Doug Morris is in talks with Warner Music Group to distribute his new label 12 Tone Music, but a deal has not been finalized, sources tell Billboard.
If the deal does go through, it would be a big return to WMG for Morris, who was president of Atlantic Records in 1980 and Warner Music U.S. in 1994, before going on to lead Universal Music and then Sony Music, where he leaves his role as chairman at the end of this month. He is the only executive to lead all three major labels.
Billboard reported last month that Morris had secured funding to launch 12 Tone, having recently discussed his plans with Apple Music executives and Steve Bartels.
Morris’ 12 Tone venture is one of several emerging music firms with major-label veterans at their helms looking to compete with the three big record companies. Former Epic chairman/CEO L.A. Reid is readying to launch his entertainment company Hitco; former Interscope president Steve Stoute raised $70 million for his startup United Masters, which will distribute and promote music for independent acts and help them market to their biggest fans.