Former Warner Music Group Recorded Music chief Lyor Cohen has reached agreement with Google Inc. and other investors to fund his new music-based entertainment company which is likely to be distributed through Atlantic label, several people familiar with the plans said.
Cohen, who made a surprise exit from Warner Music just over a year ago, has been working through his non-compete clause to build an innovative artist development and label business designed from the ground up for the 21st Century. The new business will have access to the marketing and distribution infrastructure of a major, but will have the cost structure of a more nimble and flexible indie.
Cohen is partnering with two former Warner Music executives in the new business: Todd Moscowitz, former president of Warner Bros and Kevin Liles, the former Warner Music exec VP.
Google for its part has been seeking to have more direct influence on the entertainment business beyond already being one of the industry’s most important distribution platforms and tastemakers via YouTube and to a lesser extent Google Play on Android devices.
This week Billboard revealed that YouTube is close to announcing plans to launch a Spotify rival music subscription service that will be linked to its existing video service. YouTube has also been funding multi-channel networks and talent that appears on its video service.
News of the Google funding was first revealed by the New York Post. Google was not immediately available for comment.
Cohen, Moscowitz and Liles are weeks away from fully revealing the nature of their new business which has just about completed a search for office space in New York. Cohen most recently known for overseeing the music careers of major artists like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and .fun among many others dating back to the early days of his career with Def Jam.
Warner Music declined comment for this story.