By Dominick Fils-Aimé | September 30, 2016
Legendary music executive Lyor Cohen has been recruited by YouTube to serve as the company’s global head of music. Cohen is currently the founder and CEO of 300 records, a label that features artists such as Ferry Wap and Young Thug.
According to Billboard, Lyor, who has been a veteran of the music industry for more than three decades will now assume responsibilities related to the relationships between companies and artist. Cohen will also assist in the development of YouTube’s new music app.
“I hope that together we can move towards a more collaborative relationship between the music industry and the technologies that are shaping the future of the business,” said Cohen to YouTube’s music team on Tuesday September 27th.
Lyor previously headed Warner Music Group, serving as the label’s chairman and CEO of recorded music until 2012. Prior to that gig, the music exec ran the consolidated Island Def Jam Music Group serving as president, after Def Jam was sold to Universal Music Group in 1998. He sunk his teeth and made his mark in the music industry as a manager for entrepreneur, philanthropist and hip hop icon Russell Simmons’ Rush Artist Management in the 1980s. It was here that Cohen worked with hip hop pioneers Run-DMC and the Beastie boys.
“Lyor is a lion of the music industry,” said YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl in a statement. “From Rush to Def Jam to Island Def Jam to WMG then 300, he has consistently been a pioneer, charting the course for where music is heading. As we enter the growth era of the music industry, Lyor is in a position to make tremendous difference in accelerating that growth in a fair way for everyone. We are thrilled to welcome him to YouTube.”
According to a YouTube spokesperson, Cohen will continue his role as CEO of 300 until December 5. After his departure, 300’s day to day operations and responsibilities will be delegated to the company’s leadership team.
The move has been viewed as an attempt by YouTube to rebuild the maligned relationship between the streaming service and professionals within the music industry, who argue that YouTube doesn’t pay fair royalties and questions the company’s involvement in combating piracy.