Susan Butler is an American business journalist and media publisher, entertainment and tech attorney and published author. Through Butler Business & Media LLC, she writes and publishes the weekly international news & analysis report Music Confidential and produces a few select private executive summits in Europe.
Since launch in 2008 under a unique business model and approach, Music Confidential has enjoyed double-digit growth in subscribership every year. Readers include senior-level executives with:
- Major and independent music publishers
- Major and independent record companies
- Online, cable, mobile and telecommunication companies
- Investment and corporate banks, private equity firms
- Collecting societies and music licensing agencies
- Business management, accounting and law firms
- Trade groups for music publishers, record labels, digital media services, collecting societies, indie music companies, songwriters and recording artists
- Also government officials and lawyers including U.S. Copyright Office officials; counsel and legislative directors for leading members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; attorneys with the U.S. Trade Representative, Federal Trade Commission, Dept. of Justice and Patent & Trademark Office; U.S. Copyright Judges; Canadian Copyright Board; U.K. Parliament & U.K. Ministry of Culture; European Commission; French government lawyers and advisors; United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.
After practicing law for 21 years representing clients throughout the world in the entertainment and technology fields, Susan began writing full-time for Billboard before launching Music Confidential. Since then, Susan has achieved a number of “firsts” for an entertainment industry trade journalist:
- Acquired confidential financial information on a $2 billion acquisition that no other financial journalist covering the story in Europe or in the U.S. could obtain. Her sensitive handling of, and reporting on, that information led to obtaining exclusively confidential financial information on subsequent $1.9 billion, $2.1 billion and $3.3 billion acquisitions as well as confidential European antitrust decisions, among many other sensitive financial, corporate and state-of-the-industry documents.
- Secured exclusive in-person interviews with high-level government officials including U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (2004); U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (2005); China’s Chief of Ministry of Culture, Division of Audio and Video, Chen Tong (2007); French government task force members including former Member of the European Parliament and French Minister Jacques Toubon (2009); White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel (2010); European Commissioner Michel Barnier (2013 via phone) and others.
- Obtained permission to join New York Police Dept. undercover detectives and Motion Picture Assn. of America and Recording Industry Assn. of America investigators on a bust of an illegal CD and DVD replication facility. Her investigative, first-of-its-kind cover story for Billboard, which included one-of-a-kind photographs of the bust, explained the international physical-goods piracy market.
- Investigated and wrote Billboard cover stories on China and on India revealing potential music business opportunities in the emerging markets.
- Reported and wrote a first-of-its-kind feature article explaining the complex music licensing structure throughout Europe, followed by an in-depth investigative commercial White Paper used by executives, lawyers and government officials & advisors in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan as a source of reference.
During her legal career, Susan’s clients have included corporations, partnerships and individuals including producers (film, multimedia, commercial and music producers), television network news correspondents, recording artists and musicians (including Oscar-winning film composer and artist Ryuichi Sakamoto and Grammy-winning artist Steve Vai), Internet content providers, software developers, Web site developers, Internet marketing consultants, authors, photographers, composers, publishers (music, magazine and audio book publishers), recording engineers, recording studios, performance artists, special event producers, nonprofit organizations (film, computer, music and marine life), visual and graphic artists, television hosts and others in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London and Tokyo. She negotiated business deals throughout North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil and South Africa.