John Branca Attorney Interview at Harvard Law School

John Branca explaining negotiations and tactics that are used, specifically within the music industry.

“A lot of what happens in negotiation, takes place away from the negotiating table”

John Branca: A lot of what happens in negotiation takes place away from the negotiating table. Professor Sabina calls it 3D negotiation. It’s really in the setup. And so, yelling and screaming at the table can only be 1 tactic that you might use it. And you might choose to use it only on an occasion. But generally speaking, the negotiations prob…. 51% of it’s probably set before you ever walk into the negotiating room, based on who the artist is or who the… who the parties are, what the leverage is, what you’re looking for, what’s important to the other side. It’s not about you.

I remember I had a band called Poison back in the 80s, kind of one of those hair metal bands. And they were signed to this onerous contract with a UK company. And they were a little intimidating. You never know when these guys were going to get in the fistfight or whether at the club or… so, I remember the bass player, Bobby Doll, said to me, “Okay, John, I’m going to walk in this room. And in about 15 minutes, I’m going to go crazy. I’m going to threaten to punch out the CEO of that company, and then you just take it from there.”

Brian Price: Did it work?

John Branca: It worked. But by the time they get done screaming and we had to hold them back from attacking the CEO, that company didn’t want anything to do with Poison anymore. We got them out of the contract, but it was a tactic.