You just knew that when Lyor Cohen stepped down as CEO/Chairman of the Warner Music Group a year ago that he wouldn’t stay away from the record business for too long. The legendary exec, and Run-DMC’s former road manager, revealed that his new label (or “content company”), with partners Kevin Liles and Todd Moscowitz, will be called 300 and already has some intriguing and wealthy backing.
Billboard magazine reports that the label has secured distribution from Atlantic Records. As previously reported, Google has also invested in Cohen’s new venture, with reports saying an initial investment to the tune of $5 million. Yes, the label’s name is courtesy of those warriors the 300 film was based on.
The name 300 comes from Greek history of the 300 Spartans that fought in a vicious battle against thousands of Persian soldiers in 480 BC.
“It was a battle that changed the way wars are fought,” says Cohen. “These guys found that if you were well synchronized, strategic, loyal with great planning and preparedness you could do much more with less and be highly effective.”
Cohen’s thinking is that having a smarter, nimbler, more efficiently run music company that uses fewer resources to do more for artists has become necessary in the 21st Century music business. The idea is to better align cost structure to the industry’s current needs, where many new artists are naturally entrepreneurial by marketing and building buzz themselves on platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re looking for a gig and are savvy about the digital music age, 300 might have a gig for you.
The new company is looking to recruit 25-30 music veterans in areas like radio promotion and marketing alongside younger staffers who breath digital particularly in areas like data mining and data management, explains Liles.
“We want entrepreneurial people, industry veterans that are loving the opportunity of the change to the here and now,” says Liles. “We also want people from outside the industry, chief content officers, chief consumer officers.”
The company is getting backing from a wide range of investors, led by Google, which has put in around $5 million, according to one person familiar with the terms.
“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,” said a Google spokesman in a statement.
Interestingly, the deal with Atlantic means that Cohen is back in the Warner Music Group mix. Other investors in 300 include Columbus Nova, which owns part of Rhapsody, Andres Santo Domingo, a co-founder of Kemado Records, who is from a wealthy Colombian family, and billionaire Israeli-American Noam Gottesman via his Toms Capital.
The Check Writer’s credit is golden, now let’s see who, artist wise, joins the 300 fold first.
Photo: Billboard/Sasha Maslov