Lyor Cohen On New Twitter Partnership: 'We're in the Business of Discovering Artists' (Q&A)

Billboard caught up with Lyor Cohen, the former Warner Music head and founder of new music venture 300, at Midem hours after he had made a major announcement during his Keynote Q&A concerning a new partnership with the massive social media platform Twitter. Here, Cohen discusses the new venture, his specific role and the symbiotic nature of the partnership.

Lyor Cohen: The 2014 Billboard Power 100

Billboard: Please explain what the new partnership with Twitter is about.
Lyor Cohen: We're in the business of discovering artists. We recommend to the entire artist community to engage with Twitter and not just tweeting, but also photos and videos. And we are going to work with Twitter, with their immense data, to help create tools that help artists get discovered and that's what we're doing. Twitter values the creative community in such an unbelievable way and has not gotten the credit for the amount of artists they have helped discover. The partnership is to create tools for the creative community that allows more artists to be discovered and more successful.

And why did Twitter come to you?
Everybody in the digital space, digital distribution and social media, knows that at Warner I was the advocate for being the chief experimental officer. We wanted to experiment; I believe in experimenting. I believe our industry has been schizophrenic one second thinking all these new models were foe and then the next they're friend. I only look at them as friend, because over time I'm convinced that the value of artist creation will hold up and will be well represented.

In your role with at Twitter, will you be directly work with Twitter or will this be through your new music venture 300?
This will be with 300.

Are there any upcoming artists currently signed to 300 who will be a part of this venture?
No, not yet.

Twitter has tried to put out a music platform (Twitter Music) that did not work and they withdrew. Is there a plan for a new music platform you know of or are hatching something?
You should ask them.

What are the parameters of the partnership?
It's an exclusive partnership for a year. We have access to the data and building tools for artists in the creative community for them to be discovered and amplified.

Have they given you a title?

So many people use Twitter as a measurement tool -- artists and TV and other industries. People look to Twitter as a metric.
Yes, they do and they have not received the credit that they deserve.

So if you're monitoring the data and you see that Joe Blow is trending, what happens?
I'm gonna sign him.