In yesterday’s post I mentioned a negotiation class I took. The teacher gave us many different tactics and approaches, with the overriding goal being for each party to feel they got what they were seeking and were treated fairly. This is commonly referred to as a win-win.
In 2005, the joint venture that produces the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations requested from Warner Music, where I worked, a license to include Missy Elliott’s hit “Lose Control” for the next volume of the series. Until that point, Warner hadn’t licensed to any of the Now albums. Senior management was eager to change that.
Atlantic Records, the Warner label to whom Missy was signed, wanted the song on the album. Missy’s mother, Pat, who handles her daughter’s license requests, approved of its inclusion. However, the song features two guest artists, Ciara and Fatman Scoop, and also contains two samples. The royalty we were to receive from Now wouldn’t cover these expenses; Missy would end up losing money for each unit sold.
I set about to renegotiate everyone’s portion of the royalty pool. The argument I used to convince each party to agree was simple – we can’t afford to license the track at the present rates. If we don’t do the license, then nobody makes any money. However, if everyone agrees to reduce their share of the royalties, then we can proceed with the license. As Now albums routinely sold several million units each back then, the money everyone would receive was a nice chunk of change, especially as all one needed to do to get it was to sign the one-page agreement I sent over.
All parties saw the logic in this argument, and the song made the album. Warner became a part of every Now compilation going forward. Missy’s mom marveled at how I got this done. A couple of years later, a new deal for Missy hit the desk of Atlantic Records’ legal department. Pat Elliott told the attorney “Give this to Glenn Schwartz to handle. He’ll get it done.”
The goal of this post isn’t to brag about myself. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. The other part is to encourage you to look for win-win situations, or, as was in this case, win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situations. The more happy people there are, the more happiness there is. Seems simple, no?