In a few words, your brand can be even more valuable than your talent. This is the lesson we can draw from recent litigation brought by the actor David Cassidy against the owner of The Partridge Family. As a star of The Partridge Family, David Cassidy may have been well-compensated for his work on each episode, and he undoubtedly has earned significant residual income from re-runs over the years. Apparently only now, however, has he realized the amount of income he lost because he did not share in revenue received from merchandise sales. He recently filed suit claiming that he is owed a fortune.

Artists should be as concerned about revenue opportunities that may arise beyond their actual work, opportunities such as merchandising or endorsements, as they should about the amount they are paid to perform. They should try to ensure that their talent contracts guarantee them a share in revenues generated from merchandising. And they must then police such uses to be sure they are receiving their rightful share. Better not to be seeking your fortune three decades later.