Bill Campbell, J.D. '94
Bill Campbell ’94 got into entertainment law with a guitar in his hand. A native of Chester, New Jersey, Campbell wrote and played music as a solo artist and in bands throughout college. After graduating from the University of Richmond he continued to perform in Virginia for a year before moving to New York City with part of his band.“When I moved to New York I thought I was going to be a musician,” he now says. “But it’s always nice to have a backup plan.”
Plan B started in the mailroom at SBK Records. After moving to the copyright department of the company’s publishing division, EMI Music Publishing, Campbell decided he needed additional education and he applied to Seton Hall Law. Campbell was one of the first students to take advantage of the school’s new entertainment and sports law curriculum and he was the founding president of the Entertainment Law Society.
After a year at BMG Music, Campbell spent most of the next dozen years at Sony Music, and in January, he joined Universal Music Group’s eLab, where his team oversees deals to distribute music digitally throughout North America. “I have always been very interested in creating new business models and new ways of delivering music,” he says. “Because people are not listening to music the way they used to, we’re trying to listen to the consumers and get ahead of technology trends.”
All the while, Campbell thinks strategically about the future of an industry that has seen its revenues halved by piracy and file sharing. Campbell still records albums and plays in New York City clubs, but he has a passion for the opportunities to be found at the intersections of music, business and technology.
Campbell is also passionate about his alma mater, where he has served on his reunion committee, taught classes and taken on students as interns. When he started at Seton Hall, Campbell says, conventional wisdom said you had to attend law school in New York City to win a job at a leading entertainment law firm or in the music industry.
Now, he notes with pride, several of the students who followed him into the entertainment and sports law curriculum hold top positions at industry giants like Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. “It is important to make sure that Seton Hall is recognized for its achievement in entertainment, sports and intellectual property law,” Campbell, says. “We’ve got a great school and a great curriculum, and now we have a network of high-level professionals who are open to working with Seton Hall grads.”