Taylor Swift has historically kept her business operations closely guarded.
Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press
Taylor Swift is tapping a high-powered litigator to be the general counsel of 13 Management, her closely guarded Nashville-based company, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Douglas Baldridge, a partner at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Venable, will start in his new role in the fall, replacing Jay Schaudies, who is retiring, this person said.
Despite her clout in the music industry, Swift’s business operations have long been shrouded in mystery, even compared with other performers of her stature. That is in part because the 33-year-old pop star is known for keeping her circle tight and her business close. Among her confidants are her parents, including her father, Scott Swift, a broker.
Swift herself typically takes an active role in her business activities instead of delegating them: For the U.S. leg of her continuing “Eras Tour,” for example, she didn’t use a booking agent, an outside party that would take a cut of her business. With so little known about Swift’s 13 Management, it’s a fairly rare occurrence for its executives such as the incoming Baldridge to confront the public glare.
Baldridge, a veteran commercial litigator, currently serves as an outside counsel for Swift. He represented her in a much-publicized sexual-harassment trial that she won against an on-air radio personality in 2017. No other changes are being made to 13 Management’s team, the person familiar with the matter said.
Neither Baldridge nor a Venable spokesperson returned requests for comment.
Douglas Baldridge, a partner at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Venable, will begin as 13 Management’s new general counsel in the fall.
Photo: rick wilking/Reuters
Swift’s 13 Management handles much of her business on its own. But this move does not mean that she is now bringing her full legal arsenal in-house. The pop star will retain the services of Venable, according to the person familiar with the matter, a firm whose music clients have included Snoop Dogg and Barry Manilow. In addition to Baldridge, Swift continues to work with well-known music-industry attorney Donald Passman of Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, who is the author of the canonical book “All You Need to Know About the Music Business.”
Swift, whose current concert tour is projected to generate well over $1 billion in concert-ticket sales, is one of music’s biggest and most widely followed superstars. This week, she became the first woman to lodge four different albums in the Billboard 200 album chart’s top 10 at once. With the release of “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” a rerecording of her 2010 album, the singer-songwriter also notched her 12th chart-topping record, the most of any female artist.
A onetime chair of Venable’s Washington litigation group, Baldridge has represented major U.S. corporations in the pharmaceutical, technology and consumer-products industries, along with entertainers and real-estate developers. His cases have involved areas like intellectual property and celebrity rights, according to Venable’s website.
Back in 2017, he helped Swift win a trial against Colorado radio personality David Mueller. In that case, a jury found that the former DJ assaulted and battered Swift by groping her; she sought and was awarded a symbolic $1 in damages. In his remarks at the time, Baldridge said Swift didn’t want to bankrupt Mueller, but only to send a message. The jury also rejected Mueller’s claims that members of Swift’s management team got him fired from his job.
In another case, from 2015, Baldridge defended Swift against trademark infringement and dilution claims. There, Swift settled a legal disagreement out of court with Blue Sphere, a clothing company that had accused her of copyright infringement.
Baldridge is expected to complete his tenure with Venable in the coming weeks.
Swift’s outgoing general counsel, Schaudies, has long kept a lower profile at 13 Management. Among other matters, he was involved in issues surrounding the ownership of Swift’s past master recordings.
Write to Neil Shah at Neil.Shah@wsj.com