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The way this ended made no sence. It makes sense to sign a 360 deal why ? Sorry didn't get it, where the rest of the interview?

Bruce Houghton

I'm not saying that it made sense, but Chen says that WMG needs the cash to retain "the very finest, most seasoned, most creative, thoughtful, transformative" executives to run the company.

Wesley Verhoeve / The Family Records

Yea this is such bad reasoning it does seem like part of the video is missing ha!

Nikki Tesla

Let me translate this douchebag's gibberish for you:

"We can't make any money selling overpriced shiny round things that nobody wants to buy anymore. And since all of my friends that I've hired have HUGE mortgage payments to cover each month, we need to have artists give us more of their ancillary revenue."

Brian Rawlings

I would have to look at him in the eye and say "name one"...


I respect Lyor as a business man... but the record label business is dead. It's going back into the wild west of music

Jeff MacDougall

Agreed. I would love to see/hear the raw footage from this interview.


I also thought a phrase was missing from the interview, but no , that was it. Artists need to give us more money and eat more ramen, because we need to redesign the furniture for the private jet.




What Nikki said...exactly.

The role of the artist is to pay for the salaries of the label. Wow....right out of his own mouth. How clueless can one be?


Lyor Cohen is a black-belt music executive of highest degree.

Look at his track record. All he does is win, win, win. Look at the artists and executives he has truly committed to--they all win, win, win. Look at his enemies--they all have fallen on their own swords.

Any way you cut it there is a lot to learn from this man. We are talking about a guy that started as a tour manager for Russell Simmons.

This is a true warrior.

Lew Wasser

Not sure why people bitch. You don't have to sign with Warner Bros.

Everyone just complains the world has fucked them.

If you don't like Warner Bros, go release an album and see how far you get.

It's a free world.


thank you Nikki, for being able accurately translate this bullshit for what it is. if people don't get it by now, that executives at these music companies only care about keeping there enormous salaries, then they deserve to get screwed. the Lyor Cohen and his buddies at the other major labels are the problem.



you obviously do not know what a true warrior is.



and your obviously very good friends with the major players at the monopoly controlled music industry. and the world is not free, its controlled by the corporations you obviously kiss the ring of.


Lew Wasser

Everyone's a corporation: artists, indies, and Warner Bros.

If you think majors control music, well, you don't work in music.

I only kiss the ring of artists.


Maybe not but the numbers don't lie. He flipped Def Jam twice. He flipped WMG three times if you include the initial deal.

I know what a scoreboard is.

Yannick, the GeneralEclectic

I don't know why but this Lyor makes me want to bronf.
The Warner Bros artist roster has been going downhill ever since Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker left. WEA used to be the label from which I bought most of my CDs when I started my collection in the late 80s because they had great artists. The number of Warner albums I bought last year is 0 for the first time. Excecutives demanding more and more and not searching anymore for musical talent but for commercial talent instead has contributed a lot to customers a/k/a music lovers moving away to indie labels. WEA does not seem to want to make an effort to win back those former customers.


Labels don't have customers, artists do. This has been a slowly sinking ship for years, the model is broke but there are a few well paid people still on board and you can't blame them if they ride it all the way to the bottom of the ocean. It will be tough for a lot of the lower level employees of WB to get a gig with the same salary in another industry since not many have any respect for the music biz, they think it is all fun and games. The biz does nothing to prepare their employees for a future, they just keep them plugging away and before they know it the real world has progressed...

Moses Avalon

Hysterical. And sadly more true than not.

Lew Wasser

I don't think labels are a sinking ship. Labels have been hanging in there. Look at the revenues, still pretty good.

One could say the internet has made labels stronger because it's hard for artists to get noticed and that's what a label does, marketing.

Moses Avalon

You're tight and Nikki is right. The problem is that the music business that Lyor earned his bones in is not the same industry that salaries like his will leave as a legacy. Others behind him will not be able follow the formula. They will fail and blame the Internet or some such thing.

What's happening in the music trade is no different than what happened on Wall Street in 2008 with TARP. Too much money going to too few pockets and not enough being put back in the general economy.

The Fed lent money to banks hoping they would lend to people to stimulate the economy. Instead the banks lined their pockets. Likewise the thinking of these old dog music exects is to spend, not on music talent, but on executive talent. The more the money you give them the less they are putting back into the economy of the creative side of the business. That is what is wrong with the music trade today.

Get a big mortgage, put your kids in private schools, buy a Porsche and then tell that person to give back to the artists? Not going to happen. Instead they will figure out ways to maintain their lifestyle. Guys like Lyor may indeed be "winners" and worriers , but are they fighting and winning for the greater good, or just their own circle? That's the better question to ask.

Moses Avalon
Author of the top-selling music reference, Confessions of a Record Producer.

Wesley Verhoeve / The Family Records

I definitely agree with you. An incredible career with a lot of success and interesting moves. I do also think this video doesn't portray him in the best way possible, because frankly what he says is a bit of circular reasoning and it doesn't feel "right". That being said, yes he is a legend, but that doesn't mean he's always right of course.


I don't believe the music industry is unique in the fact that the heads of the corporations are being paid excessively. This occurs in every industry, and companies such as Tesco are beginning to respond by cutting executive salaries.

This interview surprised me; a lot of effort went into expressing what were in fact pretty obvious and mundane statements. Perhaps he was trying his best to please the interviewer rather than actually say what he thought. Studies have shown that the music industry workforce is fundamentally lacking in training and skills- there are now more specialised music courses than ever educating new waves of potential employees whom know more about the industry than those working in it, so there is little credibility in the argument that to get the brightest, most innovative staff, you need to offer substantial salaries.

All this talk of 'industry is dead' and 'wild west' is pure flatulence. If you're going to make sweeping statements like that, you need to back them up. Recorded music revenues are declining, yes, the industry is generating less money. But the Record Industry in Numbers highlights a number of growth areas, the most obvious being digital.
""Digital music revenues grew by an estimated six per cent globally in 2010 to US$4.6 billion, accounting for 29 per cent of record companies' trade revenues in 2010.""

There will always be a place for major labels and 'mainstream' media outlets, because not everyone cares enough about music to go to the trouble of searching our cultural archives for jems. Some people just want to stick on some non-offensive pop to listen to while they iron/drive/cook/whatever. Majors cultivate brands, and easy solutions.

The point of this post is less to do with my opinion of the industry, and more to do with making the point that there are too many people saying too much that is backed up with too little.
The media says the music business is dead, we're all a bit disgruntled with corporations, so we jump on it.

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