Chances are that anyone working in the entertainment industry, especially in the Detroit area, knows or knows of Howard Hertz.
Hertz has been practicing media and entertainment law as well as intellectual property law for over four decades at the law firm he helped found, Hertz Schram PC, with offices in Bloomfield Hills and Detroit.
Hertz grew up in Detroit, graduated from Cass Technical High School and received his law degree from Wayne State University. After law school, he serendipitously “got sucked into” entertainment law after helping negotiate a contract for his wife’s coworker’s husband, who was a singer/songwriter – which led to a string of referrals and, ultimately, to the start of a successful law practice and career.
“There are so many artists trying to make it and get buzz. I get a lot of pleasure when I’m able to work with an artist on the brink of success and help them be well known,” he said.
With a collection of fascinating stories and a client list that includes well-known artists such as Eminem, Jack White, George Clinton, and Sippie Wallace – among many others, Hertz has contributed to the success of many artists locally, nationally, and beyond. After decades in the industry, he has seen many changes and challenges, including the impact technology and streaming continue to have on the music industry.
Over the years, Hertz has been involved with many organizations and received numerous awards and accolades. Currently, he is supporting and promoting the Detroit area music community as a member of the board of directors and president of the Detroit Music Awards and chairman of the Detroit Music Awards Foundation.
The Detroit Music Awards Foundation’s purpose is to recognize, support and cultivate Detroit area musicians and the musical community. The Detroit Music Awards just celebrated its 30th annual award show virtually due to the pandemic, but it is usually held at The Fillmore Detroit. According to Hertz, the evening is one of “high energy and a lot of fun” with incredible live performances and the gathering together of people from all musical genres and backgrounds.
Annual awards are presented in the wide variety of musical categories represented by the extensive talent in southeast Michigan, including Americana, Blues, Classical, Country, Electronic/Dance, General, Gospel, Jazz, Rap, Rock, Urban and World. There are also special awards given each year.
“I believe more major artists have come out of Detroit than anywhere else. Other big cities draw talent from all over,” explained Hertz. “The diversity of homegrown talent that has come out of Detroit is in all genres of music – not just in the areas we are known for…In jazz, almost every internationally known artist may not be from Detroit, but has at least a band member from Detroit.”
Despite his busy schedule, Hertz enjoys world travel with his wife, Wendy, as well as singing and playing blues harmonica when the opportunity presents itself. Not surprisingly, he also has a passion for attending live performances and supporting the local music scene, which he encourages others to do.
“I can’t wait until the clubs open up. There’s nothing like the excitement of live music,” Hertz said. “In order for artists to survive in a changing music industry, I encourage people to go out to listen to live music when it is safe to do so and support artists you enjoy.”
Story: Tracy Donohue
Photo: Kathleen Galligan