YouTube has taken a big step in what it hopes can push its music agenda forward. The Google owned company has hired 300 Entertainment founder and former CEO of Warner Music Group, Lyor Cohen as its Global Head of Music.
YouTube has been the enemy number one for many music industry executives and artists for years for what they believe to be low payouts on streams. The company is hoping that Cohen can come in and help smooth out some of these fraught relationships.
In a memo sent out to YouTube employees, he outlined vision for how he can help the company going forward. As a music industry veteran, he wants to help "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."
He continues on and ends with a hopeful word about technology and music. "I'm confident that we can bridge the worlds of technology and music in ways that benefit everyone, instead of the zero-sum mentality that exists today," writes Cohen. "I'm proud to be a music man, and hope that the perspective I bring from both the creative community and the music business at large will help us, our music partners and artists grow and thrive together."
Cohen currently oversees a roster at 300 Entertainment that includes the likes of Young Thug, Fetty Wap, Migos, Rich The Kid and others. He will transition out of that role fully by Dec. 5 to join YouTube.
The move looks like a great one on the surface. He will bring his industry experience and connections to YouTube, which reportedly needs to renegotiate its licensing deals with the three major labels, according to Forbes. It only pays out about 55 percent of ad revenue in royalties, compared to the nearly 70 percent other services do. They don't need to go much higher because if a song isn't on the platform, a random user will put it on there.
His impact won't be felt immediately, but we will see over the next year if YouTube is able to land some big partnerships or deals that help smooth out the tensions between it and the music industry.