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Lyor Cohen reveals his battle plan for new firm 300

By | Published on Tuesday 5 November 2013

Lyor Cohen

The new music company from former Warner Music recorded music boss Lyor Cohen has a name. Oh, and a bunch of cash rich backers, which is probably more important.

In an interview with Billboard, Cohen has confirmed that his former Warner (and before that Def Jam) colleagues Todd Moscowitz and Kevin Liles will join him in the new business, which will be called 300, after the 300 Spartans who fought against the odds in a vicious battle against a massive Persian army in 480 BC.

“It was a battle that changed the way wars are fought”, Cohen told Billboard. “These guys found that if you were well synchronised, strategic, loyal with great planning and preparedness you could do much more with less and be highly effective”.

Of course the 300 Spartans were famously overwhelmed and then slaughtered by the Persians on the seventh day of the battle, but let’s not dwell on that.

Cohen’s point, I think, is that in this new fangled digital age a label – or “music content company” as Cohen refers to his new business – is better if it’s small, because you can be more responsive to changes, in technology and in the market.

Though we’re talking small by major label standards, Cohen still plans to recruit about 30 industry veterans plus a team of younger digital wunderkinds, and has reportedly secured $5 million in backing from Google, which is just one investor of several alongside the likes of investment firms Columbus Nova and Toms Capital.

Plus Cohen has confirmed that he will connect with his former employer, which will provide distribution support. So he’s got plenty of folks helping out. Then again, the Spartan 300 actually went into battle with up to 8000 allies. Though the story goes that most of them retreated when the shit hit the fan; but I think we all agreed to not take Cohen’s Greek analogy too far.

Instead let’s hear from Cohen himself, who says of his vision for 300 to Billboard: “We want entrepreneurial people, industry veterans that are loving the opportunity of the change to the here and now. We also want people from outside the industry, chief content officers, chief consumer officers”.

Meanwhile, confirming its backing, Google said in a statement: “With YouTube, we have a long history of supporting artists and content creators. So we’re excited to invest in 300, a new, innovative company designed to create opportunities for artists”.

And Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik also bigged up his firms new alliance with its former employees, saying: “Lyor, Todd and Kevin all have well-established reputations as accomplished executives and entrepreneurs. This agreement will provide Warner with a great source of artistic talent and creativity and we are thrilled that they chose Warner as their home”.

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