YouTube brings in former Warner Music boss to pump up music platform – USA TODAY
YouTube is doubling down on its efforts to build up its music service.
Alphabet-owned Google’s popular video platform announced this week it had hired Lyor Cohen, former head of Warner Music Group, to run the service.
Taking over as YouTube’s global head of music,Â the goal is that Cohen will give YouTube the music industry presence Apple has with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, Spotify with music manager Troy CarterÂ and Tidal with Jay-Z.
In addition to being the former head of Warner Music and president of Def Jam, Cohen most recently created the music labelÂ 300 Entertainment. Cohen and Google worked together there, too, with the search giant investing $5 million into the label in 2013.
It has been no secretÂ Google wants to make YouTube the go-to music destination for consumers. Music videos and related content are some of the most popular on the platform, with Psy’s famous Gangnam StyleÂ accumulating more than 2.6 billion views.
Last year, the service launched a $9.99 per month Red subscription option that allowed users to skip ads and save videos for listening offline. It also has a dedicated YouTube Music app just for music.
But as with others in the streaming music industry, labels haven’t been on the best terms with YouTube, complaining it doesn’t pay artists enough for the content it allows users to consume free. They also were upset with the amount of pirated content readily available on the platform.
In response, Google released a piracy report in July, claiming it hasÂ paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry, with the company’sÂ Content ID system on YouTube paying out more thanÂ $2 billion.
With the battle between streaming services only intensifying, it’s in YouTube’s best interest to try and make peace, something Cohen seems to be trying to do.
“Iâm 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,” he wrote in a memo to staff picked up by The Verge.
“Iâm 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 wrote.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal