A Quick Curtain Call For Lyor Cohen & His Time At WMG

Just a few days ago, Lyor Cohen announced that he will resign from his position at Warner Music Group on September 30, 2012. In case you don’t know, Lyor Cohen was the North American Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group (WMG). When he joined WMG in 2004, he began the reconstruction of the company with many changes. Those changes include WMG switching its major focus from a physical to a digital music company and encouraging long term development of artists with multi-right agreements. It was changes made by Cohen during these times that helped WMG become the No. 1 label in America for four out of his eight year career with WMG.


Throughout the years, many successful artists such as Cee-Lo, T.I., Lupe Fiasco, Gucci Mane and many other artists have found success and made platinum selling albums during Cohen’s time with Warner Music Group.  One of his last big moves and certainly will go down as one of his biggest successes is being able to sign Maybach Music Group to a distribution deal.  Though Ross is still signed to Def Jam, the Maybach Compilations are released under Warner as are highly anticipated solo albums from Wale and Meek Mill.

While these are major accomplishments, Lyor Cohen’s contributions to the music industry date back to a long time before he became the CEO of Recorded Music for WMG. During the 80’s, he acted as a road and tour manager for the legendary rap group, RUN-DMC. Meanwhile, he began working for Russell Simmons in the management division of Def Jam. After Def Jam records was sold to Universal Music Group, a sale that earned Cohen $100 million, he was made the head of Island Def Jam. While there, he led the growth of many artists as well as labels under Island Def Jam music group such as Roc-A-Fella Records and Mercury Records.

Lyor Cohen
Lyor Cohen giving a speech recently

It’s hard to look at Lyor Cohen’s career and not be amazed at how much work he has done for the music industry. Because of his work and many contributions made during the early parts of his career, as well as the more recent years, he is a true pioneer to Hip-Hop on the business side.
After eight successful years at WMG, people are already wondering what Cohen’s next move will be and who will attempt to begin where he left off, because replacing him is impossible. There are already rumors that Cohen is going to launch his own artist development company, which sources say is a project that is two years in the making. No name has been released for the new company and there is no idea when it will officially launch, but with Cohen’s love for music, retirement never seemed like a realistic option.

Lyor Cohen will always be seen as a critical part of the music industry and with this chapter of his life coming to an end with WMG, we just want to take a moment to applaud the man. We look forward to what’s next and wish him the best.


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