On Monday, September 24, Lyor Cohen announced that he would be resigning from his positions as CEO and Chairman of Warner Music Group. Read on for full details.
Cohen joined the company in 2004 after spending some time with Def Jam Records. Coming into Warner Music Group, he did not hesitate to bring his own ambitions to the table. He began making deals with indie labels in hopes of finding and signing younger artists. This resulted in the successful current artists Paramore and Mike Jones.
Cohen told Rolling Stone:
“You’re stuck with a really funky industry that has lost its way. Our ability to bring enormous profitability is by signing really spectacular artists that sell numerous records. [It’s] not having a huge and bloated infrastructure of ego. None of us are jetting around in private planes and we’re not in back of limousines. This is blue-collar support of our artists… and we feel like the digital transformation of this industry [brings] a great opportunity for us long-term.”
The progression of the music industry from tangible records and CDs to easily accessible digital downloads and mp3’s have been a blessing and a curse. While the digital revenues for Warner Music Group have increased, the overall revenues have dropped. Record labels used to profit greatly from artists who composed incredibly successful records, but having alternative means of acquiring the same music causes more than good. Even Cohen’s great ideas and contributions to the company could not save them from the inevitable deficit.
At the end of September, Lyor Cohen will no longer be working with Warner Music Group. His plans following his resignation are still unknown, as is any inclination as to who will take his place.