Cassandra Spangler, Esq. is a New York City-based Entertainment Attorney and an Adjunct Professor of Business Law at Parsons the New School for Design. Cassandra is a member of the New York State Bar Association Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section; the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries; the New York City Bar Association; the California Alumni in Arts & Entertainment Club, NYC Chapter; and the Order of the Coif Legal Honor Society. Cassandra’s legal practice areas include entertainment, intellectual property, contract, and small business issues, with a focus on music law.
Cassandra represents a wide range of clients, with an emphasis on independent artists and start-up music companies. Detailed information about her practice is available at: www.cspanglermusiclaw.com. Cassandra published a paper on copyright law in the Seton Hall Law Review entitled "The Integrity Right of an MP3," which was awarded second place in the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition. She is also a recipient of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law. Cassandra was named one of the top online music law resources by CD Baby and has been featured in a wide variety of media, including Vibe magazine and BET. In addition to teaching each Fall at Parsons, Cassandra has lectured before numerous music industry trade groups and co-authored several continuing legal education courses for fellow attorneys.
Cassandra graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law magna cum laude with a concentration in Intellectual Property/Entertainment Law and is also a graduate of the Southwestern Law School International Entertainment Law program. In addition, Cassandra earned a Master's Degree in Music Business from New York University and a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley.
What do you do best?
I act as a liaison between the creative and the business sides of the music industry and give a voice to artists who may feel more comfortable in the studio than in the boardroom. I serve as an ally to these artists and help them create and implement a plan to monetize their music while retaining its artistic integrity. In today's music industry, many artists are choosing to forego traditional record deals in favor of forming their own companies and self- releasing their music. I serve as a useful guide through that process, as well as through the process of pursuing a traditional record or publishing deal if the artist so chooses.
What makes you the best?
I have been an artist myself for two decades, with involvement in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City independent music scenes, and attended law school for the purpose of assisting other musicians. I grew up attending punk rock and hip-hop shows, reading DIY ‘zines, and collecting band tee shirts and worked at several independent record labels, a booking agency, and in music retail prior to attending law school. In addition, I come from a working class background, was raised by a single mother, and have fought for every professional and academic opportunity that has been given to me. This background, combined with my education and professional experience, gives me a firsthand understanding of the challenges facing independent artists and companies attempting to navigate the often-present power imbalance of the music industry. It provides me with a unique point of view, allowing me to relate to both the creative/talent and business/legal/accounting perspectives of music industry transactions.
How will you stay the best?
I try to never stop learning. Life is all about experiences, and every day presents new ones. Constantly experiencing new things, meeting new people, and being open to new ideas and innovations allows me to think outside the box and appreciate a wide range of points of view. This is crucial for survival in the music industry, as the developments and massive changes over the past fifteen years have evidenced.
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
Personal: The Californian-turned-New-Yorker in me aspires to lead a balanced life, with enough time to nourish my career and my personal life, mind, and spirit. The gym and the beach help with this. I am a strong believer that all work and no play is counterproductive to every aspect of your life.
Business: On a meta-level, I want to make as many positive contributions to the world as I can during my lifetime—these are the things that last when we are gone. On a micro-level, this means continuing to build a professional career assisting as many artists as possible in utilizing their art to build a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities.
What fascinates you?
I am a city girl through and through. I love to explore new urban environments and compare and contrast major cities. New York City itself fascinates me—it has been called “a city that shifts whenever I get comfortable”, and I believe this is true. It constantly keeps you on your toes. There is always something new to see, and people watching on the subway never gets old.
“Penthouse, pavement, and curb.” (Mos Def/Yasiin Bey)
Some of my favorite people are Tupac Shakur and Kurt Cobain, who gave a timeless voice to my generation; Kobe Bryant, who is the ultimate example of dedication to and excellence at a life’s calling; and my mother, who supports me every step of the way.
I love cities and beaches, so places that combine both tend to be my favorite—Rockaway Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Cruz, CA, etc. These are the places I feel most at home, and the contrast between the city skyline and the peaceful expanse of the ocean is beautiful.
I cannot leave the house without my iPod—it adds the soundtrack to my life—and I am obsessed with 1960s-era American cars. I am also a big fan of products that are innovative and problem-solving, especially those that defy industry standards and “build a better mousetrap”. Spotify and Uber and two of my favorite examples.
I love to explore new music, which has become both easier and more difficult since the advent of the internet and social media. I am also a huge basketball (Los Angeles Lakers) fan and am counting down the days until the season starts and keeping my fingers crossed for the Lakers’ (inevitable) return to greatness.