[In response to Lyor Cohen’s blog post, ‘Five observations from my time at YouTube’]
I applaud and second Cary Sherman’s “Five Stubborn Truths…” response as well as Irving Azoff and David Israelite’s later comments.
Here is an independent label perspective.
Many of us hope that you will be able to change the culture at YouTube to become more artist friendly and transparent. We understand that it takes time to shift corporate culture especially one as established as Google’s. Unfortunately, there are some entrenched alternative facts that are repeatedly regurgitated by YouTube and need to be corrected.
“Lyor may have an impact for them in other areas,” says Irving Azoff, chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, who formed the Global Music Rights group to address online music use. “But as for rights negotiation, YouTube can spin it any way they want, but the reality is that they’re the reason that paid streaming hasn’t exploded. There is a huge value gap in consumption versus revenue.”
One February afternoon, Lyor Cohen shows me around the soundstage at YouTube Space LA. The new facility, located on the site of what was once a Hughes Aircraft plant for building helicopters, is one of nine that parent company Google has built around the world to encourage the creation and evolution of user-generated programming. For a 57-year-old man who was plastering Snapchat with videos and pictures of his emergency hospitalization for a pulmonary embolism a few months ago, Cohen looks as vigorous as a panther.
“I don’t need to take it slow,” he says when asked about his health. “In fact, I’m accelerating. I’m moving hard.”
You can be sure that in order to woo Lyor Cohen into the Google empire, they offered him a pretty nice slice of cake in the form of a piece of equity, decorated with incentives and salary perks. Now, some people might be naïve enough to join YouTube in celebrating, imagining that Mr. Cohen is going to somehow show YouTube the light and magically deliver fairness for us.
But history is a good teacher, and there are three good reasons why his hire at Google is definitely no grounds for celebration: