infrastructure in place to support these partnerships. LVMH’s luxury Swiss watchmaker Hublot is partnering with a number of artists such as Brazilian artist Romero Britto, and writer and art world star Takashi Murakami to create new takes on the watch brand’s Classic Fusion line.
    • NFTs once again dominate the headlines this week with owners of KB24 (Kobe Bryant’s former website) launching Kobe-inspired art collectibles as NFTs for a charitable cause and receiving more than 7,000 reservations for the auction already; Tiger Woods releasing an NFT collection of his digital signature and other memorabilia through Autograph (company co-founded by Tom Brady); and Jay-Z embroiled in a legal battle with Damon Dash over NFTs.

    • Esteemed filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s decision to leave his 19-year-long relationship with Warner Bros. for Universal to make his next film (about Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of an atomic bomb) continues to highlight the strife between studios and talent. Nolan and Warner Bros. had been clashing over ongoing issues, including disagreements over his contract, his entire 2021 slate being released simultaneously on HBO Max during the height of the pandemic, and release plans for “Tenet.”
    • The intersection of music and sports may have reached a fever pitch: Drake will be curating music for 10 of the Monday Night Football games, producing what CEO of Trillernet Mahi de Silva calls “four-quadrant” entertainment (starting with last Monday’s Baltimore Ravens-Las Vegas Raiders game), which aims to capture a wider, and sometimes overlapping fan base, to ultimately create a cultural moment that’s larger than life.
    • Apple has announced it has created a new process that can properly identify rights holders of the music used in DJ mixes and will be able to directly pay them.
    • NIL opportunities for college athletes continue to pick up steam. Marketing and licensing agency The Brandr Group is partnering with Altius Sports Partners to provide student athletes education around their NIL rights and group licensing opportunities in tandem with the athletic departments.

    • NFT and Crypto ArtWith crypto investment frauds on the rise, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent a warning to investors and published an investor alert listing out possible signs of a scam. Along similar lines, a Bloomberg article discusses the critical need for financial regulators to provide investors with tools to protect themselves when investing in NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
    • NFTs further infiltrate Hollywood and now the hospitality industry. The Dream Hollywood Hotel, located in Los Angeles, built The Crypt Gallery inside the hotel, featuring one of the city’s first collections of NFT art that’s also open to the public.
    • Music Business Worldwide’s analysis of Spotify’s streaming numbers for Drake’s latest album debut, “Certified Lover Boy,” tells the tale of the fickle minds of the modern music fans and the challenge to attract their attention, even for a blockbuster album.

    • "Whose job is in Jeopardy?" Mike Richards may be an appropriate answer. Sony announces that he will be dropped as Executive Producer of the program on the tails of stepping down as a host. He joins a number of celebrities who have made similar exits from their posts as a result of questionable past actions and comments. The iconic gameshow continues its search to replace Alex Trebek.
    • In a blast from the past, the 'Nirvana Baby' is back in the headlines raising issues of right of publicity, emotional distress and child pornography laws. This seems to be a flip-turn from his past reenactments of the photo (albeit not nude) that he previously did for the album's key anniversaries. The 30-year old Spencer Elden has filed a federal lawsuit against the estate of Kurt Cobain and other band members.
    • With the NFT market showing no signs of slowing down, a new trend may be fractional ownership of the NFTs. The Doge meme which holds the crown as the most expensive meme NFT will be split into 17 billion pieces for auction. Now anyone can own a piece of history.
    • In the realm of sports and entertainment, how far is too far when it comes to hero worship? Following in the tracks of Lil Nas-X, Tony Hawk collaborated with a water company to produce limited edition skateboards that contained of all things: his blood.

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    • With celebrities continuing to pad their bank accounts through endorsement deals, some questions remain: What makes them an icon? Is it their initial rise to fame or their brand? (See the Roger Federer story below)
    • And a follow-up question: Do the celebrities make the brands or do the brands make the celebrity, and just how much influence do they have? For instance, can Kevin Durant’s new partnership with cannabis marketplace Weedmap destigmatize marijuana like the Kardashians did for CBD? This could help vindicate Sha'Carri Richardson after her Olympic dreams were dashed.
    • Speaking of brands, what do Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Tiffany & Co. and Basquiat have in common? Well, they share an ad and a controversy. The power couple recently unveiled their ownership of the late artist's painting in an ad for Tiffany & Co. Social media has been questioning as to how the notoriously anti-capitalism Basquiat would weigh in on this choice.
    • Finally, "I think we'll need a bigger boat" (or bandwagon that is) as the NFT craze continues adding names like Visa, eSports, and the late, great Kobe. But with all the hype, the hackers are circling the waters.

As a friendly reminder, if there are topics you’d like to see featured, please feel free to contact me at

    • BeyoncéBeyoncé’s announcement of building a hemp farm (together with a honey farm) brings the perceived health benefits of CBD even further into the mainstream. Could this momentum ultimately lead to positive conversations around the FDA approving the cannabis-derived compound as legal?
    • Scarlett Johansson’s escalating fight between her and Marvel Studios and Disney about the release of “Black Widow” highlights the issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later between studios and talent: how to compensate star and filmmakers fairly as more movies are being shown increasingly on major streaming platforms?
    • The world of NIL continues to turn rapidly, as even prep athletes such as quarterback Quinn Ewers of Southlake, Texas, is leaving high school early to enroll in Ohio State to pursue his football career and potentially rake in thousands of dollars in endorsement deals.
    • The dismissal of a copyright suit against 2 Chainz, Offset and UMG Recordings Inc. in a Manhattan federal court over the use of lyrics, “I’m tryna make my momma proud,” goes to show that copyright law doesn’t protect general ideas and themes.

    • As the pandemic continues, the question arises: Could celebrities be the key to getting the country vaccinated?
    • Seemingly everyone is coming up a winner in the music business with the top three major companies bringing in record amounts and streaming services are booming.
    • The NFT craze continues to grow with everyone from star athletes and sports leagues to fashion brands and now IBM jumping on the bandwagon.

Some of this week's highlights include:

    • Emerging trends are showing signs of change in the sponsorships and endorsement markets. A segment once largely overlooked, athletes in the LGBTQ+ community are finally ringing in the big endorsement deals. Female athletes are also being wooed by smaller, up-and-coming brands that are willing to be more flexible with the individuals' needs and preferences, including increased involvement with new product development and opportunities for equity in the business.
    • NFTs continue to boom – but is it just a fad? Perhaps not so, as Coca-Cola, MasterCard, NARS Cosmetics and more celebrities continue to jump on the bandwagon. And did we mention that NFTs literally rocketed out of this world?
    • While the Tokyo Olympics is projected to lose record amounts of money, two Hollywood starlets, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner, are seeing green after each signing big production and film deals.

As a friendly reminder, if there are topics you’d like to see featured, please feel free to contact me at

Just months after breathing life into to the "Sports & Entertainment Spotlight," I am (well, my wife is) giving birth to a new creation — a baby boy. As such, I will be taking a break from the usual commentary (sleep deprivation isn’t exactly the best for the creative juices), but will keep up with the weekly curated content until my return from paternity leave. In the meantime, you’ll have to come up with your own puns and snarky, yet insightful commentary!

As a friendly reminder, if there are topics you’d like to see featured, please feel free to contact me at

Strange as it may be, with vast majority of the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are on the eve of the opening ceremony for the “2020” Tokyo Summer Olympics. Olympic games in “normal” times are logistical feats involving tons of preparation and organization. Pair that with the challenge of trying to prevent a full-blown outbreak of COVID-19 (and potential losses in the tens-of-billion-dollars range) in a densely populated country seeing a new surge of cases, and you have Olympic officials in dire need of Japanese whisky. While these Olympics will be held without the usual crowds in attendance, making for another eerie sight (unless you’re used to watching Mets games), the risks of holding the Games still remain high. Hopefully, the Games go on without a hitch and will highlight their virtues of human resiliency and cooperation on the global stage, but I, like many others, cannot help but wonder about the further propagation of this virus, and whether we would be better served to stay on the sidelines just a little longer. Besides, I generally favor spotlights over torches.

 …Which reminds me, it’s time to dive in to the Spotlight for this week:

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The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.
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