Rob Wiesenthal: The 2014 Billboard Power 100
NO. 100

Rob Wiesenthal

Corporate COO, Warner Music Group

Deal veteran starts pulling the strings for WMG

Consummate deal-maker Rob Wiesenthal has brought his Rolodex to Warner Music Group after 13 years at Sony Corp. of America, where he was executive VP/CFO and chief strategy officer for Sony Entertainment.

In his first deal at WMG, he worked with CEO Stephen Cooper (No. 16) to hammer out a deal with Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman (No. 11) to pay WMG artists performance terrestrial revenue—a deal that all the major labels coveted but had turned down because they didn’t like the rate that the radio network was offering and were afraid to set a precedent that the royalty board would consider. Somehow, Wiesenthal and Cooper got around those issues and got Pittman to sweeten the pot, with other bells and whistles thrown in.

Now, Wiesenthal is on the prowl for other deals and alliances that could bring new revenue opportunities to WMG, including navigating the complicated EDM space.

While at Sony, he pulled off his biggest coup: assembling a Sony-led consortium to acquire EMI Music Publishing for $2.1 billion.

Looking ahead, Wiesenthal says, “The biggest challenge we have is navigating the rapid increase in streaming in the face of slowing growth in the download market. We are evaluating numerous opportunities to help mitigate the economic impact of this transition over the next three years.”