Warner Music Group is the largest American-owned music collective in the world and Lyor Cohen has a lot to do with that. Starting off as management for Russell Simmons (Russell Simmons Becomes a Stamp) Rush Productions, he eventually moved on to run Def Jam Records (Def Jam Rapstar: A Music Video Game Unlike All The Others?). After mastering the day-to-day responsibilities demanded at Def Jam and overseeing the merger and integration of several of Polygram’s best-known labels he was given the title of President at Island Def Jam. In 2004, Cohen left IDJ to pursue the position of Chairman and Chief Executive at WMG, Edgar Bronfman, Jr.‘s investor group-financed company. Under Cohen’s leadership Warner Music thrived, due in part to the executive’s innovative initiatives as described in 2006 by the LA Times. At 54 years of age, what more could an accomplished successful music exec. ask for?
Following his resignation from WMG in 2012, Lyor assisted by Kevin Liles & Todd Moscowitz has launched a new record label called 300. The trio will take the experience and expertise gathered during their time together at Warner Music and Def Jam and apply it to the new venture named after Greek history of the 300 Spartans that fought in a vicious battle against thousands of Persian soldiers in 480 BC. “It was a battle that changed the way wars are fought, these guys found that if you were well synchronized, strategic, loyal with great planning and preparedness you could do much more with less and be highly effective.” says Cohen.
Fueled by the idea that smaller budgets strategically used to help new artists capitalize on their entrepreneurial spirits through marketing and building buzz themselves on platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. “We’re deep believers in the record business and we feel artists should be also be rewarded for the risks they take” says Moscowitz, who describes the fresh partnership as a content company rather than label.
The company will be backed from a multiple investors spearheaded by Google, who is estimated to have already invested $5 million so far. “With YouTube, we have a long history of supporting artists and content creators. So we’re excited to invest in 300, a new, innovative company designed to create opportunities for artists,” said a Google spokesman.
If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor, according to Kevin Liles (Kevin Liles Making Mini Moguls Through Summer Business Academy) the company is looking to recruit 25-30 music veterans in areas such as radio promotion and marketing alongside younger staffers who breath digital particularly in areas like data mining and data management.