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Cohen reveals Twitter partnership and plenty of optimism at MIDEM keynote

By | Published on Monday 3 February 2014

Lyor Cohen

Former Warner Music boss Lyor Cohen this weekend revealed an alliance between his new Google-backed company 300 and good old Twitter that will result in new A&R tools based on data pulled from the micro-blogging platform.

Although light on detail, Cohen revealed the alliance during his keynote session at MIDEM in Cannes yesterday. According to Music Ally, Cohen explained: “We’re going to create A&R tools to find artists early, and help develop them. I’m really happy to be working with [Twitter]. Certainly in the modern A&R business, we all are looking for talent in various places, and certainly Twitter is a terrific place to look at talent, just like YouTube. If you wanna get signed, I think you have to engage with Twitter … and we’ll be looking and trying to develop tools that the rest of the music community can utilise. That’s super-exciting for us”.

While also revealing little about what exactly the tools 300 and Twitter plan to develop will do, and how widely the facility will be shared with the music industry at large, and on what terms, the digital firm also confirmed the partnership yesterday, telling The Next Web: “Music is the largest topic of conversation on Twitter, so we’re really invested in building a win-win environment for fans, artists, labels, promoters and music services. This partnership is a great example because it is about helping artists and labels find each other. We’re looking forward to working with Lyor’s team in the coming months, and we hope they find great artists to sign as a result”.

In a conversation that was heavy on the past, Cohen did also reveal some other information about what his new company 300 will do, beyond some Twitter app action. As expected, the new business is likely to be half management agency, half label, with a big focus on digital content and marketing. “The mission statement is to create a lasting reputation for high quality and artist development”, Cohen said, according to Billboard. “It’s a creative hub that goes beyond the creation of music and songs. It’s a place where artists, managers and agents can access experience and tools so they can participate in the artist development process”.

Expressing optimism about the future of the music business, and excitement for the opportunities open to music entrepreneurs in the current environment, Cohen was also upbeat about the emerging streaming market, something that has dominated debate at MIDEM this year (the conclusion elsewhere at the event seems to be Spotify good, Google bad, though not from Google-backed Cohen).

Said the 300 chief: “I certainly believe in streaming as being the future of a very healthy business and I want to be a part of that. We definitely are going to see a few bumps. But as subscription grows and it gets to a mass scale I think it will be a lovely business”.

Elsewhere at MIDEM this weekend, industry leading self-publicist skyped live into the building to share another helping of his unique brand of utter nonsense. To conclude, the music industry should stop moaning about declining record sales and sell gadgets instead. He’s made loads of cash from his Beats equity, see. And that MegaUpload thing he so avidly endorsed, well that turned out well, right? So, music industry, is now a tech dude and you should all follow suit. Well, we think that’s what he was saying. His Skype link was really rather patchy.

Watch Cohen’s keynote in full here.