LOS ANGELES YouTube is mending fences with the music industry.
The video platform announced Wednesday that it has tapped music industry legend Lyor Cohen who helped build Def Jam Label and ran Warner Music Group as its newest exec. The hire underscores YouTube’s efforts to build a bridge with the industry its struggled to win over.
In recent months, YouTube has ignited backlash from artists and record labels and artists over music streams payouts.
Now it is hoping Cohen who YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl described as “a lion of the music industry” will be able to help alleviate the tension as the newly appointed “Global Head of Music.”
“From Rush to Def Jam to Island Def Jam to WMG then 300, he has consistently been a pioneer, charting the course for where music is heading,” Kyncl said in a statement. “As we enter the growth era of the music industry, Lyor is in a position to make tremendous difference in accelerating that growth in a fair way for everyone.”
Cohen most recently founded the music label 300 Entertainment, which is home to artists like Fetty Wap. He will continue to run the company, which Google is an investor in, until Dec. 5.
The music exec has worked alongside artists including Jay Z, Run-DMC, DMX, Public Enemy, Kanye West, The Killers, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Young Thug, and Highly Suspect.
When he served as head of Warner Music Group, he was instrumental in striking the music industry’s first licensing deal with YouTube in 2006.
In an email memo to YouTube staff, Cohen said he wants to help YouTube “bridge the worlds of technology and music in ways that benefit everyone.”
He outlined his plan, which includes: “helping the music community embrace the technological shifts were seeing in music today so we can help take the confusion and distrust out of the equation, building on the great work you all have done to help the music industry and creative community break new songs and artists to YouTubes audience of over 1 billion fans … and move towards a more collaborative relationship between the music industry and the technologies that are shaping the future of the business.”
YouTube is not the first to look to an exec to help build its brand. Apple Music brought on Jimmy Lovine and Dr. Dre as executives when it purchased Beats and Spotify hired Troy Carter.