| 26 Sep 2023
Meet YouTube's new global head of music

MUMBAI: Remember the name - Lyor Cohen. The current CEO and founder of independent record label 300 Entertainment will join the streaming service giant YouTube as the Global Head of Music. Cohen will continue as CEO of 300 till 5 December 2016.

YouTube confirmed the news, adding that Cphen's day-to-day responsibilities will be transitioned to the leadership team within the company after he assumes the title.

Timeline of Cohen’s active contribution to the world of music -

Cohen began as a dedicated rock and rap show promoter in Hollywood, one featuring Run-DMC at The Mix Club.

Cohen later moved to New York in 1984 and represented acts like Run-DMC on the road and handling the artist roster responsibilities for Rush Productions. Rush, along with Cohen, was recognised as the premier management operation concerning rap genre.

In 1989, Cohen and Rush’s Simmons (his partner) ventured into the record label business. Four years after forming Rush Associated Labels, Cohen negotiated Def Jam’s departure from Sony Music Entertainment, and tied up the act with Dutch mass-media company Polygram (which later was purchased by Seagram, later merged into the Universal Music Group).

By the end of the millennium, Island Records, Mercury Records and Def Jam’s merger created The Island Def Jam Music Group, and Cohen’s appointment as its co-president effectively made him the first hip-hop president in charge of a major label.

In 2004, Cohen moved to Warner Music Group, where he executed his responsibilities as the chairman and Chief Executive, kick-starting the incubator program that led to the success for some of the acts including Mike Jones and Paramore.

Cohen has often received huge praises for his ability to take risks, and the effort that led to the YouTube-WMG partnership involving revenues in exchange of artist videos potentially led to a music label licensing content to YouTube for the first time ever. Cohen continued the approach with Spotify, extending the effort to WMG’s every digital initiative.

In 2012, Cohen quit WMG and founded 300 Entertainment – a part record label, part marketing and a part distributing company. Cohen is also one of the board members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cohen wrote a letter to YouTube after the appointment, where he stated the three immediate actions -

“First, helping the music community embrace the technological shifts we’re seeing in music today so we can help take the confusion and distrust out of the equation. Second, building on the great work you all have done to help the music industry and creative community break new songs and artists to YouTube’s audience of over 1 billion fans. From building on the success of the YouTube Music app, to shining a light on emerging artists, I believe our potential to strengthen the industry is massive. And third, 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.”

Cohen has encouraged risk-taking and continues to remain a strong supporter of evolving with the times. On his practice of taking risks throughout his career, the veteran music exec once famously said, “someone needs to jump into the pool first for a party to get really great. I've always been willing to be that guy.”