About North Hudson Music

North Hudson Music is a worldwide music publishing administrator whose well-curated catalogue includes works written and performed by The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, Fergie, Robin Thicke, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Tupac, P. Diddy, The Pussycat Dolls, Armand van Helden, and many others.

It was founded in 2000 by Helen Yu, the Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer, who is also a veteran entertainment attorney helming the Yu Leseberg Law Firm. North Hudson Music provides expert copyright management, royalty collection and copyright reversion services that always put the creators/writers and copyright holders’ interests first — ensuring that they receive the music publishing royalties to which they are entitled.

Protecting the Rights of Clients

North Hudson Music is driven by simple imperatives: to keep creators, songwriters, and producers in control of their copyrights. North Hudson Music seeks to empower its clients and collect and license as much of the royalty income they’re entitled to as possible. North Hudson Music’s experienced team is adept at analyzing and collecting worldwide income (even when there are complex rights involving various parties and heirs). It is also experienced in reviewing statements to ensure that works have been properly accounted and tallied based on the clients’ contractual ownership shares and pre-agreed rates. This confirmation helps to promptly correct any accounting errors for creatives.  

North Hudson Music prides itself on a holistic approach to music publishing administration. Its copyright administration goes the extra mile in collecting and educating its clients. The administrator has also devised various strategies to protect copyrights and maximize royalty income, while avoiding common pitfalls that decrease revenue collection for the client.  

North Hudson Music: U.S. and International

As it is a global music business, each country’s complexities, rules, payment calculations are carefully navigated by North Hudson. The team is proud to be a bastion of stability and insight for creators, songwriters, and producers who prefer to focus on what they do best: creating great music. In the years since its founding, North Hudson Music has never wavered from its commitment to advocate on behalf of its creatives.

North Hudson Music works with a network of international partners in each major territory of the world to ensure that its clients’ copyrights and other intellectual property rights are secure no matter where they choose to publish. The team further ensures that their clients receive the international royalties to which they are entitled (but too often do not receive).

Thanks to founder Helen Yu’s extensive experience in intellectual property law and her background as a respected entertainment attorney, North Hudson Music creatives know they’re in expert hands. She is a fixture at music conferences both in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her clients have also earned profiles in the most iconic music and pop culture driven publications in the music industry, including Billboard magazine, Variety, Music Connection, Rolling Stone, Spin, Fader, and others.  

North Hudson Music’s in-house expertise always puts its clients in control of their own intellectual property and copyrights. With a commitment to frank, responsive communication at every stage of the relationship, North Hudson provides a degree of high-touch service that competitors simply can’t match. It’s no wonder that North Hudson Music’s highly personal services have the highest satisfaction ratings — just ask any of the company’s longtime clients.


Worth Their Weight in Gold: The Role of the Lawyer in the Modern Music Business

law-1063249_640Entertainment Law Firm – Yu Leseberg, A Prof Law Corporation Wins in Court of Appeals; Played Key Role in the Multi-Platinum Career of DJ Mustard

Not long ago, the California Court of Appeals issued a decision backing Helen Yu of Yu Leseberg, the former attorney of Dijon McFarlane – better known as DJ Mustard – in a legal battle with his accountants false information provided by the accountants over appropriate attorney fees standards in the music industry.

The Appellate Court’s findings support what’s still true in America: You get what you pay for. And the best lawyers are well paid and worth their weight in gold.

Beyond the Bottom Line

While the case may seem to focus on entertainment lawyer fees, the case is really about protecting the sacred trust between an attorney and their client, and how business managers and accountants attack an artist’s only line of defense – their lawyer, if they want to control.

“Don’t just be in it for money,” DJ Mustard said to Forbes magazine. While he doesn’t mention her by name, much of what he discusses in the article about his start in the industry can be credited back to his legal representation by Helen Yu. Ms. Yu represented him in every significant music deal of his career, including a slew of Billboard hits from the likes of Tyga, YG, Tinashe, Trey Songz, Kid Ink, Jeremih, Wiz Khalifa, will.i.am., 2Chainz and Roc Nation.

The Backstory: Helen Yu and DJ Mustard

Let’s back up a bit and review what actually happened here.

Helen Yu of Yu Leseberg, a veteran Los Angeles entertainment attorney, agreed to represent DJ Mustard when he was an aspiring young DJ trying to make it in L.A.’s cutthroat music scene.

Yu, to be clear, is one of the go-to lawyers for recording artists in southern California, the epicenter of the American recording industry. She’s handled and negotiated legal transactions for a number of household names, including:

  • YG
  • Ne-Yo
  • Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire,
  • T-Boz of TLC,
  • Snoop Dogg,
  • Ty Dolla $ign,
  • David Guetta and
  • Members of the Black Eyed Peas

She is also a staunch advocate for musicians’ intellectual property rights. She has won millions of dollars for clients; among other victories, she legally recovered very valuable copyrights for the heirs of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan.

Helen Yu began representing Mustard in October 2011, when he was an up-and-coming artist living in a garage in Inglewood, near the approach zone for Los Angeles International Airport. Among other services, their relationship included:

  • Representation of DJ Mustard in his capacity as a songwriter, producer, recording/performing artist, and DJ
  • Connecting Mustard with one of the top premier DJ agents in the world

At the time, Mustard was a man of limited means. Rather than charge an hourly rate that he likely could not afford, she agreed — and Mustard assented — to charge him the industry standard of 10% of his gross compensation. So, if a deal is negotiated for $10,000, the lawyer is paid $1000.   With Yu’s guidance and negotiation skills, Mustard’s career began to explode, including a lucrative song deal and a multi-million-dollar music publishing agreement negotiated by Yu.

Desire To Control Talent

As the initial lawsuit says, as the deals kept coming and Mustard’s wealth grew. Soon enough, Yu connected him with the accounting and business management firm of Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno. With the accounting firm’s help, Mustard’s wealth would be well-managed.

About a year into being Mustard’s accountants, a new accounting representative at the firm was assigned to Mustard’s account, Wallace O. Fortune. Fortune informed Mustard that she was over-billing, claiming that nobody in the industry charged 10%, which according to Yu is false information.  She says – “there is no price fixing among music lawyers. Like with anything, each firm charges market rate depending on their experience, scope of work and reputation”. Even two divorce of personal injury lawyers don’t charge the exact same thing. Music producers don’t charge the exact same thing…

According to the lawsuit, this accounts representatives prodding upset Mustard. So, in an attempt to smooth things over with her client, Yu agreed to modify the fee structure, charging just 5% on future deals with an exception: for producer and publishing deals under $30,000, Yu would receive a minimum fee of 10% [see page 9, section 32 of the complaint].

Fast forward to Mustard receiving a small check in the sum of $1869.30 from SoundExchange, an arrangement that Helen Yu had set up for Mustard. Yu charged him $186.93 for work on this matter, well within the exception above. But Fortune’s office indicated to Mustard that Yu was overcharging him. Mustard immediately contacted Yu and ended his almost-three-year relationship with her.

Anti-SLAPP? Not So Fast

That’s the background on the issue. Now, for the main event.

Shortly after Mustard terminated his relationship with her, Helen Yu sued Wallace Fortune and Nigro Karlin for intentionally and negligently interfering with her attorney-client relationship based on false information they provided to the client.

Fortune and Nigro Karlin shot back by claiming their actions were protected by their free speech rights under California’s anti-SLAPP law, which allows a petitioner to “file a special motion to strike a complaint filed against [them] based on an ‘act in furtherance of [their] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue,’” according to the Digital Media Law Project. The motion claimed that the public had an interest in the amount of money an entertainment lawyer charges their client.

But the court disagreed. And so did the California Court of Appeals, where Fortune and Nigro Karlin appealed and lost. The California Court of Appeals wrote, “This lawsuit is based entirely upon Defendant’s  statement about legal fees Plaintiff charged Mustard. Those fees are not a matter of any interest to the public.”

Why Ruin a Good Thing?

Strip everything else away and this case boils down to a simple matter: that an accountant wrongfully interfered with a client’s legal representation to get control of the money,  when said legal representation was key to a successful career. Clearly, Yu and Mustard had a good thing going; with Yu as counsel, Mustard went from earning virtually nothing to earning millions per year.

Where is the case now? With the court of appeal’s decision, it’s back in Los Angeles Superior Court. And, despite what GQ Magazine described as “…. his generally disappointing solo album, 10 Summers…” DJ Mustard is still making music.