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Cohen could launch management and brands agency

By | Published on Thursday 27 September 2012

Lyor Cohen

Outgoing Warner Music recorded music chief Lyor Cohen is considering setting up his own music company, according to the New York Post, which cites sources as saying the record industry veteran is considering a return to artist management by setting up a new agency that would also work with brands on music partnerships.

As previously reported, Cohen will depart Warner Music tomorrow after eight years with the major. Joining the company from Universal in 2004, shortly after the Edgar Bronfman Jr led acquisition of the Warner music company off Time Warner, Cohen original oversaw the firm’s record labels in North America, before later being given a coordinating role over recorded music operations elsewhere too.

Since Access Industries bought Warner last year and installed its own man, Stephen Cooper, as CEO, Cohen has been seen as the major’s most senior record industry expert. The Post says that he is departing now, somewhat suddenly, because of strategic differences between himself and Cooper who, now over a year into the job, has a clearer personal vision for where the company should be heading.

The Post’s source says, simply: “They weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on the strategy. It was better to part ways; he didn’t see himself having a role going forward”.

Following the confirmation Cohen was leaving earlier this week, there has been speculation he may look to return to Universal, or to Sony Music, now being run by his former Universal boss Doug Morris, though both options would likely feel like a backwards step.

Others have speculated that he might team up with a private equity group to bid for the EMI assets being sold by Universal, though with those labels being European-based, and Cohen being very much part of the American record industry, that seems unlikely; so much so the management and brand partnerships start-up option sounds much more viable. Though if he did bid for Parlophone et al, he might find himself competing against his former employer, Warner reportedly also planning to bid for the EMI off cuts.

Talking of EMI, according to Hits Daily Double, the soon-to-be-defunct major’s outgoing CEO Roger Faxon, who also departs tomorrow as the Universal acquisition of his company completes, has denied rumours he has been sounded out by Warner as a possible replacement for Cohen.

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