Music / Entertainment Lawyer Darren Sanicki
From time to time, Melting Pot speaks to the movers and shakers of the local scene - people of energetic demeanour who initiate change and influence events - and finds out how they got to where they are and how they view the local live music scene today.
Darren Sanicki is principal of Sanicki Lawyers, a music & entertainment law firm based in South Yarra, Melbourne. His firm’s client base includes bands, recording artists, managers, composers, producers, indie labels, and music festivals – many of the biggest names in the industry. The firm specialises in negotiating and advising on all types of music related agreements, copyright law, trade-marks, dispute resolution as well as business structures for bands and general industry advice.
Darren has been in and around the music industry most of his life and by nights still plays keyboards with renowned Melbourne band Havana Moon. As a musician, Darren is best known for penning the theme song to Channel 9’s The Footy Show, “It’s More Than a Game”. Darren is chairperson of the “The Push”, a not-for-profit Victorian youth music organisation and was a founding board member of the newly established Music Victoria. In January 2011, Melting Pot caught up with Darren.
What was your connection with music growing up?
It all stemmed from my being a piano player. Also, my mother was a singer so I was pretty much surrounded by music in the house my entire childhood.
What is your background – how did you get to where you are now?
Before being a lawyer I was working full time in music in a small studio that I had. I was recording bands, writing jingles and doing anything that I could to make a dollar working in music. I was also playing around town in my own band and even in piano bars! However I always had an interest in the business side of the industry and particularly in law. I had started a law degree in my earlier university days and went back and finished it a few years later.
Since becoming a lawyer I’ve worked in and around the music industry mostly due to the contacts that I had and have built my practice the old fashioned way – one client at a time!
Describe an average day (if there is such a thing)?
Most of my time is spent in the office, on the phone, returning emails or reviewing and drafting contracts on behalf of clients. The more interesting part is getting out there and seeing clients in person - particularly at gigs!
What for you is the most exciting aspect of working within the music industry?
That’s an easy one. Seeing first hand the immense young talent that we have in this country. It is a great feeling to help an emerging band or artist do the hard yards and ultimately forge some success. I am lucky to meet some truly gifted people.
What do you think the future holds for the local live music scene?
By all accounts the live music scene is as strong as it ever has been. The one thing technology can’t replace is the feeling you experience when being at a great live show. People’s thirst for the live music experience is as strong as it ever has been and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
What advice would you give artists that are trying to make a living out of music?
Firstly, be aware that the most lucrative income stream for an artist or musician is through being a songwriter. I certainly advise all artists to be writing as much as they can. Other than that, know your strengths and stick to them.