Hip-hop industry heavyweight and former CEO of Warner Music Group (WMG), Lyor Cohen, is reportedly negotiating with Google about financing his latest business venture, according to Billboard.
Ever since leaving WMG, Cohen has been working with Todd Moscowitz, former president of Warner Bros and Kevin Liles, the former Warner Music exec VP on building a talent management company and music label. The deal with Google will probably coincide with YouTube’s planned paid music subscription service.
As one of the pioneering executives in the rap game, Cohen started out at Russell Simmons’ Rush Productions, managing legendary hip-hop acts such as Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy. He then progressed to A&R duties for Rush Productions, signing artists like Slick Rick, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, Stetsasonic, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest.
By the mid-90s, Cohen was running the day-to-day operations at Def Jam; bringing in a roster of multi-platinum artists, including Redman, Method Man, Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule while striking groundbreaking deals with Roc-a-Fella, Murder Inc. and Ruff Ryders at the same time.
He left Def Jam in 2004 for WMG where he was named Chairman and Chief Executive. Cohen was also one of the first music executives to embrace YouTube; negotiating an agreement with YouTube in 2006 that enabled the site to show WMG videos in return for a cut of advertising revenue. In September 2012, Cohen resigned from WMG with much speculation on his next move.