Special event: Nikki Rowling receives the Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocacy Award from the State Bar of Texas. According to the press release from the Texas Music Office:
“Long-time music professional Nikki Rowling will receive the 2011 Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocate Award from TESLAW, the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. The award will be presented during the Austin Music Awards at the Austin Music Hall on March 19 (Saturday during SXSW) at 7 p.m.
Rowling was unanimously chosen by the TESLAW committee to be the 2011 Recipient. Although Nikki has a long history of commitment to developing artists and the music community, it is her recent work as Chair of the Creditor’s Committee (representing over 500 musicians and songwriters) against Texas Music Group, Antone’s Records and affiliates in bankruptcy court that TESLAW would like to recognize as an extraordinary effort that has produced remarkable results.
Antone’s Records—which bears the name of Clifford Antone but which he had sold many years before—and their affiliated labels had not paid royalties to the vast majority of its artists in over a decade. The companies filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to re-organize the company and continue doing business as it had for the last fifteen years.
Over the objection of the debtors record labels, Rowling was able to form a Creditor’s Committee to represent the rights of all the artists, songwriters and publishers and give them a powerful voice in negotiations over the reorganization. She worked with attorneys to force the debtor labels to hand over bank statements and financials through the bankruptcy process, and she poured over the labels’ books and bank accounts, attended depositions, gave testimony, and led the outreach to find as many affected artists as possible.
Most importantly, she oversaw the creation of a new reorganization plan submitted by the Creditor’s Committee that its members felt would best represent the interests of the artists, and which was in direct opposition to the label’s reorganization plan. She then led three exhaustive voting campaigns to defeat the debtor labels’ reorganization plan—resulting in court approval of the Creditor Committee’s plan.
The Creditor’s Committee plan called for a sale of all assets belonging to Antone’s Records and it’s affiliated companies, including all recordings, to a third party through an open auction conducted by the federal bankruptcy court. The assets were successfully sold to New West Records, one of the most highly awarded mid-size labels in the country which also has ties to Austin through its partnership with the world famous Austin City Limits television show.
In addition to a new label home, these artist creditors will receive:
– A funding pool of $275,000 to pay past creditor debt and attorneys fees, which is more than twice the funds Antone’s Records had proposed
– All previous unrecouped artist balances reduced to zero dollars on a go-forward basis
– Significantly higher rates for both artist royalties and mechanical royalties.”
It’s what Clifford would have wanted.
And now, on with the show.
Be safe out there.