How Music Royalties Work with Lita Rosario (Ep. 28)

How Music Royalties Work with Lita Rosario (Ep. 28)

My guest today is Lita Rosario—one of America’s foremost entertainment lawyers.

Lita got her start in the entertainment business as a founder and the VP of Business and Legal Affairs for University Music, producers of multi-platinum recording artists Dru Hill, Sisqo and MYA. Lita has negotiated distribution and publishing agreements with all of the four major record distribution/music publishing companies including Warner Music Group, Sony/RCA; Universal Music Group; EMI/Capital Records as well as major television and cable companies, including, Disney, UPN, TV One, BET, VIACOM/MTV, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, E! NETWORK and Universal Pictures.

Lita’s client roster has included among others:

Grammy award winning and platinum selling artists George Clinton and the Estate of Garry Shider (Parliament Funkadelic), Missy Elliott, Tank, Sisqo, DRU HILL, Peaches & Herb, Crystal Waters, Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force, Davy D producer of RUN DMC and Kurtis Blow, Ronald “Peanut” Frost producer of Jill Scott, and Dave Evans producer and music director for Keith Sweat.

Lita’s practice involves administration of copyrights, including negotiation of syndication rights, mechanical, synchronization, sample clearances, and performance licenses for music in major motion pictures, including Soul Food, Romeo Music Die, The Fast and The Furious, Road Trip, My First Mister, Buying the Cow, and Brothers, as well as synchronization licenses for commercial advertisements for Bermuda Tourism, Lincoln-Mercury, Mitsubishi, Doritos, Jeep, Cingular, MAC Make-Up and Miller Brewing Company.

Lita is an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s Department of Mass Media Visual and Performing Arts teaching “The Business of Music,” a course focusing on legal, accounting and other business aspects of music, TV and film industries.

Lita is a member of the District of Columbia, New York & Massachusetts Bars, the Federal Court bars in the Southern District of New York and the District Court for the District of Columbia. Atty. Rosario attended The Howard University School of Communications in Washington, D.C.; were she graduated Cum Laude in 1983. Lita also attended The Howard University School of Law, where she earned a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1986, graduating in the top 10% of her class.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • How the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) changed its certification process for determining which albums are considered gold, platinum and multi-platinum.
  • How streaming services like Pandora pay royalties to artists.
  • The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) review of its 1941 consent decree with ASCAP and BMI and how ASCAP and BMI pay royalties to recording artists.
  • A complaint Lita recently filed in the Southern District of New York on behalf of hip hop icons Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force asking the court to recognize their copyright interest in works they created in the late 1970s.


Lita Rosario, Pllc.

IP Law 360 (Intellectual Property)

LinkedIn Music Royalties Group

Music and Copyright in America: Toward the Celestial Jukebox by Kevin Parks

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post listed Lita Rosario as the founder and VP of Business and Legal Affairs for Universal Music, Inc. Ms. Rosario was the founder and VP of Business and Legal Affairs for University Music.