Lyor Cohen made a major announcement yesterday (Sept 28) in the music industry. The veteran music executive has joined Youtube as the global head of music. While details are still scarce about exactly what he will be doing at the brand, industry experts speculate that he will have a major role in attempting to help repair Youtube’s relationship with major record labels.
Earlier this week, Azoff called the company’s practices with regard to intellectual property “really evil,” and in June, he wrote a long open letter that said in part: “YouTube, ask yourself this question: If you are paying so well and providing such a great service to artists, then why is there discord between you and the creative community? You can blame the labels and publishers … But the root of the problem here is you: You have built a business that works really well for you and for [parent company]Google, but it doesn’t work well for artists. If you think it is just the labels and publishers who are complaining, you are wrong.”
With the announcement Wednesday (Sept. 28) that longtime executive Lyor Cohen — formerly of Warner Music, Def Jam Records and Rush Management — would be appointed YouTube’s global head of music, Billboard reached out to Azoff for comment. His response was one of encouragement and optimism:
“As a prolific manager, label executive and label owner, Lyor has a long history as a defender of artist rights,” he said. “We are counting on you, Lyor, to lead YouTube to provide fair payments to artists and give them more creative control. Congratulations, Lyor, I know you can get it done.”
A YouTube rep responded to some of Azoff’s comments earlier this week, saying “99.5 percent of sound recording claims are automated through Content ID — meaning only 0.5 percent are claimed manually. In other words, the system works incredibly well, with automated claiming far outnumbering what the [record]labels are doing manually.”