Needful Things

You can't always get what you want . . . or can you?

Because I'm an occasional rock 'n' roll lawyer, aspiring pop idols sometimes seek me out. Usually the deals they're offered are awful. Yet one desperate singer showed me a contract that promised to put him not in the "surf music" but the "serf music" genre--the terms would have made a feudal overlord blush. I was frank with my prospective client: "It is mathematically impossible for you to make one nickel on this deal. Why bother?"

"But you don't understand," he pleaded. "I just gotta get a record deal!"

A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Diener is the author of Deal Power: 6 Foolproof Steps to Making Deals of Any Size(Owl Books/henry Holt). you can reach him at

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Needful Things.

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