Former Warner Music Group chief Lyor Cohen has announced the official launch of his new “content company,” 300. Cohen, alongside former WMG notables Kevin Liles and Todd Moscowitz are looking to spark a revolution in the way the music industry operates. All three men have long ties in the industry and as colleagues: Moscowitz is the ex-president of Warner Bros, Liles was formerly the executive vice president. All three men also worked together at Def Jam. The announcement comes just as 300 finalized it’s distribution deal with Atlantic Records.
Cohen believes that a smaller company like 300 is the ideal approach for the music business in the current digital climate. Using less resources effectively for more artists, and working better with artists across online platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
According to Moscowitz, 300 will have the distribution infrastructure of a major label.
“We’re deep believers in the record business,” Moscowitz told Billboard. “And we feel artists should be also be rewarded for the risks they take.”
And 300 has found significant backers, including Google, who has emerged as a major investor. According to Billboard the digital giant invested $5 million thus far into the company.
“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 via statement.
The company’s name is a reference to the 300 Spartans that famously fought against a Persian army of thousands 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.”
For Cohen, that great planning meant familiarizing himself with digital companies.
“I spent an enormous amount of time inside these digital distribution companies just talking and engaging with them and understanding what these companies now know about our music fans — something we in the music business never knew for all the years I’ve worked in it. I see a lot of opportunities and asked an insane amount of questions.”
The new company is aggressively recruiting music industry veterans from varying disciplines, including promotion and marketing, as well as data management.
“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.”