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Victoria Barrett, VLT LEGAL

Victoria followed a music degree by working in the music business first as a freelance orchestral oboist, and then in artist management with international arts management company Harrison Parrott. Victoria subsequently studied law and qualified as a solicitor with London entertainment law firm The Simkins Partnership. This was followed by a period with the Music Publishers Association before Victoria formed VLT LEGAL, which since 2008 has provided a broad range of intellectual property law services to clients in the music and creative industries as well as all types of small to medium-sized businesses.

Quick fire questions with Victoria

What is your name and your profession?

Victoria Trotman-Barrett. Music & IP legal consultant.

When did you first take up music/ enter the music industry?

I started playing the oboe in youth orchestras as a teenager and later entered the music industry as a freelance oboist.

How did you get to where you are now in your career?

In my thirties, I decided to leave the performing side of the profession to work in artist management. This was in the days when a multi-media contract covered only performance, TV and radio broadcast rights! This nevertheless kindled an interest in the legal side of the music business and so I did a law degree. This eventually led to me qualifying as a solicitor with a London media and music law firm. After a subsequent period with the Music Publishers Association, followed by a career break, I started VLT LEGAL in 2007. This was at a time when it was just starting to be possible to work online as an independent lawyer rather than in a law firm, and the consequent reduction in overheads has meant that I have been able to offer an affordable legal service to the music business.

What do you like best about your job?

I very much enjoy the wide range and variety of my work and my clients. I work for all types of music clients from individual musicians to large music organisations, and I also work for small and medium businesses in other areas of business such as software, marketing, and business training. Each piece of work is different and individual and raises new challenges. I also enjoy the challenge of making a contract represent as closely as possible the objectives of both sides, as finding a fair balance at this point in the relationship avoids expensive problems later.

What would you say is the toughest challenge for musicians in 2018?

My reply is the inevitable one: musicians’ toughest challenge at present is navigating around the knock-on effects of Brexit uncertainty.

If you had one piece of advice for musicians, what would it be?

As a lawyer, my one piece of advice must be: if you are asked to sign a contract, always read it extremely carefully first and if in doubt, ask a lawyer to take a look at it.

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