R.E.M. lawyer to talk about his passions Feb. 18
3:03 pm, February 7th, 2013
The lawyer behind Athens-based band R.E.M., Bertis Downs IV, will speak about the music industry and public education at the University of Georgia on Feb. 18.
Downs, a 1981 UGA School of Law graduate and retired adjunct professor, will share his perspective on an era of rapid change in the music business, according to the university.
Part of Downs’ talk will examine how musicians can make a living from their art.
“What’s the playbook now?” Downs said, according to a UGA press release. “It’s a lot trickier than it used to be.”
Downs represented R.E.M. during the band’s 30-year run, which ended in 2011. An Athens resident since 1978,
Downs continues to advise the band on its ongoing business interests.
In recent years, he has advocated for public education as government funding for schools has decreased.
“Public schools do a lot better than they get credit for, even though they are constantly denigrated, underfunded and barraged with mandates to do more with less,” Downs said.
Downs’ talk, titled “Don’t get me started—On Athens, music lessons and, of course, good schools for all kids,” will be held at the University of Georgia Chapel.
He will be joined by Nicholas Allen, a UGA English professor and director of the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.