YouTube’s Unlikely Peacemaker Plans to Make Musicians Rich
The music executives hobnobbing with Ed Sheeran and Selena Gomez at an industry party one recent November night knew the enemy was in their midst. Susan Wojcicki runs YouTube, the site that’s let millions of fans listen to their favorite songs without paying a dime.
But Wojcicki, a 49-year-old Silicon Valley insider, was at the soiree to extend an olive branch. Escorting her around the room and introducing her to Mary J. Blige and Camila Cabello was her guide, the man YouTube has entrusted with mending its ties to record labels and artists: veteran label executive and manager Lyor Cohen.
Weeks later, YouTube had new revenue-sharing agreements with the two biggest labels, deals it needed to launch a subscription music service in 2018 to compete with Spotify and Apple. Negotiations had been underway for months, but Cohen felt Wojcicki’s presence in Los Angeles would underscore YouTube’s commitment to the music industry.
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