THE DEALMAKER: Jay Cooper hasn’t been dissuaded by a downturn in the music biz. In fact, Cooper’s proved that it’s still possible to land big deals.
As the chair of Greenberg Traurig’s entertainment practice, the lawyer, who counts Jerry Seinfeld and composers James Horner and James Newton Howard among his clients, spent the past year landing Katy Perry a career-launching deal with Capitol Records. He reupped Sheryl Crow’s Interscope Records deal, brokered Starbucks’ distribution of James Taylor’s live album, negotiated John Williams’ connection with the “Star Wars” tour and handled deals for the cast album of Mel Brooks’ musical “Young Frankenstein.”
Cooper also repped the worldwide Live Earth series of concerts telecast and webcast, and recorded for distribution on DVD and CDs, and put together deals for the Live 8 event.
None of the deals was easy to close.
“We’re in a state of transition like I’ve never seen,” Cooper says, citing a 25% drop in business for the record labels over the past five years due mostly to illegal downloading.
“More people are listening to music today than ever before,” Cooper says. “We have to get through this terrible era of people thinking that everything should be free.”
KEY DEALS: Deals for Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, James Taylor. Setting up Live Earth as follow-up to Live 8. Repped Mel Brooks and John Williams.
DEALMAKER DOS: “Always leave the other side some dignity. It is of no benefit to your client or yourself to use your bargaining power to destroy or humble the opponent. Somehow, some way, they will find a way to get retribution.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Don’t respond in kind to the other side’s anger or aggression. Don’t overestimate or underestimate your bargaining position.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Barry Hirsch, Gerry Margolis, Tom Hoberman, Zach Horowitz, Michael Lombardo, Greg Paul, Jess Wittenberg