THE DEALMAKER: Over the past 25 years, John Branca has repped 29 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having launched the music division at Ziffren in 1981 and seen Michael Jackson through “Thriller” and the purchase of the Beatles catalog.
More recently Branca facilitated the sale of copyrights for Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and the estate of the late Kurt Cobain, which qualified them for capital gains treatment and a more favorable tax rate. And with partner David Lande, he negotiated multiple rights deals between clients Shakira and Nickelback and Clear Channel spinoff Live Nation (following earlier Live Nation deals with Madonna, Jay-Z and others).
“The start of those kinds of deals was in 1987-88, when we did a deal for the Rolling Stones with BCL (Labatt’s concert promotion venture),” says Branca. “They guaranteed an advance to the Rolling Stones for touring rights, merchandising, endorsements, commercials, ticket packages — everything except record rights and publishing.”
Both BCL head Michael Cohl and current CEO Michael Rapino then went on to Live Nation, presumably taking the concept with them.
KEY DEALS: Sale of Berry Gordy’s Jobete Music to EMI; Carlos Santana’s “Supernatural” album.
DEALMAKER DOS: “Understand your client and their business.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “You can’t use the same approach for everybody.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Allen Grubman, Joel Katz, Ken Ziffren and Harry Brittenham.