People - Music Business

Music Business Faculty: Charles Sanders

Charles J. Sanders is currently engaged in private legal practice in New York City, representing numerous music industry clients including the Songwriters Guild of America (the world's largest membership organization run solely by and for the benefit of songwriters), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and GMI, Ltd. (a leading U.S./Bahamian-based entertainment and communications company). He is generally regarded as one of the leading voices on American and international music copyright issues, and is a frequent speaker at private and government sponsored events concerning copyright law and music.

Sanders is a member of the bars of New York, California, Washington, D.C. and the United States Supreme Court. He is a graduate of New York University School of Law (LL.M. 1984), where he was a Derenberg/Brown Copyright Fellow and special assistant to legendary copyright Professor Alan Latman, and has served as an adjunct professor in NYU Steinhardt Graduate Music Business Program since 1993.

After serving for two years as in-house counsel for G. Schirmer Music Publishers (1984-86), Sanders served for nearly two decades (1986-2004) in various positions with the National Music Publishers' Association and its licensing subsidiary, The Harry Fox Agency, including as counsel to both organizations. During that period, Sanders helped oversee the distribution of over $4 billion in royalties, and participated in policy-making on virtually every major issue faced by the international music industry (as he continues to do today on behalf of the Songwriters Guild of America).

Sanders likewise serves as Chairman of the Board of World Hunger Year, Inc. (WHY), whose Artists Against Hunger & Poverty (AAHP) project is the music industry's premier social outreach program. WHY was founded by the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin and is supported today principally by Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and other of the world's most popular music entertainers. Among Sanders' other music industry activities, he is a platinum award-winning record producer, a concert producer at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the United Nations General Assembly Hall, a saxophone player with numerous album credits, and a long-time voting member and New York Governor of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammy Awards Organization).

Sanders is also the author of many music-related articles and law reviews, as well as the recent history of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division entitled "The Boys of Winter: Life and Death in the U.S. Ski Troops During the Second World War" (University Press of Colorado, 2005), which was awarded the prestigious 2005 Ullr Award for journalistic excellence by the I.S.H.A. in 2005 and the Bill Berry Sports Journalism Award. in 2006. His January, 2008 Billboard Commentary on the music industry's long history of leading the struggle for racial equality in the United States was similarly well received. Sanders is also a founder of The James Madison Project for Freedom of Information, the nation's premier pro bono legal resource for freedom of information claimants, many of whom are former American intelligence community members. He is also an associate member of the U.S. National Ski Patrol.

Why I Decided to Work in the Music Industry:
I never wanted to earn a living doing anything else since my early teens, and have trouble imagining anyone who would want to do otherwise (though I have read that such people do exist much further downtown).

What I Like Most About Teaching:

The exchange of ideas with students is my favorite learning experience.

Class Tips for Students:

1. Show up.
2. Read everything you can get your hands on, including at least two newspapers every day. There is no substitute for knowing a lot of stuff when it comes to business and social interaction.
3. Act interested. Your mind may follow.

Career Tips for Students:
1. Luck is often the residue of design.
2. Knowledge talks. Wisdom listens.
3. Eat your spinach.

Outside Interests:
Skiing. Baseball. Hockey. Repeat as necessary.

Favorite Music:
Benny, Artie and the Duke. Springsteen. Vedder. Mary Chapin Carpenter. Beth Hart. Everything else. And me.